ahistoryofwar

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The origin of the Hitlerjugend, or “Hitler Youth”, dated back to 19 Mar 1922 when the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler program was established in Munich, Bavaria, Germany one year after the start of the Sturmabteilung (SA) para-military organization as a training program for the SA. Between the failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, the Jungsturm Adolf Hitler went underground and operated in small cells; the combined membership of these smaller organizations were estimated at 5,000 by 1925. In early 1926, Kurt Gruber merged several of the remnant cells to form the Großdeutsche Jugendbewegung, or “Greater German Youth Movement”, while around the same time Gerhard Roßbach operated the Schilljugend based out of Southern Germany and Salzburg, Austria; there were also many other politically-motivated youth organizations in Germany at the time. On 4 Jul 1926, National Party Day, only six months after the establishment of the Greater German Youth Movement, it became the official youth organization of the Nazi Party. In the following month, it took on its new name that identified itself as an official instrument of the Nazi Party: Hitlerjugend.

By 1930, the Hitler Youth had a membership of 25,000 boys older than 14 years of age. It also expanded its operations by establishing the Deutsches Jungvolk for boys aged 10 to 14. In 1928, the Hitler Youth organized Schwesternschaft der Hitlerjugend for girls; in 1930, it was renamed the Bund Deutscher Mädel, or League of German Girls. In Apr 1932, the Hitler Youth movement was banned by Chancellor Heinrich Brüning because it was so politically motivated, but the ban was lifted two months later by Brüning’s successor, Franz von Papen, in an attempt to appease Adolf Hitler, who was undeniably becoming more and more influential in German politics. By the end of 1932, a few weeks before the Nazi Party came into power in Germany, the membership was at 107,956. In 1933, Baldur von Schirach became the first Reichsjugendführer, or the Reich Youth Leader, of the Hitler Youth. By the end of 1933, growing popularity and forced merger of various youth organizations grew the membership to over 2,000,000. In early Dec 1936, membership grew to over 5,000,000 as it comprised of over 60% of German youth. Later in the same month, membership became compulsory for all German boys between 14 and 18.

As expected, the boys of the Hitler Youth spent much of the time performing physical training via sports and hiking, preparing them for military service. Hiking often became training for military marches, while activities around the camp fire included basic weapons training. Stories told in the evenings were full of Nazi ideals, including anti-Semitic indoctrination. Bullies among the group who preyed on younger boys were tolerated, or even in many instances, encouraged, since it was believed that it would harden the younger boys, allowing them to become stronger and be able to stand up for themselves. Those most promising and loyal boys in the organization became candidates to join the Schutzstaffel (SS), while others identified with leadership abilities were sent to special academies run by the Hitler Youth to train future military officers.

The League of German Girls became more so in the mainstream in 1933 when the Nazi Party came into power. In 1934, Trude Mohr was placed in charge of the league, hence allowing the group more autonomy from Schirach’s top management. In 1937, Mohr became married thus became ineligible for the position. Mohr succeeded by Dr. Jutta Rüdiger, a doctor of Psychology, who remained its head until 1945. The league focused on the grooming of girls and young women to become proper women of the Nazi society, though education and training aspects of the program was also significant. The girls actually received a greater variety of education than the boys, since the boys were trained largely only in the fields useful for military service. In 1938, a voluntary branch called Glaube und Schönheit, or Belief and Beauty, was established to specifically prepare women between the age of 17 and 21 for raising families. By 1939, all ethnic German girls were required to join. Before the establishment of the League of German Girls, few girls traveled without their families, and activities such as hiking and camping were frowned upon by the conservative society. The league gave girls and young women exposure to more things than ever before, thus it was very popular, and the Nazi Party in turn used it successfully as a tool of indoctrination.

