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1  NCO Club: Off Topic Discussions / The Chambers: Political Discussion Board / Re: Disturbing on: 7 February 2013, 20:13:26
 Hello, all!

Koen, am I one of the '5 active members'?  I haven't been around for a month or so as other activities take more and more of my time.

I do have several comments for consideration.  First, I looked at the page views and they are slightly up for December '12 and January '13 from the level they were at (more or less) for the previous 6 months or so before that.  That could be a sign of hope although it depends on who is doing the viewing.  For my part, I don't necessarily need responses to my posts--images of the banknotes of war or postcards I post--but I am glad to see some of the topics I post are regularly read and looked at. 

Secondly, I don't come to WaT to engage in current events discussions for the most part for a couple of reasons.  I used to do that on another site and it  always ended in frustration for many of the reasons already discussed here.  I'm happy to give some insight to Europeans about 'life in the US', for example, but it's always only my perspective.  Debating issues is a dead-end proposition on the internet, imo, however.  The type of posts I enjoy are ones like Mad Russians just did about Japanese tank insignia; I use WaT for historical resources.  (Well, also to keep in touch with the friends I've met like Koen and Stoffel; Monty and I wouldn't see eye-to-eye on much politically, I believe, but we had good interactions I thought.  Same for FACman.)

anyway, I've gotta go right now but will be back soon!
2  War & Conflicts Discussions / Wars & Conflicts: Personalities & Aces / Re: Leon Leyson, Youngest Schindler's Jew Dies at 83 on: 17 January 2013, 04:03:01
Oddly enough, I can't find a list of Holocaust survivors currently still living who were saved by Schindler.  Wikipedia has a partial list that the author of the book Schindler's Ark used.  Some of the birth dates are as late as 1928; there were children younger than 10 saved, too, so theoretically there could still be living survivors.  Mr. Leyson is listed as "the youngest" which implies to me that there are others.
3  War & Conflicts Discussions / Wars & Conflicts: Personalities & Aces / Leon Leyson, Youngest Schindler's Jew Dies at 83 on: 14 January 2013, 19:36:15
I love the movie Schindler's List and love the story behind the movie. The final scene set in modern Israel brings a tear to my eyes every time I see it.
The youngest of the people saved in part by Schindler has died in California.

4  NCO Club: Off Topic Discussions / The Aisles: Non-military News and Snippets / Re: the right to carry arms? on: 25 December 2012, 00:27:37
thanks for the chart, Koen.

from a mathematics perspective, if guns caused gun violence, we would see similar homicide rates for areas with similar guns/person statistics.  We don't, ergo, guns don't cause gun violence!  Geschokt

I also think that the NRA's response (solution) isn't a good one from either an implementation stand-point or a public-relations viewpoint.
We do have junior and senior high schools with metal detectors at the door and armed security and gunman do not walk into those schools and do this sort of thing.  These school are generally urban and poor with another set of problems besides gun violence.  Psychos will simply find another way to kill and another venue in which to do it if you secure schools. (I'm not saying don't make schools more secure!)
5  War & Conflicts Discussions / World War I / Re: German Generals, WWI on: 20 December 2012, 21:31:28

Seen here is the German Crown Prince Wilhelm who was commanding general of the German Fifth Army.  In the title he's called the winner of Longwy although I don't know how active he was in planning and executing the battle.
The 'death head' is of particular note in his head wear.
6  War & Conflicts Discussions / World War I / Re: German Generals, WWI on: 20 December 2012, 21:28:45

Pictured here is Karl Ludwig d'Elsa, General der Infanterie.  Again from http://home.comcast.net/~jcviser/aok/delsa.htm
"Karl Ludwig d'Elsa 
(01.11.1849 - 20.07.1922)
place of birth:  Dresden, Sachsen  (Saxony)
K├Ânigreich Sachsen:  Generaloberst  (Charakter)

Saxon Generaloberst Karl d'Elsa was in command of XIIth Army Corps at the outset of World War One, attached to Hausen's Third Army. In the spring of 1916 he was given command of Army Detachment "A" but was placed on inactive reserve status in early 1917. After the armistice, the allies wanted d'Elsa tried as a war criminal for his alleged role in atrocities committed against Belgian civilians. General d'Elsa also had a son who served during the war as an infantry captain. D'Elsa died on 20 July 1922."

My postcard is different from the one on the above site and he is wearing many more medals in my image than the other as well.

