Tag Archives: Photography

The WWII mystery photo

Yesterday, I posted this photo of and asked here, on twitter and facebook  hypotheses for some feedback  about the location and time it was taken.

Here’s the picture:

So, here’s the feedback I’ve received thus far:

#1:  WWII South Pacific, Japanese Soldier with Americans standing over him. My guess is the Iwo, but its only a guess.

#2:  Based on the M-1 Garand, the dried palm fronds littering the ground, and the uniform of the deceased, I’m thinkin’ it’s WWII in the Western Pacific: possibly Saipan, Guam, Okinawa, etc.  Those GI (or jarhead) boots look to be in pretty good shape, so it seems as though the end is near for the Imperial Japanese Army.

The winner (so far) however, goes to one of my reenacting compatriots.  Here’s his take:

I’m going to say Okinawa for a few reasons. To sum up the facts, we have a M1944 pattern canteen, an exclusively Marine item. The trousers are Army M1943 pattern. The first aid pouch is the 1st pattern M1923, which was used by both branches at various points but going by our established date, the Army had moved to cardboard packed Carlisle bandages by this point necessitating a larger pouch. The Marines were still using the earlier metal tins in 1945. The presence of Army trousers and late pattern canteen cover rules out Iwo Jima. At Okinawa, however, four Army divisions served alongside two USMC. This explains the mix of equipment. Given that both men are wearing Marine roughout boots, I would say they are Marines with bits of Army kit and not vice versa. Finally, two things about the rifle tell me this would specifically be the 6th Marines. M1 rifles show wear quickly in the forward gas tube, as this part is stainless steel and cannot be parkerized. Also, the M1907 sling typically issued with them are leather, which quickly rot in tropical environments. The sling seen here is fresh and new. Of the two Marine divisions on Okinawa, the 1st was a fairly battle weary outfit whose equipment would reflect this, while the 6th was fresh from the States, having been formed specifically for Okinawa, and therefore would have both the new condition weapons and new pattern canteen cover seen here.

Anyone know an expert in Imperial Japanese Army uniforms and want to take a crack at some of their specifics?

Kvick Tänkare

Romania has unveiled a statue to commemorate the founding of the Romanian nation.  It’s a statue of the Emporer Trajan holding a wolf.  Or, as one passerby describes it:

“I have never seen anything so grotesque, a wolf with a pitbull’s head, a lizard’s tail and a tumour on its neck, carried by a guy who is visibly embarrassed by his nudity,”…

h/t Rogue Classicalism

What could possibly be better than blimps?  How about blimps armed with missiles?

Upstart Virginia aerospace firm Mav6 is offering to install guided missiles on the massive, robotic spy blimp it’s building for the Air Force…Mav6 and its CEO, a respected retired Air Force general, are also promoting the giant airship for homeland security missions over U.S. soil.

Just remove all that commie propaganda and replace it with the stars and bars and we'll be ready to spread some serious democracy!

And speaking of blimps (ok, dirigibles…whatever) here’s an account of one of the Hindenburg’s survivors.

Eric Valli has a maddeningly fascinating photo essay about Americans who are living off the grid.  Fascinating in that the photos are amazing and leave you salivating for the long form article that explains it all.  Maddening in that there is no long form article that explains it all.  There’s nothing but the pictures.

I’m not much of a techno/dance guy but there are some days where this would be most excellent.

…in Sweden we have a whole other vibe going. Here, more and more workers are foregoing both leisurely lunches and “al-desko” dining in favor of daytime raves.

Lunch Beat events can be arranged by any individual, group or company anywhere in the world as long as the organizers respect the founders’ Manifesto, a list of 10 rules specifying, for instance, that Lunch Beat discos must be nonprofit events, take place at lunch time, have 60-minute long DJ sets, and include a takeaway meal.

Do it.  After all, you’ve got all day to be a corporate drone…live a little.  Or, if you’re an autocratic robber-baron, what better way to distract your corporate drones than by allowing them to think they have some control over their lives and can be ‘edgy’ during the day?

And to get you in the mood (kinda)

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Kvick Tänkare

Photographer Jon Tonks has a project in which he travels to the few remaining British overseas territories and (as you’ve probably guessed) takes pictures.

A history of body snatchers.

For nearly a week in early December, black smoke billowed from the French Embassy in Iran. Years of diplomatic archives were being burned in the swimming pool of the embassy, initiated by French officials. The measure was intended as preventive, two days after the raiding of British diplomatic sites in Tehran.

I’ve always thought that my experience in the military (particularly the early years when I just got out of high school) were invaluable in making me a mature, responsible adult (*ahem*. eds). Some researchers wanted to see what, if any, effect military service has on young men and maturity and so compared German conscripts and those who didn’t serve.  Their findings are a bit disappointing.

The groups differed in one way only: the effect of increasing agreeableness was one third larger for the civilian than the military group.* This suggests that military training attenuates the upward trajectory of agreeableness seen in early adulthood.

Now, I’m not sure how applicable this study is across the board.  Conscripts are different from an all volunteer force.  Different armies treat their soldiers differently both in terms of care but also in terms of responsibility and development.  I still think my military service did more to make me a well rounded individual than if I only went to university.

The definition of a bad day.  A dinosaur catches a fish and then a fish catches the dinosaur.  The latter fish chokes on the dinosaur and everyone dies.  It’s like a Jurassic Shakespearean tragedy.

For Mrs. TwShiloh:

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Into the wild blue yonder

Yeah, yeah, I know.  You’ve seen so many pictures of Polikarpov I-16s lately, how could another set impress you?

