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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…

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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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Doughboys in WW1

I am salvaging pictures from my heavily damaged Liberty’s Victorious Conflict book that was published in 1918. The three b & w pictures below are from late 1918 and the counter offensive the allies launched after the German spring, 1918 Michael Offensive failed.

6" Battery American_Liberty's Victorious Conflict

6″ Battery American_Liberty’s Victorious Conflict

 

French 75mm gun. It was capable of 20 rounds a minute. This example is in the excellent WW1 museum in Kansas City, MO.

French 75mm gun. It was capable of 20 rounds a minute. This example is in the excellent WW1 museum in Kansas City, MO.

America was ill-prepared for WW1 and lacked equipment across the board. Most American Artillery units were equipped with the famous French 75mm gun but the unit in the top picture is captioned as having 6″ guns or about 155mm guns. The guns are French “Schneiders” and the battery would be considered a heavy battery.

Americans with German prisoners

Americans with German prisoners) Liberty’s Victorious Conflict

I think the offensive referred to is the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in which US troops played a significant role. It was part of an over all offensive known as the 100 days offensive that ended the war.

Nice shot of the 1903 Springfield rifle over the shoulder of the soldier on the far left.

Nice shot of the 1903 Springfield rifle over the shoulder of the soldier on the far left. -Liberty’s Victorious Conflict

The caption on the above picture indicates that the MPs are part of the 1st Infantry Division also known as the Big Red One. A museum to the division is maintained in Wheaton, IL. It’s on my list of places to visit this summer.

Shoulder patch 1st Infantry Division WW1

Shoulder patch 1st Infantry Division WW1

 

 Interesting link to the 1st IDs role in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It documents the duties of Col. George C. Marshall who was responsible for moving the division into position once the German Michael Offensive fizzled out. Col. Marshall would go on to be the US Army’s highest ranking general in WW2.

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The Story Behind the Marine Rescuing Two Babies.

The below picture turned up on my FB feed the other day.

The caption read, "a Marine risks his life to save two babies."

The caption read, “a Marine risks his life to save two babies.”

I was intrigued by the photo as it struck me as iconic even though I had never seen it before (and I’ve seen many a photo of the Vietnam War.)

I was so intrigued I tried to track down the original via a number of Google searches.

I got one viable hit and traced it back to an article by Gordon Duff writing in Veterans Today. Duff’s lengthy article is titled, Vietnam, Decades of Liars Blacken the Names of Real Heroes. The article dates back to 2010 and it documents Duff’s experiences as a Marine grunt in Vietnam. Duff attributes the picture to the battle for the Vietnamese City of Hue (pronounced Way), a city taken over by the NVA and VC during the Tet Offensive of 1968. Three under strength battalions of Marines as well as Army troops were ordered to take it back.

Part of the story for the Battle for Hue is told in the fourteen minute video below.

The above picture is an indication of the vicious street fighting that took place in Hue. As a provincial capital the NVA and VC embarrassed both the South Vietnamese Army and ours when they took it during Tet. When counter attacked they were not about to give up the city without a bitter fight. As noted in the video civilians were often caught up in the crossfire. This is also illustrated by the Marine rescuing two babies.

The photograph is striking. In the background one Marine advances across a city street. In the foreground another Marine is coming back the other way with two babies tucked under his arms. The Marine’s face is shaded by his helmet. Perhaps his name is hidden for all time because we cannot see his face. It may just as well because from what I read Marines do not consider themselves heroes-a term that is tossed about way too loosely in our culture.

In between the images of one Marine crossing the street and another returning the other way we see two more Marines. One Marine appears to be spotting for the Marine giving covering fire from a M-60 machine gun. In my opinion, there are four heroes in the picture and two babies who perhaps survived that terrible war due to their efforts.

The photo may be iconic but it certainly is ironic as well.

When our servicemen returned from the Vietnam War they were not greeted with parades. Instead, they were often greeted with swear words and had epithets such as “baby killers” hurled at them. And yes, I know full well that were atrocities committed by our troops so spare me the history lesson.

What galls me is the one-sided image makers that would focus only on our faults and not promote the heroism of these four Marines saving babies.

What further galls me is that the same people who would call these four men baby-killers are the same who now run our country (think John Kerry, Sec. of Defense here).

To the four unknown Marines in the picture I thank you for your service to our country and for saving the lives of two babies caught in the horror of a vicious street fight.

US Marines, Battle for Hue, Feb., 1968

US Marines, Battle for Hue, Feb., 1968

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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