John F. Kennedy and PT 109

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PT-109 was a PT boat (Patrol Torpedo boat) last commanded by Lieutenant, junior grade (LTJG) John F. Kennedy (later President of the United States) in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Kennedy’s actions to save his surviving crew after the sinking of PT-109 made him a war hero, which proved helpful in his political career.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of The Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 being rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and sinking of the boat Lt. John F. Kennedy, saved all but two of his crew.

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Lieutenant John F. Kennedy’s encounter with a Japanese destroyer on the night of August 1, 1943, may be the most famous small-craft engagement in naval history, and it was an unmitigated disaster.

At a later date, when asked to explain how he had come to be a hero, Kennedy replied laconically, “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.”

PT-109 belonged to the PT-103 class, hundreds of which were completed between 1942 and 1945 by Elco in Bayonne, New Jersey. PT-109s keel was laid 4 March 1942 as the seventh Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) of the 80-foot-long (24 m)-class built by Elco and was launched on 20 June. She was delivered to the Navy on 10 July 1942, and fitted out in the New York Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn.

Despite having a bad back, JFK used his father Joseph P. Kennedy’s influence to get into the war. He started out in October 1941 as an ensign with a desk job for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Kennedy was reassigned to South Carolina in January 1942.On 27 July 1942, Kennedy entered the Naval Reserve Officers Training School in Chicago.

After completing this training on 27 September, Kennedy voluntarily entered the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center in Melville, Rhode Island, where he was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) (LTJG).

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He completed his training there on 2 December. He was then ordered to the training squadron, Motor Torpedo Squadron 4, to take over the command of motor torpedo boat PT-101, a 78-foot Huckins PT boat.

In January 1943, PT-101 and four other boats were ordered to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 14 (RON 14), which was assigned to Panama. He detached from RON 14 in February 1943 while the squadron was in Jacksonville, Florida, preparing for transfer to the Panama Canal Zone.

The Allies had been in a campaign of island hopping since securing Guadalcanal in a bloody battle in early 1943. Seeking combat duty, Kennedy transferred on 23 February 1943, as a replacement officer to Motor Torpedo BoatSquadron 2, which was based at Tulagi Island in the Solomon Islands. Traveling to the Pacific on USS Rochambeau,

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Kennedy arrived at Tulagi on 14 April and took command of PT-109 on 23 April. On 30 May, several PT boats, including PT-109, were ordered to the Russell Islands in preparation for the invasion of New Georgia.

After the capture of Rendova Island, the PT boat operations were moved to a “bush” berth there on 16 June.From that base, PT boats conducted nightly operations, both to disturb the heavy Japanese barge traffic that was resupplying the Japanese garrisons in New Georgia, and to patrol the Ferguson and Blackett Straits in order to sight and to give warning when the Japanese Tokyo Express warships came into the straits to assault U.S. forces in the New Georgia–Rendova area.

PT-109 stood at her station, one of fifteen PT boats (“Patrol Torpedo” boats) that had set out to engage, damage, and maybe even turn back the well-known “Tokyo Express.” US forces gave that name to the Japanese navy’s more or less regular supply convoy to soldiers fighting the advance of US forces in the islands farther south.

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When the patrol actually did come in contact with the Tokyo Express—three Japanese destroyers acting as transports with a fourth serving as escort—the encounter did not go well. Thirty torpedoes were fired without damaging the Japanese ships. No US vessels suffered hits or casualties. Boats that had used up their complement of torpedoes were ordered home. The few that still had torpedoes remained in the strait for another try.

PT 109 was one of the boats left behind. Lieutenant Kennedy rendezvoused his boat with two others, PT 162 and PT 169. The three boats spread out to make a picket line across the strait. At about 2:30 in the morning, a shape loomed out of the darkness three hundred yards off PT 109’s starboard bow. The young lieutenant and his crew first believed it to be another PT boat. When it became apparent that it was one of the Japanese destroyers, Kennedy attempted to turn to starboard to bring his torpedoes to bear. But there was not enough time.

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The destroyer, later identified as theAmagiri, struck PT 109 just forward of the forward starboard torpedo tube, ripping away the starboard aft side of the boat. The impact tossed Kennedy around the cockpit. Most of the crew were knocked into the water. The one man below decks, engineer Patrick McMahon, miraculously escaped, although he was badly burned by exploding fuel.

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Fear that PT 109 would go up in flames drove Kennedy to order the men who still remained on the wreck to abandon ship. But the destroyer’s wake dispersed the burning fuel, and when the fire began to subside, Kennedy sent his men back to what was left of the boat. From the wreckage, Kennedy ordered the men with him, Edgar Mauer and John E. Maguire, to identify the locations of their crew mates still in the water. Leonard Thom, Gerard Zinser, George Ross, and Raymond Albert were able to swim back on their own.

Kennedy swam out to McMahon and Charles Harris. Kennedy towed the injured McMahon by a life-vest strap, and alternately cajoled and berated the exhausted Harris to get him through the difficult swim. Meanwhile, Thom pulled in William Johnston, who was debilitated by the gasoline he had accidentally swallowed and the heavy fumes that lay on the water. Finally Raymond Starkey swam in from where he had been flung by the shock. Floating on and around the hulk, the crew took stock.

Harold Marney and Andrew Jackson Kirksey had disappeared in the collision, very likely killed at impact. All the men were exhausted, and a few were hurt, and several had been sickened by the fuel fumes. There was no sign of other boats or ships in the area; the men were afraid to fire their flare gun for fear of attracting the attention of the Japanese who were on islands on all sides. Although the wreckage was still afloat, it was taking on water, and it capsized on the morning of August 2.

The eleven survivors clung to PT-109’s bow section as it drifted slowly south. By about 2:00 p.m., it was apparent that the hull was taking on water and would soon sink, so the men decided to abandon it and swim for land. As there were Japanese camps on all the nearby large islands, they chose the tiny deserted Plum Pudding Island, southwest of Kolombangara. They placed their lantern, shoes, and non-swimmers on one of the timbers used as a gun mount and began kicking together to propel it. Kennedy, who had been on the Harvard University swim team, used a life jacket strap clenched between his teeth to tow his badly-burned senior enlisted machinist mate, MM1 Patrick McMahon.It took four hours to reach their destination, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) away, which they reached without interference by sharks or crocodiles.

The island was only 100 yards (91 m) in diameter, with no food or water. The crew had to hide from passing Japanese barges. Kennedy swam to Naru and Olasana islands, a round trip of about 2.5 miles (4.0 km), in search of help and food. He then led his men to Olasana Island, which had coconut trees and drinkable water.

The explosion on 2 August was spotted by an Australian coastwatcher, Sub-lieutenant Arthur Reginald Evans, who manned a secret observation post at the top of the Mount Veve volcano on Kolombangara, where more than 10,000 Japanese troops were garrisoned below on the southeast portion.

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The Navy and its squadron of PT boats held a memorial service for the crew of PT-109 after reports were made of the large explosion.

However, Evans dispatched islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana in a dugout canoe to look for possible survivors after decoding news that the explosion he had witnessed was probably from the lost PT-109. They could avoid detection by Japanese ships and aircraft and, if spotted, would probably be taken for native fishermen.

Kennedy and his men survived for six days on coconuts before they were found by the scouts. Gasa and Kumana disobeyed an order by stopping by Naru to investigate a Japanese wreck, from which they salvaged fuel and food. They first fled by canoe from Kennedy, who to them was simply a shouting stranger. On the next island, they pointed their Tommy guns at the rest of the crew since the only light-skinned people they expected to find were Japanese and they were not familiar with either the language or the people.

Gasa later said “All white people looked the same to me.” Kennedy convinced them they were on the same side. The small canoe was not big enough for passengers. Though the Donovan book and movie depict Kennedy offering a coconut inscribed with a message, according to a National Geographic interview, it was Gasa who suggested it and Kumana who climbed a coconut tree to pick one. Kennedy cut the following message on a coconut:

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NAURO ISL
COMMANDER… NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT…
HE CAN PILOT… 11 ALIVE
NEED SMALL BOAT… KENNEDY

Kennedy told Gasa and Kumana, “If Japan man comes, scratch out the message.”

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The message was delivered at great risk through 35 nmi (65 km; 40 mi) of hostile waters patrolled by the Japanese to the nearest Allied base at Rendova. Other coastwatcher natives who were caught had been tortured and killed. Later, a canoe returned for Kennedy, taking him to the coastwatcher to coordinate the rescue. PT-157, commanded by Lieutenant William Liebenow, was able to pick up the survivors.