In 1940, Arthur Axmann took over the responsibility of running the Hitler Youth, which by this time had 90% of German youth in its membership. As the European War had already begun, Axmann focused on reforming the 8,000,000-strong organization so that the children could directly aid war efforts. Early in the war, boys served in postal and firefighting roles, but as the war went on many of them took on more demanding roles such as being members of anti-aircraft gun crews. In 1941, Axmann authorized the policy requiring all German boys over the age of 10 to join the Hitler Youth. As Allied bombing of German cities became more frequent, many boys and girls also became critical elements in the efforts to deliver food and supplies to the displaced. By 1943, the Hitler Youth took on a direct role as a military reserve force with the establishment of the 12 SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend under the command of SS-Brigadeführer Fritz Witt and later SS-Standartenführer Kurt Meyer. The unit was a fully equipped Waffen-SS armored division with adult officers and enlisted men between 16 and 18 years of age. This division was stationed in Normandy, France in mid-1944 and encountered Allied troops; American, British, and Canadian soldiers recalled their ferocity and unquestioning loyalty to Nazi Germany, making these boys some of the toughest opponents the Allied soldiers had faced. As the war went on, boys as young as 10 were placed into the Hitler Youth, and by 1945, it was common to see 12-year-old boys serving in Volkssturm units. When Berlin was surrounded by Russian forces, a significant part of the defense of Berlin was conducted by Volkssturm units with sizeable Hitler Youth members.

The girls of the Hitler Youth, or specifically of the League of German Girls, did not serve as directly as the boys at first. They collected donations, gathered old clothing, collected scrap metal, prepared care packages to the soldiers in the front lines, and alongside of boys helped to distribute food and water to those displaced by Allied bombing. As war demands increased, however, their contributions to the war effort also took on a more direct role. Many of the older girls were transferred into Red Cross nurse training programs, learning hands on at aid stations treating civilians wounded by Allied bombing. By late-1943, many of them received military training and were transferred to the Luftwaffe, the German air force, and served as Flak Helpers or searchlight operators. An unknown number of girls served in Volkssturm units in the final days of the war, although this was not officially ordered by Rüdiger or the senior leaders at the Hitler Youth.

After the war, the Allied occupation forces disbanded the Hitler Youth. Most young leaders of the group were not charged with war crimes, even if there were evidence, as they were children. Despite membership being compulsory, thus nearly all children of the period were Hitler Youth members, many prominent post-war leaders were still scrutinized over their membership. For example, the media placed Pope Benedict XVI in the center of attention for his membership in the Hitler Youth between 1941 and 1943.

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Horten Ho 229:


In 1943 the all-wing and jet-propelled Horten Ho 229 (‘aitch-oh-two-two-nine’) promised spectacular performance and the German air force (Luftwaffe) chief, Hermann Göring, allocated half-a-million Reich Marks to the brothers Reimar and Walter Horten to build and fly several prototypes. Numerous technical problems beset this unique design and the only powered example crashed after several test flights but the airplane remains one of the most unusual combat aircraft tested during World War II.

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Heckler & Koch HK416:

Following the revision of the OICWBlock 1 / XM8 program, the Heckler & Koch company decided to enter the US military and law enforcement markets with the alternative design, which, in fact, looks quite promising. Based on the experience, gained during successful upgrade program of the British SA80 / L85A1 program, HK decided to cure the existing M16 rifles and  M4 carbines from most of their problems, inherent to this 40-years old design.The key improvements, made by HK, are their patented short-stroke gas piston system, borrowed from HK G36 rifle. This system replaced the direct gas system of standard M16 rifle, so no powder residue will remain in the receiver even after long shooting sessions. The “new"gas system also is self-regulating and will work reliably with any barrel length. Other improvements include new buffer assembly, improved bolt, and a cold hammer forged barrel, as well as free-floating hand guard with integral Picatinny-type rails. Originally developed as a "drop-in” upper receiver assembly for any standard M16/M4 type lower receiver, HK416 is also available as a complete weapon, with HK-made lower receivers. Current (late 2005) models include carbines with 10.5" and14.5" barrels, and 16.5" barrelled carbine and 20" barrelled rifle will be added later. 7

Another interesting development, which is apparently based on the up scaled HK416 design, is the HK417 - the 7.62x51 NATO rifle that combines AR-15/M16 type ergonomics, layout and handling with improved reliability of HK-made and designed gas piston system. This rifle probably will use HK G3-type magazines. If the rumours about HK417 are true, the 5.56mm HK416 / 7.62mm HK417 combination will be a direct rival to the newest FN SCAR system.