[Koen, double post in order to get the image to show up; too late to 'edit' the previous post.]
7  NCO Club: Off Topic Discussions / The Aisles: Non-military News and Snippets / Re: the right to carry arms on: 20 December 2012, 18:28:34
Koen, about the clips:  that's exactly what politicians in the US are saying; that's why I ask.  The thinking is that a 3 round capacity will stop a burglar [heck, an empty gun will stop one] but not slaughter 20 kids in school (although, why a psycho couldn't just carry 5 guns to get his massacre is not clear.)  Politicians are also talking about restricting the rate of fire allowed (some of which is already done)  So, yes, US politicians and many citizens discussing this are "using math."
The US Constitution was written with the idea that responsible citizens would be living under these laws and obviously, our education system isn't doing a good job in preparing young people to become happy, healthy and responsible old people.

Stoffel, my figures were comparing the US national average to Amsterdam's.  Of course, New York City, Chicago, L.A., Miami have more.  I did that because the site I found showed rates for each European country alongside that nation's capital city.  Amsterdam had nearly 4 murders per 100,000 population and the US national average is 4.35/100,000.  Luxembourg City is over 4 and Estonia and Lithuania were both at 6 and 8 per 100k, respectively.  [Edit:  I think chips are a good idea.  if you can find your stolen car with one, you should find one with a gun.  would probably take several chips or a chip integrated to the most important parts so criminals don't/can't change them.)]

I just heard in the US, about 2/3 of murders are with guns, so it's obviously the 'weapon of choice' for murder.  I bet it's mostly because of gang activity and organized crime.  I've also heard that males are more 'successful' at suicide since they choose a gun to attempt it while females take pills, use gas, etc.

Oh, here are the sites with US crime rates:  http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm
Here's the site I used for European figures: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Crime_trends_in_detail
8  War & Conflicts Discussions / Wars & Conflicts: Pictures & Postcards / Re: c1900s German Navy Propaganda Postcard on: 20 December 2012, 06:38:31

Here is a picture postcard view of the German cruiser SMS Emden.  This version of the ship is the 1908-1914 version and shows Captain von Mueller and German naval flag in the inset at left.
9  NCO Club: Off Topic Discussions / The Aisles: Non-military News and Snippets / Re: the right to carry arms on: 19 December 2012, 21:47:09
and again some tough guys wil say the right to carry arms ensure a safer community

I'm not a 'tough guy' but here's a Valparaiso Law Revue article proving that law-abiding US citizens being allowed to carry concealed handguns does decrease crime:
10  NCO Club: Off Topic Discussions / The Aisles: Non-military News and Snippets / Re: the right to carry arms? f*** you! on: 19 December 2012, 21:39:52
Understood, Koen! I know your stance on hatred and violence.  But understand the reaction of some in light of what's happened--it's more violence against some for their beliefs and 'f*** you' is one of their responses.

I don't understand the armored back-packs either.  But I never heard of them nor saw anything about them until the ad was shown here by a European.  I honestly doubt that this business will succeed.  (I also doubt that this product was a result of last weeks' shooting.)  I guarantee that 99+% of Americans see it as in bad taste. 

Regarding a 200 year old document, I'm proud that we've had only one republic in 236 years.  There is a way to amend our Constitution and I have no problem with attempting--let alone achieving--change via this method.  (it's been done nearly 30 times.)  However, the only amendment which was subsequently removed by another amendment was an amendment banning a product (alcohol.)  Franklin Roosevelt also outlawed the possession of gold by private citizens.  This was later un-done, too.  It also didn't work (people held on to some of their gold).  

From an American perspective (my perspective, but also many more although of course another may chime in here that they're also an American and do want a ban) a ban won't work.  Think of all the things that are already illegal and the amount of possession/use/action that is still done with these items/ideas.  The American 'mind-set', if you will, and theory of our government has been to emphasize individual liberty as opposed to central government power.  Our history has shown that when individual liberty is coupled with responsible citizenry (morally and intellectually), freedom is better than limits imposed by government.  People are happier, economic times are better, more innovation takes place, etc. I'm not talking of material happiness nor material innovation alone, either--a sense of individual liberty allows creativity to flourish in all spheres of human endeavor.  I'm of the opinion that all of human history shows this to be true.

The murderer in CT attempted to get a gun through legal channels and was legally denied so he ended up stealing a legal firearm stored illegally.  Most of the talk in the US this week has focused on mental illness not gun control.  As I stated before, guns are less prevalent today than in our past; all crime is down and trending down; guns were never an issue in our country before so something else has changed.  School children have 'lock down' drills once/month in my kids' school.  We also have fire drills and earthquake drills (in Seattle, earthquake drills are necessary!.)  All US schools are 'gun free zones', 'drug free zones', too (there are signs stating so)

I would urge my European friends to read the wikipedia article on 'open carry' States in the US.  Look up homicide rates in the US vs. Europe--2 Baltic countries have a higher murder rate than the US as does the capital of Luxembourg; Amsterdam approaches ours. Look up the states with the most restrictive gun laws and then the list of cities/States with the highest murder and crime rates.  The same locations will be at the top of both lists.    