The arranged signal was four shots, but since Kennedy only had three bullets in his pistol, Evans gave him a Japanese rifle for the fourth signal shot. The sailors sang “Yes Jesus Loves Me” to pass the time. Gasa and Kumana received little notice or credit in military reports, books, or movies until 2002 when they were interviewed by National Geographic shortly before Gasa’s death.

In a more recent visit to the area, writer/photographer Jad Davenport managed to track down the then-90-year-old Eroni Kumana, and together they made a visit to view Kennedy Island. In typical fashion for the time, Kumana reports that the first thing the survivors asked for was cigarettes. When they realized they had no matches, Kumana surprised and delighted the men by making a fire by rubbing two sticks together.

The coconut shell came into the possession of Ernest W. Gibson, Jr. who was serving in the South Pacific with the 43rd Infantry Division.

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Gibson later returned it to Kennedy. Kennedy preserved it in a glass paperweight on his Oval Office desk during his presidency. It is now on display at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.

Kennedy’s coconut message was not the only message given to the coastwatchers. A more detailed message was written by the executive officer of PT-109, Leonard Jay Thom. Thom’s message was a “penciled note” written on paper.Kennedy’s message was written on a more hidden location in case the native coastwatchers were stopped and searched by the Japanese.

Thom’s message read:

To: Commanding Officer–Oak O
From:Crew P.T. 109 (Oak 14)
Subject: Rescue of 11(eleven) men lost since Sunday, August 1 in enemy action. Native knows our position & will bring P.T. Boat back to small islands of Ferguson Passage off NURU IS. A small boat (outboard or oars) is needed to take men off as some are seriously burned.
Signal at night three dashes (- – -) Password–Roger—Answer—Wilco If attempted at day time–advise air coverage or a PBY could set down. Please work out a suitable plan & act immediately Help is urgent & in sore need. Rely on native boys to any extent
Thom
Ens. U.S.N.R
Exec. 109

Thom and Kennedy were both awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Kennedy was also awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in the collision. Following their rescue, Thom was assigned as commander of PT-587 and Kennedy was assigned as commander of PT-59 (a.k.a. PTGB-1).Kennedy and Thom remained friends, and when Thom died in a 1946 car accident, Kennedy was one of his pallbearers.

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Gerard Zinser, a retired chief petty officer and the last survivor of PT-109, died in Florida in 2001. Both Solomon Islanders Biuki Gasa and Eroni Kumana were alive when visited by National Geographic in 2002. They were each presented with a gift from the Kennedy family.

Biuki Gasa died in late August 2005, his passing noted only in a single blog by a relative. According to Time Pacific magazine, Gasa and Kumana were invited to Kennedy’s inauguration. However, the island authorities tricked them into giving their trip to local officials. Gasa and Kumana gained a little fame only after being identified by National Geographic. In 2007, the commanding officer of USS Peleliu, Captain Ed Rhoades, presented Eroni Kumana with gifts, including an American flag for his actions more than sixty years earlier.In 2008, Mark Roche visited Kumana and discussed the PT-109 incident. Kumana was a scout for the Coastwatchers throughout the war, and besides rescuing the crew of PT-109, also rescued two downed American pilots who parachuted into the sea. Kumana noted that Kennedy visited him several times after the rescue and always brought trinkets to swap. Regarding attending the inauguration, Kumana noted that he and Gasa made it to the airport in Honiara, but were turned back by Solomon Island officials on the grounds that they would be an embarrassment in their appearance. Kumana lived atop a cliff on his native island with his extended family. His most prized possession was his bust of President Kennedy, given him by the Kennedy family. Kumana gave Roche a valuable family heirloom, a large piece of Kustom Money, to place on the President’s grave. Among other uses, Kustom Money was used to pay tribute to a chief, especially by placing it on the chief’s grave. In November 2008, Roche placed the tribute on the President’s grave in a private ceremony. The artifact was then taken to the Kennedy Library and placed on display beside the coconut with the rescue message.

Eroni Kumana died on 2 August 2014, exactly 71 years after PT-109s collision with Amagiri. He was 93.

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War Crimes by the Allied Forces

As they say, history is written by the victor. No example of this is more true than the Second World War. Although many are quick to paint the Allies as heroes(and rightfully so), many forget the fact that the Allied forces also committed war crimes.Don’t get me wrong ,being born in a country which was liberated by the allied forces I am forever grateful to the heroes that sacrificed their lives so that I could live in freedom.

However it would be hypocritical to dismiss the war crimes committed by the allied troops.

Below are some examples.

Chenogne massacre

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The Chenogne massacre refers to a mass execution committed on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1945, where 60 German prisoners of war were killed by American forces near the village of Chenogne (also spelled “Chegnogne”), Belgium, thought to be in retaliation for the Malmedy massacre. After the WWII.

On December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, soldiers from the Waffen-SS gunned down 80 American prisoners at the Baugnez crossroads near the town of Malmedy. When news of the killings spread among American forces, it aroused great anger among front line troops. One American unit issued orders: “No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoners but will be shot on sight.

John Fague of B Company, 21st Armored Infantry Battalion (of the 11th Armored Division), in action near Chenogne described U.S. troops killing of German prisoners:

Some of the boys had some prisoners line up. I knew they were going to shoot them, and I hated this business…. They marched the prisoners back up the hill to murder them with the rest of the prisoners we had secured that morning…. As we were going up the hill out of town, I know some of our boys were lining up German prisoners in the fields on both sides of the road. There must have been 25 or 30 German boys in each group. Machine guns were being set up. These boys were to be machine gunned and murdered. We were committing the same crimes we were now accusing the Japs and Germans of doing…. Going back down the road into town I looked into the fields where the German boys had been shot. Dark lifeless forms lay in the snow.

The official post-war history published by the United States government states that while “it is probable that Germans who attempted to surrender in the days immediately after the 17th ran a greater risk” of being killed than earlier in the year, even so, “there is no evidence… that American troops took advantage of orders, implicit or explicit, to kill their SS prisoners.”However, according to George Henry Bennett and referring to the above statement; “The caveat is a little disingenuous”, and he proceeds to note that it is likely the orders to shoot prisoners (given by the 328th Infantry regiment) were carried out, and that other US regiments were likely also given similar orders. But the killing of SS prisoners had become routine at the time for some units. The 90th Infantry Division at the Saar “executed Waffen-SS prisoners in such a systematic manner late in December 1944 that headquarters had to issue express orders to take Waffen-SS soldiers alive so as to be able to obtain information from them”

Berlin Mass Rapes

After the fall of Berlin, Germany was in ruins. Occupied by millions of foreign troops, none of whom had complete control over any given entity, Germany quickly descended into anarchic lawlessness. It is believed that the Soviet Army alone was responsible for the rape of up to two million women and children, as well as the subsequent death of 240,000.

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Claimed to be the largest mass rape in history, many unfortunate victims were assaulted up to a hundred times, and often could not resist in the face of overwhelming Soviet numbers.For the most part, these atrocities were driven by the lust for revenge, although in many cases it was simply because the Soviets saw themselves as conquers, not liberators. Stalin himself was reputed to have said that people should be understanding, “if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle.”

It wasn’t just the Soviets who were accused of this crime, however: it is believed that the US was responsible for over 11,000 rapes, while the French have been accused of over 1,500. This is clearly not on the same scale as the Soviets – but it doesn’t make it any less terrible.

Rape during the liberation of France

The invasion of Normandy in June and a second invasion in the south in August, put over two million front line and support troops of the Western Allies into France in 1944.

The Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August. Except for German forces penned in the south-west (e.g. around Bordeaux) or in ports, the majority of German troops were pushed back to the Siegfried Line by the end of 1944. After the war, the repatriation for demobilisation of the troops took time. Even in 1946, months after VE-day there were still about 1.5 million troops in Europe.The housing and management of the thousands of troops awaiting embarkation on a ship for home was a problem.

Life magazine reported the widespread view among American troops of France as “a tremendous brothel inhabited by 40 million hedonists who spent all their time eating, drinking, making love and in general having a hell of a good time”

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By the late summer of 1944, soon after the invasion of Normandy, women in Normandy began to complain about rapes by American soldiers.Hundreds of cases were reported.

