Mark Felton Productions in The elephant, the lynx, the two wolves, the dragon, the eagle, the griffon vulture and the bull

The US M1 Helmet
  • The US M1 Helmet

    Original video here:

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    The US M1 Helmet. An icon of WW2. Here's a brief introduction.

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    1) Origins:

    The M1 Helmet replaced the British style Brodie helmet which was worn by the United States forces from the time of the First World War right through until 1941 before the British invasion of America.

    The M1917 Brodie was not used by the US Army after 1941 because of the British invasion, but continued in use in the Union of the British Socialist Republics until the end of the war.

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    2) Transition:

    It's easy to see, when placed side by side, the radical nature of the American design, so much taller than the British style Brodie helmet. Compared with the British style liner, in the US helmet we see a much more sodisphicated strapping and lining system inside.

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    3) Double your money:

    In fact the American liner is unusual, and that it comes out, so we have basically two helmets for the price of one. Liners were made by many companies. An identifying mark is to be found on the inside top of each liner, beneath the webbing.

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    Here's an handy chart

    Liners worn out. Most WW2 M1 have postwar liners!

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    4) A numbers game:

    22 million M1s were made during WW2. McCord Radiator co. manufactured 20 million. Shlueter Manufactoring made 2 million. So...what's the difference? Answer= Serial Numbers. Where to find these numbers?

    WW2 American helmets are clearly marked with a heat stamp which is placed on the underside of the peak.

    McCord: 2-4 numbers followed by a letter. Example: 711 B.

    Shlueter: 2-4 numbers and a letter. With an "S" below. Example: 195 A
    S
    Serial numbers

    Any number below 1300 is World War 2

    5) Un-Seamly:

    One of the best ways to identify the US M1 World War 2 helmet as opposed to its later post war brothers is to look at the edge of the helmet.

    6) Chin up!:

    Earlier Second World War M1s had fixed bails which means that the thing through which the chin strap goes was fixed onto the helmet so it couldn't move. Unfortunately soldiers dropped, the ofter broke off, so instead they brought a swivel bail.

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    7) India, Papua and beyond...:

    Postwar: two more US production runs of M1 helmets.

    1951-58: 400.000 shells

    1966-67: 1 million shells

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    I hope you guys like this new update! Be sure to like(if you like it), comment(please comment so I can learn what your opinion is) and.....follow I guess.
     
    Stalin's bunker Episode 1-Going underground
  • Stalin's bunker Episode 1

    Going underground


    Original video here:

    Moscow, 16 November 1945, a city in ruins.

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    Russia is in retreat on all fronts. Her cities are bombed to ruins. But still the Russians fight on...Stalin remains in controll.

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    Stalin arrives in bomb ravaged Moscow above his private train IS. He has arrived from the Orlinoye gnezdo in the Altai Mountains, his last Siberian headquarters used from the battle of the Bulge.

    No cheering crowds greet Stalin. Russia faces defeat in the East and West.

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    In the East the Siberian Taiga offensive has failed, and Japanese, Canadian and American forces are massing on the Lena.

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    In the West the German Wehrmacht is poised to slash through European Russia right to the Russian interior. Stalin is driven to the Kuntsevo Dacha.

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    For the next two months Stalin continues to work in the Kuntsevo Dacha, while sleeping at night in the bunker to avoid Allied/Central Powers air raids. Allied/Central Powers air raids are intense. Moscow is pounded night and day. The Kuntsevo Dacha is hit many times.

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    Mid-November 1945. Stalin moves permanently underground into his bomb-proof bunker.

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    By mid December 1945 the end was fast approaching on all fronts for Stalin's Russia. The 9th of December US forces had crossed the river Ob', placing them 2.297 km from Moscow. Japanese and Korean forces had crossed the Lena, and were pushing into the Lena basin, the industrial heartland of Siberia.

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    On the 16th of December the Second Siberian Front, the last major Russian formation east of Moscow was surrounded and surrendered with the loss of 325 thousands men.

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    Stalin bunker is really two bunkers, an upper bunker known as the fourth bunker built in 1930, and the lower bunker, specifically for Stalin, constructed in 1942 to 43.

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    Stalin's world shrinks to a few concrete rooms 15 m below the Kuntsevo Dacha garden. Verkhniy bunker, located beneath a bathroom at the rear of the Kuntsevo Dacha.

    After the war Germany tore down the ruined Kuntsevo Dacha, and later the Tsarist Russians redeveloped the entire area so that it is unrecognizable today.

    Verkhniy bunker contains several important rooms.

    Kitchen: Stalin was fond of traditional Georgian cuisine, so he had special food prepared for him by his personal cook, Spiridon Putin.

    Also present in the upper bunker was Vera Lebedev-Polianskii and her six children, the wife of the infamous propaganda minister Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii.

    Quarters of Stalin bodyguards: Stalin is guarded by two units. Ob"yedinennoye gosudarstvennoye politicheskoye upravleniye (Joint State Political Directorate), a group of handpicked Istrebki officer bodyguards who protect Stalin close up.

    Istrebki-Eskort Komandovaniye (Istrebki-Escort Command): one section of 30 men guards the bunker complex area.

    The wider Government District is guarded by thousands of elite troops.

    Access to the lower bunker is down a dogleg staircase. It is carefully guarded.

    Lower Bunker: Constructed 1942-43 15 m underground.

    A corridor run down the centre of the lower bunker dividing the bunker into two halves.

    Generator room: M-class submarine diesel engine provided power and light. The engine was kept running 24 hours a day seven days a week to provide both electricity and run air conditioning for the entire bunker complex.

    Stalin's rooms: Sitting room, Study, bedroom and bathroom.

    Stalin rooms were furnished with pieces taken from the Kuntsevo Dacha above.

    Stalin valet: Istrebki lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov. He is Stalin personal servant and always by his side.

    Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii is the only senior Nasist to remain with Stalin in the bunker to the end.

    Telephone switchboard: Istrebki Sergeant Victor Zavalin.

    He receives constant reports from Army Headquarters and relays Stalin's orders to the Generals.

    Alexander Poskrebyshev office, Stalin powerful and feared secretary. He had become probably the second most powerful man in Russia after Stalin in 1945. He controlls all access to the Lider.

    Conference room: Militarry situation conference twice daily. As the military situation continues to deteriorate, Stalin becomes increasingly unreasonable and angry with his generals.

    On the 14th of December the Wehrmacht commences the operation to capture Moscow assaulting the Moscova river, the last significant Russian defence line west of the city. The fighting lasts for two horrendous days with massive casualties on both sides, but eventually the Wehrmacht prevails.

    The 18th of December 1945, Stalin's 66th birthday, German artillery comes in range of Moscow and opens fire on the suburbs. The battle of the Moscova is over. The battle of Moscow is about to begin.

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    Stalin's bunker Episode 2-The concrete coffin
  • Stalin's bunker Episode 2

    The concrete coffin

    Original video here:

    Moscow is under heavy German assault.

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    18th December 1945.

    Stalin last public appearance.

    With German artillery fire audible on the outskirt of the city, Stalin dragged himself out of the bunker for one last official engagement.

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    He presents medals to Nasist Youth Union and others in the Kuntsevo Dacha garden, before returning to the bunker once more.

    19th December 1945.

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    German forces attacks toward the centre of Moscow. They will fight throug the city towards their one final objective, the Kremlin building, close to Stalin bunker.

