May 2nd 1945-Dachau Death March

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There are a few amazing things about the death march from Dachau which had started on April 24,1945 and was headed to the Austrian border. Firstly it was a cold late April and early May because it was still snowing . Secondly there were still a few thousand victims alive but the most interesting thing is who saved the victims.

The victims were saved by the US 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. What was so special about this unit is that they were ‘Nisei’ they were  children of Japanese-born immigrants in the US.

What thought must have gone through the minds of he victims when they saw Japanese looking soldiers in a US uniform.

On 29 April a scouting expedition  of the 522nd found  a sub camp of  Dachau concentration camp.The camp was Kaufering IV Hurlach.

One of the men of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion spoke about what he saw when he entered the camp.

“As we came around the way, there were a lot of Jewish inmates coming out of the camp, and I heard that the gate was opened by our advanced scouts. They took a rifle and shot it. I think it was a fellow from Hawaii that did that. I think it was a Captain Taylor, Company B was one of them, but another person from Hawaii, he passed away. They opened the gate and all these German, I mean, Jewish victims were coming out of the camp.

Then, when we finally opened the Dachau camp, got in, oh those people were so afraid of us, I guess. You could see the fear in their face. But eventually, they realized that we were there to liberate them and help them.

They were all just skin and bones, sunken eyes. I think they were more dead than they were alive because they hadn’t eaten so much because, I think, just before we got there the S.S. people had all pulled back up and they were gone. But, we went there, and outside of the camps there were a lot of railroad cars there that had bodies in them. I had the opportunity to go into the camp there, but you could smell the stench. The people were dead and piled up in the buildings, and it was just unbelievable that the Germans could do that to the Jewish people. I really didn’t think it was possible at all actually”

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The men of the 522, initially wanted to give food to the inmates but were prevented from offering food and water to the prisoners because it could cause them more harm rather than help, the American soldiers found this difficult .Don Shimazu a member of the 522 recalled.

Our hearts were saying, ‘Yes, feed them, help them,’ but our heads were saying, ‘No, don’t feed them, those are orders!’ What those freed inmates must have suffered and endured is beyond imagination—they were like walking skeletons.”

On the 2nd of May the unit encountered Jewish inmates  who were put on a death march from Dachau and were approaching Waakirchen.

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Sources

http://encyclopedia.densho.org/522nd_Field_Artillery_Battalion/#

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn511077

 

Mount Vesuvius- The US Army Air Force forgotten enemy.

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The last time the Mount Vesuvius erupted in Italy was on March 18 1944. The eruptions and the lava flows lasted for several days.

The villages  of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, and Ottaviano were destroyed, as was  part of San Giorgio a Cremano. 26 died and thousands had to flee their homes.

The US Army Air Force 340th Bombardment Group  was based at Pompeii Airfield at the time, just a few Kilometers away from the volcono. Initially it was thought they didn’t have to evacuate but their luck. quickly changed.

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Sgt. Robert F. McRae. documented the events in his diary.

March 20, 1944

“As I sit in my tent … I can hear at four- to 10-second intervals the loud rumbling of the volcano on the third day of its present eruption. The noise is like that of bowling balls slapping into the pins on a giant bowling alley. To look above the mountain tonight, one would think that the world was on fire. The thickly clouded sky glows like that above a huge forest fire. Glowing brighter as new spouts of flame and lava are spewn from the crater. As the clouds pass from across the top of the mountain, the flame and lava can be seen shooting high into the sky to spill over the sides and run in red streams down the slopes. … Today it is estimated that a path of molten lava 1 mile long, half a mile wide, and 8 feet deep is rolling down the mountain. Towns on the slopes are preparing to evacuate. Our location is, apparently, safe. At any rate no one here, civilian or Army authorities, seems too much worried. Lava has not started to flow down this side of the mountain as yet but is flowing on the other side toward Naples.”

March 21, 1944

“At about 5:30 p.m. small streams of lava began running down our side of the mountain. The first on this side. Soon many swift, fiery streams were flowing in all directions. The rumbling continues — more prolonged now. This evening it would seem that the whole top of the mountain is burning. Fiery patches here and there resemble a log which is just burning out. Heavy explosions occur followed by prolonged rumbling while sparks and molten lava are thrown high into the air to fall like rain on all sides of the cone.”

The next entry was on March 29th.

“almost complete devastation” with “tents torn to ribbons” and “88 B-25 Mitchells — $25 million worth of aircraft … a total loss.”

