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Buy the book, “Blood on the Talon”

Some viewers are emailing me asking how to find the book, “Blood on the Talon”. I’ll leave this as a sticky post for a while to help readers get there easier. Simply click on the book image and it will take you to the secure ordering site where you can use Paypal or buy from Amazon. The introductory price has ended due to the sales volume. The retail price of $44.95 is in effect.

Display Expansion Continues

I have assembled the second portion of my museum displays. The seated engineer is manning the Command Post taking message traffic from the company radio network via the Handie Talki radio.  He is wearing leather buckle boots, unmodified M43 Field Trousers, wool shirt with a Red Cross hand knit sweater-vest. His helmet is an early war M1 fixed bail model with liner. IMG_0806

Adding to the Museum Display

Four new additions to the museum (aka junk room) arrived today. I am beginning to set them up, check for fit, and see how I will arrange things once I have all four assembled and fitted. This example depicts a 139th Airborne Engineer preparing for an early morning patrol near Bastogne. He is wearing a British pattern snow camouflage pull-over jacket on top of a high-neck knitted sweater. He wears unmodified M43 Field Trousers and has covered his para-boots with rubber galoshes. The hood of the camo jacket is worn over a brimmed knit cap. He is armed with the M1A folding stock .30 caliber carbine and has an M1911A1 automatic pistol in a holster on a web belt. He carries a spare ammunition bag and had one Mk2 Fragmentation Grenade at the ready.  The map covers the area of Bastogne, Belgium and the area to the West where the 17th Airborne Division fought.

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PFC Charles Shinn, C Co. 139th AEB

 PFC CHarles Shinn    I received a great photo from the son of PFC Charles Shinn. He was wounded on 24 Mar 45 during the early part of Operation VARSITY. The action surrounding PFC Shinn were part of the events that led to the award of the Silver Star for a few heroes of the 139th. The event is recounted in the book, “Blood on the Talon”, written by the blog master.

“Meanwhile, the 3rd Platoon of Charlie Company assembled quickly and began attacking the various strongholds in their sector. They immediately attacked two houses and killed, wounded or captured several troops, most likely elements of the 84. Infanterie Division. When the platoon attacked a third farm house, PFC Charles Shinn was wounded, but was able to crawl back to a position of comparative safety. The Platoon Leader, Lt. Earl A. Goodman learned that PFC Howard V. Dowlan had also been seriously injured in the same attack and was still within the enemies’ sights. Lt. Goodman, who had a few days earlier received a battlefield commission for his actions in Belgium, solicited two volunteers to assist him in an effort to retrieve PFC Dowlan. Accompanying Goodman were PFC Edward R. Knox and PFC Louis Zerby.
 
     The rescue effort was extremely dangerous and well within the sight and range of the enemies’ automatic weapons’ fire. The men must have realized their chance for success was very slim, yet for the benefit of their brother, they were willing to risk their lives. In the ensuing rescue attempt Goodman and Knox were mortally wounded and Zerby was seriously wounded but returned. PFC Dowlan did not survive the ordeal. All three would receive the Silver Star for gallantry in action, along with the Purple Heart. The action of Goodman and his men resulted in the capture of thirty of the enemy. Trooper Grooten also confirmed the rescue attempt made by Lt. Goodman, PFC Knox and PFC Zerby and indicated the farmhouse they assaulted was heavily fortified.”
 
 
     PFC Shinn’s son recently shared some photos provided by his father. The first shows Shinn near a tent wearing his four pocket service dress. The sign indicates the tent belongs to the compound of C Co. 139th AEB. I would assess the image to be from late 43 or early 42 at Camp Mackall before Shinn went to the parachute school. It does not look like he is wearing jump wings, but his boots are bloused. It could be that the images is a bit blurred and this is post jump school for Shinn. The remaining images are taken from a popular photo booklet sold at the Post Exchange at Ft. Benning and outline the typical training regimen for jump school.jump_1_001

Captured Luftwaffe Troop on LZ N

lw3I’ve been remiss in posting lately, and will get back on the duty. My latest endeavor is the creation of a new display for the war room. It will include a backdrop of a portion of a German farmhouse. That will give me a place to hang some of my original signs. In front of the building will be a scene with an Airborne Engineer searching a captured and wounded Luftwaffe Flak soldier. I am working on collecting all of the required pieces for the display and will get started on the building soon. The idea for the display came from the image from the IWM posted here and a desire to have a bit more diversity of my 139th AEB displays. Here’s the progress on the uniform. I originally had the mannequin configured with a sling on the left arm, but the pose was not correct and the sling would cover most of the insignia on the left arm. I performed a bit of field surgery, and with the use of fiberglass, epoxy and bondo, I had the final pose depicted at left below. This will give the appearance of a wounded LW Flak troop handing over his “papers”.

