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(Some Badass)   A reminder that, 76 years ago tonight, the most badass Canadian of all time did his most badass thing in a life full of badassery. Badass   (owlcation.com) divider line
    More: Hero, Schutzstaffel, Canadian Forces, Private Leo Major, Wehrmacht, Canada, Submachine gun, Hero, Private Major's decision  
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7185 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Apr 2021 at 3:05 AM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-04-15 3:08:46 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-04-15 3:17:46 AM  
He wrestled a moose to the ground then chugged a gallon of maple syrup while eating poutine?
 
2021-04-15 3:17:56 AM  
"At some point he found the Gestapo headquarters and set fire to it. Later still, he came across Zwolle's SS headquarters which he entered. Inside were eight SS officers who put up a fight. He killed four, but the other four escaped. Major regretted he wasn't able to kill them all."

Now there's the real AntiFa.
 
2021-04-15 3:20:00 AM  

Smoking GNU: "At some point AFTER PUTTING ON THE FOIL he found the Gestapo headquarters and set fire to it. Later still, he came across Zwolle's SS headquarters which he entered. Inside were eight SS officers who put up a fight. He killed four, but the other four escaped. Major regretted he wasn't able to kill them all."

Now there's the real AntiFa.


Ftfm
 
2021-04-15 3:20:25 AM  
I bet HE could have made Chuck Norris fear death...
 
2021-04-15 3:23:49 AM  
FTFAIn late Autumn of 1944, as the Canadians advanced toward Antwerp, Belgium, Private Major encountered two Germans, killing one and capturing the other. Instead of returning with his prisoner, the lone Major forced the soldier to take him to to his commanding officer. In the ensuing firefight, he killed three more before the garrison of roughly 100 surrendered. As he escorted them back to Allied lines, SS troops spotted the prisoners, hands on heads, and began firing on their own troops. Major respected regular German Army soldiers as fellow combatants, but after seeing the SS kill several of their own men, he would in future give no quarter when it came to members of the SS. Major kept his prisoners moving and by the time they were safely behind Canadian lines, he had single-handedly captured and delivered 93 German soldiers

Sweet Jebus, there's more than a little extra room in my boxers
 
2021-04-15 3:24:20 AM  
Some days I like to think that if there is an afterlife there's Leo Major, Audie Murphy & Jack Churchill sitting together, having a beer & swapping mad bastard stories whilst appreciative heroes from ages past look on, nodding approvingly.
 
2021-04-15 3:28:31 AM  
 
2021-04-15 3:29:46 AM  

Notabunny: In the ensuing firefight, he killed three more before the garrison of roughly 100 surrendered. As he escorted them back to Allied lines, SS troops spotted the prisoners, hands on heads, and began firing on their own troops.


These two sentences contain more serious WTF than is contained in the whole of the fark front page, most days.

How they hell?

And why the hell?
 
2021-04-15 3:38:14 AM  
We pretend to have enemies worthy of this level of danger, but they're not. About the worst of modern problems need containment, let them kill each other.
 
2021-04-15 3:39:10 AM  

SumoJeb: During war Canadians give no farks.
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/t​he-forgotten-ferocity-of-canadas-soldi​ers-in-the-great-war


You should kind of have to think twice about going in against a people who've made the vicious cobra chicken their national bird.
 
2021-04-15 3:57:51 AM  
Hell yeah. That's what we do with Nazis.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-04-15 4:01:03 AM  

princhester: Notabunny: In the ensuing firefight, he killed three more before the garrison of roughly 100 surrendered. As he escorted them back to Allied lines, SS troops spotted the prisoners, hands on heads, and began firing on their own troops.

These two sentences contain more serious WTF than is contained in the whole of the fark front page, most days.

How they hell?

And why the hell?