Estimates ranged from 78 to 88 aircraft destroyed.

us aaf

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source

https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/benchmarks-march-17-1944-most-recent-eruption-mount-vesuvius

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robinandrews/2017/02/16/how-vesuvius-upstaged-the-nazi-air-force-during-the-second-world-war/#4f78ecc6597f

SPAM

spam ori

I am going to Spam this blog and I won’t even apologize for it.

But wait before you delete the post.

On this day in 1937 the Hormel Foods Corporation,  head quartered in Austin- Minnesota, USA,  first introduced the product SPAM The square can of pork, salt, water, sugar, potato starch and sodium nitrite that first rolled off the assembly lines 82 years ago during the late depression era. it was invented .as a way to capitalize on  the then-unprofitable pork shoulder.

According to Hormel ,SPAM stands for ‘spiced ham’ and not “something posing as meat”

The product became very popular during WWII.

SPAM WWII

It is actually said that SPAM helped win the war. It went global during World War II, when the US shipped out over 100 million cans to the Pacific, where it made an inexpensive yet filling meal for U.S. troops Millions of cans of SPAM were also  sent to the Soviets and they loved it.

Khrushchev once said “SPAM was a godsend for another hungry group—Russian soldiers in World War II.”

SPAM SOVIET

But how did get SPAM such a bad name when it comes to IT?

We have Monty Python to thank for that. in the 1970s Monty Python’s Flying Circus had a sketch , which is the pop culture Spam reference most people will remember.

The sketch is about a  customer in a restaurant  who desperately tries to order something that doesn’t contain SPAM, only to find that  everything on the menu features it. In the course of his disastrous  dinner, a nearby party of Vikings( It is Monty Python)breaks into song: “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, lovely SPAM! Wonderful SPAM!”

 

spam spam

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The US Army K 9 unit.

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They say that the dog is man’s best friend and I do subscribe to that nation, although I haven’t had a dog for several years. The reason being, the last dog I had got very sick and needed to be euthanized, it broke my heart, and ever since that time I decided not to have any dogs anymore.

But before I get sidetracked this blog is about the heroic dogs that served in WWII.

On March 13 in 1942, the Quartermaster Corps (QMC) of the United States Army begins training dogs for the newly established War Dog Program, or “K-9 Corps.”

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Many brave dogs served in various war efforts including scouting, message couriers, patrolling, sentry duty and mine-detecting, not to mention the companionship they provided to the troops.

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In the United States, the practice of training dogs for military purposes was largely abandoned after World War I. When the country entered World War II in December 1941, the American Kennel Association and a group called Dogs for Defense began a movement to mobilize dog owners to donate healthy and capable animals to the Quartermaster Corps of the U.S. Army. Training began in March 1942, and that fall the QMC was given the task of training dogs for the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as well.

The Dogs for Defense program was initiated by a private citizen, a well-respected breeder of poodles, Mrs. Alene Erlanger. She gained the support of the American Kennel Club, and her organization soon became the primary procurer of dogs for the military.

(Greer Garson and poodles with Alene Stern Erlanger, circa 1942)

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The K-9 Corps initially accepted over 30 breeds of dogs, but the list was soon narrowed to seven: German Shepherds, Belgian sheep dogs, Doberman Pinschers, collies, Siberian Huskies, Malumutes and Eskimo dogs. Members of the K-9 Corps were trained for a total of 8 to 12 weeks.

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After basic obedience training, they were sent through one of four specialized programs to prepare them for work as sentry dogs, scout or patrol dogs, messenger dogs or mine-detection dogs. In active combat duty, scout dogs proved especially essential by alerting patrols to the approach of the enemy and preventing surprise attacks.

jungle dog

A number of dogs trained by the Quartermaster Corps earned outstanding records in combat overseas. Probably the most famous war dog was named Chips. Donated and trained at Front Royal, Virginia, Chips was among the first dogs shipped overseas. Assigned to the Third Infantry Division in North Africa, one of his assignments included sentry duty at the Roosevelt-Churchill Conference in Casablanca, Morocco, in January 1943. On another occasion, Chips, sensing danger, broke away from his handler to attack a pillbox containing an enemy machine gun nest. A bullet pierced his body, but, ignoring the pain, he threw himself upon the enemy and forced the entire crew to surrender. Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart.

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Unfortunately all medals were revoked because he had violated the sacred rule to never break away from his handler. Even though Chips did not need an award to validate his heroism, his service friends took the matter into their own hands and bestowed a theater ribbon on their pal.

By 1945 the Quartermaster Corps had trained 10,425 dogs, including 9,295 for sentry duty, issued to the Army, Navy (Marines) and the Coast Guard. Fewer than 1,900 of those animals were shipped abroad, and by the end of the war only 436 had actually served overseas.

K-9-Corps

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

US history.com

America Comes Alive

Huffpost