Monday, October 28, 2013

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Reed in 1974.

Lou Reed, 1942-2013

Rock'n roll giant, style icon, poet, composer, and pretty much the definition of a New York artist in my book.

You provided the soundtrack for my youth, Lou Reed.

Thanks for everything.

*****
Panzer: 8.8cm PaK43/1 (L/71) auf Geschutzwagen III und IV (Sf) "Nashorn"
A rare colour photo showing the three-colour camouflage scheme (the photo has a strong greenish tint, distorting the brown and dark yellow colours a great deal)
The Nashorn was based on a unusual combination of Panzer III and Panzer IV components developed in early 1942 by the Alkett company, in order to quickly deliver a fully tracked carriage for the powerful long version of the 88 mm gun, desperately needed on the Eastern front.
Of note is also the great variety in the colour of the feldgrau uniforms displayed.
One explanation could be that most of the men in the photo are officers, who had to purchase their tunics privately from authorized tailors. This gave them a wider range of freedom regarding colour and quality of the material used as compared to the lowly Landser private, who had to make do with what he was issued from the depot.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

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Yes, he's been featured here before... but we middle-aged people like to repeat ourselves, so let's have another look at the delightfully distorted visions of German surrealist Hans Bellmer (1902-75)

And if you think Bellmer was just a dirty old man making pornography and passing it off to rich collectors as art, you are probably (partially) right, but he did have some interesting things to say about it :

"What is at stake here is a totally new unity of form, meaning and feeling: language-images that cannot simply be thought up or written up … They constitute new, multifaceted objects, resembling polyplanes made of mirrors … As if the illogical was relaxation, as if laughter was permitted while thinking, as if error was a way and chance, a proof of eternity.”

*****
Panzer: Sturmgeschütz III, ausf G
A fine example of a battle hardened late-war StuG and its commander in this photo, displaying practically all of the special modifications introduced both in the field and at the factories : Concrete has been applied to the upper hull as extra protection (making the StuG appear rounder in this area) the standard detachable Schürtzen armour plates have been replaced with a cut down version welded onto the hull and mudguards (less prone to getting stuck in trees and other obstacles) what is missing from this StuG is a Topfblende cast mantlet fitted around the gun mount, the rounded sides of the design was better at reflecting shots from enemy AT guns, but this particular vehicle retains the old style welded box-shaped mantlet (both were being fitted at factories up until the end ofWWII, depending on what was delivered from the various sub contractors). Finally, a set of tracks scavenged from a Soviet T-34 has been placed as extra protection on the bow armour. And our veteran Oberfeldwebel standing in front of the vehicle was no rookie fresh from armour school, as he can display both the Panzer Assault Badge, Iron Cross 1'st class, silver wound badge plus no less than nine kill rings on the gun barrel of his StuG. Note the wooden stowage boxes and other clutter on the engine deck behind the fighting compartment, typical of many StugG's, and possible because they didn't have a revolving turret requiring the areas behind and around it to be free of obstacles.
Considering some 11.500 StuG's were produced before the end of WWII,  it was men and equipment like this that handled a very large portion of the day-to-day fighting against the waves of enemy armour attacking German forces from both the East and the West.
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Monday, October 14, 2013

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VHS-video screen grabs,  selected with such conscience and taste to become modern art?..  checkum' out at the crafty and fabulous: eggsackley.tumblr.com

*****
Panzer: Sdkfz 252
A couple of the  Leichte Gepanzerte Munitionskraftwagen, doing what they're supposed to do. Supporting Stug III's by ferrying ammunition from a rear area depot and up to the frontlines.
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Monday, October 07, 2013

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Many historians agree that the main reason for Hitler's rise to power was not so much his politics but his oratorical talents, the impact of his speeches.

In 1936, when the above private photo was taken, Hitler had already been chancellor (and de facto dictator...) of Germany for three years  but apparently there was still some need to present the Nazi state as some sort of parliamentary democracy and thus The German election and referendum, 1936  was held, compelling Germans to vote yes or no to a parliament consisting only of members of the Nazi party...

Naturally, the turnout was phenomenal (99 %) and  the Nazi party won 98,9% of the votes...

Well, running a dictatorship like a democracy has it benefits...but let's get back to the photo.

What I find interesting is not the children standing to attention as if the savior of Germany himself is about to inspect the cleanliness of their fingernails, or the well designed and ready-made banner proclaiming: "The Führer held his word", but the object placed on top of the stone wall, above the smaller banner saying "Every vote for the Führer",  it is - a radio...

Obviously we are looking at an election meeting arranged by the Nazi party, but what is intriguing is that it is highly likely that the main attraction at this meeting was not a local representative from the Nazi party appearing in person and giving a speak, but the much more powerful radio broadcast of Hitler speaking.

Ach, the power of the media.

*****
Panzer: Sdkfz 250/9
Three members of a recon unit pose for a photo, probably late 1943 or early 1944.
Note the subtle individualism expressed by the crewmen, wearing three different types of head wear and still managing to stay within Wehrmacht regulations. The "F" marking on the bow armour is not related to the 10'th SS Panzerdivision Frundsberg, since all three men are wearing Army uniforms. Also note the couple of Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons resting on the front end of the 250/9, very handy if this lightly armed recon vehicle ran into some enemy heavy-weights. The Panzerfaust did not fire a rocket as is sometimes claimed, it was in fact a small scale recoil less gun, using a standard propellant for its projectile, but in the case of the Panzerfaust it had a hollow charge mounted at the end,  enabling it to better penetrate armor plates.
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