Thursday, February 22, 2024

Need a Lift?

Gefreiter Georg Hansel was trying to keep up with his fellow crewmen, but his head was aching something fierce. Eventually he slipped on a patch of ice and fell to the roadway, his MP 40 clattering as it skidded away from him.

Feldwebel Fritz Weber was to Hansel's front, he turned when he heard Hansel's weapon hit the ground, he gasped as he saw his loader down on his knees, the bandage on his head leaking blood.

"Hold up guys, Georg is all messed up."

Oberfeldwebel Willi Hoffmeister turned to his two other men, Feldwebel Horst Krebs and Panzerschütze Peter Schmidt, and quietly ordered them, "Horst, Peter, keep an eye out," as he hustled back to his downed man.

Weber had his own first aid kit out and was rebandaging Hansel's wound, as he finished he looked up at Hoffmeister, "Wound is worse than we thought, Chef, looks like he opened up the artery over his left eye. He needs to get this stitched up."

Before Hoffmeister could say anything, Weber took Hansel's left hand and told him, "Keep your hand pressed down right here, tight. The blood loss has made you woozy. Chef, he can't walk far, are we near anything? A town, anything?"

As if in answer to Weber's question, the men heard an engine, it sounded like a Kübelwagen. Hoffmeister barked at Krebs and Schmidt, "Cover!" as he scrambled to get off the road.

Weber joined him, dragging Hansel with him. "Scheiße, I left his weapon in the road."

Gefreiter Robert Langhoff, Robby to his friends, was carefully nursing his ailing Kübelwagen down yet another icy road. He had managed to fulfill the mission that Hauptfeldwebel Otto Krämer, Fourth Company's Spieß¹ had given him that morning.

"Robby, there are two disabled Tigers near this road junction," the Spieß had said as he jabbed his finger at the map, "go there and grab any spare parts you can. We have one Panzer left but it's in sad shape. The workshop boys say they can fix it but they need this."

Langhoff looked at the drawing the Spieß presented to him. "Ah, might be dicey, Spieß, that thing is on the side of the engine, might be hard to get to."

"There should be spares in the turret bustle, I don't expect you to disassemble the whole vehicle."

When Krämer saw Langhoff grinning, he nearly struck the man, "You push things sometimes, Gefreiter!"

Langhoff smiled as he remembered the look on Krämer's face, then his smile dropped as he saw a discarded MP 40 in the road, next to a glistening puddle of fresh blood.

He applied the brakes and reached for his StG 44, something was amiss, he'd been down this road in the morning, it hadn't snowed, no one had been on this road that he knew of, what was a discarded weapon doing there? And what was up with the fresh blood?

He nearly had a heart attack when a soldier in a filthy white snow suit stepped into the road, his MP 40 aimed at Langhoff's chest.

"Damn it, Robby, what are you doing out here all by yourself?"

Langhoff relaxed when he saw the face of Willi Hoffmeister, a Panzer commander in 4th Company.

"I might ask you the same, Herr Oberfeldwebel, and where's your beast?"

"Gun smashed up, out of fuel, and about six kilometers back that way," he pointed down the road from whence Langhoff had come from.

"413, right?"

Hoffmeister gave him a puzzled look, then Langhoff explained, "Der Spieß sent me down there to scrounge parts from two Tigers outside the village. One was a complete wreck, the interior burned to a crisp. Your beast, 413, was nearly intact, well, except for the gun. I pulled some parts from the bustle. Want a lift? Der Spieß might have a new ride for you, he has a busted up Tiger and no crew to man it. Oh, we could drive it off, but no one knows how to fight her."

"If it's busted up ..." Hoffmeister began.

"With the parts I scrounged, she'll be good as new by nightfall. Hop in."

The five men from Panzer 413 squeezed into the small car and off they went.

We might be able to get into the fight after all, Hoffmeister mused. Then it struck him, was he ready for all that right away?

Was his crew?

"We shall see," he muttered.

