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21 WW2 Photos That You Must See

Brooke Hurbert




Even for the youngest of us, World War II’s resonance has not finished affecting our collective psyche. For Millennials, many of our grandparents fought or nursed during the Second World War. In those cases, we have pictures of our ancestors in uniform. Here are 21 photographs from World War II that will likely affect you, no matter what age you are.

Here, an American soldier has found the grave of an unknown U.S. Soldier. The enemy buried the body before retreating. The first American soldier to find the grave decorated it with ferns and mortar shells.

Bodies of American and German soldiers lie wrapped in mattress covers, as German prisoners dig graves. Exact whereabouts of this photograph are unknown.

Rohrwiller, Germany, February 4th 1945: An M-10 Tank Destroyer from the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion with the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Division, rolls past an unknown town’s heavily shelled church.

The French FFI escorts German Prisoners of War, from the German Military Police Force as well as Gestapo agents, from Strasbourg to the 3rd Infantry Division.

In Lug, Germany: the remnants of a German group which tried to escape encirclement by the U.S.’s 3rd and 7th Armies. Vehicles and wrecked equipment and  remain.

A German factory that may have been possibly located in Schweinfurt. A row of machines for polishing and grinding, for finishing the ball-bearings, can be seen. All sizes of bearings were made here.

400 lbs of TNT inside English anti-tank mines are used to blow up Pill Boxes in this shot. A “pill box” is the term for a machine gun emplacement.

This is the German town of Winger-sur-Moder. American forces, stationed at the close-by mountain, are trying to take it over. They were infiltrated by six SS-Gebirgsjager Division troops overnight; U.S. Prisoners of War were taken. The burning seen in the photograph is the town’s Hotel Wenk; it was hit by a tracer bullet, causing the fire. In the church tower (seen off to the left,) a German lookout and sniper is stationed to try to stave off the U.S. forces.

The helmet atop a rifle here were left to mark the bodies of two U.S. Infantrymen. The Seventh Army were on a drive of a new front, fifty miles between Saarbrucken to the Rhine, when these soldiers’ lives were taken. The abandonment of one’s weapon surely was worth marking a fallen body, in the hopes that someone with more time and tools could give these men a proper burial.

Soldiers from the Seventh Army in a German town within the Bobenthal. They are searching for any German snipers that may be hidden in the building. The Tudor-style looking house contrasts greatly with the 20th century soldiers and their machine guns.

This M914 155mm Howitzer was in the process of getting towed by a wrecker, but when it got stuck in the mud, the Germans had to call in a bulldozer to dislodge it. The U.S. Army’s Howitzer artilley gun was used in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, before being replaced by the M918 Howitzer.

One can see the “crash path” of a B-17 plane on a snowy field in this shot, on the Seventh Army front. The plane’s crew bailed out, all except for the pilot; he rode the plane as it went down, and managed to survive the crash with only minor scrapes. In the foreground, see the burnt pole that was clipped by the plane on the way in.

This is – or rather, was – the town of Heilbronn, Germany. Like so many European towns during World War II, this one was all but obliterated by the war. More trees are seen standing in this photograph than buildings. At least a church spire is clearly remaining; that likely gave the poor civilians some solace, and even shelter, as all the rest of their town was destroyed in a conflict they weren’t even involved in (except for their men … )

On the first day of the Seventh Army offensive in Germany, on March 15th, this German plane was shot down by small arms fire. The German pilot’s charred remains are visible in the photograph. Interestingly enough, experts believe they have identified this plane as a U.S. P-47. It must have been taken over and re-purposed by German forces.

The cloud comes from the detonation of explosives bringing down a German bridge. The feat of U.S. engineers, the bridge’s destruction helped the U.S. Army hold off German forces trying to retake the town. Wood splinters fly through the air. How deafening it must have been.

Remains of German Howitzers and a German soldier, casualties of the Seventh Army, are seen; a U.S. soldier stands next to the body. One wonders if the soldier wished he could just walk from the carnage and wreckage into those lovely hills and trees in the background.

The German soldiers in this photo are on the losing side, but they seem to look happy that the the war is finally over after five years of fighting. Here, the soldiers of the 19th Army are seen surrendering Germany to the Allied Forces, giving over their rifles to the Americans in Landeck, Austria. Surrendered hand grenades and other fighting equipment can also be seen. The war equipment creates quite a contrast with the idyllic Austrian countryside in the background, which could host Julie Andrews singing about how the hills are alive.

This road leads to an important town in Austria, a stronghold once defended by German soldiers. Those same German soldiers are seen marching down the road they defended as Prisoners of War in this photo. While the line of men ends in the distance, there were approximately 1000 soldiers. This Austrian town was given up by the Germans without too much resistance at this point; however, other key Austrian towns were defended tooth and nail by the Germans close by.

Just a small segment of the Hungarian troops who surrendered to the Seventh Army are seen in this photo. The leader of these troops claimed they had been used as service and labor troops. Interestingly, the location is Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where the last Winter Olympics to occur before the War were held. It is a mountain resort town in Bavaria, Southern Germany, on the border with Austria.

