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Unit 731
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

Unit 731.  Unit 1644.  Unit 100.  These were the main killing units of the Imperial Japanese military's experiments in biological and chemical warfare.  From 1935 to 1945 Unit 731 and it's "siblings" murdered an estimated 250,000 human beings in some of the most barbaric tortures ever devised.  All in the name of "science".  All for the purpose of helping Japan create horrific biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.  All to glorify their false emperor-God.  

Unit 731 was officially (and euphemistically) known as "The Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army".  (The Kwantung Army was the Japanese Army that occupied northern China.).   With full knowledge of, and approval by Emperor Hirohito, the Japanese Kempetai (military police) constantly supplied Unit 731 with a steady stream of political prisoners for the "scientists" to experiment with.  Later in the war, the Japanese used more than just political prisoners.  Tens of thousands of Chinese and Korean citizens were sent to these death chambers.  And also there were Allied POWs.  American, British, Dutch, and Australian soldiers and sailors went to their deaths in gruesome, merciless experiments.

And just what did the Japanese do?  Vivisection.  While the victims were alive and awake.  And with no anesthesia.  The Japanese did this to men, women, children, and infants.

Just think about that for a minute.

The Japanese also injected people with syphilus, gonorrhea, and the bubonic plague.  They would amputate and reattach the limbs to other sides of their body.  They did experiments with frostbite by dipping parts of the body in freezing water and letting the limbs freeze solid overnight.  Then they would beat the limb with a metal bar until it fell off.  

And so on.

So what happened to these monsters once the United States defeated Japan?  Nothing.  We captured most of the leaders and "scientists"/torturers. . . and then we granted ALL of them immunity.  Yep, we did that.  Why on earth???  The US wanted to know what the Japanese had learned and developed in the bio/chem weapons so that we could develope our own biological and chemical weapons stockpile.

Amazingly, while we never prosecuted any of the monsters, the Soviet Union did.  They put 12 ringleaders on trial and gave them all sentences of 2 to 25 years.  Of course, the Soviets extracted plenty of info from their own Japanese prisoners and built their own bio/chem weapons.

Truth is often stranger. . . and more horrifying. . . than fiction.

Saturday, February 18, 2017, 05:44 PM

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The Marine Raiders
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

An elite force within an elite force?  It was quite the radical idea over 70 years ago in the early years of World War II.  But President Franklin Roosevelt had been captivated by the success of newly formed British commandos and their raids against the Germans (most notably the famous SAS).  In 1942 the Naval forces of the United States saw the need for small groups of Marine infantry, landing swiftly in rubber boats or by landing craft, to operate behind Japanese lines in the islands of the South Pacific.  FDR gave the order to create the units, and soon two battalions (roughly 800 men per unit) were formed.  And the Commandant of the Marine Corps gave them their name.  They were not commandos.  They were "Raiders."

The First Battalion were commanded by Lt. Col. "Red Mike" Edson.  The Second was Lt. Col. Evans Carlson's Battalion.  Both men were fierce, dogged warriors, but they commanded differently.  Edson went more by formal command structure, but in battle he was everywhere.  In World War II he earned both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross.  Carlson had observed the Chinese communist command structure and tactics against the Japanese, and believed their more casual observance of rank was best for guerrilla warfare.  Carlson also changed basic infantry strategy to use 3 man "fire teams" (one man with a Tommy gun, one with a Browning Automatic Rifle, and one man with an M-1 Garand.

Edson's Raiders held off superior numbers of Japanese troops in charge after charge on Guadalcanal.  Carlson's Raiders got on subs and raised Japanese troops on Makin Island.  Tragically, when the Marines left the island, they left behind nine of their men.  Those nine were captured by the Japanese and beheaded on Kwajalein Island.

But both battalions continued to battle it out throughout all of 1942 and 1943 in the Solomon Islands and New Georgia (near New Guinea).  Even President Roosevelt's son James was a Raider, serving as a Lieutenant Colonel and earning the Navy Cross himself! But by 1944 the Marine Corps was stretched to its limits.  And the admirals and generals never really liked the idea of an elite force within an elite force.

As successful as they were, the Marine Corps decided to stop wasting efforts on these smaller units, and they disbanded them.  The Marines were sent to standard infantry regiments where they distinguished themselves in battle against the Japanese.

