The SWASTIKA Secret

A place for Sladists to share their thoughts on Michael Slade and his work...

Postby Slade » Thu Jun 30, 2005 7:43 pm

TBLightning,

Your mind is getting down to brass tacks. By focusing on the years of my dad's combat experience, you are beginning to separate the wheat from the chaff...to mix metaphors.

And, of course, Old BloodNGuts was in North Africa for Operation Torch.

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Postby TBLightning492 » Fri Jul 01, 2005 5:32 am

Over the last several hours I have started to think that the bombing of Dresden in 1945 might be the key...perhaps the most controversial event of WW2, it would have placed The Bomber into the picture.

Blood And Guts was nearby in the Saar Basin, planning to take Prague.

Other than that, the only connection I can make is D-Day. Blood And Guts was running Operation Fortitude (supposedly intending to invade France by way of Calais), The Bomber was focusing on targets for the French rail network.

Not solid connections, I realize.

Bravo, Slade! Not only do you have me giving my brain a good workout at all hours of the night, I'm having fun and learning quite a bit while doing it!

I can't wait to learn the nature of this secret.
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Postby Slade » Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:00 am

TBLightning,

You're also doing a darn good job. My dad, of course, was back in Canada well before Dresden. Luckily for him, his combat all took place in the Desperate Years, 1941 and 1942, and culminated with the first turning point of the war in Europe - El Alamein - (unless you are of the school that views the 1000 Bomber Raid on Cologne as the first turning point, in which case, he was in on two).

But there doesn't have to be an exact overlap, does there? Just a connection.

So that should give your brain another Rubik's cube to play with.

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Postby TBLightning492 » Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:11 am

You know, it's funny...right after I posted my comment above, I began to think about the Invasion of Sicily, and how the RCAF was involved in that, as was Patton. But that was July 1943. Jack Clarke was in Yorkshire, and had been since March.

So how could he have flight logs and journals connected to Dresden in 1945?

Ouch. It must have been the excitement of all of this history. I must slow down in my thinking and plot things out, Declerq-on-his-coarkboard-style.

Edited to add: I'm a believer in El Alamein being the turning point, because it saw Churchill replace Auchinleck with Montgomery, who was a far superior strategist than his predecessor. The recapturing of Africa led to invading Sicily, which secured most of the Mediterranean. Eventually Germany was forced to pull land and air forces away from the east to fortify the south, opening up the path for the Russians to move further into Europe.
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Postby MarylandManson » Fri Jul 01, 2005 3:28 pm

I still don't want to know the Secret. But following clues is fun! And it yields many fascinating tangents. Slade, please let me know if you don't want this stuff cluttering the hunt for clues, and I'll happily cease and desist.

Focusing on 1944 and overlaps between Patton and Bomber Harris, the summer months come into focus. Operation Cobra is of some interest. Soon after, Patton and his Third Army rolled across France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Although Patton wasn't officially part of D-Day/Normandy, the Germans thought for sure his "fake army" would invade at Pas de Calais.

At the Falaise Pocket, American and Canadian troops could have closed the gap and captured thousands of German soldiers...but they didn't.

http://www.normandiememoire.com/NM60Ang ... p09_gb.htm

In his book SOLDIERING FOR FREEDOM, Herman J. Obermayer talks about the Allied bombing of Le Havre, French sabotage of gasoline pipelines, and GIs who were hanged for raping French women.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/ ... 35-5655901

And here's something interesting from the Irons...

http://www.maidenfans.com/imc/?url=albu ... ink=albums

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Fri Jul 01, 2005 5:05 pm

MM,

The fun is in the tangents. In fact, that's how I plot. I take a topic that interests me and follow where it goes once I get off the beaten path and into the darkness of the thick woods.

So, go where your mind goes.

It's the little details that fascinate me. Though it belongs on the 007 thread, here's what I mean:

"The reason why Bond stops to notice the painting on his way to Dr. No's dining room is because it is Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington that was stolen in 1960 and has never ever been recovered."

How many times have I seen that film without knowing that? And how much does it tells us about Dr. No: "I take what I want."

Same with the compass buttons off my dad's combat gear. I have yet to find a person who doesn't think that is cool.

