What have you learned about WW2 recently?

Discussion in 'General' started by dbf, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. BereniceUK

    BereniceUK Well-Known Member

    WW2-related, I only just learned of the anti-Jewish riots in parts of the UK, and the reappearance of Oswald Mosley, in 1947.
  2. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I read earlier this evening in a thread on MSN about how the term "doggy bag" came into use. Doggy bags, used in restaurants in the US are used to take home uneaten portions of the meal. During WW2 just about everything was rationed, and to discourage waste, uneaten portions were encouraged to be taken home to be heated up and eaten later, or to be given to your dogs so they can eat too. Get it, doggy bags.... Waste not, want not I guess. I like trivia and trivial matters. History is the study of little things too you know.

    In case anyone really wants to know where I got this little tidbit of information, read on.

    32 things visitors to the USA don't understand
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  3. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Just read about the French island of Martinique, located in the eastern Caribbean. Martinique went Vichy in 1940, and was servicing and re-supplying German U-Boats during the Battle of the Caribbean (didn't know about that campaign either, nor the fact that Vichy Martinique was supporting the U-Boats). The US Army's 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion, based in Panama was preparing for an airborne assault to seize the island in 1943, but pro-Free French forces overthrew the Vichy regime, thus negating the airborne operation.
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  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    You've got to watch To Have and Have Not. Bogie and Becall's best work.

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  5. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Reinhard Heydrich, by anyones definition a truly nasty piece of work who got his just deserts. However, he had a younger brother, Heinz, who was also in the SS and a fully committed member too. He had a safe job editing the army newspaper Die Panzerfaust. After his Reinhard was killed someone cleared his office safe and handed a large packet of files to the younger brother. Heinz set up all night reading these files and when his wife came down in the morning she found him burning them. Thereafter Heinz was sullen and withdrawn with everyone. It is now believed that what he had been given were his brothers files on the implementation of the Holocaust. Heinz spent the next few years using his position as editor to print false documents for Jewish people and in helping them evade capture by the Nazis.In 1944 Heinz’s Editiorial Office came under investigation and, convinced that his activities had been discovered, he shot himself. So the story goes!
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  6. Dave

    Dave Junior Member

    A 58 re Doggy bags, my uncle in the US always said "take what you want, but eat what you take" cause we don't like waste...

    and a bit more mundane I recently learnt during the war british soldiers were allowed 4 sheets of toilet paper, a day, US soldiers 22, that's besides better uniforms and more pay...
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Term might not have been used in UK. Don't know.

    British Pet Massacre - Wikipedia

    Definite bummer
  8. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I learned about this movie when reading about Martinique in WW2. Man, my brain hurts now.
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  9. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Toilet paper was issued with C-rations too in case you weren't familiar with it. Yeah the rationing in the US was not nearly as dire as in Britain. Many rationed items became "un-rationed" as the war grew to a close even before Germany surrendered, and in the weeks and months after VJ Day just about everything else became un-rationed as well. I've read that rationing went on into the late 40s in Britain. Had to be tough.
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    The last Canadian ration book was issued in September 1946.

    To put rationing in context, for people who had come through the Depression, ration allotments were in some cases an improvement.

    "In 1943, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s standard ration scale allowed for nearly 3900 calories per day and – thanks to the efforts of some of the country’s leading nutrition experts – included far more fruits, vegetables, and milk than it ever had before.Statistics showed that the per capita consumption of nearly every nutrient had increased during the war. Even as late as 1945, per capita consumption of dairy products, fruit, and meat were each up 23 percent over 1939 levels, while poultry and egg consumption was up 12 percent. While rationing did typically require the average Canadian to eat less butter, sugar, and tea, the approximately two pounds of meat per person per week promised under meat rationing – in combination with access to off-ration meats in restaurants and elsewhere – actually assured a level of consumption from legal sources that was in excess of what most Canadians were eating during the Depression. In fact, per capita food consumption declined significantly after 1945 and it was not until the late 1950s that Canadians’ average food consumption levels would again reach their wartime highs."

    Food on the Home Front during the Second World War | Wartime Canada
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  11. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I guess that rationing affected people in different ways. Both my parents were raised on farms, so when the Great Depression hit, then later WW2 and rationing, they weren't terribly inconvenienced. My Mom's side of the family didn't own a vehicle, so gas and rubber (tires) rationing had no effect. They raised livestock and had a big garden, so groceries wasn't a problem either. No phone, no lights, no motor car, like on Gilligan's Island you know. They used lanterns and walked to town, or used the horse and wagon to bring what extra produce they had to sell to the stores in town, or to trade for manufactured goods if available. Only wore shoes to school or church, so shoe rationing was not a problem either. Now, my Dad's family was a little better off. They had a pick up truck, and Dad had a bicycle. They were living high off the hog!
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  12. Dave

    Dave Junior Member

    food- meat/bacon ended in 1954, that was the end of our rationing, I was born in 1946 and vague memories of it. I do remember having a "food parcel" from my uncle who had emigrated to the US in 1949, sweets, tins of Salmon, and fruit etc. my star item was a Hopalong Cassidy cowboy outfit - shirt, jeans, hat, boots and a 2 gun holster...oh and a dime bubbly gum machine, with about 30 dimes to operate it. Hard but happy times, and no obese population.

    thanks for jogging my memory, regards,
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  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I posted this under the White Phosphorous thread but it applies here too:

    I am currently reading the book D DAY Through German Eyes (Holger Eckhertz - 2016) and in the first chapter there is a very detailed account from Gefreiter Stefan Heinevez (919th Grenadier Regiment) of action on June 6th in the Cotentin Peninsula.

