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    What's The Use?

    Brian Wolfe


    What’s The Use?


    At times I wonder of what use there is in researching then writing articles for the membership here at GMIC.  Now I read that over I realize how nasty that sounds therefore let me explain.  For the most part we all have an interest in history, especially military history; therefore we also possess a more than average knowledge in that field.  It is rather like preaching to the choir, so-to-speak.  Those only interested in accumulating collectables for the ownership of said items probably hold only a slight passing interest in the subject.  This means they will most likely simply pass by such articles while those with the interest will soon see that they have about the same degree of knowledge as I.


    As an example, a recent reply to a post posing a question about a certain medal of Independent India made me want to go on and on about the history between India and Pakistan and the subsequent conflicts.  Rather than doing so I suggested that if the reader was interested in this history they should refer to the internet which is filled with information on the subject.  I’m not too lazy to compose a condensed article on any historical subject it is just a matter that I have more to do with my time, limited as it is becoming, than take on what is often a redundant exercise. 


    So what is it I’m saying, or trying to say?  I’m saying, for me at least, my time and efforts may be better used in passing along information that may be of help in research, preservation, restoration etc.  If you have read this far and are bored then please scan to the last paragraph for a possible helpful tip for research. 


    Another example of what I am getting at is from a resent discussion regarding learning from history, which I still plan on using for a future blog, where the topic of WWII fortifications was broached.  I said that one of the best examples of a fortified line, that failed of course, was France’s Maginot Line.  I further used the example of Finland’s so-called Mannerheim Line.  One of the participants expressed puzzlement at the mention of these defences while another forcefully exclaimed that he was not aware Finland was even involved in WWII, as if trying to instigate an argument.  Well, there went my encouragement to continue any discussion with the group and with it the possibility of enlightening them regarding the use of the tactic called, “Motti”, against the Soviet troops. I did suggest that if they were interested they could always Google the topic.  That doesn’t mean there are no topics to discuss as there is a plethora (I was wondering where I could fit that word in) of topics and perhaps many that would encourage intelligent debate or at least discussion.


    In one of my planned upcoming blogs I want to discuss an issue in the Middle East involving a major world power, weapons of mass destruction and the propaganda and political cover up that followed, one that has been accepted by the population at the time and by many to this very day;  but that is for the future.


    Last Paragraph (as promised)


    My brother-in-law, a computer genius in reality, told me of something that might help some members in their research.  I have a very tough time with facial recognition, unless I actually meet someone face to face.  Photos of a group of soldiers and separate photos of individual soldiers, even in the case of brothers, prove very difficult to impossible for me to identify.  I usually refer to my wife, Linda, who has an uncanny talent for facial recognition.  This “tool” involves Google Photos (I think that is the correct name) and the saving of photos to something called the Cloud.  This program has a facial recognition option and it can and does recognize people in different photos and point them out.  The program can also “look” at a photo of an adult and pick out their baby pictures!  I was thinking that perhaps some of the membership might be able to use this to assist in finding a certain soldier within a group etc.    


    I do hope this helps someone; my wife would not appreciate emails from the membership for help in facial recognition.  ;)






    Recommended Comments


    I think it is probably as you state.  You are at your level 'preaching to the converted'!  That is not to say I don't read your articles as I do and find them witty and informative but since they often cover areas that I did not know existed it is beyond me to comment on accuracy or usefulness of your articles since for the most part I am religated to 'student'!  I look forward to your planned blog on the events in which I took part so may have an opinion on or some knowledge of.  I am at the moment not saying much on any forum as I can not trust myself when I am passionate about something to not put my foot in it.  I would not want to 'enrage' any members.  I do have to ask though across all of these fora, where has the passion for the hobby gone?  In most fora it seems the mood is manipulated by the opinions of the 'pop stars' of the affected area.  To look at one situation now potentialy costing the hobby millions in fraud would be the SS Champagne Decal farce.  People were against them but it was not until an alleged 'pop star' deamed them fake was it accepted as such.  People that did voice concern were 'bullied' by said same groups of 'pop stars' that are now eating their words.  Sad really.  I think where your articles differ is that they are based on fact and research so provoke little debate since there is less opinion and more fact?  Anyways, keep up the good work!


