A Question For All Veterans From All Wars - Passage of Information

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Drew5233, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    As most of you know I'm a veteran of the Iraq War in 2003 and one thing I have always been curious about since joining this forum and reading various posts by other veterans from other wars is how much information you was given and how much you knew of the 'bigger picture' as to what was happening.

    Not having the luxury of 24hrs news channels via a TV when we crossed the border into Iraq I always felt quite cocooned as to what was going on in the big picture of the war. Still to this day outside of my own troop (C Troop, 7 Armoured Brigade Signal Squadron) I don't really have a clue as to what happened apart from the fact I know we won.

    24 hrs pre-invasion I was in quite a high level briefing in the Kuwaiti desert and was given an outline of what was going to happen and when (3 Days to take Basra and 14 for Baghdad-How wrong they were).

    That was pretty much as I was told-After that all my focus was on my troop and keeping them in the game-I never even knew what the other two troops were doing most of the time and definately never knew who was Step Up and who was Main (Step Up - moving the Bde Comms to a new location and Main providing Bde Comms).

    Any other information that came in was on the 'rumour mill' from your mates who had heard something from someone or fortunately for me being Signals we picked up bits a pieces over the radios.

    I've only read one book about Iraq from when I was there and that was about the murder of six RMP's. I could relate to what the author had written quite well and it did answer a few points that I wasn't aware off. Other than that I'm still waiting for someone to write a book on the British part of the Iraq War and I'd wish they would hurry up so I can find out what really happened.

    So, what was the passage of information like for you in your war? I guess one would think the longer ago the war the less information that was available due to technology etc.

    Secondly did you find out more about your war when it was over in publications and books (The accurate ones) on the whole campaign or did you alreay know what other battalions etc were doing?

    Curious in Leeds
    Andy
     
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  2. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    My father's words

    In relation to OMG and in generalMy memory is pretty good as to what happened, but not about the exact order. A lot of it happens so quickly that I remember what, but not when.

    In relation to Normandy, and his mate, No. 2 on the Bren
    How did you hook up with Henry?

    That’s a good question. Oh, can’t remember when we got together, it could have been something little like you were told off together or something like that.

    That’s correct! You are right and I am wrong, it must have been somewhere else, like Belgium or Holland. Don’t know where now.

    In relation to early 45I can't remember the places where we went. At that part, it was part of Holland, you know, then we branched out, we were in Germany and there was fighting different places, not for long: some of them gave resistance and some of them just stuck up their hands.

    IN relation to missing men, April 45So we never knew what happened to Beattie and the rest of them.

    So there was things like that happened, but eh, it was all eh, oh how will I say it?

    Chaotic?

    Aye, nobody knew what was happening but ... it was up there round there somewhere different places that we were going to that eh, Charlton got his VC. There was a good bit of fighting there.
     
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  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks Jonathan-According to Ron it appears very little has changed in 60 odd years.

    Thanks Di, Its always a pleasure to read what your father says-You really should publish a book on him.

    Any vets on here from Korea, Vietnam, Falklands and Gulf War 1 to name a few?

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew -
    would have to disagree with your conclusion that little has changed in 60 years- as I and Gerry Chester have pointed out in past threads - SOME of us knew what was going on with the BIG picture with our morning networking meetings and the disemination of that information to other member of our crews - PLUS the fact that inasmuch as we did have a #19 wireless set handy - when we were not too busy - we could relax and listen to the Nine O'Clock news from the BBC London with Alvar Liddel; Bruce Belfrage and others keeping us in touch with world events as well as reporting the Football scores which was always a crowd gatherer - plus Sandy MacPherson and his organ recitals - Moura Lympany and Myra Hess and Soloman with their piano recitals etc..so we were not totally ignorant of what was going on at any time....many people forget the abundance of news of the BIG picture most of the time.
    Cheers
     
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Seldom did we get informed of what was to happen. Only before Goodwood did we know in advance
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tom,

    I wasn't referring to the Football and other events back home. I ment what other units were doing within your Brigade and Division. For example within my brigade we had the Black Watch and Royal Fusiliers Battlegroups and I never knew what they were doing or where they were until one of the Rebro's in my troop attached to them submitted a Re-Sup request and we got out to them on the ground.
     
  8. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    My dad was in from 39 til 45 (POW from Aug 44 til May 45) and the first 'luxury' he bought was a six volume publication covering the second world war, because he didnt have a clue as to what was going on around him and in other parts of the world

    he occasionaly got to a cinima, or read a paper - but other than that he knew what he was told, and what was in front of him

    As for my experiences, I can still remember the blank gaps in the BFBS radio news in Bosnia anytime anything bad happened (such as the LD lossing a vehicle to an anti-tank mine), and now anytime there is a fatality all the mobile and land line phone signals in iraq were switched off to prevent lads n lasses telling family back home what had happened before the notification officer could knock on someones door
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Bill.

