On Sep 13, 1944, a princess from India lay dead at Dachau concentration camp. She had been tortured by the Nazis, then shot in the head. Her name was Noor Inayat Khan. The Germans knew her only as Nora Baker, a British spy who had gone into occupied France using the code name Madeline. She carried her transmitter from safe house to safe house with the Gestapo trailing her, providing communications for her Resistance unit.
Oh my God, yes. Let’s talk about Noor Inayat Khan.
- Wireless operators in France had a life expectancy of six weeks. Noor was actively transmitting for over three times as long.
- While she was in France, every other wireless operator in her network was slowly picked off until she was the last radio link between London and Paris. It was “the most dangerous and important post in France”.
- She was offered a way back to Britain and refused.
- In fact, in her transmissions to London, she once said that she was having the time of her life, and thanked them for giving her the opportunity to do this.
- She was captured by the Gestapo, but never gave up: she made three attempt escapes. One involved asking to take a bath, insisting on being allowed to close the door to preserve her modesty, and then clambering onto the roof of the Gestapo HQ in Paris.
- Her last word before being shot was, “Liberté!”
I will ALWAYS reblog Wittmann and a Bunny Wabbit!
So we’ve all heard about Wittman’s tiger… but did you hear about Wittmann’s bunny?
During the first half of the First World War the German Army began to seek lighter machine guns which would enable them to break the stalemate on the Western Front and allow troops to be more flexible. The M08/15 was an adaptation of the Imperial German Army’s standard Heavy Machine Gun, the Mashinengewehr 1908 - a Maxim clone. The new machine gun featured a redesigned receiver which shed some weight as well as a large shoulder stock and pistol grip. It remained water cooled but instead of the usual weighty four legged mount it featured a lighter bi-pod which could be attached either near the receiver or muzzle.
The ‘08/15 was fed by a shorter 50-round cloth belt feeding the standard 7.92x 57mm Mauser cartridge although the longer 250-round belts which fed the larger German Maxims. In 1918 an aircooled version designated the ‘08/18 (see diagram) was developed with a perforated barrel jacket which further reduced the M’08’s weight. While it was a robust weapon the M’08/15s suffered from still weighing almost 15Kg, double the weight of an American BAR. The later
M’08/18 while being lighter, suffered from over-heating and could only be fired in short bursts. The ungainly stock profile made firing uncomfortable and the weapon was designed to be operated by a 4 man team, arrayed lying prone around the weapon. Regardless of it’s flaws the M08/15 became the most common German Machine gun of the war with 130,000 being manufactured with them making up 2/3s of a German line regiments 72 allocated machine guns by the end of the war.
At the same time as the ‘08/15 was being developed Bergmann were developing the MG 15Na, a lighter, solely air cooled light machine gun which saw much use on the Italian Front while the M’08/15 predominantly saw use on the Western Front, often issued to German Stormtroopers. It also service with the Imperial German Airforce, it’s lighter weight and the air cooled barrel of the ‘08/18 proving a popular armament for German aircraft.
During the Second World War the M08/15 found itself in action again, issued in place of the newer MG34 during the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 and the occupation of Norway and the sweep through the Low Countries in 1940. Following the early phase of the war the M08/15 saw more use by German Military Police and occupying garrison forces, with newer MG42s replacing them in front line units.
Jane’s Guns, Ian Hogg (1996)
A young woman poses with her young man, a 2nd Lieutenant from the Princess Charlotte of Wale’s (Royal Berkshire Regiment), during the First World War.
Young 2nd Lt.Tolkien and his wife Edith would have looked similar.
Scummy as grabbing and kissing a woman on the street undeniably is, I would like to caution people against ignoring Greta Friedman’s perspective and painting her as a victim.
I’ve seen a few people representing her story in fairly sensationalist ways, and it feels (to me) like her statements have been farmed for problematic quotes to support the writer’s conclusions, and her actual feelings on the matter have been ignored.
