NAZI POWs In America

 

 

German POWs landing Newport News 9.42
German POWs from the Afrika Korps captured in North Africa by British 8th Army debark from a ship in Newport News VA in September of 1942. Great Britain was filled to capacity to with POWs and many had to be sent to Canada, then a self-governing dominion of the British Empire. Under an agreement with the British, the United States agreed to take more than 300,000 German prisoners of war. 

Note the Afrika Korps desert boots and tropical uniforms the men are wearing. At the top right of the photograph standing just inside the hatchway is a British solider, probably a military policeman. They wore red hats but I can’t tell in this photo whether the hat is red.

A great story from the Austin-American Statesman on Camp Hearne, one of the largest POW camps in the USA holding German PWs during WW Two. At that time, the men were designated as PWs and not POWs. They had PW painted on their uniforms.

 

“It started with the surrender of the Afrika Korps in spring 1943, when more than 150,000 soldiers were sent to camps in the U.S. According to the Geneva Convention of 1929, which set international wartime standards for prisoners, POWs had to be moved to a climate similar to where they were captured. The American South was deemed as the most appropriate location.

Because of the availability of space, Texas had more than twice as many camps as any other state, with roughly 78,000 POWs living here by the end of the war. The prisoners, however, didn’t get back home until 1947, two years after the war ended. Camp Hearne was among the biggest camps in Texas, and today, its museum provides the most comprehensive and well-documented display of this part of Texas history.”

 

Austin American Statesman Story on German POWs

Classic Cars at the Bottom of the Sea

Very cool piece from the London Daily Mail

 

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Loaded on the ship were a wide range of military vehicles which were being transported by the ship from Glasgow to Alexandria, Egypt.

(photo courtesy of London Daily Mail)

 

Treasure trove of classic cars at the bottom of the sea: The British Merchant Navy ship carrying military vehicles that was sunk in the Red Sea during the Second World War

from London Daily Mail  of 23 May 2014

by Leon Watson

 

 

  • British Merchant Navy ship the SS Thistlegorm sank after it was bombed in 1941
  • The 128-metre-long vessel has lain 30m beneath the Red Sea for 73 years 
  • Still contained within the rusting cargo hold are a wide range of military vehicles
  • They were being transported by the ship from Glasgow to Alexandria, Egypt 

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Motorbikes inside the hold of the SS Thistlegorm, a British Merchant Navy ship that sank after it was bombed by two German planes in 1941.

(photo courtesy of London Daily Mail)

There are more photographs of the sunken ship and cargo and a cool video at the Daily Mail link here:

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2702871/Treasure-trove-classic-cars-bottom-sea-The-British-Merchant-Navy-ship-carrying-military-vehicles-sunk-Red-Sea-Second-World-War.html

 

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 British Merchant Navy SS Thistlegorm 100 feet down on the bottom of the Red Sea.

By this time in the war, almost all British merchant ships were armed to defend against air attack, German raiders or surfaced U-Boats. These were known as DEMS (defensively equipped merchant ship). The guns were manned by several Royal Navy sailors and merchant sailors who had been trained to operate the gun.

(photo by Albert Kok2 courtesy of Wikipedia)

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Trucks in the hold of SS Thistlegorm

(photo by Albert Kok2 courtesy of Wikipedia)

the wikipedia link is here:

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

Below is a cool site by a British diver who researched the wreck in detail and took many photographs and videos of the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm.

http://www.divernet.com/Travel_Features/red_sea/157708/

 

Flugzeug Heinkel He 111

3 September 1939 HE 111 dropping bombs during the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany

(photo from German National Archive)

As referenced, the ship was sunk in the Red Sea by two bombs from a German Heinkel He 111. This twin engine medium bomber was effective but was vulnerable to high performance fighters such as the RAF Spitfire because the Heinkel was slow (273 mph/440 km/h). It was originally developed as a “passenger plane” by the Luftwaffe in the early 1930s and the its speed in those years was considered fast but airciraft performance and speed increased dramatically as newer designs came into service in the later 1930s.

If you have an interest in diving on the wreck there is a link about that here:

http://www.divershotspot.com/Site/Egypt/Red_Sea/SS_Thistlegorm

Invasion Stripes

 

 

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Photo reconnaissance Lockheed F-5 Lightning with “invasion stripes” photographed against the English countryside from the vertical camera installation of another photo Lighting. Circa  summer/fall of 1944.

