About Me

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swiss vs. Swedish Military History

A Swedish Saab Gripen in Switzerland during the 2011 Sion airshow.

Today it became known that 22 Swedish Saab Gripen multirole fighters will most likely join the Swiss Luftwaffe. The Swiss Army already operates Swedish combat vehicles. Thus the military of Sweden and Switzerland have come yet a bit closer and there is reason to look back at our somewhat similar military history.

Well, a short but fact-filled summary in English about Swiss military history in comparison to Sweden's is part of the last chapter of Swedes at War by yours truly and Lennart Westberg. As we write there, "There are several good reasons for casual observers to confuse Sweden with Switzerland."

In my opinion, not least because I spent four wonderful years of my youth in Switzerland, we Swedes really have a lot to learn from the Swiss Armed Forces. Thus I hope the new fighter deal will stimulate not only more trade between our countries but also an exchange of ideas about national defence and security policy.

I seem to recall that while I was living in the Swiss capital in 1978-82 there were thoughts about purchasing Saab Viggen. That did not come about then and I believe I even said some words about this on Swedish radio in 1981 or 1982, as a flight-interested Swedish kid living in Switzerland.

Well, congratulations I say, especially to all Swiss and Swedish readers of this blog.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nordic Band of Brothers

A tribute both to the Band of Brother-series and the Swedish and Finnish soldiers in Afghanistan.

No, I did not create this amazingly well-made tribute, I just found it. If anyone who took part in the making of this film reads this: please tell us how much time it took to make.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

WWII Japanese Flags in Sweden

I wonder if this sushi restaurant in Sweden raises an American or Chinese eyebrow?

I recently noticed the above pictured sushi restaurant in Piteå, up here in northernmost Sweden. As you can see it prominently displays the WWII flag of the Japanese Army and the almost identical flag of the Japanese Navy. I wonder if these could be used the same way in the US or China?

I only feel sure that the German equivalent, the Reichskriegsflagge, would not be possible to display in the same manner. In any country.

Please note that I know that the above Japanese Navy flag is not limited to WWII, it came back in use after the war and thus cannot be said to only symbolize Japan during WWII. However, the pictured Japanese Army flag, which is the top one, was used only until 1945.

Well, could a sushi restaurant in the US or China use these flags without attracting criticism?

Speaking about WWII Japan in Sweden I believe that until this year very little, if anything, has been written about the 1942 "Battle of Los Angeles", which was basically mass hysteria in action - only one enemy was real, a Japanese submarine. IMHO the first book in Swedish to describe this weird battle in detail is the anthology Kriget som aldrig kom ("The War That Never Came"), published this spring by the superb Naval Museum of Karlskrona. Some weeks ago another book appeared that mentions the "battle", simply entitled Swede. I recently blogged about it.

Speaking about the battle of LA I reckon most of you who are reading this post have seen the 1979 war movie "1941", which in spite of the wrong year is based on the hysterical 1942 events in LA. Well, even if you know that movie well I reckon you may not have seen this period teaser for the film:

Finally, just today, thanks to a friend in Slovenia (hat tip!) I found this stunning image (the bottom one) I had never seen before, of the Japanese officer who only surrendered in 1974, Hiroo Onoda. Evidently, he is still alive and is now 89 years old.

Monday, November 07, 2011

OSS NORSO in New Film

Trailer for "The Man Nobody Knew", a new film by Carl Colby, son of the featured William Colby.

A major documentary has been released about William Colby, the head of the CIA 1973-76, who during WWII commanded the OSS Norwegian Special Operations (NORSO) Group.

Colby and the NORSO Group are also in Swedes at War, as it had two Swedish and some Swedish American members and also operated on Swedish territory.

This weekend the new documentary has been highlighted by Norwegian TV2 as it contains several scenes about Colby's time as a OSS field commander on the Norwegian-Swedish border.

The production has a very informative website with e.g. more film excerpts.