February 25th, 2009

Cold War Germany: military ranks

I'm writing a short story set in East Berlin (1986), about two men on the Grenzpatrolle (Mitte division, guarding the Wall area and the train stations). The senior has been in the border regiments for about 10 years, and he's enlisted/non-com (probably SGT?). The junior is new, in training, and is also enlisted (PVT?).

What I can't find is any listings of ranks in the Stasi, whether they're comparable/equivalent to the basic Bundeswehr ranks. Since I'm writing for an English-speaking audience, I plan to use the equivalent English terms rather than the German (eg Feldwebel). I found a site with the order of battle and regiment assignments for the NVA and border patrols, which was kind of cool (and useful), but I can't find anything listing ranks below Kommandant.

Anybody know whether they used the normal German rank system in the Stasi/MfS?

[edit: Got it! Thanks!]

Japanese Interwar Firearms Control/Laws

Location: Japan, Formosa etc.
Era: between 1920-1935

I've searched on the internet for numerous phrases "gun control japan interwar", "japanese firearms laws", "japan gun law" "1920s japan guns" etc., I have a good few books on Japanese social-history and I have a firm knowledge of 1920s Japan.

But I can find nothing on Japanese gun laws or the legality of firearms ownership interwar. I have seen Japanese price-guides from the era advertising pistols and prices, but does anyone know whether there were licenses or guidelines one had to follow to buy a weapon? Could a foreigner own one? Could a foreigner import a firearm into the country from outside for 'personal protection' or similar?

I know the 1920s saw a revival of imperial doctrine and that some schools were beginning to teach rifle-drill to their pupils, but information on the subject is a little light there too.

Many thanks in advance.

Victorian "polite" exclamations?

What are some suitably ladylike oaths for an upper class 19th century Englishwoman of good reputation? She's about sixteen years old, drattedly innocent, and very Catholic, living in France. I'm thinking about the rough equivalent of a vigorous "oh, poot!" in modern parlance-- very weak, maybe weirdly minced oaths, but emphatic. Maybe things she's heard her father use and taken entirely out of context.

Terms searched: Victorian swearing, Victorian profanity. I even came up with this comm on the first page, but most of the material seems to be related to much stronger language. (Did give me some really good ideas for my other characters, though.)