What have you learned about WW2 recently?

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

  1. 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.
     
  2. chipm

    chipm Member

    Well, it is kind of small, but.......
    The 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (PFAB) - Unit History

    i am not saying the us army did not exist before 1941, but it was SMALL. Really, it was all very new and grew Very Quickly. Everybody was improvising.
    This ensemble formed in 1944 and did not waste much time before distinguishing themselves. :)
     
  3. chipm

    chipm Member

    Wow.....100k.?
    Is that number pretty Accurate/Accepted.?
    That seems a huge amount. How may men (typically) in a Division...10k-15k.?
    I am certainly not judging. Lenin died unfortunately and Stalin was a complete disaster.
    As a German POW, those poor Russians were looking at death's door.
    Not sure how many "Hiwis" ever put their stories to print, but there Must Have Been a lot of fascinating tales to tell.
    WW 2......Heads i win, Tails you lose. What a nightmare.
     
  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member Patron

  5. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    Lenin was a mudering bastard too, ask the Cossacks! It was under Lenin's rule that the Bolshevik's began to implement the policy of total and complete extermination of the Cossacks and their way of life! And it wasn't just the Cossacks!
     
  6. chipm

    chipm Member

    ceolredmonger likes this.
  7. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Slightly off topic however...
    From a BBC Radio 4 programme on Assasinations - Former SS Oberstumbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny went on to work for Mossad in the early 1960's. 'Persuading' fellow former Nazis to cease working on Egypt's rocket programme.
     
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It appears we were experimenting with self-forging fragments in 1943!
     
  9. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    A bizarre omission for me considering the number of RAF memoirs I've got, but I've only just learned that cannon equipped Spitfires did partake in the Battle of Britain. Only used by 19 squadron and they quickly reverted to machine guns due to unreliability.
     
    CL1 likes this.
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  11. CL1

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

    you never stop learning didnt know that either mind you I know nothing

    whole load of info in the link

    Early in July 1940 I noticed a Hurricane in the hangar with tubes sticking out of each wing, and asked the Engineer Officer, P/O Ford, what they were. “20 mm Cannons” I was told. At this time cannons were dead secret and normally would have been at the Experimental bases at Martlesham or Boscombe Down. This aircraft was L1750, Squadron letters DZ-Z, and it had two cannons, which were cocked and fired by a tricky procedure, I think the system was called ‘Eureka’. As I had always been keen on guns, I asked why it was not being flown, and was told that the other pilots considered it was a much less safe aircraft than the rest of the Squadron’s Hurricanes, which had 8 Browning’s, because it was much slower, less manoeuvrable, and had guns which were highly unreliable and prone to stoppages.
    We were short of aircraft, the idea of flying an Experimental system appealed to me, and I was now leading ‘B’ Flight and often the Squadron, and having the leader with a slow aircraft helped the rest of the aircraft to keep up – so I flew ‘Z’ as a routine. In one book about the Battle, it says I was ordered to collect it, which was quite wrong, it was entirely my decision – elsewhere the impression is given that I flew it once – in fact, I flew cannon equipped aircraft in 151 Squadron on 133 sorties, most of them Operational. ‘Z’ was later joined by a 4 cannon version, V7360 DZ-C. On 6th July 1940, I took ‘Z’ to Dengie Flats for testing, and was accompanied, in a machine gun equipped aircraft, by a Sub Lt. Beggs, a very pleasant Naval pilot, one of the few loaned to RAF Squadrons by the Navy. In this and many subsequent flights the cannons were unreliable, due partly to their cocking systems, but they improved, by virtue of flying and firing them. In ‘Z’, the cannons were upright in their mountings, and worked better than those supplied to Number 19 Squadron, which were probably on their sides. 19 Squadron had their cannons replaced with machine guns after a short trial. I was surprised that higher authority did not take more interest than they did in 151’s cannons, I cannot recall any urgency for detailed reports. I like to kid myself that my persevering in sticking my neck out flying 151’s cannons helped a little towards their development later in Hurricanes and Spitfires, becoming the highly efficient bomber, tank and train busting armament that they did, in all theatres of war, in 20mm and 40mm format.
    Battle of Britain London Monument - F/Lt. R L SMITH
     
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  13. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    A Hurricane as well! As you say, you never stop learning. Loads of info on the 19 squadron trials in the Dilip Sarkar book Spitfire Squadron. Apparently they were close to mutiny at one point.
     
  14. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    The RAF was the first to fly B-17 daylight missions. 90 squadron was equipped with converted civilian aircraft delivered following lend lease in April 1941. They were delivered complete with coffee cup holders, ash trays and were even carpeted.
     
  15. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member Patron

    Can you please supply some more info on civilian B-17s?
     
  16. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    A quick re-read and I might have jumped the gun here as it actually says ‘virtually civil aircraft , designed some years back’. The first aircraft had the number AN521 if that’s any use? There’s a latter mention to the creature comforts which says ‘left over from the fortress’s early role on long over water operations when crew comfort was important’. My knowledge of the American Air Force is virtually non existent I’m afraid.
     
    Dave55 likes this.
  17. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    These B 17s were the early version, the B17C, designated by the RAF as the Fortress 1. 20 aircraft with the first delivery,recorded as AN 518 were procured in May 1941 and were allocated to No 90 Squadron at West Raynham but operations did not start until the squadron had been posted to RAF Polebrook near Oundle. The first raid was by three aircraft in daylight against the Kreigsmarine at Wilhelmshaven on 8 July 1941.Raids to Emden,Kiel,Bremen,Rotterdam and Borkum followed until September 1941 when after tried and tested operations,it was decided to stand down the aircraft from Bomber Command operations.

    Reaching an attitude of 30000 feet,deficiencies were soon recognised and limited the raids to 26 (51 sorties but 26 of these, no bombs were dropped).These deficiencies included difficulty in operating the Norden bomb sight,mechanical unreliability and the guns were prone to freezing at the higher altitudes.It was also considered that there was a blind spot in the tail and all guns were manually operated but there was a serious shortfall in design in that it was considered that the defensive armament was inadequate ...crew required was 10 for the aircraft to function for a bomb load of 2500 lbs.

    The aircraft were disposed of ....4 were sent to the Middle East as a detachment from 90 Squadron where they were given a night role against Benghazi and Mediterranean shipping until May 1942.

    In October 1942,the aircraft left to dispose of were transferred to RAF Benbecula,Coastal Command as maritime reconnaissance for service with Nos 206 and 220 Squadrons.These aircraft were on charge until they were replaced with the much better Fortress 11 (B17 F) in 1943.

    Interesting to note that the US Army.... USAAF entered the Pacific War with 200 B17 Ds which suggests that the RAF could only obtain what probably would be, the inferior B17Cs.
     
    Dave55, Tricky Dicky and Markyboy like this.
  18. Seroster

    Seroster Canadian researcher

    Did the B17 D even exist at the time the RAF obtained theirs?
     
  19. CL1

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

  20. Shane Greer

    Shane Greer We're Doomed

    I've learnt that the first RAF v Luftwaffe aerial combat resulted in the loss of 2 British Fairey Battles and 1 German plane over the Siegfried Line.
     

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