Militaria Images

Album of some of the images used in products available at the Flume Creek Militaria Online Store

Thompson “Tommy Gun” M1A1 and the Panther are two of the 12 finest weapons fo WWII used in this 2006 calendar
Tiger I and “Das Reich” 5th Waffen SS Panzer Division Crest
First to the Rhine
Browning BAR
P 17 Luger “Artillery” Model Pistol
Thompson 45 cal submachine gun
MP40 “Burp” submachine gun
Sturmgewehr 44 – StG44 assault rifle
Walther P38
VE Day
USO Dancer
Colt 1911 .45 cal pistol
M3 “Grease gun” submachine gun
M1 Garand Rifle
US 44th Infantry Division
71st Regiment Crest
US 3rd Division – “The Rock of the Marne”
US Frist Division- the “Big Red One”
US Marine Corps First Division
US Marine Corp Eagle, Globe and Anchor insignia
2nd SS Division Das Reich
Grossdeutschland Division
2nd Division “Indianheads”
29th Division: “The Blue and Gray”
Crest of the 5th Waffen SS Panzer Division – “Wiking” or “Viking”
6th SS Mountain Gebirgs Division Nord
17th SS Panzergrenadier Division Götz von Berlichingen
1st SS Division Leibstandarte

“Sluggers” at a German Siegfried Line Fortress

Two tank-destroyers were sited about 2,000 yards from one of Simserhof’s blocs, and were used as 90mm “sharpshooters” tasked with the mission of destroying the enemy ensconced in the M36 Jackson Slugger German Siegfried Lineimpenetrably thick, steel-reinforced concrete fortifications by firing 90mm rounds through the narrow firing and observation apertures. This unusual mission was accomplished by elements of A/776th, even as the rest of the Battalion was performing its more traditional anti-armor missions.”

Combat History of the 44th Infantry Division.

The TD M36B GMC M36 was the only match for the German Tigers and Panthers. During  NORDWIND, attached to the 44th, a crew from 776th knocked out a “Hunting Tiger” “Jagdtiger” from Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion 653, the first such vehicle ever knocked out on the Western Front.  At 79 tons, the heaviest ever committed to combat, it was completely destroyed by hits from the 90mm main gun.   The M36 Jackson or Slugger was the only Allied vehicle which could consistently take on even the final and most powerful German panzers,  such as the King Tiger (the Königstiger) Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger II or the Jadgpanther tank destroyer.

Combat Lessons article: M10 Tank Destroyer Tips    More panzer pictures:

m36 jackson sluuger tank destroyerTD M36B GMC M36

Fort Stevens

Fort Stevens, situated near Astoria Oregon and the other Columbia River forts reached their peak of activity during World War II.  Approximately 2500 men stationed there. As late as 1994, Battery 245, a new gun emplacement was completed, with two 6-inch rifles that had a range of about fifteen miles, almost double the range of the 10-inch rifles. Also a 90mm AMTB battery was placed on the south jetty.

On the night of June 21, 1942, Fort Stevens saw its only action when a Japanese submarine (the I-25) fired 5.5 inch shells in the vicinity of the fort. The shelling caused no damage. The Fort Commander refused to allow return fire. The incident made Fort Stevens the only installation to be attacked by an enemy since the War of 1812.

Shortly after World War II, Fort Stevens was deactivated as a military fort. The development of improved air power and guided missiles made coastal artillery forts such as Fort Stevens obsolete. By 1947, all of the guns were removed and much of the fort was turned over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps used the area as their headquarters for maintenance activities at the mouth of the Columbia River. In 1975, Oregon State Parks leased the old fort area and are currently restoring and interpreting Fort Stevens.

click on a thumbnail to magnify

World’s Largest Canon

The U.S. fielded the most capable artillery in the world, during WWII. In all variations, the weapons were excellent. U.S. ‘Arty’ was mobile, unlike the Germans and Russians, at all divisional levels. The fire control system, where artillery forward observers operated close to the infantry, used powerful radios and telephone via land-lines. The redundant signals system meant that, even when all other contact with front-line units malfunctioned, artillery communications usually worked. Superior also was the U.S. artillery fire-direction system with swift engagements of targets via coordination firing from many ‘arty’ units from many widely separated firing positions. This included the deadly ‘Time on Target’ were shells arrived on target at nearly the same from different and widely dispersed units. Use of the top secret proximity fuse, employed for anti-aircraft fire beforehand and now massed produced, was deployed first in December 1944. This proximity fuse triggered a explosion at a preset distance and proved deadly against infantry and light armor.

