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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Richard A. Petro

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Richard A. Petro last won the day on March 20 2018

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  1. After reading Mr. Moncure's article today about the Rangers and the cliffs at the 'Pointe', I would suggest anyone wishing to learn the true story of that assault (And the attack on the 'real' gun positions located near a town called 'Maisy') should read Gary Sterne's book "The Cover-Up at Omaha Beach". To make a long story short, the assault on the cliffs appeared not only to be unnecessary (Allied intelligence and the local 'resistance' had been telling the higher ups that there were NO guns at the 'Pointe', hence, no chance they could kill "thousands") but was done because General Eisenhower deemed it a photo opportunity (The author points out that this assault was the only to have its own camera team). The author also brings up the point that General Rommel, Eisenhower's opposite on the German side, used 'Pointe du Hoc' for many, many photo opportunities, as if daring the Allies to try to take it. Indeed, Eisenhower called it the number one target for the initial invasion. Meanwhile, the batteries at Maissy functioned not only during June 6th but for two or three days after until the Rangers finally took the sight. In no way does this lessen the heroism the Rangers displayed at Omaha; I know because my uncle was there and the fighting was as intense as any during the first days of 'Overlord". But those same Rangers did, finally, 'take out' the guns at Maissy.
  2. Dear Pieter, As a symbol (And a fine fighter aircraft), the Spitfire was THE airplane of the "Battle of Britain". It was, however, the less glamorous Hawker Hurricane that accounted for 60% of the German aircraft shot down during the engagement.
  3. Rather simple; electing Hitler in 1932 was Germany's biggest mistake. All that followed, the fighting that is, is a result of his megalomania, dumb luck (initially) and almost complete incompetence as a "military" commander. Oh yes, torturing and killing those of Jewish descent along with anyone else in opposition didn't help the "cause" either.
  4. Why wasn't the Panzer Four considered? It saw service from the beginning of WW2 until the very end while the Tiger was around for less than two years. If reputation and firepower are the determinants, then the M-26 Pershing should also have a spot. But, given the choices, the T-34 is the hands down winner fighting from the gates of Moscow to the very heart of Berlin. The T-34 influenced German tank design (The "Panther" is its Teutonic relative) and was used well after WW2 ended throughout the world. The Sherman was a compromise, a successful compromise, but produced in such numbers that its flaws were overshadowed by its quantity. The Tiger was a limited production success that had no influence in how the war was going to end; the T-34 helped bring about that end while the Sherman did its part on the Western Front while the greatest tank battles from 1943 on were taking place on the Eastern Front.
  5. There's been much written about Michael Wittman as the greatest "tank ace". Since he was SS and the propaganda machine of Nazi Germany loved Aryan heroes, his fame became legendary. Not so Kurt Knispel, a lowly Sergeant, sprouting a beard and a thorn to Nazi authorities with his drinking, carousing and general disregard for "Nazi ideologies". His score was 168 confirmed kills, better than Wittman's, but his "attitude" left him an embarrassment to the higher ups. Hence, Wittman has books written about him, many photographs taken of him (He DID look so dashing!) but, in reality, the long haired, bearded sergeant had a greater "score" than any other WW2 German combatant. As Napoleon was reported to have said, "What is history but a fable agreed upon"!
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