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  1. #151
    Banned MOPO3's Avatar
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    Stalin's Liubimefs -- Monday, Dec. 14, 1942 -- Page 1 -- TIME
    Quote Originally Posted by TIME Monday, Dec. 14, 1942
    ...
    The Bridge.
    After the fashion of soldiers in all armies, the men of Engineer Sosnovkin's little command grumbled and, cursed. They knew well enough that the instructions came from General Mukhim, the commander on their sector of the Rzhev front. They supposed that General Mukhim had his orders from a man whom they seldom or never saw, whose name they almost never read in Red Star or Pravda, a man whom they all knew as the Liubimets (the pet, the favorite, the darling, the beloved) of the Red Army. But it was Engineer Sosnovkin, thin and unimpressive in his grey overcoat, who had to tell the men what General Zhukov, the Liubimets, now wanted of them.

    He wanted them to build a bridge. This bridge was to span a river near Rzhev. On the bank opposite the Russians, the Germans were waiting & watching. Yet this bridge had to be so devised that the Germans would neither see the men while they were building it, nor see the bridge after it was built. The men gaped at Engineer Sosnovkin, and in their individual ways pondered the demands of the insatiable Liubimets. Then they went to work.

    Engineer Sosnovkin decided to build his bridge in sections, 18 inches below the river's surface. For many nights his men practiced underwater construction on their side of the river, in a spot out of sight of the Germans. They set log pillars firmly in stone foundations. They clamped crosspieces to the pillars with oiled nuts and bolts. In the freezing water and darkness they did, it all by touch.

    The Russian bank where the bridge was to be built was low, flat and easily seen by the Germans atop their high, sheer bank. Engineer Sosnovkin therefore decided to build his bridge backwards from the German side, beginning it in the shelter of the high bank. On a night when clouds hid the moon and snow shrouded the river, the strongest swimmers crossed with the foundation stones in stretchers and in their tunics. Others swam with the logs. Blue-black with cold, praying that the ice along the bank would not crack and betray them by the sound, they laid the first sections in utter silence. Chest-deep in the waters near the bank, they were cut, bloodied and sometimes knocked off their feet by ice floes. Once the Germans sensed that something was up and fired aimlessly at the dark river, wounding several Russian sappers. But Engineer Sosnovkin's men returned a second, night and a third. Unseen by the Germans, they completed their bridge.

    On a morning chosen by the Liubimets, Engineer Sosnovkin placed stakes on the thin sheet of ice just above his bridge.

    Then he stood in his grey coat by the river and waited. Russian artillery suddenly loosed a great barrage. Engineer Sosnovkin saw the puffs of the shells bursting in the German positions. From the woods behind him, Russian tanks, whitened for winter war, snouted down to the bank, crunched through the ice and found his bridge. In squadron after squadron they charged toward the stupefied Germans and opened the Rzhev offensive.
    ...

  2. #152
    Military Professional wabpilot's Avatar
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    Eat more doughnuts!

    We had a flight surgeon assigned to each squadron. Their job was to look after the health of the squadron, so once a week the flight surgeon would have a few minutes during the briefing to talk about "aeromedical" topics. Our flight surgeon was obsessed with diet. He walked into the ready room and saw an open box of doughnuts. That set him off on a talk about the sugar high and corresponding sugar low. His final example was how eating "just ONE doughnut" could cause a sugar low at just the wrong time, like during approach or aerial refueling. He finished his lecture with what he intended as a rhetorical question, "so what did we learn today?"

    Some smart alec in the back row piped up "since one doughnut is so bad, it has to be eat more doughnuts!"

  3. #153
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    ATT Ray

    I meant no harm ,the smirk was meant to be an innocent face seriously i do not hate officers,its just that particular one really pissed me off.But before you guys judge me i was told i was officer material myself,towards the end of basic ,s we had selection for Junior Leaders ,I,E officers school i was basically told by my CO that i was going wheather i liked it or not,he said even though i had a problem with authority i was a fine leader and would make a good soldier.i joined the army was to get it over and done with,i am a zimbabwean and i would have to live in the country for 5 years before i was eligible for call up,so i volunteered to get it over and done with,while i was still young,
    During basics we where allowed to go into bloemfontein for a day pass ,there was this hamburger shop that was called lovebite on the side was the takeaway area,it was divded with line on the floor on one side it said whites only and on the other blacks only,bloemfontein big time afrikaans area,anyway i walked in with my friends all of us english ,all immigrants who had volunteered,as we got to the counter the girl looked at us and then turned away to serve a young black gentleman who had walked in just after us he said they where first ,she replied they are rooineks ,meaning English,for the first time in my life i knew what it is like to be descrimninated against I was seething the young guy said to me ,now you know what i go through everyday because i am black and he was right,i made a promise to myself that because of that i would not carry rank finish my national service and start a decent life somewhere,if i had,nt met my wife in 1990 i would have left the country then.I think today i still carry some animosity whenever i meet certain south africans who are still fighting the boer war.To any officer i have offened on the WAB i am sorry i was wrong to say what i said not all officers are humourless,i hope you accept this apology RAY and if we ever meet face to face i am buying

