What have you learned about WW2 recently?

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

  1. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Exactly why I said the statement required qualification. Whilst I agree with you that in certain areas the deaths from sickness exceeded those from action the overall picture is different. Taking all belligerent nations in WW1, worldwide deaths due to action far exceed those due to sickness. The only way to make the statement remotely accurate is to include civilian casualties (including those due to famine etc). However this still makes the statement wrong, as if the same criteria are applied to WW2 where civilian deaths from sickness and famine (let alone civilian war casualties) at least equalled combat deaths it negates the "before WW2".

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  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    What are your figures and where do they come from?
  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Since you first made the statement perhaps you would care to substantiate it. That is the usual way. Then I might agree with you but at the moment there is nothing to go on except what you say so it is impossible to discuss reasonably.

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  4. CL1

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

  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Cop out
  6. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Yeah I can see the point. It seems like a lose-lose situation for either scenario. Longer on the line, or short quick times in the thick of things. Both seem like bad ideas.
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  7. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Here's some little known and cared about facts about General Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr., the colorful wartime commander of the US 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) in the North African and Sicilian Campaigns. During WW1 he served as a major in the US 90th Division in France.

    A little background info to start with.

    Allen was appointed to West Point in 1907. He developed a stutter while there and began to fall behind in his classes. He then failed a math class and was held back a year. Subsequently he failed an ordnance and a gunnery course which resulted in his dismissal from the academy. Later he enrolled in the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. After graduation, he joined the Army and was commissioned a lieutenant in the cavalry and was posted on the Texas border, seeing action during the unpleasantness there riding with Gen. Pershing.

    Here's what I thought was interesting.

    After America's entry into WW1, Allen was deployed to France with the 315th Ammunition Train. Preferring to be in a line unit, he showed up at an infantry officer's school on graduation day and got in line with the candidates in line for graduation. When the commandant of the school began to hand out certificates to the graduates, the commandant said to Allen, "I don't remember you in this class." "I'm Allen. Why don't you?" was his reply. Without further ado, Allen was given a certificate and became a temporary major.

    Later during the Hundred Days Offensive, Allen was wounded, shot through the jaw. This cured his stutter forever.

    His son, Lt. Col. Terry de la Mesa Allen, Jr was KIA in Vietnam serving in the Big Red One.

    I thought that was pretty neat, the way the he obtained his "transfer" out of logistics unit to a line unit, and how his stuttering was cured.

    It's amazing what can be learned by just surfing the internet.
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
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  8. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    US Msgt Roddie Edmonds, while a POW at camp Stalag IX-A was awarded the title of "Righteous Among Nations," for his actions there. The title is Israel's highest award for non-Jews in the Holocaust, and in this particular case was for his defense of Jewish-American POWs. At the risk of his own life, he prevented the almost certain deaths of approximately 200 POWs on January 27, 1945. Being the senior NCO in the camp, he was instructed by the commandant to have the Jewish POWs come forward at the morning's assembly to separated from the rest of the prisoners. Figuring that something not good was to come of this, Edmonds had all 1,275 or so prisoners from the camp fall out of the barracks and into formation. Infuriated, the commandant rushed up to Edmonds in front of the formation, pulled his sidearm and pressed it to his (Edmonds) head, demanding the identities of the Jewish soldiers. Edmonds replied, "we are all Jews here" while pointing out that if he did anything to harm the Jewish POWs he would be charged and prosecuted as a war criminal after the war. Since the Geneva Convention required prisoners to give only their name, rank, and serial number, and the declaration of religion was not required, there was not much further that could be done without resorting to massacre. Not that doing that was beyond the Germans at the time of course. Sensing the end of the war was near, the commandant erred on the side of caution and backed down.

    Edmonds never talked about the incident to anyone after the war. His actions were not learned until after his death; his son was going through his papers and read his diaries. Msgt. Edmonds was not formally recognized until 2016

    Read all about it;

    Roddie Edmonds - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
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  9. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Neither Britain or Germany gave any thought to the problems of blackouts until about 1938 so preparations were very incomplete by the time war broke out. A large number of factories had very big windows and glazed roofs to maximise daylight and keep lighting bills down. However at night these shed large amounts of light and the glazed roofs reflected moonlight as well. It was impossible to produce and fit blackout blinds or curtains on such a huge scale so that in most cases the glazing was just painted black and the lights left on all the time. The result was a significant increase in electricity consumption. It negated the advantages of daylight saving and for many industrial workers meant that they saw very little daylight during the working week. To say that WW2 was dark days is more than just a figure of speech.
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The Civil Defence Act 1939 Part V1 laid down the legislation for Factories,Mines and Public Undertakings regarding the Obscuration of Lights and Camouflage.It's a very interesting piece of legislation to work through.

    Part V1 reads as below

    43 General duty as the factories,mines and public undertakings.(1) It shall be the duty of the occupier of any factory premises,of the owner of any mine and of the persons carrying on any public utility undertaking to take forthwith any necessarily measures to secure that in the event of war,throughout any period of darkness-

    (a) no light is allowed to appear from within any building on the premises,or used for the purpose of the mine or undertaking; and

    (b) no lights not within a building remain alight,unless they are essential for the conduct of work of national importance,are adequately shaded are reduced in power and save where the Minister otherwise directs,are capable of instant extinction at any time.(Minister of Labour and National Service)

    During the war,to comply with The Civil Defence, Act 1939, power plant turbinehouses, boilerhouses,workshops and electrical control room glazing was covered with bituminous paint. This had little affect on a power plant electricity auxiliary demand since artificial light was the norm....lighting burnt night and day for reasons of safe access and egress throughout the plant. External lighting for plant areas such the coal plant,where coal to bunkers or coal out to stock operations, as received by road, rail or barge unloaders was a daily routine that was capable of instant extinction and would come under 43 1(b).As soon as an air raid warning was received the switchyard (outdoor substation) lights would be extinguished by opening a single switch.The introduction of double BST allowed coaling to take place up to about 2300hrs at the height of summer without floodlighting.Minimum coal stocks for power plants were set at 6 weeks supply but whenever coal stock levels were threatened, it became necessary to coal up under "conduct of work of national importance".during the hours of darkness

    The same consideration would apply with switchyards (open air sub stations).Switching was done during the day if possible but if an emergency occurred during the hours of darkness, shaded floodlighting would be switched on, controlled by a single switch.After blackout restrictions were lifted, work was put in place to remove the paint.Some of my old contemporary junior engineers in electrical control rooms related how they were instructed to remove paint from windows of electrical control room windows as an ad hoc secondary duty while on shift...a dirty but necessary task using caustic soda solution to recover the natural light through windows.

    Power plant lighting loads were insignificant compared to the energy required for electrical drives etc,to generate electricity,the total energy required being known as auxiliary power which would amount to about 5-6% of the electricity generated.During the war the majority of steam plants were fired by chain grate stokers although in 1940, 16% of plants were fired by pulverised fuel (PF) which demanded a higher auxiliary load on account of the coal milling plant electrical drives.Factory energy use would increase with the background of legislation and the requirement to comply with lighting standards.

    Lighting standards had to comply with the Factories Act 1937 which laid down the minimum requirement for adequate lighting for safe access and egress for work.Legislation was further strengthened by the introduction of The Factories (Standards of Lighting) Regulations 1941.Interestingly to reduce light output, the option was to specify a higher rated voltage for lighting. Lamps to be used on 240 volt lighting circuits were supplied, rated at 300 volts,thus reducing the wattage output of the bulb or lamp....10 years after the war,lamp or bulb spares rated at 300 volts were still being used,probably from wartime stocks.

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  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

  12. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I recently learnt that Percy Hobart's surname is pronounced "Hubbert" and not "Hoe-bart."
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  13. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I just read that when the USAAF was firebombing the ever-lovin' sheet out Japanese cities, they'd drop bazillions of leaflets warning civilians of the carnage that was coming. The leaflets pleaded with the civilians to flee the cities to avoid peril and adding that the Americans did not wish to specifically to harm civilians, but rather only to target military installations and defense industries. Also the leaflets claimed that the bombings could be stopped only by demanding new leaders to take control of the government who would end the war. Not sure if they dropped any such leaflets on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but after the aforementioned cities were obliterated, leaflets continued being dropped warning readers that the US had many more such big bombs to drop on other Japanese cities. And when the Japanese government did surrender, the US continued dropping leaflets and pamphlets telling the Japanese people of their governments's actions because they had the right to know the terms of the surrender and what was going on. Pretty neat.