"What?" Langhoff shouted over at him, "I can barely hear you."

Hoffmeister grinned, damned Langhoff was irrepressible, a noted "comedian" in the 4th Company.

"Do you know how to load an 8.8 gun?" Hoffmeister shouted at him.

"Huh, what? Why?"

"My loader is kinda banged up, we might need some help. Worse comes to worst, we can stick you on the bow MG, Schmidt here," he said nodding to the back of the car, "went to the Panzerschule so he knows how to load the gun."

"I was a gunner back in '41, on a Panzer III, I can load the gun alright." Langhoff began to wonder what he was getting himself in to.

"Ah, an experienced man," Hoffmeister laughed and slapped Langhoff on the shoulder, "we'll get you the Iron Cross yet."

Langhoff shook his head, well, might be safer on the roads in a Panzer, he'd seen enough cars and trucks littering the highways to know they weren't safe in an air attack.

"Don't do me any favors, Herr Oberfeldwebel."

"I won't lad, I won't, but maybe I can get you home alive?"

"That works for me." Langhoff admitted.

Their new Panzer, turret number 11, which Weber had painted over with some white wash and a crude "413" roughed in with a burnt piece of wood as a brush, was quickly brought back into service with the parts Langhoff had scrounged. As the engine roared to life, Der Spieß had "organized" enough fuel to fill 413's fuel tank, Hoffmeister leaned out of his hatch to hear the Spieß yelling at him.

"Head east down this road until you get to this crossroads," pointing at Hoffmeister's map, "then turn east and you should pick up the road to Heckhuscheid, that's our rally point. Don't dawdle and don't travel the roads by day, the Amis have more birds in the air than the entire Luftwaffe ever fielded in the East."

Krämer tossed a salute at Hoffmeister then climbed off 413. Sliding back into his cupola, Hoffmeister yelled out, "Take us home, Horst!"

"Which way, Chef?" Weber said with a grin.

"East my boy, east!"

¹ German term for a First Sergeant/Sergeant Major, literally means "Spear."

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

There Is No Time For This ...

What's in today's post ...
As to the title, I mean that literally.

"This" being the blog, between work, shopping for a new laptop, and going out to eat with friends (the only good thing I have planned on Tuesday) I am at a deficit for ticks on the clock to give you anything meaningful or interesting.

Laptop shopping: The Naviguesser recommended one after I asked him "What do you think of this one?" Sort of an offer/counter-offer kind of thing.

I liked my suggestion as it had a nice big hard drive, solid state as a matter of fact, very fast, very big. Son didn't like it as it had a lesser quality graphics card.

I looked into his, many poor reviews, mostly along the lines of the thing overheats too fast.

So I thought I'd made my choice ...

Upon further review, the one I selected also had a lot of bad reviews for overheating.

Mind you, my last laptop died because of, you guessed it, overheating. So yeah, once burned, twice shy. (Almost literally, the heat fried the motherboard.)

Work was frustrating beyond relief on Tuesday, so thoughts are straying to retiring early. So "the three bad days in a row" rule must be invoked.

Any suggestions for a good gaming laptop? Asking for a friend. 🙄

See you tomorrow.

Maybe ...¹

¹ We'll see how dinner with our friends went on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Long Walk Home

How 81mm mortar observers work, is demonstrated by SSGT Glenn K. Keller, Fairfield IA., left, and PFC Virgil Williams, Pitcairn PA., using binoculars and phone, near Oberwampach, Luxembourg. Both Men are with the 90th Infantry Division. Co. D, 358th Inf. Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, Jan 25 1945.
The American anti-tank round had clipped the muzzle brake on 413's cannon. Fragments from that shot had then stripped the outer cover off the gun mantlet. Fragments had also gotten inside the vehicle, wounding Gefreiter Georg Hansel, the loader.

"Gun is f**ked, Chef," gunner Gefreiter Fritz Weber announced.