In the US, there are two types of "gun cultures"--one with kids at shooting ranges on Sundays, safety classes, etc.--and one with gang members doing 90+% of US gun deaths, glamorizing guns/drugs/degradation of women/etc.  One gun culture promotes liberty and crime prevention and one gun culture promotes all of the bad things you're seeing in the news you get about life in the US.

Here's my list of things I don't understand:
I don't understand how Europeans can use alcohol so freely and share it with their children. (this is actually a very good analogy to US views on guns, our 2 gun cultures)
I don't understand how Europeans (and Asians and Africans) can allow oppressive governments to come to power and engage in genocide and wars which have killed 100s of millions in the last 100 years. (it's why we have our 2nd Amendment)
I don't understand why Europeans smoke so much.
You all seem to have reached some sort of accommodation with it and aren't bothered so I won't worry to much about it.
I don't understand how Americans can abort 50 million baby humans in the past 40 years, spend $billions on "entertainment" which glorifies moral bankruptcy and death, or why a near majority of registered voters never vote.
All of the above on my list cause more death (well, except voter apathy) than anything on your list.  It happens in a 'frog in warming water' way though--it's not flashy and sudden so we ignore it, we don't jump out of the boiling water.
11  NCO Club: Off Topic Discussions / The Aisles: Non-military News and Snippets / Re: the right to carry arms? f*** you! on: 19 December 2012, 19:09:39
Just like most Americans need more information on the reality of living in Europe, most Europeans need more insight to what life in the US is like.

The US didn't have a problem (regarding mass murder by private citizens) for the first 185 years of our Republic.  Something else has changed in this society besides an increase in gun ownership/use.  Gun violence and most crime are down in the US in the past 30 years.  Look up the biggest mass murders in the US and they're not done with guns. (box cutters/planes, dynamite, fertilizer) Look up gun murder with the most victims and you'll find it 's not in the US.

When your emotions have cooled down ["f*** you guys"? I know the first response to such an act of evil is going to be emotional but you know there are those who now claim it's open season on shooting NRA members and those who defend them so Koen may be engaging in "hate speech"  Geschokt], I'd like to engage in a discussion about what laws designed to limit these mass murders might work in the US because I think some here have more knowledge about the specifics of certain fire-arms capabilities (magazine capacity, types of ammunition, etc.) 
12  War & Conflicts Discussions / World War II Memorials and Historical locations / Aleutian Island (Alaska) Battleground on: 6 December 2012, 06:49:24

View of the camouflaged Japanese HQ in Holtz Valley near Massacre Pass on Attu, one of the western-most Aleutian Island off Alaska.
This postcard was most likely issued in the late 1940s.  The back of the cards says this HQ was captured in May 1943.
13  War & Conflicts Discussions / Wars & Conflicts: Modelling, Miniatures, Postal Stamps, Music, Patches, Money / More USA Military Payment Certificates Money of War on: 5 December 2012, 00:46:09

This 25-cent MPC, series 692, was issued for use in Vietnam on June 1, 1971 and withdrawn on March 15, 1973. It was the last series ever used.
Unfortunately, this note is missing corners.
14  War & Conflicts Discussions / Wars & Conflicts: Modelling, Miniatures, Postal Stamps, Music, Patches, Money / Money of the French Revolution on: 3 December 2012, 21:08:33

Pictured above is a 5 livre ("pounds") assignat note from 1793.  The top and the bottom border contains the following 'Created the 10th of Brumaire, Year 2 of the French Republic'  The French Revolution brought us use of the metric system but also a new calendar.  I think Brumaire is around October/November and has something to do with 'fog' ('the foggy month' so to speak) and the 10th equates to 31 October; the second year of the First Republic (are we on the Fifth now?) equates to 1793.
The note is uniface (blank on the back) and contains a blind stamp in the white space to the left of the signature, Gilles Somebody.  The notes were cut out of sheets by hand and you can see the uneven border on this one.
15  War & Conflicts Discussions / Wars & Conflicts: Modelling, Miniatures, Postal Stamps, Music, Patches, Money / More Australia WWII Banknotes on: 1 December 2012, 20:09:42

Pictured above is a recent acquisition, an Australian 1942 1 pound note.  George VI is pictured at right while a watermark of Captain Cook is (invisible in this scan) in the blank oval at left.  The Armitage/McFarlane signatures date this to 1942. The design was used from 1938-1952.
Unfortunately, a small piece is missing on the bottom edge, center and the upper left corner.  Oh, well, a note like this is rare and I take what I find!
16  War & Conflicts Discussions / World War II pictures/postcards/maps / Re: The Homefront USA on: 1 December 2012, 07:02:30

Humorous postcard depicting the life of a plane spotter--on the roof with a case of beer and binoculars watching women sun-bathe and get dressed.

