german prisoner of war

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March 24th 1944: The ‘Great Escape’

On this day in 1944, a group of Allied prisoners of war staged a daring escape attempt from the German prisoner of war camp at Stalag Luft III. This camp, located in what is now Poland, held captured Allied pilots mostly from Britain and the United States. In 1943, an Escape Committee under the leadership of Squadron Leader Roger Bushell of the RAF, supervised prisoners surreptitiously digging three 30 foot tunnels out of the camp, which they nicknamed ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry’. The tunnels led to woods beyond the camp and were remarkably sophisticated - lined with wood, and equipped with rudimentary ventilation and electric lighting. The successful construction of the tunnels was particularly impressive as the Stalag Luft III camp was designed to make it extremely difficult to tunnel out as the barracks were raised and the area had a sandy subsoil. ‘Tom’ was discovered by the Germans in September 1943, and ‘Dick’ was abandoned to be used as a dirt depository, leaving ‘Harry’ as the prisoners’ only hope. By the time of the escape, American prisoners who had assisted in tunneling had been relocated to a different compound, making the escapeees mostly British and Commonwealth citizens. 200 airmen had planned to make their escape through the ‘Harry’ tunnel, but on the night of March 24th 1944, only 76 managed to escape the camp before they were discovered by the guards. However, only three of the escapees - Norwegians Per Bergsland and Jens Müller and Dutchman Bram van der Stok - found their freedom. The remaining 73 were recaptured, and 50 of them, including Bushell, were executed by the Gestapo on Adolf Hitler’s orders, while the rest were sent to other camps. While the escape was generally a failure, it helped boost morale among prisoners of war, and has become enshrined in popular memory due to its fictionalised depiction in the 1963 film The Great Escape.

“Three bloody deep, bloody long tunnels will be dug – Tom, Dick, and Harry. One will succeed!”
- Roger Bushell

I hate.. any glorification of war, but I think there is something very sweet about animals getting medals for doing a great job. I especially love it when they get to retire to comfy, non-demanding lives after their service.  In WWII, 32 out of the 53 medals issued to animals went to pigeons. They’re so helpful and brave, its a tragedy we think so little of pigeons now!


Look at this dashing picture I found of GI Joe! He flew 20 miles in 20 minutes, and saved a thousand people from a bombing in Italy. He retired alongside other pigeon heroes and lived a long life of 18 years!

… Gallantry!



Another good pigeon war story is that of Kaiser, who became the most famous jailbird — he was originally a German bird who became a prisoner-of-war after he was caught by Americans. Upon capture he was drafted into a breeding program and sired over 100 children for America’s side. He died at 33 (that is a ridiculously long life for a pigeon - almost unbelievable. An extremely healthy bird!) making him the only pigeon to serve in both world wars.

Fast Car

Prompt: Reader is a reporter who gets the interview of a lifetime.

A/N: Yikes. hopefully this will be okay until I have enough time to get something better out? hah.. :)

Warnings: swearing, mentions of sex.

Originally posted by vibraniumdoll

An exclusive with Bucky Barnes. 

As a young reporter, you had started from the very bottom. You grabbed coffees, fetched papers, and did everything you can to work you way up to the top. 

You hadn’t found yet that story that would skyrocket you to the top. Every good reporter had that story that helped everyone believe that they were ready for headlining articles. 

Bucky Barnes was your ticket. 

Interviewing The Winter Soldier, who after decades has finally broken his silence. There was no better article, and you were glad that you were the one who nabbed it. 

You straightened out your pencil skirt and made your way into the elevator, making sure your press pass was visible to everyone. 

As you expected, every floor was offices and cubicles which somewhat confused you because you heard of the penthouse at the top of the tower that housed the Avengers. It was supposed to be marvelous and these offices didn’t show much. 

You clutched the tape recorder to your body, smiling once you finally hit the top floor. 

Before the doors opened, the elevator stopped abruptly. “State your name and business.” A robotic voice said, almost causing you to drop your things. 

“U-uh, (Y/F/N), reporter for the New York Times and here to interview Bucky Barnes.” Your sentence became less shaky with every word, clearing your throat at the end and straightening your posture. 

A moment had passed and the elevator doors opened. 

You blew out a breath and stepped your right foot forward. As your heels clicked against the floor, you followed the slightly narrow passage way to the end, where you were greeted by the famous Vision. 

“Hello miss, may I take your coat for you?” 

You were at a loss for words, only allowing him to slip the coat off of your shoulders and watching as he hung it up. He motioned for you to follow him.

“You must have been very persuasive to have Mr. Barnes say yes to you.” He spoke politely and quietly, causing you to smile. 

