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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm new to the forum and thought I would share the story of my first luger pistol purchase. Some 30 years ago I bougth a luger from the uncle of a high school classmate. I assumed he was a european veteran, but when I went to get the pistol he told me that he had picked it up on Attu Island in the Aleutians. He was part of the US invasion force, and this was a very nasty battle with 500 plus US dead and all the Japaneese defenders killed. Seems that after the battle he was part of a burial party picking up the Jap dead. They came apon a caucasion man dressed in the same cold weather gear as the Japs. Papers on the body indicated he was a German military observer. As soon as G2 found out about this, they confiscated the body and all his belongings, except for lea luger pistol that my friends uncle had by now put in his pocket. I still have the pistol and it is one of my favorite pieces. 1916 DWM, barrel proofs and markings indicate it was rebarreled at the mauser plant in l939. Other than that it is not remarkable in condition or anything. Just sorry I didn't get the holster or thoes papers from the body. Anyway, just thought I would share the story with you.
 

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Dak Rat, Fascinating! Ed Tinker collects these types of stories...He says he's putting out a book but I don't know...Jerry Burney
 

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Greg, very cool.

I was just in ND most of this week (Devils Lake / Grand Forks area). If you'd like me to add this to the booklet I am making, I'd like pictures of the gun, and I could copy this story???

Thanks,

Ed

[email protected]
 

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There have been a number of books written about that campaign. Have you read any & have any mentioned the presence of a German observer with the Japanese? Not saying the story you were told is untrue but it sure seems pretty unlikely that a German would be on Attu.
 

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There is a related book about a Japanese pilot ditching his Zero in a marshy area in the battle for the Aleutians. The plane was captured intact and brought back to the US where it was completely restored and flown to determine its characteristics and vulnerabilities. Interesting story, but I can't remember the name of the book.

Luke
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Ed, I'll e-mail you a picture of the pistol next week and give you the veterans name. He died about l5 years ago and I never spoke to him again about it. He didn't seem to think that finding a dead german on Attu was any big thing at the time, just kind of mentioned it as the source of the gun when I asked where he had gotten it.
 

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It seems logical that the Germans would be very interested in how the Japanese were doing and what they were doing. After all, this was an attempt to get a foothold in North America with an eye on the prize, the US. The Hitler obviously wanted to be part of a successfull invasion of the United States. Defending the West Coast and helping the Canadians would weaken our home defenses on the East coast. A classic pinser movement would be ideal. As well as drawing forces away from Europe. Thereby, making an attack from Europe much easier. They would want to know everything they could.

No facts to quote. Just my opinion and putting 2 and 2 together. Ron
 

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quote:Originally posted by Luke

There is a related book about a Japanese pilot ditching his Zero in a marshy area in the battle for the Aleutians. The plane was captured intact and brought back to the US where it was completely restored and flown to determine its characteristics and vulnerabilities. Interesting story, but I can't remember the name of the book.

Luke
I have the book. It is called "Cracking the Zero Mystery" by Jim Rearden. It crashed on Akutan Island in the Aleutians.
 

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quote:Originally posted by Ron Smith

It seems logical that the Germans would be very interested in how the Japanese were doing and what they were doing.
Actually, I watched a program about Germans in china observing the Japanese, he was a diplomat and saved many chinese lives...
 

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quote:Originally posted by Ron Smith

It seems logical that the Germans would be very interested in how the Japanese were doing and what they were doing. After all, this was an attempt to get a foothold in North America with an eye on the prize, the US. The Hitler obviously wanted to be part of a successfull invasion of the United States. Defending the West Coast and helping the Canadians would weaken our home defenses on the East coast. A classic pinser movement would be ideal. As well as drawing forces away from Europe. Thereby, making an attack from Europe much easier. They would want to know everything they could.
The attack on the Aleutions was intended as nothing more than a diversion for the Midway operation, not a prelude to a later invasion of the US. It was an ill-conceived operation that accomplished little except the Japanese could say they held some U.S. territory. By the time the Japanese occupied Attu & Kiska in 1942, Hitler had given up on invading England almost 2 years before.

There wasn't the slightest chance that Germany could even dream of invading the U.S. in 1942 (or before that or after). To do that would require a powerful surface navy, with thousands of troop transports, supply ships, etc. Germany had none of these. And of course England would have to have been subdued. I think the odds of a German on Attu would be about equal to that of a Japanese at Stalingrad.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I was sharing an old mans story, who by the way had nothing to gain from it, as I had already purchased the gun in question. As far as observers being where they are not supposed to be, I spent 13 months in Viet Nam, worked for S2 (11th ACR regt.) 68-69. One of my jobs was to read intel reports and make reports to S2, S3 and squadron commander. I read many accounts and field reports of Soviet, East german, chinese, cuban, and many other east block observers who were either spotted by ground troops in the field or were monitored on various radio transmissions. We operated along the cambodian border and on more than one occasion saw caucasion personnel with the NVA troops we were in contact with in late l968. These sightings were all classified and we were never to talk to anyone about it. And one last thing, only about 10% of what happens in the bush gets reported to higher-ups, so official reports are never the whole picture of what went on there. I'm sorry if I ruffled anybodys feathers with my little story, I thought it would be of interest and not cause controversy. It won't happen again.
 

