Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Der Große Ahornsirup Offensive Frühjahr 1945*

Boy Soldiers of the Wehrmacht
In a Captured Sugar Maple Grove
A little known battle of World War II occurred in the spring of 1945 and was fought not in Europe or the Pacific but in the rugged mountains of New Hampshire.

What? Are you kidding? I know you're probably saying to yourselves, "Why didn't I learn about this in school? Is this another failure of public education? Oh my word, what's next?"

Um, no. None of the above.

Actually when I was visiting the ancestral lands up north for Thanksgiving, The Olde Vermonter trotted out that photo above. That's him on the left, holding what is (I believe) a toy M-14. The Musician is that dashing lad on the right, with the camouflaged Thompson submachinegun. Yup, my two kid brothers. Wearing those toy German helmets my Dad brought back from Milwaukee. (Hhmm, why Milwaukee?)

I'm not sure where I might have been for that photo, as it looks exactly like the type of mischief I would have been up to back in those days. Now I have written about the "old days" before, back in May it was. But I had quite forgotten the toy M-14s we once had. This photo reminded me of that awesome faux firearm from "back in the day".

The Marx M-14

The Business End of the Marx M-14

Now the first kid on the street to have one of these was Curt. He lived down at the bottom of the street and didn't really hang out with "The Magnificent Seven" from "up the street". Top of the hill boys we were. Didn't have no truck with them fellers down in the low lands!

Actually Curt's family was the first to live on our street, the street itself bore his family's name. So he'd been around for a while and already had his own circle of friends, down there on the lower streets. We hill folk were all newbies to them. We did mingle from time to time though. Perhaps like Cro Magnons and Neanderthals may have hung out together, back when Buck, Virgil, Joe and Skip were still young fellas. (Ahem, those guys are all several years older than I. The last wooly mammoth had died many months before I was born. About the time Greg was born. I think.)

At any rate, Curt stopped by once and asked if we felt like playing army. Well, he did have that magnificent toy shooting iron (with the orange tip that would move, kinda like flame shooting out the barrel, along with that cool takka-takka-takka sound it made).

Naturally from that day forth, The Olde Vermonter and I pleaded with the parental units for our own M-14s. After all, while we did have our Tommy guns, they were certainly out-ranged by the M-14. Really, we told our Mom and Dad, do you want to create an arms gap between the hill folk and them thar flatlanders?

Well, eventually we did get M-14s. The Musician was still a bit young for that kind of thing, he had to use hand-me-downs, like the camouflaged Tommy gun. Still, better than anything else on the street, other than the M-14 of course.

Of course, when my brothers and I weren't out seizing my grandparent's sugar maples for the Reich, we also indulged in les affaires aériennes**. Things that flew were always popular with my brothers and I.

So imagine our wonder and delight when Mom and Dad bestowed Steve Canyon helmets upon us one fine Christmas. I mentioned those back in May, but my Mom (who, by the way, is somewhat miffed about not having her very own "nom de blog" - I need to work on that) found the following photo of The Olde Vermonter and I this past Thanksgiving.

Yours Truly (Aircraft Commander, left seat) and The Olde Vermonter (YOT)***

The picture above is what we actually looked like. The next couple of photos are a pretty accurate depiction of what was going on in our imaginations!

Ah, good times!

The Fine Print
In the interests of full disclosure, The Olde Vermonter and I debated what this post should be titled. My first thought was Hitler's Maple Syrup. Nope, too "hitlerish". The Olde Vermonter then suggested Sap Nazis. Nope, too much of a Seinfeld rip-off. Hey, I know let's call it Nazi Saps! Ya know, it belittles Nazis and is funny too.

In the final analysis, none of that worked for me. So I started playing around with Google Translate (like I need an excuse to play with that!) The result is what you see.

I had no idea that maple syrup in German was Ahornsirup. Or as Buck might say, "I had no ideer..."

My brothers and I, militaristic? No, what gave you that idea?


* The great maple syrup offensive of spring 1945. An event which never happened. I swear!
** Aerial affairs, you know how I love to inject foreign stuff into the blog!
*** YOT = You Over There, the Weapon Systems Officer in the F-111, aka the WSO.


  1. Priceless memories! Brings back chinaberry wars (no maple trees in Corpus Christi but chinaberries make great projectiles) and more - particularly the building of the Christmas tree forts every January - gathering the trees got serious, with raids and such - my mother inadvertently contributed to ours one year, when she assumed upon seeing a group of kids near our house dragging trees, that we had been raided (we hadn't) and made them put the trees in her Studebaker. This led to the building of the Largest Tree Fortress ever!

    1. Chinaberries? Interesting. We had something similar with crab apples. And you've given me an idea for a post. Thanks Robin.

      Great story about the Christmas tree forts. We didn't do that, but we did make a lot of snow forts. And snow, I gather, is not often seen in the Corpus Christi area.

  2. Interesting F-111A photo. Ejection seats instead of the escape module? I didn't know they had any configured that way.

    1. Ya know, I didn't even notice that until you mentioned it. I need to dig deeper into that one Pogue. Good eye buddy! (Of course, as a photographer you do have an eye for details don't you?)

    2. Maybe that's how the ejected the capsule itself?

    3. According to Wikipedia: The first test F-111A was rolled out of Plant 4, General Dynamics' Fort Worth, Texas plant, on 15 October 1964. It was powered by YTF30-P-1 turbofans and used a set of ejector seats as the escape capsule was not yet available. The F-111A first flew on 21 December 1964 from Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. The first F-111B was also equipped with ejector seats and first flew on 18 May 1965.

      The original design called for ejection seats but (again according to Wikipedia): A request for proposals (RFP) for the TFX was provided to industry in October 1961. In December, proposals were received from Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed, McDonnell, North American and Republic. The evaluation group found all the proposals lacking, but Boeing and General Dynamics were selected to submit enhanced designs. Boeing's proposal was recommended by the selection board in January 1962, with the exception of the engine, which was not considered acceptable. Switching to a crew escape capsule, instead of ejection seats and alterations to radar and missile storage were also needed.

  3. Ah... priceless. I wish I had photos of my childhood engagements but Mr. Eastman hadn't yet invented the box camera and Mathew Brady was otherwise engaged and couldn't be bothered with mere KIDS.

    1. Good one Buck.

      I do recall seeing photos of young Master Pennington and his parents, but nothing of you and your mates playing French Resistance fighters in Paris. (Somehow I think you could pull off wearing a beret. Even now. The French kind, all floppy and such. Of course, vin rouge should be involved.)

  4. Aah!
    Memories of simulated combat
    It was better than a rock fight because nobody ended up crying.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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