For the good of the company





Just go and see it for yourself!  It's basically all what we have to say.  Yes, some reviews have not been great, but consider the sources. First of all, the film should be seen as a reenactment of a historical event, and a very particular one at that.  It is not an in-depth study on the Prussian military mind, neither a flawless "multidimensional character" film full of juicy sex scenes nor a "cultural studies" sponsored deconstruction. It is simply a historical reenactment safe for all the family to see, and as such it is very well done. We saw it and liked it, thus we recommend it.

If you want to find more, from a historical point of view, we recommend reading "Plotting Hitler's Death: The Story of the German Resistance" by Joachim Fest,("Staatsstreich: Der lange Weg zum 20. Juli"). Another book and a bit lighter reading is, "Code Name Valkyrie: Count von Stauffenberg and the plot to kill Hitler", by James Forman.

The following link leads you the film's website and some other interactive historical information about the events of July 20, 1944.  



 Moving the U-505

  Imagine the unique engineering challenges involved in moving the U-505. How do you move a National Historic landmark that weighs as much as three Statues of Liberty and is nearly a city block long? Then, once it is moved, how do you lower it four stories into a new exhibit space?

The new exhibit for the U-505 is worth every penny of admission.

Moving the U-505 Submarine

Exhibit U-505



During June 1950 the Cold War became hotter than ever before when North Korea invaded South Korea in an unexpected attack which tested the resolve of the democratic world and of the United Nations.  

The conflict resulting from that event has been largely ignored or not given the correct attention it deserves.

The greatest irony for President Harry S. Truman, in his role as Commander-in-Chief during the Korean War, was that based on his WWI experience he presided over what he most feared, a trench war stalemate.

More Americans died in the stalemate years (1951-1953), in what became the battle of artilleries, than in the initial campaign of 1950-1951 when U.S. and U.N. forces were unquestionably successful and victorious.  It is in the context of the battle of artilleries and indefensible hills that the Korean War took place, and where in less than three years nearly as many Americans died as were killed in Vietnam.

In many ways, and from the point of view of military technology, the Korean War was a blend of the old and the new.  It was the birth of the military jet age yet fought with old “dog fight” grit and “hands on” expertise.  Much of WWII technology and hardware, including aircraft, ships, uniforms, and soldier’s personal equipment and weapons were still in use. During the Korean War the Cold War became hot.

Korean War Recommended Film

A film about the early days of the Korean War. The main characters represent the trials and tribulations that Korean citizens went through during the early days of the North Korean invasion. Made in the manner of technique used in "Saving Private Ryan". (Korean)


Other Recommended


One of the advantages of holidays break is the chance to catch up with films and books. Here is a list of excellent films which we highly recommend. All, but one, are in foreign languages with subtitles. They are available through your local library and Blockbuster.

Feeling cold and miserable? Then watch this film about the siege of Stalingrad by the producers of Das Boot. Reminiscent of the books "The Iron Cross" (also in film) and "The Forgotten Soldier" this is probably the best depiction of what the average German went through in the Russian Front. (German)

The true and tragic story of "the boat people". It is well done. Not preachy but poignant. Beautiful and sad but accurate depiction of what the Communist North put the southern population through after the fall of Saigon. Filmed in Asia and the U.S. (Vietnamese)

A wonderful and highly acclaimed film about the last days of the Samurai heritage, around the Meiji restoration. This is not a "kung fu" action movie. Yes, there is some good sword action in it but, most importantly it is a good depiction of the overall life of a Samurai in the 19th century. (Japanese)

A little bit of everything in this one but a lot of action in the thriller espionage type of film. Set in WWII during the days of Nazi occupation of Holland. (R) for some nudity but nothing pornographic. (Dutch)

The true story of the last days in the life of Sophie Scholl, a 21-year-old member of the anti-Nazi non-violent student resistance group the White Rose, part of the German Resistance movement. She was found guilty of high treason by the “People’s Court” and executed the same day, February 22, 1943. (German)