Source: THE UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II: Author Rich Anderson -Militaryhistory Online

44th Infantry Rocket LaunchersThe artillery demands at Simserhof, the reduction of a dense fixed target, did not play to these U.S. ‘Arty’ best in class capabilities. The fortress was immobile, a static target. The U.S. had no siege artillery. Only the German army, despite the huge cost and niche use, still had siege cannon, which were originally designed to destroy Maginot forts in 1940. Lacking ‘one punch’ knock out capabilities, the original tactic at Simserhof was to drive into the open the defenders by the concussions of the heavy artillery. Then, once out , destroy them with the lighter artillery. This failed. Simserhof was impervious to general bombardment. The approach changed to utilize the sheer mass and volume of U.S. artillery and to smash, bludgeon and destroy the fort’s and bunkers cannons. Only after the Fortress’ heavy guns, the dual mounted 75s and 133mm retractable cannons, were destroyed by artillery and tank destroyers units, did the ground assault proceed. U.S. artillery provided lavish support for the attack despite a time of severe artillery shell shortages. Artillery units were organized into a “Parks Group” and consisted of the 156th Artillery Regiment, the 242nd attached and the 157th, 182nd and 272nd reinforcing. The cannons employed started with the 75’s mounted on Sherman Tanks, 105’s, 155 “Long Toms”, 8 inch howitzers, 4.5 inch heavy cannon and 240mmhowitzers ‘on loan’ from XV Corp Artillery had little effect. The defense was subjected to 78 P-47 fighter-bomber sorties using 500lb bombs, which “bounced off” Simserhoff. The infantry would, as always, do the bleeding to capture and reduce the fort.

Dora, the largest gun ever built, was designed to destroy Maginot Forts. Not ready for action in 1940, Dora was employed by the Germans in Crimea on Fort Molakov with great success.  It took 25 trainloads of equipment, 2000 men and up to six weeks to assemble.   Dora: Worlds Largest CannonDora super artillery German Army

Storming Fortress Simserhof

The 71st Regiment attacked the Fortress with assault teams given the mission of setting explosive charges in entrances and ventilator shafts.  Flame throwers and smoke grenades were employed in driving out the enemy personnel to surrender or destruction.  Men of the 63rd Engineers were incorporated into the assault. Assigned to 1st Battalion were the capture Forts One, Two, Five, Seven and Eight. The 2nd Battalion were Forts Nine and Ten and to the 3rd, Forts Three, Four and Six.

On December 16, infantry, engineers and supporting tanks clambered through the mine-fields and machine gun fire to the thick walls of Simserhof.  There, satchel charges, TNT, flame-throwers, hand placing explosives, digging and even welding were employed by engineers.  Exit routes were sealed, the defenders defeated and the Fortress no longer block the advance. Then the doors and apertures were blown and underground shafts sealed, remaining the turrets wrecked and emplaced guns damaged beyond further usefulness.

The final mission of battle was the capture of an associated observation post at Freundberg Ferme, a location with an extensive field of observation. The observation post consisted of a steel dome twelve inches thick that was six feet high and four feet in diameter. The walls contained four apertures four to six inch in size. Mission accomplished on December 18, 1944.

The 44th held this line until December 23, when relieved by the 100th Infantry Division.  Events in the north demanded shifting to a defensive posture.

Current Photograph Simserhof Fort 7
Current Photograph Simserhof Fort 7 130mm twin turret
44th Infantry artillery set oil on fire near Bitche 1944 Maginot

Arty sets oil on fire near Bitche

Below, a hand drawn recon map of Fort Nine drawn from pre assault recon information

Hand drawn recon map Fort Nine 44th Infantry

Maschinenpistole 43 & Sturmgewehr 44 Assault Gun

Maschinenpistole 43  Sturmgewehr 44 assault gun weapon
Maschinenpistole 43 & Sturmgewehr 44 Assault Gun

The German Army was the final product of almost  a century devoted continuously to a nation wide study of all aspects of the science of war.  The German weapons were the best that its accomplished scientific and military minds could devise and which the country’s economy could produce.

One of the finest examples of success is the Sturmgewehr 44 – StG44 assault rifle. After the war the StG44 served as the model and inspiration for all assault gun designs including the Russian Kalashnikov AK-47.  By the end of the war, over 400,000 StG44 variants of all types were produced.

Sturmgewehr 44  StG44 assault rifle panzer grenadiers Panther tank The German Army determine that most firefights took place at short ranges, around 400 meters. This conclusion resulted from a detail analysis of engagements during the years of 1939 and 1940.  The primary German weapon of the time, the bolt-action Kar98K rifle, was ill-suited for the mission.   It was designed for longer-range precision fire between the ranges of 800 -1000 meters.   On the other side, the existing sub-machine guns like the MP40 lacked the range or stopping power with the 9mm ammunition.  The solution:  first design compact ammunition, ideal for a new automatic weapon, with the proper balance between range and power.   The cartridge designed was the 7.92×33 Kurtz cartridge, which provided an excellent balance between hitting power and control.

