After departing from the Netherlands, our Viking riverboat moved up the Rhine into Germany.  The great city of Cologne was our next stop. The Romans established a military post and colony at this place in 50 AD, and that gave Cologne its name. The city eventually became one of the most important trade and production centers […]

D-Day Remembered

Last week we remembered D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944, and the invasion of Nazi occupied France. It was right and proper for us to remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives on those bloody beaches.  Belatedly, I take this opportunity to add my own thoughts about this epochal event.  I was fourteen […]

The Modoc

The Modoc In 1940, I and my primary school classmates were privileged to get a tour of the Modoc, a United States Coast Guard Cutter that was moored in front of the customshouse in downtown Wilmington, N.C.  Wilmington was her home port.  It was a trim little ship, and I enjoyed the experience very much.  […]

France 1940

French Army on Parade in 1939 Here I write a cautionary tale about the destruction of a fine army and the ignominious collapse of a proud nation.  It is the story of France, 1940.  Parts of the story I have told before.  This is a more complete account of the events leading up to May-June […]

Cargo Cults

One of the strangest and most fascinating occurrences to come out of the South Pacific in the aftermath of World War II was the appearance of so-called “cargo cults” among some of the Melanesian natives in New Guinea and nearby islands. During the war these remote island people had been exposed to American and Australian […]

Veteran’s Day

  On this Veteran’s Day it would be well to remember some brave Americans. Almost 90,000 American airmen died in World War II, either in military action or by other cause (usually accident). Approximately 40,000 of these men went down in flames during the air war over Europe.  Thousands more were lost in the Pacific.  […]

A Beloved Brother

As I have written on numerous occasions, I was blessed with a wonderful, loving family.  I had four half-brothers and three half-sisters, but I never thought of any of them being anything else but whole. The youngest, Harold Rives Fields, was eight and a half years my senior, and as a young boy I truly […]

When Hell Froze Over

Those of you who have lived by a large body of water know how incredibly cold it can be in mid-winter when the wind blows over the water.  It seems to penetrate to the very bone.  Many years ago I served briefly in the naval reserve, and I experienced a cruise in the North Atlantic.  […]

World War II Begins

Eighty years ago, on September 1, 1939, World War II began with the German attack on Poland.  I told the story of World Wars I & II in my post titled “War and Madness.”  Now, on the 80th anniversary of that event, I am publishing more details on World War II’s beginning. After World War […]

Hitler and Napoleon

Napoleon is recognized as a military genius.  Hitler probably thought of himself as his equal. In any analysis of World War II military campaigns, especially the Russian campaign, Hitler receives blame for many of the German military reverses.  Hitler was always interjecting himself into the strategic planning, often overruling the advice of his senior military […]