Little Details

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Entries by tag: ~world war ii

WW2 Bombs on London
marcus 2013
This might be of interest to anyone writing about London during WW2 - a map of (modern) London showing the locations of bombs that fell in the Blitz. Some of the information is a little sketchy, e.g. the exact date and size of bombs is rarely available. It's been compiled from maps made during the war.

You can zoom in and out, overlay satellite views, a WW2 bomb map, and other information, etc.

Something to bear in mind is that most of the bombs shown were relatively small, 100kg or 200kg up to a maximum of around a ton towards the end of the Blitz, and a lot were incendiaries rather than explosive, so the impression of total obliteration can be a little misleading. For example, looking at my local area, the nearest bomb to my house was about a hundred yards away; I happen to know that it damaged four houses which were subsequently demolished, with the plots used for temporary housing into the 1950s then cleared to build flats, but there's no way to get this information from the map except by noticing that the modern flats were built where the bomb fell, and guessing that this might be cause and effect.

The real devastation was in the City of London and the area around the docks and the Thames, where there was heavy bombing and serious fires many nights of the Blitz.

[ANON POST] A variety of ridiculous WWII-related questionS
I seem to have a strange plotbunny that won't leave me alone and requires me to write several background incidents based on things I know nothing about. Can you help me, little_details?

Setting: Germany during WWII, but of the wildly unrealistic, over-the-top variety. Think Inglorious Basterds where rule-of-cool outweighs what actually happened. The timeline is flexible; I'm thinking 1943, but given that history is going to deviate substantially, it doesn't matter all that much.
Search terms: Australians in WWII/Germany, RAAF, SAS, concentration camp escapes, POW escapes, 1930s jazz, variations thereof.

So, here's the scenario. My Australian MC and a small team ideally consisting of oddballs from various countries get stuck with a secret mission to somehow cross enemy lines and rescue a German resistance member with information that's vital to the war effort. Obviously, nothing like this ever happened; given that, I'd still like it to be as plausible and have as many connections to actual history as possible.


1. If I go on research I've done so far, the only Australian presence in Germany was the RAAF, which doesn't quite work for the character. Could he have found his way into a British unit if he'd been living there before the war? (Preferably having something to do with the SIS, but anything where he could somehow get into a combat situation would work.)

2. My MC has been overseas for a while and was involved in a previous mission that went horribly wrong—either most of his men were killed, or a number of civilians were killed, or better yet both—leaving him and the rest of his unit traumatized. Is there a real life incident (I was initially thinking the bombardment of Hamburg) that would work for this?

3. The German resistance member has been underground in Berlin for years following the dissolution of the KPD, and passing intelligence to both the British and the Soviets until he's captured. He's not particularly high-profile. Assuming that the Nazis don't just outright shoot him (because then no story) where would the best place be to send him so that he survives long enough to escape/be rescued?

4. On a more traditionally little_details note, both characters are into American jazz. How much of a pain would it be to access imported records in their respective countries before the war started?

Thanks in advance!

Female POWs in Japanese captivity.

I desperately need figures on female POWs in Japanese captivity in World War II. I've been scouring the net but not even on Wikipedia I seem to be able to find a site the lists figures for how many female POWs there were and which nationalities they were of, maybe even broken down to the individual camps (but just numbers and nationalities would be great...). little_details, you're me only help :S

Edit: I'm specifically looking for numbers on military nurses such as US Army and Navy Nursing Corps, QAIMNS/QARANC, AANS etc. Overall statistics are great but the nurses are needed even more desperately :S

Search strings I used on Google and Wikipedia: "prisoners of war women japan", "pow wwii women", "female pow wwii figures", "women war pacific".

Losing leg in torpedo chute, WW2 submarine
Aurora Borealis
There is this character, a vampire, who is thrown off a submarine (German U-Boot during WW2). This happens via a torpedo chute. Once he is in the water, he has lost one or both of his legs.

My question now is how he did it? Did the door of the torpedo chute close too fast or not fast enough and grabbed his legs while he was catapulted out? Could this actually rip off someone's leg?

Or would it be better if he arrived in the water in one piece and then managed to get himself into the u-boat's water propeller?

I searched several pages about submarines (both in English and German language), and frankly I have no idea where else to look or what to put into google.

Thanks in advance.

"Whites only" performances in WWII New York, especially for soldiers?
Gentle Rose
Setting: details needed for an anecdote taking place in New York City during WWII (though the actual fic is set in the present day, and someone else is telling this story - it's a Captain America/Avengers fanfic)
Searched: Googled various combinations and permutations of "racial discrimination in theaters/performances in 1940s New York".