In 1945, after the end of the war in Europe, Le Havre was filled with American servicemen awaiting return to the States. A Le Havre citizen wrote to the mayor that the people of Le Havre were “attacked, robbed, run over both on the street and in our houses” and “This is a regime of terror, imposed by bandits in uniform. A coffeehouse owner from Le Havre testified “We expected friends who would not make us ashamed of our defeat. Instead, there came only incomprehension, arrogance, incredibly bad manners and the swagger of conquerors.” Such behavior also was common in Cherbourg. One resident stated that “With the Germans, the men had to camouflage themselves—but with the Americans, we had to hide the women.”

U.S. troops committed 208 rapes and about 30 murders in the department of Manche.French men also raped women perceived as collaborators with the Germans

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A brothel, Blue and Gray Corral, was set up near the village of St. Renan in September 1944 by Maj. Gen. Charles H. Gerhardt, commander of the infantry division that landed at Omaha Beach, partly to counter a wave of rape accusations against G.I.s. (It was shut down after a mere five hours in order to prevent civilians in the United States from finding out about a military run brothel).

The Free French Forces high command sent a letter of complaint to the Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He gave his commanders orders to take action against all allegations of murder, rape, assault, robbery and other crimes. In August 1945, Pierre Voisin, mayor of Le Havre urged Colonel Thomas Weed, U.S. commander in the region, to set up brothels outside Le Havre However, U.S. commanders refused.

130 of the 153 troops disciplined for rape by the Army were African American.Military courts sentenced African American soldiers to more severe punishment than white American soldiers:U.S. forces executed 29 soldiers for rape, 25 of them African American. Many convictions against African Americans were, however, based on flimsy evidence at best. For example, Marie Lepottevin identified William Downs only because he was “much larger” than the other soldiers, despite the crime taking place in near darkness.

 

Oops! I didn’t mean that to happen- WWII mistakes.

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The town of Boise City, Oklahoma has a population of approximately 1,250 people, just a shade lower than the roughly 1,450 who lived there during World War II.

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And in the height of the war, Boise City experienced something few other mainland American towns experience: at roughly 1 A.M. local time on July 5, 1943, whistles and, ultimately, explosions woke up the town. Never mind the fact that Boise City, given that it is located in the middle of the country, is one of the least likely places to be hit by the Germans or the Japanese. This was no Independence Day celebration: Boise City was under attack.

As TIME reported, the townsfolk “acted the way most civilians would act who had never been bombed before. Most of them ran like hell, in no particular direction.”  This was a slight exaggeration: while most of Boise City’s citizens panicked, some kept their heads.  The man in charge of the light and power for the city, Frank Garrett, ran to the town’s central power station and shut down all the lights, in case other bombers were en route and looking for ground targets.  Others went to collect guns and ammunition.  Soldiers — visiting from an army base in Dalhart, Texas, about 45 miles away — helped evacuate a local soda dispensary.

But no further bombs were coming.  The attack was not the Luftwaffe nor the Japanese Air Force.  It was a B-17 bomber — an American plane — lost on a training flight.  The bomber took off from the same army base in Dalhart armed with a six pack of training bomb — a nerfed one which had much less gun powder than the standard World War II-era warhead.  The pilot circled around looking for his target and, upon seeing the lights below, let his payload go.  Way off course, he mistook the lights emanating from Boise City’s town center as his target.

The bombs struck the town center, damaging a garage, a church, and the sidewalk.  Thankfully, no one was killed.

Flugzeug Junkers Ju 88

In July 1944 the crew of a Junkers JU88 nightfighter, lost and without fuel, emergency landed their plane on an RAF airfield in Suffolk.Thinking it was a German Airfield This gift from the skies provided British Air Intelligence with the latest German radar secrets. Throughout the war a technological see-saw had been underway with each side trying to gain the the advantage in radar detection and evasion equipment. The radar technology in this particular night fighter explained why large numbers of British bombers were being shot down from the rear and the RAF aircraft were quickly modified as a result.

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Before American forces finally sunk it during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese battleship Musashi was a menacing sight to behold. As one of the two largest and most powerful battleships ever built (the other one being her sister ship Yamato), the Musashi boasted a displacement of over 65,000 metric tons (72,000 tons) when fully armed and possessed 46-centimeter (18.1 in) guns with a range of nearly 37 kilometers (23 mi). In addition, the giant battleship bristled with myriad smaller guns, including as many as 150 anti-aircraft batteries.

Its massive size and weight, however, led the Musashi to unintentionally flood the city of Nagasaki during its launch in November 1940. The process of lowering the huge ship into the water caused a meter-high (3.3 ft)tsunami that flooded the surrounding residential areas and capsized nearby fishing boats.

Owing to the secretive nature of the launch, the Japanese military kept the flooded residents from leaving their homes. Fortunately for them, no further mishaps plagued the rest of the ship’s construction, which finally finished in August 1942.

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Relieving oneself aboard a submerged submarine doesn’t differ from the usual dry land procedure, but getting rid of the resulting waste is much, much more complicated, requiring advanced technology and the training of personnel to operate the equipment. Unfortunately for the crew of German U-1206, a systems failure was the beginning of unlucky events that would lead to four deaths.

The original toilet or “head” developed for U-boats was a two-valve system that only worked during shallow dives. The newest VIIC U-boats like U-1206 were outfitted with new toilets with a high pressure valve rigged for deep water dives.

On April 14, 1945, while patrolling at 200 feet, 10 miles off Scotland’s coast under the command of Karl-Adolph Schlitt, an improperly flushed toilet aboard U-1206 malfunctioned and began flooding the compartment with sewage and salt water. The water leaked into the batteries, creating deadly chlorine gas. The captain was forced to surface the submarine.

While repairs were being made, U-1206 was spotted by British patrols and fired upon. The captain burned his orders and scuttled the boat. One crewman died in the attack, and three others drowned. Forty-six other crewmen were captured. While it’s not known exactly whose “movement” caused the initial problem, some have speculated the captain himself was responsible. The lost submarine was rediscovered in 2012.

 

Marcel Petiot-“Doctor Satan”

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Nazi-occupied Paris was a terrible place to be in the waning days of World War Two, with Jews, Resistance fighters and ordinary citizens all hoping to escape. Disappearances became so common they often weren’t followed up.

And one man used the lawlessness for his own terrible purposes, killing perhaps as many as 60 people.

Marcel Petiot, (born Jan. 17, 1897, Auxerre, France—died May 26, 1946, Paris)  was a French serial killer who preyed on Jewish refugees attempting to flee France during the Nazi occupation.

Petiot was unusually intelligent as a child but exhibited severe behavioral problems in school and was expelled several times before completing his education. At age 17 he was arrested for mail theft but was released after a judge determined that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. In 1917, while serving in the French army during World War I, he was tried for stealing army blankets but found not guilty by reason of insanity. Despite his mental state, he was returned to the front, where he suffered a mental breakdown. He was eventually discharged for abnormal behaviour, for which some of his examiners said he should be institutionalized.

By 1916, the young Frenchman had volunteered for the French Army in the First World War.

In the Second Battle of the Aisne, he was wounded and gassed, and exhibited more symptoms of mental breakdown.

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He was sent to various rest homes, where he was arrested for stealing army blankets, morphine, and other army supplies, as well as wallets, photographs, and letters; he was jailed in Orléans. In a psychiatric hospital in Fleury-les-Aubrais, he was again diagnosed with various mental illnesses but was returned to the front in June 1918. He was transferred three weeks later after he allegedly injured his own foot with a grenade, but was attached to a new regiment in September. A new diagnosis was enough to get him discharged with a disability pension.

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Despite his history of instability, Petiot then enrolled ina medical school and eventually obtained a medical degree in 1921. He established a practice in the town of Villeneuve, where he became a popular figure.

In 1926, he struck up an affair with Louise Delaveau, the daughter of one of his patients. Delaveau vanished not long after the affair began. While Petiot was never officially implicated in the disappearance, Delaveau may have been his first victim; neighbors said they saw Petiot loading a trunk into his car around the time the girl disappeared. Also in 1926 he was elected mayor but was suspended for four months in 1930 after being convicted of fraud. Later one of his patients was murdered, and another patient (who had accused Petiot of the crime) also died mysteriously. Again removed as mayor in 1931, he soon won election as a local councillor, though he lost his council seat after being convicted of stealing electric power from Villeneuve. In 1933 he moved to Paris, where he enjoyed a good reputation as a doctor and continued to commit various crimes.

