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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Eastern Front Photos

These three new photo books contain an amazing amount of previously unseen images of German, Finnish and Soviet soldiers and equipment.

Bair Irincheev is the author of one Winter War photo book that I have already reviewed and one brand new book on the Winter War that I am still reading. Here follows a tripple review of three photo books from Irincheev released this fall.

The fall of 2011 means it is now 70 years since the Siege of Leningrad that lasted from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944. It is thus quite fitting that two of Bair Irincheev's new photo books deal with this siege.

Target Leningrad contains 120 previously unpublished photos that will be of great benefit for both battlefield tours of the area, modellers and those with a special interest in e.g. the 6th Panzer Division. One of the German officers featured is General Erich Hoepner, later executed for being part of the failed 1944 conspiracy against Hitler.

Although I have seen thousands of Eastern front photos before I must say that the scale of destruction in several of the photos in both Target Leningrad and Palaces Destroyed does not fail to make a lasting impression on me. The latter book is simply a must if you are going to tour the palaces around Saint Petersburg.

In a similar way, Finland Strikes Back is the book to bring on a trip to Vyborg. Aside from the combat itself this book shows many strong portraits of both Soviet and Finnish soldiers and Soviet AFVs.

To order these three photo books see this page. Last but not least, Bair Irincheev also offers specialized tours for military history buffs, check them out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Legend of Larry Thorne

Jussi Syren & The Groundbreakers 2008 performing "The Legend of Larry Thorne" in a Helsinki place called Texas.

Just found this song about a certain green beret from Finland that I wrote about some time ago. I welcome more info about the band.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Osama's Nordic Hunters

Getting closer to Osama bin Laden's last hometown, Abbottabad. Photo taken a couple of weeks ago by para/marine Bo Sunnefeldt. This gentleman, Ashgar, was Bo's guide.

My friend Bo Sunnefeldt was in Abbottabad for the first time in 2004, on holiday. He then noted in his diary that the place seemed natural for bin Laden to hide in. Bo has just returned from another visit there, but that is not the only Swedish connection to the end of OBL.

Osama bin Laden did not yet reside in Abbottabad when my friend made his note. Well, at least a pretty good prediction then. Some weeks ago, after some serious mountaineering in Pakistan, Bo thought he might try to examine OBLs former compound. Here are some photos from his trip.

Inside Abbottabad and rather obviously getting closer to the compound.

Alas, a couple of hundred meters from the goal, armed guards stopped Bo and his guide and rather harshly informed them that OBL-tourism is not yet allowed.

My globetrotting friend close to the spot where he had to turn around.

Coincidentally, I recently picked up a book that I now realize takes place ten years ago, Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton. This gripping book is about the fall of Taliban-held Mazar-i-Sharif, made possible by the combined forces of Afghan rebels, laser pointing Special Forces and the USAF. Here is video about the book:

In less than a month's time it will be exactly ten years since Mazar-i-Sharif fell, which since has become home for the main Swedish military contingent in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it was during the drive of the "horse soldiers" towards Mazar that John Walker Lindh, Osama's American volunteer, was captured.

Lindh I knew about and Swedish reporters have confirmed that his father is a Swedish American. But what really came as a surprise to me was to read in Horse Soldiers the name of one of John Walker Lindh's two original captors, CIA paramilitary officer Dave Olson. In other words the name strongly suggests that Lindh was captured by another Swedish American. Olson might possibly mean roots from another Nordic country than Sweden, but usually Danish and Norwegian surnames end with -sen, not -son.

There was at least one more Olson, Eric Thor Olson, who was very much part of the hunt for OBL. In his case not only the surname indicates Swedish or at least Nordic roots. Does someone out there know more about his roots?