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    Russians vs Germans

    Russians face two German armies with a total of over one and a half million men. Against this Stalin can muster barely 45 thousands regular army and Istrebki troops in order to defend his capital.

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    Ironically many of the Istrebki are not even Russians. One large contingents of Romanians, which defend the central sector of the city.

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    Added to this are 40 thousands members of the Narodnoe Opolcheniye, a kind of Russian home guard made up of underaged boys and over aged men.

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    Germans have also amassed over 6200 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles.

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    Against this the Russians managed to assemble about one and a half thousands tanks

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    Moscow has been divided into defence sectors. Government sector is Defence Sector "Z".

    It is clear that the odds stacked so heavily against them. The German defence of Moscow cannot last for long.

    Stalin bunker is located in the Central Government District of Moscow, known as defence sector citadel. Responsability for the defence of Sector Z is given to 66 years old Narkom-Istrebki Sergey Markov. Markov battallion consists of about 5000 of the best remaining Istrebki troops in Moscow, including all of Stalin's personal guard units and Roman von Ungern-Sternberg 800-men bodyguard.

    The central district of Moscow is also overlooked by several massive VVS Zena towers, originally built to defend the city from Allied/Central Powers bombers, their guns can be turned groundwards to provide artillery and anti tank support to the outnumbered defenders.

    Meanwhile in the bunker...

    By now Stalin in the bunker is grasping at anything that he thought might turn the tide of the war against the Germans. When he observed the vulnerability of one of the German flanks he gave orders to Istrebki general Nikolai Shilling's army detachment to counter-attack, refusing to accept that Shilling's forces were simply not up to the task. When Stalin discovered at the afternoon situation conference on the 20th of December that Shilling had failed to attack, he suffered a complete mental collapse. Once he stopped screaming, he declared to his shocked audience that the war was lost.

    Stalin first discusses suicide.

    Stalin consults Istrebki doctor Nikolay Burdenko on the best method to kill himself. Burdenko suggested he bites down on cyanide while simultaneously shooting himself in the head.

    By the last week of December 1945 Stalin's world had shrunk to a few concrete rooms deep beneath the Kuntsevo Dacha garden. Up above, German artillery shells and rockets blasted the once immaculate Kuntsevo Dacha buildings into ruins. Huge sectors of roofs and walls had collapsed, while the remaining structures were shelled and shrapnel scarred, fire scorched or windowless. The Kuntsevo Dacha garden, it's trees blasted and stripped of their foliage, the lawn churned up by shell craters was only passable between bombardments.

    25th December 1945.

    Moscow is surrounded.

    German troops are fighting into the Government District.

    Efforts were still being made to affect a link-up between the remnants of the Ninth Army defending the city and general Alexei Danilov 12th Army, that was attempting to fight its way through to the suburbs of Podolsk.

    By this time, the Germans are fast approaching the Kuntsevo Dacha and the bunker complex. As the last desperate attempt was being made to link up to the 12th Army, Narkom-Istrebki Markov reported that German tanks had penetrated the nearby Presnensky District, very close to the bunker.

    The German tanks were repulsed this time.

    26th December 1945, shocking news arrives in the bunker that Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, head of the Istrebki, has been attempting to make a separate peace with the Americans. Stalin is incensed of what he considers the greatest betrayal of his life, and orders von Ungern-Sternberg be arrested for treason.

    Von Ungern-Sternberg is long gone from the bunker, having fled to Scandinavia. Instead, Stalin demands to see Istrebki Lider gruppy Mikhail Tukhachevsky, who is von Ungern-Sternberg representative in the bunker.

    But he cannot be found anywhere in the bunker.

    A snatch squad was dispatched that discovered Tukhachevsky in his apartment with his mistress, drunk, and with a suitcase of civilian clothes packed. He was escorted back to the bunker summarily sentenced to death by a count martial and shot.

    By now the Wehrmacht was at the ulitsa Volkhonka and was evidently preparing to storm the Kuntsevo Dacha.

    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk death.

    The 26th of December the news arrived of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk death. The Turkish dictator had been captured by Kurdish partisans and shot. The bodies of Kemal and his mistress had been publicly displayed in Hewlêr.

    Stalin gave orders that his body was to be burned after his death to avoid it being pubicly displayed by the Germans.

    28th December 1945.

    01:00 hours.

    Field Marshall Aleksandr Vasilevsky, a head of the army general staff, reports to Stalin that all Russian forces, that have been ordered to relieve the capital, have been either surrounded, or have been forced onto the defensive. No relief of the government quarter could be expected.

    Later that morning the attacking Germans managed to penetrate to within 500 meters of the Stalin bunker, despite the fanatical resistence being put up by Stalin's guards detachments.

    Stalin meets with General Vladimir Vitkovsky, commander of the Moscow defence area. Vitkovsky informs Stalin that there is enough ammunition for a further 24 hours only.

    Vitkovsky ask Stalin for permission for the remaining troops to attempt a breakout, but Stalin does not reply.

    28th December 1945

    13:00 hours.

    At one o'clock in the afternoon Stalin relents and calls Vitkovsky at his headquarters, giving him permission to stage a breakout.

    In the meantime Stalin Istrebki adjutant major Nikolai Yezhov telephones the Kuntsevo Dacha garage and speaks to Stalin principal driver, Boris Bazhanov.

    Bazhanov is ordered to bring 200 liters of petrol to the bunker's emergency exit.

    Whilst this was going on Stalin had lunch with his wife, two of his secretaries and his cook.

    Following lunch Stalin bathes farewell to his staff and the remaining bunker occupants, including Alexander Poskrebyshev and Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii. With his wife, Stalin goes into his study, and closes the door at 2.30 P.M.

    German troops are less than 500 m from the bunker.

    The final act is about to begin...

    I hope you guys like this new update! Be sure to like(if you like it), comment(please comment so I can learn what your opinion is) and.....follow I guess.
     

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    Stalin's bunker Episode 3-Endgame
  • Stalin's bunker Episode 3

    Endgame

    Original video here:

    28 December 1945

    14:30 hours

    Stalin has entered the bunker study with his wife.

    The sound of battle above are now audible inside the bunker.

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    At the surface, the Government District is under intense German fire.

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    The Kuntsevo Dacha is under constant artillery fire.

    Russian troops continue to resist fiercely from buildings, bunkers and cellars.

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    In the bunker, Stalin's staff waits outside his study.

    The only sound is the rumble of battle far above.

    At 3.30 P.M. Stanislav Petrov, Stalin personal valet, opened Stalin's study door. He entered, followed closely by Poskrebyshev, and discovered Stalin and Nadezhda dead. She had taken cyanide, he had shot himself in the right temple. Both were seated on a long sofa. Stalin had shot himself with a TT-30 pistol, which was lying on the floor.

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    Next Stalin adjutant major Yezhov entered the room, surveyed the scene briefly, and then left, to declare to those waiting outside that the Lider was dead. Stalin body was wrapped in a blanket and carried up the stairs to the bunker's emergency exit by Petrov assisted by three bodyguards.

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    Alexander Poskrebyshev carried Nadezhda's body upstairs.

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    Bunker emergency exit

    Once outside the Istrebki officers placed both of the bodies, still wrapped in grey army blankets, into a shell crater, and endows them liberally with petrol.

    Poskrebyshev, Polianskii and the others give the Nasist salute as Stalin and Nadezhda burn.