 

The Soldbuch, or paybook, is from a late war, and older man who was pressed into service as a Flak trooper. He was quickly trained and promoted to Obergefreiter (Corporal) and sent into service. Although he was not captured on LZ N, it provides a representative dispaly of the types of troops encountered in 1945.lw1flak modifiedlw2

STEN Mk V Test Firing

Finally, the weather and my brain are clear enough for the first test firing. Armed with the STEN (and firing pin), safety materials, cleaning rod to check the barrel, ammo, camera etc I took to the desert to check my efforts. The ammo was Winchester 9mm, 115 grain, fmj. I fired at a range of 15 meters.

1. Test fired one round from an original magazine. Feeding was uneventful. I held the weapon in such a manner as to prevent any rearward flying components from striking me. The weapon fired without a problem and the spent casing was ejected slightly forward of the 3 o’clock position and about 5 meters from the weapon.

2. I loaded 3 rounds into the magazine and fired each one slowly, again with no feeding problems.

3. Next I tried a 15 round magazine firing at an average rapidity. Again, no problems whatsoever.

4. I fired a series of 25 round magazines at differing rates of semi-auto firing, again with no issues.

5. The final test was with a 25 round magazine at rapid semi-auto firing. Flawless.

OBSERVATIONS:

a. I am extremely pleased that the weapon functioned without one fail or malfunction through 150 rounds of ammo.

b. I had adjusted and seasoned the two springs in accordance with the IO instructions. I did not have to make ANY adjustments.

c. I constructed and modified the selector switch iaw IO instructions so that it functions as a safety. In the A position, the trigger can be pulled, but the tripping lever does not release the block. In the R position, it fires in the semi-auto mode. This weapon will not fire in FA.

d. I would not use the A position as a safety. Placing the bolt handle in the upper slot leaves the block aft and breech open. That is the preferred method for me.

e. I am amazed that there is virtually no muzzle climb during rapid firing. The barrel can be held on target easily while firing from the hip. VERY controllable.

f. Virtually no recoil is felt owing to the nearly 10lbs weight of the weapon and magazine.

g. The casings seem to have a few more dings to the base than I am used to seeing. I’ve added an image for review.
9mm
h. The barrel seems to be well grooved as the spent round is nicely marked.

i. Post firing inspection of the gun revealed no damage or adverse wear.

j. Most of the spent casings were within a few inches of one another indicating a very constant ejection.

k. Final Observation. I used my video editing software to time the durations from the first round firing to the last. It took 4.009 seconds to discharge 25 rounds. That equates to a 366 rpm rate of fire in SA. Not bad.

Heres the link to the video:

 

STEN Test Firing

Lt. John J. McNamee Awarded Silver Star

A recent comment by the daughter-in-law of 1st. Lt. John J. McNamee prompted this post. Lt. McNamee was leading an engineer mission on 29 Mar 45. The citation appears below as taken from 17th Airborne General Order No. 50.

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Mike Shares More Photos

WWII007 cropThese are photos taken from Camp Chiseldon near Swindon England. Some were labelled England, Swindon England or Swindon Wiltz England. I know they trained for the Germany invasion and he received more glider training here. The first photo is my dad (Jack Maggard, left) and Sgt. James Bazar (right). I copied back to show dad was Col. Willard K. Liebel’s (17th AB Chief of Staff) driver and Sgt. Bazar was Gen. Miley’s driver. You can see Bazer passed away in 1994. My dad passed away in 2004. The photo was sent to Peewee my dad’s penpal whom he later married (my mom). My dad is pictured charging with the Garand with “England’ on top. Of the three buddies in front of the jeep, I know the center guy with the garrison cap is Algie Glasscock. He’s in other pics but with helmet on.WWII003 crop WWII005 crop WWII006 crop WWII011 crop

 

 

139th AEB Situation Report: 29 Mar 1945

No6 29 Mar 45 p1 – Copy

Another Ration Can

I just added this ration can to my collection. By all accounts it appears to be a WW2 ration can used to hold tea for use in field kitchens. I have not made a 100% positive confirmation of this by photographic evidence, but the OD finish, the nondescript lettering and the lacquered interior finish all point to WW2 war-time use by the Army

tea_can

139th AEB Situation Report: 28 Mar 1945

No5 28 Mar 45 – Copy