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Old 15th May 2017, 05:40
canadianfiddler3 canadianfiddler3 is offline
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Hello and intro from a Newbie

I'd like to say hello, as I'm new here and this is the first time I've signed up for a WW2 Forum. Having heard that forums can be a vicious place, I'll try not to step on anyone's toes, and I'll try my best not to ask stupid questions, and I promise not to get involved in anything I don't know about, or be an armchair general.

In the last year I've become interested in Germany's military history, though I have a history to be proud of in my own family, my great great Grandfather was with the 2nd Canadian Railway Troops in France in WW1, and his son, my great grandfather was a cook attached to the South Saskatchewan Regiment in WW2. He was killed in Germany in 1945, during the Battle of the Hochwald Gap. His brother was in the Governor General's Foot Guards during the war and was awarded the Legion D'Honneur. He died last year, and he was one of the kindest, good humoured, humble men I have ever met. I understand why they call them the greatest generation.

I've always had an interest in the military. My dad and grandfather were also in the Canadian Army, so I spent my childhood and formative years surrounded by the military. When I was 10, I inherited my great grandfather's medals, and so began my interest in the Second World War. Being an avid reader, I read anything I could get my hands on at the library, but distinctly remember bringing home a book about Hitler, and my dad caught me with it. I remember the talking to I got, which wasn't very nice, and I remember being asked if I was even proud of my country and the history that I had inherited. Needless to say it was the last time I picked up a book about Germany for a long, long time. My dad was actually born in Germany while my grandparents were stationed at Iserlohn in the mid 60's.

Anyway, when I was younger, my grandpa told me a story about a neighbour of theirs in Germany that was a Stalingrad survivor. The name Stalingrad always stuck with me, and as I got older and began working outdoors, including the winters when it gets down to -40 and lower, I always imagined what it would have felt like for the soldiers at Stalingrad. Last fall, I bought
a book by Gunther Koschorrek entitled ''Blood Red Snow'', which detailed his experiences on the Ost Front, including Stalingrad.

It was the first memoir I had read by a German soldier, and yes call me narrow minded, but it was the first time I had looked at one in a different light. I feel that here in the West, many sources have all but dehumanized German soldiers. Hollywood seems to have done an excellent job of this, and most if not all FPS games involve killing Germans. Most uneducated folks will refer to all German soldiers as Nazis and hold them in the same light as the SS men working at the death camps.

Along with the book, I watched a 3 part documentary on Stalingrad, and became fascinated with the Eastern Front. The books I had read as a kid didn't say much about the Eastern Front, and to be honest with you, I really didn't know much more about it other than the fact Germany had invaded Russia. Most of the books available to me detailed the Northwest Europe, Italian, and Africa Campaigns. I have since watched every documentary YouTube had to offer regarding the Eastern Front, and then moved on to anything regarding the Wehrmacht. In the last few months I have begun collecting German photographs from the War, and again, it has helped me to hold them in a new light.

I have joined this forum because I would like to find like-minded individuals, that is to say those that have a respect for the Wehrmacht
as a fighting force, and view the soldiers as ''men first'', soldiers doing their duty, regardless of political orientation. While many people may not agree with dubbing many of the soldiers as heroes, I like to think that their individual combat achievements warrant the title, especially when referring to Panzer and Luftwaffe Aces. Hell, look at the requirements for an Infantry Assault Badge. I would also like to look into some of the Luftwaffe pilots and soldiers in photos that I have, in hopes of finding more information on them, or getting pointed in the right direction.

Thanks for your time,

Pat
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