I saw, on the lighted bill board that goes around the building. .. ‘V-J Day, V-J Day!’ That really confirmed what the people had said in the office. Suddenly, I was grabbed by a sailor. It wasn’t that much of a kiss. It was more of a jubilant act that he didn’t have to go back. I found out later he was so happy that he didn’t have to go back to the Pacific where they had already been through the war. The reason he grabbed somebody dressed like a nurse, that he felt so very grateful to the nurses who took care of the wounded.
It’s Greta Friedman’s right to determine whether the situation on the street was positive or negative.
They were happy, they didn’t have to go back to war. They’d had enough!
She’s fairly clear, over the course of this interview, about how she interpreted the mood that led to the infamous kiss as being a positive and elated one:
all throughout the day and the evening, people were there. It was like New Year’s Eve only better!
She does not consider herself to have been victimized by a sexual assault.
I’m not sure about the kiss… it was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event. It was just an event of ‘thank god the war is over’ … it was right in front of the sign.
It is Friedman’s right to be horrified, unhappy, enthusiastic or proud about being kissed. Her experience is not our political scandal. We, as bystanders several generations in the future, do not get to decide she should have felt.
Rape culture is a real thing, and trying to make what happened suddenly an okay thing simply because she personally shrugged it off would indeed be part of that—but when we make a spokesperson out of Friedman in this way, we are using her. She gets to decide how to tell her story. Full stop.
How does it feel to be so famous?
It’s kind of fun, because it’s very accidental. Fame for just being there…being dressed right. Actually, the fame belongs to the photographer. He provided an art… I can’t call it a skill. He was an artist. I just happened to be there…. and so did George.Swapping christmas cards and being on good terms with with the guy who kissed her and his wife: this is her choice, and we need to respect that she is smart enough to decide whether she wants to associate with the guy afterwards or not.We send Christmas cards and [George] has a very lovely wife and I have talked to her. Were not friends to see each other, but through this happening we have something in common.It’s not OK to touch people or kiss people without permission. A culture that says that it’s all in good fun when men push women around is objectively sick, but can we please not rewrite a grown woman and an American icon into a symbol of victimhood without her consent? She has a voice here. Don’t take that away because you want to make a point on her behalf.Disagree with her for taking what happened so lightly if you want, but please do so knowing you’re arguing with a person who was actually there, and whose perspective is valid, however outdated by your social standards.Is Friedman herself guilty of the “wide misinterpretation” of the photo because she is not unhappy about what happened? When is it right to tell another person that their experience is invalid?All my Greta Friedman quotes come from this interview, which I really recommend. It contains information about who she is, as well as the role she played during the war before the kiss.
reblogging myself to add some recent quotes in response to the controversy:
“I can’t think of anybody who considered that as an assault,” said Friedman, who exchanges Christmas cards with Mendonsa every year and has appeared with him at several reunion events. “It was a happy event.”
“There is just no way that there was anything bad about it,” she said. “It was all good news, the best news we’d had for a number of years.”
Both Mendonsa and Friedman acknowledged the kiss was a surprise but that it was not unwelcome or offensive. Mendonsa was just excited that he didn’t have to return to war, and thankful for the nurses who cared for his wounded shipmates.
The only person who has a right to go on a crusade about this has now declared herself a willing participant. Let it go.
Get Intimate With History @ the Museum of Communism in Prague
…I’ll hold off, thank you.
Hahaha! Sexy Stalin!
Luftwaffe top ace Hans-Joachim Marseille in the cockpit of his fighter Messerschmitt Bf-109,Libya.
They need to make a movie about him starring Tobey Maguire…
A British Hawker Hurricane being loaded with ammunition.
Given less credit than the flashier Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane was the solid backbone of the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain. Designed as a contemporary monoplane fighter but with construction techniques that echoed the old cloth and wood biplane fighters, it could take marginally more punishment and was a more stable gun platform than the more agile, all-metal Supermarine fighter.
A German soldier captured by American soldiers near Nicosia, Italy - July 1943
Photo by Robert Capa
Is it just me or does this German soldier look exactly like Christian Bale?