battle of the bulges

Lieutenant Colonel Ronald C. Speirs (20 April 1920 – 11 April 2007) was a United States Army officer who served in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II. He was initially assigned as a platoon leader in either Charlie or Baker Company of the 1st Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Speirs was reassigned to Dog Company of the 2nd Battalion prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, before his unit was absorbed into Easy Company, of which he was given command during the assault on Foy after the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne. Speirs also served in Korea, where he commanded a rifle company, and later became the American governor for Spandau Prison in Berlin. He reached the rank of captain while serving in the European Theater during World War II and retired as a lieutenant colonel.

Bring on the Battle of the ...

This post has been brought to you by the Committee for Well-Fitting Pants. You may now return to your regularly scheduled dashboard scrolling.

Dedicated to Victory Day 

The biggest human losses of World War II by countries from the anti-German coalition: 
Lithuania - 350 000
USA - 418 500
United Kingdom - 450 900
France - 567 600
Yugoslavia - 1 027 000
USSR - 25 000 000 deaths

Those photos are from a social action ‘Immortal regiment’ when people go in the street with the photos of their family members who died in this war fighting nazi. Every family here went through such loss. My great-grandmа one by one sent to front her husband and three sons, and only the youngest, my grandpa, came back alive.  

From the whole number of USSR human losses, military deaths number ~11 000 000. Other 14 000 000 (for instanse, the number of killed jews in WWII is 5-6 million) are soviet women, children and oldman that were captured and tortured to death in concentration camps, or died under air bomb attacks. (Did you know that slavs were estimated by nazi as subhuman race and until 1943 were obliterated as “useless material”?)
But these people didn’t give in, even when they had all the rights to surrender.  
They showed invincible strength and readiness to define their Motherland… (the Battle of Stalingrad lasted for 200 days and nights on more than 100 km2 of earth with thousands of tanks and planes. German army was higher by 83 000 soldiers than Soviet one, nazi’s aircraft was twice more than soviet. Stalingrad  was bombed endlessly for two weeks and was totally damaged. From the 70 000 of civilians who were not evacuated from the city less than 1000 survived.
Both sides together lost more than 2 000 000 soldiers. By comparison, in the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the US in WWII, the Battle of the Bulge, 19 000 died)  

When they starved to death, died under bombs and didn’t even have electricity during - 30 °F winter… ( The Siege of Leningrad lasted 2 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 5 days. It was the longest and most destructive siege in history and overwhelmingly the most costly in terms of casualties)

When the nazi army incomparably surpassed them by number and weapons…(Pavlov’s house was held by 4 soldiers for 58 days against a heavy Wehrmacht offensive, and still wasn’t conquered. By comparison, the Battle of France lasted 45 days and the Battle of the Netherlands lasted 7 days )

They continued to fight against Nazi Germany, no matter what.

While adducing this numbers, I don’t mean Soviet Union won this war all by itself. The Victory would not be possible without the Allied Forces.
I just want to honor those people from my Motherland who overcame their own possibilities, who refused to kneel to invaders and died for the sake of humanity. Their feat should be remembered.

Historicity of Call of Duty: WWII

I usually refrain from posting about video games, but yesterday came with the big announcement that the multi-million dollar franchise Call of Duty is returning to its World War II roots. I enjoyed franchise’s World War II games back in the day, so I’m glad this decision was made - especially since this new installment follows the “Bloody First” Infantry Division, who saw the brunt of the fighting in France and Belgium during the latter stages of the war.

“No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great”. The 1st Infantry Division, otherwise known as the “Big Red One”, turns 100 this year.

Anyway, after the historically disappointing Battlefield 1, which strayed far away from the reality of the Great War, Call of Duty of all franchises seems to be taking a step towards gritty realism. Gone is regenerating health and ammo pickups; the player will now have to rely on squadmates to get them back up to speed. When shot, the player will apparently enter a “wounded” state, where they might pick up a limp or some other injury, impeding their combat abilities, until a medic patches them up. All in all, it sounds a far cry from the Rambo-style shooting galleries that the franchise has become somewhat infamous for.

Much to the dismay of some people, the game does not stray from the Western Front; specifically, France, Belgium and Germany. Thus, we will not be seeing any action in the Pacific Theater or Eastern Front. The developers claim this decision was made to better develop the narrative, which they did not want to be fragmented by constant globetrotting. It sounds like they’re going for a Band of Brothers-style story thread. The protagonist is a 19-year-old Texan who serves in the 1st Infantry Division, which was previously the focus of Call of Duty: Big Red One (an overlooked installment in the franchise).

The iconic M1 Garand rifle returns after a long absence from the franchise.

But the game won’t just focus on the “Bloody First”, say the developers. Also included as a supporting character is a British Special Operations Executive agent, operating clandestinely in Europe to assist French Resistance cell led by a yet-unnamed female character. It would actually make more sense for the SOE character to be female, since there were to my knowledge no resistance cells led by women, whereas there were numerous female SOE agents serving as liaisons between the British government and the French resistance. But the role of French women in the resistance should not be downplayed nonetheless.

Also set to appear is a segregated African-American infantry unit which the player will encounter at some point during the story, say the developers. They briefly commented on the historically-accurate racial tension between the white and black infantry divisions, which will be included in the game’s narrative. Despite the over-saturation WWII video games back in the day, of role of African-American soldiers was barely touched on, except for one briefly playable character in Call of Duty: Finest Hour back in 2004. Black soldiers will also be playable in multiplayer component of the game.

African-American troops served in Europe during WWII; notably in the Battle of the Bulge. They still served in segregated units at the time.

In terms of enemy factions, we can expect to see the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS, although since the narrative drives into Germany in its (presumably) closing chapter, it is possible that the Volksstrum might pop up. It would be interesting to be able to use some of the stop-gap German weapons developed in 1945.

The Allied weapons confirmed to appear so far are the iconic M1 Garand, the M3 Grease Gun, the Springfield M1903, the Thompson M1928, the Browning M1919, the M1 Bazooka, and the Colt M1911. The only Axis weapons seen thus far are the Gewehr 43, the MG42, and interestingly the Luger, which was not an official service weapon among the Wehrmacht but was popular with officers who privately purchased them. It has become something of an iconic Nazi gun, despite having been phased out by the Walther P38.

The infamous “Buzzsaw” will, for course, make ample appearances. It wouldn’t be the Western Front without it.

Although unconfirmed as of yet, we will undoubtedly see the return of classic Axis weapons like the Kar98k, the MP40 and, given the setting, the StG.44. Since the SOE and the French Resistance are involved, it would be surprising if the Sten did not appear too. Who knows, we might even see a few oddball weapons like the Liberator pistol or the Volkssturmgewehr.

Not much information has been unveiled as of yet but from what has been seen and described, it looks like Call of Duty: WWII will be taking a radical shift towards authenticity compared to the previous games in the franchise. We’ll see how it turns out.