Division Cemetery, Okinawa, 1945, Photo via Marine Corps Archives
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…
Much is made of how strong, heavily armored, and revolutionary the German Army’s blitzkrieg attack on France and the Lowlands was in May 1940, able to knock four Western European countries out of the war within six weeks and very nearly trap the British forces on the continent.
The thing is, ut should be remembered that most of the German armor of 1940 were very light 6-ton Panzer I (machine gun armed) 9-ton Panzer II (20mm gun armed) and 20-ton Panzer III (37mm gun) tanks. Further, the French and British actually had more tanks than the Germans. It was the better Teutonic tactics that won the day for the boys in grey, not their vehicles.
But there were some exceptions to that rule. The French had a very good tank for the time, the 29-ton Char B1 Bis.
The B1 Bis, with its 75 mm ABS SA 35 howitzer in the main hull, a 47mm gun in a single-man turret, and two 8mm Reibel machine guns, was slow (just 15mh on a good day) but very well armored for the time with 60mm steel plate– allowing it to shrug off all but a direct hit from a German Pak 40 or larger.
Therefore, although German tanks could outrun a B1, they couldn’t outfight it in an area where speed and maneuverability wasn’t a factor. Eure proved that.
(Hattip, Tales of War)
The crew of the B1 Bis “Eure” Serial 337, the tank of the Captain Billotte, leading the B1 Assault on Stonne on the 16 May 1940. The Eure was responsible for knocking oout 13 German Panzers in a row while maneuvering around the city, using the local streets to its advantage. In all the French tank was hit 140 times by small caliber rounds but not knocked out.
Chef de char : Capitaine Billotte
Pilot : Sergent Durupt
Radio : Chasseur Francis Henault
The Germans liked these tough French panzers so much they used more than 160 inherited B1’s in their own army, designating them as the Panzerkampfwagen B-2 740 (f) and keeping them in service as late as 1944.
RM Commando David Hart, David Hart, 23, took out life insurance before he went to serve as part of the British Forces in Afghanistan.
He wrote a letter saying $150,000 of the $380,000 (£250,000) policy proceeds should pay for his 32 mates and their girlfriends to go on a trip to Las Vegas in his memory if he died.
Now 32 of his friends are flying to the US to hit the big sleezy on Davids dime
Drink a Guiness for me fellas
Also note. He gave more than $75,000 to a charity for wounded Royal Marines and left the balance, nearly another $150,000 to his parents and sister who are sure to put it to good use keeping his memory alive
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but what happens in Afghanistan, lasts forever
Billy Walkabout is believed to be the most decorated Native American veteran of the Vietnam War. He won the Distinguished Service Cross, five Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars and at least one Purple Heart as a US Army Ranger assigned to Company F (LRP) 58th Infantry (ABN) of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He was a Cherokee of the Blue Holley Clan in Oklahoma and died at age 57 from renal failure brought about by Agent Orange complications.
Walkabout was troubled on his return back home but in later years became a well known voice in the Native American community. He is immortalised by Cherokee artist Talmadge Davis in Walkabout: A Warriors Spirit and is mentioned in several books about the 101st’s “Lurps” in Vietnam, including Eyes of the Eagles by Gary Lecher:
“-‘I shipped out to Vietnam. I wanted to serve my nation and protect my people. I found myself in the jungles of Vietnam, ten thousand miles from home. Under monsoon rains, under a painted sky, leeches crawled on my arms. The little blood-suckers fell off into the night. The rain fell all night. Back in the world, no gal danced the southern dance for me. And the clouds hid the sun. I was burdened with separation from my family and the rez. I couldn’t wear an eaglefeather on my steel-helmet or tear that peace sign away. My war-shirt had blood all over it. I had blood on my hands. I saw people die. I saw medevac helicopters air lift them out. Those guys would remain in my memory. I didn’t have time to grieve then. Firebase on the distant mountain. The jungle was full of mountain ghosts…. “
Rest in Peace Sergeant Walkabout, your mission is over.