After the 1940 German defeat of France, French citizens were drafted for forced labor in Germany. Petiot provided false medical disability certificates to people who were drafted. He also treated the illnesses of workers who had returned. In July 1942, he was convicted of over prescribing narcotics, even though two addicts who would have testified against him had disappeared.He was fined 2,400 francs

His most lucrative activity during the occupation was his false escape route. Under the codename “Dr. Eugène”, Petiot pretended to have a means of getting people wanted by the Germans or the Vichy government to safety outside France. He claimed that he could arrange a passage to Argentina or elsewhere in South America through Portugal, for a price of 25,000 francs per person. Three accomplices, Raoul Fourrier, Edmond Pintard, and René-Gustave Nézondet, directed victims to “Dr. Eugène”, including Jews, Resistance fighters, and ordinary criminals. Once victims were in his control, Petiot told them that Argentine officials required all entrants to the country to be inoculated against disease, and with this excuse injected them with cyanide. He then took all their valuables and disposed of the bodies.

At first, Petiot dumped the bodies in the Seine, but he later destroyed the bodies by submerging them in quicklime or by incinerating them. In 1941, Petiot bought a house at 21 Rue le Sueur.

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He failed to keep a low profile. The Gestapo eventually found out about him and, by April 1943, they had heard all about this “route” for the escape of wanted persons, which they assumed was part of the Resistance. Gestapo agent Robert Jodkum forced prisoner Yvan Dreyfus to approach the supposed network, but Dreyfus simply vanished. A later informer successfully infiltrated the operation, and the Gestapo arrested Fourrier, Pintard, and Nézondet. Under torture, they confessed that “Dr. Eugène” was Marcel Petiot. Nézondet was later released, but three others spent eight months in prison, suspected of helping Jews to escape. Even under torture, they did not identify any other members of the Resistance because they knew of none. The Gestapo released the three men in January 1944.

According to his own account, Petiot worked with the French Resistance during the occupation. He planted booby traps, developed weapons that could kill without leaving forensic evidence, and met with high-ranking Allied commanders. While the veracity of these claims remains largely unsubstantiated, Petiot was cited as a source many years later by Colonel John F. Grombach, the former head of the independent espionage agency known as “The Pond”

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.In March 1944, neighbors complained of a foul stench coming from Petiot’s home in Rue Le Sueur, and of noxious smoke billowing from his chimney. Authorities were summoned. When they searched the premises, they found the remains of numerous victims including, reportedly, charred human remnants smoldering in the fireplace.

The extensive coverage of the Petiot affair soon escalated into a full-blown media circus. Newspapers dubbed the doctor the Butcher of Paris, Scalper of the Etoile, the monster of rue Le Sueur, the Demonic Ogre, and Doctor Satan. One of the first and more popular sobriquets was the Modern Bluebeard.  Later, other names would be proposed for the murder suspect, from the Underground Assassin to the Werewolf of Paris.

The fervent media coverage extended internationally, the same source reports, and “In Switzerland, Belgium, and Scandinavia, the Petiot affair dominated headlines on a daily basis.”

 

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Petiot evaded capture for a short while by adopting an alias and growing out his beard.During the intervening seven months, Petiot hid with friends, claiming that the Gestapo wanted him because he had killed Germans and informers. He eventually moved in with a patient, Georges Redouté, let his beard grow, and adopted various aliases.During the liberation of Paris in 1944, Petiot adopted the name “Henri Valeri” and joined the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) in the uprising. He became a captain in charge of counterespionage and prisoner interrogations.

When the newspaper Resistance published an article about Petiot, his defense attorney from the 1942 narcotics case received a letter in which his fugitive client claimed that the published allegations were mere lies. This gave police a hint that Petiot was still in Paris. The search began anew – with “Henri Valeri” among those who were drafted to find him. Finally, on 31 October, Petiot was recognized at a Paris Métro station, and arrested. Among his possessions were a pistol, 31,700 francs, and 50 sets of identity documents.

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Petiot was imprisoned in La Santé Prison. He claimed that he was innocent and that he had killed only enemies of France. He said that he had discovered the pile of bodies in 21 Rue le Sueur in February 1944, but had assumed that they were collaborators killed by members of his Resistance “network”.

But the police found that Petiot had no friends in any of the major Resistance groups. Some of the Resistance groups he spoke of had never existed, and there was no proof of any of his claimed exploits. Prosecutors eventually charged him with at least 27 murders for profit. Their estimate of his gains ran to 200 million francs.

Petiot went on trial on 19 March 1946, facing 135 criminal charges. René Floriot acted for the defense, against a team consisting in state prosecutors and twelve civil lawyers hired by relatives of Petiot’s victims. Petiot taunted the prosecuting lawyers, and claimed that various victims had been collaborators or double agents, or that vanished people were alive and well in South America under new names.

 

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He admitted to killing just nineteen of the twenty-seven victims found in his house, and claimed that they were Germans and collaborators – part of a total of 63 “enemies” killed. Floriot attempted to portray Petiot as a Resistance hero, but the judges and jurors were unimpressed. Petiot was convicted of 26 counts of murder, and sentenced to death.It was estimated that he netted 200 million francs from his ill-gotten gains

On 25 May, Petiot was beheaded, after a stay of a few days due to a problem in the release mechanism of the guillotine.

 

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Corporal Desmond T. Doss- The WWII Hero who never fired a shot

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I got very excited when I heard the news that Mel Gibson was to take his seat on a Director’s chair again, this time to shoot a WWII movie called “Hacksaw Ridge”. Little did I know it was going to be a movie about a soldier who never fired a shot and yet became one of the greatest WWII heroes.

“The Japanese were out to get the medics. To them, the most hated men in our army were the medics and the BAR men… they would let anybody get by just to pick us off. They were taught to kill the medics for the reason it broke down the morale of the men, because if the medic was gone they had no one to take care of them. All the medics were armed, except me.”

What do you do with a soldier who doesn’t eat meat, refuses to train on Saturday, and won’t carry a gun or bayonet? In the case of Cpl. Desmond T. Doss, you give that soldier a Medal of Honor — and many thanks for saving over 75 lives.

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Desmond Thomas Doss (February 7, 1919 – March 23, 2006) was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor and one of only three so honored (the others are Thomas W. Bennett and Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr.). He was a Corporal (Private First Class at the time of his Medal of Honor heroics) in the U.S. Army assigned to the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.

Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, son of William Thomas Doss, a carpenter, and Bertha E. (Oliver) Doss.

Drafted in April 1942, Desmond Doss refused to kill or carry a weapon into combat because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He consequently became a medic, and while serving in the Pacific theatre of World War II he helped his country by saving the lives of his comrades, at the same time adhering to his religious convictions. Doss was wounded three times during the war, and shortly before leaving the Army he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which cost him a lung. Discharged from the Army in 1946,he spent five years undergoing medical treatment for his injuries and illness.

Because of religious believes and refusal to carry any kind of weapon he suffered a lot of verbal and physical abuse from his own peers, but he remained undeterred.

Doss’s first chance to prove himself came during the American assault on the Japanese-controlled island of Guam in 1944, when he courageously charged through knee-deep mud in driving rain on multiple occasions to reach wounded men anywhere on the battlefield, any time of the day or night, seemingly utterly oblivious to any bullets or mortars that happened to be choking the battlefield at the time. With his Medic insignia prominently displayed on his helmet and sleeve – an emblem that made him a big, meaty target for Japanese snipers eager to crush the American morale by capping their doctors – Doss accompanied hundreds of missions through the dense jungles of the small Pacific island over the course of several months of intense combat, routinely going out with search-and-destroy patrols even when he hadn’t actually even been assigned as the Medic for the unit. For his repeated bravery dragging wounded and dying men out of ultra-deadly killzones and giving them life-saving first aid, Doss earned his first of two Bronze Stars.

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In April 1945, the war in the Pacific was raging and the 77th had landed on Okinawa after fierce combat in Guam and Leyte. After prayers from Doss, his unit captured the 400-foot Maeda Escarpment in an incredible sweep in which not one man was killed and only one minor injury was sustained. When a photographer arrived to capture the moment and asked how they pulled it off, Doss’s company commander answered, “Doss prayed!”