"That hit on the muzzle brake and the fact that it knocked the cover off the mantlet probably explains why the breech is out of alignment. You might be able to feed a shell into the gun, but when it went off, who knows if the gun would hold. I wouldn't want to be in the turret to find out!" Weber said, just to add the detail his tank commander would have asked for anyway.

"Doesn't matter," Oberpanzerschütze Horst Krebs said from his driver's seat, "we're out of fuel."

"I thought it was awfully quiet in here," young Schmidt commented from his bow gunner's seat.

It was only then that Panzer 413's commander Oberfeldwebel Willi Hoffmeister noticed that the loader, Hansel, was quietly patching himself up and that there was blood splashed against the turret wall next to his position.

"Are you alright, Georg?"

"Just a scratch Chef, most of the blood is from my face, a fragment laid my forehead open."

"Let me see." Hoffmeister demanded.

"Ja, it isn't too deep but head wounds bleed like crazy."

Hoffmeister reached into a first aid kit near his commander's seat and pulled out a bandage. "Hold still, Georg."

After wrapping his loader's head Hoffmeister said, "Alright, the gun is busted, we're out of fuel, I guess we start walking. Take everything we might need, let's bail."

Panzerschütze Peter Schmidt no longer felt like a Grünschnabel¹ after two weeks in combat. As the crew began to head east, he kept glancing skyward. Hopefully the Amis wouldn't bother to strafe five lone men trudging down a back road in the Ardennes. Then again, they had an awful lot of aircraft.


Hoffmeister turned to look at his bow gunner, the kid seemed to be in good spirits. He'd proven himself in combat, he had a future, if he could stay alive long enough. "What is it, Junge?"

"Are you worried about the enemy's aircraft?"

"Of course I am. But it'll be dark soon and we're close enough to the front ..."

"Too damned close," Weber muttered.

"Ahem," Hoffmeister said as he cast a dirty look at his gunner, "close enough so that the Amis will be careful. The battle is fluid right now and units are mixed together near the front, so ..."

"Fluid, Chef?"

"He means we're running for our lives and the Amis are on our arses!" Weber groused.

"Up our arses more like it!" Krebs chimed in.

"Ja, what they said. The enemy in pursuit are close enough that the Jabos might shoot up their own guys, rather than us. So they'll hold off, they'll range ahead and hit the rear areas."

Schmidt asked again, "That's good for us, right? I mean, I do feel sorry for the guys in the rear ..."

"Not just that, Junge, but they'll be taking out bridges. It's too cold to swim the Our River, don't you think?"

"Which one is that, Chef?"

Hoffmeister sighed, "The one we crossed on Saturday the 16th. I know that was a long time ago, but ..."

"Ach, ja! I remember now, the mines!" Schmidt shivered as he said that, and it wasn't from the cold.

As night fell, the crew of Panzer 413 headed ever eastward, towards home and an uncertain future. The great offensive to seize Antwerp had failed. Germany was losing the war.

Author's Note: As I cast about for something to write about, it struck me that I never finished these guys' story at the Battle of the Bulge. So the next few posts will see them return to Germany, a new tank, a new unit, and a trip East. The Russian Front beckons!

¹ Green horn, rookie

Monday, February 19, 2024

Old Friends

Well, Campers, it's been a pretty exciting week around here since last we spoke.  For example, it's been a "Winter in Texas" week.  Friday the high was 73 on my highly accurate truck thermometer.  Sunday when we got up to go to Mass, it read 28.  But at least the wind was blowing so it felt quite a bit colder.

As the man says, if you don't like the weather in Texas, wait five minutes, it'll change.

Speaking of Sunday and in response to Sarge's post, I offer this.

Mustache AND a beard (the beard is still a work in progress),  Photo was taken at 0655 Sunday morning as I was consuming a coffee and reading his post.  Tuna, the balls in your court.

In a post a week or three ago, I had mentioned I was going to try my hand at turning an "Inside Out" ornament on the lathe.  I've used this site as my "teacher".  Learned a lot from him, and decided to get started.