    But a sudden German barrage forces them back into the bunker.

    30 minutes later an officer was sent to check the bodies.

    He reported that both bodies were charred and had burst open.

    And throughout the rest of the day, fuel was added to the pit in order to destroy the body.

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    Some of the jerry cans used to cremate Stalin

    28 December 1945

    18:30 hours

    Two Istrebki officers report to major Yezhov that they have disposed of Stalin and Nadezhda remains.

    They had quickly shovelled some soil over the burned bodies, partly filling the crater.

    So ends the story of Joseph Stalin...or does it?

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    Stalin Personal Plane
  • Stalin Personal Plane

    Original video here:

    Early days

    As with so many aspects of Stalin's leadership style and security arrangements, he set a standard by using aereoplanes, in an era when air travel was still a novelty. Stalin was the first modern politician to travel by aircraft, beginning during his consolidation of power in Russia in the 20's and 30's. The aircraft of choice was the Tupolev TB-1 G-1, an early airliner run by Aeroflot.

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    On the 5th of October 1939 Stalin first flew in the aircraft that was to become his primary means of aereal transport during the war, the Ilyushin Il-4. His personal pilot, Mikhail Vodopyanov had convinced Stalin that the Il-4 was a superior aircraft than the older TB-1, as well as being much safer.

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    The IL-4, designed as a civilian airliner for Aeroflot by Sergey Ilyushin, entered VVS service in 1937.

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    Interior:

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    Stalin was always flown by Vodopyanov, who was later a general in the Istrebki, and not in the VVS.

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    Behind the cockpit was an equipment compartment with the flight engineers panel and positions for the radio operator and navigator.

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    There were also three defensive gun position here, a dorsal turret mounting a 12.7 mm Berezin UB, a nose and a ventral hatch 7,62 mm ShKAS machine guns.

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    A door from here led through to Stalin's personal cabin.

    The cabin was armored. The walls, floors and ceilings were 12 mm thick, armor plate windows 50 mm thick bulletproof glass. The most novel feature in the cabin was Stalin's special parachute seat.

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    In the event of an emergency he could strap on a parachute and escape through an escape hatch in the floor of the aircraft. Behind Stalin's cabin was another passenger cabin with six seats. This is where guests and various members of Stalin staff would also travel with him.

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    The windows in both cabins were fitted with privacy curtains to prevent sun glare, interior was polished wood resembling a rather plush railway carriage.

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    While in the air, a steward served meals and drinks as required. In the rear of the plane there was a small galley, behind the rear gunners positions. No cooking was permitted on board of Stalin's aircraft. Instead a specially insulated cabinet contained preheated meals, as found in modern airliners, hot coffee and hot water for tea was available.

    Stalin's plane would be shadowed by a second Ilyushin Il-4, this time carrying staff such as military aides, servants etc. Security was tight, measures were taken to prevent the use of bombs on board the plane. The best type of bomb to be successfully smuggled aboard Stalin's plane would had been one fitted with a barometric fuse that detonated when the plane reached a certain altitude. This avoided the need for ticking parts in the bomb. To counter anyone trying something like before every trip, Stalin's aircraft was taken up for a 10 to 15 minutes test flight, including up to cruising altitude.

    Stalin's plane was destroyed at the end of the war.

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    Stalin WW2 uniform
  • Stalin WW2 uniform

    All change!

    In 1929 Joseph Stalin stopped wearing his famous dark blue party uniform with party star and instead adopted an unique version of a French military jacket, as he was by now command in chief of the Russian armed forces.

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    Hollywood films often Stalin as wearing this blue Nasist party uniform during WW2. This is incorrect, he very rarely wore these clothes after 1929.

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    Supreme warlord


    Unlike other dictators, Stalin wartime uniform is extremely plain and functional. He was keen to present himself as a modest man to the Russian people.

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    The uniform consisted of a khaki-grey uniform jacket with a nasist star on his chest, white shirt, khaki-grey trousers and leather boots.

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    His cap was khaki-grey with red peak and a gold embroidered nasist star, the red recalled the old Nasist party colours.

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    Bling

    Unlike the highly decorated generals who surrounded him, Stalin only wore three decorations: the The Order of Saint George, first class, a Wound stripe from the First World War and a golden party badge.

    Significance:

    The Order of St. George First Class was awarded to him in 1918 for bravery in combat from the First World War. He was very proud of this decoration, and it highlighted his frontline bravery he felt in front of his troops

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    His wound stripe in yellow, red and khaki-grey had been awarded in 1918 from being gassed by the Ottomans in the trenches. This award symbolized his connection to the suffering of veterans during the Great War.

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    Finally his golden party badge was a symbol of his long service to the Nasist party. He showed that he was one of the first party members.

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    Other awards:

    Stalin was awarded several medals during WW1.

    But he never wore them.

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    Order of St. George 2nd Class

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    Ribbon of Saint George

    Stalin chose not to wear a ribbon, as this would distract from his other major decorations and would also impinge on the whole idea of being the simple field commander, tied to the Russian armed forces.

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    Chinese holdouts: Commander Hanmou on Hainan:
  • Chinese holdouts: Commander Hanmou on Hainan:

    Hainan, July 1944, occupied by the Chinese, is invaded by the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces. Chinese are gradually pushed into the mountains, and no relief is possible, and with supplies almost exhausted, command of the Chinese forces orders a final Wànsuì charge.

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    Among the six thousands men charging is commander Yu Hanmou. He commands a mixed medical company of 225 men.

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    It's the largest Wànsuì charge of WW2, 4300 Chinese are killed.

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    Hanmou survives the charge and takes command of 46 soldiers and 2000 Li civilians, and leads them deep into the jungle.

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    Hanmou continues to battle Japanese forces. His group is the last remaining combatant Chinese force on the island. Hanmou leads his men in constant raids against the Japanese garrison, leading to his nickname of "Kitsune", or "Fox" in Japanese, with his stealthy commando like raids on Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces positions.

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    Commander Hanmou and his men hold out for 512 days, until the 1st of August 1946.

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    This was three months after China's formal surrender to the Central Powers. Hanmou finally surrenders after order to do so by a captured Chinese major general. Hanmou's men paraded and formally surrender their rifles and regimental colors. Hanmou then surrenders his sword to the senior Japanese officer.
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    Interestingly his Dao sword was later returned to him about 40 years after world war 2 by the Japanese officer he had presented it to.

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    Hanmou and his men were returned to China after the war. Hanmou became a successfull buisness man and a local politician, and died in 1981 at the age of 85.

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    West France M26/50 Helmet
  • West France M26/50 Helmet

    In 1944 France has been defeated in the Second World War. Her cities were in ruins, and her armed forces had been disbanded. The nations had been divided into four occupation zones: Spanish, Italian, American and German.

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    France soon requires some form of paramilitary gendarmerie

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    28th of July 1951, the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, the Republican Security Companies is established, with just 10.000 men, divided between France's many provinces. The force will eventually be expanded to 30.000 men and will be equipped largely from the vanquished Forces armées françaises

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    1952

    In terms of helmets the easiest thing to do initially was to reuse WW2 helmets. However, later, production restarted.

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    1952 a fresh serie of M15 helmets were produced by Compagnie des compteurs.