The German army was a national professional military, the SS were hand-picked Nazi loyalists. Toward the end of the war the SS were the only units to implement Hitler's scorched earth policy to level German towns, intent on destroying everything to prevent its capture and killing any German, civilian or soldier, who tried to surrender.
In the end, the German army regulars avoided the SS, sometimes thwarted them, and rarely entered into open battles with them to protect civilians. In one notable case it was American -and- German regular troops fighting side-by-side against SS troops. It got weird at the end.
There were many reported incidents where an SS officer took command of remnants of regular units, ordering them to make a last stand to the death, only to be shot by a German soldier so the unit could surrender.
 
2021-04-15 4:14:49 AM  
Thanks that explains one aspect.  So not meaning to diminish Major's efforts - which were clearly extraordinary - it would seem by the time of his efforts in the dying days of the war, the regular German soldiers were probably a bit more amenable to surrender than was true earlier in the war.
 
2021-04-15 4:17:05 AM  
Not who I was expecting.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-04-15 4:22:34 AM  

Gordon Bennett: Not who I was expecting.

[Fark user image 768x1024]


You win the internet for the Zellers tag.
 
2021-04-15 4:23:22 AM  
No mention of him jumping an open drawbridge or making Eastwood look so fine...
 
2021-04-15 4:41:33 AM  

princhester: Thanks that explains one aspect.  So not meaning to diminish Major's efforts - which were clearly extraordinary - it would seem by the time of his efforts in the dying days of the war, the regular German soldiers were probably a bit more amenable to surrender than was true earlier in the war.


Most definitely, but it 's an odd sort of situation: if every one of the 100 Germans is amenable to surrender, you're good. If a handful are not, you're dead. You either need to be incredibly brave or bad at math to like those odds.
 
2021-04-15 4:56:04 AM  
I wonder how Ricky, Julian and Bubbles would have done in the military
 
2021-04-15 4:56:06 AM  

Smoking GNU: "At some point he found the Gestapo headquarters and set fire to it. Later still, he came across Zwolle's SS headquarters which he entered. Inside were eight SS officers who put up a fight. He killed four, but the other four escaped. Major was sorry he wasn't able to kill them all."

Now there's the real AntiFa.


Fixt for Canadianness

/ Sore-y
 
2021-04-15 5:05:33 AM  
His son's name was Leo Minor Major.
 
2021-04-15 5:13:51 AM  
Private Major? Any relation to Major Major?
 
2021-04-15 5:19:35 AM  
Major respected regular German Army soldiers as fellow combatants, but after seeing the SS kill several of their own men, he would in future give no quarter when it came to members of the SS.

As it should be with hardcore Nazis.


At some point he found the Gestapo headquarters and set fire to it. Later still, he came across Zwolle's SS headquarters which he entered. Inside were eight SS officers who put up a fight. He killed four, but the other four escaped. Major regretted he wasn't able to kill them all.

And more badassary, upset he couldn't kill more Nazis.
 
2021-04-15 5:29:17 AM  

wildcardjack: We pretend to have enemies worthy of this level of danger, but they're not. About the worst of modern problems need containment, let them kill each other.


Couldn't contain yourself just letting a thread pass without trying to white-knight some Nazis, could ya?
 
2021-04-15 6:36:40 AM  
You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?
 
2021-04-15 6:41:06 AM  
rush was formed 76 years ago?
 
2021-04-15 6:51:54 AM  
Did he have a nickname like the Jew Bear?
 
2021-04-15 6:53:47 AM  

I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?


You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.
 
2021-04-15 6:57:50 AM  
Canadian forces have a long history of punching way above their weight. They were legendary in WW1 and have represented themselves on the battlefield with distinction ever since.

I'd take a squad if Canadian shock troopers over Cadian shock troopers any day 😉. Of course the Cadians may be a little harder to find these days thanks to Failbaddon.
 
2021-04-15 7:04:11 AM  

starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.


I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.
 
2021-04-15 7:10:57 AM  

TheAlgebraist: starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.

I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.


While I'm firmly in the "all nazis must die" camp I'm super glad I did not come of age in Germany in the 20s. The choices for a male back then were sorta slim.
 
2021-04-15 7:36:33 AM  

omg bbq: TheAlgebraist: starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.

I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.