“I try my best. Persistence is key in the art of journalism.” You responded, seeing him nod his head and hold his hand out to the open room in front of you. 

You walked into it and sat down at the desk, crossing your legs as Vision told you Bucky would be with you in just a moment. 

All of your items were laid out neatly in front of you, your foot tapping softly while you examined the room. 

Just as you were about to turn around, you saw Bucky Barnes enter the room. 

A gasp fell from your lips, his sudden presence startling you despite the fact that you expected him. 

You cleared your throat, “Hello Mr. Barnes. I’m-” 

“(Y/F/N), I’m glad you came.” Bucky’s smile was warm and inviting, sitting across from you and folding his hands in front of you. 

His metal hand sparkled in the slight sunshine through the paneled windows. You were suddenly aware of your breathing, attempting to calm your quickly beating heart. Nervousness fluttered through your belly, and you felt nauseous. 

“Right, shall we get started?” You asked, opening your notepad to look at your questions. “Do you mind if I record our conversation?” 

Bucky nodded, watching you fiddle with your tape recorder and pressed record. 

You swallowed, floored by his attractive features. You had seen pictures, but nothing compared to the real thing. “What exactly to remember about your fall off that train?” 

“You waste no time in getting to the juicy details,” Bucky chuckled, “I don’t remember much. I have bits and pieces there but nothing really that could put the puzzle together.” 

You nodded, smiling softly at his somewhat happy persona. You were glad to see that he had moved on from such a traumatizing event. “Everyone has heard Mr. Rogers’ side of the story, but do you remember anything from the train itself?” 

“Again, it’s bits and pieces. However, I do remember kicking some ass,” his statement had caused a small giggle to escape your mouth, “and I remember Steve’s face as I was hanging off of the train. After that, it’s mostly blank.” 

Bucky’s mood had shifted slightly, though he tried to play it off. 

“Do you remember anything from the HYDRA lab? Who had put your arm on you, who had pulled you from the snow?” 

“No comment.”

Bucky’s response jarred you, causing you to look over your questions again and find a less intrusive one. 

“You were a prisoner of war at one point, a German tank had invaded your unit and taken all of you to someone named Colonel Lohmer. What did he do to you?” You asked, Bucky’s eyes widening as he coughed quietly. 

So much for less intrusive.

“That’s when they injected me with a serum, the same one that was put in Steve. However, Steve’s was a willing subject and I was tied down to a steel bed and was pricked with needles until I couldn’t feel a thing anymore.” Bucky muttered, shifting in his seat. 

You were surprised by his sudden urge to open up, causing you to tilt your head, “Who was Arnim Zola, in your eyes?” 

His nostrils flared and his jaw clenched, “A monster.” 

“What did he do?” You decided to take a different approach to the question you had asked before. 

Bucky bit his lip, thinking over his wording, “He tortured me, he brainwashed me, he caused so much pain and suffering in my life that when I was me, I didn’t know if I wanted to be me anymore. I had no out, for 60 years.” 

You blinked back your tears and sighed softly, regretting this interview for the sole fact that you didn’t want to make him relive those horrendous memories, but you had to carry on. 

“When Steve found you in Bucharest, what did it feel like?”

“I was terrified,” he blew out a breath of air, “I barely remembered the guy. I read about him in a museum and that’s where all my information had come from. I didn’t know if it was a trick to lure me in, so I ran.” 

“And when did you start regaining your memory of him?” 

“When he and Tony were on the fritz.” He smiled, shaking his head and wordlessly allowing you a ticket into his mind. 

You were glad that you were able to change the subject, still getting great material for the article without bothering him. “Is he still your best friend?” 

“Easily.” He whispered, leaning forward on the desk and grinning at you. You smiled when his eyes met yours, his baby blues causing you to melt at the sight. 

After a moment of you not saying anything, Bucky spoke up, “Do you have a best friend?” 

Bucky’s hand reached for the recorder and pressed pause, your breathing picking up as he did so. “U-uhm, why do you ask? This interview is for you, Mr. Barnes.” 

“Can this be off the record?” Bucky murmured, staring into your eyes and ignoring your question. 

You wordlessly nodded, watching him intensely. 

“Ever since I saw you entering this building, I have been immensely attracted to you.” 

Your jaw dropped, not expecting this from him at all. He reached forward, taking two fingers and closing you jaw. 

“I allowed this interview because many people had asked before, but none were as persistent as you. They usually gave up after a few failed attempts, but you just kept trying. I had to see the person behind the emails.” Bucky’s admission made you lean back and attempt to relax on the back of the chair. 

“You agreed to the interview because you wanted to see who I was?” 