 Did a pretty good job on the inside portion of the ornament.  The next step is to take the four pieces and rotate them so that the hole is now in the center of the rectangle.  Glue the pieces together and then turn the now outer side to the shape you want.  


Very shortly after I began turning it, it started to wobble and as I started to reach for the OnOff switch, the wood shattered and went flying across the shop.  Fortunately, my cranium was below the flight path of the wood and, therefore, is still intact.

No Blood, No Foul.  But, I'm going to do quite a bit more research on the "How To" portion of this mission before I start this type project again.  More to follow.

Shifting gears, earlier in the week on Sarge's Blog, we had had a scintillating conversation about insignia and patches and quality thereof, I went lookabout for the various insignia I had worn.

It was kinda interesting.

The top row is the Patch of the Command I was assigned too when I wore the patches in the second row.  L to R: Air Training Command, Tactical Air Command and Pacific Air Force.  The next row is the patch of the unit I was assigned to when I was in that Command.  Left to right, My UPT Class patch ("Beat's workin' for a livin' is the slogan at the top), my F-4 Training Squadron, the 80th TFS "The Juvat's" patch, my F-4 Moody Squadron, my AT-38 Holloman Squadron, my F-15 Training squadron, my  F-15 Eagle squadron at Kadena.  Bottom row, My TAC Nametag, My Juvat nametag, My TAC nametag, My Eagle Nametag and finally the nametag I wore at the Puzzle palace . (For the curious, that's located in DC and has 5 sides.)

Quite a bit of nostalgia there.

Which kinda enticed me to search through my old computer files from back in the day.  Boy, did I find a treasure!  

While I was flying Eagles on Okinawa, one of the guys in the squadron was big into making home movies.  I found some of them in my hard drive. One in particular got to me.  It's a 4 v 4 Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) fight against the Aggressors in F-5s.  Spud, the creator of the movie, was in the Back Seat of a very special Eagle.  Mine! 78-564. My name was on the canopy rail.

Now, this was in the days of the shoulder mounted movie camera, mind you.  So, we're not talking perfect film quality, nor was he doing much filming during the fighting.  (You try holding one of those up when the jet is pulling 9g). Many of the actual fighting scenes were cut and pasted into the video from the gun camera films taken during various additional DACT fights (which included F-4s and F-106s Mirage III's, My Bad, No 106's in the Pacific). Your humble scribe also has a few cameo scenes in it.  I was # 4 in the four ship.  

All told, watching that video, solidly brought forth a "Damn! I wish I was doing that again!

In any case, for your viewing pleasure.

Have a good week, my Friends!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Why Yes, I Do Have a Moustache

OAFS Photo
Why do you ask?

It all started back at Thanksgiving when Roberto, Grandson #2, informed me that he had learned a new word. That's right, moustache.

"What's it mean?"

"It's hair over your mouth."

"Do you want Grandpa to grow a moustache?" I asked, knowing full well that it would drive The Missus Herself batsh!t crazy.


So that is how I came to have a moustache. Mind you, it's not my first moustache, but I think it's my finest moustache.

I had one in the Air Force for a short while, but based on Air Force Regulation 35-10, the hair could not extend past the corners of the mouth, nor extend over the lip. So, as my mouth is somewhat smallish, my moustache kinda made me look like a certain chancellor of Germany in the 30s and 40s.

Yup, shaved it off.

While I was in the Air Force and on leave back in the US of A, I grew another. This one was completely out of regulations but as I was on leave, I wasn't worried. (A buddy of mine in Germany went on leave for a month, grew a beard and a moustache. He got jacked up on a base in southern Germany for not shaving. Yup, back in the day one had to be in regulations all the time.)

I also had a moustache after I retired from the Air Force, a beard as well. I rather enjoyed not shaving everyday. It did get itchy at first but when it grew in, I was loving it. The Missus Herself not so much. She made me trim it, which became more of a hassle than shaving. But I endured, until one day after church we went downtown to get a bagel. I was wearing my nice suit and a fedora, felt very cosmopolitan I did. Until I saw my reflection in a shop window.

