the Maginot Line after WWII

In 21st century military slang “maginot mentality” is a derogatory description of outdated strategies, particularly those centered on fixed fortifications. The term comes from France’s Maginot Line which during WWII, failed spectacularly to stop Germany from overrunning France.

Histories of the Maginot Line usually conclude with the French capitulation in 1940. However the Maginot Line actually came close to being partially reactivated after WWII, and still later some of the emplacements served on in secondary or repurposed roles, in one case into the new millennium.

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(The Maginot Line ouvrage at Hochwald, during WWII and during the early 21st century.)

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(A bloc of the Rochonvillers installation of the Maginot Line being “nuclear hardened” by new construction during 1982.) (photo via marblehome.com website)

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Katie and Asroc aboard WWII warships

Asroc and Katie were two methods of introducing nuclear weapons to WWII-era warships. One was fairly well thought-out and had a long run in service during the Cold War. The other did not and is remarkable for how unusual it was.

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(A nuclear RUR-5 Asroc detonates near the WWII aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) during 1962.) (photo via Federation of American Scientists)

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(Blueprints for the 1950s modification to the WWII Iowa class battleships to enable them to fire 16″ nuclear shells.) (photo via Battleship New Jersey Museum)

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the last Mustangs in the US Army

The P-51 Mustang was one of WWII’s greatest fighters and one of the best era-adjusted fighter planes of all time. Within the American consciousness it is almost synonymous with WWII.

Decades after WWII and after the P-51 had left service as a fighter, the Mustang briefly “came back from the grave” to serve not in the US Air Force, but in the US Army.

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(P-51 Mustang during WWII.)

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(F-51D Mustang chase plane follows the Sikorsky YUH-60A prototype during the US Army’s UTTAS competition of 1976, seeking a replacement for the UH-1 Iroquois of Vietnam War fame. Sikorsky’s design defeated Boeing’s YUH-61 to win UTTAS and was developed into the UH-60 Blackhawk of today.) (official US Army photo)

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(US Army F-51 Mustang during 1970s experiments with airborne recoilless rifles.)

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WWII destroyer using “coal power” in 1973

The Gearing class destroyers entered US Navy service during WWII. Decades later one of them, USS Johnston (DD-821) took part in a unique experiment to test the feasibility of using a coal-derived synthetic liquid fuel as opposed to imported oil.

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(The “late-war Gearing” layout, the template to which USS Johnston (DD-821) was built in 1945.)

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(Crew patch for sailors involved in the 1973 experiment.)

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WWII weapons in Liberia

Military history of Liberia is often covered only in the context of the civil wars fought between 1990 – 1997 and 1999 – 2003. Before those tragic conflicts, Liberia had an odd and unique army, mirroring the unusual story of the nation as a whole.

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(US Army soldiers in Liberia during WWII. They are armed with M1903 Springfields and a M1917, both of which would be used by the Liberian army after WWII.)

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(Liberian soldiers loading M1 Garands during the 1980 coup.)

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(A modified M1917A1 guarding a roadblock near Monrovia during 1992.)

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(A guerilla loyal to the warlord Charles Taylor during the 1990s, armed with a WWII Soviet PPS-43. Child soldiers were used by Taylor in outrageous numbers; at points more than half his force was under the international military age of 17.)

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the 98k in Iraq

When I began wwiiafterwwii almost seven years ago, this was one of the first subjects I intended to cover. At that time Iraq was still a current topic, and I thought it would be easy to document the 98k’s history there.

As it turns out, the WWII German 98k in Iraq is complex and full of caveats; poorly-covered by substantive sources. So it took a tad bit longer than planned to complete. Hopefully this subject is still of interest.

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(A 98k rifle captured by the US Marine Corps during the post-2003 occupation.)

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(A heavily-modified Mauser rifle captured by American troops.) (photo via Silah Report)

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(A 98k manufactured by Mauser Werke in 1940. This was a WWII German, post-WWII Czechoslovak-refurbished, then ex-East German gun – an indirect route not uncommon for Iraqi 98ks. The jeem marking on the receiver and barrel is Iraq’s property marking.) (photo via gunboards online forum)

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“jumboized” WWII warships

After WWII the US Navy modernized war-built vessels to various degrees for many reasons. Many options were available: new weapons, new radars and sonars, enlarged superstructures, new radios, adding or removing aircraft capability, replacement engines, layout changes, and so on.

Normally one thing that couldn’t be changed was the physical size of the hull. Things could be added, moved, replaced, altered, or rebuilt inside or atop the hull; but at the end of the day the WWII hull was what it was.

In the examples below, extremely dramatic “surgery” actually changed the length and size of the entire ship.

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(Not a case of seeing double: the bow and stern sections of USS Navasota (AO-106) pointed in opposite directions during the WWII warship’s 1960s “jumboization”.)

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(The WWII submarine tender USS Proteus (AS-19) cut completely in half during 1959. This “jumboization” was one of the most complex engineering jobs ever done prior to the computer age.)

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happy Independence Day 2022 / Andrews Barracks in Berlin

For readers of wwiiafterwwii in the United States, I would like to extend wishes for a happy July 4th, our nation’s 246th birthday.

Below is a quite unusual Independence Day scene, taken in Berlin on 4 July 1945 – the first Independence Day after the European part of WWII ended and while combat in the Pacific was still underway.

The damaged building which both the Stars & Stripes and Hammer & Sickle are flying above, was the WWII headquarters of the 1st Waffen-SS Panzer Division, the LSSAH  (Liebstandarte SS Adolf Hitler) as can be seen on the cornice of the building atop the four columns.

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the Mosin-Nagant in Romania after WWII

During WWII the Mosin-Nagant was the Soviet army’s standard longarm. After WWII, all of the client communist nations in eastern Europe used it. The case of Romania is interesting in that its run predated WWII itself, and continued right to the end of the Cold War in 1989.

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(Mosin-Nagant M44 carbine of Romania’s brief post-WWII production run.) (photo via National Rifle Association)

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(“Instructie” stamp on a Romanian Mosin-Nagant.)

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(Members of Romania’s Gărzile Patriotice (Patriotic Guards) march with WWII Mosin-Nagants during the 1970s.)

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