HK416 is a gas operated, selective fired weapon of modular design. It uses short-stroke gas piston that operates the 7-lug rotating bolt. Receiver is made from high grade aluminium alloy. Combination-type safety / fire selector allows for single shots and full automatic mode. Hk416 retains all M16-style controls, including last round bolt hold-open device, rear-based charging handle and magazine release button on the right side of the magazine well. HK416 is fitted with four Picatinny rails as standard, and may accept any type of sighting devices on STANAG-1913 compliant mounts. It also can accept modified HK AG36/AG-C 40mm grenade launcher, which is clamped directly to bottom rail. Butt-stock is of typical M4 design, multi-position telescoped.

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Fictional Post: Illidan Stormrage. (World of Warcraft)

“Betrayer… In truth, it was I who was betrayed. Still, I am hunted. Still, I am hated. Now, my blind eyes see what others cannot: that sometimes the hand of fate must be forced! Now go forth… unleash the tides of Doom… Upon all those…who would oppose us.” - Illidan Stormrage.



Illidan Stormrage was the self-proclaimed Lord of Outland, ruling from the Black Temple. He was born a night elf and, as stated by Maiev Shadowsong, became “neither night elf nor demon, but something more”. He was the twin brother of Malfurion Stormrage and was in love with Tyrande Whisperwind. Once an unusually gifted sorcerer, the extent of his powers became difficult to classify due to his powers increasing in large bursts as a Demon Hunter and his having absorbed the powers of the dangerous arcane object known as the Skull of Gul'dan.


His pursuit of power and arcane mastery led him to commit a number of horrific acts against his own people and the races of Azeroth, including defecting to Sargeras during the War of the Ancients and creating the second Well of Eternity. For his actions, he was imprisoned for ten thousand years, until his release during the Third War. He came to be called the Betrayer for his acts against the night elf people and carried the title of Lord of Outland. Seeking to bring down her erstwhile prisoner, Maiev allied with Akama to invade the Black Temple, where she cornered Illidan in his inner sanctum and struck him down, bringing an end to one of the most tragic stories in Azeroth’s history.

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The Nock gun, also known as the Volley Gun was a seven-barreled flintlock smoothbore firearm produced briefly by the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. It was invented by the firm of Henry Nock, for the purpose of arming snipers in the rigging of ships. Nock believed that it would allow British sailors to fire devastating volleys onto the decks of enemy ships during close-quarter engagements, but manufacture was discontinued after only a small number were produced.

The weapon proved to be impractical for a number of reasons, chief among them being the recoil: the force of seven half-inch barrels, firing simultaneously, was enough to dislocate or break the shoulder bone of a man using it and made the weapon nearly impossible to aim. Additionally, for someone firing from high in the rigging of a ship, the gun greatly increased the risks of being knocked down and plunging to the deck, or accidentally setting fire to the sails (one of the reasons why Nelson refused to allow his captains to post snipers of any kind in their rigging during the Battle of Trafalgar).

Specifications:

  • Barrel length: 20 inches (508 mm)
  • Cartridge: .52 inches (13.2 mm)
  • Action: Flintlock
  • Rate of fire: Seven rounds per discharge, reloading rate variable
  • Muzzle velocity: Variable
  • Effective range: Variable
  • Feed system: Muzzle loaded.
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Blyskawica submachine gun (Pistolet maszynowy Błyskawica in Poilish language; “Błyskawica” means “Lightning”) was developed and built by Polish resistance groups that fought Nazi Germany during the WW2. The gun was based on the British Sten, but with certain modifications in regard to the feed, trigger unit and shoulder stock. About 700 Blyskawica submachine guns were built in 1943-45 by underground workshops, run by Polish resistance groups.

The Blyskawica submachine gun is a simple blowback operated weapon which fires from open bolt, in full automatic mode only. Feed is from doublestack, single feed magazine copied from the British Sten,magazine housing is located below the gun. The manual safety is located inside the trigger guard, in front of the trigger. Gun is equipped with the bottom-folding shoulder stock, inspired by the German MP.40 submachine gun. Sights are fixed, with forward post and rear aperture.



Caliber: 9x19mm Luger/Parabellum.
Weight: 3.2 kg empty.
Length: (stock closed/open) 556/730 mm.
Barrel length: 197 mm.
Rate of fire: 600 rounds per minute.
Magazine capacity: 32 rounds.

