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Rare Pictures from Second World War: Part 2

They were friends once. A nationalist Chinese soldier and an American soldier share a smoke. The common enemy then was Japan

An American gun fires during the Iwo Jima Battle


The Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19 – March 26, 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a battle in which the United States fought for and captured Iwo Jima from Japan. The battle produced some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Campaign of World War II.

The Japanese had set up such strong defensive positions that it took Americans over a month to take over this island that is only 4.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide. The casualties during the Battle of Iwo Jima were massive. The United States Marines lost 6,891 men and over 18,000 were wounded. There were only a total of 22,000 Japanese soldiers on the island during the battle, and only 212 were taken as prisoners. This historical battle taught Americans the strength of Japanese defense. This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country. The small island came at a high cost in regards to the amount of lives lost, and though America won the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Japanese proved that their defensive tactics were much stronger.


American landing craft used during Normandy landing on D-Day


At dawn, on the morning of D-Day, the 6th of June 1944, the greatest armada ever assembled was stood ready a few miles off the landing beaches. Their presence there was the culmination of some two years preparation, the previous attempt to gain a foothold in Europe had been the ill-fated assault on Dieppe during August of 1942. Although a disaster the assault on Dieppe taught the Allies much. The lessons learned paved the way for the landings in Normandy.

For many of the craft that were stood off the Normandy beaches that summer morning, the journey across the English Channel had been long and arduous. Many of the first wave LCT ( Landing Craft, Tank ) had set out during the early morning of June 5th, laden with troops and tanks. Their journey had taken some eighteen hours or more, for the crews and their officers, sleepless hours, scanning the sky and sea for German activity.

For many of the men of the Royal Navy, in particular those serving with landing craft, D-Day would be their first action. For others, it would be ‘just another day’, they being veterans who had taken part in the landings in the Mediterranean during 1943 and recalled from there for Normandy, seasoned, experienced men. For many, irrespective of their length of service, D-Day would be their last action, the dawn of that morning being the last they would ever witness.

The sea was such that troops were violently seasick but in truth they could not wait to get ashore and face the enemy. One craft, the American built, British manned Mk5 LCT 2226 making for Utah beach, broke down and was forced to return for repairs. The men of the US 4th Infantry Division aboard the 2226 were in all sorts of distress, to quote crew member George Cooper ' the craft was awash with vomit.' The 2226 was one among many where such scenes were being played out

The strength of the sea also took its toll of craft as they made their way to their assigned positions off the Normandy beaches. The LCT(A)s (Landing Craft, Tank (Armoured) in particular, were very vulnerable. Prior to D-Day some 48 American built Mk5 LCT's, serving with the Royal Navy under lend-lease, had been converted to the designations LCT(A) and LCT(HE), the (HE) denoting "high explosive." The conversion took the form of a custom built ramp erected on the tank deck. Its height was such that when the LCT approached the beach, the tanks mounted on the ramp, were able to fire over the bows, thus, hopefully, forcing defenders on the beaches to keep their heads down. One of the problems with such craft was that they were prone to turning over in heavy seas. The weight of the tanks, mounted on the assault ramps made the vessels top heavy; thus, the craft were difficult to handle.

Last cheer for Hitler. American soldiers taken prisoners during the Ardennes Offensive

We were ordered to line up out in front of the farmhouse. Two of the soldiers were very young teens and very eager to ‘shoot the enemy’ as we stood silently in the snow. Hitler had ordered that any prisoners captured during this offensive battled were to be shot. We were all very aware of this possibility because word had spread among the Allied soldiers of a massacre at Malmedy two days earlier. … In all there were 30 GI’s rounded up that day. We all stood there silently in line, facing enemy guns, not knowing what would happen next. To our relief, we were loaded into trucks and driven a short distance to a nearby town, Bullingen.

These Belgian soldiers seem to have given up rather cheerfully. 1940


At the end of 1943, my family moved from Belfast, where we had experienced the Blitz, to the small town of Larne.

We children were very interested in the idea of war. The films that we attended on Saturday afternoons (at sixpence a show, financed by our mothers who were always glad to get us out of the house) were quite often about wartime exploits. It was the age of government propaganda and films were made in which winning the war was a forgone conclusion, and we believed it. After all, hadn't we beaten the Germans before!

Then we had our eyes opened to what could happen to allied armies in battle. Out of the blue, a camp was constructed near to where I lived and into it were marched sad ranks of war-weary Belgian soldiers.

When they arrived many of them were without boots and had wrapped their feet in cardboard. They were tired and somewhat fearful to find themselves in a place they had never heard of.
Czech people welcome the Russian troops. 1945


The British and French urged for acceptance, warning that rejection might mean war. If it did mean war, they would refuse to come to the aid of the Czechs. Dr. Benes turned to the Soviet Union, which promised to stand against the Nazis even if the British and French would not. But the Czechoslovakia Agrarian Party was absolutely opposed to Russian troops entering the country and civil war might result if they did. Dr. Benes was in a hell of a spot. Not wanting to be responsible for either a civil war or a world war, Benes had no choice but to capitulate.