While I'm firmly in the "all nazis must die" camp I'm super glad I did not come of age in Germany in the 20s. The choices for a male back then were sorta slim.


Yeah, for sure.  If there was a German soldier who captured a town single handedly, he would likely be remembered as a monstrous killing machine, but he and Major would both be individual soldiers who got the same orders and carried them out.

the lesson here is that the civilian leadership and the populations who elect and support them need to take their power and responsibility seriously and only use the armed forces in ways that will let us be proud of the results.
 
2021-04-15 7:37:09 AM  
They were outnumbered 700 to 1 when holding that hill in Korea.

And...no f*cks we're given.   It held.

700 to 1
 
2021-04-15 7:37:57 AM  

TheAlgebraist: starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.

I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.


Well, back when the History Channel gave a shiat about, you know, history, they aired f*cktons of content documenting the notable military Nazis. Then they spun them off to the Military Channel.
Also You Tube has a lot of material.
 
2021-04-15 7:44:55 AM  
This Private Major refused because he said Monty was too incompetent to be handing out medals.

Meaning he understood, or at least acted on, things better than most of the Allied Command at the time.
 
2021-04-15 7:45:03 AM  

TheAlgebraist: omg bbq: Yeah, for sure.  If there was a German soldier who captured a town single handedly, he would likely be remembered as a monstrous killing machine, but he and Major would both be individual soldiers who got the same orders and carried them out.


Only one of them went along with its country's plan to subjugate its neighbours though.

I know it would have been very difficult for your average German to stop but they should have done so.
 
2021-04-15 7:45:26 AM  

I want that sauce Morty!: I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?


There's the panzer ace Michael Wittmann, who is credited with 100+ tank kills. Possibly 120 - 135. Bear in mind, he was using a Tiger tank in the early part of the Eastern Front, where Soviet tanks and tactics weren't very good, and he was in a tank with tons of armor, an advantage in range, armor penetration, and visibility.

In comparison, the Soviet tanks were being pushed out to the field as fast as they could. T-34s were being driven to the front without paint (they'd get painted by the crew in the field), so there were times when you'd have an anti-rust red painted T-34 rolling into battle due to crap-your-pants expediency.

Honestly, when your best tactic against a Tiger is to swarm it and hope to god one of your swarm gets behind it and hits a low enough hit to penetrate, you're going to lose a LOT of tanks. Bear in mind that the communication between tanks was also lacking, so if you have inexperienced crews working together, that swarm is not going to happen.
 
2021-04-15 7:47:21 AM  

I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?


Otto Skorzeny. Brave, strong, loyal, evil.

There's kind of a face turn at the end of his life, but I doubt it was sincere.
 
2021-04-15 7:50:22 AM  

evilmousse: rush was formed 76 years ago?


I'm not sure how old Rush is. But I remember it was a concerning day for me and my self-perceived cool factor when I realized most of my rock and roll idols were older than my parents.
 
2021-04-15 7:51:50 AM  

TheAlgebraist: omg bbq: TheAlgebraist: starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.

I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.

While I'm firmly in the "all nazis must die" camp I'm super glad I did not come of age in Germany in the 20s. The choices for a male back then were sorta slim.

Yeah, for sure.  If there was a German soldier who captured a town single handedly, he would likely be remembered as a monstrous killing machine, but he and Major would both be individual soldiers who got the same orders and carried them out.

the lesson here is that the civilian leadership and the populations who elect and support them need to take their power and responsibility seriously and only use the armed forces in ways that will let us be proud of the results.


There was a guy that used to worknfor my dad that was conscripted into the German army at the end of the war.  He was 14 or 15 years old.  They gave him about a week of training and then told him to stand a post.

So here come the Russians.  He and his mate said "Faaaaaark this!" and deserted.  They ran seven miles in the other direction trying to find a US or British unit so they could surrender, which they did.

I was maybe 14 or 15 when he told me that story.  It blew my mind.
 
