Probably found were examples of the 7.5 cm leichtes GebirgsInfantereiGeschütz 18 Mountain howitzer, which could be disassembled into six to ten packloads weighing 74.9 kg. or under.
RIA Novosti reports that some German WWII artillery pieces were found recently intact and in good working order.
Police in a mountainous region of southern Russia have found five German World War II-era artillery guns along with ammunition for them.
The guns – 76-millimeter cannon – are in good condition, according to police in Kalbardino-Balkaria Republic, the location of Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe.
“If they fell into the wrong hands, they could be used as intended,” Elbrus police chief Muslim Bottayev said, adding that military engineers would soon remove the weapons and ammunition to a safe location.
The guns were discovered near the Donguz-Orun pass at an elevation of 9,184 feet by officers from the Elbrus District Police Department jointly with members of the Memorial Elbrus society.
The find included eight 76-mm artillery shells, four hand grenades, three mines and 500 small-arms rounds abandoned when the Wehrmacht withdrew from the area.
The wreck of a huge Luftwaffe transport plane that was shot down by a British fighter in the Second World War has been found off the coast of Sardinia, according to a team of Italian researchers.
It is believed to be the only surviving example of the Messerschmitt 323 “Giant”, a massive aircraft that was designed to carry tanks, half-tracks and artillery into battle.
The Germans initially intended to use the plane in the planned invasion of Britain, Operation Sea Lion, but it was cancelled and the aircraft instead saw action in other theatres such as North Africa and the Mediterranean.
The Me-323 was on its way from a German base in Sardinia to the city of Pistoia in Tuscany when it was shot down by a Bristol Beaufighter long-range fighter plane on July 26, 1943.
It crashed into the sea off the Maddalena islands, an idyllic archipelago of low islands and sandy beaches that is popular with sailors and holidaymakers.
A small team led by Cristina Freghieri, a diver and amateur historian, claims to have discovered the wreck at a depth of 200ft.
A bomb disposal team has detonated an American bomb left over from World War II found in the German city of Munich.
The detonation happened shortly before 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT) in the Schwabing district and was heard across the city, local media report.
There are reports that sparks from the explosion caused the roofs of some neighbouring buildings to catch fire.
The bomb was discovered on Monday night by building workers at the site of an old bar that was being demolished.
Overnight, 2,500 residents were evacuated from the area closest to the bomb, with others living further away being told to stay in their homes.
Experts decided it was not possible to make the device safe because of its unusual fuse, which operated by means of a chemical reaction rather than the mechanical device that many Allied World War II bombs used.
The bomb was described as a highly explosive, a 550lb (250kg) device dropped by the Americans.
It is not unusual for big, unexploded bombs to be discovered in Germany, the BBC’s Stephen Evans reports.
About 600 tonnes of unexploded ordnance are discovered in Germany every year.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
The German Savings Bank (Sparkasse) of Chemnitz in Saxony held a contest allowing customers to vote for an image to be used on its Mastercard.
Chemnitz used to be in the German Democratic Republic (aka East Germany), and the Communist regime renamed the city Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1953. The original name was restored when Communism fell in 1990.
Nostalgic Ostis evidently cast their votes for Karl Marx, proving ironically once again that Capitalism offers choices, even to those who don’t appreciate it.
Shiv disguised as a wooden crucifix; found in an inmate’s cell in Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany, sometime around 1994; intended for use in an escape or as a general weapon. At that time a lot of crucifixes were fashioned in prison woodshops until jailers finally figured out their true purpose.
Border Guard Conrad Schumann defects August 15, 1961
Germans today observed a minute of silence on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet’s construction of the Berlin Wall in honor of its victims. The Guardian reports on some representatives of the German left who refused to participate.
A group of leftwing politicians in Germany have been criticised for refusing to observe a minute’s silence on Saturday to commemorate the 136-plus people who died trying to breach the Berlin Wall.
A far-left newspaper added to the controversy by printing a front page saying “thank you” to the wall for “28 years of keeping the peace in Europe” and “28 years of plentiful crèche and kindergarten places”.
The timing of both stunts was provocative: Saturday marked 50 years since the East German government built what it euphemistically described as “an anti-fascist protection measure”. To mark the date, a minute’s silence was held across Germany at noon, with Angela Merkel attending an event on the former death strip in east Berlin.
But at a political conference in Rostock, in the former East Germany, three delegates from Die Linke party refused to join in when 100 colleagues stood up to observe the silence.
Read the whole thing.
Human remains of Bronze Age began turning up along the banks of the Tollense River, near Neubrandenburg on the Mecklenburg plain north of Berlin, in 1997.
