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Old 07-08-2013, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,322 posts, read 20,251,246 times
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My first interest came with a bag of toy soldiers called "World War Two Soldiers." The armies were distinguished by colors, green and beige, and although they were otherwise identical, I always assumed the beige ones were the bad guys, either the Germans or Japanese. There was the standing firing his rifle guy, the kneeling firing his rifle guy, the prone guy firing his rifle, the charging with his rifle guy, the using his rifle like a club guy, the bazooka guy, the grenade throwing guy and the pretty useless guy with the mine detector. You got two of each as I recall for each army.

I got a lot of use out of them, I used dominoes to build forts for sieges. I got ambitious and for X-mas that year I asked for this whole WW II Combat Set that came in a box and had plastic ruins you set up as a fought over town, a two piece plastic bridge that snapped together for crossing imaginary streams, a few artillery pieces..and a bunch of army men which included the standing firing his rifle guy, the kneeling etc. It also came with a four page pamphlet which provided a short explanation of the war dumbed down for kids.

And that is how I got interested.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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If your Combat Set had a plastic concrete pillbox and barbed wire coils, we may have grown up in the same house.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
48,322 posts, read 20,251,246 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maf763 View Post
If your Combat Set had a plastic concrete pillbox and barbed wire coils, we may have grown up in the same house.
It did indeed.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:48 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
6,453 posts, read 4,234,639 times
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I was an elementary school kid back in the 50's. Just about everyone had a Father or other male relative who served in WW2. We heard lots of stories. An Uncle who was in the Battle of the Bulge. Another in the Navy aboard ship off Okinawa during an attack by Kamikazes. I was fascinated by the " Victory at Sea" TV series. I started reading WW2 history then and haven't stopped even in my old age.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Terra
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From watching Saving Private Ryan and playing the old Medal of Honor games. Then I started reading about it more and realizing how close the world got to becoming very different than it is today.

Also, the seemingly neverending amount of stories.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,479 posts, read 10,864,473 times
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As a child it was from WWII movies and playing army and with toy soldiers. As I grew, I started listening to stories of my Dad's old homestead in East Prussia and my Mom's stories of the air-raids on Berlin and her childhood experiences & losing her parents and baby brother. Then in 1990 visiting Berlin a family friend shared his story of being a Wehrmacht soldier and being captured in Afica. Then he told me he was sent to Louisiana(might have been Mississippi) and my eyes grew wide.....I had no idea that German POW's were sent to the US. Then Saving Private Ryan, Stephen Ambrose's books and the HBO series. More details of my Dad's escape from the Russians and then escaping East germany before they all emigrated here. Just finished WWII by Antony Beevor. Antony Beevor - The Second World War
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:01 AM
Yac
 
6,020 posts, read 6,867,368 times
I've always been interested in history, but this was just one of my interests .. until during college, I rented out a room to a friend who was a huge fan of everything military, at least from the theoretical side. We would discuss things like the naval targeting "computers" used on ww2 battleships or the capture of fort Eben-Emael, I discovered there is a whole world of fascinating information and how these discovery channel style documentaries only showed a small portion of what happened. Having realized the scope of my ignorance on the topic of ww2, I started reading anything I could get my hands on Then World of Tanks appeared.... and I've been hooked since then
I'm currently finishing The Second World War by Anthony Beevor and I learned a lot about what happened in Asia during ww2. The history I was taught was very Europe-centric and I don't remember hearing more than a few sentences in total about for example the Chinese-Japanese war.
Yac.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
13,145 posts, read 20,161,953 times
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My grandma (of all people!) was a WW2 buff and had a whole shelf of WW2 books; every time we visited her I would sit down and read them (I was probably 11 years old then). She would also tell me stories about the war and take me to museums.

It wasn't long before I started building WW2 model kits too, which got me even more interested in the subject.

Anyway, the interest has followed me through my life. I inherited my grandma's books after she died and still read many of them from time to time (not to mention adding to the stash!) and am building a 1/200 scale Bismarck model right now.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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My Dad was a FIRST World War Canadian Army veteran.

When I was born in 1946, he was 48 years old. He was born in 1898, in Ontario.

He served from August of 1915, to the end of 1919. He was a machine gunner, on a 303 caliber Vickers gun, in the 4th Canadian Machine Gun Battalion. During his time in the trenches, he and his 10 man gun crew were subject to lots of shelling, and on two different occasions, all of them, except him were either killed or wounded, by shell blast or fragments.

He survived the war, albeit he was deaf in his right ear ( about 3 million rounds of ammunition fired by him will do that to you ). And even in his old age, he still had bits of shell fragments coming out of his back and neck, as they worked their way to the surface of his skin.

So, I had my very own personal guide to trench warfare, and the way that a 16 year old boy learned to survive , on a day to day basis. He was most proud of the fact that he was " A Vimy Man " meaning that he took part in the all Canadian attack at Vimy Ridge, in France, on Easter Sunday, April 17th, 1917.

This was the first time that all four Corps of the Canadian Army has fought as a single force.. The Brits and the French had booth attempted to take the ridge, twice, and failed both times. The Canadian created a new battle plan, with lots of new tactics, and practised the attack for 2 months, way behind the lines. On the day of the attack, the Canadians held the first German trench in less than 33 minutes, from the start time, and held the entire ridge in three days. A major victory for Canada.

I served in the CF for 30 years, from 1966 to 1996. During my career, I managed to achieve a B.A. and then a Master's in Canadian Military History. I was way over qualified, for my trade branch, according to my career manager ( grin ). I retired as a Chief Warrant Officer first class, which in the US enlisted rank system would be a E8.

My current volunteer part time employment is at Canadian War Plane Heritage Museum, at Hamilton International Airport, near the city of Hamilton , Ontario. I do guided tours of the collection, which is the largest FLYING WW 2 collection in North America.

here is a link to our website, Take a look please.

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum - Canadian Aviation History | Wartime Vintage Aircraft

I also do some days at HMCS Haida, a Royal Canadian Navy ship, a veteran of WW2, and the last of her class the TRIBALS. There were 27 Tribal class ships built during the war, Haida is the only one still afloat, and restored to original condition. She is located in Hamilton harbour, next to HMCS Star, ther Hamilton navy reserve building.

Click for HAIDA website

Parks Canada - HMCS Haida National Historic Site

With about fifty years of reading WW2 history behind me, I am STILL learning new things, every week.

Your comments are welcome here.

Jim B

Toronto.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:58 AM
 
Location: In the Pearl of the Purchase, Ky
8,414 posts, read 13,873,694 times
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I got interested because of my dad. He served in WWII and was part of the 30th Infantry Division which was surrounded by the Germans for 6 days at Mortain, France. We had heard several stories from this and other things that happened. So my mother, brother and I talked my dad into making a book of his "war days". (I may have posted this in here already. I know I did somewhere on C-D already but not sure if it was in this part) Daddy kept one of those little cassette recorders like reporters used handy all the time so when he would think of something that happened he could get it on tape. They (both my parents) had those tapes transcribed and began working on the book. It was a family project. My wife was the technical advisor ("Help us! We typed a whole page, hit this one button and everything disappeared! What do we do?" lol) and I have a cousin who works in office supplies who helped get the book put together. This is just a family deal, only about 50 printed. But we have a written, and spoken history of my dad's army career from when he went for his physical until the day he was discharged, and I would take a million dollars for my copy!
If you want to read some on the 30th Infantry at Mortain, find the July/August issue of World War II magazine. A relative found it on the shelves at a Barns and Noble. Good reading!
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