2021-04-15 7:58:07 AM  
Band of Brothers 2: Canadian Boogaloo

/would watch this
 
2021-04-15 7:59:24 AM  

princhester: TheAlgebraist: omg bbq: Yeah, for sure.  If there was a German soldier who captured a town single handedly, he would likely be remembered as a monstrous killing machine, but he and Major would both be individual soldiers who got the same orders and carried them out.

Only one of them went along with its country's plan to subjugate its neighbours though.

I know it would have been very difficult for your average German to stop but they should have done so.


I really wish you had quoted the other half of my post.
 
2021-04-15 8:03:21 AM  
A badass Canadian is one that tips less than twenty percent, right?
 
2021-04-15 8:04:46 AM  

Rent Party: TheAlgebraist: omg bbq: TheAlgebraist: starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.

I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.

While I'm firmly in the "all nazis must die" camp I'm super glad I did not come of age in Germany in the 20s. The choices for a male back then were sorta slim.

Yeah, for sure.  If there was a German soldier who captured a town single handedly, he would likely be remembered as a monstrous killing machine, but he and Major would both be individual soldiers who got the same orders and carried them out.

the lesson here is that the civilian leadership and the populations who elect and support them need to take their power and responsibility seriously and only use the armed forces in ways that will let us be proud of the results.

There was a guy that used to worknfor my dad that was conscripted into the German army at the end of the war.  He was 14 or 15 years old.  They gave him about a week of training and then told him to stand a post.

So here come the Russians.  He and his mate said "Faaaaaark this!" and deserted.  They ran seven miles in the other direction trying to find a US or British unit so they could surrender, which they did.

I was maybe 14 or 15 when he told me that story.  It blew my mind.


Yeah that's the heart breaking part. Hell most soldiers are in their teens or early 20s just children really. I mean I would not trust most 18 year olds to properly mow my lawn but people grow up fast in war and old men love sending kids to go die for their arguments.

It's hard when you're raised up in an ideology to see through it and only the truly exceptional can and then have the guts to act on it.  There were plenty of soldiers in both world wars in all armies (except maybe Japan, nobody was as hard core as them, period) that wore the uniform, swore the oaths, and then did their best to always shoot over the heads of the enemy.  I respect that a lot.
 
2021-04-15 8:06:21 AM  

Rent Party: TheAlgebraist: omg bbq: TheAlgebraist: starsrift: I want that sauce Morty!: You know what I realized I never see? Articles about badass Nazi soldiers. I know why nobody does it cause these types of articles are meant to glorify the accomplishments of these soldiers and nobody wants to glorify Nazis, but some exemplary examples must exist right? Like how in Inglorious Basterds there was that movie about the sniper.

I don't want to glorify Nazis or anything, I'm just curious about who their Red Baron was. Who was their Audie Murphy. I know about their strategists. I know about their generals. I want to know who earned their medals by spilling blood and why. Are there any books on this?

You can find information about the Red Baron, as he was never a Nazi.
No country has been as fierce about de-glorifying the Nazi regime as Germany, so a lot of primary source material has been destroyed. The fog of war makes it difficult to determine from the opposing side, as well.

I think the question was "who is the German WW2 equivalent of the Red Baron?", which would be Adolf Galland, Hans Rudel (whose name I had to look up because I only remembered him as "the guy who put a 20mm cannon on his Stuka), or maybe Wolfram von Richthofen who was a ww1 pilot too and actually the cousin of the Red Baron.

I also found out that Rudel fled to Argentina and spent the rest of his life writing books about how great Hitler was and how they had to invade Russia to defend themselves, so it is probably good more people don't remember him.  Wikipedia says he was consulted about the design of the A10 as well.

While I'm firmly in the "all nazis must die" camp I'm super glad I did not come of age in Germany in the 20s. The choices for a male back then were sorta slim.

Yeah, for sure.  If there was a German soldier who captured a town single handedly, he would likely be remembered as a monstrous killing machine, but he and Major would both be individual soldiers who got the same orders and carried ...


Smart kid.
 
