Drivel Starved Nation!
I just returned from spending three weeks in Europe participating in a publicity tour for Bridge City Tool Works and all the new distributors.
Here are all the stops; London, Axminster, Exeter, Paris, Arnhem, Amsterdam, Munich, Stuttgart, Wurzburg (I think), Frankfurt, Barcelona, and finally Lisbon, Portugal. Needless to say, I am beat. Spain and Portugal were sightseeing stops before heading back to Portland…
The receptions we received were fantastic, and as we discussed future plans, it became clear that I am not the only one excited about Pencil Precision! So that is good news.
The most interesting stop was the bed and breakfast we stayed in in Arnhem, Netherlands. (Do you remember the movie “A Bridge Too Far“? this was about the WWII battle in Arnhem. The site was selected by Montgomery to circumvent the Siegfried Line.)
This particular bed and breakfast was in the middle of nowhere and we had a hard time finding it at night. But when we did, the owner shared the most interesting story regarding his “home”
The place appears to be a country farmhouse and that was the intent of the Nazis when they built it during the Second World War. In reality it was a plane hanger that housed two Messerschmidt 109’s. The Nazi occupants even went to the trouble of making and placing paper mache cows in the surrounding fields to throw off allied aerial surveillance.
Disguising a hanger to look like a farm house is one thing. Hiding an airstrip is a bit more difficult. The allies knew the Germans were in Arnhem but didn’t know in which buildings. However, cows that don’t move for days on end is certainly suspect, so the allies bombed the cows — with paper mache bombs! All for the purpose of messing with the minds of the enemy.
Also located on this property is an enormous concrete bunker that was the northern Europe control center for the Luftwaffe. Apparently Herman Goering was personally instrumental in its design.
The allies knew this bunker location, however they were unable to destroy it from the air. After the war was over, attempts were made to destroy it from the inside, and that partially failed as well. It is now possible to tour this bunker but our schedule was too tight unfortunately. Dang!
If you would like to read more about this cool place, click here .
My interest in WWII is personal as my father flew 27 missions over Germany as a 17 year-old member of the Army Air Corp. He was the B-24 radioman/top turret gunner. The government keeps meticulous records and you can imagine my surprise when my brother found his military records. I am sharing an abbreviated version below because this is simply unimaginable to me.
This is a complete list of his missions, all flown out of England;
|Nose Art Name||A/C Serial #||Mission Date||City||Country||Target|
|Southern Comfort III||42-50896||11/26/44||Bielefeld||Germany||Railroad Viaduct|
|Gypsy Queen||42-109896||12/05/44||Munster||Germany||Marshalling Yards|
|42-51552||12/24/44||Ruwer||Germany||Bridges & Tunnels|
|00-522||12/28/44||Kaiserlauten||Germany||Railroad & Road Junction|
|42-51552||01/02/45||Koblenz||Germany||Koblenz-Lutzel Railroad Bridge|
|Southern Comfort III||42-50896||01/05/45||Neunkirchen||Germany||Marshalling Yards|
|42-51552||01/07/45||Landau||Germany||Rail & Road Junction|
|T.S. Tessie / Beck’s Bad Boys||42-95001||01/14/45||Hemmingstedt||Germany||Oil Refinery|
|Joplin Jalopy||42-50535||02/28/45||Siegen||Germany||Marshalling Yards|
|Myrtle The Fertile Turtle||42-99967||03/02/45||Magdeburg||Germany||Marshalling Yards|
|Sabrina III||42-95209||03/08/45||Betzdorf & Frankfurt||Germany||Marshalling Yards|
|Clean Sweep / Dragon Nose||42-51351||03/11/45||Kiel||Germany||Sub Pens & Shipbuilding|
|Sabrina III||42-95209||03/22/45||Schwabisch Hall||Germany||Airfield|
|The Big Headed Kid||44-50748||03/25/45||Hitzacker||Germany||Oil Storage|
|The Big Headed Kid||44-50748||04/15/45||Fort-De-Royan||France||German Troops|
|The Big Headed Kid||44-50748||04/25/45||Hallein||Austria||Marshalling Yards|
If you have a similar parent or grandparent story, please share. I think these things are important to remember. Particularly at this point in time in America.
I started this post complaining about being tired from my trip which seems silly or petty or perhaps ungrateful. That certainly was not my intent. Anyway, it is good to be home, and I am excited to get back to work.
-Still Your Favorite Tool Potentate
PS: I am still cleaning out the Bridge City Skunk Works and on Monday, December 2nd, 8PM PDT, about 60 items are going up on auction on eBay. There may be a deal or two in there.