German Army Elite Long Distance Special Surveillance and Reconnaissance Commandos

 

The New Motto of the German Armed Forces:

“Let the Americans Do It”

 

The Elite German Army Fernspählehrkompanie 200 or FSLK200, their long range Special Surveillance and Reconnaissance unit, is being disbanded in 2014.

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Jump training in Memphis

A soldier of the elite long-distance Fernspählehrkompanie 200 from exercises in Memphis, TN, USA. Pictured: A Fernspäher in free fall with scale navigation equipment.
© Bundeswehr

Unfortunately, this elite special forces unit is being disbanded by the German Government and the men will be absorbed into other units. Like most countries in Western Europe, the Germans have been unilaterally disarming since they know the USA will defend them if they need defending.

Maybe they Germans should look a map and see how close they are to Russia. They have a lot of experience fighting the Russians and they know it isn’t easy. So with Russia in turmoil what is the German Army doing? Shrinking itself to the size of the police force of Cleveland or some other mid-sized American city.

It is a terrible policy. Besides, I think most American voters would tell the Germans to bulk up their military and be prepared to defend themselves. We’re sick of paying taxes for American armed forces to protect the Germans.

 

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Jump training in Memphis

A soldier of the Fernspählehrkompanie 200 from Pfullendorf exercises the vertical movement in Memphis / USA.
© Bundeswehr

 

 

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Troopers from the elite special forces unit of Fernspählehrkompanie 200 or  FSLK200 (translates as: Special Surveillance and Reconnaissance Instruction Company 200) on practice jump outside of Memphis, TN.

Members of the German armed forces often train in the US because the air space in Europe is so crowded and the population density is so high. Finding places to practice jumping without disrupting air traffic or dropping onto buildings is impossible so they do it here.
The training base for the entire German Luftwaffe is located at the American Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico.

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A Luftwaffe (German Air Force), Panavia Tornado IDS aircraft (s/n 43+13) from the “German Air Force Flying Training Center (GAF/FTC)” at Holloman AFB, New Mexico (USA), heads to the fight after refueling during Red Flag 07-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada (USA), on 31 August 2007. Red Flag tests aircrew’s war-fighting skills in realistic combat situations. (Official US Air Force photograph by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)

This Cut Down On Crime

In Nazi Germany during World War Two:

 

If you robbed a person in the blackout, you got the guillotine

 

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By the end of the World War Two, the Nazis had promulgated approximately 27 different laws which carried the death penalty if violated.

If, for example, you were foolish enough to rob someone during the blackout and got caught, then you received the death sentence. There was no appeal and the sentence was carried out within a few days.

The standard method of execution in Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and through the Second World War was the guillotin, one of which is pictured below.

 

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photo courtesy of the London Daily Mail

The guillotine is named for Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a French physician who was personally apposed to capital punishment. Ironically, Dr. Guillotin was a reformer who proposed to the French National Assembly in 1789 that the guillotine be substituted for all existing methods of execution in France.

Reason: the guillotin was more humane since the existing methods of capital punishment were primitive. 1) either beheading by the sword or ax, which often didn’t work the first time so the executioner had to take another whack or two.

2) hanging, which if one’s neck wasn’t broken in the initial drop, could take as long as 30 minutes to strangle the guilty party to death.

This most sensible and enlightened policy was subsequently adopted.

 

Sources: author’s research, the New York Times, and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillotine

 

 

Third Reich Humor

 

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“so, did you hear the latest one about the Fuhrer?”

The following is from Berlin Embassy by William Russell. The author was studying German in the Third Reich when he was hired by the American Embassy as a visa clerk. This memoir, which I like a lot and have reviewed before, gives a discerning look at everyday life in the Third Reich before and for several months after, the breakout of World War Two. Russell had a good ear and caught a lot of interesting things people said.

In his memoir, which he wrote in 1940, immediately upon returning to the US, he writes:

 

“The following joke was popular in Germany for many months just before the outbreak of the war.

Adolf Hitler and Dr. Goebbels were out riding, when they accidently ran over a dog and killed him.

“Well,” said Goebbels, “think I should find the owner of the dog, and apologize.”

“Go on, then,” Hitler growled, “but see that you come right back.”

One hour later, Dr. Goebbels appeared at the car, much the worse for alcohol.

Seeing that Hitler was extremely angry, Goebbels hastened to explain his absence and his condition. “It was like this,” he said. “I found the house where the owner of the dog lived. I knocked at his door, and when he opened it, I simply said, ‘Heil Hitler; the dog is dead.’

 “Thank God,” the stranger said immediately, “let’s celebrate.”

 

About nine months ago, I received a letter from a fascinating woman in Texas who had lived in Berlin for several years as a young girl during the time Russell was there because her father was running the German division of an American company. She remembered William Russell quite well and said he was a nice young man who often gave candy to American children. She had googled him to discover if he were still alive (he isn’t) and came across a blog post I had written about him and his book. So she wrote me and told me the story of how she had met him and remembered him. I have had subsequent email conversations with her and she is most interesting.

You can find my original post on Berlin Embassy and William Russell here:

http://charlesmccain.com/2011/03/berlin-embassy-by-william-russell/

 

 

 

Captured Reichstag

The Reichstag shortly after its capture by the Soviet troops, 3 June 1945.

This is a fascinating photograph to me since I have stood on the exact spot where the photographer who took this shot was standing and looked at the building. Everything is green and repaired and perfect now so it is hard to imagine it looked like this but it did.

German soldiers contested each floor of the Reichstag forcing the Soviet troops to both fight their way down to the basement floor by floor as well as up to the roof floor by floor. It was brutal up close fighting with soldiers using everything from hand grenades to sub-machine guns, to knives to a favorite of both sides: sharpened German trench shovels.

The building is deceptively tall and you can look out over much of Berlin from the observation deck. Quite a place to visit. Lots of history. As a German friend of mine said to that statement, “too much history.”

[Image courtesy of UK Imperial War Museum Website.]