Next came the rifle design. Carbine submachine gun specifications were issued to the firms of Haenel and Walther in 1942.  Limited numbers of trail weapons were produced and tested on the Eastern Front.  The Maschinkarabiner 42 (H) or MKb42(H) came from Haenel while the Walther weapon designation was Maschinkarabiner 42 (W) or MKb42(W).   Trials for both proved quite successful.  Troops embraced these first ever assault guns.  Yet Hitler decided that these development programs should be stopped.  Haenel did not comply with the order and resorted to  subterfuge to be able to continue development.  The Haenel weapon was renamed to hide its true identity, now the carbine designation changed to a sub-machine gun, the Maschinenpistole 43 or sub-machine gun 43, or MP43.  With further modification and improvement, came the first production version, the Maschinenpistole 44 or MP44.  Limited numbers reached the troops.  His generals raved about its capabilities and boldly demanded more.   Hitler decided to support the weapon, giving it the new designation, the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44) or Storm Assault Rifle 44.
First deployed in 1944, it proved to be a revolutionary weapon.  A StG44 equipped solider had a greatly improved tactical repertoire, in that he could effectively engage targets at long range across open terrain, or in close range urban fighting, as well as provide cover fire in all situations as a machine gun role.  Most gun parts  were constructed from steel stampings, but the weapon was very serviceable with reliable operation and accuracy.

crest Wiking viking 5th 5d panzer division waffen ssGerman weapons innovated extended itself into the design of StG 44 accessories.   One was the first night small-arms infra-red sight, called the Vampir.   In the realm of the bizarre came the infamous ‘Krummlauf.’   This ‘curved barrel’ attachment was intended to allow the StG packing soldier to shoot around corners at angles between 30 to 45 degrees.  Even a special mirrored  sight provided an aiming point.  The ‘Krummlauf’ never worked correctly.

The Sturmgewehr was, at first, distributed almost exclusivly to the German elite forces.  Units like the Waffen SS formations Leibstandarte, SS-Panzer-Division Das Reich, 3rd Totenkopf, 5th  “Wiking”, the  12th  “Hitler Jugend” and Grossdeutschland held priority in all matters including access to the new war potential winning weapons like the StG44.  When production volumes improved around December 1944, the StG44 saw widespread distribution in all types of units in the German military including the newly formed Volksgrenadier divisions.

My best friend – Johnny “Monk” Monasmith by John Warner, 71st Regiment

Jonh Monasmith John Warner Epinal 44th Infantry‘Johnny “Monk” Monasmith was my very best friend since the fourth grade in Woodland, Michigan. His mother had died and his father left three children that were separated, and his Uncle Frank adopted “Monk”, mainly to work on his goat farm located on the edge of town. John “Monk” had orangey, red hair, and I also was a redhead. This was not the easiest physical attribute to live with, and it was sheer luck that we found each other. My mother took a liking to “Monk”, and invited him to join us for meals. During the Depression, it was not common to share food, since there wasn’t enough for those years of 1930 to 1935. “Monk” and I did business selling corncobs that were used to start fires. We could earn a quarter each on a Saturday by working about ten hours. We ran a stand together at the annual Junior free fair.


John Warner 71st Regiment in Gros Rederching with Thompson machine gunI moved away to Lake Odessa after eighth grade and “Monk” stayed to graduate from Woodland. He always aspired to be a flyer and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942. Billy Hershiser and I hitchhiked to Toronto and Windsor, Ontario to enlist, and to attend the ceremony of “Monk” getting his wings. He looked so great in his Lieutenant’s uniform. “Monk” and I always kept in touch, and even after we were both in the service, we found ways to meet. We met in Chicago for New Years of 1943-44, which was the last time I saw him.

“Monk” wrote me a v-mail letter when I was in combat, which reached me when we were fighting near Sarrebourg. He said he would be flying there and could I get a twenty-four hour leave and meet him. I was able to get a permit for a day, and I waited for him and he never got there. I had my picture taken at a studio that reopened after the Germans left town, a week before and that is the photo that was used on the memorial plaque at the cross in La Jolla.

My childhood pal, John Monasmith, lost his life toward the end of the war when his plane caught fire and his parachute failed to open.

Epinal – Cemetery 60 Years Later

Our second day started with a plan to head south for Epinal. My wife located on the internet, the cemetery where many of the soldiers from my 44th Division were buried, and the many others that fought in this sector of France in WWII. We wanted to locate the grave of my childhood pal, John Monasmith, who lost his life toward the end of the war when his plane caught fire and his parachute failed to open.

The Manager at the American Cemetery was Dominque. He spent hours with us, showing us around the cemetery where 5,250 soldier’s crosses are lined up throughout the well-manicured grounds. He gave us the information about the war zone where the 44th spent the winter and gave us maps to get to the exact locations.

Dominique escorted us to the grave where “Monk” was buried after his death on March 13th, 1944. He toured us through the grounds and we picked roses and left them by his grave. Then we went through the records of the 44th Division bodies buried there, and the names of those who gave their lives for our freedom. There were lists of all the units that fought in that area. This was the most emotional part of our trip.

The inscription read:


The following inscriptions appear in English and French on the walls above the names of fallen soldiers: