(August 4, 2012 — Gettysburg, PA) French received the John M. Carroll Award by the Little Bighorn Association for Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, judged the best annual book of George Custer or the Little Bighorn. See what some prominent readers think of the book.
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(August 2, 2012 — Atglen, PA) Turn in of Stalingrad: The Death of the German Sixth Army, 1942-1943 to Editor Bob Biondi at Schiffer Publishing. Book is scheduled for publication in 2013. Once a cover has been approved, it will appear on the site.
(July 24, 2012 — St. Louis) The recently released John C. Woods file (The hangman in The Fifth Field) shows that Woods had enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1929, deserted, was convicted by a General Court-Martial and was discharged from the Navy for having Constitutional Psychopathic Inferiority without Psychosis. See his biography.
Joachim Meissner Next to Hitler After Receiving the Knights Cross
Joachim Meissner was born in Freystadt, Lower Silesia, on October 15, 1911. He served in the Reichswehr from 1929 to 1934 as an enlisted man, when he then joined the Foreign Section (Southeast Europe) in the Reich Sports Office. On August 26, 1939, he was mobilized with the 8th Engineer Battalion, but transferred to the Luftwaffe and joined the 1st Paratroop Regiment (Fallschirm-Jäger-Regiment 1) on January 1, 1940. Meissner then joined the secret Test Detachment Friedrichshafen, earmarked for the upcoming glider assault on the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael.
On January 30, 1940, Captain Walter Koch, the commander of Test Detachment Friedrichshafen (the code name for the special paratroop engineer assault detachment), submitted a recommendation for promotion to second lieutenant for Technical Sergeant Meissner. In addition to basic information concerning Meissner’s place of birth, religion and military service, Koch added:
“Lieutenant Meissner” will be a valuable addition for the Luftwaffe.
Meissner certainly was a valuable addition. He was promoted to second lieutenant (Reserve) on March 20, 1940. Early on the morning of May 10, 1940, as the second in command of Assault Group Iron (Eisen), Meissner watched as the Belgians blew up the bridge at Canne over the Albert Canal before his group, that was tasked to capture it intact, could land. He then observed the commander of his group, Second Lieutenant Martin Schachter, was seriously wounded, shortly after landing. Meissner then took command of the group. At about 6:10 a.m., the heavy machine gun section landed 550 yards too far to the west and suffered 14 killed and 8 wounded. After landing, the 8th Squad destroyed enemy machine gun-positions on the high ground with hand grenades, while the 3rd Squad took the valley and the trench-system on the northern hill. They also blew up three houses and the entrance to a bunker at the bridge, and captured the crew of the two bunkers there. The squad then moved into the village and captured 25 men and 1 officer.
Meissner then sent paratroopers from the 8th Squad to swim east across the Albert Canal to lead reinforcements from the German Army’s 151st Infantry Regiment and 51st Engineer Battalion forward. The Belgians began their own artillery preparation about 8:00 p.m. for a planned attack just after midnight. At 11:30 p.m., the German reinforcements finally arrived and helped repel the Belgian attack. The following morning, Meissner led the remaining elements of Assault Group Iron to the eastern side of the canal; the group had suffered 22 dead, 26 wounded and 1 missing in action. In return, they had inflicted 150 killed, 50 wounded on the enemy and had taken 190 prisoners.
Adolf Hitler personally awarded Second Lieutenant Joachim Meissner the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross on May 15, 1940.
Lublin, Poland – SS-Gruppenführer Odilo Globocnik’s Villa
SS leaders lived like kings in the “Wild East.” Globocnik was in charge of “Operation Reinhard.” Rumors exist to this day that he skimmed valuables for himself before he sent confiscated goods to Berlin. He committed suicide in May 1945, just after capture by the British.
The “Final Solution” in Lublin, Poland – “Operation Reinhard” Headquarters
Lublin was a large center for the Nazi killing machine and in many ways remains similar in architecture to World War II. This photo was taken in 2001. In a very obscure area of the city is the remnants of the Lublin Airfield Camp used “Operation Reinhard.” There is a small building there that is used as a workshop today. During the operation, SS men used it to melt the gold out of teeth taken from the dead victims and formed the gold into small ingots to ship to Berlin. It was widely rumored that not all valuables made it to the German capital. An old building nearby served as the SS officers’cassino in 1942-1943.
Little Bighorn Horse Holders Area in the Timber
This area was behind Company M. When the guide Bloody Knife was killed in this area, Major Reno panicked and issued several sets of conflicting orders.
Little Bighorn Company M Timberline Position
Company M troopers lay down along this line toward the large tree and fired to their right. This land does not belong to the National Park, but you can get permission to visit.
Little Bighorn Battlefield Guide
You can’t have too many of these; pick them up at the museum bookstore. In addition, the excellent map, the guide has a description of each stop, the order you should visit each location , excellent photos and an article on the clash of cultures. Remember, this guide does not cover the valley fight; you will need a separate source to help do that. But if you don’t take time to visit the valley, the rest of the battle will be more difficult to understand.
Gettysburg Battlefield Guide
You can also find audio guides that you can listen to in the car as you go from stop to stop. There are probably more battlefield markers at Gettysburg then there are at any other battlefield in the world. Before you go, visit the Virtual Gettysburg Web Site.