Really Senior Member
If you travel to Viet Nam, go to the battlefield of Dien Bien Phu.
NASTY battle (or series of battles, really). Are there any "nice" battles, anyway?
The Viets maintain war graves in the region. A rather extensive one for Giap's fallen troops is a bit stark and marked by an imposing entrance The graves are generally unmarked, and, in many cases, may have no known occupant, but there is a wall containing a LOT of names at the entrance.
The "foreign" memorials are neatly maintained by both the locals and visiting Legion veterans and or their next of kin / families. There is a Legion memorial in the center of the fortified camp of Dien Bien Phu, a hundred metres or so from the remains of General De Castries old command post. The memorial was built in 1998 on the initiative of Germany legionnaire Sergeant named Rolf Rodel.
In the South, for many years after "reuinification", the cemeteries containing the remains of, or memorials to, ARVN and other "southern" forces, were studiously "neglected", but not desecrated.
Last time I was there, it seemed that things have mellowed a bit, and, whilst still "subdued" in nature, they are at least being tended by someone.
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03-18-2017 05:07 PM
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Thanks. It is a very difficult page in history. I finished reading "Street Without Joy" a few days ago, after reading "The Last Valley".
I really would like to go and see the place.
Roaming old battlefields around my hometown is an incredibly enlightening thing.
That one would really interest me ane be worth the trip around half the world.
34a cp., btg. Susa, 3^ rgt. Alpini
As an ex-serving member, I find it truly humbling that fellows have the ability to look upon a former foe and respect them as a soldier doing their duty as an individual. As has been said, few of these fellows had much say in the matter, it was a different time, a different society, different measures. This approach takes courage and integrity. Thank you all, its speaks much of you.
Rethinking my original post, perhaps I may have been read to convey a vague and blanket forgiving message. That was not my intent and I hope this is evident.
I am vehemently opposed to certain former and current enemy values and behaviours that has lead to atrocities. War is bad enough in its senseless waste, but it takes an inconceivable mind to result in complete removal of boundaries when applying force to prosecute a political will. It would be unreasonable to judge every adversary in the same manner as the genuine evil-doers. Perhaps this ability defines 'good' humans.
Last edited by 22SqnRAE; 03-20-2017 at 12:56 AM.
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Thought long and hard before I put pen to paper here..... I'm sure that I won't be the only one here tending to slightly disagree with some of the sympathies in this thread. Soldiers of regularly constituted armies really don't think about their enemy and if I might be so bold as to say it, regard irregular/terrorist type, freedom fighter foe such as....., well I won't name any sort in particular as nothing more than, er......... Another difficult term that is difficult to explain. Australian/NZ regarded both the VC and NVA as the British regarded PIRA et al as ISAF regard current insurgents. And as the situation drags on - and on, regard them with more and more loathing. And the passage of time does NOT make these evil thoughts any less.
Might be different if you are fighting another regularly constituted Army where there is a win or lose at the end of it. Sorry if I've said the wrong BUT PRAGMATIC thing
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Really Senior Member
Sadly, civilians have always been "involuntarily involved" in warfare for a very long time.
Be it the classic Medieval siege, the appalling excesses of several major players in WW2, or the cold-blooded slaughter of civilians, especially children, so favoured by some "groups" today. some mongrel always seems to think it is entirely reasonable (necessary??) to machine-gun fleeing refugees, booby-trap children's toys, burn crops and slaughter livestock, etc., etc..
Sometimes the result of this "calculus" takes on a "life" of its own; Dresden, Hiroshima, Warsaw, Burma-Thailand railway, the torpedoing of hospital ships, (eg., AHS Centaur), etc..
And then, there are the ALMOST inexplicable; Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge for starters. One of the darkest manifestation of "human nature" I have ever encountered: the "human face" of "ideological purity".
(Parker Hale Rifles Sub-Forum)
I think you are right its SOP I'm afraid, otherwise you would never pull the trigger before he did!!
You are in it to win it, and thats the Firefight too!
'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA
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Thanks for that Gil...... I'd been expecting a bit of flack and had my helmet on! As soon as the first bullets go down, it's obedience and battle drills
That and weapons drills. That's why we do them, so they're instinctive.
We weren't talking about a Jahaddi here anyway, just a guy that was doing the same thing our forerunners were in that place. Uniformed and far from home...
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I believe that I am correct instating that Luftwaffe Aircrew who were killed on operations over the U.K. were shown respect when there was body available to bury which wasn't always the case. Likewise I believe that the Germans generally showed allied aircrew who had been killed respect when there was a body available to bury.
I know from my Father's experiences of war, as a child living on the Essex coast, that War is a dirty business and people unfortunately get killed. Who gets killed, who gets injured and who gets away unscathed is often down to nothing more than luck. In my Father's case he suffered hearing damage and what would probably be called today post traumatic stress disorder. Ironically because of this when he received his call-up papers for National Service, during the Korean War, he was found to be medically unfit for military service. He did have to take 2 army medicals 6 months apart before this decision was reached but if he hadn't received serious ear damage during WW2 he could well have gone to Korea and been killed there. So the fact that he had been bombed and because of the hearing damage this may have saved his life because it meant that he wasn't required to join the army and possibly go to Korea.
Thanks for that Jim, I was starting to loose track on this........ think we all agree he should get the burial he deserves, although I doubt it will be the same as Hans-Ulrich Rudel, see below part of transcript from Wikipedia.
I come across Rudel when I was searching info on, Ulrich Steinhilper who wrote, A Spitfire on My Tail and Ten Minutes to Buffalo, both very good books and well worth a read.
Think it was in the Magazine "Britain at War" that tells the tail of one pilot who was shot down and the Home Guard who captured him, took him to the pub for a few pints.......
Rudel died after suffering another stroke in Rosenheim on 18 December 1982, and was buried in Dornhausen on 22 December 1982. During Rudel's burial ceremony, two Bundeswehr F-4 Phantoms appeared to make a low altitude flypast over his grave. Although Dornhausen was situated in the middle of a flightpath regularly flown by military aircraft, Bundeswehr officers denied deliberately flying aircraft over the funeral. Four mourners were photographed giving Nazi salutes at the funeral, and were investigated under a law banning the display of Nazi symbols. The Federal Minister of Defense Manfred Wörner declared that the flight of the aircraft had been a normal training exercise