Old Soldiers Tales

Discussion in 'General' started by WotNoChad?, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. WotNoChad?

    WotNoChad? Senior Member

    Similar to "Old Wives Tales" are, for want of a better term, "Old Soldiers Tales". Often with a hint of importance to the message conveyed like the "Never Light Three on a Match" to avoid attracting sniper fire, but also often complete nonsense.

    One of my all time faves is how camels are all born with Syphilis and just how easy it is to catch it from them by being bitten. It's a great Tommy excuse to express to the missus or girlfriend while avoiding admitting the true route of the infection. :rolleyes:

    Does anyone have any similar Oh Ess Tees?
  2. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Senior Member

    Tens of thousands of American GI's brought home as war trophies all sorts of handguns, some standard issue German such as the P-38, others alternate standard sidearms for rear echelon troops such as the FN Browning M1922. I don't know whether this fits your definition as an Old Soldiers Tale, but I can't begin to tell you (nor can any other collector) how almost ALL of these pistols were "taken off a German colonel who didn't need it any more" (by the owner's uncle, grandfather, etc.)

    Listening to this GI chorus would convince anyone that the Wehrmacht was made up almost exclusively of colonels.:D

  3. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Soldiers still go on about bromide in the tea, and I've met veterans who've sworn that it's true. These bits of 'received wisdom' are a bit different to what I've called somewhere else 'trench legends' (like urban legends, or friend-of-a-friend stories), which are anecdotes/folktales told as true which gain widespread currency and eventually start being retold by veterans as having happened to them. Quite a few of them turn up in books of oral history. Examples from the First World War are: 'beautiful French girl who brought us bread every day ending up being shot as a spy' and 'British officer found wandering in our trenches with slightly odd kit turned out to be a German spy who'd been to Oxford' . A civilian version is 'Uncle Fred was killed on the very last day of the war'. I've checked up several of these-none was actually killed on Armistice Day. One died on November 11th-1917.

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    A slightly post-war tale is from the German side. When my dad was stationed in Germany in 1950, old soldiers in bars used to walk up to him and his mates pointing at the mailed fist insignia on their BD (this is pre-BAOR) with the words "Ah! Panzer!....ich Panzer!!!". He came to the conclusion that the whole of Osnabruck (if not Germany) must have been inhabited by ex-panzerkamper. None of them were ever in the Nazi party and none of them ever even knew a Nazi (yeah, right!).

    Also, on a visit to Ravensbruck, not a single inhabitant ever knew what was "behind that wall" until the war's end!:huh:


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