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King Armored Machine Gun Car US_postcard

American AC postcard

I found this postcard in an antique store in Indiana. I’ve not seen anything like it in my limited searches. It appears to be a US manufactured King armored car.

The King Armored Car was manufactured by the Armored Motor Car Company (AMC). It was the first American armored vehicle, and was ordered by the United States Marine Corps in 1915 for testing before being used by the 1st Armored Car Squadron, which consisted of eight cars. The 1st Armored Car Squadron was the USA’s first formal armored unit. Wiki Source picture below.

King armored car

King armored car

My card is post marked post-war 1919. The writing on the back is in pencil and quite faded but it appears the card is addressed to the Ford Seed Company, Rivanna, Ohio. The sender is Louis Evans and Louis is requesting a seed catalog.

A significant portion of the back side of the card relates to the armored car:

The importance of the automobile in the present war can hardly be overestimated. At the beginning of the war, a fleet of Parisian taxicabs enabled General Joffre to get his troops mobilized at the proper point with incredible speed. Again and again the motor car saved the day, but here in the armored machine gun car, we wee the automobile in all it’s glory of war. Note the sturdy construction, solid wheels, steel shield for the man who operates the machine gun, and the small carefully shielded apertures through which the driver can watch the road and still be comparatively safe from hostile sharpshooters.

Although other nations used armored cars in combat in the First World War the Us manufactured King did not according to Wiki. The squadron was disbanded in 1921 and some of the cars sent to Latin American countries.



WW2 American Army Postcards

On a trip southward through Indiana I picked up these three postcards at an antique store. All three deal with men in the US Army either right before our entry into World War 2 or during. I selected them over others because they have writing on the back and were clearly sent to friends or loved ones.

WW2 American Postcard1

This one is  post-marked September 17, 1942, about nine months after the US entered the war. The sender is Pvt. Charles Vanausdall who is part of a HQ detachment at Fort Belvoir. Fort Belvoir was a training center for Army engineers during the war and Charles identifies himself as an E.T.-engineer trainee. I found a link on Ancestry that indicated Charles’ status as a veteran (name and dates match) and burial but didn’t want to sign up for Ancestry and pursue where the grave might be.

Charles is writing to a friend named Arlie Harmon in Lebanon, Indiana. He says, “They are putting us through the paces fast, After I take four weeks of training I will probably take some schooling for some special work that I will be assigned to.”

My understanding of Army Engineers during WW2 is that they were of two types. The first types were “combat engineers” that accompanied the infantry and armor to help with the nasty work of over coming obstacles and fixed defenses. My wife’s uncle was a combat engineer and he was killed outside the Siegfried Line in September, 1944.

The other type of engineer was more the builder than the destroyer and they would be the ones to erect bridges, build air fields, put down roads and other massive projects that would keep the Army on the move.

This is pure speculation on my part but given the date and the location of the fort it is possible that Charles was being trained for Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November of 1942.

WW2 American Postcard2

The second card is  interesting and colorfully shows  the training of US Infantry. The card is post-marked pre-war, April 3rd, 1941-a time when the US was clearly gearing up for the war in Europe that had been raging since September, 1939. The soldiers on the card could pass for the WW1 variety with the old style steel helmets, gas masks, Springfield Rifles and campaign hats.

The sender in this case appears to be a man named Jan and he’s writing to a Mrs. Mae Hawes of Barton City, Michigan. He addresses Mae as “Dear Friend” and since she is married it is likely that Mae is indeed just a friend.

Jan writes, “Arrived at Camp Grant Illinois this morning but don’t expect to stay long. Will maybe have time to write next time.”

I’m speculating that Jan was drafted and sent to Camp Grant as a way station before going somewhere else for training. According to Wiki, Camp Grant was an induction center but many men did undergo basic training there. Wiki further notes that about 100,000 men were trained as medics at the camp. The camp was also used for the detention of 2,500 POWs. The card is simply signed Jan with no last name on the card.

WW2 American Postcard3There were a number of this type of card at the antique store but I selected this one because it was filled out and had writing on the back. This type of card was meant to save the soldier some time. The soldier simply checked off small talk boxes and wrote something more personal on the back. It was a shorthand letter that fit on a post card.