(Official US Air Force photo http://www.maxwell.af.mil)

GeoffreyPageSpitfire

 

 

Another photo showing the “invasion stripes.” These stripes are the alternating bands of black and white painted on the wings of this What are these Spitfire. What were these for? They served as “recognition marks” for all Allied aircraft participating in D-Day.

For security reasons, instructions to paint these stripes on thousands and thousands of American and British aircraft, were not issued until June 3 and did not reach all units until June 4th. The invasion was originally set for the fifth so many units had less than 24 hours to paint invasion stripes on their planes.

This job was done by ground crewmen and they were in such a hurry that most “invasion stripes” you see in photographs of aircraft from that time look like they were slapped on by a few guys with improvised paint brushes who were in a hurry. And that is exactly what happened.

Front line aircraft in France had the stripes taken off after 30 days and all other aircraft had to remove them by November of 1944 do the Germans would not copy them.

Unfortunately, this did not end “friendly fire” incidents since Allied ships and ground troops opened fire on any aircraft they saw. They could spot an aircraft at quite a distance and open fire before they saw the stripes. Since Allied aircraft often bombed their own troops and ships, the exchange of fire is understandable if lamentable.

 

Invergordon Mutiny of the Royal Navy – Part 2

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12

 

HMS Valiant had been assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet, a favorite port of call would have been Gibraltar – a port with many entertainments for sailors.

 

Dancing Lady
British sailors taking shore leave on Gibraltar visit the Suiza Bar to watch a Spanish dancer perform. (I must say that the bovine dancer doesn’t look too appealing.) Photo taken by famed British photographer Bert Hardy.

“Gib” was a major anchorage for the Royal Navy and the red light district was known as “the Gut.” Many a British sailor lost his virginity in the Gut, often receiving a dose of the clap in return. This was a punishable offence in the Royal Navy. (Not screwing. Getting VD)

After being on the winning side in the 1704 War of the Spanish Succession, Gibraltar was ceded to Britain “in perpetuity” under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. While a self-governing overseas territory, Gibraltar is still a possession of the British Crown. While there is a local elected body, the Governor of the territory is British and the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. There are only 30,000 residents and in several referendums in the last fifteen years the population has voted 99% in favor of remaining under the British Crown and not being ceded to Spain.

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Strait of Gibraltar as seen from an American satellite on April 14, 1994 also known as the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ in ancient times. The island of Gibraltar is the small peninsula sticking out from Spain in the mid-lower left. At this point, the Straits are only 8.7 miles wide. The Atlantic Ocean, the Straits of Gibraltar, and the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea separate Spain on the left from Morocco on the right.

The strategic importance of Gibraltar is way out of proportion to its small size. The magnificent photograph above shows why Gibraltar is such a key strategic point. In the photo, Gibraltar is on the left.

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View of the Strait of Gibraltar opening into the Mediterranean Sea, looking southeast from Gibraltar. Morocco is in the distance.

Gibraltar controls the narrow mouth of the Mediterranean and the British can easily choke off merchant traffic or the passage of warships into or out of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar which they have done during various wars, the most recent being World War Two. The beautiful photo above shows how narrow the Straits are.

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The two amigos: Hitler and Franco give the Fascist salute while inspecting troops in Spain.

Hitler desperately wanted Franco to attack Gibraltar and Franco said he would as long as the German gave him a few things he required and delivered them before he joined the Nazi side.  The list of items was so long – including re-equipping most of the Spanish Army, Air force, and Navy, gold, huge stockpiles of food and fuel oil – it was impossible to for the Germans to fulfill as Franco knew. Nonetheless, Franco did not want the Allies to win World War Two.

He sent a division of 50,000 men to fight with the Germans in the Soviet Union. Known as the Spanish Blue Division, it was decimated over time and in 1944 under intense diplomatic pressure from the Allies, he withdrew the division. Only half of the men had survived. Franco also allowed the German state airline, Lufthansa, to continue their air service from Barcelona to Stuttgart throughout the war.

[Source: Government of Gibraltar.