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Old 05-25-2019, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
26,867 posts, read 5,763,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoldnorthstate View Post
same

second visit 2018 and my thought remains "how did they do it?" i wonder at their mental & physical toughness, endurance, and determination. my heart just feels for them.

lived in Germany and over one cold december I wondered how they did it at Battle of the Bulge. "Life aint fair, it just is"

How did they do it indeed.....

going over in those landing crafts, vomiting from sea sickness and worry, scared to pieces....and some still in their teens. And then that Omaha landing....the first ones out knew they would get the brunt of German response...or, being shot prior to disembarkation. I'd cry and have a panic attack at least.

And the Battle of the Bulge...I can barely function in the "cold" experiences I've had, how they lived that way for so long....and kept going....

I read recently that terrified troops generally want to do as they are told, so as not to appear a wimp in front of other soldiers and commanders...they are worried about appearing weak in front of others.

that must be the one way to carry on...

I'd love to visit the cemetary. Must be incredibly moving experience.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:43 AM
 
736 posts, read 242,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
How did they do it indeed.....

going over in those landing crafts, vomiting from sea sickness and worry, scared to pieces....and some still in their teens. And then that Omaha landing....the first ones out knew they would get the brunt of German response...or, being shot prior to disembarkation. I'd cry and have a panic attack at least.

And the Battle of the Bulge...I can barely function in the "cold" experiences I've had, how they lived that way for so long....and kept going....

I read recently that terrified troops generally want to do as they are told, so as not to appear a wimp in front of other soldiers and commanders...they are worried about appearing weak in front of others.

that must be the one way to carry on...

I'd love to visit the cemetary. Must be incredibly moving experience.

during WW2 amphetamines were dispensed at home to factory workers and to troops of ALL sides like candy...the invasion troops were actually given some bizarre combination of scopalimine and sodium amobarbital which made the sea sickness worse according to some reports...


never-the less i cannot help but wonder at the courage expressed by those riding in a landing craft into multiple sources of machine gun fire especially the MG42 with its zipper-like sound of fire
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Old 05-25-2019, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
26,867 posts, read 5,763,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elvis44102 View Post
during WW2 amphetamines were dispensed at home to factory workers and to troops of ALL sides like candy...the invasion troops were actually given some bizarre combination of scopalimine and sodium amobarbital which made the sea sickness worse according to some reports...


never-the less i cannot help but wonder at the courage expressed by those riding in a landing craft into multiple sources of machine gun fire especially the MG42 with its zipper-like sound of fire

That makes some sense to give amphetamines but side effects can be worse than the treatment at times.

Yes, the courage of those young men....just astounding....
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:56 PM
 
5,370 posts, read 6,500,043 times
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Watching Hacksaw ridge about Desmond Doss.

I personally think we grew great men, although they may have been boys.

we grew people who just did what they had to do.
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
26,867 posts, read 5,763,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoldnorthstate View Post
Watching Hacksaw ridge about Desmond Doss.

I personally think we grew great men, although they may have been boys.

we grew people who just did what they had to do.


I saw that movie but didn't catch that it was about someone in particular...
based on a true story?

My dad was 19 when he was wounded as a paratrooper in the South Pacific. After he died I realized I had not ever acted interested....I'd sure like to hear his comments now, he never spoke about the war, ever.

The only thing he said when I asked was that the Japanese sword he brought home was given to him by his fellow soldiers, reportēdly they "got it" from the Japanese soldier who shot him. Band of brothers....
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:26 AM
 
Location: London
4,338 posts, read 3,631,625 times
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My uncle was on the first wave on Sword Beach with the Liverpool Scottish.

He was at Falaise, one of the first into Brussels, at Nijmegen in Market Garden, in Belsen death camp on first day (he helped round up the women guards, going to the trials), ending the war on the Baltic at Lubeck just before the Soviets, prevent them getting into Denmark and reaching the North Sea.

He never once went back to the European continent or attended any army reunion. He would not speak of Belsen, except to me one evening in front of a fire.

He was the funniest man I have ever met.

Last edited by John-UK; 05-26-2019 at 05:46 AM..
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:13 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
26,867 posts, read 5,763,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John-UK View Post
My uncle was on the first wave on Sword Beach with the Liverpool Scottish.

