Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Black Widow

Toward the end of WWII, Northrop produced a night fighter called the P-61.  It was given the name "Black Widow" after the venomous spider.  Wikipedia writes that no P-61 ever engaged in combat with a German jet fighter.  The following photograph of my Dad standing beside a P-61 is shown below.

It was 1946.  It was taken at an airfield near Munch.  On the back of the photo my Dad wrote:

"P-61 with a Jet-German Plane to its credit.  Also called "Black Widow".  Send more pictures in next letter."

Trying to enlarge the picture, I could only produce the following:

It is not very clear, but he is pointing to a marking on the plane that he interpreted as a "Jet-German Plane".  This would seem to suggest that this P-61 took credit for a German jet fighter?  The picture is a clear documentation that at least one P-61 took credit for this activity.

The 424th Night Fighter Squadron, Oberpfaffenhofen Air Depot, near Munich used the P-61.  Does any one out there have information regarding this squadron of the 9th Air Force.  My Dad seemed to think that this P-61 took down a jet.  He was there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hotel Jura 1946

Arriving Basle, Switzerland after months in war ravaged Germany 1946, must have been a delight.  My Dad kept a shoe box full of post cards and pictures of the days spent here.  Hotel Jura must have been one special stop over since the following was kept:

It must have been a hotel card to write your name and room number, but you can see that Dad did neither.  It is stated "Opposite main railway station"...well here is a post card he kept...

I assume it is the main railway station at this time.  Very impressive indeed it is...just across the German border.

Now if you needed a watch just "turn over please"...

Here is a list of  "qualified watch maker's shop", and a list of the members of the Swiss Watchmaker's Association of 1946.  There are lots of names here, and there must have been lots of watches.  If you could not afford a watch, the card suggested buying  "Swiss Postage Stamps  as Souvenir".   Also, there were two "Movie-Houses" that presented "the best Original American Films in your own lingo."  Wonder what was showing in 1946 for the Hotel Jura?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Government Issue

What you wear, what you eat, what you shoot, what you sleep upon...etc...etc...are all government issue in this army of occupation 1946.   This theme became the word "G.I." which was applied to all those in this army.

Now who would have thought a few days off would also be G.I. issue.  The above is a copy of such a offer.   It was in a group of post cards that were collected during a visit to Switzerland.   Montreux was one option.   There were five tour options given by the tourist-office Montreux (in the center of the town).  You just had to ask at the hotel where you were staying.

The small pamphlet contained a page shown above. 

       "Does not the sweat smiles of these lovely girls tempt you to take the motor-boat to Montreux-Plague?"

Duh...what do you think...Mr. Tour Guide...

It must have worked for my is a post card from the visit.  Montreux-Clarens #987 post card it is.  "Government Issue" it was.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Still on Earth

Snow had fallen when this picture was taken in 1946.

It was taken of my father and his friend standing in from of the building that was housing them as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany.  They are standing in front of a two story tall figure of a knight holding a shield.  This figure had been painted on the outside front of the building at some point in time as a symbol to those passing.

The central figure on the shield is the eagle.

In the book "A Guide to Heraldry" by Ottfried Neubecker, it states that the eagle and related species are the most widely used symbols for God and heaven. (p.110)  He states that the Hittites used the double eagle as a symbols of sovereignty.  He goes on to state that Emperor Charlemagne (800 AD) used an "imperial eagle" to symbolize his sovereignty, and it would seem that ever since this time it had become the emblem of Germany. 

Well on this snow covered day in 1946, I wonder how many folks were between "God and heaven".  At least these two fellas were still on earth.