Today the Marines have their own special forces (once again), just like the other branches.  One is called Marine Recon, and the other is MARSOC.  In 2014 MARSOC was redesignated as the First Marine Raider Battalion, and allowed to wear the old Raider patch (a blue field with white stars and a white skull), in honor of their World War II brethren.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 09:19 PM

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Hannah Senesh. . . Poet, Playwright, Paratrooper, and Martyr
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

She was offered a blindfold, but refused it and looked straight ahead at the firing squad as they were given the order to fire.  

Hannah Senesh was a Hungarian young lady who had emigrated to Israel (called the British Mandate of Palestine" at the time) in 1939.  She was born and raised in Hungary, a land of musicians, artists, and poets.  But by the late 1930's it was also being filled with the hateful anti-Semitic rhetoric of the Hungarian fascists.  So at the age of 18 she left the only country she had ever known to go live with other Jews who shared her vision for a Jewish state in the Middle East.

Hannah lived on a kibbutz (communal farm) and studied in the local agricultural college. She was a student, but also an ardent Zionist and joined the Hagana (Jewish militia that later became the Israeli Defense Force).  In 1943 she volunteered for the British Royal Air Force to become a paratrooper/spy.  The goal was for the Brits to drop these people deep behind German lines and help partisans fight the Nazis and also help Jews escape from being sent to the death camps.  

After training in Egypt, the British dropped Hannah and 36 others in various countries (northern Italy, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, France, and Yugoslavia).  She and her fellow paratroopers landed in Yugoslavia in April of 1944.  She stayed with partisan groups for three months.  Sadly they discovered that the original mission, that of going into her native Hungary, had to be scrapped since the Germans had invaded the country.  However, she pressed on to see what she could do to help her people.

She was almost immediately captured at the border by Hungarian police at the borde r.  Hannah Senesh was imprisoned, stripped, and cruelly beaten with a whip.  All she ever gave the fascists was her name.  Even after savage beatings, she never once betrayed her fellow spies or the nature of their missions.

On November 7, 1944, Hannah Senesh was led to a firing squad and shot.  She was 23.

It turns out that ever since she was 13 she had kept a diary.  Her diary, numerous poems and plays (even some poetry she had written while in prison) was recovered after the war.  One poem, "A Walk to Caesarea" (commonly known as "Eli, Eli") was put to music and you can hear it at the end of some versions of "Schindler's List."

Her remains were taken from Hungary after the war, and today she is revered as a martyr of Israel and buried on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem.

Sunday, January 29, 2017, 06:52 PM

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Merrill's Marauders
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

By 1942 the US military saw the need for an elite light infantry unit that could penetrate deep behind enemy lines, destroy supply depots, intercept enemy convoys and communications, and seize key airfields.  In 1943 the US Army created the 5307th Composite Unit, also known as "Unit Galahad."  This light infantry unit would be staffed by veterans already bloodied by a year and a half of jungle warfare against the Japanese.  A call for volunteers went out, and almost 3000 men stepped forward for this new commando group.  The leader would be Brigadier General Frank Merrill.  Soon, no one would know them as "Unit Galahad." Forever they would be called, "Merrill's Marauders."

They trained in the jungles of India to prepare themselves for the severe trial of combat in Burma.  The Japanese had cut the Allied supply line through Burma to our allies, the Chinese Nationalist Army of Chiang Kai-shek.  The Allies wanted to send in Merrill's Marauders to open up that supply route.

The unit was divided up into six teams; each designated by a color: Red, White, Blue, Green, Orange, and Khaki.  They would not have heavy weapons such as tanks or artillery; the terrain would be too mountainous for that.  The Marauders would only have skilled riflemen, light machine guns, mortars, and bazookas.  These light infantrymen would have to rely on quick mobility, surprise, and keen marksmanship.  

Airplanes did not drop them into Burma.  In February of 1944 Merrill's men marched. . . they marched 1000 miles over the Paktai region of the Himalayas and into Burma.  (Let that roll around in your head for awhile.  These US Army soldiers marched 1000 miles. . . through the Himalayas. . . just to get to the battlefield.)

From April to August they were in almost constant fighting with the Japanese, who always vastly outnumbered them.  Just when the Japanese thought the Americans were in one place, Merrill and his men would pop up in another part of the jungle to destroy a Japanese amp or supply depot.  

Soon the Marauders were teamed up by two Chinese infantry regiments, who fought courageously alongside them.  Unfortunately, by summer malaria, typhus, amoebic dysentery, and various jungle skin diseases had taken their toll on these determined US Army and Chinese soldiers.  But on August 5, 1944 Merrill's Marauders had finally driven the Japanese out of the key city of Myitkyina and had taken the airfield.  The Burma Road was at last opened!