I looked like one of these fellows -

Union and Confederate veterans shaking hands at reunion to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg.
Now those guys don't look bad, they simply look old, I mean that photo was taken fifty years after the battle. Even the youngest among them would be in their mid to late 60s.

I was 47 at the time. I didn't want to look like an old guy.

As I now am, officially, an "old guy," the whiteness of the moustache and (sigh) the hair doesn't bother me.


As for the opening photo, I wasn't smiling, but I do know how ...

OAFS Photo
No, really, I'm smiling in that picture.

Be seeing you ...

Saturday, February 17, 2024

It's about the journey, not the destination, but faster!

Well, there's nothing like self-induced pressure to get a post out of me. I commented on some of the driving posts from last week and that I may be inspired to share.  Not sure it's riveting entertainment, but it'll fill in for Sarge today I suppose.  Anyway, lots of random musings bouncing around my brain regarding this topic but I will attempt to make them somewhat coherent for everyone.  And besides, Sarge asked so nicely!

Licensed for going on 40 years now, driving for 42, so I definitely have some driving experiences of note over that time.  That's not necessarily unusual, as nobody drives for even a handful of years without having experienced something of note- be it tickets, accidents, or observing how crazy other drivers can be, but hopefully my stories can be interesting enough.   

Spending 24 years in the Navy, I had several cross country moves- a couple to and from Florida for my first tour of duty at The Cradle of Naval Aviation- NAS Pensacola, and then when I did some Joint Duty at CENTCOM in Tampa.  Lots of miles, all characterized by a self-induced pressing need to get there in the shortest amount of time as possible.  For that first move from San Diego, it was Interstate 8 until Arizona, picking up I-10 all the rest of the way.  Lots of great places to stop and see some sights, but unless it was at a gas station right off the freeway, I never stopped.  San Diego to El Paso to Houston to Pensacola-  3 days, when I could have taken a full week or more on the Navy's dime.  What a waste of an opportunity.  I'm sure there was some roadside petrified dinosaur egg, or corn maze I missed, if not something better. Next trip, I promise!

1990 Ensign-mobile                                                        Source

During the Tampa PCS* move, I had kids and a wife in tow so the stops were a little longer.  We spent a few days in San Antonio to visit my dad, taking the kids to one of the Six Flags parks.  We also hit New Orleans for the French Quarter and beignets.  And P'Cola to show off the Naval Aviation Museum.  These too were rushed though, always with the final destination on my mind, vice the journey.

2001 Family Wagon (PAC Norwest and Tampa)                               Source

There was also a PCS move from San Diego to the PAC Northwest- Bremerton Washington for a disassociated sea tour on the USS Carl Vinson.  Since we have family in Southern Oregon, that drive up and down the length of California has been done more times than I can remember.  Even as a child as we'd visit our San Diego relatives for various weddings of my cousins, or the big family Thanksgiving at my Aunt's house.  

Those trips to visit family, or stopping for a day or so while "PCS-ing" aren't really vacations.  And when we did do something else, it was often just a 3 day weekend.  That led to us buying into the timeshare thing just as a way to "force" us into taking more time with family, and we're glad we did.  But this gas stop is over so back on the road blog.

I started driving before I was even legal. My dad let me practice a bit when I was 14, ahead of my getting a learner's permit.  And once I was competent enough, yet before I had a license, my parents trusted me to drive 9 miles up country roads in southern Oregon to the little town of Selma in order to pick up my younger siblings, who would get off of the bus after a  school sporting event. 