He was at Falaise, one of the first into Brussels, at Nijmegen in Market Garden, in Belsen death camp on first day (he helped round up the women guards, going to the trials), ending the war on the Baltic at Lubeck just before the Soviets, prevent them getting into Denmark and reaching the North Sea.

He never once went back to the European continent or attended any army reunion. He would not speak of Belsen, except to me one evening in front of a fire.

He was the funniest man I have ever met.

What extraordinary experiences....and service. Seeing Belsen had to be overwhelming.

I think your uncle and my dad were two of the very many who never spoke of the war with any civilian. Just impossible to describe being in the midst of war....what you saw, loss of fellow servicemen before your eyes, killing another human being....

My dad's company lost the most men of any other there at the retaking of Corregidor...so there could have been survivor's guilt too.

There was one CD poster who insisted her dad's service in Europe was more important than service in the South Pacific.....of course that's untrue, they were all soldiers fighting a war with the enemy, subject to casualties and other horrors.
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Old 05-26-2019, 06:45 AM
 
Location: London
4,338 posts, read 3,631,625 times
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When men are in front of you trying to kill you it is hell, no matter where it is.

My uncle's experience were of elation and hell. He said one of the best times of his life if was when they went into Brussels. A massive party erupted. The Germans evacuated the city moving north. When they moved in from the south the locals initially thought they were Germans; seeing the green army vehicles they went wild. My uncle said the city was full of young girls as the Germans moved the men out.

I recall my uncle saying he saw young children at Belsen playing finger and hand games with each other - while sitting on dead bodies. They were used to the dead bodies around them. The army quickly poured men into Belsen making it a massive temporary hospital. It was the largest hospital in the world at the time. They would turn flame throwers onto some of the wooden huts. Swarms of insects would fly out of them. They could smell Belsen for miles before entering. The Germans attempted to negotiate with the British army to circumvent Belsen. They naturally refused. The first into Belsen was was a tank which rammed down the main gate.

I recall he said he came across Amish people in German forests who were oblivious to the war. Hitler allowed the Armish to keep their lifestyles.

This was the beachmaster at Sword not Juno. My uncle said he told them them to <<bleep>>, loudly. Each beach would have a number of beachmasters, with many killed.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p34WLzBJnII

All my uncles were in WW2, as were the neighbours and the older men who I worked with when starting to work. I have had first had accounts of D-Day, Nijmegen, paras Arnhem, sinking of the Bismarck, Graf Spee, Arctic convoys, Japanese prisoner of war camps, shelling Okinawa, merchant ships running through sunken men in the water as they could not stop, on the AA guns at Malta, capturing Italian prisoners by the hundreds, etc, etc. Even my mother's accounts of being bombed by German bombers while hiding in basements caring for her infants.

One thing I always found odd was that they viewed the war entirely from a personal viewpoint, of survival and gaining some small pleasure of some sort along the way. They all had this dry sense of wit - which probably got them through each day.

Last edited by mensaguy; 05-26-2019 at 08:01 AM.. Reason: Unacceptable language
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Old 05-26-2019, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
26,867 posts, read 5,763,561 times
Reputation: 30108
I believe Belsen, when liberated, still had many to die later as other death camps. I saw a well done Brit movie on the liberation....they could not just begin eating food, their bodies could not handle it. Doctors tried to develop soups etc that were nutritious but easy on the stomach...still many died even though the camps were freed.

You had some awesome relatives, so many too! I remember reading about beachmasters in D Day by Stephen Ambrose recently. I assume all your kin
made it back...?

Gaining small pleasures....just imagine how much one cigarette was worth, a chocolate candy bar, a nip of Scotch (some actually carried that along with all the heavy necessities...). And keeping each other's spirits up...crucial.

Thanks for talking with me John-UK. Appreciate the info.
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Old 05-26-2019, 11:33 AM
 
Location: London
4,338 posts, read 3,631,625 times
Reputation: 1982
The doctors at Belsen had to develop a type of porridge for the inmates - 60,000 of them. When the daily death rate dropped they knew they were getting somewhere. Many British soldiers initially killed them unknowingly by giving them cans of bully beef.

One uncle never made it back; a U-Boat got him, freezing to death in an open lifeboat. The guys I knew who were in Japanese POW camps were mentally scarred for life.

My relatives did what they had to do. Not one ever complained after WW2 about anything they went through.
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