    He describes successive waves of U.S. Thunderbolts attacking a complex of concrete reinforced bunkers with phosphorous rockets. The effect was devastating in that all 3 bunkers were completely destroyed, with high casualties. In much the same way as flamethrowers he described the tremendous psychological effect of the attack where the survivors were left fearful and incapacitated. At that time he did not know what the weapon was and only learned afterwards about phosphorous. The effect of seeing bodies reduced to black, charred skeletons, with all the flesh burned away, left him stunned.
    This is the first I have ever read on the existence of phosphorous rockets.
  14. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Reading Mike Scott the adventures of a Waterboy, not war related I know, but I like their music and listen to it sometimes when doing some research. Researching an uncle in Italy and understanding the difficulties he had to endure.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    I did not know the Dambusters dropped sea mines to complement the bouncing bomb runs
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  16. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I've completed reading the book D DAY Through German Eyes (Holger Eckhertz - 2016).

    Although it contains personal anecdotes, they are from German D-Day veterans and some common themes surfaced throughout. Many of my perceptions were altered by the enemy view and some new topics which are really not dealt with in Allied accounts. I highly recommend the book. There was a varied representation of Germans describing British, Canadian, American, Airborne and air force operations.

    First and foremost, I had always heard that the preliminary naval and aerial bombardment was weak and ineffective. That certainly may have been the case in some areas but almost all German accounts speak to devastating shelling, bombing, strafing and rocket attacks which destroyed many fortified strong points or rendered them useless. The use of phosphorus was mentioned by almost all Germans and was decisive. At the time, few of them knew what it was.
    There are too many "new" facts to comment on but here are a few:
    The Germans were mesmerized, fascinated and terrified of the "Funnies", particularly the DD Sherman and flail tanks.
    The skill, determination, ruthlessness and aggression of the Allied assault troops was universally commented on. The excellent combat performance of those men in every action was acutely recognized.
    The effect of propaganda on the average German soldier was profound. Their outlook, attitudes and expectations were a major revelation.
    The fact that the Allied armies were fully motorized and didn't employ horses was a huge shock to German soldiers.
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  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've been hearing more and more about non-German Wehrmacht forces in Normandy. As a layman, it would be interesting to know whether this was a sizeable contingent or 'Indians at Dunkirk' (a presence but negligible).
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  18. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Funny that you posted this. I just ordered this book on Amazon this evening, along with several more items. I now have 6 books waiting in the reading list. Might have to bump this one up a few notches, behind "Round Up the Usual Suspects", a book about the making of the movie "Casablanca". Been looking forward to getting to that one for awhile, so it will stay at #1 in the rotation. Thanks for the review!
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  19. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    The subject of Russians in Normandy receives considerable mention in the books and the assertion from one German veteran that they were segregated after capture and handed over to the Soviets.
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  20. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Russians in German service were known as Hilfswilliage (Hiwis) ie, helpers and were essentially volunteers. Some are found as casualties in German military cemeteries with "Hiwi" inscription on their tombstones.In Germany they manned FlaK batteries for preferential treatment.On the Eastern Front these Hiwis retreated with the Germans when the Russian offenses drove west and when capture had to answer for their betrayal of Russia.

    They also were used as troops to complement German occupation troops in France but soon deserted in front of the Allied advance into Eastern France and soon anticipated the end when Maquis units /SAS units gained the upper hand against local occupation forces.On the other hand some deserted the Germans and fought with Maquis units.Evidence of those who died lie in cemeteries such as the one in the French National Cemetery at Sainte Anne d'Auray in the Morbihan with the usual epitaph...."Mort pour la Patrie" .....notice not France but Russia.

    A figure of 100000 Hiwis in German service was referenced to by SS Oberstgruppenfuehrer Karl Wolff post war.Wolf was Himmler's liaison officer to Hitler until 1943.....then went on to be the governor of North Italy and plenipotentiary to Mussolini.

    Apparently Hitler was not in favour of the recruitment thinking that Hiwis would be allowed to climb higher in the organisation....however manpower shortage was the key factor and Hitler raised no objection when Himmler created SS Waffen divisions,with lower qualifying entry standards of volunteers raised in the occupied territories from 1943.

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