More than 2000 bones representing the skeletal remains of 90 individuals, along with war clubs and the remains of horses, have been found, providing evidence of a battle fought here around 1250 B.C.
An article appearing in this month’s Antiquity (behind subscription screen) reports:
Chance discoveries of weapons, horse bones and human skeletal remains along the banks of the River Tollense led to a campaign of research which has identified them as the debris from a Bronze Age battle. The resources of war included horses, arrowheads and wooden clubs, and the dead had suffered blows indicating face-to-face combat. This surprisingly modern and decidedly vicious struggle took place over the swampy braided streams of the river in an area of settled, possibly coveted, territory. Washed along by the current, the bodies and weapons came to rest on a single alluvial surface.
The archaeological investigation does not seem to have turned up any metal weapons. Perhaps, metal swords and spear points were so valuable in the region in that period that they would have been carefully recovered at the time of the battle. The wooden weapons found, some examples described as resembling a baseball bat and a polo mallet, must have been used by common tribesmen, insufficiently wealthy to arm themselves with swords. History records pagan Baltic tribesmen from Samogitia going into battle against the Teutonic knights as late as the time of the battle of Grunwald in 1410 A.D. armed with knotted oaken war clubs in which flints had been embedded.
Who was fighting and what the conflict was all about are completely unknown, but the German researchers estimate that at least 200 men must have been killed in the course of a single action.
Spiegel German-language article
Spiegel photo slide-show
3:42 German-language video
Dornier 17 bomber lying inverted in the Goodwin Sands.
A largely intact casualty of the Battle of Britain, a Dornier 17 fast bomber, referred to affectionately by the Germans as the Fliegender Bleistift “flying pencil,” was found two years ago when a fishing boat snagged its net on the wreck.
The RAF Museum plans to raise the aircraft and place it on display.
A rare German wartime bomber which was discovered on a sandbank 70 years after it was shot down during the Battle of Britain is to be raised, it was announced today.
The twin-engined Dornier 17 first emerged from Goodwin Sands, a ten-mile long sandbank off the coast of Deal, Kent, two years ago, a spokesman for the RAF Museum said.
Since then, the museum has worked with Wessex Archaeology to complete a full survey of the wreck site, usually associated with shipwrecks, before the plane is recovered and eventually exhibited as part of the Battle of Britain Beacon project.
An underwater side scan of a twin-engined Dornier 17 German wartime bomber, which has been discovered on a sandbank off Deal, Kent, 70 years after it was shot down during the Battle of Britainy
The spokeswoman said the aircraft – known as a Flying Pencil due to its sleek design and stick-like lines – was part of a large enemy formation which attempted to attack airfields in Essex on August 26, 1940 but was intercepted by RAF fighter aircraft above Kent before the convoy reached its target.
The plane’s pilot, Willi Effmert, attempted to carry out a wheels-up landing on Goodwin Sands but, although he landed safely, the aircraft sank.
He and one other crew member were captured but another two men died.
The spokeswoman said the plane was found in ‘remarkable’ condition considering the years it has spent underwater, and is largely intact with its main undercarriage tyres inflated and its propellers still showing the damage they suffered during its final landing.
On today’s date in 1989, the 50th Anniversary of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, a human chain of protestors 400-miles-long stretched across the Baltic States demanding freedom and independence from the Soviet Union.
Hat tip to Publius via Karen L. Myers.
Just across Germany’s northern-most border with Denmark you’ll find an incredible superstore called Fleggaard. There, you can buy everything you need – tubs of gummi bears, cases of wine, industrial strength dishwashing soap – at prices 30% cheaper than you’ll find in Denmark . It is Denmark’s Costco, packaged as a German loophole. This is their advertisement! The 100+ women do stunts in the air – while free-falling – holding hands to spell out “Half-off on Dishwasher at Fleggaard.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a man in Denmark who hasn’t seen and fallen in love with that commercial.
A Woman in Berlin—Eight Weeks in a Conquered City was first published in 1953.
Its anonymous author, describing herself only as “a pale-faced blonde, always dressed in the same winter coat,” had kept a diary of her own personal share of traumatic experience undergone by two million female residents of Berlin upon the arrival of the conquering Red Army in the closing days of April 1945 .
Raped repeatedly, the 34 year old author coldbloodedly determined to “find a single wolf to keep away the pack.” Working by candlelight, fingers “shaking as I write this,” the author recorded her ordeal in a clear-eyed and courageous diary account conspicuously lacking in anger or self pity.