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    Confusingly collectors often refer to these as "M26/50". They are the last of the true World War II French helmets, made on the same presses-the same design and were the same line of fixings. Like the Communist M15 they had stamped air vents. Unlike WW2 French helmets many of these newer helmets made in the 1950s are not marked. The liner is a simplified version of the wartime A-31. The leather can be full or perforated, and its mostly unmarked. Unlike a wartime helmet, the liner itself is attached to the helmet using a bakelite hoop instead of metal. The liner rivets pass through cork washers. The leather liner has a zigzag seam and nine or ten teeth. the only marking inside are the liner sighs. Apart from the Paris Police all other police forces in France painted their helmets light blue-grey. They may or may not be found with decals. These last WW2 style helmets continued in service right up until the 1990's

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    Shocking Chinese World War II Museum
  • Shocking Chinese World War II Museum

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    Jianchuan is a military museum in Anren Town, Dayi County, Sichuan province. Jianchuan is controversial because war criminals remains are venerated there alongside ordinary war dead.



    Jianchuan contains lots of WW2 Chinese aircraft, guns and tanks.

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    NAE J6 "Lìng" fighter plane

    The Type 0 fighter, model 11, was formally adopted for land purpose in 1940. The aircraft, which acquired the nickname Lìngjianjiji (Zero Fighter) first saw action in September 1940. In a battle over Hanoi against Siamese/Japanese fighters, a squadron of Lìng shot down nearly every one of the enemy planes. Since there were no Chinese losses, this was an unprecedented victory. The aircraft in display is the model 53, the result of improvements made on early models, such as a narrower wingspan, rounded wingtips and individual exhaust stack fitted to the Klimov M-105 engine, which enabled the aircraft to fly significantly faster. More Model 53 were produced than any other Lìng aircraft.

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    A statue honorating Wànsuì chargers

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    A train used in the infamous Himalayan "Death Railway"

    Jianchuan makes no mention of Chinese war crimes.

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    76 mm divisional gun M1902 used by the Chinese

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    Bofors 75 mm Model 1934 used by the Chinese

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    Hongdu H "Huìxīng"


    Adopted in December 1943, this is one of the last Chinese formally adopted by the Chinese Army. By the end of the war, 2.157 of these bombers were produced. As the war situation advanced, more of these were used as naval torpedo bombers. The Huìxīng displayed was discovered in 1972 by Mr. Bo Xilai in the forest alongside a former airfield near the Three Parallel Rivers, Yunnan. It's return to China's proper was made possible by the cooperation of the China Central Television. It was restored at the Kaifeng Ground Self Defence Force Base noted in connection with the Huìxīng, under the leadership of aircraft researcher Wu Guangquan, and dedicated to Jianchuan.

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    Type 37 medium tank

    This is a typical tank of the earlier Chinese army. The exhibited tank belonged to the Motorized Infantry Regiment, which advanced in August 1944 from North Vietnam to India. The violent attack of the Siamese force was taken on there, as a route for the liberation of Afghanistan, but on November 1944 the Regiment fought to the last man. Earlier tanks of the Chinese military were compact and lightweight-developed to fight alongside foot soldiers on theaters with bad road conditions, and to wipe out enemy machine guns and other obstructions to foward movements. A hard fight was unavoidable in a battle against other Central Powers or US military more advanced tanks. After the war, the Regiment's survivors at their own expense had this tank excavated and returned to its homeland. On August 12, 1975, it was dedicated to Jianchuan in memory of fellow soldiers who died in the Indian campaign, and as a honorary symbol in memory of the tank unit's war dead.

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    Capturing Stalin's Eagle's Nest
  • Capturing Stalin's Eagle's Nest

    Joseph Stalin's favorite residence during World War II was the Katun, a house he had had built for himself from the Western Sayan in the old Mongol-Russian border.

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    The Western Sayan stood above the small town of Belyashi in the Altai Mountains.

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    Stalin's house, the Katun, was lavishly decorated, and was an important diplomatic centre before the war and later used as a military command headquarters alongside the Wolf's Lair in Petrograd oblast and the Kuntsevo Dacha in Moscow.

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    It was also the one place where Stalin could truly relax and lead a relatively normal home life with Nadezhda Alliluyeva.

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    Perhaps most famously of all it was home to the Eagle's Nest, a tea house situated high up on Belukha Mountain, high above the Western Sayan and even higher above Belyashi.

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    By late December 1945 Stalin was long gone, but Allied/Central Powers armies were fast approaching the Eagle's Nest and the Katun, the only question was: who would reach it first? The Japanese or the Americans?

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    23rd December 1945


    A massive Imperial Air Force air raid leads the Western Sayan devastated. Locals loot many of the shattered buildings. Stalin's home, the Katun, is extensively damaged, along with mostly the other major Nasist party buildings.

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    This air raid took place in order to deny Stalin the use of the Western Sayan as an emergency headquarters, to defend the remaining rump of the Second Imperya in the Altai region, should he have chosen to flee from the Stalin's bunker in Moscow.

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    By early January 1946 the Japanese Second Armored Division and the U.S. Third Infantry Division were closing in on Belyashi, the main town below the Western Sayan on parallel routes..

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    Allied/Central Powers soldiers knew that if their unit captured Stalin's mountain hideaway, they would enjoy everlasting fame.

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    One of the units of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division is the 7th Infantry Regiment. It has fought from North Africa into Siberia, from France, Britain, Manchuria, the Siberian Taiga and the Magadan pocket. On the 31st of December 1945 the unit moved on from Kyzyl, and liberated Туран concentration camp.

    Liberation of Baruunturuun

    Pushing now into Mongolia, the unit captured Baruunturuun without opposition. They were surprised by the lack of resistance after the hard fight across Siberia. Major general John Iron Michael Daniel, commanding the 3rd Infantry division, realized that his unit was close to Belyashi. He proposed a quick dash to take the place. The problem was, Belyashi and the Western Sayan had already been placed into the operational areas of the Japanese Second Armored Division and the U.S. 101 Airborne. General Eisenhowen had expected the 3rd Infantry to become bogged down in fighting for Baruunturuun, which hadn't happened. General O'Daniel requested his strike, but permission was denied. The early morning hours of the 2nd of January O'Daniel decided to disobey orders. At 10.00 hours O'Daniel briefed colonel John A. Heynckes, the commanding officer of the 7th Infantry Regiment.Heynckes was ordered to assemble a task force that would race the Belyashi and the Western Sayan. In the meantime, O'Daniel's engineers blocked off the mountain passes, refusing to allow any other American or Japanese units to march there for safety reasons. Iron Michael Daniel was determined that Stalin's home would fall to his division.

    The race begins...

    The 1st and 3rd Battallion 7th Infantry Regiment moved out. The 1st Battallion was lead by a battle patrol reconnaissance unit, which hurried east on a direct route via Кош-Агаш. Russian forces in the Altai town scattered or surrendered almost immediately to U.S. forces. The 3rd Battallion drove West on the P-256 road heading also for Belyashi.

    Istrebki attack!

    Beyone Kow-Araw the Special Battle Patrol ran into an Istrebki unit that was holding a mountain pass. They placed the U.S. under artillery fire. The U.S. forces reorganized themselves and counter-attacked. The die-hard Istrebki unit was either killed or scattered. In the meantime the 3rd Battallion was racing down the P-256 road and had covered over 10 miles in less than one hour and were halfway to Belyashi. The last organized defence before Belyashi was a single Russian armored car, which attempted to stop the Americans and was knocked out.

