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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Better Than Bond

Clip mentioning why there are so many cool skiing scenes in Bond movies.

The SOE, No. 30 Commando and various other British James Bond-type units of World War II, where did they all come from? How did they get highly experienced people? A new book by Linda Parker provides more than a few clues.

The origin of the multitude of British special forces and commando units of WWII has been explained by the defeats that Britain experienced in 1939-40. The defeats made the British so desperate that they were willing to try anything new. Well, that explains how the units were allowed to start operating, but not how the units so quickly could be filled with men highly experienced in truly extreme navigation and survival.

Linda Parker has now written the book that provides the answer, and also is a very entertaining read. The title is Ice, Steel and Fire and it lets you follow several amazing British explorers from the most exciting expeditions imagineable to their very active participation in WWII special operations. Personally, Peter Fleming is my favourite, but not just because it turns out he is at least as exciting as his brother Ian of James Bond fame. Of course, Peter Fleming´s first WWII mission was special reconnaissance in Norway...

Sweden too, of course, is part of the book - in the form of two of the main characters. George Binney, the author of With Seaplane and Sledge in the Arctic (1925), during WWII became a blockade buster to procure Swedish ball bearings for Britain. From having been a record-breaking Greenland explorer and an assistant military attaché in Sweden, Andrew Croft did daring naval special operations work for SOE in the Med, i.a. with captured Italian MAS boats.

If you like Indian Jones-style explorers, British special forces and want to know why Bond movies have so many cool skiing scenes, then Ice, Steel and Fire is for you.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Did Obama Sleep In Patton's Stockholm Room?

The Patton that people know best vs. the real Patton.

President Barack Obama this morning woke up in the Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Swedish media have missed a historic aspect of this. The last time the Swedish capital had such a grand American visit the guest stayed in the same hotel, perhaps even in the same suite?

That time was 1945 and the guest was General George S. Patton and his room door in the Grand Hotel was guarded by a black soldier. President Obama has on several occasions mentioned that his grandfather "marched with Patton". The guard by the door was not Obama's grandfather though, I have checked this. Still, a rather nice irony that Patton and Obama stayed in the same hotel, perhaps even the same VIP-suite?

I have interviewed one of the Swedish officers that Patton met in Stockholm, and collected a number of articles about the visit and all of the best stuff is in my book Germans And Allies In Sweden which also deals with the forgotten US military bases in Sweden 1944-45 and many other previously secret and still largely unknown aspects of Swedish WWII history.

BTW I am fully aware that one serving US president has visited Sweden inbetween Patton's 1945 visit and Obama's ongoing visit. This was George W. Bush. But Bush visited Gothenburg, not Stockholm.