Comparing notes with an old friend on all they have experienced, “How many times were you raped, Ilse? “Four, and you?” She is dismissive and deprecatory. “No idea, I had to work my way up the ranks from supply train to major.”
Her memoir sold badly when first published in the 1950s. Apparently people, after such a short post-war interval, were not eager to revisit the most shocking and painful episodes of WWII. In 2003, when it was republished after the author’s death, it became a bestseller.
The same year, the author was identified as Marta Hillers, a journalist who had studied at the Sorbonne and traveled extensively in Europe, including Russia, before the war.
A film based on the memoir, titled Anonyma – Eine Frau in Berlin, was released in Germany on 2008.
After several weeks of violence, fear, near starvation, and abasement, finding that she and her neighbors have managed to survive a Sunday of victory celebrations, she takes inventory of her situation.
(T)hings are looking pretty good for me. I’m healthy and refreshed. Nothing has harmed me physically. I feel extremely well armed for life, as if I had webbed feet for the mud, as if my fiber were especially supple and strong. I’m well equipped for the world, I’m not delicate — my grandmother used to haul manure. On the other hand, there are multiple minuses. I don’t know what in the world I should do. No one really needs me; I’m simply floating around, waiting, with neither goal nor task in sight. I can’t help thinking of a debate I once had with a very smart Swiss woman, in which I countered every scheme she put forward for improving the world by insisting that “the sum total of tears always stays the same”— i.e., that in every nation, no matter what flag or system of government, no matter which gods are worshiped or what the average income is, the sum total of tears, pain, and fear that every person must pay for his existence is a constant. And so the balance is maintained: well-fed nations wallow in neurosis and excesses, while people plagued with suffering, as we are now, may rely on numbness and apathy to help see them through — if not for that I’d be weeping morning, noon, and night. But I’m not crying and neither is anyone else, and the fact that we aren’t is all part of a natural law. Of course if you believe that the earthly sum of tears is fixed and immutable, then you not very well cut out to improve the world or to act on any kind of grand scale.
To summarize: I’ve been in twelve European countries; I’ve seen Moscow, Paris, and London, among other cities, and experienced Bolshevism, Parliamentarianism, and Fascism close up, as an ordinary person among ordinary people. Are there differences? Yes, substantial ones. But from what I can tell the distinctions are mostly ones of form and coloration, of the rules of play, not differences in the greater or lesser fortunes of common people, which Candide was so concerned about. And the individuals I encountered who were meek, subservient, and uninterested in any existence other than the one they were born to didn’t seem any unhappier in Moscow than they did in Paris or Berlin—all of them lived by adjusting their souls to the prevailing conditions.
No, my current gauge is an utterly subjective one: personal taste. I simply wouldn’t want to live in Moscow. What oppressed me most there was the relentless ideological schooling, the fact that people were not allowed to travel freely, and the absolute lack of any erotic aura. The way of life just wouldn’t suit me. On the other hand, I’d be happy in Paris or London, although there I’ve always had the painfully clear feeling of not belonging, of being a foreigner, someone who is merely tolerated. It was my own choice to return to Germany, even though friends advised me to emigrate. And it was good I came home, because I could never have put down roots elsewhere. I feel that I belong to my people, that I want to share their fate, even now.
But how? When I was young the red flag seemed like such a bright beacon, but there’s no way back to that now, not for me: the sum of tears is constant in Moscow, too. And I long ago lost my childhood piety, so that God and the Beyond have become mere symbols and abstractions. Should I believe in progress? Yes, to biggger and better bombs. The happiness of the greater number? Yes, for Petka and his ilk. An idyll in a quiet corner? Sure, for people who comb the fringes of their rugs. Possessions, contentment?
I have to keep from laughing, homeless urban nomad that I am. Love? Lies trampled on the ground. And were it ever to rise again I would always be anxious, could never find true refuge, would never again dare hope for permanence.
Perhaps art, toiling away in the service of form? Yes, for those who have the calling, but I don’t. I’m just an ordinary laborer, I have to be satisfied with that. All I can do is touch my small circle and be a good friend. What’s left is just to wait for the end. Still the dark and amazing adventure of life is beckoning. I’ll stick around, out of curiosity and because I enjoy breathing and stretching my healthy limbs.
Marta Hillers died in Switzerland in 2001, at the age of 90, without producing another book.
Vera Lengsfeld, a 57-year-old Christian Democrat candidate facing a difficult race in a Berlin district against a Green incumbent, aroused controversy by producing and distributing the above poster, which informs voters: “We have more to offer.”
From the Telegraph.