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About Taurus454

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  1. Very cool! May you treasure it for the symbolism it stands for Thomas E. Maloney SR
  2. Thank you my friend! You do not know how much this means to me. I have sent the current owner an e-mail to buy the collection. If there is anything you would like to know about Ernst that I can explain, please do not hesitate to ask. I will also post here what I posted on that site so some of Ernst's history may reside here: I have sent an e-mail to you regarding this collection. Ernst, his wife, my wife, and I became very close friends during my last tour in Germany. I attended the annual ODR meetings as his guest and even presented an American-German Friendship to him and others at the last ODR meeting I was able to attend. I must say that it is a same to see this collection sold outside of his family. We had discussions the disposition of his collection on several occassions prior to his passing and I remained in touch with him up to his passing. Ernst and his wife had one child who passed away at an early age due to an illness and the passing left them devastated for the remaining years of their life. Ernst left this collection to his nephew as his intent was that it would be passed down to his family for generations to come. Quite honestly, I trully did not want to see his collection pass into the hands of someone who did not know such a wondeful pair of human beings and addressed the topic with him. Ernst and his wife assured me that his nephew would ensure it was retained in their family. To answer your question, Ernst was awarded his RK for his actions at the Battle of Monte Corono in Italy. It is near Monte Cassino, another famous battle. I offered to take him there so he could go over the battle with me on the ground but he did not want to visit the site because it was a very painful memory for him. As I recall, he said he did visit the site one time and would not go back. He told me some fascinating stories of the Battle of Monte Corono. The one I will share his is that it was easy to tell when the Americans would attack his position. They would always proceed it with an intense artillery bombing and follow behind with their infantry. He always said the Americans had a huge amount fo equipment compared to the Germans. He successfully held the position by leading immediate counterattacks against the Americans when the artillery ceased as the advancing infantry would be close behind. The reason he said his counterattacks were successful was because the Americans would not fight but would turn and retreat at the first sign of resistance. During one such counterattack, he tripped and fell into a large crater. As he looked around, he noticed an American GI hiding in the crater. They both stared at each other for awhile and finally the American slowly reached into his field jacket. Needless to say Ernst was watching closely in case he pulled a gun and hand his hand already on the pistol at his side. The American took out a pack of cigarettes, Camels if I recall correctly, and offered him one. It was the first American cigarette Ernst had ever smoked. They finished the pack until night came and eached crawled back to their side of the line never to see each other again. Ernst was eventually wounded at Monte Corono and evacuated to a hospital. His family was notified that he was killed though he had not been. Needless to say, they were glad to learn later that he was alive. For his actions, he was awarded the RK. The dark picture, which is the fourth from the right on the bottom that can not be made out in your scan, also has a very interesting story attached to it. I have the original hanging on the wall at my house and I am at work at the moment so will relate from memory. If I recall and you look closely, it is of Ernst in a fox hole outside of Stalingrad. They were stationed to the North of the city in a defensive position near the Rumanians. The picture has a radio in it and in front on the berm you can see anti-tank mines. The picture also has the PPSH-41 which he carried in Russia. I believe his radio operator can be seen in this picture but I am going from memory. In the picture, you will see Ernst looking at his shirt. When I saw the picture, I asked him what he was doing. The answer, "killing lice"! He explained the problem they had with lice and how they killed them every chance they got. During the Battle of Stalingrad, Ernst was severely wounded and he told me he was evacuated out of the pocket on one of the last planes to take out wounded prisoners, if not the last. He felt himself very lucky to get out alive and described the last days he was in the Stalingrad pocket as very grim. Another point of note which is not in the documents, is that Ernst fought in the Battle of Berlin. He was nominated for the Eichenlaub for his actions in Berlin but given the period in the war he was not "officially" awarded it and could not claim having received it in the post war years. After Hitler killed himself and the Battle of Berlin seemed lost, Ernst led his platoon and fought their way of Berlin and escaped the Russian trap. Ernst eventually surrendered to the Americans and was put in an American POW camp. His treatment there was harsh and they were not provided with ample food, water, or toilets making life miserable. Many American enlisted men tried taking his medals but Ernst resisted. He gave me the name of the the person who tooks his awards after he put a gun to his head and threatened to shoot him if he did not give them up. I tried to locate the man and contacted the Center for Military History (if I remember the name correctly) to get information. My request was lost in a fire that broke out in their building and I never had a chance to follow up. I was hoping to reunite him with his medals if I could find the man who took them from him but he passed away before I could do so. Needless to say, things just got worse for Ernst and he was turned over to the Russians where he spent many years in a Caucus Gulag. He