During an informal conversation with his biographer, Stephen Ambrose, Dwight Eisenhower once remarked that it was Andrew Higgins (1886 – 1952) who had "won the war for us". Knowing that such words do not flow from the lips of generals easily, Eisenhower went on to explain to Ambrose that if it were not for the creation of Higgin's landing crafts, the architects of the Allied victory would have had to seize the existing, and well-fortified, harbors of Europe in order to unload their invasion forces - and who knows how the island-hopping war in the Pacific would been fought?
Attached is a five page photo-essay from the Fall of 1942 about the man and his early contributions.
The Sten gun was hastily created after the catastrophic retreat from Dunkirk when it was widely believed that the invasion of England was inevitable. The British Home Guard requested an easily produced sub-machine gun that could be quickly assembled and easily used by those who have never had any firearm training whatever. Dubbed "the ten dollar gun", the Sten gun met all these requirements and more; over four million of them were manufactured throughout the Forties and although they were never used to defend the British Isles, they were parachuted en masse to the partisan armies in Europe.
The attached article is illustrated with six images and tells the story of the Sten Mark II and the small Canadian factory that produced them. Interesting stories are told and there are pictures of cute Canadian girls.
This article was written by the war correspondent Fairfax Downey (1894 - 1990) for a magazine that catered to American veterans of W.W. I, and it seemed that he simply could not contain his enthusiasm for the U.S. infantry's newest rifle: the M-1 Garand:
"What a gun it is! Its nine pound weight swings easily through the manual of arms. The eight-round clip (three more shots than the we used to have with the '03 Springfield) slips in easily and the breech clicks closed. The old range scale slide has vanished; range and windage adjustments are made simply by turning two knobs... The new semi-automatic means, among other things, that the fire power of troops armed with it has increased at least two and a half times over the old Springfield. For the low flying aviator, bound for a grand strafe, it is a keep-off-the grass sign with heavy penalties attached."
Mention is made of the rifle's inventor, John Garand (1888 - 1974), and how his cranium came to produce this wonder weapon.
In 1939, a German spy almost succeeded in delivering the blueprints of the Garand rifle into the blood-soaked hands of his Nazi overlords: read about it here.
This is a highly amusing collection of photos depicting the seldom remembered "Para-Sheep" of the Italian Army during their adventures in Ethiopia. It would seem that Italian grunts simply would not stomach canned food the way other infantrymen were able to do at the time and so it was decided that sheep would be individually rigged with parachutes and tossed out of planes, where they would be butchered and cooked by the Mussolini's finest. The accompanying paragraph explains that even a bull had been air-dropped for the same purpose.
Take a look.
"Almost entirely [composed] of wood, Britain's Mosquito Bomber can sting the enemy out of proportion to its size and appearance. Thirty odd German cities already have felt the devastating, impressive bite of Mosquitoes in more than 150 bombing raids on the Reich."
An enthusiastic piece that informed the folks on the home front that the days of the Japanese Zero were numbered:
"Hellcat, daughter of battle, answers all the prayers of Navy pilots. She's a low-winged Navy fighter; F6F, the Navy's newest and the world's best...F6F is a ship that can fight the Jap Zero on the Zero's own terms, a plane that can stand up and slug, that can bore in with those terrible body blows."