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    Thanks Jock, your comments are most appreciated.  While I am indeed working on my next blog dealing with an incident in the Middle East, which it is, the mention of the incident was a bid of a teaser, so no one should be insulted or upset. 

    I've been engaged in a new business venture which has taken off far beyond what we were prepared for and even though I am retired I find myself in the shop from 08:30 until 17:00 hrs. five days a week just to keep up with the sales.  Not complaining, however, it has cut into my hobby and collecting time. 



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    I love your articles!   I understand the idea of "preaching to the converted" but I don't think it totally applies here.  On this forum rather than one topic, we have a multitude of subject matter.  I learn so much I never knew about military history on this forum, compared to say, the US militaria forum which deals specifically with one country.  You guys bring up British campaigns in India that I didn't even know existed.  More than once, I have read an article on this forum, and immediately gone and researched what you guys were talking about.

    On this forum I think you are always getting a willing audience that appreciates the work you put into your blogs.  The people around here like history; they have their own niche per say, but they love overall history.  On other forums it always seems the mentality is either:

    1.  we are only interested in this one topic

    2.  you posted something else than topic X, BANNED!!!

       While converting the unconverted is always enjoyable and fun to do (when you finally see the lightbulb go off in someone's head), don't downplay the appreciation your love of history has here!

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    Hi Irish,

    I could not agree more.  So much history and so little time to research and write.

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your comments.  I hope I didn't apprear to be discouraged as that was not my intent; it was just an observastion. Perhaps more of a passing thought would be a better way to put it. 

    Please check back after the turn of the month as I have a new blog on the back burner awaiting a final polish before posting.




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    When I complete school,  I will be able to be more active in this area.  As you all know, I am taking my MA in Military History.  I've written a bunch of research papers to this date.  Do you think that sort of thing would be too dry to post here?

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    Hi Paul,

    Too dry?  I'm not familiar with that term.:rolleyes:

    I think your research papers would be a great addition to the GMIC and the blog section would be the perfect home for them  I hesitate to use the statement, "That's exactly what this forum needs", in case members think there is something lacking in the forum (even though I have just used the statement).  I believe well researched and written papers would help to elevate the GMIC in the area of education, which is what we are about.  There is nothing wrong with the "show and tell" or "need your help" posts as that makes a form interesting and informative as well. However, having said that, there is a need for more advanced material for those who,  like ourselves, crave more in depth information.

    I look forward to reading your work.




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    What's the use?

    I had this self same discussion with the Admin Staff only the other weekend. As you are probably aware, or not, I've started to attend a few militaria shows to try to sell some of my artwork on relics, bits and bobs and paintings. I've been really pleased with the comments and discussions from both interested members of the public and also stallholders at the shows. One thing has struck me though, I put a fair bit of research into each item that I paint - making sure the correct helmet/item reflects the artwork upon it and that each badge, design etc painted relates, in some way, to the rest of the item. I try to ensure that each piece has it's own little bit of history with a story behind it. But that has never been the subject of the discussions when an item is selected off of the table by someone.

    It is probably due to it being artwork, one either likes something or does not, as simple as that. However, I asked the Admin Staff why should I bother doing all the research and additional artwork on something when no one really seems interested in the details. "Ah," she says "but would you be as happy with it if you hadn't put in that extra effort?"

    Quite right - that's the use.  

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    I agree with you completely.  The items that are produced in my shop all have individual markings on the bottom.  These are usually sun bursts or spirals, but they are all different.  Why? For the same reasons you have given.

    What I was getting at in my blog was not so much, "why bother to write a blog", as perhaps reconsidering the type of blog; that is to say its content.  These thoughts are the product of too many long days at the lathe and too little rest. :lol:




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