Saints and Soldiers is about a small group of soldiers who are trapped deep behind enemy lines following the infamous Malmedy massacre. The soldiers have vital enemy intelligence in their possession and decide to deliver it to the front lines, over 20 miles away. Success would require surviving the roving German troops and the frigid Ardennes forest. Armed with only one rifle, the men meet obstacle after obstacle, and must deal with the challenges, as well as the tension between their conflicting emotions. Things get increasingly more desperate until the climactic showdown with the German Army that tests the courage, honor, and camaraderie of the men. (English)

The original title of this film is "Indigenes" ("indigenous"), the term used by the French to refer to colonial troops. Many of them served in WWII (and WWI) and with distinction only to have the French government deny then their pensions and other promises. The film is not only well done in all its military aspects and in terms of action, but it also portrays the second-class treatment these soldiers received and the early nationalist dynamics which later on led to the wars of independence in the French colonies. (French)




Open Mess Speaker Website


A new look at WWI 

Recently we came across these series about WWI in color. Although photos of WWI are available they are rare (see link in "suggested links"). In this series, the producers manage not only to faithfully digitize the color but also improve the quality of the films without affecting the vintage quality that we so like in WWI footage. Highly recommended!



"Ok, let's go.."

Gen. Eisenhower, June 5, 1944 


(click on photo to enlarge)

And with those words, the following morning, the largest and most complex military invasion in history was underway.  But success was not guaranteed.  And just in case a debacle ensued, Gen. Eisenhower was preparing to accept all responsibility, as his handwritten draft below shows.

(click on photo to enlarge)

It reads:

"Our landings in the Cherbourg...have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold...My decision at this time...was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do.  If any blame or faults attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."

--Gen. Eisenhower



Next day President Roosevelt issued the following prayer, one that probably no president or presidential candidate could deliver today:    

"Almighty God: our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day without rest - until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a countenance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen."

 --Pres. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, June 6, 1944

 (click on photo to enlarge)

 (click on photo to enlarge)

If D-Day had taken place today the headlines would probably read something like this:

"Invasion Success in Doubt, Thousands Killed"

"Invasion Based on Best Available Information Only!"

"Thousands of Civilians Dead"

"Invasion Fails, Nazis Still in Power"

"Secrete Note Reveals Eisenhower Doubts Success"

"President Violates Separation of Church and State With Public Prayer"

"Global Warming Affects Weather for Invasion"

"Invasion Was a Secret kept from the American people!"


Germans surrender in Cherbourg

(click on photo to enlarge)

Additional D-Day related links 

The Lessons from D-Day, by Victor Davis Hanson





 MCMH&C Blog

Air Zoo Kalamazoo

South Carolina Confederate Relic Room

Michigan Toy Soldier Co.

 Fixed Regiment of Puerto Rico 

Bible Battles History Channel

"I was enthralled by this most excellent account of the battles fought in the Old Testament before the birth of Christ. Starting with Abraham to the time of David, this explanation of Bible History gives us strong leaders who rise up and take command to fight for the Promised Land and freedom from oppression.
I give this rating the maximum amount of stars because learned men of our time, who have studied Bible text for many years, have come together to give us vivid scenes of these battles, explaining as they go what must have transpired during this time in history. From the weapons they used, to their strategies in battle, this account actually transported me to that period of time to be able to see what must have taken place. I loved it."


Introduction to "Bible Battles" by Dr. Schwartz

Introduction to "Bible Battles" by José Amorós

Link on Antwerp suggested by Grant Pearce

This first edition is out of print but a paperback edition has been re-issued

65th Infrantry Reg. in Korea

65th Infantry Film Website

World War I In Color

 Review WWI Film "Joyeux Noel"



A profile of President Ford's military service





Simply put, watch this film. "Downfall" will become one of the best war movies ever made and certainly one of the best about World War II.  Bruno Ganz as Hitler, and the rest of the cast, not only accurately portray the historical characters in the film but actually give you the feeling of being there during those last few days of the collapse of the Third Reich.  The camera follows the action closely as if someone just had been there with a home video camera.  The real Hitler of history was not the cartoon of a monster that has been portrayed as such for the longest time but a real person of flesh and bones.  The Hitler presented by Bruno Ganz is probably the closest to the Hitler of history that we will ever see, at least for a long time. This film should be seen followed by "Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary" an interview documentary with Traudl Junge. Both films should be included in any course on the study of tyranny and culture.