The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Curios and Relics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 27, 2012, 08:59 PM   #76
bedbugbilly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 19, 2009
Posts: 2,210
My father-in-law served in the 35th Division (Red Bull) - in North Africa and Italy. He, himself, was his squad's BAR man. He saw a lot and wouldn't talk a whole lot about it. In what conversations I did have with him, he mentioned the M42 and the great "respect" (fear) they had of it. He felt it was a much better machine gun than those the Allies had. I remember being in a mall in Florida with him many years ago where there was a gun store. They had a M42 on display and he spotted it. We walked over and he took a long look at it and mentioned to me the times that they had gone up against them . . . and the carnage they created. He got real quiet and I sensed it brought back a lot of bad memories . . . even though it had been 50 years.

He also mentioned the "88s" and how they blasted the heck out of everything. He'd been caught in a number of incoming barrages . . . especially in Italy. He said that he couldn't even describe what it was like as it was one of the most horrible things that he'd ever experienced . . . the noise, explosions, shrapnel and shaking of the earth was enough to drive a man crazy. They all considered themselves lucky to survive, only to experience it time and time again. A lot of their buddies weren't as lucky.

He only mentioned it once to me and then would never talk about it again. At one time in Italy, while engaged with the Germans, he was sent as a runner to Regimental HQ. As he made his way, several Germans were "trying to dust my a** with machine pistols" as he put it. Upon his return to his squad, he came under fire from a MG43 and dove into a ditch in the area where his squad had been located as he left for HQ. When he hit the ditch, he fell on top of bloddy bodies and quickly realized they were Americans. He said he rolled one over, spotted the division patch and then realized that all of the bodies in the ditch were the members of his squad. They had been cut to shreds by M43s.

I find it interesting, how we, years later, can watch a movie and then debate the weapons. I'm not being critical . . . that's what happens when we study history. Unfortunatley, the generation of those who experienced it first hand are quickly fading away. My father-in-law has been gone for a number of years. He was lucky . . . he made it home but it affected him for the rest of his life.
__________________
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
bedbugbilly is offline  
Old June 28, 2012, 07:24 AM   #77
BlueTrain
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 5,825
My father also served in Italy. That's where he was captured. He spent twelve months as a P.O.W., just miles from where I was stationed in Germany when I was in the army. His experiences as a POW were not so bad once he finally arrived at the camp, which was in Moosburg. Americans were in the minority at that camp but some prisoners had been there since the fall of France.

He was not a professional veteran and was rather busy living his life in the present. Sometimes the subject would come up but it never occurred to me to ask about anything in particular, no more than I thought to ask other WWII veterans about their experiences. Oddly enough, I have known or met more WWII veterans who served in other armies than in our own. We were friends with a man who served in the last mounted operation conducted by the British in WWII (in Palestine), another who was in the Argylls (A&SH) and yet another who was in the Household Cavalry (2HCR). Most interesting of all, thought the hardest to talk to, was a veteran of the Polish Army who was a cavalryman and had even been in the 1936 Olympics (I met he at the home of another person who rode in the Olympics).

I haven't met him (met his wife, though) but the father of a co-worker here served in Vietnam--in the Korean Army.

It seems like we are surrounded by veterans, yet where I work, only one other guy has been in the service. So maybe there aren't that many veterans after all. No wonder no one worries about wars anymore.

My father did mention the sound of German machine guns, too, come to think of it.
__________________
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
Buy War Bonds.
BlueTrain is offline  
Old June 28, 2012, 09:24 AM   #78
Amsdorf
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Posts: 849
I understand your point about "not being a professional veteran" but I found the tone of your note a bit uncomfortable.

For the men who saw intense and sustained combat over a long period of time, these experiences deeply emotionally wounded and scarred them. They all deal with it as they see best.

But there is not a single one of these men who did not pay the price: physically, emotionally and spiritually for what they went through. Their time of high stress and tension during combat shaped who they are and impacted the rest of their lives.

Just because some choose to remain silent about it, while others speak out, I am no comfortable with the somewhat sneering remark about "not being a professional veteran."

I grew up with a lot of WWII vets and had the chance to speak to literally dozens, each would open up when they were ready.

For what it is worth.
Amsdorf is offline  
Old June 29, 2012, 08:04 AM   #79
BlueTrain
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 5,825
Okay, here's another way to look at it. The US was involved in WWII for less than four years. How long were we in Vietnam (we're going back, I hear). How long have we been in the Middle East?

What I mean by "professional veteran" applies to those whose lives seem to be centered around their military experiences and I include those who converge on Washington for Rolling Thunder, an event I find very embarrasing and irritating. I grew up at a time when motorcyclists were not considered to be nice folks. I suppose times change. Nowadays a Harley is an old persons bike. I'm sorry if my opinions are not politically correct.

Obviously I do not subscribe to the theory that all returning veterans come home with a scarred phyche. If so, maybe we shouldn't be fighting so many wars. Alternatively, perhaps we ought to have more politicians who are veterans. Either way, I also believe veterans have as much trouble with other factors besides any experiences they may have had overseas, such as the simple fact that they went and others did not. All the right wingers that I know or are related to never served in the armed forces. No doubt your experiences and acquaintances are different. None of this is new, of course, and in the post Civil War period, all of these issues were present. In fact, where I live, it has been only recently that people have passed away who grew up in families for which the Civil War was The War.