Bucky nodded.

“Well are you pleased with what you see, Mr. Barnes?” You whispered, watching as he took your hand in his. Your breathing was staggered, this certainly wasn’t a story you wanted to tell. 

“Very much so.” Bucky’s lips turned up into a sly grin, your pulse racing as he stood up from his seat. 

All thoughts of the interview had left your mind as you pressed pause on the tape recorder and felt Bucky brush your hair neatly behind your ear. 

Bucky smirked, his hand resting gently on your cheek as his lips met yours. 

It was happening all so fast, his hands roaming your body and your fingers interlocked tightly in his hair. He was quick to lift you from your seat and set you on the table, your thighs on either side of his waist, keeping him close to you. 

His scent was almost intoxicating, you felt like you didn’t have control over your body and you just floated above, watching the two of you and feeling heat creep up your neck as your chest heaved with anticipation. 

“What do you say we take this somewhere a little more private?” Bucky whispered in your ear, sending chills down your spine. 


The white sheets surrounded you two as you finally awoke from your sleep.

Bucky’s arms had kept you close to his chest, the metal of his hand feeling cool against the skin of your stomach. 

You heard quiet snores from behind you, his nose buried in your hair. 

You took a moment to reflect on how you had gotten here in the first place. It was confusing to say the least, but you can’t say that you didn’t enjoy it. 

You carefully unwrapped yourself from his grip, reaching for your blouse and slipping it over your shoulders. 

As you stood up from the bed, Bucky noticed your movement, “Where do you think you’re going?” 

A smile spread across your lips, “I’m going to go write my story.” 

You turned back and saw Bucky wiping the sleep out of his eyes, “No you’re not. You think I sleep with a girl and just kick her out?” He stood and walked to your side of the bed, planting a kiss on your lips, “You gotta think me more of a gentleman, darlin’.” 

“So that part of the rumors is true.” 

“Hmm?” 

“You make a woman swoon just by the twinkle in your eye.” You said, feeling Bucky’s hands button up your shirt for you. 

He finished up, handing you your skirt, “You can write your story but after we get some breakfast.” 

You followed him out of the door and slowly slipped past all the other doors in the penthouse. 

A giggle left your throat as Bucky gripped your hand tighter in yours, “We have to be quiet so no one asks questions.” 

You grinned, nodding your head and watching as he opened the door to the kitchen. 

Bucky bumped into the table, causing you to laugh and cover your mouth once he shushed you. “Sorry!” you whispered. 

Just as you and Bucky looked up, you saw Clint with the newspaper in his hands and cereal in his mouth as he stared with shock at you two. 

“Oh boy.” You said, stepping behind Bucky and hiding your blush. 

“Is that the reporter?!” Clint yelled, cereal spilling from his mouth. Bucky nodded. 

“You fucked the reporter?” 

“Clint!” Bucky yelled, causing you to stifle your giggles as Clint had milk drip from his mouth. 

Clint rolled his eyes, “When you said you thought she was hot I didn’t think that you’d be able to get her into your bed the same night.” 

You finally spoke up, “Bucky works in mysterious ways.” 

“Hey Clint I found that-” Tony walked into the room, cut off by your presence. You were shell shocked, suddenly faced with 3 of the Avengers in one room. 

“Oh my god he fucked the reporter.” Tony said, his eyes wide as he held an item in his hands. “Tony!” Bucky yelled, your hands now over your mouth to keep your laughs in. 

Soon enough, you were faced with Bruce, Steve, and Vision, who had come into the kitchen after hearing a commotion between Bucky and Tony. 

Steve was the first to speak directly to you, “Uh, hi. You a friend of Bucky’s?” 

You nodded, “You could say that.” 

“I see the interview went well.” Vision said, his lips turned up into a small smirk. Your jaw dropped, as Steve had put two and two together. “You’re the-” 

Before he could finish his sentence you only nodded, shrugging your shoulders. 

Bucky and Tony had stopped bantering long enough for you to speak, “I’m just gonna go. Sorry for all this-” 

“Nonsense,” Bruce muttered, “You’ll have breakfast here. Everyone who wakes up here stays for breakfast. It’s a rule.” 

“Fair enough.” You muttered, the awkwardness diminishing as people walked towards the table. 

Bucky took your hand in his, squeezing it reassuringly while you took a deep breath.

You couldn’t help but feel that this was the start to a very, very strange relationship. 

2

By 1940, 1,647 homes had been destroyed in the London borough of Lewisham, a total only exceeded in Lambeth and Stepney.  The 1944 Housing Act authorised £150 million to be spent on temporary houses.  Flat pack bungalows were constructed at great speed, often by Italian and German Prisoners of War – over 150,000 went up across the country. Excalibur is a unique example of prefab estate planning on a large scale and is the largest surviving estate of its type in England.