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Sorry if I caused offense. I've read many, many books on the Pacific War and have never heard of a German observer in any battle. Like I said, I'm not saying the story is untrue. It just seems pretty unlikely a German would be at Attu. I'm off to the main library today. I'm going to see if there are any detailed books on the Attu campaign. Who knows, there may be something in one of the books about it.
 

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Boys, Boys....No ruffled feathers! If controversy were forbidden here or even non existant it would be one boring place to visit! Dak Rat has told the story as he heard it from a Vet and has nothing to gain. Who knows? Truth is often stranger than fiction and like many things we may never know for sure. Jerry Burney
 

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Back from the library. I got Samuel Eliot Morison's Vol. 7 of "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II". Volume 7 is the "Aleutians, Gilberts and Marshalls June 1942 - April 1944". I was getting this book for a friend whose father was a Marine on the USS Salt Lake City during the Battle of the Komandorski Islands.

Coincidentally, this volume covers the Attu invasion as well but not in great detail. A footnote in the book refers to a book called "The Capture of Attu" as "the best account of the ground fighting that has yet appeared." Amazingly, the library had that book. I am going to skim it for any references to a German officer and read it later.

If the story is correct, it would be a historically significant footnote of the battle that would be documented and not a politically inconvenient fact to be covered up like the presence of Eastern Bloc advisors in Vietnam or the Soviet pilots who flew MIGs in the Korean War (there was a good History Channel Show on this topic). After all, we were at war with Germany, no reason to hide it.

It could be likely too that the name of the owner of the pistol could be found as you mention papers were found on the body. The discovery of a German officer would undoubtedly be widely reported up the chain of command as it would be so incredibly unusual to find a German officer with the Japanese on Attu. Definitely not a ho-hum, routine sort of thing. It would be absolutely amazing to be able to know the name of the officer that owned the pistol you now own.

There are also 2 books available on Amazon.com that could help prove the account, "The Thousand-Mile War - WWII in Alaska and the Aleutians."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...8/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-3419721-1607852

And "Aleutian Headache: Deadly WWII Battles on American Soil"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...f=sr_1_4/103-3419721-1607852?v=glance&s=books

Another source would be any books, battle histories or archival records of the 7th Infantry Division which participated in the battle of Attu. I searched a few on the internet, no luck.
 

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quote:

Back from the library. ...The discovery of a German officer would undoubtedly be widely reported up the chain of command as it would be so incredibly unusual to find a German officer with the Japanese on Attu. Definitely not a ho-hum, routine sort of thing. It would be absolutely amazing to be able to know the name of the officer that owned the pistol you now own.
quote:As soon as G2 found out about this, they confiscated the body and all his belongings, except for lea luger pistol that my friends uncle had by now put in his pocket.
I don't know, many times something in "covered" up in the military, sometimes for arbitary reasons...

Who knows, interesting research, that is for sure!

Ed
 

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Alamo, I have read and studied WWII books all of my life. The reason Hitler gave up on invading England is because the RAF shot the Luftwaffe to rat crap. And Göering was unwilling to sacrifice anymore of his planes. However, this did'nt deter Hitler from continuing the developement of a long range bomber that could reach New York. The "Condor" or as Hitler preferred,"The New York Bomber". Nor did it keep him from continued research in developing an A-Bomb that could be carried to the U.S. via the bomber. Hilter was obsessed with reaching the U.S. The Germans had people posted virtually all over the world gathering intelligence on the U.S., including South America and Mexico. They were trying to find any weakness in our defenses.

The consensus is that Japan landed in the Aleutians to distract us from Midway, but what if they had succeeded, and we lost at Midway? Our west coast would have been defensless. No one new for certain how large the invasion was or with what purpose in mind. We had to pull troops out of training and garrisoned in California. Who had no cold weather gear, to counter the invasion. Do you think that any opportunity, no matter how slight, would be over looked by the Germans? History books record what did happen. And only speculate at what could have happened. I can't believe that Hitler would have sat back and said, This is'nt going to work. So I don't want to be involved.

It is also a fact that German long range submarines were shuttling documents and weapon secrets to Japan. And I would assume that there were some German observer/liaison officers on these subs.


Until I have seen or heard confirmed documentation to the contrary. I will keep an open mind and consider the story plausable.
Ron
 
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