    Earlier leaflet propaganda programs aimed at the Japanese were not judged to be very successful. The first real attempt at this was during the Okinawa Campaign. Civilians were told that they would not be harmed by US forces if they surrendered. A few did, but many many more took the advice of the IJA and hari-kari'ed themselves.
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  14. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  15. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    The piermaster on the eastern breakwater at Dunkirk was actually a Canuck.

    The Naval Shore Party embarked on the destroyer Wolfhound at Dover and sailed on 27 May. Three officers cut cards for their assignments. Clouston won the eastern mole, a narrow wooden walkway mounted on a concrete breakwater, not designed to be used by ships, but the only part of the port that had not been heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe. Clouston organized and regulated the flow of men along the mole into the waiting ships for five days and nights with barely a break.
    On 1 June, Clouston returned to Dover to report to Vice-Admiral Bertram Ramsay. On the afternoon of 2 June, he and a party of 30 men left Dover on two RAF rescue motorboats for the final night of the evacuation.
    Off the coast of France, the two boats were strafed and bombed by eight Ju 87 Stukas, and Clouston's boat was sunk, leaving the crew clinging to the wreckage.
    Clouston ordered the other boat to continue to Dunkirk, and while waiting for rescue he and his men eventually succumbed to exhaustion and hypothermia. Only one man survived.
    On 11 July 1940, Clouston posthumously received a Mention in Despatches for his part in the Dunkirk operation.

    Clouston is buried in Becklingen War Cemetery, Lower Saxony, Germany.

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  16. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I've been learning a lot about artillery, specifically two subheadings thereof which I was previously very ignorant of. Coast artillery is a whole world of its own, an esoteric sub-field which also overlaps the equally arcane science of fortification. I'd been studying WWII for as long as I can remember and I'm only just now learning something about wartime coast defense. The other New One to Me is Italian artillery, which I got into because the British captured and used so much of it. The Italian artillery was described as the best of the Italian combat arms and the gunners often fought their pieces to the muzzle, but those pieces! A few of the types were genuinely good, some were acceptable, many were thoroughly obsolete, and collectively they were an incredible potpourri of ironmongery culled mostly from the armories of other countries. What does it say about Italy that a high percentage of its WWII artillery (including some of the best pieces) were old Austro-Hungarian war trophies? What other army in the world at that time went to war with a non-recoil weapon as its main long range field gun?
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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  17. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    That fits. Everything about Hobo was contrary.
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  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    He and Roosevelt made quite a pair. Has any other American combat division ever been led by two such outstanding eccentrics?
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  19. chipm

    chipm Well-Known Member

    Not this specific example that you bring up, but just in general. I have often wondered about The Italian Military. Were they as ambitious as Mussolini.?

    For somebody that wanted to rule The Mediterranean Sea and North Africa and perhaps parts of The Mid East..... they did not seem to be very well prepared.
    I am not qualified to simply say.... Mussolini was an idiot. Maybe he was, but it seems that those types of statements are often over done if not just wrong.

    The USA was "not prepared" for WWII, but they were not proposing what Hitler and Mussolini were.
    I understand that Hitler and Italy could only "prepare" for so long before the future Allies might start ramping up own war efforts.
    Well, anyway, Italy seems like they had wasted a lot of time, for a country that had big plans.:blank:
  20. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Mussolini knew that Italy was not ready for war and in 1939 he told Hitler that Italy would not be ready before 1943. He only entered the war in 1940 because he thought it would be over by Autumn and he wanted a seat at the peace table to demand a share of the spoils.

    As the Italian Lt in Allo Allo would put it
    "Whata mistake-a to make-a"

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