Mine didn't look nearly this good, especially after I wrecked it.                Source

I've always thought of myself as a good driver, but I'm not sure my record completely backs that up. I was given a 1971 Ford Maverick for my 16th birthday, the same day I got my driver's license. I was given the car not so much as a reward or present, which of course it was, but also so that I would then be responsible for transporting my two younger siblings to school, and getting myself to/from various activities.  Unfortunately it didn't last long.  Just two or three weeks later I had a blowout, and was inexperienced enough to get myself into a wreck. The blowout caused the car to pull hard to the left, for which I overcorrected to the right, slamming into an embankment on the side of the road.  I bent the right front wheel underneath the car, which had unibody construction, so it was totaled. 

A couple years later I was driving back from a girlfriend's house, and while the speed limit was 55, I was doing 67, and got my first ticket at 18 years old. I wouldn't get my next one until I had the aforementioned wife and two children, as we were driving down the scenic 395 from Lake Tahoe back to SoCal.  I was again 12 miles over the limit, this time pacing another car.  However, only 1 of us got pulled over.  I had no chance of talking myself out of this one since the CHP asked for my license and registration, then walked away, returning with the ticket- no chance for pleasantries, no asking if I knew how fast I was going, no nothing.  He must have had a quota to meet, or he didn't like my 2012 campaign sticker for Mitt Romney.  I wouldn't be a fan of that sticker now either, since he's tuned out to be quite the RINO, but I no longer have that 2007 Toyota Tacoma anyway, trading it in for my 2017 Mustang.

Plenty of Scout campouts in this vehicle                                    Source

I don't know if you've been paying attention, but today's Gen Z kid doesn't seem to have the same interest that we did in getting their license as fast as possible.  The freedom it gave me was wonderful.  As I mentioned, I grew up nine miles from the nearest store, two of that up a dirt road, in the mountains of Southern Oregon (after moving from SoCal).  Having a license, and later a car, allowed me a level of freedom that was unavailable to me before that.  Weekends were always spent at home unless there was a school sporting activity I was involved in.  While I was a voracious reader, it was a fairly boring upbringing before having wheels.

When I started my sophomore year in college I drove myself down from Southern Oregon to San Diego in a 1971 Volkswagen beetle, my third 1971 vehicle in a row, with a very beat-up Toyota pickup in that mix.  That pickup followed the Maverick a couple years later, but one that lasted only until the head gasket blew and the head cracked.

A couple of those drives to and from Southern Oregon during college were a bit challenging, as the Siskiyou Pass at the border of California and Oregon would often be closed for snow, or it required chains.  One of those times I took the coast route, adding a half a day's drive to the trip, cutting back to Interstate 5 somewhere north of San Francisco.  The Northern California coast is a beautiful drive, but one I didn't necessarily appreciate back then- again, focusing on just getting back.  However, but the last time I drove it it was quite hairy.  It was another Christmas visit to see family, and we decided to make the return trip a little more of a vacation, thinking we would stop and see things along the way.  However, most everything was closed as this was New Year's Day 2021, and COVID was still in effect.  But the scenic drive was something we were interested in nevertheless.  However, we had to move up that return trip when my wife got COVID and we had to evacuate her sister's house ASAP.  She has an immuno-compromised son and we couldn't take the risk of getting him sick.  We had to leave in the late afternoon after she popped positive, so much of that first leg was spent in the dark in some miserable weather, with a storm making visibility a challenge.  I remember having to focus hard on the tail-lights of the car in front of me as we drove the narrow, winding, and hilly Hwy 101 as it hugs the coast.  We got to our stopping point sometime around 10 or 11:00 that night and I was glad to get off the road, having squeezed all the black out of the steering wheel over the last few hundred miles.

Pretty much the same, but it was wetter and much darker.                             Source

Now I'll admit that some rain and wind don't match the snowy Colorado mountains that Sarge experienced, but winter driving in Oregon can be tricky.  Since it rains so much, but the Winter temperatures can also fall below freezing, black-ice was a semi-frequent risk.  Driving my brother and sister to school in that 71 Toyota pickup and approaching a curve by a rain-swollen creek, I may have been driving a bit fast as I hit some ice and lost control.  We all survived, but I don't know how.  I truly believe there was some divine intervention as I did nothing but panic and hear my sister scream.  Next thing I knew we were through the curve and stopping at the next intersection.  I don't remember counter-steering, nor do I think I even knew what that was, but all of a sudden we were several hundred yards past where I lost control.  

