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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.

xi-corps-holds-cemetery-hill

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

Therefore

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.
http://www.gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/WI/26WI.php

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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Poilou_WW1

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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British Tommies WW1 p_1

I’m continuing to salvage pictures from a badly damaged copy of Liberty’s Victorious Conflict even though I am aware that most of the pictures have already been digitized elsewhere.

I do it for a couple of reasons and as one friend put it, a labor of love is certainly one of them. There is something fun about finding old and damaged and trying to preserve it. Ever since I was a kid I had an interest in archaeology so I guess this is my way of playing the role!

It also helps me learn more about WW1. The US was a late comer to the First World War and by researching these pictures I can learn something about the years prior to our involvement as well as something about our allies massive efforts prior to US involvement.

So, here are some pictures that I’ve salvaged so far that come from a British perspective and feature the “Tommies” the common term for British soldiers.

One of the prisoners is clearly a medic and four others are wearing the late war coal scuttle helmet.

One of the prisoners is clearly a medic and four others are wearing the late war coal-scuttle helmet. They are guarded by a single Tommy on the left hand side. I suspect the prisoners are happy to out of that dreadful war.

Although badly damaged by some kid's crayon it's still an interesting picture. Gas masks are much in evidence as is the mud! The mud is so bad the stretcher bearers are using a duck board path.

Although badly damaged by some kid’s crayon it’s still an interesting picture. Gas masks are much in evidence as is the mud! The mud is so bad the stretcher bearers are using a duck board path. The picture captures the misery of poison gas, the horrid mud and getting wounded.

On the left is carnage. Soldiers waiting for treatment, evacuation or in some cases waiting to die. On the right note the fellow with the heavily bandaged face. Horrors of war.

On the left is carnage. Soldiers waiting for treatment, evacuation or in some cases waiting to die. On the right note the fellow with the heavily bandaged face. Horrors of war.

WW1 saw the first widespread use of airplanes as well as the counter measures against them. I was unable to ID the type of gun used in the AA role in this picture.

WW1 saw the first widespread use of airplanes as well as the counter measures against them. I was unable to ID the type of gun used in the AA role in this picture.

With few exceptions artillery in WW1 was moved about via horsepower. As late as WW2 horses were the prime movers of artillery in the armies of many countries.

With few exceptions artillery in WW1 was moved about via horsepower. As late as WW2 horses were the prime movers of artillery in the armies of many countries. The attrition rate for horses and mules was horrendous.

 

 

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Intermission Stories (18)

Bruce:

Interesting story from my friend gpcox.

Originally posted on pacificparatrooper:

Once we get back into WWII, we will mainly have Pacific Theater information here.  So, during this intermission time, I’ll take this opportunity to include another European Theater story.

X-Troop, George Lane is standing, back row center

X-Troop, George Lane is standing, back row center

Mr. X Meets the Desert Fox

George Lane aka: Lanyi Gyorgy

British Commando, No. 10 X Troop

In the spring of 1942, Lord Mountbatten created a commando unit made up of 10 troops.  No. 10 consisted of European born Jewish volunteers to be described as “unknown warriors,” false identities included.  To prove their loyalty, these men were required to perform extremely dangerous operations behind enemy lines.

Lanyi Gyorgy, Hungarian-born, was in England in 1939 and married Miriam Rothschild in 1943; it was through her connections that he was able to enlist in the army at all.  On 15-17 May, before D-Day, the newly named “George Lane” and “Roy Woolridge” were sent to Normandy…

View original 639 more words

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Glen Miller and the Women’s Army Corp

A recent FB post that mentioned the USO prompted me to go to You Tube and research Captain Glen Miller.

Glen Miller was probably the best known Big Band leader in the US when the US entered WW2. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and used his considerable talents to build morale among the troops often through USO shows. He also provided background music for war effort documentaries.

Miller was traveling to France from Britain on December 15th, 1944 when the airplane he was flying in disappeared over the English Channel. Miller was declared MIA. There are a number of theories that try to explain Miller’s disappearance. According to this wiki link the mostly likely possibility is that Miller’s plane was the victim of “friendly fire.”

Whatever the case the Army lost a top shelf morale builder and entertainer.

The below You Tube video illustrates the kind of work Miller did. It’s a tribute to Women’s Army Corp (WACs) and Rosie the Riveters-women who worked in industry while the men served in the military.

That attitude of the WW2 generation was "what can I do" compared to "what can I get."

That attitude of the WW2 generation was “what can I do” compared to “what can I get.”

About 150,000 women volunteered to serve in the WACs during WW2. The roles were non-combatant and thus released 150,000 men for combat duty.

The women served in an amazing variety of roles. In the video you will see them serving as hospital medics, tank drivers (testing) AA gunners and firing machine guns. There are also glamour shots no doubt for the benefit of “the boys” and at least one shot of a WAC handling a M1 Carbine.  There is something humorous about seeing women in long skirts “man” an AA battery!

Of special interest to me is that my mother-in-law Margaret Rozman (nee Robinson) served as a WAC in the medical corp. She was stationed in Seattle, WA and cared for the wounded of the Pacific Campaigns. Although she remembered her service fondly she also remembered her duties as sad taking care of men horribly disfigured by combat. For some her pretty face would be the last thing they saw before entering eternity.

The contributions made by the WACs should not be underestimated. They blazed a trail for women in the military and did excellent service.

The social impact made my the WACs and the Rosie the Riveters  also should not be underestimated.

When the boys came home most of the Rosies and WACs married and settled down thus the Baby Boom of which I am a product of. What changed however was a shift in thinking from a one-bread-winner type home to a two-bread-winners type home as many women pursued careers or otherwise pursued employment outside of the home. World War 2 changed much.

The video is fascinating nostalgia and Americana. It’s typical of  the kind of “shorts” that would precede the showing of a movie-hence the intro by another famous character-Bugs Bunny! The clip is a fitting tribute to the WACS  and Rosies backed up by three of the Glen Miller Band popular songs including, In the Mood. Enjoy.

 

 

 

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WW2 Posters

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P-47 Thunderbolt aka “The Jug”.

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Can’t fight without supplies!

 

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