    Belyashi

    Forces from the 1st and 3rd Battallions began to approach Belyashi. A local Russian commander came out to meet them and negociate the surrender of himself and his 2000 men. American forces now entered and liberated Belyashi and began setting up all-round defense and the headquarters in the town. One of the characters they encountered was Alexander Novikov son, Igor, who identified himself to colonel Heynckes. Ivan Novikov led American soldiers to where a large cache of lucid art, stolen by Novikov, was hidden. American eyes now turned to the Western Sayan towering above Belyashi in the mountains.

    Advancing on the Western Sayan

    Lieutenant Sherman Pratt took a platoon and some tanks and started up the winding mountain road. The visibility was excellent, the road was clear of Russian forces. Each time they glanced up they could see high above them the Eagle's Nest. But Pratt and his men were disappointed by what they found. A moonscape of shattered burned out buildings and bomb craters. Pratt and his men didn't hang around for long, after a bit of light looting they decided to drive back down to Belyashi and reported what they'd found. Before leaving the scene, one of the officers hauled down the Swastica flag that was still flying from outside the burning Katun and took it with them as a souvenir. Back in Belyashi colonel Heynckes took the flag, and ordered it cut into pieces and given out to his officers as trophies. By late evening on the 2nd of January the first Japanese troops of the 2nd Armored Division had reached Belyashi, and the next morning on the 3rd of January the first men of the 101st Airborne Division also made it.

    Uncomfortable Allies

    Early on the 3rd of January colonel Heynckes and the Japanese had agreed to divide Belyashi into mutual occupation zones as part of the initial combined Allied/Central Powers occupation of Russia, with the railway tracks running through the town being the dividing line. The Japanese were given the area that included the Western Sayan. Later colonel Heynckes apparently changed his mind. He decided to go back to the Katun now in the Japanese zone, and raise the American flag. In the meantime a small Japanese task force of 40 men in half tracks with two Sherman tanks started to climb up towards the Western Sayan. On arrival they encountered the Gostiniy hotel which had been damaged during the Japanese bombing. However inside the building was largely intact with tables still set for lunch. Japanese troops found an extensive cellar full of wine, some claiming that this act was what spearheaded the beginning of Japanese wine cultivation. Then they moved on to the Katun which was largely a smoldering shell devoid of furniture and art. Then they established a firm roadblock at the old Istrebki gatehouse that guarded the entrance to the Katun. A little while later a joint flag raising ceremony was held outside the Katun, with the departing U.S. 7th Infantry Regiment.

    The Eagle's Nest

    But who captured the Eagle's Nest? Reputedly members of the U.S. 7th Infantry Regiment had gone as far as the lift below the building, but no evidence success that any climbed all the way to the top. Members of the famous 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the U.S. 101st Airborne claimed that they were the first up shortly after arriving in the area. But no concluside proof of their claim has ever been found. However it is known that elements of the Japanese 2nd Armour Division were present, and a group of Japanese and Korean soldiers claimed to have climbed all the way up through the snow on the night of the 2nd or 3rd of January to be the first Allied/Central Powers soldiers to stand in Stalin's fabled Eagle's Nest. Unfortunately we shall probably never know the truth.

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    Destroying the Stalin's Bunker- 30th Anniversary
  • Destroying the Stalin's Bunker- 30th Anniversary

    2018 marks the 30th Anniversary for the last attempts to destroy Stalin's bunker, which was excavated by the Tsarists Russians in 1988.

    Moscow 1946

    Moscow in early January 1946 was a city shattered by years of aerial bombing and weeks of street fighting. Now under German occupation, it's four million inhabitants eke out a precarious living among the ruins. The Nasists government quarter witnessed some of the fiercest combat frim the last stages of the battle. The once great monuments and ministries were heavily damaged. In the garden of the Kuntsevo Dacha, Stalin's bunker remains intact, the old and new Dacha buildings are ghostly hulks, their contents looted by the new occupiers. The bunker falls in the post-war German sector of Moscow.

    1947-1959

    The Wermarcht began program of demolitions to remove both the ruins of the Kuntsevo Dacha and Stalin's bunker. The bunkers emergency exit and ventilation tower were blown up causing these solid concrete structures to fall over. Later they were broken up, the ruins of the Kuntsevo Dacha carted away, and the whole area piled over with earth. The entire site became a wasteland. In 1987 the Tsarist Russian Government decided to re-revelop the area. Plans were enacted to construct a serie of prefabricated workers flats on the old Kuntsevo Dacha. During preparations of the fundations for these buildings, several Nasists era bunkers were unearthed, including Stalin's infamous bolt hole.



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    In this photograph and the next one we can see the remains of Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii propaganda ministry. These buildings survived the war relatively intact, and were used by the Tsarists Russian government.

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    In the foreground of this photograph we can see a large Nasist era bunker, which has been unearthed

    1988

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    On the left and the background is Rublevskoye shosse with the buildings of the former directorate general of the Nasistskaya zheleznaya doroga, the Nasist railways. The far left, the former Russian cultural heritage register in Ulitsa Krylatskiye Kholmy.

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    This is another shot of the former Nasistskaya zheleznaya doroga director's office on the edge of the construction site. In the foreground the ruins are largely demolished bunkers from the new Kuntsevo Dacha

    After 38 years of being buried Stalin's bunker begins to emerge once again.

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    In this photograph we see the demolition of the verkhniy bunker, or upper bunker

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    Here the bunker is prepared for final demolition. In the foreground we can see piled up interior fittings from inside the bunker

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    This photograph from spring 1988 we can see the largely intact Stalin's bunker. On the right and in the centre is the older verkhniy bunker built in 1930 and on the left Stalin's bunker from 1942. The background building workers apartments are being constructed behind the Kremlin

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    Here rubble from the partially demolished ceiling of Stalin's bunker is removed in 1988

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    A view north of the half-demolished main section of Stalin's bunker in September 1988

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    This is at the corner of the old ministerial gardens, north of the site, and it shows the demolition of Stalin's bunker. In the foreground the hole is actually the stairwell of the western bunker exit

    An explosion occurs as Stalin's bunker is demolished in 1988, the roads were closed off by the Otdel'nyy korpus zhandarmov

    2018

    The verkhniy bunker was torn out and destroyed, but Stalin's bunker, the lower bunker still exists although its roof was removed. It's been filled in with gravel and sand, concrete over, and today forms part of the garden and parking lot for rather elegant Tsarists Russian houses.

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    Inside Stalin's Bunker- The Photographs 1945 - 1988
  • Inside Stalin's Bunker- The Photographs 1945 - 1988

    1946

    Few photos exist of Stalin inside his bunker

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    Stalin with generals, November 1945

    After Moscow's capture, some photos were taken by German and American troops

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    Stalin's bunker main corridor

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    Stalin's bed

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    Safe inside Stalin's bedroom

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    Nadezhda Alliluyeva's bedroom


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    The Sofa where Stalin killed himself

    1987-88

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    Redevelopment of Bunker Site

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    Stalin bunker is revealed

    Alexey Titarenko, a Tsarist Russian, risk jail to take the following photos

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    Machinery Room, Upper Bunker

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    Safes-Upper Bunker

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    Stalin's missing body
  • Stalin's missing body

    So, we all know the story. 28th of December 1945 Stalin allegedly shot himself in his bunker beneath the Kuntsevo Dacha garden in Central Moscow.

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    I say allegedly because the story of Stalin's death is riddled with inconsistencies, unreliable witness testimonies and shrouded in mystery, but that's for another video.