Portrait of Gertrude Sanford (1922). Sir William Orpen (Irish, 1878-1931). Oil on canvas.

Gertrude Sanford Legendre was an American socialite who worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), essentially as a spy, during WW II. Captured by the Germans, she was held as a prisoner of war for six months and then escaped into Switzerland. She was also a noted explorer, big-game hunter, environmentalist, and owner of Medway plantation in South Carolina.

“Operation Beach Party”

A German trench mortar unit on the coastal dunes.

July 10 1917, Nieuport [Nieuwpoort]–In recent weeks, the Germans had noticed a buildup along the Belgian coast, the extreme northern end of the Western Front.  British troops had replaced French ones, and Allied artillery fire had picked up.  In fact, the British were preparing for amphibious landings along the Belgian coast just behind the front line, in an attempt use their naval advantage to outflank the Germans and potentially capture the German U-boat ports in Belgium.  The Germans began to make preparations to counter such a move, which included an attack on the British lines near the coast, hoping to forestall any British advance on land.  This attack was called Operation Strandfest; literally “Operation Beach Party.”

The Germans opened with an artillery barrage early in the morning of July 10.  The British positions on the coast were particularly vulnerable.  Located on the east bank of the Yser river, they were quickly cut off when the German artillery destroyed the bridges over the Yser.  The sandy terrain also meant that their fortifications were rudimentary and were quickly destroyed.  Some units took 80% casualties from the bombardment alone.  When the German infantry attacked in the evening, the remaining defenders fought valiantly (two platoons resisting to the last man), but they were quickly overwhelmed; the Germans reached the Yser and captured over 1000 prisoners of war.  From the two battalions closest to the sea, only 68 men escaped, all by swimming the Yser at night.

Today in 1916: Cesare Battisti Captured and Executed by Austrians
Today in 1915: Reaction to the German Lusitania Note in the German-American Press
Today in 1914:  Russian Ambassador To Serbia Dies in the Austrian Embassy

I find it interesting how death preserves reputations. Take, for example, John F. Kennedy. His death came too early for many; and it’s my belief that preserved his legacy as the man who wanted to bring us to the moon, the dreamer who wanted the Wall torn down – the idealistic, noble goals that we love to ponder. I wonder what may have happened later in his presidency, had he not been assassinated, that could’ve changed that legacy.

It is the same case with a man like Erwin Rommel. He was a member of the Nazi Party, but he is/was known as a noble man due to the fact he didn’t mistreat prisoners of war and refused to execute German French Foreign Legion members. In fact, I believe the fact he was served a suicide pill by Hitler is the biggest reason his legacy was preserved to be known today – crimes Rommel may have committed in North Africa are currently unknown or have only just begun to be researched; any he may have committed had he stayed alive were stopped prematurely. Anybody who’s obituary reads “served a suicide pill by Adolf Hitler” looks good in the eyes of the world, simply because of the fact Hitler was the one who killed him.

Compare this with Bernard Law Montgomery – when Monty won Egypt for North Africa, he was revered by his men for having succeeded when his predecessors had failed; for trying to keep them alive. But because of his well known rivalry with Patton, the debacle of Market Garden (in part caused by his rivalry with Patton), and his death as a curmudgeonly old bastard in a big house with opinions about everything, he has gone down in history as exactly that – a curmudgeon.

To complete the triumvirate, George Smith Patton, Jr. led a rocky life when it comes to his own reputation – so his legacy is mixed as well. He is known as one of the greatest generals America has ever had; so skilled that Ike couldn’t keep him sidelined. After Tunisia and Sicily he was probably known as a great general… But then he slapped two soldiers and shouted at them for having shell shock, and later classification shell shock as PTSD has most certainly made an already shitty incident look worse. This caused him to be sidelined for a year before the Normandy invasion; and the subsequent feuds with Monty don’t look good either. The difference there is that Monty seemed to be worse than him, exacerbated by the failure of Market Garden. After D-Day, Patton’s third army was practically unstoppable (when logistics crisis don’t stop it). Patton’s death just after the war stopped everything he may have done in its tracks.

Patton is known now as an excellent, if egotistical and short-tempered man; good at morale and keeping the men moving forward. His death stopped any post war interference with his legacy in its tracks. We cannot say what he might’ve done after the war simply because he didn’t live to see much of it. Thus, his legacy has been preserved; if changed a bit due to public perception turning to myth or misconception, just as Rommel’s, Montgomery’s, and Kennedy’s legacies have undergone the same.