    Mobile phones in Iraq? I take it you was post Telic One then Bill? We had all our mobiles or sim cards took off of us in Kuwait before the invasion and given back to us after 28th April.
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew
    your ignorance of events in your own brigade must rest at the feet of your Brigadier - in both Gerry's and my case we knew exactly what the Brigade - Division and even the Corps were doing on most days in action - as Driver -op stated - at many Current affairs sessions - most were too bored to take it all in - the information was always there - but not always taken in...but the football scores surely were !
    Cheers
     
  11. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    Cheers Bill.

    Mobile phones in Iraq? I take it you was post Telic One then Bill? We had all our mobiles or sim cards took off of us in Kuwait before the invasion and given back to us after 28th April.

    telic three - i got a better signal outside my tent in shaibah, than i ever did in catterick(not difficult really)
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    telic three - i got a better signal outside my tent in shaibah, than i ever did in catterick(not difficult really)

    :lol: Next you'll be telling me the RAMC had a disco complete with glitter ball set up at Shaibah ;)
     
  13. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    Back in the Late '80's up to GW1 we had no idea what was going on. No cell phones or e-mail. Daily briefings were the only true 'scoop' we got and that was usually inaccurate at best or would change a dozen times. We pretty much operated on a system of "Seeing is believing". We didn't worry too much about the who and why as much as the when and where.

    More often than not we only found out what we had done later when it was in 'Stars and Stripes' or the 'Navy Times'.
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    I hate having to repeat myself, but needs must when the devil drives :)

    On another thread I said this:
    I can't stress too much that what I have written and continue to write is strictly from a personal perspective.

    I am but one of quite a few veterans on this site and they may all very well have a different story to tell.
    I can remember Gerry Chester in particular once saying that in his mob everyone was kept very much in the picture and he may not have been alone in this matter.


    The other day I was being interviewed over the phone by a young lady who was seeking info on one particular aspect of WW2.

    At the end of the session I issued my usual caveat which says "That is my own personal view, ask another veteran and you may get a completely different story, we were and still are individuals and what I have just pontificated on is strictly my own take on events that took place over 65 years ago"

    Ron
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I spoke with Old Hickory about this very thing not two weeks ago.

    He told he rarely knew anymore than what was going on around him. He was in Recon and moved around a great deal but all to often he would know where he was and where he was going, but not why. By that, he would not know the big picture of what was driving their actions. He said that they could listen to the BBC, but then some of what they said was not always correct, either by intent to deceive the enemy or the fog of war. One particular was the announcement that Malmedy was in German hands when he knew that not to be true, as he was there at the moment.

    He said he knew roughly what was going on in other theaters of war because he had good access to Stars and Stripes, but then even that was usually a week or two or more behind. He said that quite often he know more about what was happening in another part of the war than he did just beyond the next hill.
     
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  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    At the end of the session I issued my usual caveat which says "That is my own personal view, ask another veteran and you may get a completely different story, we were and still are individuals and what I have just pontificated on is strictly my own take on events that took place over 65 years ago"

    Ron

    Dad gives an example of when once he and his mate were recounting an incident - and his mate had never even seen the Tiger tank coming round the corner. A camera in each brain is how he described it ... all pointing in different directions, taking photos: some images are sharp, some not very well developed, some out of focus, others lost over the years.
     
  17. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I can remember in the early days in Normandy the Troop Commander giving us updates on the German units being added to those fronting us, very scarey so it was always 100% stand to. I don't recall being given much info of what was happening on our side, even when I was on the radio with HMS Rodney and the Auster spotting for it. When I worked for the intelligence officer I didn't learn much more either. Maybe it was a case of ignorance is bliss.
     
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  18. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Same as us Jim. We knew nothing until it happened. talking of Auisters Jim, did you witness the Auster that flew directly into the path of one of our shells?

    I was watching the bloody annoying thing, when it just vanished, We got fed up with the Austers all day long droning sound as it flew back and forth.
     
  19. Tonym

    Tonym WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew

    Responded to your PM

    Tony
     
  20. Driver-op

    Driver-op WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Sapper, yes I saw it happen at what I took to be the almighty artillery fire on Overloon. I felt for the couple inside if they were still alive. I worked with those Austers a lot, particularly in Normandy I was on the same net as the plane and HMS Rodney and heard them destroy umpteen targets. Rommel hated those big guns they knackered his Panzers.
     

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