It’s kind of a weird looking plane but there’s something about the stubby little thing that’s kind of cool.  It must have generated some feelings since in every theater of war in which it deployed soldiers gave it another less than flattering nickname:

The diminutive fighter, nicknamed “Ishak” (“donkey”) by Soviet pilots…Rata (“rat”) by the Nationalists or Mosca (“fly”) by the Republicans [in the Spanish Civil War]. The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava (“Flying Squirrel“).

Not exactly names that spring to mind when you’re talking about a fighter plane.

Still check out these photos of one of the planes that’s still flying and I dare you not to think the think is pretty darned cool.

The war in photos

The Atlantic is running a 20-part (!) photo retrospective of WWII.  There are some really great photos here.  Part 2 has special significance for TwShiloh since it includes some shots from the Winter War (a favorite subject of this blog).

Ever wonder what a destroyed Soviet division looks like?

And while you may think of Swedes and ever neutral and peace loving, I don’t think I’d want to run into this guy…

A Swedish volunteer, "somewhere in Northern Finland," protects himself from the sub-zero arctic cold with a mask over his face on February 20, 1940, while on duty against the Russian Invaders.

And just because it’s totally kick ass, here’s a little bit of ‘America, Fuck Ya!’ long before Team America was on the scene:

America's Jesse Owens, center, salutes during the presentation of his gold medal for the long jump on August 11, 1936, after defeating Nazi Germany's Lutz Long, right, during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Naoto Tajima of Japan, left, placed third. Owens triumphed in the track and field competition by winning four gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, long jump and 400-meter relay. He was the first athlete to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games.



You may have noticed that I changed the image on the top of the TwShiloh page recently.  I figured that after 5 years (or so) with that picture I should experiment with other looks.  As I also started playing with my camera again it seemed appropriate to hunt for a new image.

BayonetI picked up this little toothpick while in Afghanistan.  It, like many of the baubles and trinkets I purchased there, serves as a constant reminder that I didn’t buy nearly enough things there and knowing that it was highly unlikely I’d ever go back there I should have blown the bank on stuff.

BayonetThis bayonet is one of the few pieces of antique militaria that I’m confident is genuine.  It is a French Model 1874 Gras sword bayonet.

I don’t know if I buy the whole ‘sword’ thing.  The bayonet seems a bit short to use as a sword by itself as it seems a bit unwieldy for that.  Of course, by 1881 how many people were getting into sword fights?  As a melee weapon, on the other hand, this thing seems to have some heft.  It’s longer than modern bayonets so if you were facing off against Rambo you’d have the advantage of some extra reach.

Probably the only way I could win a fight with one of these things would be if it shot laser beams.

What can’t be denied is the sheer elegance of this thing.  It doesn’t have the relentless utility of some modern bayonets with their sawed edge, wire cutter attachments, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s cool but does everything need to look like it came from Batman’s utility belt?


In between firefights he trims trees and kills zombies...

I’m not familiar enough with Afghan history to know when/how French arms of the 19th century made their way to Afghanistan but mine is in very good condition for being 130 years old.



The blades are usually marked on the back-edge (opposite the bottom cutting edge) with the arsenal, month, and year of manufacture; this is done in engraved cursive fashion and will appear something like, “Mre d’ Armes de St. Etienne Janvier 1874” or perhaps “Mre d’ Armes de Chatellerault Juin 1882“. Contrary to novice speculation, this is not the name of a lieutenant or major, nor is it a presentation date; in reality – as previously stated – it is the the exact month, year, and location of manufacture.


The beauty of a sucessful plot

Inactive U.S. Navy auxiliary ships of the Jame...

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Just because people engage in pre-operational planning, surveillance, dry-runs and skirt security it doesn’t mean they’re international terrorists planning on mass destruction.  Sometimes they’re people engaging in massive coolness.

Case in point, Scott Haefner and some friends who explored the National Defense Reserve Fleet by sneaking into the area and boarding many of the ships over a couple of years.  (h/t The Agitator)  As fascinating as the photos are (and they’re quite incredible) also interesting is Scott’s description of how they arranged to get out to the ships and evade detection.  A taste:

…we knew that many inherent risks could be mitigated with enough planning and preparation. Before making our first trip on the water, Stephen scoped out the environs to assess how close we could get to the water on foot, which along with satellite imagery, helped us determine our route. Later, we made a second visit just to observe the 24-hour security patrols from the safety of the shoreline. We also purchased a scanner to eavesdrop on nearby radio communications and studied tidal patterns, planning our trips accordingly.


USGS aerial photo montage of

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I find this interesting because, essentially, the steps they outline are the same as those terrorists or organized criminals would undertake to accomplish their goals.  That’s important to note since it can be easy to see indicators for ‘pre-operational surveillance’ (for example) and leap to the conclusion that some sort of nefarious activity (or, a specific type of nefarious activity) is necessarily occurring.


Happy 4th of July

Here’s a collection of photos from my recent trip to witness the reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth to get you in the appropriate mood.

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So, God save the King or Yankee Doodle yourself silly…

The famous Spirit of '76 painting by Archibald...

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Picture of the day

Towards the end of my tour in Afghanistan (2004) the vendors at the Friday bazaar outside of Bagram began carrying tiles of various sorts.  I picked up this neat six piece set there and mounted it on a wood frame when I got home.  I have no information about its creation but it looks great.

Picture of the Day – Jurassic Park edition

It’s that time of year when I start biking to work when I can.  The 12 mile trip is almost entirely along the tow path of the Delaware Canal system.  One of the best things about riding early in the morning and again in the afternoon is that there are all sorts of opportunities to see a wide range of wildlife.

The other day I came across a pretty big common snapping turtle and snapped the following pictures.

Looks like a dragon tail...