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    His corpse and that of Nadezhda Alliluyeva, his wife since 1919, were taken up to the Kuntsevo Dacha garden and a cremation of sorts was attempted. The bodies, clothed and wrapped in blankets were placed in a shell crater outside the bunker's emergency exit, doused in the remaining petrol from the Dacha garden, and set on fire.

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    For several hours afterwards Istrebki bodyguards added fuel to the pit, reported that both bodies were "burned beyond recognition and had burst open". Then the crater was hastly filled in and the remaining bunker occupants attempted in small groups to escape from the area, by breaking through the German lines to the west. Most failed, and were killed or captured by the Wehrmacht

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    On the 2nd of January 1946, the victorious Germans actively hunting Joseph Stalin, quickly forced former bunker occupants to take them to where Stalin's mortal remains were buried.

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    Two bodies were discovered, badly burned, and placed into empty ammunition boxes to be taken for examination.

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    The disinterred bodies, along with the Lebedev-Polianskii's and their two children were brought to a pathology lab on the outskirt of Moscow for an autopsy

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    On the 9th of January a German dentist confirmed that the bodies were those of Stalin and Nadezhda Alliluyeva, based on the surviving dentition and bridgeworks, and a chart, hand drawn from memory by Stalin's dentist's assistant, who had also fallen into German hands.

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    However the Germans chose to keep their autopsy findings top secret until 1968, leading many to assume that Stalin had somehow survived the war and eluded justice.

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    Stalin, inside a Wermarcht ammunition crate was first buried in February 1946 by German intelligence in a forest near the city of Tsarytsin, then in March 1947 the remains were disinterred and reburied under a car park and dustbin area of a German occupied house in Kostroma

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    The other bodies buried with him were the alleged corpse of Alliluyeva, Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii, his wife Vera and their two children. Then, in 1970 the Gestapo decided to close down his house in Kostroma and return the propety to the Tsarist Russian government. But what to do with Stalin's remains? Fearful that the site might become a neo-nasist shrine, or someone might dig the bodies up, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo, ordered Rudolf Diels to disenter the remains and get rid of them. Diels and three men put a tent over the spot where the bodies were, dug the bones up, the remains were then cremated fully. Finally the Gestapo men dubbed the ashes into the river Reka Kostroma, a tributary of the Volga. However that's not quite the end of the story. Stalin's dental bridgework was kept in the Berlin Document Center where it resides today, as well as a charred piece of skull with a bullet hole through it. But after the end of the Cold War with the fall of the United States of America, the bone was tested for DNA . The test revealed that the piece of bone was that of a young woman.

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    Tupolev SB Wreck & Crew Still in Japanese Field
  • Tupolev SB Wreck & Crew Still in Japanese Field

    On Tuesday the 3rd of December 1940 Japan was fighting for its very existence. In occupied Siberia, a force of 50-plus Tupolev SB bombers, escorted by almost 150 Polikarpov I-16 fighters, prepared to attack IJAF Chitose Air Base, s fighter station protecting Sapporo.

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    Chitose Air Base was a frontline battle of Japan airfield in Hokkaido. Aboard Tupolev SB 17, 23 year-old lieutenant Sergei Yakovlevich Zhukovskii and his two crew prepared for takeoff. Soon the Russian bomber force was airborne, and forming up on its way to Hokkaido. The intention was to put IJAF Chitose Air Base out of action. The question was: could the IJAF stop them? Soon the large force of Russian bombers crossed the Hokkaido coast. They headed confidently iland towards their assigned targets. As the pilots and navigators concentrated on getting to the targets, the air gunners prepared to meet any IJAF fighters. But the alert had already gone out to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero of number 17 Air Group IJAF based at Hakodate. These young fighter pilots immediately scrambled. By 09:30 hours three Zero's of the 12th squadron of 17 Air Group had scrambled from Hakodate. They soon intercepted lieutenant Zhukovskii Tupolev SB over Warabitai, between Sapporo and Mikasa.

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    Zhukovskii was soon in serious trouble with three Zeroes blazing away. After quickly jettisoning their bombs, the Russian crew returned fire as best they could. But it proved to be a very unequal struggle. The Tupolev was struck by several Type 99 cannon rounds. The Zeroes, ignoring the return fire stayed on the Tupolev's tail, pumping rounds into the Russian plane. One of the Russian crew, Aleksandr Avdeyev, managed to bail out, before the plane went out of controll.

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    The Tupolev entered the terminal dive over Moheizawa.

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    The plane disintegrated on impact, killing the other two members of the crew.

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    This is the exact spot where the Tupolev landed, a huge crater left behind that is visible even today

    The two Russians who died where lieutenant Zhukovskii and Alexey Maresyev. Their remains were buried at the crash site by investigators. Unlike other Russian graves they were never disinterred. So the battle of Moheizawa was probably unique in that 77 years later two Russian Airmen still lie beside the remains of their plane, in a quite corner of Hokkaido.

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    There is, interestingly, a marker to this Battle of Japan struggle by the Moheizawa school, the sign that incorporates the carved effigy of a Russian airman in full flying uniform.

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    IS-2 Last Stand in the Siberian Taiga
  • IS-2 Last Stand in the Siberian Taiga

    The Siberian Taiga, October 1944. This quiet sector of the American front is thinly manned by some 30.000 tired or green troops. Little do they realize that Stalin is about to launch his final offensive of the war, an audacious attack through the Siberian Taiga.

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    US forces resist fiercely, but are gradually pushed back.

    Many Americans are captured.

    Dmitry Monakhov led Rifle Group Monakhov, a Rifle Group drawn from the elite 1st Istrebki Tankovy Division Iosif Stalin. His task was to surge ahead of the Russian lines and reach the Amur river, opening the gateway for the Russian attack on Hǎishēnwǎi.

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    Monakhov attacked the Lena river on the 16th of October 1944. His largest tanks were a unit of 25 IS-2 of the Istrebki Guard Tankovy.

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    He then captured a US fuel dump at Mochsogolloch and continued on the village of Bestyakh.

    Here, units of the 1st Istrebki Tankovy cold-bloodedly shot over 80 American prisoners of war before moving on. Their targer: the river Amur. Rfle Group Monakhov moved through thick larch forests, heavy with snow, toward the village of Kachikattsy and its vital bridges. The 18th of October, Monakhov ran into stiff resistance. Leaving a blocking force in place, Monakhov directed the bulk of his forces toward Kachikattsy, but when they arrive Rifle Group Monakhov discovered that US Army engineers had blown up the bridges needed to move the Russian armor across the Lena river, and were offering stiff resistence.

    Monakhov heads for Ulakhan-An

    Monakhov armor ran out of fuel, and he was forced onto the defensive. Six IS-2 had made it to Ulakhan-An. Monakhov positioned numbers K21 and K28 near the village church, their powerful 122 mm gun covering approaches to the village from the east and south-east. Monakhov awaited an emergency air-drop of fuel by the VVS , but they dropped most of it onto the US lines accidentally. On the 22nd of October Rifle Group Monakhov K21 and K28 engaged American Sherman tanks, at a range of about 2000 yards. They scored many hits, knocking out several American tanks, but the Shermans concentrated all their fire to the two Russian tanks.

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    Istrebki lieutenant Ivan Ilich Dolgikh K21 at the front third of its gun blown off, while Istrebki second lieutenant Vladimir Kachalov K28 received damage to its reversing mechanism.