  4. #154
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    In my last year before retirement, I had this Sgt who finally had to be booted with a promotion to MWO since he too was looking at retirement in a few more years and needed the extra funds.

    Before that, he was scamming everything off the shelves. He even got the reserves at Sault St Marie a movie theatre. He drove the LTs and the Capts crazy who were trying to catch him. The Majs and me learned to leave him alone since he always got what we wanted ... provided that we don't ask too many questions (mine is usually is anyone going to get hurt?). His favourite saying is "Sir, if you don't ask me that, I won't have to lie."

    Things sure changed when he got booted upstairs. His replacement was not up to his standards and he busted his replacement more than the officers. Things were more by the book than before he was in. The old saying of an old thief knowing more than the young thief.
    Chimo

  5. #155
    Ray
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    Soutie,

    I am sorry if I upset you.

    It was not the aim.

    I just wanted to tell you that there are officers who are OK.

    I thought your officer was a trifle odd and without any sense of humour!

    One must not wear his rank on his shoulder as if it were his birthright!

    I really liked the repartee and have rung up some Army friends and told them about it!

    It actually made our day!

    In fact, I think it would be great if I send it to the Humour Section of the Indian Army War College magazine!

    It is also a good reminder to those who are the bolshy type!

    If you like Army humour, you should visit this:

    British Army Rumour Service > > Forums > > The Badger's ARRSE > > Now That's What I Call NAAFI Bar > > The British Army DS Phrase Book......

    Some of the stuff is not for the squeamish!
    Last edited by Ray; 06 Feb 07, at 15:37.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  6. #156
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    nah you did,nt upset me u put me in my place and i deserved that

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    I thought your officer was a trifle odd and without any sense of humour!
    So do I, Sir. He spent the day watching Soutie marching back to base while everyone else was having a beer?
    Chimo

  8. #158
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    Usually there are good stories about old rogues in the forces. This one is from the RN at Plymouth about 30 years ago. The sailors ashore would hardly use their cookhouse, preferring instead to buy food elsewhere. Then 2 senior rates were posted in to run the cookhouse. What a transformation! The food was fantastic, and married personel willingly paid to have their meals there. The news reached the brass who decided to investigate just how this miracle could have happened, bearing in mind very little money per head was spent on catering. The idea was to find out just how these fellows did it, and the aim was to notify other shore establishments. Normal inspections revealed nothing out of the ordinary, so the brass got others to spy on the cookhouse to see if they could find out. What they found was that the senior rates were swindling the Navy blind, including selling meat to butchers shops outside the base. The seniors were court martialled and put away for a considerable time. New cooks were posted in and the standard of meals fell back to the previous levels of before. Sailors bought meals elsewhere, married men would not buy vouchers to eat there and much food had to be thrown away. The ratings were certain that they had been better served by crooks than with honest but uninspired chefs. The senior rates cheated the Navy, but they certainly hadn't cheated the sailors. There are a number of lessons to be drawn from this, but I'm not sure the gentle readers of WAB are necessarily the ones to do it!
    Semper in excretum. Solum profunda variat.

  9. #159
    Ray
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    Quote Originally Posted by soutie View Post
    nah you did,nt upset me u put me in my place and i deserved that
    That is nice of you to say, but I feel real bad that my post appeared to carry that impression.

    Once again, I am really sorry!