At this point (mid-WWII), while people have read and heard about the Howling Commandos, there isn't that much video footage or photographs going around, so most people haven't seen them yet. I'm looking specifically of some kind of really upscale, highly-coveted show or restaurant of some kind that would invite Captain America for typical "you're our hero (and hey, great publicity!)" reasons, and invite the Howling Commandos along with him. Steve initially accepts because of how awesome the invite is. But at the last minute, he finds out the establishment is "whites only", and not all of his team would be allowed in, so he passes the seats/tickets along to an all-white unit. But in an attempt to spare anyone embarrassment, Steve is really vague about why he's turning it down. Because he himself is white, this makes his his refusal seem completely random and out of the blue. Are there any good theaters, concert halls, restaurants, ect., that could fit this sort of scenario?

And of the places that might be high-brow and whites only, are there any in particular that might be considered as very conducive to assassination attempts? This entire thing becomes urban legend/apocryphal story fuel when the team 'sent' in his place become victims of what was meant to be an assassination attempt of Captain America on 'home soil'. (To the general public, it looks like Captain America knew about the plot and thwarted it.)

ETA: This is an MCU/Movieverse fic, for clarification. ^_^

Useful site - Badass of the week
marcus 2013
I came across this site more or less by chance, it mostly describes real people including famous soldiers, adventurers, etc. who have basically kicked ass and taken names under ridiculously dangerous circumstances, and otherwise lived weird dangerous lives. You probably wouldn't want to base a character too closely on any one entry, but they show just how extreme it's possible to be, and that truth is often considerably stranger than fiction.

The start of a typical entry (slightly NSFW):Collapse )

I really have no idea how to tag this, I've gone with the military tags and other historical, but there are simply too many other areas covered on the site.

(U.S.) medals for chaplains in World War II
Where: real world

Searched: Wikipedia entry on "Bronze Star Medal"

It's the Battle of Monte Cassino. Our hero, an Army chaplain, is working at a battalion aid station (field hospital??) when a counter-attack brings the area up to the front line.

Heroics ensue, with our hero doing his share.

What medals is he eligible for? Not the Medal of Honor, or the Distinguished Service Cross ... Silver Star/ Bronze Star? The Wikipedia article implies being a chaplain may limit his eligibility.

American movies in 1940 England, and popular male stars
Drugged Neal
I've been working on a story about a sixteen-year-old girl in London during WWII. Specifically, during the Blitz, so I'm thinking about 1940. However, I'm having some trouble because some important parts of the plot depend on what sort of access she has to American films and information about Hollywood and American stars.

I want her to be very enamored with Hollywood and American movies, but would she realistically have much access to this stuff during the war? Would she have any access to American media? I've read that UK theaters were closed for a time due to concerns about safety, but I haven't found anything more specific than that, and it didn't say anything about films being imported from other countries.

Secondly, assuming her having access to Hollywood movies or at least news is plausible, I wanted her to have a crush on a popular American actor, but could use some ideas about who it could be. I'm looking for a Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio sort of figure -- an actor who would have been popular with young women at the time, and would have been seen as a heartthrob. Obviously, my character could be attracted to anyone, but the point here is that she's more attracted to this guy's image and popularity, so I want the 1940 version or equivalent of your stereotypical teen heartthrob. I know a decent amount about movies and actors from that period, but I don't know a lot about how different demographics perceived them at the time. That is, who was popular with young people vs. older crowds. Would someone like Errol Flynn work?

I've done some searches like "Hollywood film distribution, 1940s, UK," "1940s teen idols," "Movies in London during WWII" and variations thereof, but I'm not finding a lot of stuff that seems to address these questions, and I don't honestly know what to search for. So I'd appreciate some input -- even a nudge in the right direction. I don't need a ton of background. I mainly need to know if my plot is plausible, and find a few specifics like an actor she can like and a few films she might have seen. So thanks a bunch to anyone who can help.

1940s British slang, specifically "nerd"
I'm writing a story that takes place in France in the late 30s/early 40s. One character is the sorta stereotypically "nerdy" kid. I know that the word "nerd" didn't become a slang term until the 50s, so I need the equivalent of it. The character himself is English, so I'm not looking for American slang.

I've Googled "british slang 1940s," "ww2 british slang," "british slang for nerd," and I've read the Wiki entry about the word "nerd." I'm not sure if the word "geek" would be appropriate, since I can't quite find when it switched uses.

I can find random lists of slang (mostly American) along with the occasional list of British slang (mostly modern), but I can't find exactly what I'm looking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

ETA: A bit o' context. The characters are in their early 20s, and they're at a sort of "special school," almost like Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, but they don't have mutant abilities or anything. They're all intelligent, but most of them focus on the more physical side of things, while the character in question is actually on the R&D side. The exact sentence is, "He had always been the skinny, nerdy kid at home, and he was still the skinny, nerdy kid here." He's not looked down upon for it; I just need a word instead of "nerdy." I could always just use "awkward" or something and solve the whole problem. :)

German History: Trummerfrauen
I'm writing a young-adult book in poems about Rubble Women in Berlin in 1945, called "From the eyes of the Trummerfrauen". I've got a fair amount of information about what they did and how it differed in various parts of Berlin under the allies, and life in Berlin at the end of the war. Though I've read a lot of first hand accounts of living through Berlin in 1945, they don't talk very much about their lives as Trummerfrauen, the details of working and friendships.