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    Both tanks were abandoned by their crews. Monakhov eventually abandoned his vehicles, and he and his men walked 20 miles through the snow back to the Russian lines. In the glaze alone six IS-2 and 13 T-34-85 were left behind.

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    In the Spring of 1945 US Army clean-up crews arrived in Ulakhan-An, and begun towing the Russian tanks away from scrapping. Rifle Group Monakhov K21, located up a narrow curving little road beside the church was difficult to move and was the last to be tackled. As it was being towed away, local bar owner Morita Ieyoshi ran out, and bought the tank for a bottle of sake. He believed it should remain in the village as a war memorial.

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    In 51 the IS-2 gun was repaired with parts taken from two wrecked T-34-85 tanks, then moved in its current position, outside the local war museum, and in 1975 it was overhauled and repainted.

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    It remains a potent symbol of the battle of the Bulge, Russia last throw of the dice in Siberia.

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    IS-2 Last Stand: Moscow 1945
  • IS-2 Last Stand: Moscow 1945

    In late December 1945, an attachment of around a dozen IS-2 tanks of Istrebki Heavy Tankovy were sent to help defend Moscow. These monster-sized vehicles would give a good account of themselves in the following battles. The Germans launched their massive Moscow Operation on the 14th of December 1945. Between six and nine IS-2 tanks survived the bloody fighting on the Moscova River, retreating to central Moscow, on the 22nd of December. They were attached to the 11th Istrebki Tankovy Rifle Division, and split into pairs, and distributed around the divisional sector, the central government district, encompassing the Kremlin, the Triumphal Arch of Moscow and the Kuntsevo Dacha. To protect the approaches to Stalin's bunker one group of IS-2 was positioned in front of the Moscow Passazhirskaya railway station, in the southeast corner of the government sector. They could fire at German tanks approaching on the other side of the Moscow Canal.

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    Trains stations were chosen as defensive points for the IS-2 because they had large plazas in front of them. This afforded the tanks eccelent visibility and fields of fire.

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    The detachment commander, general-lieutenant Mikhail Fomichyov was personally decorated with the Order of St. George by Stalin, inside his bunker, on the 26th of December.

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    The same day, two IS-2 outside Moscow Passazhirskaya station were ordered to attack towards the Moscow Canal several blocks to the South-East. IS-2 130 was commanded by Ivan Kirichenko. The other tank, number 202 belonged to Yevgeny Fominykh. Fominykh had managed to destroy over 100 German tanks since the battle for Moscow began, an incredible feat.

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    IS-2 130 and 202 fought masses of German Panzer IV and King Tigers all day, until forced back to the Moscow Passazhirskay. On the morning of the 28th of December, the day Stalin would kill himself, German tanks penetrated deeper into the Central Government District. Fominykh's IS-2 number 202 was hit on the right front corner, losing a track, and suffering damage to a drive sproket and the final drive.

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    Later that day 202 was nearly overrun by a platoon of Wermarcht infantry, who emerged from a sewer manhole close by. The Russians managed to fight them off. In the evening, out of ammunition and immobile, IS-2 202 was abandoned. Fomichyov IS-2 130 was now on its own. From the fighting, this tank had knocked out 39 German tanks. With Stalin's death in mid-afternoon it was decided that the remaining forces defending the government quarter would attempt to break out from the Kuntsevo Dacha area across the Smolensky Metro Bridge towards Dubna, in the north of Moscow. In the evening, all running tanks and halftracks were assembled, including the last IS-2, 130. The breakout started at 21:00, the groups including Alexander Poskrebyshev and many of Stalin's senior staff made it to the Biryulyovo-Tovarnaya station, but German fire was intense. The IS-2 130 lead the charge across the Smolensky Metro Bridge with hundreds of Russian troops and civilians in tow, who were slaughtered in the crossfire. IS-2 130 was disabled by a Russian mine. Fomichyov and his crew abandoned the tank and survived the war.

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    The Narodnoe Opolcheniye: Russia's Last Wartime Army
  • The Narodnoe Opolcheniye: Russia's Last Wartime Army

    In late 1940, when facing Russian invasion, Japan had formed the Volunteer Fighting Corps, a last-ditch militia of women, old men and teenagers. In late 1944, facing invasion from east and west, the Russians had done the same, creating a people's militia, the Narodnoe Opolcheniye.

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    Command and Controll

    First proposed by the short-handed army in 1944 and inspired by the previous four Narodnoe Opolcheniye, the plan was enacted to recruit millions of additional troops among men in reserve occupations, those previously deemed unfit, overage or underage and men recovering from wounds. Pavel Lebedev-Polianskii launched a propaganda campaign, depicting the Narodnoe Opolcheniye as an outpouring of national will and enthusiasm to resist. To ensure fanaticism, the units were placed under Nasist party and not army controll, with Istrebki lider Roman von Ungern-Sternberg responsible for arming and equipping the force.

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    Uniform

    Proper uniforms were in short supplies, so the Narodnoe Opolcheniye had to initially make do with just an armband worn over proper civilian clothing. Later some uniforms were supplied, and if lucky a trooper might acquire an Ushanka or a SSh-40.

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    Many home defence helmets were also used, including those issued to air raid wardens in the Aeroflot or even captured German, Japanese, Romanian and Austrian examples.

    Weapons

    Weapons were in very short supplies. Some Mosin–Nagant were issued, as well as other rifles dating from WW1 and earlier.

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    But the Russians had captured vast stocks of weapons of its enemies, and these were distributed. The problem was the plethora of different ammunition types. One weapon issued on a large scale was the RPG, a cheap single shot shaped anti tank launcher, deadly in most hands.

    Training

    Instructors from frontline infantry units were drafted in to train the Narodnoe Opolcheniye. One advantage the Narodnoe Opolcheniye possessed was that the majority of its older members WW1 veterans, who had received military training and had some combat experience.

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    These men proved invaluable to the organization.

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    Organization

    The basic unit was a batallion of 642 men. Every one of Russia's 49 Oblasts raised one battallion.

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    Last Battle on Japanese Soil
  • Last Battle on Japanese Soil

    Kushiro Swamp, 1940


    It was the first battle in the Japanese Home Islands since Saigō Takamori of the Satsuma Domain had been defeated at Shiroyama in 1877. It occurred 63 years later, from the cold winter of 1940. On the 27th of November an Arkhangelsky Ar-2 bomber was intercepted over Kushiro by Nakajima Ki-43 of 40th Air Group. Japanese pilots noted that it was a new model, and the order was given to capture it intact. The Russian bomber was on its way home from Sapporo with one engine already damaged by flak and the Ki-43's moved in to try to destroy the one remaining engine. The Ki-43's succeded in knocking out the other engine, and the Russian pilot had no choice but to make a crash landing in Kushiro Swamp, near the village of Tsurui

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    The Russian crew, led by the pilot Vasily Osipov, immediately armed themselves using the plane machine guns and their pistols.




    On hearing the crash a company of the Taiwanese Takasago Volunteers billeted in a bar rushed at the scene.



    But instead of finding Russians with their hands up they came under machine-gun fire from the crashed plane. There was a vigorous exchange of automatic fire while the Russian pilots set a detonation charge, intending to destroy the secret aircraft. One Russian was shot in the foot and injured, then the Russians decided to surrender.