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  10. #160
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    Well ,during our little stint in angola we used to crave news from home ,letters magazines anything ,well my folks where retired so i did not expect any parcells from home ,ie sweetie,s lucky strike etc you know all the goodies,well i was so surprised when i heard them shout Seymour, parcel for you well the first thing the captain did was open the parcell to check their were no contraband,ie malawi gold which was quite popular amoungst some of my countrymen 32 battalion guys used to smoke that stuff like cigaretts.
    Anyway in parcell besides all the other stuff was shampoo bottles,in south africa at that time Colgate used to make a cheap shampoo it was in blue bottles ,green bottles,yellow bottles,there was 9 of them ,you can imagine my disgust and the snort from the captain,saying where are u gonna shower there is hardly any water to drink.I got my kitbag stored the shampoo away and forgot about it.About 1 week later we got a waterbunker of extra water so we had permission to shower out of a jerry can,one of my close friends reminded me hey you have shampoo we can wash our hair,i dug out the bottle
    gave it to him,he poured it into his hand and replied,unless i am mistaken this is rum Well my brother who had sent me the parcell knew from expierance that the army would search my parcell ,he bought cheap shampoo emptied it and refilled it with brandy and rum,still to this day The RSM never found out why we would wake up some mornings with the mother of all hangovers

  11. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by glyn View Post
    There are a number of lessons to be drawn from this, but I'm not sure the gentle readers of WAB are necessarily the ones to do it!
    Who did they p!ssed off?
    Chimo

  12. #162
    Military Professional sappersgt's Avatar
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    English and Dutch South Africa

    Hey soutie, did you ever go to a place called "The Lion and Tusker" (AKA "The Tusker")?

    Quote Originally Posted by soutie View Post
    During basics we where allowed to go into bloemfontein for a day pass ,there was this hamburger shop that was called lovebite on the side was the takeaway area,it was divded with line on the floor on one side it said whites only and on the other blacks only,bloemfontein big time afrikaans area,anyway i walked in with my friends all of us english ,all immigrants who had volunteered,as we got to the counter the girl looked at us and then turned away to serve a young black gentleman who had walked in just after us he said they where first ,she replied they are rooineks ,meaning English,for the first time in my life i knew what it is like to be descrimninated against I was seething the young guy said to me ,now you know what i go through everyday because i am black and he was right,i made a promise to myself that because of that i would not carry rank finish my national service and start a decent life somewhere,if i had,nt met my wife in 1990 i would have left the country then.I think today i still carry some animosity whenever i meet certain south africans who are still fighting the boer war.To any officer i have offened on the WAB i am sorry i was wrong to say what i said not all officers are humourless,i hope you accept this apology RAY and if we ever meet face to face i am buying


    One of the first things I did when I got out of basic was to get a drivers licence. I went to the South African equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Not speaking Afrikaans (yet) I took my COs daughter with me to translate.

    She got absolutely nowhere with them, the best she could do was an appointment in a months time. Fed up with the BS I went up to the counter and demanded (in English) to see a supervisor. When the guy came out I started to talk but he quickly interrupted me exclaiming, "you're an American!". When I confirmed this he said, ",That's different, we like Americans, I thought you were a rooinek." Gesturing for us to come into the back he said he'd give me a driving test after he finished his lunch and offered me part of his sandwich.

    During the driving test I pulled out onto the wrong side of the road. He passed me anyways, saying I'd get used to it! I apologised for my poor Afrikaans but he just waved his hand dismissively saying, "you'll learn". What a difference to when he thought I was English!

    Although I'd been warned this was my first real experience with the whole English/ Dutch issue. Being Sappers we didn't discriminate between one or the other. I found sometimes Afrikaners can be a quite judgemental bunch. Being an American and of a similar faith I found I was accepted much easier than would be otherwise.
    Last edited by sappersgt; 06 Feb 07, at 18:51.
    Reddite igitur quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo
    (Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's)

  13. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Who did they p!ssed off?
    Probably the ones in charge whose dinner was piss poor compared to the crooks. Couldn't handle the fact that the sailors were having a mighty time at the expense of their stomachs.

  14. #164
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    Got to be someone higher up. The military like any other organization doesn't go looking for bad things when things are running smoothly. No one goes looking for extra work unless there's a motivation involved.
    Chimo

  15. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Got to be someone higher up. The military like any other organization doesn't go looking for bad things when things are running smoothly. No one goes looking for extra work unless there's a motivation involved.
    There is probably a reason behind a reason there. I don't know what that might have been. It might be something prosaic like one Commodore wanting some reflected glory for something happening on his patch - which then turned sour. If things are running smoothly it might mean the crooks are working away behind the scenes!
    Semper in excretum. Solum profunda variat.

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