I'm looking for experiential stories. Did they always work the same lines or would they be assigned to different lines each day? Did they share lunches or go off to eat by themselves so they didn't have to share what little they had? What did they talk about to each other on the lines? Was there support or blame? What happened to the kids when all the women were to report to work?

I'm also looking for anecdotes about how individuals dealt with the details of everyday life. Ex. one family had the doctor write a prescription for cod liver oil, feeling that at least it was something they could eat when they had nothing else.

I appreciate any help you can give me about the Trummerfrauen or day to day life in Berlin. The only books specifically about Trummerfrauen that I've found, are written entirely in German. I should have taken German in college :(
Thank you.

Flipping someone off in WWII Britain.
I am working on a story set in WWII Britain, specifically involving the RAF. There is one character who flips off another. I have already done research into the proper offense gesture, but I have been unable to find whether the verb "to flip off" was in use at this time.

I have found the phrase on Wiktionary and in Merriam-Webster but neither location gives me a date. Likewise, any Google search ("flip off" origin, flip off wwii, flip off date) gives me any clear indicator.

Thus my question: would a WWII Brit used the phrase "to flip off"?

Atlantic Weather 1943

I am writing a fanfic set in WW2 America and Europe. As part of the story a smallish convoy of personnel and equipment from a para-military organisation are crossing the Atlantic (New York to Liverpool) in mid-May 1943.

I know that this month was a turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic and that a number of U-boats and ships in convoy sank. However, what I can't find is what the weather for the month was like. If any one could recommend somewhere to find this information, or even tell me straight out, that would be great. I am specifically looking for information from the 16th-20th, but an average for the month would also be acceptable.

America 1940s : indoor heating & ranching in winter
DW DRW When in Doubt

I tried going through the 1940s, ~world war ii, world war tags and retags (retags?) in the comm before deciding to bother you all with this. It's basically two questions, both relating to USA in the 1940s.
1. what was the general way to heat a home out in the Southwest, say, Colorado? My MC is a well-to-do rancher who rebuilt his home with the modern conveniences avail to him at the time (ie: fridge, gas stove, radio, indoor toilet). There is a fireplace in the central sitting room, but the bedrooms are upstairs.

My question is: would there be another way as well to heat the home at that time especially in the winter like a boiler? If no, how would a ranch stay warm in the winter then?

2. The same ranch in question is a plains ranch with cattle, no farming, so haying is normally done by September. What would the normal activities be from November to Feb though? I know cattle are moved to winter pastures for grazing, but is there anything else a rancher needs to concern with?
Search Terms used: 1940s indoor heating, history of homes, world war ii living, ranch homes, ranching winter, ranch winter 1940s, southwest ranches winter, post world war ii ranches

Note: the above terms got me a lot of dude ranch vacations for skiing. I've also downloaded Theodore Roosevelt's Ranching memoirs, but it is about 1899-1919 so there were disparities.

(no subject)
I'm writing a story involving evacuees (a mother and young child) from London to Herefordshire during the Blitz. Would a £1 annual peppercorn rent on a 2 bedroom cottage in the tiny village be feasible? Or is that too much of a fairy tale?

The idea is that the landlord knows the two elderly sisters (the mother-in-law and her sister) who live in the house, and needs tenants to keep the place up, hence the nominal rent.

ETA: Since it's 1940, nearly every man in the village between the age of 18 and 51 are in the armed forces, hence the cottage being empty.

EMETA: answered! Thank you, all.

British University questions and Conscientious Objectors during World War Two
Setting: 1949 England Chronichles of Narnia Cannon
Googled: British university life 1940;British Higher education 1940; British conscription during world war two; British contentious objectors during world war two.

First, I really wish that I wrote in fandoms that were in my own country which would make my research easier, but you all are so awesome at answering my questions so I am glad I can come here.

1) The beginning of the story takes place at Oxford in 1948-1949. I need to know everyday things like what young men might be studying and what subjects they may be taking. Did they have two people to a room on campus or did they rent rooms in town? Where did they eat meals? What kind of leisure things did they do? Any suggested reading would also be great.

2) I know conscientious objectors were not popular, but I am wondering if I can find any actual discussions about it between the for and against camps especially on religious grounds. I can probably make it up, but again I would love to know what people actually thought and said. If my CO was a student, would he still have to register as a CO?