A World War II wreck, which has been laying on the bottom of an Italian lake for 70 years, has revealed a forgotten story of love during wartime.

The wreck, a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber, crashed in Lake Bolsena on Jan. 15, 1944.

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Divers from the Research Center of the Scuba School of Lake Bolsena and the Fire Department of Viterbo identified several pieces of the plane scattered on the bottom of the lake.

From a depth of 300 feet, they recovered the largest piece, the Sperry ball turret – an enclosed capsule that protected the bomber at the belly of the craft.

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The recovered turret featured the intriguing hand-painted words: “Ileen Lois.”

“The words were still visible after 70 years underwater on the right and left side of the turret,” said Mario Di Sorte, a historian who pieced together the plane’s history.

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t turned out the words referred to Lois Eileen, the young wife of gunner Sgt. Ralph Truesdale. He was one of the 10-man crew aboard the four-engine aircraft B-17 USAF serial no. 4124364.

Ralph Truesdale ® and his wife, Lois Eileen, are shown here. Lois is holding their five-month-old child.

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Writing a lover’s name on the plane wasn’t just Truesdale’s idea. When it came to name their plane, the entire crew agreed to call it “Ethel,” after the girlfriend of right waist gunner, Anthony Brodniak.

The B-17 plane is shown at left. At right Antony Brodniak poses with his girlfriend, Ethel.

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“Ethel” flew for the last time on Jan. 15, 1944. The final flight was part of a mission which involved the use of 38 B-17 Flying Fortresses divided into two waves.

The primary target was the railroad bridge in the town of Certaldo, south of Florence. The alternate target was a marshalling yards at Poggibonsi, near Siena.

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Once near Perugia, the group encountered heavy fire from German anti-aircraft. Seven B-17s in the first wave and 18 in the second suffered serious damage. “Ethel’s” two engines were struck and damaged and the bomber spun out of control.

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The plane crashed into Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe. All 10 men parachuted to the ground.

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Of the wrecked bomber’s 10 men, three were captured by the Germans and finished out the war in a POW Camp. The remaining seven were saved and hidden from the Germans by Italian families.

Truesdale also left his turret and let the name of his wife plunge in the water with the plane. Truesdale was among the crewmen captured by the Germans and taken in a POW camp. He managed to escape and remained hidden for three months until the arrival of the Allies.

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Despite the romantic wartime tale, love did not last for Ralph and Lois. The couple divorced in 1947.

All that remains is the wreck of the turret, now on display at a local museum in Bolsena, Italy.

South Africa’s Armsel Striker is a 12-gauge shotgun that was mainly designed for both riot control and combat.  This model, considered by some to be one of the top shotguns in history, was designed by Hilton Walker back in 1983.  Once production began, the shotgun gained notoriety and became a huge success.  The Armsel Striker was not without its flaws.  The magazine for Armsel Striker was bulky and the shotgun was noted for its slow reload time.  As a result, Walker redesigned the Striker in the late 1980s.  He removed the cylinder rotation mechanism and added an auto cartridge ejection system.  The newly redesigned model was known as the ‘Protecta’.

Features of the Armsel Striker

The action of the Armsel Striker is very similar to a revolver, using a magazine that rotates.  The redesign features a cocking leaver (which is located on the right side of the barrel).  The redesign also corrected the slow and cumbersome firing mechanism by removing the clockwork winding mechanism and replacing the ejector rod with an automatic ejection system.  The cocking lever replaces the rod and winds the drum automatically.

History and Specifications on the Armsel Striker

  • Place of Origin:  South Africa
  • Type:  Combat shotgun; riot control weapon
  • Weight:  Just over 9.25 lbs. empty
  • Length:  31.18 inches (or) 20 inches with 12 inch barrel (stock folded)
  • Cartridge:  12 gauge
  • Action:  Rotating Cylinder

Variants of the Initial Armsel Striker

  • Armsel Protecta
  • Armsel Protecta Bulldog
  • Sentinel Arms Striker-12
  • Cobray/SWD Streetsweeper
  • Cobray/SWD Ladies Home Companion

Those in the United States seeking a Striker may find it difficult to attain as this weapon is considered a destructive device.   The Sentinel Arms Striker-12 – an improved copy of the original Armsel Striker – is fully licensed and produced by the Sentinel Arms Company and marketed to the US.