related many stories to me and broke down crying once as he recalled all of his good friends who died in the camp from poor treatment. Things got so bad after a few years that the Germans refused to work and told the Russians to shoot them because they felt they were only going to be worked to death anyway. The Russian prison commander and guards proved to be reaosnable. They explained that if they killed the Germans they would be executed for not completing their work quota. They showed the Germans that they were actually getting an equal share of the food that was being provided to the camp. The Germans were on the same rations as the guards since the commander had ordered all food be divided equally with one exception, Vodka was withheld from the Germans. In exchange for continuing to work, the Russian Commander promised them a share of the Vodka. The Germans had no choice but to agree and got drunk with guards that day. Everybody was so hung over they could not work the next day but after the hangover ended, they went back to work. The Germans and Russians agreed to hunt and trap local game to supplement their food rations and would send out small hunting parties and their food rations improved enough to keep more from starving. Ernst and his fellow German prisoners completed the longest tunnel in the Caucuses. While a prisoner, the NKVD started interviewing Germans for release. It was no secret that the NKVD was executing German aristocrats rather than release them from captivity. When it was Ernst's time for questioning, he was nervous as the NKVD identified him as a potential Junker because of his last name being Jetting and he was born in Prussia. He did not let on that he could speak Russian and as he was waiting for interrogation by the NKVD, a woman who acting as translator approached him in the waiting room and told him she woud help him and what to say to the NKVD. While being interrogated, he was beaten by the NKVD because they did not like his answers. There came a time when he heard one of the NKVD say that Ernst was without a doubt an aristocrat and he deserved death. They did not know he could understand what they were saying. At that time, Ernst started yelling at them in German that if they were going to kill him then do it now, he was tired of their treatment, and they should know that he came from a farming family who had no money. The translator told them what Ernst said, after their shock wore off they laughed at him, and let him go. About a year later he was on a train to Germany. Upon arriving in Germany, he was disappointed by his reception. They gave him one meal, a little money, and some papers to allow him to move around in Germany. Unbelievable! I have many more stories about Ernst but I will say that when I took command of a firing battery, Ernst and our wives were the guests of honor at my change of command and follow-on reception. He gave me his belt from the war on the day I took command. I had it mounted on a large plaque with my unit crest and a picture of Ernst and our wives in the guest of honor seats on the left of the plaque and me taking the guidon on the right of the plaque. The story of his military career is signed by the two of us and is mounted on the back of the plaque. Sincerely, Thomas E. Maloney SR
  3. Oh man! You got ripped off they are all fakes. I'll take them off your hands for $100 plus postage to save you some embarassment. Hey, only kidding! Very nice collection. Tom
  4. I think we are looking at this wrong. We really need to layout the rank structure and not just say general. The duties at each grade required different attributes.Starting at Field Marshall/General of the Army/Fleet Admiral/General of the AirForce (5 star):MarshallMacarthurEisenhowerArnoldBradleyLeahyKingNimitzHalseyabout 30 Russian Marshall of the Soviet Unionabout 30 British Field Marshall12 Marshal of France List of German20 April 1936 - Werner von Blomberg (1878-1946)4 February 1938 - Hermann Göring (1893-1946)19 July 1940 - Fedor von Bock (1880-1945)19 July 1940 - Walther von Brauchitsch (1881-1948)19 July 1940 - Albert Kesselring (1885-1960)19 July 1940 - Wilhelm Keitel (1882-1946)19 July 1940 - Günther von Kluge (1882-1944)19 July 1940 - Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb (1876-1956)19 July 1940 - Wilhelm List (1880-1971)19 July 1940 - Erhard Milch (1892-1972)19 July 1940 - Hugo Sperrle (1885-1953)19 July 1940 - Walther von Reichenau (1884-1942)19 July 1940 - Gerd von Rundstedt (1875-1953)19 July 1940 - Erwin von Witzleben (1881-1944)31 October 1940 - Eduard Freiherr von Böhm-Ermolli (1856-1941)22 June 1942 - Erwin Rommel (1891-1944)30 June 1942 - Georg von Küchler (1881-1968)1 July 1942 - Erich von Manstein (1887-1973)31 January 1943 - Friedrich Paulus (1890-1957)1 February 1943 - Ernst Busch (1885-1945)1 February 1943 - Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (1881-1954)1 February 1943 - Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs (1881-1954)16 February 1943 - Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen (1895-1945)1 March 1944 - Walter Model (1891-1945)5 April 1945 - Ferdinand Schörner (1892-1973)25 April 1945 - Robert Ritter von Greim (1892-1945) Assorted other countries Marshalls. 