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Postby MarylandManson » Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:21 am

Looking at all those Blackhawk covers, the theme of jet propulsion emerges. Here's a very detailed link about the Messerschmidt Me-262, a beautiful aircraft no matter who built and operated it. It's amazing how relatively early in avaiation history people were thinking about jet propulsion. Also, those German jets must have been a terror to the Allied bomber crews who saw them streaking through formations and spouting cannon fire.

http://www.militaryfactory.com/aircraft ... aft_id=108

Interesting tidbit from this link:

"Late in the war, the Japanese were shipped a complete Me-262 by submarine. They began work on a copy of the fighter, designated the 'Ki-201 Karyu (Fire Dragon),' but it was never completed."

Cheers! MM
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Postby MarylandManson » Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:08 am

Slade: The bloody squadrons! Here's where I cry "Uncle!" because all the RCAF squadrons moved to North Africa after Johnny Clarke was training pilots, presumably somewhere in Yorkshire, presumably attached to HQ and not a squadron. Maybe he was at Castle Dismal? Could he have flown combat missions while officially assigned as a trainer/deputy Flight Commander? And before March 1943, who knows what squadron (maybe 37) he was with? And I really don't want to know! Until November...

But to any other Sladists who want to consider a tidbit that seems to fit other clues here--but could be entirely wrong because it's in 1943--here's an interesting link:

http://www.bartcop.com/430830.htm

...plus more from the primary site...

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/peenemunde.html

...and what if an Aussie unit comprised pilots from other nations?

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h462.html

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/h10.html

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Mon Jul 04, 2005 7:35 pm

MM,

Or, perhaps we should take a look at Nuremberg:

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/t ... r-will.htm

"Most religious movements and political dynasties throughout history have had one city that could be called the focal point, or heart, of the movement - Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople and so forth. For the Nazis, the heart of their movement was the magnificent medieval city of Nuremberg, symbolizing the link between Germany's Gothic past and its Nazi future...

On the night of October 12, 1941, a Whitley V bomber lumbered down the runway at Leeming, Yorkshire, and lifted off to head out over the black water toward Nazi Germany.

Flight Sergeant "Johnny" Clarke of # 10(B) Squadron was "Outward Bound" on what would be forty-seven combat missions against the Swastika...

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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:01 am

Slade: It's also interesting that some secret societies have come out of Bavaria. What's in the water at those castle moats?

Sifting through all this Bomber Command material, the big question that keeps arising is how a bomber pilot would reconcile his mission with his conscience. Precision bombing against military targets is one thing; area bombing under the command of Bomber Harris is another.

By the way, I always enjoy the informative Author's Notes in Slade novels. HANGMAN especially offers an excellent one, as does GHOUL (the afterword). Will SWASTIKA include such material?

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:55 am

Sladists,

When I was a boy in the fifties, there was a common question: "What did your dad do in the war?"

My dad was dead by the time I was of the age when I would have asked him the pertinent questions, so my simple answer was, "He flew a bomber."

In 1974, the picture got clearer. I knew the name of one of his crew from a Christmas card to my mom. So as I was passing through York, England, on a whim I looked it up in the phone book.

The phone rang and rang and rang and I was about to hang up, when a breathless voice answered, "Hello?" It turned out that Ginger Rouse (check my dad's artwork at the Slade Website) had just returned from a vacation in France, and the phone was ringing as he put the key in the door.

A split-second more and we would not have connected. Anyway, that's how I ended up in The Black Swan that night...

http://www.blackswanyork.co.uk/files/frames/all.html

...for the best roast beef and yorkshire pudding dinner I've ever had, and got to hear all about the Thousand Bomber Raids and the war in North Africa leading up to the Battle of El Alamein that he and my dad had shared in 1942.

That, as you know, is what we've discussed so far, both on this Board and the old one.

However, in a twist of fate for which I want to thank those of you who have engaged me on this thread, it seems there's more to the story of my dad's war than I thought up until today.

So...

Who remembers this:

In May of nineteen forty-one the war had just begun,
The Germans had the biggest ship,
They had the biggest guns.
The Bismarck was the fastest ship,
That ever sailed the seas,
On her deck were guns as big as steers,
And shells as big as trees.
Out of the cold and foggy night,
Came the British ship the Hood.
And ev'ry British seaman he knew and understood,
They had to sink the Bismarck, the terror of the sea.
Stop those guns as big as steers,
And those shells as big as trees.