2021-04-15 8:13:55 AM  
So, I was thinking a lot about this.  I initially had written up a post mentioning Galland and Rudel, but also UBoat aces like Gunther Prien and Otto Kretchsmer, and Wittmer, and I realized I know a lot fewer "individuals" from the Allied forces (actually I guess I should say non-German because I can barely name a non-general from the Japanese forces, and can't even get that far for the Italians).

I have read a lot about WW2, and about military history in general, and I had a bit of a "are we the baddies?" moment since only the Nazi ones sprang to mind.  It got me thinking.  Firstly, I actually do know a fair number of allied personages, but a lot of them are scientists (Turing, RV Jones), or politicians or generals, or the very occasional and usually American front line solider (like Dick Winters or Desmond Doss), and secondly, maybe the reason we single out the Germans like that is because we can differentiate between individual achievement and overall culpability, but in the case of the Germans we kind of have to.

The question: "Which Allied soliders were heroes?" is safe to answer with "All of them", because regardless of their individual conduct they put themselves on the line for a noble cause, but with the Germans we try to pick ones that are relatively safe in some way.  It might be why there is more romanticism about submarine captains, or pilots, or even tank drivers, because we can put them behind a wall of separation from the actual fighting (literally the walls of their vehicles).  A guy in a type VII might have killed more people people than someone fighting in the army, but there is basically zero chance that he was slaughtering innocent civilians.

Having said that, I highly recommend this book:  https://www.amazon.com/Soldate​n-Fighti​ng-Killing-Sonke-Neitzel/dp/1849839492​ It is taken from transcriptions of hidden recordings of German POWs in captivity, and it basically proves that everyone knew that the Holocaust was taking place and didn't or couldn't do anything about it.  Very good book, and, since it's all conversations that were thought by the speakers to be private, it's a much more voyeuristic look at the war (if that's the right term)
 
2021-04-15 8:20:22 AM  

princhester: Thanks that explains one aspect.  So not meaning to diminish Major's efforts - which were clearly extraordinary - it would seem by the time of his efforts in the dying days of the war, the regular German soldiers were probably a bit more amenable to surrender than was true earlier in the war.


Yes and no. The roadsides were filled with "defeatists" hung from light poles. I'm sure safely surrendering was the goal of many, but they had to be very careful how they did it.
 
2021-04-15 8:22:26 AM  

omg bbq: It's hard when you're raised up in an ideology to see through it and only the truly exceptional can and then have the guts to act on it.  There were plenty of soldiers in both world wars in all armies (except maybe Japan, nobody was as hard core as them, period) that wore the uniform, swore the oaths, and then did their best to always shoot over the heads of the enemy.  I respect that a lot.


If you haven't seen it, the movie about Desmond Doss is great.  He was a pacifist, and refused to carry a weapon but successfully fought (in court) for his right to serve, and became a stretcher bearer.  He ended up saving a ton of lives at Okinawa.
 
2021-04-15 8:28:11 AM  
Out of curiosity, what does it take to get promoted in the Canadian Army?

Major was still a Private after single-handedly capturing 100 Germans?  At least Corporal York was promoted to Sergeant in the US Army in WWI.

Major also was eventually promoted to Sergeant (per his headstone) but it took reenlistment and heroism above and beyond the call of duty in Korea as well.
 
2021-04-15 8:31:42 AM  

TheAlgebraist: omg bbq: It's hard when you're raised up in an ideology to see through it and only the truly exceptional can and then have the guts to act on it.  There were plenty of soldiers in both world wars in all armies (except maybe Japan, nobody was as hard core as them, period) that wore the uniform, swore the oaths, and then did their best to always shoot over the heads of the enemy.  I respect that a lot.

If you haven't seen it, the movie about Desmond Doss is great.  He was a pacifist, and refused to carry a weapon but successfully fought (in court) for his right to serve, and became a stretcher bearer.  He ended up saving a ton of lives at Okinawa.


I haven't but I've heard of folks like him.

I joined the Marines at 18 and looking back I was brainwashed and bloodthirsty for quite a while. I see that as a huge moral failing on my part and have a lot of admiration for folks like Desmond who are able to see past the sparkle of war and stand on the side of humanity.
 
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