The Treaty of Versailles, The Spartans, and the “Great Spiritual German Soldierly Tradition”

In Signal, the Nazi propaganda magazine, a common theme was the victimization of Germany by pretty much everyone else after WWI. This particular spread, written by Major Dr. Wilhelm Ehmer, ties together the Treaty of Versailles, the Spartans and the “soldierly virtues” of the German people. It’s definitely worth a read, if you want a peek into the justifications behind WWII, at least as said by those in charge at the time. You can read the entire thing in Hitler’s War: World War II as Portrayed by Signal, the International Nazi Propaganda Magazine.

Here’s just a snippet:

"The ‘victors’ of the World War clad themselves in a heavy coat of armour and dug themselves in behind lines of fortifications built with the greatest cunning and bristling with weapons, whilst the tiny German Army consisting of but 100,000 men became the guardian of the great spiritual German soldierly tradition and at the same time developed this tradition by drawing the necessary conclusions from the experiences of the World War. The difficulties of the situation did not cause it to throw in its hand or to despair, on the contrary, they aroused all the soldierly virtues, strength of character, determination, inventiveness and courage, all of which are foundation stones on which the German soldierly tradition has been built from its very beginning."

Signal Magazine


Mission to Berlin, February 3, 1945

Mission to Berlin

Visibly weary and afflicted with the “thousand-yard stare” familiar to combat veterans, Maj. James A. Smyrl (left ) has just returned from the February 3, 1945, Berlin mission. He is talking to Col. James W. Wilson, 92nd Bombardment Group commander.

Photo source - James W. Good/ Mission to Berlin

Major James A. Smyrl, who was scheduled for promotion to lieutenant colonel within a couple of weeks, was another battle commander that day. Smyrl led the 92nd Bombardment Group on the day’s air assault. He was a tall, handsome, active figure who sometimes seemed to display the “thousand-yard stare”—the expression often mistaken for a blank look that signifies prolonged exposure to the trauma of battle. Smyrl was “one of the greatest men I’ve ever known,” said 1st Lt. James W. “Bill” Good, who was his navigator for the Berlin mission. Yet we know almost nothing about Smyrl today. One crewmember who accompanied him into the high cold said that Smyrl was never observed wearing a hat.


Stealth Fighter: A Year in the Life of an F-117 Pilot

Today, we’ve got a video from the EAA Museum archives. In the second half of the interview, author Brad O’Conner talks about his time in the F-117 and stories in Stealth Fighter: A Year in the Life of an F-117 Pilot. Check it out!

Stealth Fighter


Even A Small Lander Can Cast A Long Shadow

Moon Landing

The Eagle casts a long shadow at Tranquility base just after touchdown. Landings were carefully planned to have the Sun low and at the pilots’ backs for ease of landmark spotting as they came in.

Source - Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon, 1963-1972


The Search Goes On…

wwii warbird

Source - Vought Aircraft/ Hidden Warbirds

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of World War II aircraft wrecks waiting to be located around the globe. Unfortunately, the chances of finding an aircraft wreck as intact as this crashed Corsair are very slim. Most nearly intact aircraft wrecks will be found under water or ice, in the jungle, or in the frozen north, and the degree of completeness depends upon the plane’s angle of impact when it crashed. 


Rest Easy

US Marine Firing

Source: To Be A U.S. Marine

A Marine assigned with the 26th MEU/SOC practices his marksmanship skills at a firing range set up near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Since he is firing a scoped, M4A1 5.56 x 45mm carbine close-quarter battle weapon (CQBW) with a collapsible stock, it can be assumed he is a Force Recon Marine.

Until 1998, Force Recon used the Heckler and Koch MP-5N submachine gun, but set it aside because the MP-5N could not deliver accurate fire past 50 yards. Its bullet was also unable to penetrate body armor. Although the MP-5N was a subpar weapon for combat, it is still used by Force Recon for VIP security details. Rifle aside, the preferred sidearm of Force Recon is the single-action, .45-caliber MEU/SOC pistol. During the work-up and deployment phases, it’s not unusual for a Marine to fire 80,000 rounds.


"Beer Island"

Beer Island

Mog Mog became known as “Beer Island” for tens of thousands of enlisted men who would drink over 7.6 million cans of beer and soft drinks on its sandy beaches. 

Source - U.S. Navy photograph/ Tales From a Tin Can


Jimmy Stewart, The Super-Humble Fighter Pilot

 Jimmy Stewart WWII

Source - Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot

"The Quiet American Hero" is what the Queen of England called James Stewart in the fiftieth anniversary Battle of Britain Queen’s Ball Brochure in London in 1990.

Jimmy Stewart was as much a success in war with the United States Army Air Force as he became on the silver screen. Jimmy Stewart rose from the ranks of private to colonel during the war years to 1945 and later to Brigadier General in 1959.

Jimmy Stewart never spoke openly or in depth about his wartime service. He once said, “Uh!, I just did what everybody else did.”


The Lady Annabelle, A B-29

B-29 Bomber

This B-29 crew, led by Capt. Percy Usher Tucker, flew in Lady Annabelle, named after Tucker’s wife. The aircraft and its crew flew the big firebomb mission to Tokyo. Tucker and his crew belonged to the 40th Bombardment Squadron, 6th Bombardment Group on Tinian.

Captain Percy Usher Tucker, taciturn, a taskmaster, cordial to some and cold to others, was the stern airplane commander of the B-29 Superfortress Lady Annabelle.

Source: Terry Tucker Rhodes/ Mission to Tokyo


Supplies to Loubressac - The French Resistance, 1944

French resistance supplies

One of the most famous parachutages of the war—a vast daylight drop near Loubressac on 14 July—Bastille Day—1944, which provided huge supplies of arms for the maquis of the Corrèze, Lot and Dordogne.

Source – Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944