3. From that list, I would have to narrow my choice down to Nimitz, Halsey, Manstein, and Kesselring. I'd have to put Nimitz and Halsey at the top. Halsey and Nimitz were brilliant and aggressive. If the typhoon and miscommunication impacting a couple of their battles hadn't been part of their legacy they would clearly be at the top of the list. Think of their campaigns and their actions in the Pacific, their individual impact on a Theater of Operations the size of the Pacific and Far East surpassed the German and other contenders. I'd have to say the perfect record goes to Kesselring. He lasted the war under Hitler and led his troops during some difficult situations. Manstein was probably the best strategist during the war but his ego got in his way from leading his troops to the conclusion of the war. The time when he was most likely needed the most by his men. 4. Regarding Patton, what people don't realize was that his personal selection of his General Staff actually led to the best General Staff available to any Commander during the war. His staff, without the aid of enigma code breakers, actually put all the pieces together to realize the Ardennes Offensive was coming well in advance to prepare his Army for a counterattack. Patton's reputation for sacrificing his men was actually not a realistic one from what I understand. I recall seeing a report in CGSC about his losses during the war and they were quite low. The Germans feared him because he was a true combined arms commander who could make you pay with the assets available to him. Bradley even admitted towards the end of the war that Patton's staff was the finest he had ever come across. He actually had to change his opinion of them as he initially believed they were just a bunch of Patton's lackies. Hie opinion changed as he got to see them at work. If you read Pershing's autobiography, you know Pershing understood the importance of staffwork and created the staff network we know today. Patton was also Pershing's aide during WW1 and had a good look at what Pershing was doing and undoubtedly discussed the topic with him and learned the value of a good staff before moving onto an armor unit. It is recognized that Patton's worst campaign of the war was the Lorraine Campaign where he got bogged down in city fighting. Something that he and his staff had little experience with when compared to the Germans. Okay, that's my take on the best Field Marshall. Will anybody take the challenge of laying out the best four star? Tom
  5. Wow! Just to have one like that and you have a whole set. Nicely done! Tom
  6. Looks like a new type, I am going to call it "FrankenEK"! Tom
  7. I have had a chance to look at a few of his photos but don't see anything that looks like a Thai Balloonist Badge. Tom
  8. I was reading about the decorated veteran. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Howard In my reading, I saw the honorable Colonel received the Thai Balloonist Badge. I had never heard of it and was wondering if anybody has information on it. I cannot even find it on the internet without getting information that the Colonel received it. What does it look like and why was it awarded? Thanks in advance! Tom
  9. Very cool. I still have my very first one I got in basic training at FT Dix, NJ in 1979 on my key chain. I was told it was called the P-38 because if used correctly, you only need 38 cranks of the opener to open one C rat can. I remember counting it up back in the day and 38 cranks seemed right on but don't know if that is the real reason for the designation. I also knew a Medal of Honor NCO from Nam. He was captured three times by the VC and escaped three times. He explained that he used the P-38 to escape which he sewed into his clothes. He sharpened the edge with a rock and cut his guards throat to escape. Has alot of uses I guess. Tom
  10. Two things! First, sorry guys, I pulled the Soldbuch and the soldier was in several Minnenwerfer units. I could still post if you like but it is not a Flammenwerfer soldier. Second, I have had good luck sending money using www.xoom.com for those who do not accept PayPal. They only charge $4.99 for a cash transaction and you must send a minimum of 25 Euros. The drawback is you need the account holder's name, address, City, phone number, and IBAN information, and bank name. You would be surprised to learn that about 10-20% of the sellers refuse to give you anything other than their IBAN information. I don't understand what their problem is? When that fails, I offer to send the money with PayPal as a gift so they don't have to pay the fee, and if they say no, I offer to give them the PayPal fee. At that point, if they still say no, I figure it is a scam and don't buy. Hope this helps! Tom
  11. Brian, Since we are being so serious, maybe you can answer a question for me? On the left of each post below our names, why is there a sexual reference? For example, Mervyn Mitton is listed as having an Honorary Member (wow, his is so big to be listed as honorary), peter monahan is listed as having a Full Member (like I believe that). Yet, I am listed as just having a Member! While I definitely will not agree that mine is what might be considered as "average", I would like to know who measured it, especially since I have no recollection of any such measurement. I would also like to know what the measurement rules are. I can only imagine what is going on with your member for someone to categorize it as "Old Contemptible" Enjoy, Tom
  12. I have a Soldbuch from a Flammenwerfer company soldier. I don't recall specifics about him but will copy it and post it if there is interest. It is pretty cool! Tom
  13. Personally, I don't like the fact that you have to kill all those Neats and cut off their feet to make oil. LOL In any case, here is what I learned from Australians. I always wondered about ancient waterproofing techniques. I knew it couldn't be high tech and had to be low tech. In fact, the leather "duster" jackets is what led me down the path. From what I gather, they (or something similar) had been worn by the Royal Navy hundreds of years ago and I wondered how something simple could be effective as a rain coat and yet remain stylish today. Yes, I own a short and a long coat and love them. To make a long story short, the answer is bee's wax. When leather starts drying out or loosing its finished look, hit it with bee's wax. I have noticed that the bee's wax also has some type of oil in it. I rub the bee's wax on my dusters and they look great and become waterproofed again if they started loosing it. The jackets last a long time as well. Hope this helps! It seems to have been the solution to your problem for 100's of years anyway. Tom
  14. http://www.feldgrau.com/204pzreg.html Yes they appear to have been in the Crimea and were initially equipped with PZ38's from what I can tell/ You can search Yahoo and get a ton of hits as well. Hope this helps! Tom
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