The red circle is where I lost control and the direction of the slide sideways.  The green is where we were sliding, which was a steep bank into the creek (those trees weren't as prevalent from what I remember).  And the blue is where we somehow wound up.  My brother doesn't remember it at all, and my sister only faintly remembers the back end getting loose.  Some serious guardian angel work went on that day if you ask me.  I remember being full of adrenalin after that, and I was far more careful in the years that followed, with an absolute unquestioning belief in our Divine Creator.  

Yes, I like to drive fast, but now I'm not one to drive beyond the limits of the car, the conditions, or the traffic- just a bit higher than the posted speed limit sometimes, with one exception.  March or April 2020, driving to work during the "Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve" idiocracy.  The Military was exempt from the lockdown, and NOBODY was on the road, and I mean nobody, not a single solitary car.  It was a long straight part of the road on the very last mile of I-8 West here in San Diego.  I found out my Mustang will do 130mph easily.  I hit the number quickly, and even more quickly backed it down.  It was a thrill, but not one I feel the need to repeat.  As I mentioned in the comments last week, I have been stopped at least a half a dozen times, but except for the two tickets, was usually let off with a warning.  Being honest and respectful, and flashing that military ID if you can, seems to be the key.  

Well, that's enough of a post for today.  See you on the road.  I promise I won't blow your doors off.

*PCS- it's been explained here before, but Permanent Change of Station- and by permanent, it just means not TDY/TAD (temp duty).   Sarge probably has an acronym page on the right margin.

Friday, February 16, 2024

One Minutia, Two Minutiae, Three ... What?

So I was going to go crazy pointing out the differences between the types of German helmets used in World War II until I looked it up. That's the point where I went crazy. There were multiple variants, different manufacturers (no Joe, they looked alike, only the stamp on the interior was different), ad infinitum.

Par example ...
(I own both types, plus one steel helmet from WWI)
An entire website devoted to the various makes, models, and types of German helmets, even post-war! While I was getting overly excited about that, I noted that Amazon actually sells German helmets! (Well, American ones as well ...)

Is it wrong of me to want one of these? (As I already have one ... - original, enlisted model)

Anyhoo, while chasing all of that I found this website. Fellow rivet-counters and aficionados of WWII German stuff. (This sort of thing has fascinated folks since the war, I've been afflicted with it at times. Their stuff was cool, even if it was used in the service of undiluted evil. Now there's a dilemma for you. At least a lot of it came from German history and wasn't made up by Hitler. Well, except for that whole swastika thing, which is still seen on Buddhist temples. Used to be a good symbol, Hitler poisoned it. Another post there ... Maybe.)

One participant over there had a great tagline -

Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs.
Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive ...


Anyway, here are some of the "money quotes" I snatched from over there ...

Seriously, if I would get an Euro for every goof and anachronism in a Hollywood (or British) war movie, I would be richer than Bill Gates. What you guys did not mention is the outrageous habit of addressing officers with "Sir" instead of "Herr Hauptmann" or "Mon Capitaine". Every time I watch "Das Boot" with English subtitles, I have a crying fit because of the idiotic translations.

At the not so tender age of 73, I have seen a lot of "War Movies" and since my Dad was a career Marine Officer (1935-1968), I tend to be a little bit critical of the details.

On the other hand, the viewers of today would have no real frame of reference as to how accurate the vehicles/uniforms etc. really were in these films. We here are historians, some amateurs such as myself, some more serious and some as Academics and that makes us a bit more demanding of accuracy up to our own standards based on our own knowledge.

Now, who can tell me what's wrong in the opening photograph? (A still from the excellent film Where Eagles Dare. Just kidding, unless you really, really want to ...) OTOH, there is much that is correct about that photo.

Be seeing you.