After a month of continued fighting, the tide turned against the Americans on May 5. Almost immediately, at least 75 men fell wounded, and their comrades fell back and retreated to the base of Maeda Escarpment. Left at the top were the Japanese, the wounded  and Doss. Ignoring bursts of shells and artillery fire, Doss tended his injured comrades and began to lower wounded soldiers carefully from ropes to the base of the escarpment. Japanese would advance while Doss lowered yet another man, and the wounded men would shoot the advancing enemy so that Doss could continue his work

Desmond Doss died in 2006 at his home in Piedmont, Alabama, after being hospitalized for breathing troubles,the same day as another Medal of Honor recipient, David Bleak. He was buried in Chattanooga, Tennessee’s National Cemetery.

On July 10, 1990, a section of Georgia Highway 2 between US Highway 27 and Georgia Highway 193 in Walker County was named the “Desmond T. Doss Medal of Honor Highway.”

In July 2008, the guest house at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. was renamed Doss Memorial Hall.

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On August 30, 2008, a two-mile stretch of Alabama Highway 9 in Piedmont was named the “Desmond T. Doss, Sr. Memorial Highway.”

He was a resident of Lynchburg, Virginia in which a portion of US Route 501 near Peaks View Park is named in his honor. Local veterans of the area still honor this hero by decorating the signs marking this portion of road several times during the year, particularly around patriotic holidays and especially Memorial Day.

Trailer for Hacksaw Ridge

 

Corporal Desmond Thomas Doss I salute you.

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Klaus Barbie-The Butcher of Lyon

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The story of Klaus Barbie has always intrigued me. His story tells the unfortunate tale of humanity, it is proof that the lives of ordinary humans and victims really don’t matter. Regardless how evil someone is ,if he has any kind of value to any government, heaven and earth will be moved to keep him alive and out of captivity.For these animals justice quite literally is blind.

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Klaus(Nikolaus) Barbie was born in Bad Godesberg, near Bonn, on October 25, 1913. Barbie was born to a Roman Catholic family. In 1914, his father, also named Nickolaus, was conscripted to fight in the First World War. He returned an angry, bitter man. Wounded in the neck at Verdun and captured by the French, whom he hated, he never recovered his health,He became an alcoholic who abused his children.Klaus Barbie’s parents were both teachers. Until 1923 he went to the school where his father taught. Afterward, he attended a boarding school in Trier. In 1925, his whole family moved to Trier. In 1933, Barbie’s father and brother both died. The death of his abusive, alcoholic father derailed plans for young Barbie to study theology or otherwise become an academic, as his peers had expected. While unemployed, Barbie was drafted into the Nazi labor service (Reichsarbeitsdienst); membership was compulsory for all young German men and women.

On the 26 September 1935 Barbie joined the SS, membership number 272, 284 and eventually joined the SD (Sicherheitsdienst – Security Service) arm of the SS.

On 20 April 1940 he graduated and was promoted to SS –Untersturmfuhrer and five days later he married Regine Willms, a stocky twenty-three year old daughter of a postal worker from Osburg. Almost immediately after the wedding Barbie rejoined his SD detachment and was part of von Runstedt’s army invading the Low Countries and France.

Barbie was officially posted to Holland on the 29 May 1940, Barbie’s SD unit was under the direct command of Willy Lages, the SD commander in the Hague, and his unit was shortly afterwards transferred to the Zentralstelle in Amsterdam, the “Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration.” Barbie’s responsibilities included rounding up German émigrés, freemasons and Jews.On the 12 February 1941, the German authorities used the death of a Dutch Nazi, Hendrik Koot killed in a fight with Dutch dockworkers, as a pretext to seal off the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam.

Below is the NSB(Dutch National Socialist Party) weekly news paper, with he headlines the murder of Koot, describing it as a Jews Crime.

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On 19 February 1941 an SD raid in Amsterdam entered a tavern called Koco, run by Jewish refugees from Germany, Cahn and Kohn. In the tavern, a protective device which Cahn had installed, an ammonia flash went off by accident, spaying the Germans with ammonia.The SD raid was commanded by Klaus Barbie and after some violence everyone inside was arrested and three days later, as a reprisal for his act of “resistance” , the SS raided the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, seized 425 Jews, most of them young men.

They were assembled on the Jonas Daniel –Meyer –plein subjected them to beatings and abuse and then on 27 February 1941 deported 389 of them to Buchenwald concentration camp and after two months 361 of them were deported to Mauthausen concentration camp and certain death.

The arrests were followed by a general strike, Barbie was ordered to execute Cahn and his associates, who had been condemned to death. Barbie was put in charge of the execution squad.

In 1942, he was sent to Dijon, France, in the Occupied Zone. In November of the same year, at the age of 29, he was assigned to Lyon as the head of the local Gestapo. He established his headquarters at the Hôtel Terminus in Lyon,

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where he personally tortured prisoners: men, women, and children alike,breaking extremities, using electroshock, and sexually abusing them (including with dogs), among other methods. He became known as the “Butcher of Lyon”.In Marcel Ophüls’s Oscar-winning documentary film, Hôtel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie,

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the daughter of a French Resistance leader based in Lyon recounts her father’s torture by Barbie – her father was beaten, skinned alive, and his head immersed in a bucket of ammonia; he died shortly after.

Historians estimate that Barbie was directly responsible for the deaths of up to 14,000 people. He arrested Jean Moulin, one of the highest-ranking members of the French Resistance and his most prominent enemy figure. In 1943.

Jean Moulin was mercilessly tortured by Klaus Barbie and his men. Hot needles where shoved under his fingernails. His fingers were forced through the narrow space between the hinges of a door and a wall and then the door was repeatedly slammed until the knuckles broke.

Screw-levered handcuffs were placed on Moulin and tightened until they bit through his flesh and broke through the bones of his wrists. He would not talk. He was whipped. He was beaten until his face was an unrecognizable pulp. A fellow prisoner, Christian Pineau, later described the resistance leader as“unconscious, his eyes dug in as though they had been punched through his head. An ugly blue wound scarred his temple. A mute rattle came out of his swollen lips.”

Jean Moulin remained in this coma when he was shown to other resistance leaders who were being interrogated at Gestapo headquarters. Barbie had ordered Moulin put on display in an office. His unconscious form sprawled on a chaise lounge. His face was yellow, his breathing heavy, his head swathed in bandages. It was the last time Moulin was seen alive.

On behalf of his cruel crimes and specially for the Moulin case, Barbie was awarded, by Hitler himself, the “First Class Iron Cross with Swords.

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In April 1944, Barbie ordered the deportation to Auschwitz of a group of 44 Jewish children from an orphanage at Izieu.

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After his operations in Lyon, he rejoined the SiPo-SD of Lyon in Bruyères, where he led an anti-partisan attack in Rehaupal in September 1944.

After the war, Klaus Barbie was recruited by the Western Allies and worked for the British until 1947, then he switched his allegiance to the Americans. He was protected and employed by American intelligence agents because of his “police skills” and anti-Communist zeal – he penetrated communist cells in the German Communist Party.

With the aid of the Americans, he fled from prosecution in France in 1950 and relocated to South America together with his wife and children. He may have helped the CIA capture Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara in 1967.

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The French discovered that Barbie was in U.S. hands and, having sentenced him to death in absentia for war crimes, made a plea to John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, to hand him over for execution, but McCloy allegedly refused. Instead, the CIC allegedly helped him flee to Bolivia with the help of “ratlines” organized by U.S. intelligence services, and Croatian Roman Catholic clergy, including Father Krunoslav Draganović. The CIC asserted that Barbie knew too much about the network of German spies the CIC had planted in various European Communist organizations, and were suspicious of the Communist influence within the French government, but their protection of Barbie may have been as much to avoid the embarrassment of having recruited him.

Barbie CIC memorandum

In 1965, Barbie was recruited by the West German foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), under the codename “Adler” (Eagle) and the registration number V-43118. His initial monthly salary of 500 Deutsche Mark was transferred in May 1966 to an account of the Chartered Bank of London in San Francisco. During his time with the BND, Barbie made at least 35 reports to the BND headquarters in Pullach.

Barbie emigrated to Bolivia, where he lived under the alias, Klaus Altmann. He had less embarrassment being employed there than in Europe, and enjoyed excellent relations with high-ranking Bolivian officials, including Bolivian dictators Hugo Banzer and Luis García Meza Tejada. “Altmann” was known for his nationalist and anti-communist stances.While conducting his arms trade operations in Bolivia, he was appointed to the rank of Lt. Colonel within the Bolivian Armed Forces.

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Barbie was identified as living in Bolivia in 1971 by the Serge and Beate Klarsfeld(Nazi hunters from France).