We'll find that German battleship,
That's makin' such a fuss.
We gotta sink the Bismarck,
'Cause the world depends on us.
They hit the decks a-runnin' boys,
And spin those guns around.
When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down.

The Hood found the Bismarck and on that fatal day.
The Bismarck started firin' fifteen miles away.
We gotta sink the Bismarck was the battle sound.
But when the smoke had cleared away,
The mighty Hood went down.
For six long days and weary nights,
They tried to find her trail.
Churchill told the people put ev'ry ship a-sail,
'Cause somewhere on that ocean,
I know she's gotta be.
We gotta sink the Bismarck to the bottom of the sea.

The fog was gone the seventh day,
And they saw the mornin' sun.
Ten hours away from homeland,
The Bismarck made its run.
The Admiral of the British fleet said,
Turn those bows around.
We found that German battleship,
And we're gonna cut her down.

The British guns were aimed,
And the shells were comin' fast.
The first shell hit the Bismarck,
They knew she couldn't last.
That mighty German battleship is just a memory.
Sink the Bismarck was the battle cry,
That shook the seven seas.

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Postby fizz kick » Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:41 pm

Slade wrote:So...

Who remembers this:

In May of nineteen forty-one the war had just begun,
The Germans had the biggest ship,
They had the biggest guns.
The Bismarck was the fastest ship,
That ever sailed the seas,
On her deck were guns as big as steers,
And shells as big as trees.
Out of the cold and foggy night,
Came the British ship the Hood.
And ev'ry British seaman he knew and understood,
They had to sink the Bismarck, the terror of the sea.
Stop those guns as big as steers,
And those shells as big as trees.

We'll find that German battleship,
That's makin' such a fuss.
We gotta sink the Bismarck,
'Cause the world depends on us.
They hit the decks a-runnin' boys,
And spin those guns around.
When we find the Bismarck we gotta cut her down.Slade




Thanks alot! Now that song will be in my head all day.



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Postby EZ Rhino » Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:21 pm

Ahh....Johnny Horton. My granny used to play his records alot.
I wish the media would report more on public service and charity news instead of gossip. It is of much greater value. - Jackie Chan
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Postby Slade » Thu Jul 21, 2005 1:30 am

Sladists,

An entry in my father's Pilot's Flying Log has puzzled me:

1942. Feb 12. Daylight raid on the "Scharnhorst" and "Gneisenau." 10/10 cloud.

Because I recognized neither of those names - unlike all the other targets in the book - I assumed from the quote marks that my dad didn't either, and so he had written them phonetically. Believing them to be lesser targets, I left it at that.

Since you armchair strategists did such a good job with the clues I've been dropping, I thought I'd feed you a red herring or two. What good's a mystery without a red herring? So I went back to the start of my dad's combat raids, and gave you his "1st ops," the attack on Nuremberg, the heart of the Reich.

Next, I went to his "2nd ops":

1941. Oct. 20. Ops to Wilhelmshaven. "Bags of fun" - Caught in searchlights, but not held.

When I typed "Wilhelmshaven" into Google for info on what that was about, it came back with a connection to the Bismarck. Thus, the song above. Actually, the hull of the Bismarck wasn't laid there, but the hull of the Tirpitz was. And as I followed the links, I came across this:

http://hmshood.com/ship/history/bshood/BSHood.html

Four paragraphs down in the preface, you'll see what caught my eye.

Okay, Strategists. Operation Cerberus. There's another hunt.

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Postby PohlSE » Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:17 am

http://www.scharnhorst-class.dk/

That link will tell you all about the ships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

The site is full of photos and history of both ships.


While under repair the Gneisenau received a direct hit on the foredeck during an air attack on the night of 26 - 27 February 1942. Despite it was standard procedure, her stocks of ammunition were not discharged. This was a fatal error as the hit she received started a chain reaction which devastated the ship and killed 112 crewmembers. This was the end of the career of the Gneisenau.


My guess is that he was refering to that attack on the Scharnhorst class battleship named Gneisenau.

In fact here is the link to that destruction complete with pictures:

http://www.scharnhorst-class.dk/gneisenau/gallery/gallgneisedestruction.html
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