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The SAM7UF:



Arsenal, Inc., the premier American importer and manufacturer of semi-auto rifles, is proud to offer to American shooters the new addition to the SAM7 family – the SAM7UF rifle. This 7.62x39 caliber rifle combines authentic, high-quality features expected in the SAM7  Family. From its reinforced under-folding buttstock to its 14x1mm left hand muzzle threads with muzzle nut, every component of the SAM7UF is engineered to provide decades of dependable and accurate service. The SAM7UF rifle is bound to become a sought-after and collectible firearm.




The New Reinforced Under-Folding Stock:




The SAM7UF utilizes the modern straight-back under-folding stock, which locks perpendicular to the action and the bore of the rifle.  In order to provide a more secure and firm lock, whether in a folded or extended position, this stock locks on both sides of the receiver with 4 solid pins. The reinforced, straight-back folding stock stabilizes the rifle which significantly reduces the climb and gives the shooter much firmer control over the firearm for improved accuracy and effectiveness. These are major improvements over its predecessor, the tilt-down stock, and this rifle will surely exceed it.




Arsenal’s Exclusive Milled And Forged Receiver:



Each SAM7UF receiver is milled from a hot-die hammer forged receiver blank by the Arsenal Co. of Bulgaria. Other milled-receiver AKs are machined from bar stock, but Arsenal’s hot-die hammer forging produces stronger and finer-grained steel. Internal voids and cooling deformations are eliminated by the 5-ton hammer forging process.
Each forged receiver blank requires over 5.5 hours of milling before assembly. This forging and milling process is complex and time-intensive, but Arsenal’s meticulous attention to detail delivers a receiver of unequalled strength, precision, and durability.
SAM7UF-85 | SAM7UF model 7.62x39mm caliber rifle, milled and forged receiver, chrome lined hammer forged barrel, 14x1mm muzzle left-hand threads, muzzle nut, bayonet / accessory lug, reinforced under-folding buttstock, black polymer pistol grip and handguards, stainless steel heat shield, cleaning rod, one 10-round magazine (accepts any mil. spec. magazine), sling, oil bottle, and cleaning kit.




SKU: SAM7UF-85
caliber: 7.62x39 mm
total length: 889 mm (35”)
folded length: 639 mm (25”)
barrel length: 415 mm (16 ¼ in.)
twist rate: 1 in 240 mm (9.45”)
weight w/o magazine: 3.4 kg (7.5 lbs.)
muzzle velocity: 710 m/s
effective range: 400 m
maximum range: 2000 m
rear sight range: 800 m (875 yds)
rate of Fire: 40 rds/min (practical)
MSRP:     $1299.00

Cpl. William Hopkins, a native of Clovis, Calif., a spotter with Company F, 2nd Aviation Assault Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade’s Pathfinders, looks through the scope of the Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle while Sgt. Lucas Cordes, a native of Hillman, Mich., a sniper team leader with Co. F, 282 CAB, waits for the Uh-60 Black Hawk to turn around so they can commence an aerial firing platform exercise, Jan. 26, 2012, in Logar Province, Afghanistan. (January 26, 2012 - Photo by Spc. Cody Barber)

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Then and now in pictures: 70 years later, Normandy’s beaches retain memory of D-Day invasion:

Bunker, Omaha beach:

U.S. Army troops congregate around a signal post used by engineers on the site of a captured German bunker overlooking Omaha Beach after the D-Day landings near Saint Laurent sur Mer June 7, 1944, in this handout photo provided by the US National Archives. 70 years later, tourists walk past the same bunker. 

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Then and now in pictures: 70 years later, Normandy’s beaches retain memory of D-Day invasion:

Beachfront, Juno beach:

A crashed U.S. fighter plane is seen on the waterfront some time after Canadian forces came ashore on a Juno Beach D-Day landing zone in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France, in June 1944 in this handout photo provided by the National Archives of Canada. Today, tourists enjoy the sunshine in August, 2013. British and Canadian troops battled reinforced German troops holding the area around Caen for about two months following the D-Day landings.