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The testimony of the Italian insurgent Stefano Delle Chiaie before the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism suggests that Barbie took part in the “Cocaine Coup” of Luis García Meza Tejada, when the regime forced its way to power in Bolivia in 1980. On 19 January 1983, the newly elected government of Hernán Siles Zuazo arrested Barbie and extradited him to France to stand trial.

In 1984, Barbie was indicted for crimes committed while he directed the Gestapo in Lyon between 1942 and 1944. The jury trial started on 11 May 1987, in Lyon, before the Rhône Cour d’assises. Unusually, the court allowed the trial to be filmed because of its historical value. A special court room with seating for an audience of about 700 was constructed.[19] The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche.At the trial Barbie received support not only from Nazi apologists like François Genoud, but also from leftist lawyer Jacques Vergès.

Klaus Barbie in his prison cell

The lead defense attorney was Jacques Vergès, who argued that Barbie’s actions were no worse than the ordinary actions of colonialists worldwide, and that his trial was selective prosecution. The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche. During his trial, Barbie famously stated that: “When I stand before the throne of God I shall be judged innocent”.

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On July 4, 1987, Barbie was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, Klaus Barbie died of cancer in prison on the 25 September 1991.

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Unusual WWII Facts Part 9

The 1941 and 1942 Elfstedentocht(11 Cities tour.

Even during the War life went on as ‘usual’ .The Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour) is a skating tour, almost 200 KM (120 mi) long, which is held both as a speed skating competition (with 300 contestants) and a leisure tour (with 16,000 skaters). It is held in the province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands, leading past all eleven historical cities of the province. The tour is held  only when the natural ice along the entire course is at least 15 centimetres (6 in) thick.When the ice is suitable, the tour is announced and starts within 48 hours. In 1941 and 1942 it was felt the Marathon skating event had to be held because of the harsh winters which made the ice perfect. The Germans did allow it but did put severe restrictions in place.

Nazis of all nations

At its core, Nazism was hostile to other nations and races, yet when it came to welcoming allies and volunteers – even to their most ideologically pure units – the German military were commendably open-minded. The SS were responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the war. They were ultra-Nazis and supplied the personnel who ran the concentration camps. Yet even this bulwark of the racial ideology of the Nazis became an international force to an extent. Soon, there were volunteers from many countries – Britain, Belgium, Finland, France, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands – serving in their own SS regiments. As the doctrine of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ took hold there were even Slavs from Ukraine, Kosovo Albanians, Arabs, Tatars and Indonesian Asians. These units often exploited long-standing hatreds – anti-British Empire Indian nationalists joined up and Bosnian Muslims who hated the Serbs had their own legion – at the expense of the supposed racial purity of the German cause.

Die Glocke

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Die Glocke means bell in German and it’s one of the strangest of the ‘Nazi Miracle Weapon’ stories (which include UFOs and a hefty dose of the occult) from World War II. The story first came to light in a Polish book published as late as 2000. The author, Igor Witkowski, reckoned he’d got his hands on secret documents and the transcript of an interview with a captured SS officer (conveniently, he wasn’t allowed to make copies) which revealed a secret German weapons programme. Die Glocke looked like a bell, unsurprisingly, and was designed to emit radiation via a secret metallic liquid that it contained. It could also produce anti-gravity. Others took up the story and it soon had a life of its own – the Americans now had it, it was in a Nazi-friendly South American dictatorship. The story may not even be true, but it will probably never go away.

Breaking Barriers

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Howard P. Perry, the first African-American to enlist in the U.S. Marines. Breaking a 167-year-old barrier, the U.S. Marine Corps started enlisting African-Americans on June 1, 1942. The first class of 1,200 volunteers began their training three months later as members of the 51st Composite Defense Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Mid – Swearing-in of William Baldwin, the first African-American Navy recruit for General Service. June 2, 1942. Right – Reginald Brandon, the first African-American graduate of the Radio Training School of the Maritime Commission. Upon assignment he had the rank of ensign.

Operation Dragoon

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15 August 1944 – 14 September 1944

Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France. Despite being one of the largest amphibious operations in history, it was overshadowed by Operation Overlord and is virtually forgotten today. The landings were lightly opposed because of the Normandy Campaign and successful diversion tactics, and by the end of the first day advances of nearly thirty kilometers had been achieved.

During the late summer of 1944, the Allied advance from the Normandy beachheads had bogged down due to lack of supplies. Capturing port facilities became of the utmost importance because key ports in northern France were unusable. By mid September, Operation Dragoon linked up with units from the Normandy advance, and the port of Marseilles had begun receiving supplies. By the end of the war, southern France would supply nearly one third of Allied material in Europe.

The Olterra

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The plan sounds like something from a spy movie—to use a secret underwater base as a jumping-off point for launching and recovering midget submarines that would destroy British shipping. That’s exactly what the Italians planned and eventually executed. An Italian cargo ship, the Olterra, was stuck in Spain after World War II broke out and just happened to be anchored across the harbor from the British fortress at Gibraltar. Italy managed to secretly smuggle several tiny midget submarines through Spain and onto the Olterra as well as equipment to maintain the submarines. A hole was cut in the ship below the waterline to allow midget submarines and combat divers to secretly exit.

The first operation in December 1942 ended in disaster, with three deaths and two combat divers taken captive. However, a second operation in 1943 was successful in sinking three cargo ships, and another operation later that year sunk three more. The British had their suspicions, given that the Olterra was anchored right across the harbor from them, but never found out the truth until Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943

Operation Frankton

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In December 1942, 10 British special forces soldiers were secretly sent to a French port to destroy things and otherwise cause mayhem. Their mode of transport? Canoes. Having realized that valuable war materials were flowing from Asia to Germany through the port of Bordeaux, the British decided that this choke point had to be stemmed. As more destructive ways of destroying the ships in the port could have caused civilian casualties, the British decided on a commando surgical strike. A royal marine came up with the insane plan of commandos paddling canoes into the port and sticking explosives onto the ships.

A British submarine surfaced off the French coast and launched five canoes, each carrying two commandos, for the strike. The port was hundreds of miles inland up a river, and the commandos had to paddle the whole way, taking several days to make the journey and hiding on the shore during the day. Only two of the boats managed to reach the safety of inland waters; two others capsized, and one disappeared. After reaching the harbor, the four remaining commandos blew up six ships.

Two of the commandos were captured and executed, but the other two were smuggled out of France and into Spain by French resistance members. The strike was a huge propaganda boost for the struggling Allies, and the Germans were forced to guard their ships more closely from then on, an increased expenditure of resources.

Pig Basket Massacre

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After the Japanese occupied the Dutch East Indies, a group of about 200 British servicemen found themselves stuck in Java during the invasion. They took to the hills to fight as a guerrilla resistance force, but they were captured and tortured by the Kempeitai. According to over 60 eyewitnesses testifying at the Hague following the war, these men were then forced into 1-meter-long (3 ft) bamboo cages meant to transport pigs. They were then transported via trucks and open rail cars to the coast, in temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius (100 °F). The prisoners, already suffering from severe dehydration, were then placed on waiting boats, which sailed off the coast of Surabaya, whereupon the cages were thrown into the ocean. The prisoners were drowned or eaten alive by sharks.

One Dutch witness, only 11 years old at the time, described the incident to a magazine:

One day around noon, the hottest time of the day, a convoy of about four or five Army trucks passed the street where we were playing, loaded with so-called “pig baskets,” which were normally used to stack pigs during transport to the slaughterhouse or the market. Indonesia being a Moslem country, pigs were only for European and Chinese customers in the market. Moslems (Javanese) were not allowed to eat them and considered pigs (same as dogs) as “dirty animals” from which contact should be avoided. In other words: any connection with pigs and dogs was shameful. To our astonishment the pig baskets were crammed with Australian soldiers, some of them still wearing parts of their uniform, a few even their special hat. They were tied in pairs, two to each other, facing each other, and stacked, like pigs, in the baskets, lying down. Some were in a terrible state, crying for water, I saw one of the Japanese guards opening his fly and urinate on them. I remember being terrified and I can never forget this picture in my mind. Later my father told me the trucks were driven through the town as a show to the Indonesians for utter humiliation of the white race, finally being dumped into the harbour to drown.

Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura, commander in chief of the Japanese forces in Java, was acquitted on war crimes charges by a Netherlands court due to lack of evidence but was later charged by an Australian military court and sentenced to 10 years in prison, which he served from 1946–54 in Sugamo, Japan.

