About Me

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Narvik Military History Bookstore Update

Now in central Narvik, lots of military history books. Both new and old.

Some really rare old books, in several languages, are now for sale in Narvik.

It is with great pleasure that I now can announce that my friend Trond Kristansen in Narvik has moved his military history bookshop to central Narvik, to Kongens gate number 22.

Of course, the bookstore has extra many books about WWII in Narvik and the north in general. Congratulations and best wishes from Arctic Sweden! All you have to do now, Trond, is make a short English summary on the shop´s website.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Swedish Afghanistan Type Mission In Iran

Uniform and memorabilia of the Swedish officers and NCOs who volunteered for Persia (Iran). PHOTO: Leif Nilsson/SMHA

Swedes at War begins with the Swedes who volunteered to form a gendarmerie in Persia (Iran). What started in 1911 as an Afghanistan type security assistance mission evolved, for the Persians, into the genesis of the Iranian Army.

Thousands of Persians were trained by the Swedes, partly with Swedish equipment, and led by Swedes in security operations. Not only the largest British and German papers in 1913 and early 1914 praised the Persia Swedes, even in China one could read that the Swedes had been successful. For several of the forty participating Swedes, service in Persian Gendarmerie uniform (see above photo) was a springboard to entering German, British and Finnish service. After the outbreak of WWI some of them entered German service in Persia and on other fronts. Quite a few went on to fight in other wars, a handful even during WWII. For example the Swedish Persia veteran Martin Ekström in 1919 took Narva from the Red Army and during WWII was a battalion commander in the Finnish Army.

Together with some other persons with a special interest in Persia I some years ago suggested that the Swedes who volunteered to create the Persian Gendarmerie should be part of the permanent exhibition of the Swedish Army Museum in Stockholm. Last week this display became reality and you may now there study several original items from the Swedes in Persia.

A complete uniform, orders, medals, maps and photos are now on display in Stockholm. PHOTO: Leif Nilsson/SMHA

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ghost Patrol Update

Soon printed: "Ghost Patrol" by Karl-Gunnar Norén and yours truly. The front features an original LRDG scorpion badge inside the Swedish title.

The back features a hitherto unpublished LRDG photo (more inside) and a colour photo of the 2012 LRDG tour in Egypt (more inside!).

Today I finished the rather tiresome but very important work of responding to questions from the editors of Ghost Patrol, Karl-Gunnar Norén´s and my coming book about the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) and its legacy.

Thank you Lena and Kajsa for all your work! I am very pleased and especially that the photos of the WWII wrecks still in the desert, taken just some months ago, will be printed in colour. Thank you Mikael at Yours for the superb cover! I always want to work with you when it comes to covers. Right now I feel quite elated because all that is left now for me to do is to check the complete book just before the first edition is printed, which will happen in not that many days time.

Feeling good and thank God its Friday! (have to find that old disco song...)

Yes, there is some interest abroad among publishers. But too early to say more.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Unique Red Army Diorama?

Yes, the Red Army infantrymen are placed in an ordinary drinking glass.

Recently two friends presented me with a Russian-made 1/35 scale WWII diorama (or vignette) of a kind I have never seen anywhere before. The idea is so simple, yet...

During my teens I was an active modeller and took part in some national competitions. Once I won a prize. I haven't done any serious modelling since then, but have recently done some simpler kits with our son, and found great joy in so doing. Sometimes I pick up modelling magazines, and when in Stockholm I at times check out hobby stores, to see finished kits on display and see whats new. I do not have to buy anything as I have lots of unbuilt kits. So, I kind of have an idea of what is going on in the modelling world, yet I have never before seen anything like this glass:

Note the barbed wire, very fine stuff. I reckon the soldiers are modified Zvezda figures.

Note the helmet straps and telogreika winter jacket on the closest man.

Unfortunately, my friends who gave me the glass do not know who made it, as they are not even sure who gave it to them. They were presented with a lot of stuff on their recent trip to Russia, by a lot of different people. Someone gave them this glass without showing it, it was covered.

In Sweden, giving away presents is a serious matter. In Russia people just love to give away stuff even to people they have just met. I have experienced this myself. The Russians are truly generous hosts, I dare say.

Well, have you ever seen a diorama (or vignette) like this before? If so, where?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BIG, Really BIG Models in Sweden

Yours truly in wooden Swedish-made Mark V in Sangis, Sweden. I reckon the scale is something like 1:1,5. PHOTO: Mikael Norman

I recently wrote about the British Mark V that has been magnificently restored in Arkhangelsk, Russia. Well, it is not the only British WWI tank in the Arctic if one takes into account this wooden model standing right beside the E4 highway in Sangis in northernmost Sweden.

Yes, the doors open so one can go inside.

This Bf 109-inspired model scale ca 1:3 is beside the tank.

The German fighter is in a dogfight with this Spitfire-inspired aircraft.

Sangis is a small village between Luleå and Haparanda. Beside the models there is a military surplus store that at least has had some WWII items. I understand that the models are unique and made by one and the same person, a friend of the owner of the surplus store.

Since I wrote this in 2012 some additional large scale models have been added like a wooden Jeep and a UFO.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Arctic WWI Tank Restored in Russia

Captured British tanks were even on Red Square in Moscow, as this amazing clip from Russian TV shows.

In Swedes at War there is a page about Swedish volunteers in the Russian Civil War working in close cooperation with British tanks. One of those tanks is still around, in Arkhangelsk. It was recently restored and there is now even a book about it.

The tank in question, now even has a very detailed Wikipedia-page. The above clip from Russian TV describes the restoration process and also has some amazing footage from the Russian Civil War era.

As you can see from the Wikipedia page the tank is now inside a protective structure. When I visited tank Mk V No. 9303 some years ago it was out in the open. Still, it was not in a poor state, not at all. So, I was quite surprised by the thorough restoration, which must have been costly.

I was also pleasantly surprised the other day when a friend lent me this book about this particular tank:
It contains a great deal of photographs, so that even if you do not read Russian, I reckon you will find it quite amazing. However, I do not know how you might order this book from outside Russia. Well, there are many good reasons to visit Arkhangelsk. Now there is one more.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Luftwaffe vs RAF in Norway 1940

"Into the White" seems like a really well-made movie about Norway in 1940.

Hm, when will this one be shown in Sweden? Will it ever get to our cinemas or must we wait for the DVD?

UPDATE 12/10: It was released on DVD in Sweden one month ago.