The date is 2-20-43 and the place it was sent from appears to be Compton(?) Mississippi. The recipient is “Tory Shielda” who lives in Tampa, Florida.  The sender is Sgt. Elbert E. Jones who is in the 116th Field Artillery. Today the 116th Field Artillery is part of the Florida National Guard so one can assume that Elbert was part of that organization when it was called up for Federal service during the war.

Elbert indicates on the face of the card that he feels swell, is relaxing, thinking of Tory, that he needs sleep and that he has the pet peeve that there are no women around! He asks for a long letter from Tory, sends his regards to the folks and says he is “hers” some of the time and always. Tory is clearly Elbert’s love interest.

On the back he writes, “a line to say I’m mad at you and haven’t had a letter or card for a long time. Hope this finds you enjoying the best of all and write soon to Jonesy.

One of the biggest fears a soldier had (has) was to receive a “Dear John” letter. A “Dr. John” letter was a breaking off of the relationship and the realization to the soldier that his girl was not waiting for him to come home.

The first sign that a soldier might receive the “Dr. John” letter was the absence of communication from his sweet heart for a long period of time. I suspect Elbert is worried that Tory has found another and he is looking for reassurance that is not the case.

During my short time in the Army (1971-72) soldiers were still getting “Dear Johns.” We actually sang a song about it indirectly. As I recall, the girls we left behind were cavorting with a fictional character by the name of “Jodie” another male who did not get drafted or enlist. As the song went, when the soldier got home, he’d pay a visit to “Jodie” and bust his head. Crude to be sure but it reflected the anguish of getting a “Dr. John” from the girl who promised to wait for you.

I often wonder how these personal type correspondence end up at rummage sales or antique stores.The speak of relationships and of war and one wonders what happened to the sender and the receiver. Perhaps a relative will one day run a search for their long-lost relative and find the link to my blog. I’d be happy to reunite them with their loved one with the card.


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The Oeffag Albatros D III

I’ve been a bit busy as of late and have not posted on this blog for a while. I hope to back soon but in the meantime I hope my readers will enjoy this guest blog from my friend Paul, a bit of an authority on WW1 airplanes. Enjoy!


An often overlooked theater in WWI was the Austro-Italian front. Often miss-identified as a German Albatros D III is this Austro-Hungarian variant, the Oeffag (Albatros) D III. This replica was built from the ground up and is photo chronicled at: http://s306.photobucket.com/user/kolomay/library/?sort=3&page=1

Oeffag (Albatros) D III.

Oeffag (Albatros) D III.



Albatross D III

Albatross D III

The following press release is taken from the Aerodrome forum, Fight in the Skies Society:

Schleißheim (DE) 11th April 2012, Koloman Mayrhofer and Eberhard Fritsch announced that yesterday in the late morning, after a 94-years-long break, a WWI designed Albatross fighter has flown again.

On the Schleißheim aerodrome (Munchen, DE) the OEFFAG Albatross D.III s/n 253.24 replica produced by the two friends, started the test flight operations.

“We’re very happy we reached our goal of making the plane flying” says Koloman Mayrhofer “especially because the replica is historically accurate and it’s fitted with and original six in line cylinders Austro Daimler engine, produced in 1917!”
“We would like to thank all the people involved in the project” continued Mayrhofer “without their passion and devotion, this 20-years-long journey wouldn´t have reached its natural end”.

The text pilot Roger Louis “Tex” Texier, after all the pre-flight inspection controls were done by his C.S. Francis DePenne, performed two flights over the day and afterward declared: “together with Mayrhofer we scheduled to use the first flights just to gain confidence with the aircraft characteristics, but” continued the well experienced test pilot “already on the second flight I felt so connected to the aircraft that I couldn’t help by doing some acrobatics manoeuvres”. These manoeuvres included a series of touch-and-go, a stall, some close turnings and a Immelmann, that aroused the enthusiasm of the crowd on the ground.

The pilot also gave his first impressions: “the Albatross it’s really different from all the other WWI aircrafts I was able to flight: the tail surfaces are extremely sensible unlike the ailerons; the powerful engine grant good acceleration and climbing characteristics…. A real race horse!”.

As the flight program developed, despite bad weather conditions, it was possible to achieve a total of nearly 3 hours of flight by the end of the week.

The flight test activities of the aircraft are carried under the experimental certification of the LBA (German NAA) supervision, and are scheduled to last until 22nd of July.

