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All kinds. Enamored of their mechanisms! Worked as an engineering
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Mods, it's here because it involves veterans on both sides of the the war.

In my working life I've had 2 basic careers. Law enforcement and mechanical engineering. After I left the Oceanographic business where I was an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) pilot and a senior manned submersible technician I accepted employment with a major hospital chain to operate and maintain a Hyperbaric Chamber system. We had many patients with various ailments mostly related to poor blood circulation for which breathing oxygen under pressure can instigate healing.

I met all kinds of folks, including the Marine I wrote about here on the forum who served in the Philippines, survived the Bataan Death march, did slave labor in in a steel factory in Japan, remained in the Marines only to be captured again by the North Koreans! What a man!

This one day a hyperbaric patient came in who was a slight, smaller guy, a Kaiser mustache, and a heavy German accent.

On his first treatment (or 'dive' as we called it) he was checking out all the valves, gauges, hoses, and exposed plumbing. "I've been in one of these before!" he stated. Over the course of 30 days of treatments (90 minutes a day) I was treated to his story:

"I grew up in Hungary to parents who were converted to the Baptist faith by American missionaries long before the war. When the war began the Germans were in great need of labor and recruited many foreign workers. I worked in a machine manufacturing plant and all was well. Those were the 'Happy Days' when they were winning the war. I was able to send money home to my family and live a good life - until the war began to go against them."

"The Germans began conscripting foreign workers into the military and would not let us leave the country. I loved to cook and soon learned the best food in the armed forces was in the U-Boats. I quickly enlisted as a volunteer before I got volunteered!"

"I was accepted into the Kriegsmarine and was sent to U-Boat training. They put us into a chamber that looked like this. It was at the base of a mountain stream with an adjoining tower. We were being tested for ability to tolerate fast pressure changes, claustrophobia, swimming, and mental stability. The chamber was connected to a 33 meter high tower that drew water from a freezing stream to flood the tower and trap us in the air pocket of the chamber. We were then going to ascend to the surface wearing a breathing mask. One of the recruits started having a mental breakdown, the water was drained, the hatch opened, and armed soldiers dragged him out. We looked at each other and nodded , "Russian Front!"

"The rest of us made it through training were assigned a boat. Because I was a good cook, and mechanic I was assigned the double duty but mostly cooked and routine chores and maintenance. The U-boat was sent to the Mediterranean but by the time we got there the Allies had almost total control and we were ordered not to risk the boat, but to hide it as much as possible".

"We commandeered a Greek villa among the the rocky coastline and was able to tie up in a concealed manner."

"Life was grand, we laid out in the sun, food was plentiful, swimming in the warm sea, and did virtually nothing" After a few months word was sent to us to scuttle the sub and make our way back to Germany". The boat was scuttled and our journey began. On foot, truck, and by train, we made our way back to Germany".

"Things had drastically changed, I was assigned to work on newly built U-Boats in the Kiel Shipyard which is now Poland. Almost every day a single English bomber would dive onto and often sink a U-Boat that was only days away from going into service. Someone was talking! I quickly learned on boats that were almost ready to go to be on the deck doing such things as final touch-up painting so as being able to dive in the water if an attack came."

"By then the Russians from the east were coming dangerously close to Kiel, the French, British, and Americans moving from the west. We were disbanded after scuttling all the U-Boats we could and attempted to make our way west. We DID not wish to captured by the Russians! Hiding out in culverts and drainage pipes when the Russians were near and working our way west for over 2 weeks"

"I ended up being captured by the British. When they learned I was not German, and a Baptist, I was set aside in a special internment camp. It was almost 2 years before the British were able to verify my story - It was the baptist faith I belonged to that triggered all the scrutiny. It just didn't sound plausible to them. I was able to emigrate to America where I was able to find work as a chef. I'm still a Baptist to this day"


Would this make a great movie or what?

As an epilogue, it should be noted that in both the US and German submarine forces suffered the most casualties. The Germans many times more than the Allies. German U-Boater suffered a staggering 75% death rate, 1 in 4 returned home from war.

AC
 

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All kinds. Enamored of their mechanisms! Worked as an engineering
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12,656 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Kingstrider, some of our most successful healings were with such patients. One in particular was a younger man who's radiation treatments essentially killed his jaw, causing him to loose all of his teeth. He was borderline suicidal from his current condition. After 30 visits in the chamber the blood circulation was restored to the jaw bone (which is already naturally deprived to a degree of blood flow) and he was able to have successful dental implants which changed his life.

I learned he was a toolmaker and he later did some very perfect custom work on one of my guns. He offered the job to me gratis, I felt compelled to pay him a fair price which he finally accepted.

I am blessed to have met such personalities and experienced so many wonderful things in life!

AC
 

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I've always been interested in these strange twists of fate in history, I remember looking up Charles Lightoller the officer who survived the Titanic sinking ,wondering what became of him and did he go on to live a long life. His own life is quite extraordinary with enough content to screen a couple of Movies although...well read for yourselves
 

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I was on a boar hunt. There was an older German man also in the lodge hunting with us. He told of during the war he was a 16 year old boy assigned to an anti aircraft gun protecting a village. Everyday at the exact same time an American plane would fly in and strafe the village. It always came from a different direction and he would not be able to get sighted in soon enough to hit it. One day he picked a direction the plane had not used in a while, he just started firing in that direction at the time the plane was expected. The pilot just happened to come in at that location and flew into the line of fire and was shot down. One of my buddies exclaimed "That was an American"! He replied "and I was a German".
 
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