Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Archive for February 12, 2014

“Executions of Kiev Jews by German army mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen) near Ivangorod Ukraine”, 1942.

KZsdwjcThe photo was mailed from the Eastern Front to Germany and intercepted at a Warsaw post office by a member of the Polish resistance collecting documentation on Nazi war crimes.

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A holy tent, soldiers rest in a shrapnel ridden tent after a German artillery strike on the Anzio beach head; ca. 1944.

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LIFE unreleased pictures of the Anzio beachead

Reading a book about the Italian campaign, the most gripping part was the bit about Operation Shingle, where one company landed on the beach at Anzio and left after the bloody stalemate with two soldiers who hadn’t been killed or removed from combat due to wounds. That was some heavy shit, but it also illustrates the validity of the field artillery in combat. Where two allies divisions faced off against 10 salty German divisions including the 3rd panzergrenadiers. Ten divisions of men and tanks, where the allies had to make due with just artillery, light infantry and limited armor and anti-armor support. 60,000 rounds were fired by the allies in just a few short days. The Germans ran dry at about 30,000.

To put that in modern prospective, over a nine month period during the fighting season in one of the most kinetic areas of Afghanistan myself and fellow forward observers only managed a combined 15000 or so rounds and that counts all arty and mortars. This was considered to be a pretty high number considering the restrictions on ISAF IDF assets. So that number and the fact the the allies were outgunned five to one is nothing short of amazing. Seriously many artillerymen during Shingle were relieved afterward because the volume and rate of continuous firing had caused many to go completely deaf.

Here is one of my favorite images to visualize this, a before and after picture of an exploded shell.

Video from an artillery barrage. (You can hear the shrapnel whizz by.)


Image

Job hunting in 1930.

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Blue marble. The most famous picture of our planet, taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972.

Fun fact, the original picture was taken "upside-down." They changed the orientation after.

Fun fact, the original picture was taken “upside-down.” They changed the orientation after.

Here’s the¬†original¬†orientation for comparison. Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and part of Antarctica are in the picture.

 


Soldier lights his cigarette with a flamethrower; 1940’s.

What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong?

(I guess when you’re dodging machine gun fire and praying like hell a shell doesn’t land near you for half the day, lighting a cigarette with a flame thrower is a very vanilla form of danger.)