The aircraft, serial number 253.24, is shown above as it appeared in 1918. A personal aircraft of Oblt. Franz Rudorfer (11 v.), also used by Zgsf.Eugen Bonsch and Oblt.Benno Fiala-3rd highest scoring Austo-Hungarian ace with 28 victories.

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When a man is down the enmity ends.

Many of the pictures in Liberty’s Victorious Conflict seek to show a gentler side of the great carnage that was WW1. This little grouping features primarily the wounded with Americans recovering in England and Germans being treated by the British or Canadians.

"When a man is down" Then Enmity Ends.

The picture above and below both report to show Americans recovering in England. Not much to say about either other than perhaps the authors of the book wanted to communicate the growing bond between the two nations that had developed during WW1.

The caption notes that the hospital was donated by an Englishwoman.

The caption notes that the hospital was donated by an Englishwoman.

The fellow on the far left of the picture looks much worse than the other smiling patients being cared for by a nun. I wonder why they dragged all the beds outside to take the shot?

The picture was damaged by a kid with a crayon but it's still an interesting picture of enemies being treated for their wounds.

The picture was damaged by a kid with a crayon but it’s still an interesting picture of enemies being treated for their wounds.

It’s my understanding that when possible the doctors and medical orderlies of both sides treated the wounded without discrimination-at least on the western front.

Another picture of German wounded being treated and a British nurse killed in an air raid.

I grouped the above two pictures to show the difference in labeling. The picture on the left calls the German a “Fritzie” a nickname like “Jerry” rather than a pejorative. The British on the other hand were usually called “Tommies” by the Germans.

The picture on the right however is designed to get an emotional response-a British nurse killed by a “hun” in an air raid. The propaganda machine in Britain and the US consistently referred to the Germans as Huns comparing them to medieval Mongols who terrorized Europe. I believe it was first used when the Germans invaded neutral Belgium a fact that drew Britain into the war and therefore a miscalculation on Germany’s part.

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Morgenrot_Morning Glow

The 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was a “German” Regiment raised for the Union during the American Civil War. It was nicknamed “The Sigel Regiment” after Franz Sigel himself a German immigrant from Baden. Twelve regiments of Germans were raised in 1862 from areas in the north with heavy German immigrant populations.

The 26th Wisconsin was raised primarily in the Milwaukee area and eventually was posted to the Army of the Potomac’s 11th Corps, a Corps that consisted of many “German” regiments.


The position of the "German" Corps at Gettysburg.

The position of the “German” Corps at Gettysburg.

Prior to the Battle of Gettysburg General Schurz (commanding the Division the 26th WI was part of) ordered the German band of the 45th New York to serenade a priest and some nuns at a nearby academy. A favorite song of the German soldiers was “Morgenrot” or “Morning Glow”  and many in Schurz’s Division heard the song that evening.

Here are the words in German followed by a translation from James S. Pula’s The Sigel Regiment.

Leuchtest mir zum fruhen Tod?

Are you calling me to an early death?

Bald wird die Trompete blasen, Dann muss ich mein Leben lassen, Ich und mancher Kamerad!

Soon the trumpets will blow then I must give up my life mine and many comrades!

Kaum gedacht, War der Lust ein End gemacht. Gestern noch auf stolzen Rossen,

Suddenly, All joy came to an end. Yesterday, still proudly on horseback, Today shot through my breast,

Morgen is das kuhle Grab!

Tomorrow in a cold grave.

Ach, wie bald

Oh, too soon,

Schwindet Schonheit und Gestalt

The beauty and vision of clouds,

Tust du stolz mit deinen Wangen, Die wie Milch und Purpur prangen? Ach, die Rosen welken all!

Proudly displyed like milk and blood, fade away, Alas, even a rose wilts.

Darum still


Fug’ Ich mich, wie Gott es will. Nun, so will ich wacker streiten,

Humbly I obey God’s will. And if death should come to me

Und sollt’ ich den Tod erleiden, Stirbt ein braver Reitersmann.

I will have died A brave Calvalryman.

The song proved prophetic as the 26th lost 46 killed, 134 wounded and 37 missing at Gettysburg out of 516 engaged.

26th Wisconsin Monument at Gettysburg. http://www.gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/WI/26WI.php

26th Wisconsin Monument at Gettysburg.