Some say it would have been geographically impossible for Russia to send troops into Czechoslovakia. However, there were two railroads from Russia into Czechoslovakia that according to Churchill, would have supported Russian armies of thirty divisions. As a counter balance for keeping the peace these Russian divisions would have been a substantial deterrent upon Hitler and would have added another dimension to the talks at Munich. Russia was not brought into the scale against Hitler, and they were treated with indifference. Events took place as though the Soviet Union did not exist. They were ignored-which left its mark on Stalin's mind. 

Heat of Battle. D-Day landing happening on the beaches of Normandy. June, 1944

Estonian recruits in the German SS. These guys must have been lynched at the end of the war


20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS  was established on 25 May. 1944 in German occupied Estonia during WW II. 38 000 men were conscripted in Estonia and other Estonian units that had fought on various fronts in the German Army, and the Finnish Infantry Regiment 200 were rushed to Estonia. The Division fought the Red Army on the Eastern Front and surrendered in May 1945.

Russian machine-gunners at work

Surrendered French soldiers. May 1940. There were blacks in the French army then? Surprise.


Many of the Free French forces were initially not metropolitan French but French nationals from the French African colonies and French Algeria departements. Overall 65% were French West African conscripts - largely from Senegal. The Foreign Legion included many non-French soldiers. Other contingents were Moroccan, Algerian and Tahitian (the latter serving with particular distinction in the Western Desert). 17,000 Senegalese died defending France in 1940, many being shot by the Germans after being taken prisoner.
German air-raid on Moscow. 1941.


The Germans had just reached the outskirts of Moscow. The German army was in the western suburbs of the Russian capital, at the edge of the streetcar system, about twenty miles from downtown. But the brutal Russian winter was on them in full force. The Germans were late getting started in 1941, pausing for about two weeks to crush Yugoslavia, and had frittered away strength by attacking on a broad front, with large forces in the north attacking Leningrad, and in the south, driving for the oil of the Caucusus. Nevertheless the central group of Germans almost had Moscow in its grip, and had Moscow fallen, its hard to see how the Soviets could have continued to fight the Germans. But the Russian leader, Stalin, had word from his spies that Germany's ally, Japan, had no plans to attack Russia on its eastern end, on Russia's Pacific coast. This allowed Stalin to move hundreds of thousands of troops from the east, which he had been forced to keep there to guard against a Japanese attack in the east, to the Moscow front. Within a day or two of Pearl Harbor the Germans were suddenly counter-attacked by hordes of winter-equipped Russian troops, and were driven back. The Germans never got so close again to capturing Moscow, or winning the war with Russia, as they were then
Dead German soldier in France. Not a nice way to go.

Life in occupied France: These German soldiers and French women (rather stout) are having a good time. These women must have lost their hair when the Allies came in 1944.

A book which suggests that the German occupation of France encouraged the sexual liberation of women has shocked a country still struggling to come to terms with its troubled history of collaboration with the Nazis.

Like a recent photographic exhibition showing Parisians enjoying themselves under the occupation, the book’s depiction of life in Paris as one big party is at odds with the collective memory of hunger, resistance and fear.

“It is a taboo subject, a story nobody wants to hear,” said Patrick Buisson, author of 1940-1945 Années Erotiques (“erotic years”). “It may hurt our national pride, but the reality is that people adapted to occupation.”

Many might prefer to forget but, with their husbands in prison camps, numerous women slept not only with German soldiers – the young “blond barbarians” were particularly attractive to French women, says Buisson
The watery end of a German submarine


Russia. 1941.These two German officers are rather happy with life. Stalingrad was yet to happen.


Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin, like his son, worked for the NKVD, predecessor of the KGB and was sent to the front during WW2. The common use of the NKVD in battle was to man machine gun squads that would execute Red Army soldiers attempting to retreat. According to Suvorov, the documents located in the archives indicate that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was captured by the Germans and joined General Vlasov's army of Nazi collaborators which fought for the German side.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was then captured by the British, who eventually released the captured Vlasovite soldiers into Soviet custody. While soldiers who had served in the Vlasov army were generally imprisoned or executed, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was not an ordinary soldier but an NKVD officer and his grandfather worked as Stalin's cook (a highly trusted position considering how paranoid Stalin was about being assassinated.) Instead Putin Senior continued working in the KGB, which had succeeded the NKVD."



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1 Comment:

ACI.Aust Pty Ltd said...

A photo of a US soldier and A Nationalist Soldier claiming they were once friends, What happened they have always been friends, nothings changed that I know of.Or is this Yank Propaganda again being forced on the world.

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This short but important battle played a key role in the decision to use atomic bombs when attacking Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The battle showed just how far Japanese troops would go to defend their country.

Snippets From History

Paulus didn't give the order to 6th Army to surrender, but his troops no longer had much fight left in them. Resistance faded out over the next two days, with the last die-hards finally calling it quits. One Red Army colonel shouted at a group of prisoners, waving at the ruins all around them: "That's how Berlin is going to look!


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Points to Ponder: Why Is China Unstable?

The aim of individuals in any society is money and power. Societies that give equal chance to all its members to get them will be the most stable. That is why democracies are more stable than other systems of governance.

China after Deng's reform gave the chance to get rich but power is in the hands of an elite; the Communist Party of China. Membership to the party is at the whims of the local party bosses. This leaves out many people who crave political power dissatisfied and disgruntled. There in lies the roots of instability. The Party suppressed these demands once at Tiananmen in 1989. But force is hardly the way to deal with things like these.

READ MORE: Tiananmen Square Massacre