Thank you, have a nice day. Please drive carefully.
__________________
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
Buy War Bonds.

Last edited by BlueTrain; June 29, 2012 at 08:13 AM.
BlueTrain is offline  
Old June 29, 2012, 09:00 AM   #80
Tikirocker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 11, 2007
Location: NSW, Australia
Posts: 915
Re the Bren and Crew assigned ... Australia built its own Bren guns out of Lithgow SAF during WW2 and in the field there are many images of Aussie soldiers walking up on Japanese in various actions in Papua New Guinea, firing from the hip and using the Bren as a one man operated unit. This is more often how Aussies deployed the Bren in Jungle Warfare - it was used much like the Brits used the Thompson.

Tiki.
__________________
The Lee Enfield forums - http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewforum.php?f=27
Surplus Rifle Forums - http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/index.php
Tikirocker is offline  
Old July 3, 2012, 07:04 AM   #81
TNT
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 4, 2006
Location: Back in glorious Nebraska
Posts: 606
I am thinking the Marines adaption of salvaging the light .30s from the downed aircraft and using aircraft machine guns for ground use. A higher rate of fire to use against Banzai attacks was the ticket. Kind of like what the Germans did with their "88s"
__________________
"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man and brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
TNT is offline  
Old July 3, 2012, 08:28 AM   #82
jsmaye
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2008
Location: Amarillo, Tx
Posts: 616
Quote:
All the right wingers that I know or are related to never served in the armed forces.
You just had to go there.
__________________
No matter how big and tough you are, when a two-year-old hands you a toy phone you'll answer it.
jsmaye is offline  
Old July 3, 2012, 08:56 AM   #83
Amsdorf
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Posts: 849
Oh, boy...let's stick to machine guns, shall we?
Amsdorf is offline  
Old July 3, 2012, 09:40 AM   #84
sirgilligan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2009
Posts: 377
My friend at church was a USS Arizona survivor, swam to shore. My 1st cousin once removed was in the Battle of the Bulge. My Grand Father helped liberate the Philippines.

I watch a lot of documentaries. A "Luftwaffe" officer was asked if you could contribute the allies victory to one thing what would it be and he responded the "Browning .50 caliber machine gun." What makes this statement stick in my mind was the same question was asked of a German infantry officer and he replied the Browning BAR. I am sorry, I don't recall which of the many documentaries this was in, but I remember it distinctly, because I am a fan of John Moses Browning and I perk up and listen closely anytime I hear reference to his name.
__________________
SirGilligan
If there isn't a photo then it never happened.
Gun Log SPC iOS Range Book
If you find your back is up against a wall, maybe you have been backing up for too long.
sirgilligan is offline  
Old July 3, 2012, 10:51 AM   #85
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,336
Makes perfect sense, from their personal perspective, which "one thing" was most bothersome/dangerous to them.

A Luftwaffe officer could well be right, that for him, it was the .50BMG. The .50 Browning was our main aircraft armament of WWII. Fighters, bombers, you name it, if it flew, and could physically mount a .50 BMG, it did.

An Infantry officer, on the other hand, could easily have been more impressed by the BAR, carried in numbers by the infantry he opposed. .50s on tanks, trucks, airplanes etc. probably weren't a big a problem in his personal combat history as the BAR gunner and US infantry squad, so his opinion would be different.

It is my opinion that the guns of JM Browning went a long way in aiding our victory. From the 1911A1 to Ma Duece, its tough to find anything even comparable, let alone superior. I'm sure we still would have won, but I believe the cost in blood was lower because we had Browning's fine tools to use.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old July 4, 2012, 09:51 AM   #86
TX Hunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2010
Location: East Texas USA
Posts: 1,776
I have alot of respect for the Soldiers,and Marines that carry the Machiene Gun. They put down a volume of fire to protect their fellow servicemen while they advance, and at the same time accept the responsiblity of being the biggest target for the Oposition. The Enemy will be firing at the continuous muzzle flash to try and take it out. Many a Machiene Gunner has given his life to protect his Fire Team.
TX Hunter is offline  
Old July 4, 2012, 10:19 AM   #87
BlueTrain
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2005
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 5,825
Charles Schultz was a machine gunner during the war.

And to Mr. jsmaye, I was not referring to you or your friends. I was referring only my acquaintances, all relatives, who I characterize as "right wingers," although I wouldn't characterize them as conservative. The liberals who I am related to all served, even including the radical priest. I apologize to all right wingers, conservatives and liberals for having these opinions of my relatives.

Returning again to the subject of machine guns, the Japanese, having been on the receiving end of American firepower, believed that all Americans were armed with automatic weapons and when they reopened their army for business a couple of decades later, proceeded to arm their soldiers accordingly. I don't know if they've gotten around to adopting the 5.56 or not.
__________________
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
Buy War Bonds.
BlueTrain is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09301 seconds with 7 queries