The 11th Corps was unfairly maligned by the press, especially the eastern press. The Germans regiments were called “Dutchmen” and they were accused of running away and abandoning their positions at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

The truth of the matter is the 11th Corp was twice faced by over whelming odds as the Confederates achieved local numerical superiority in  both battles. The division the 26th WI was in gave ground grudgingly on both occasions and only retreated when ordered to do so.

The accusations had more to do with immigrant prejudice than anything else.

For more: The “2nd” German 26th Wisconsin blog post by me.

For still more: The German XI Corps at Gettysburg by Patrick Young (blogger).

For still more yet: German Sons in the American Civil War. This is an interesting (incomplete) website that documents the vast number of Union Regiments in the Civil War that had a heavy proportion of German immigrants. He lists about 100 including 10 from Wisconsin.



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A series of French pictures salvaged from Liberty’s Victorious Conflict

This one appears to be in much better shape than the one we found.

This one appears to be in better shape than the one we found.


French AA1

Unusual picture in my experience-French troops using AA range finding equipment.


French AA2

Motorized AA for these French troops although I’m not sure what the group of soldiers in the background are doing.


French and German tanks

Nice side-by-side of WW1 tanks. I believe the French tank is a FT-17 and the German one is a A7V.

French Cav

Interesting picture with British Tommies and French Cavalry who appear to be lancers. Kid with a crayon got at it unfortunately.


French Inf 1

A couple of nice studies of French “Poilous”


French Inf advancing

Does not appear to be a combat situation.

French MG

8mm Hotchkiss Mle 1914

French Hv Art.

Canon de 155mm GPF – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org The Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle.1917 was a 155 mm cannon used by the French Army during the first half of the 20th century.

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Captain Storm 1965

I found this Captain Storm comic at a rummage sale for $1.25. I didn’t bargain.

The date is 1965 and I would have been 12 and still into comic books like Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, Captain Johnny Cloud and his P-51 Mustang and Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos as well as other WW2 type comics. But Captain Storm I never heard of.

The good captain was apparently the skipper of a PT Boat and since the comic was published in 1965 it’s easy to see that the inspiration for it most likely came from President John F. Kennedy who was the skipper of PT-109. Kennedy’s exploits were well-known to every school boy my age so it’s hardly surprising a comic with a Kennedy like figure would be on the market.

Was JFK the inspiration for Capt. Storm? I think so.

Was JFK the inspiration for Capt. Storm? I think so.

The story line is a two-parter. The PT-Boat is on a mission to sink a Japanese air craft carrier. To achieve that impossibility they first have to over come a series of obstacles that includes first sinking a Japanese destroyer which at least was a possibility.

The Japanese are caricatures and not real bright while the Americans are heroic and resourceful. This is typical early sixties type stereo-typing that demonized our enemies.

Captain Storm and crew eventually sink the air craft carrier from a Kon-Tiki type raft after fending off numerous Japanese frogmen. (Note the cover.)

The last story in the issue has to do with the North African Campaign although the resemblance stops with the fact the story takes place in a desert.

Four German Tiger Tanks, yes four, about 25% of the total Tiger tanks that were in Tunisia ambush a single American Sherman. The Sherman is surprisingly resilient and dispatches the first three Tigers and a Luftwaffe fighter for good measure before the final duel with the last Tiger.

The German finally knocks out the Sherman and the German gives his enemy a salute for being so darn brave and effective. By the end of the story they must be in the middle of the Sahara because the German then quietly dies as the sand covers all. Even when a German wins he loses is the moral of the story I guess.

Captain Storm is 1960′s typical of WW2 type comic with American servicemen doing the impossible and the Germans and Japanese serving as foils and caricatures that every once in a while show a human side (Enemy Ace, modeled on the Red Baron in WW1 for example).

By 1965 the US was knee-deep in the quagmire that was Vietnam and the reality of war was being broadcast nightly. Casualties were beginning to mount and the anti-war movement gained strength with every passing day. For those of us who grew up with Sgt. Rock, Sgt. Fury, Captain Cloud and Captain Storm the reality of war began to sink in and the comics lost appeal.

The heyday of war comics was at an end and although some persisted into the seventies many became relics of a bygone time and found their way into someone’s collectibles or trash heap. I rescued one for $1.25. It took me down memory lane.


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