Nazi War criminals that got away.

We love to think that the bad guys always get caught and justice will prevail. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case and often the greater the crime the easier it is to get away with it. Below are some examples of some of the most evil War criminals that escaped justice.

Gerhard Sommer

Gerhard Sommer (born 24 June 1921) is a former SS-Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) in the 16th SS Panzergrenadier DivisionReichsführer-SS who was involved in the massacre of 560 civilians on 12 August 1944 in the Italian village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

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Gerhard Sommer, a former company commander of a mechanized infantry division, had been accused over the Nazis’ mass murder of 560 civilians in the Tuscan mountain village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema in 1944.

On 12 August 1944, Nazi soldiers using machine guns and flamethrowers massacred almost all residents and refugees in Sant’Anna di Stazzema, including 107 children under 14 years.After decades of judicial inertia in Germany and Italy, the case resurfaced in the 1990s based on research by several historians.

In 2005, an Italian military court found that 10 members of the 16th SS “Reichsfuehrer” division, including Sommer, were personally responsible for the massacre and sentenced them to life in prison in absentia.

In 2002 investigations against Sommer were initiated in Germany, but no criminal charges have yet been brought. Gabriela Heinecke, a lawyer from Hamburg in charge of the “Nebenklage”(in addition to lawsuit)  of the Italian survivors of the massacre continues to be denied access to the records by the German public prosecution department.As of May 2006 Sommer was living in a nursing home in Hamburg-Volksdorf, Germany. In May 2015, Sommer was declared unfit for trial by prosecutors in Germany.Sommer’s advanced state of dementia attested by experts meant that he would not have been able to address the court and merely a passive “object of public prosecution.”

 

Helmut Oberlander

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Helmut Oberlander (born 15 February 1924) is a Canadian citizen who was a member of the Einsatzkommando. Since 1994, the Government of Canada has made repeated attempts to revoke Oberlander’s citizenship.

As an ethnic German born and living in Ukraine during World War II, he was conscripted into the German forces at the age of 17 to serve as an interpreter for the EK10A (Einsatzkommando) when they entered Soviet Ukraine in 1941. His duties included listening to and translating Russian radio transmissions, acting as an interpreter during interactions between the military and the local population, and the guarding of military supplies.

The Federal Court of Canada, in Oberlander v. Canada (Attorney General), determined that Oberlander was part of the Ek 10a during World War II.

Ek 10a Deathsquad

The Federal Court of Canada characterized the group as a death squad, responsible for killing more than two million people, most of whom were civilians and largely Jewish. According to the ruling, from 1941 to 1943 Oberlander served with Ek 10a as an interpreter and an auxiliary. In addition to interpreting, he was tasked with finding and protecting food and polishing boots. He lived, ate, travelled and worked full time with the Ek 10a.From 1943 to 1944, he served as an infantryman in the German army.

Oberlander immigrated to Canada with his wife Margaret in 1954, where he ran a construction business and lived in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. He became a Canadian citizen in 1960.In 1995 the Government of Canada initiated a de-naturalization and deportation process against him. On 28 February 2000, Judge Andrew MacKay reported his findings: he concluded that there is no evidence that Oberlander was involved, directly or indirectly, in committing any war crimes or any crimes against humanity. He might not have, however, disclosed his wartime record during his immigration interview in 1953 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Government of Canada determined that withholding this information was sufficient reason to strip Oberlander of his Canadian Citizenship. Andrew Telegdi who was Oberlander’s Member of Parliament, and who was at the time parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Citizenship of Immigration, resigned from that position in objection to this decision.

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In October 2008 the government revoked his citizenship.In November 2009 the Federal Court of Appeal struck down this decision thus reinstating his citizenship.

In 2012 Oberlander was again stripped of his citizenship through an Order in Council of the Government of Canada. Oberlander appealed the 2012 order to the Federal Court of Canada, which the court rejected in 2015. Oberlander then appealed the 2015 decision to the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal. In 2016 the court accepted his appeal, setting aside the government’s 2012 Order in Council.

The judge in the case said that there needed to be study of whether or not Oberlander was only cooperating with Nazis under duress, or out of fear of his life.On July 7 2016, the Supreme Court rejected a government appeal of that decision, meaning that Oberlander will — unless the government revokes it again — retain his Canadian passport.

Alois Brunner

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Alois Brunner (8 April 1912 – c. 2010) was an Austrian Schutzstaffel (SS) officer who worked as Adolf Eichmann’s assistant. Eichmann referred to Brunner as his “best man.” Brunner is held responsible for sending over 100,000 European Jews to the gas chambers. He was commander of the Drancy internment camp outside Paris from June 1943 to August 1944, from which nearly 24,000 people were deported.

After some narrow escapes from the Allies in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Brunner fled West Germany in 1954, first for Egypt, then Syria, where he remained until his death. He was the object of many manhunts and investigations over the years by different groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Klarsfelds and others. He was condemned to death in absentia in France in 1954 for crimes against humanity. He lost an eye and then the fingers of his left hand as a result of letter bombs sent to him in 1961 and 1980, possibly by the Israeli Mossad. The government of Syria under Hafez el-Assad came close to extraditing him to East Germany, before this plan was halted by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Brunner survived all the attempts to detain him, unrepentant about his activities to the end.

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SS captain Alois Brunner, described by Eichmann as his “best man,” was responsible for the deportation of 128,500 Jews to the death camps. After the war in the 1950s, Brunner fled to Syria where he reportedly served as a government adviser to president Hafez Assad and is thought to have instructed the regime on torture tactics.

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He survived two Mossad assassination attempts, and went to his grave utterly “unrepentant,” according to Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff.

In an interview with the German magazine Bunte, in 1985, Brunner described how he escaped capture by the Allies immediately after World War II. The identity of Brunner was apparently mixed up with that of another SS member, Anton Brunner, who was executed for war crimes, instead of Alois, who, like Josef Mengele, lacked the SS blood type tattoo, which prevented him from being detected in an Allied prison camp. Anton Brunner, who also worked in Vienna deporting Jews, was confused after the war with Alois Brunner.

After arriving in Syria under the pseudonym of Dr. Georg Fischer

On November 30, 2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center reported receiving credible information that Brunner had died in Syria in 2010. He would have been 97 or 98. Partly due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the exact date of his death and place of burial are unknown at present.

According to the director of the Wiesenthal Center, Dr Efraim Zuroff, the information came from a “reliable” former German secret service agent who had served in the Middle East. The information was also widely reported in the press. The new evidence revealed that Brunner was buried in an unknown location in Damascus around 2010, unrepentant of his crimes to the end. Zuroff said that, owing to the civil war in Syria, the exact location of Brunner’s grave is impossible to know.

Aribert Heim

 

Aribert Ferdinand Heim (28 June 1914 – 10 August 1992)was an Austrian SS doctor, also known as Dr. Death. During World War II he served at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Mauthausen, killing and torturing inmates by various methods, such as direct injections of toxic compounds into the hearts of his victims.

After the war, Heim lived for many years in Cairo, Egypt, under the alias of Tarek Farid Hussein, where he converted to Islam and died there on 10 August 1992 according to testimony by his son and lawyer. This information, though set forth by a German court, has been challenged.In 2009, a BBC documentary stated that German police had found no evidence of Heim’s death on their recent visit to Cairo;nevertheless, three years later, a court in Baden-Baden confirmed again that Heim had died in 1992, based on new evidence provided by his family and lawyer.

Aribert Heim worked in Mauthausen as a doctor starting in October 1941 at the age of 26, and he only worked there for six weeks.

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The prisoners at Mauthausen called Heim “Dr. Death”, or the “Butcher of Mauthausen” for his cruelty He was known there for performing operations without anaesthesia. For about two months (October to December 1941), Heim was stationed at the Ebensee concentration camp near Linz (Austria),

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where he carried out experiments on Jews and others similar to those performed at Auschwitz by Josef Mengele. According to Holocaust survivors, Jewish prisoners were poisoned with various injections directly into the heart, including petrol, phenol, available poisons or even water, to induce death.He is reported to have removed organs from living prisoners without anesthesia, killing hundreds.

After the war, Heim remained in Germany, working as a doctor at a gynaecological practice in Baden-Baden until 1962, when he went into hiding. In 1979, the public prosecutor’s office in Baden-Baden pressed charges against Heim and issued an international arrest warrant.