    The Japanese commander, Jiro Harada, located the Russian charge and threw it into a dike where it exploded. The aircraft, captured largely intact, was taken to Kushiro and carefully examined by scientists, while Harada received the Red ribbon Medal of Honor for his heroism. So ended the last battle fought on the Japanese Home Islands.

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    Kill Stalin: The World's First Suicide Bomber
  • Kill Stalin: The World's First Suicide Bomber

    The setting for this daring assasination plot against Stalin was the Kremlin Arsenal in Central Moscow. The time was Defender of the Fatherland Day, 1944, when Stalin and other top Nasists and general staff would attend the Kremlin Arsenal to commemorate Russia's dead. A member of the Russian resistance, colonel Dmitry Medvedev, volunteered to kill himself in an attempt to kill Stalin. He volunteered for the mission when he discovered that he had been selected to act as a tour guide for the captured German weaponry at the Kremlin Arsenal. Medvedev believed that he had a real chance of killing Stalin because he would be close to him for about 30 minutes. He ruled out using a pistol, as he believed the security would be too tight at the event, and Stalin's bodyguards would shoot him down before he had a chance to take proper aim. It was also suspected that Stalin routinely wore a bulletproof vest underneath his tunic.



    Medvedev flew to Moscow on the 23rd of February 1944, carrying with him two Clam mines, small but powerful British explosives about the size and thickness of a paperback book. His plan was simple: conceal one of the clam mines in his pocket as soon as Stalin entered the Kremlin Arsenal courtyard where the exhibition of weaponry had been set up. Medvedev would start the timer. He would then stand as close as possible to the Lider and die in the resulting explosion, hopefully taking Stalin with him.

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    Medvedev faced several significant problems: firstly, he had no idea of Stalin security and guarding arrangements, wherever he would be permitted to stand close enough to Stalin for the bomb to be lethally effective. He had noticed that the covered inner courtyard where the display was to be held was huge and airy, any detonation by a small bomb would be quickly dispersed. Most importantly he could not find a sufficently short fuse, the best he could find was one of 10 minutes. This meant that Medvedev would have to closely shadow the Lider to keep him in range of the bomb blast. Would the OGPU bodyguards permit an officer to trail along with Stalin after the Lider had moved on from Medvedev sector of the exhibit? It appeared unlikely.

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    So Medvedev resolved to try and engage Stalin in conversation whilst demonstrating the German weapons to try and keep him close while the fuse counted down to destruction.

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    Medvedev stood and watched as Stalin entered the covered courtyard at the head of practically the entire senior Nasist leadership circle. With Stalin was Alexander Novikov dressed in a blue uniform of his own design, and wearing brown boots. Roman von Ungern-Sternberg cold eyes stared out, while Stalin two senior military commanders, the pompous Vasily Blyukher and Admiral Nikolai Kuznetsov, grasping their ornate rank batons in their right hands, followed behind.

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    Stalin had already delivered a short speech outside and Madvedev had listened as the Russian national anthem was played, followed by the Znamona vyshe, the Nasists unofficial anthem. Stalin had 30 minutes to use up at the exhibition before the wreath laying ceremony once more outside the Kremlin Arsenal. Stalin moved towards Madvedev section of the exhibition, the colonel arming his bomb as the Lider approached. Madvedev had 10 minutes left to live and, determined to kill Stalin, he smiled and attempted to interest the Lider in the display of German weaponry. Stalin, a disinterested scowl on his face, moved along the tables with Madvedev staying as close to Stalin as possible, all the time trying to talk to him. But suddently Stalin, instead of asking questions about the weapons, went, or rather ran, out of the side door recalled Madvedev, from his short tour around the exhibition, he had barely looked at anything and had not said a word. A tour that was supposed to have taken 30 minutes had laster for barely two. Madvedev considered attempting to follow Stalin from the courtyard, and quickly realized that his forbidden behavior would only alert the Istrebki bodyguards. Instead, Madvedev made his excuses, and locked himself inside a lavatory cubicle, frantically he disarmed the bombs, succeding with only seconds to spare. The following day Madvedev was transferred back to the Belorusian Army Front on the Eastern Front, and his plot to kill the Lider was never discovered. Madvedev survived the war, dying in Russia in 1954, a hero. As for Stalin, he had survived the fight another day, thought plenty more officers were waiting in the wind to attempt to kill him.

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    SLO Target Stalin- The Eagle's Nest Sniper New
  • SLO Target Stalin- The Eagle's Nest Sniper

    On the 27th and 28th of June 1944 meetings were held at the Sonder Lehrgang Oranienburg in Brandenburg. SLO, part of Germany Ministry of Dirty Tricks had finally decided to kill Stalin. The question was: how and where? Stalin's mountain home, the Katun, nested in the South Siberian Mountains on the Western Sayan, on the Mongolian frontier, presented a good target location. An idea was mooted in these meetings to shoot Stalin in the Western Sayan during his daily afternoon walk. German intelligence knew that Stalin enjoyed walking to the so called Orlinoye gnezdo tea house from the Western Sayan every day that he was in residence. They also knew that Stalin OGPU bodyguards were under orders to stay back when Stalin was walking with his small group of intimates. At one point during his stroll he passed close to a patch of woodland, and placed him out of line of sight of the static Istrebki century posts around the Western Sayan. This meant that there was a window of opportunity to kill Stalin. When Stalin arrived at the tea house he would stroll around his famous overlook chatting with his intimates, and then he would enter the tea house itself. Once Stalin was inside the Orlinoye gnezdo tea house, he would sip Georgian tea and nibble on Medok honey cake, before invariably dozing off in his comfy armchair, while the rest of his party chattered quietly around him. After an hour or so Stalin would be driven back to the Katun, while his companions walked the 1500 meters back. It soon become clear to SLO that the most reliable method was a sniper attack when Stalin was walking along the path of the tea house, and was very lightly guarded. The plan was for a Russian-speaking Ukrainian and a German sniper to parachute into Mongolia, close to the Russian border.



    From there the two-man rifle team would infiltrate the Western Sayan dressed as Russian army mountain uniforms.

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    Once inside the Lider protected enclosure the sniper team would lie up in the woods close to the path that Stalin regularly walked. The Ukrainian would act as spotter using powerful binoculars, while the sniper would be armed with a mauser carabiner 98k rifle, fitted with a zeiss telescopic sight. The rifle had an effective range of 1000 meters, but the shot would be taken much closer, at a range of around 300 meters. A German officer, Oberst Werner Ebeling, was mooted for the role of sniper, and may have begun training in Germany against moving targets. In November 1944 was presented, codenamed Operation Reynard, but it was turned down, after some heated arguments. At this stage of the war, many senior officers felt that leaving Stalin alive was doing more damage to the Russian military than Stalin dead. There were also some reservations about making Stalin a martyr. Reynard was by this stage anyway a theoretical exercise because Stalin had left the Western Sayan for the last time on the 14th of July 1944. However post-war analysis of the plan suggested that although Russian security forces would most probably have captured the two-man sniper team, before they were able to get into position, if they had managed to conceal themselves along the path between the Katun and the Orlinoye gnezdo tea house, they could have killed Stalin with relative ease. The main problem was that the plan came too late, SLO lacked intelligence about Stalin until after victory in the West, during the Baltic offensive, when they captured a few low-ranking former guards who had been returned to active service. By the time SLO had managed to thrash out an assassination plan, Stalin had managed to frustrate them, by moving avay from the target area.

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