Merrill's Marauders had killed 3,800 of the enemy while incuring only 272 of their own killed in action.  Sadly, all but a handful of the survivors were fit for duty by the fall, and the whole unit was disbanded.  General Merrill survived, but only after a severe bout with malaria.

But their story and valor lives on.  They were the only US force to fight the Japanese on the mainland of Asia.  They were the only US military unit to have each serviceman in the unit receive the Bronze Star.  And today, the world's premier airborne light infantry, the US Army Rangers, wear the colors of Merrill's Marauders in the patch that adorns their tan berets.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 04:51 PM

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The Nazi SS Commando Who Became A Mossad Agent
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

Otto "Scarface" Skorzeny was a legend in his own time.  As an SS Commando he was a fearless hero to his men.  To the British and Americans he was "the most dangerous man in Europe".  

Otto Skorzeny was an Austrian, but fanatically believed in the cause of Nazism for all "Germanic people".  He enlisted in the German army in 1940.  In 1941 he participated in the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.  There he fought in numerous battles against the Russians.  Once, he was hit in the head with shrapnel from a Soviet Katyusha rocket.  He refused evacuation, and asked only for a bandage, some aspirin, and a sip of schnapps!  No one ever said he lacked toughness.

Skorzeny was evacuated anyway and spent time behind the lines creating new commando units to be used against the Allies.  He created a commando unit that was inserted into Iran in 1943.  The goal was to get Islamic groups to destroy Allied supply routes to the USSR!  Betcha didn't know Nazi paratroopers operated in Iran against the Russians and British, did ya?  They sure don't teach that in schools.

His "greatest success" was his personal rescue of the Fascist thug, Benito Mussolini.  The Italians had wisely overthrown Mussolini and had him in a mountain fortress called Gran Sasso.  There was a narrow little field in front of the fortress with a sheer drop.  Access was only by a cable car.  Skorzeny organized a group of paratroopers who flew in on two small airplanes that just barely landed on the slope.  They rushed the fortress, and without firing a shot they captured the "Duce", hustled him onto a plane with Skorzeny, flew off, and later presented him to Hitler.

Hitler was so impressed with Skorzeny that he put him in charge of "Operation Greif"--the plan to sneak English speaking Nazi soldiers (dressed in US Army uniforms) behind American lines and cause confusion.  The Germans also spread the rumor that they had an assassination team to take out General Eisenhower in Paris.  The rumors spooked the Americans terribly, but the plan caused very little damage and most of his troops were captured.  Many of those found in US uniforms were executed as spies.

Skorzeny was captured at the end of the war and was put on trial for war crimes, although the Allies could not prove their cases.  He escaped from a prison camp (with the help of Nazi soldiers dressed as American MPs), hid in Bavaria for over a year, finally making it to neutral Spain.  Over the next ten years or so, Skorzeny was part of the network that shuttled hundreds of Nazi war criminals out of Germany to South America.  

In 1952 Skorzeny was hired by the Egyptian government to train their army (many ex-Nazi officers and scientists were welcomed by the anti-Israeli Arab governments).  The former SS commando recruited and trained Arab "Palestinian" refugees to raid Israel from Gaza.  One of Skorzeny's students was PLO chief Yasser Arafat.

The Israelis wanted to kill him, but figured he might be more useful if they could "turn" him.  So, Mossad (the Israeli version of the CIA) recruited him to spy and assassinate for them!  Although Skorzeny never renounced Nazism, he actually worked for the Israelis throughout the 1960's!  On several occasions he went into Egypt and spied on their rocket industry (staffed by former Nazi scientists).  He personally killed the German rocket scientist Heinz Krug, and blew up five other scientists with a letter bomb!

At the same time he was doing this, Skorzeny also had a company in Spain that farmed out his skills in counter-insurgency, espionage, and sabotage to South Africa, Greece, and South American countries.  

Otto Skorzeny died of cancer on July 5, 1975.  He was cremated and his ashes sent to be buried in the family plot in Austria.  At the funeral were many former German soldiers giving the Nazi salute. . . and Mossad agents silently watching from a distance.  

Truth is often stranger than fiction!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 09:35 PM

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Past Posts

The Marine Raiders
Hannah Senesh. . . Poet, Playwright, Paratrooper, and Martyr
Merrill's Marauders
The Nazi SS Commando Who Became A Mossad Agent
Colonel Rex Applegate
When the Americans, Germans, and French Fought Together Against the Nazis
Wojtek the Bear and the Polish II Corps
The Brazilians Against the Nazis?
Philippe Kieffer

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