It is believed that Heim left Germany in 1963 using his second name Ferdinand and that he traveled to Egypt on a tourist visa. He then lived in hiding in Cairo for decades using the name. In 1980, he apparently converted to Islam and then assumed the name Tarek Hussein Farid. They believe he died at the age of 78 on Aug. 10, 1992 in Cairo.

 

 

 

 

B-25 Empire State Building Crash- 28 July 1945.

We have all seen the horrific scenes of the 9/11 attacks in New York, the 2 images of the 2 planes crashing into the twin towers will forever be ingrained in our minds.

But this wasn’t the first time a plane had crashed into a New York skyscraper. On July 28 1945, near the end of WWII a B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire state Building,however this time it wasn’t an act of terror but an accident.

 

On the foggy morning of Saturday, July 28, 1945, Lt. Colonel William Smith was piloting a U.S. Army B-25 bomber through New York City when he crashed into the Empire State Building at 9:45 a.m, killing 14 people.

Lt. Colonel William Smith was on his way to Newark Airport to pick up his commanding officer, but for some reason he showed up over LaGuardia Airport and asked for a weather report.

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Because of the poor visibility, the LaGuardia tower wanted to him to land, but Smith requested and received permission from the military to continue on to Newark.

The last transmission from the LaGuardia tower to the plane was a foreboding warning: “From where I’m sitting, I can’t see the top of the Empire State Building.”

He was piloting a B-25 Mitchell bomber on a routine personnel transport mission from Bedford Army Air Field to Newark Airport.

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Smith asked for clearance to land, but was advised of zero visibility. Proceeding anyway, he became disoriented by the fog, and started turning right instead of left after passing the Chrysler Building.

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At 9:40 a.m., the aircraft crashed into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 78th and 80th floors, carving an 18-by-20-foot (5.5 m × 6.1 m) hole in the building where the offices of the National Catholic Welfare Council were located.World War II had caused many to shift to a six-day work week; thus there were many people at work in the Empire State Building that Saturday The majority of the plane hit the 79th floor, creating a hole in the building 18 feet wide and 20 feet high.The plane’s high-octane fuel exploded, hurtling flames down the side of the building and inside through hallways and stairwells all the way down to the 75th floor.

One engine shot through the South side opposite the impact and flew as far as the next block, dropping 900 feet and landing on the roof of a nearby building and starting a fire that destroyed a penthouse art studio. The other engine and part of the landing gear plummeted down an elevator shaft. The resulting fire was extinguished in 40 minutes. It is still the only fire at such a height to be brought under control.

Fourteen people were killed: Smith, the two others aboard the bomber (Staff Sergeant Christopher Domitrovich and Albert Perna, a Navy aviation machinist’s friend hitching a ride), and eleven others in the building.

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Smith was not found until two days later after search crews found that his body had gone through an elevator shaft and fallen to the bottom. Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver was injured. Rescuers decided to transport her on an elevator that they did not know had weakened cables. The cables snapped and the elevator fell 75 stories, ending up in the basements. She managed to survive the fall, which still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall, and was later found by rescue workers among the rubble.

 

 

Despite the damage and loss of life, the building was open for business on many floors on the following Monday. The crash spurred the passage of the long-pending Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946, as well as the insertion of retroactive provisions into the law, allowing people to sue the government for the accident.

A missing stone in the facade served as evidence of where the aircraft crashed into the building.

In the 1960s, when the World Trade Center was being designed, this B-25 impact incident served as motivation for the designers to consider a scenario of an accidental impact of a Boeing 707 into one of the twin towers (this was prior to the introduction of the 767, which crashed into WTC 1 and 2 on September 11th, 2001).

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Hitler’s Prehistoric Zoo.

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No this is not some science fiction story. Hitler and the Nazi’s really did have plans to bring back animals that had already been extinct and to an extend they succeeded.

He wanted to create an Aryan race of so-called superior beings, but Hitler and his Nazis didn’t stop at humans.  They were also trying to re-instate prehistoric animals that had been extinct for 9,000 years.They planned to bring back wild Auroch cows – which stood at 7ft to the shoulder and had giant horns – to hunt in ancient forests across Europe.

It was all part of the Nazi obsession with creating a connection to the primeval Germanic tribes of history, which they believed would give them added credibility with the German people.And it was overseen by Herman Goring – Hitler’s second in command and chief huntsman of the Third Reich – who sought a larger and more challenging beast to hunt.

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This is one part of a larger story about how the Nazi party sought to give itself a longer history and a credibility and a sense of legitimacy with the German people by saying they weren’t something totally new but had this 2,000 year history going back to the Germanic tribes in the forest. So the creation of these animals is just one part of that effort to give themselves some history.For Goring, hunting was one of the greatest human activities and he believed there would be a special quality to these particularly wild and ferocious animals. He imagined repopulating large areas of Eastern Europe with these animals. They were bigger and more atrocious and more vicious and that was one of the attractions, because Goring knew hunting those animals would be much more of a challenge than hunting say a fox or a hare. It was the ultimate hunting challenge.

As with many Nazi policies, the level of secrecy Hitler ruled in has made it difficult for historians to make discoveries.Orders were given verbally and rarely written down and evidence of killings was covered up – by burning bodies and destroying concentration camps.But by examining fossilised bones of Aurochs and a war diary kept by a Nazi unit, researchers have been able to identify the Nazis’ plan.

These animals were known as Heck Cattle, named after Lutz Heck a German zoologist.

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Ludwig Georg Heinrich Heck, called Lutz Heck (23 April 1892 in Berlin – 6 April 1983 in Berlin) was a German zoologist, animal researcher, animal book author and director of the large zoo in the German capital city (Zoologischer Garten Berlin).

Together with his brother Heinz Heck, also a zoologist and director of the largest zoological garden in southern Germany, Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich, he started a selective breeding program, which attempted – based on the knowledge of animal genetics of the time – to “recreate” wild animal species that are today extinct, from various forms of the domestic animals whose ancestors they were (see “breeding back“).By their work they created breeds of cattle and horse – later named “Heck cattle” and “Heck horse” respectively, after their creators – that are today seen as not sufficiently similar to their ancestors to be called a successful resurrection, although Heinz and Lutz Heck believed they had “resurrected” the breeds by their efforts.

During World War II Heck took part in the pillaging of Warsaw Zoo, stealing the most valuable animals and taking them to German zoos.

The 2 brothers had already started during the Weimar era in Germany  but the efforts really took shape once Goering got involved.

In 1932, the first bull that Heinz Heck believed to resemble the aurochs, named ″Glachl″, was born. It was a 75% Corsican and 25% (Gray cattle × Lowland × Highland × Angeln) cross individual. This bull and its father subsequently were bred into further breeds to increase weight. As a consequence, most modern Heck cattle go back to Central European milk- and meat cattle that were supplemented by cattle from other regions. Advocates of Heck cattle often claim that Heinz′ and Lutz′ breeding results looked largely identically ″proving the success″ of their experiment. However, Berlin and Munich Heck cattle did not look very similar.

In the German Zoo Duisburg, one Watussi cattle cow, which is a half-zebuine breed, was crossed with a Heck bull. Some modern Heck cattle, mainly those displaying large and thick horns, descend from this crossbred offspring. In some locations, primitive Southern European cattle, such as Sayaguesa Cattle and Chianina, have been crossed into Heck cattle herds aiming to approach the aurochs in phenotypical characters. This cross-breed is called Taurus cattle.

There are about 2000 Heck cattle in Europe and few elsewhere. Heck cattle has been spread in German zoos because of the erroneous claim made by the Heck brothers that these cattle represent a resurrected aurochs and are proposed as animals suitable for conservation projects today. In Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland near Lelystad (Netherlands), there are about 600 Heck cattle roaming freely. Weak animals often are shot by hunters in order to prevent unnecessary suffering.Other cattle are at the Falkenthaler Rieselfelder near Berlin. There are also Heck Cattle at the Nesseaue nature reserve near Jena, Thuringia and at the Grubenfelder Leonie nature reserve in Auerbach, Bavaria. There were about 100 registered in France in 2000. In 2009 nine cows and four bulls were imported to south west England from Belgium.[Derek Gow, a British conservationist who operates a rare breeds farm at Lifton near Okehampton in Devon, bought a herd of 13 Heck cattle from Belgium in 2009.The herd grew to 20 animals, but in January 2015 it was reported that Gow had had to slaughter most of them due to high levels of aggression, leaving just six