German civilians stand in the middle of their former town; it looks like maybe one building still stands in full. General Palmer wrote on the back of this photo that it was a “well liberated town.” I wonder if these civilians would agree! A man with a cart picks through for salvageable scraps of … anything. Three other civilians help him.

General Palmer scrawled on this photo that this was a “friendly little town town, that was ‘scorched.'” It was a French town, which the Germans mined and then burned. Smoke and dust are seen creating a haze in the sky.



Here Are 5 Facts About The “Band Of Brothers” That You Did Not Know!

Anjali DeSimone



Since its initial airing back in 2001, the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers has only continued to gain in popularity. Now that later generations are accessing the miniseries on their favorite apps and devices, the men of E Company have become a regular topic of discussion.

They answered the nation’s call as members of the 101st Airborne Division (506th Parachute Infantry Regiment). They were one of the elite forces of World War II but there is still much to be learned about each of these brave men and the battles that they fought. Read on to learn some little known facts about each of these soldiers…..

1. Captain Ronald Speirs

The series and book spent some time focusing on the role that Speirs played in the Brecourt Manor attack. German cannons had been firing on the troops at Utah Beach prior to this counterattack. While the series hinted that he was responsible for the killing of a German POW platoon, this was not likely.


He was also one of the few men in the army to have made a combat jump in Korea and in World War II. Many do not know that Speirs served as a Red Army liaison as well. After this assignment was complete, he also served as a liaison to the Royal Lao Army before the Vietnam War broke out. 

2. Albert Blithe

Those who have read the book remember the story about Blithe losing his eyesight. He was shot in the neck during a Normandy patrol but the series and book were both incorrect when it came to addressing his fate. The book and series implied that Blithe died as a result of this wound.

In fact, he lived on after World War II and even served in Korea as well. Blithe was also not a southerner, as the series portrayed. He was actually from Philadelphia and did not speak with a southern accent. 

3. Edward “Babe” Heffron


“Wild Bill” Guarnere was a close friend of Babe’s, as the two men both hailed from the city of Philadelphia. After the series aired, Babe and Wild Bill began to give tours of the famous battle sites together. The actor who played Babe looks nothing like him, though.

Robin Laing is a Scotsman with a gentle appearance. Meanwhile, Babe looks like more of a tough guy. The real Babe even makes an appearance in the actual series. He had a cameo as a Dutchman who was seen drinking wine during the Eindhoven liberation. 

4. Herbert Sobel 

Brilliantly played by none other than David Schwimmer of Friends fame, Sobel was detested by the other men in the E company. They viewed him as a coward who was too interested in going by the book. The famous scene where Sobel sends the men up Mount Currahee after a massive pasta dinner is 100 percent true.

However, Sobel is also credited by many of the men in the company for his unorthodox training techniques. They did not like him but they certainly respected him. He survived a suicide attempt in 1970 that cost him his eyesight and died in a VA facility of malnutrition 17 years later.

5. “Why We Fight”

One of the most famous episodes of the series, “Why We Fight” focused on the E company’s liberation of an SS camp in Germany. The episode concludes with German citizens assisting the men in burying the dead, forcing them to confront the true horrors of the regime that had risen to power.

There was just one issue: the men had never liberated any such camp. The producers added the liberation as a means of conveying the horrors of this war. They did not wish to solely focus on the experiences of the E Company.

If these facts were as amazing to you as they were to us, be sure to pass them along to your friends and loved ones. Let’s all do our part to keep our nation’s war history alive and well in the years to come! 

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The MOH Marine Who Carried An Aircraft Machine Gun On Iwo Jima

Cynthia Brooke



There is no doubt the United States marines are all heroes that should be celebrated but some of them take their patriotism and heroic acts to a higher level. Unfortunately, not all these heroes are celebrated the way they should be celebrated and some of their achievements only get noticed or publicized after their demise.

One of such heroes is Corporal Tony Stein who can best be described as the hero of Iwo Jima. He virtually single handled took out a lot of Japanese soldiers who had laid siege for American troops in Iwo Jima in 1945 during the Second World War. Since this article is meant for casual readers, it has been written in a simplified form devoid of too many military terms. Corporal Tony Stein recently received the Medal of Honor posthumously. The medal was given to his widow. However, not many are aware of why he was nominated for the award. 


This is why this article has been written to bridge the knowledge gap. Stein was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1921 to Jewish immigrants from Austria. He was enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserve shortly before his 21st birthday. He initially served in the Marine Corps paratrooper unit. Thereafter, he fought in the Pacific Theater on several occasions. During this period, he had started exhibiting some extraordinary courage, intelligence, and patriotism that are worthy of emulation. 

One of his impressive achievements was taking out five Japanese snipers in a single day. Tony Stein was definitely a handful for the Japanese troops. For his military prowess, he got promoted to corporal in 1944 shortly after the paramarines were disbanded and was assigned to the 5th Marine Division where he was the assistant squad leader.

