The Christy Collection

Military Stories and Articles

WW2 – The Wereth 11 – Murder in the Ardennes

WW2 – The Wereth 11 – Murder in the Ardennes

In the early hours of December 16, 1944, Adolf Hitler's army launched a massive surprise attack on Allied lines across the frozen, forested landscape of Belgium. Caught off-guard, the Americans fell back into defensive positions. For a few desperate days before Christmas, the outcome of the war in Europe hung in the balance.   Desperate battles to stem the German advance were fought at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize, and Bastogne. As the Germans drove deeper into the Ardennes in an...

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Service Reflections of ETC James Fort, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard (1972-1992)

Service Reflections of ETC James Fort, Jr., U.S. Coast Guard (1972-1992)

My dad was the major influence on my joining the Coast Guard. He was part of a forward Army recon unit that was captured at the Battle of the Bulge after expanding all their ammunition. His unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, and he earned a Bronze Star for his actions there. My dad also fought in the Korean war earning awards for his actions there.

The Army was going to send him off to Vietnam when that conflict started, and he opted to retire with twenty-three years of service at that time. My dad thought that Vietnam was a war run by politicians instead of Generals and convinced me that the Coast Guard was the best service to go into. Of course, neither of us knew at the time that there were more Coasties killed (percentage-wise) in WWII and the Vietnam war than any other service.

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Famous Military Units – 563rd Transportation Company

Famous Military Units – 563rd Transportation Company

The complexion of war has changed significantly through millennia of human conflict and continues to evolve with new technologies and lessons learned on the battlefield. But despite this changing environment, one constant does exist: effective logistics and supply chain integrity can change the tide of battle and determine outcomes. Until World War II, a historical reliance on fixed fortifications led to straightforward solutions for combat support; however, the global scale of conflict and...

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A Veteran-inspired Watchmaker Brought Back the Iconic Watch A-11 that Won World War II

A Veteran-inspired Watchmaker Brought Back the Iconic Watch A-11 that Won World War II

Timing can be critical when conducting a military operation. During World War II, it wasn't just the men in combat who depended on accurate timing. The rest of the millions of Allied service members and potentially the entire free world relied on precision watches. Like many things produced during World War II, the A-11 watch was developed for use by the U.S. military. The A-11 Watch Was Designed to Be the Timepiece that Survived the War Like most critical supplies, the Allies knew that...

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Cpl Mel Brooks, U.S. Army (1944 – 1945)

Cpl Mel Brooks, U.S. Army (1944 – 1945)

Mel Brooks's Military Service “Springtime for Hitler” is one of the songs that made Mel Brooks famous. But did you know that this prolific actor, comedian, composer, and filmmaker served in World War II as a young man? Mel Brooks’s Early Life Mel Brooks was born Melvin James Kaminsky in 1926, the youngest of four boys. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a Jewish family of modest means. When Brooks was two years old, his father passed away from kidney disease. Mel was raised by his mother and...

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Famous Army Units: 761st Tank Battalion

Famous Army Units: 761st Tank Battalion

Entry of the United States into World War II quickly revealed how woefully ill-prepared the armed forces were to contend with a major conflict.  Apart from the peacetime draft instituted in 1940 and lend-lease support to Great Britain few actions had been taken to address escalating global tensions.  Now racing to enlist, train, arm and deploy resources necessary across multiple theatres of war the Army and other branches of service were forced to again face long-held racial...

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WW2 – The Malmedy Massacre

WW2 – The Malmedy Massacre

In the last German offensive of World War II, three German Armies conducted a surprise attack along a 50 mile front in the mountainous and remote Ardennes Forest beginning on December 16, 1944, and quickly overtook thin U.S. lines during what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, the deadliest battle in the European campaign. On December 17, men from Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion were ordered to move from Schevenhutte, near Aachen, to St Vith in the Ardennes....

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Cpl William (Bill) Ralph Blass, U.S. Army (1943-1945)

Cpl William (Bill) Ralph Blass, U.S. Army (1943-1945)

William (or Bill) Ralph Blass who served in the US Army between 1943 and 1945 is better known for his contributions to the fashion industry. However, his efforts during World War II are as remarkable as they are unusual. William Ralph Blass was born on June 22 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His father was a traveling salesman, his mother a dressmaker. Sadly, Blass’ father committed suicide when Bill was 5. Bill took after his mother, sketching Hollywood-inspired fashions in the margins of his...

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