Another humorous postcard from the homefront in WWII.  This comes from a soldier stationed at Rapid City Army Airforce Base and was sent to a woman in Mansfield Ohio in late May, 1944.  The message says that "Ruth is with me now" so visits from loved ones was quite possible for those stationed in the US.
The cartoon on the front refers to soldiers' constant wish for a letter from home.
17  War & Conflicts Discussions / Russian Civil War / Re: US Forces in Russia on: 30 November 2012, 00:49:53
did you read the pdf file?

was it turned into a POW camp afterwards? the compound and surroundings in your postcards seem 'cleaner' than in the pdf file...what would be logic seen the difference between garrison and POW camp

I forgot to mention in the above post:  the fence looks like very recent construction--too new to be a PoW camp before the US troops got there and I'm not sure that Austro-Hungarian troops would have been shipped so far east during WWI--to costly, using up railroad equipment, etc.--so I'm not sure this Spasskoye is the one that had the PoWs.

edit: while searching for PoW camps in Siberia, I found this article about the 31st IR. Much of it is exactly what's in Willett's book. http://31stinfantry.org/Documents/Chapter%202.pdf
scroll down to the third page for the list of places the various companies of the the 31st IR stayed. (it's next to the picture of troops marching)
18  War & Conflicts Discussions / Russian Civil War / Re: US Forces in Russia on: 30 November 2012, 00:40:42
Hi, Koen

I started to read the file and have saved it for later research.  It appears to me to be a paper on censor markings and the workings of POW mail in Russia during WWI.  I believe this Spasskoye is the one here https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&authuser=0 (based on Robert L. Willett's Russian Sideshow: America's Undeclared War, p.181, where Willett lists, by company, the locations of the 31st IR, US Army.  If this is correct, these men would be from Co. F or G.

These two images show the same US soldier in Siberia. In the top one, he stands in front of a sign that reads "Huh? supplies for sale".  It reminds me of the markets I saw in Russia in the 1990s!  It looks like a lot of what's for sale is food-related with the bottles on the counters and piles of bread(?) visible on the right.  The second image shows the soldier standing with two Russians. There's a sign above him but I can't make the first letters out at all.

This postcard shows US troops going onto a ship.  They're not carrying too much equipment so this isn't necessarily an embarkation, leaving the port.  This card came with the other five and has a number in the lower right corner like the other 2 shown above so I believe it shows US troops in Siberia. (there's no writing on the back but the wear/soiling pattern is the same on the back; notice the tape on the edge, too.)  If this is the 31st IR, the troop transport ship in the background could be the USAT(?) Sherman [Willett uses this name for the ship, but I can't find any internet info on it.]
19  War & Conflicts Discussions / Russian Civil War / Re: US Forces in Russia on: 29 November 2012, 03:25:17

And in this image, the cameraman has stepped forward and turned slightly to the right and is looking through the gate mentioned in the above picture.  Inside 'the compound' we see soldiers (again, I assume US troops) lined up.  Notice the people outside the fence on the right are numbered; unfortunately, there is nothing on the back of this postcard so without the letter or piece of paper, we cannot identify them.
The building appears to be the same as the one in the first two images above based on the detail work in the facade and the wooden fencing.  So, I can safely id this as US troops in Spaskoye Siberia.
20  War & Conflicts Discussions / Russian Civil War / Re: US Forces in Russia on: 28 November 2012, 06:28:13

OK, this postcard shows more of the 'garrison' part of the Spasskoye garrison.  (Koen, I'm going with your spelling; as soon as I saw it, it all came back to me.  I think it's in Omsk.)
Notice the detail on the 'towers' in the picture above that show on the left edge--they're similar to the details on this building.  I'm pretty sure its; the same one and if we were to look off to the right from where the camera man is taking this picture, we'd see Copeck Hill in the distance.  It appears that this building has a bid wooden fence (protective wall in all likelihood) around it; there's a gate (I'll show you in another postcard soon) on the right of this image behind where the boy and man with legs spread is standing.  Must have been the barracks and/or HQ area.  I assume these are US troops.  No caption and no writing on the back unfortunately.  More to follow!
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