One of the most effective weapons then was a variant of M1919 that was meant to be used on patrol aircraft and bombers. Although it is a lighter version of M1919, it is much more destructive than M1919. While M1919 could output 400 rounds per minute, this improved version could do up to 1350 rounds per minute and Corporal Tony Stein was astonishing with it.

Due to its level of destructiveness, the weapon was dubbed “The Stinger” and there were only six of them but Stein was in custody of one them. And you bet it was utilized to capacity by the young marine. In fact, it was his mastery of the use of this machine that won him the highly coveted Medal of Honor.

He made the best of the beast when his unit hit Iwo Jima on February 1945. He singlehandedly wiped out several Japanese troops with the weapon. When he ran out of ammunition, he would run back to the beach to resupply himself without his boots and helmet so that he could run faster. He made 8 of such trips and during some of them, he would help a wounded marine get back to safety. In some cases, when they had to lie low to avoid continuous enemy fire, he would courageously stand up and take some destructive shots at the enemies’ location to obliterate them and he often did it successfully with his stinger.

To underscore how close he was told death, in Iwo Jima, his stinger was shot out of his hands twice but he would pick it up and continue to do what he did best until the Japanese troops had to retreat in defeat. 

Unfortunately, Corporal Tony Stein was taken out by a sniper not long after. He was being treated when he heard that his unit had been pinned down so he left the medical facility to join them. May be it was because he wasn’t fully fit or it wasn’t just his day. The great Corporal Tony Stein was taken down by a Japanese sniper.

It is quite heartwarming that his achievements, courage and patriotism didn’t go unnoticed and unrewarded. His Medal of Honor was presented to his widow about a year ago. The least you can do to celebrate this war veteran is to share the story of his sacrifice and contribution to America. 

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Our Real Life Hero Sergeant Snorkel

Kelsey Freeman



Beetle Bailey and Sergeant Snorkel were actually based on real-life people. The comic strip may have been embellished upon to add to the humor, but the real Sergeant Snorkel did possess many of the same characteristics. His daughter Griffen wished that her father Octavian N. Savu had known that the comic strip was based on him. He would have enjoyed knowing that.

Octavian Savu had been born to parents who had immigrated from Romania. Savu was born in Indiana and raised in St. Joseph MO. When he began school, his teacher had misunderstood his name when she was told it was Tavi, so he remained being called Tom or Tommy. He later attended Park College, Junior College and the University of MO.


When he turned 21 years old, in 1935, he joined the service. He was sent to the US Army at Fort Leavenworth Kansas. He was in the 17th infantry. This was the beginning of a decade long career for Savu.

In 1940, he married the love of his life, Margo. Around this time, he began to climb the ranks slowly in the military. He first became a Reserve Officer Trainer in Iowa, at the Abraham Lincoln High School. He taught the young recruits map reading skills, first aid, marksmanship and also combat tactics.

When he and the wife moved to St. Louis, he began a position at St. Louis’ Washington University. He was the overseer of soldiers in that school’s Army Specialized Training Program. These were twelve-week courses between 1943 and 1945. The courses later became known as “Engineering, Science and Management War Training Program”. This is where he met Mort Walker, an already known artist. Walker came from Kansas City and was a World War 2 draftee. In later years, Mort Walker would become the creator and artist of Beetle Bailey comic fame. The world would later learn that Sergeant Snorkel, the character in the comic strip, was actually based on Octavian Savu. Before leaving Missouri in 1944, Walker had given Savu a hand-drawn caricature of Savu.

Savu was then assigned overseas in France. He was a First Sergeant. Octavian Savu was there from April until August 1945. He served as an Administrative Sgt. with the 14th Reinforcement Depot. He was discharged early and sent home on a disability discharge on September 21, 1945. He was diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and later it was found that he was diabetic. 

Octavian and Margo Savu adopted two daughters and moved to Colorado. He became an employee specialist at the Air Force Accounting and Finance Services. When the girls were still young, Savu had his first heart attack. He then began gardening and became known for his lawn and his roses. He was also a commander in his local VFW post.

In April of 1968, the family took a vacation and headed to where Mr. Savu had grown up. He showed the girls his family home where he had grown up. They also visited with family friends. As the vacation neared the end, they began to drive home. They stopped for the night in Omaha and obtained a hotel room. Savu had his third heart attack and passed away in the hotel room. The daughters were 14 and 11 years old.

Octavian N. Savu was given full military honors during his funeral. He was then buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

His daughter, Griffin has stated that “He possessed many of the characteristics of Sergeant Snorkel. He was a compassionate man. He was tough but fair, and he was full of character. That is quite possibly why the troops loved him.” She also stated that to her and her sister, he was not just dad; he was their hero and their mentor.

Mort Walker spoke very highly of Savu also, before he himself passed away. He recalled when the Sergeant had written a poem and given each one of the men a copy by placing it on their pillows. The poem was called “My Boys”. Walker had stated that that was the point that they had realized he had a heart. 

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