Thanks in advance.
Also I am on an iPad and it won't let me select all the tags I want too. Sorry!

[ANON POST] Dieppe Raid: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Seaman training and death
music, serious face
So, I've looked through the wwii tags, and couldn't find what I was looking for. And I think I've googled everything I could about Dieppe, the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, and LCAs. Unfortunately, I have a $0 budget to buy books, and my local library doesn't have much either. So I'm stuck with the internet.

My situation is this: my character is a young English teenaged boy, probably 13 or 14 in 1942. He's gotten his father's help to lie about his age and join the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves, and is serving on a Landing Craft: Assault as a bowman-gunner. In August 1942, he's deployed in the raid on Dieppe, France. After retrieving soldiers under heavy fire during the retreat, he ends up in the water next to a floundering LCA. A German plane drops a bomb on the LCA, which ends up killing my character.

Cut for length.Collapse )

How would a French character address Hitler in person in 1942?
It's pretty much all in the title. How would you expect a French citizen (in Nazi German-occupied France) to address Hitler when speaking directly to him in 1942? Oh, and if it makes any difference at all, the character is actually an eighteen-year-old boy, related to some very important French figures, but not anyone of particular consequence himself at this point. His father is a Nazi-sympathizer, and so is he. IIRC, Hitler didn't speak French, so would the character just address him in German, or would did Hitler still have a French title?*

I've already tried every combination of "Hitler" "French" "title" and/or "address" that I can think of, I've texted Cha-Cha, and I've asked a few French-speaking American European history students.

*For reasons I won't explain right now, them not speaking the same language is not going to be a problem for the rest of the conversation.

Roles and responsibilities for a young Nazi woman, as the war approaches its end.
I am writing a story about a group of people in a boarding house in what is probably  Würzburg, in the spring of 1945. One of these characters is a young woman who remains  a devoted member of, and employed by, the Nazi party. I need to pin down exactly what she’s doing with her time.
Nazis.Collapse )

UK WWII: Failure to report at your post.
Winners Wear Red
Hi everyone!

It’s a nano esque event again and I’m writing a story in WWII. Whilst I’ll probably be starting with some character studies and getting into in depth research throughout September and October, I’ve already got a question google will not answer.

I want to start the novel with the MC’s father not reporting to his post. He left his house to go report to his post, everyone in the house knows it swears blind and are happy to let any relevant authorities look for him.

So my question is this. Does anyone know what the procedure would have been on the part of the British military when he didn’t show up? Would they go to his house to look for him/potential court martial him if they thought he was running away? How long would they wait? (Etc, etc!)
Possible relevant factors:
The man is well respected, although considered odd for having married a Chinese woman and living in china town. He’s working for a fictional sub branch of the SOE (which is obviously a secret, but a few people might know- though I’m unsure who would be the logical person to be in the know) He’s a committed patriot and his family are going to be terribly shocked by his failure to turn up and immediately assume something happened to him after he left the house (So presumably some of his close mates in the service will be too).

Sure to be back with more! Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

Kiev, 1941
This community is as much fun as a barrel of monkeys! I have been looking for something like this forever. I have done some research into this- some Google, some Wikipedia, some JSTOR, some library books. It hasn't been particularly helpful. The next logical step is to interview old people, which I will attempt to do. But first- you guys!

My story is set in Kiev (the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic/Reichskommissariat Ukraine) in 1941. My character is a collaborationist policeman, in his mid 40s. Here we go, Soviet questions galore!
N.B. While I am not fluent, I speak enough Russian to not require much translation.

1. My exposure to spoken Russian is strictly post-Soviet, and full of old women- consequently, a lot of "my God," "Lord," and "glory to God." In Soviet times, did these phrases go away? Did people who weren't old women say them? Do men ever say them? My suspicion is that people concerned about their image never uttered them, but that people said them in the following situations: between friends, in villages (i.e. away from the prying ears of informers), when utterly unconcerned about the police (criminals, quasi-criminals), etc.

2. Did mat' as we know it exist? My guy is a cop, so he would be familiar with criminal slang, but it's only 1941 and Stalin is still alive- not many people have returned from the camps.

3. To what extent could one be a cop in the Soviet Union and not work with the NKVD (Cheka, KGB, what have you)?

4. A special question for anyone who specializes in Ukraine: at that point, how much Russian was spoken in Kiev? I've taken a look at the 1897 census, and I see that the number of Russian and Ukrainian speakers was about equal in the cities (I would prefer in the city itself, but that seems not to be an option), but between then and 1941, there were a civil war, korenizatsia and the purges. Does anyone know?

Thanks in advance! I'm really looking forward to seeing what people say!

EDIT: I probably should have mentioned that I lived in Ukraine for 2 years, and have some familiarity with its history. Oops.