Author Topic: Cold War Memories  (Read 26989 times)

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Offline Technoviking

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Cold War Memories
« on: September 26, 2010, 18:51:55 »
Over 20 years ago, the Wall fell, and very quickly, our world changed.  It went from an armed camp in Europe where ethnic divisions were suppressed to one where those divisions rose to civil unrest and war. 
How do you remember the Cold War?  Many of our newest soldiers have no living memory of that time, yet many of our more senior members do.  What are your stories?

Here's my first taste of the Cold War as I remember it.  It was 1971, and I remember the year because I was in Kingergarten.  I was living in Belleville, Ontario, and there was an air raid siren around the corner from our house.  It malfunctioned quite often, in that it would sound for no reason.  I had no clue what it really meant, but when it went off, and especially if we were playing guns, then we would often jump in the ditched to avoid getting strafed by the enemy fighters that we assumed were mere moments away from hitting us.  I mean, they were coming after us individually, no?  Anyway, years later, my mother would confide in me that every time that thing went off, her heart skipped a beat and she felt as though she were punched in the stomach.


Later, in 1982, I had just arrived in Seelbach, Germany, as a 15 year old exchange student.  One lazy August afternoon, as I was listening to CFRN Lahr, the music stopped and there were announcements in English, French and Germany, announcing a "Snowball Alert".  I didn't really know what it meant, but I did hear them recalling all CF members to duty.  I shrugged my shoulders and went on reading.  Minutes later, I heard the very distinct warbling of an Air Raid Siren.  I think I felt that same nausea that my mother had once described to me.  First, the local CF members were recalled, and now there was that sound.  Combine this with the constant (and distinctive) whine of the CF 104s flying over head, well, I expected some Soviet Bombers to be heading our way.  I went downstairs to the living area, and my host family was sitting there, calmly reading, doing dishes, etc.  They asked me what the problem was, noting the fear in my face.  "Oh, that's just the call for the volunteer fire brigade.  When Herr Himmelsbach next door heads out, then you know it's not a drill, and he just left."  I asked about the snowball alert, and they smiled and said that they happened quite often.  Much relieved, I headed back to my room, confident that the Soviet Air Force had elected to remain within the confines of the Czechoslovakian Soviet Socialist Republic....for now.
So, there I was....

Offline Not a Sig Op

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2010, 18:58:13 »
I was 7 when the soviet union collapsed, though I still remember soviet trawlers in port, particularly shortly before the collapse, as they were selling everything not nailed on, followed by everything they could pry loose...
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2010, 19:23:54 »
...
"Oh, that's just the call for the volunteer fire brigade.  When Herr Himmelsbach next door heads out, then you know it's not a drill, and he just left."  ...

Herr Himmelsbach, as in The Herr Himmelsbach who worked in the Lahr Caserne?? Old German War Vet with severly ruined feet and legs from his days occupying Russia?? If so, he worked with my mom. We used to visit his place once a month circa 78-83 bringing he and his family real butter (it was rationned) out of the LX. His wife made the most awesome jagerschnitzel. I still use her spaetzle recipe to this day. Their daughter's name was also Veronika. If so, small world.

"Snowball, snowball, snowball - all Canadian Armed Forces personnel are to report to their place of duty immediately. Repeat: Snowball, snowball, snowball ..." the loudspeaker in our area (Langenwinkle) was mounted on our building ... right above MY bedroom window.  :-\
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Offline NavyShooter

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2010, 19:34:35 »
I'm just a bit too late to remember the Cold War.  I passed through grade 13 in 1992, and off to Cornwallis that fall.

That said, everyone I worked with in those early years was very used to the Bear Menace. 

I remember there being an air-raid siren by the sports field across the street from my parent's house.  It never went off, it was Ottawa....heaven forbid you disrupt the serenity there.

Though, I do recall one day seeing something really really cool.  Two or three Hercs flew by, South of Ottawa, West of the airport (Nepean area-ish) and spit out a big pile of paratroopers.  I stood in awe. 

I'm not a cold warrior, alas. 

NS
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2010, 19:44:08 »
Herr Himmelsbach, as in The Herr Himmelsbach who worked in the Lahr Caserne?? Old German War Vet with severly ruined feet and legs from his days occupying Russia?? If so, he worked with my mom. We used to visit his place once a month circa 78-83 bringing he and his family real butter (it was rationned) out of the LX. His wife made the most awesome jagerschnitzel. I still use her spaetzle recipe to this day. Their daughter's name was also Veronika. If so, small world.

"Snowball, snowball, snowball - all Canadian Armed Forces personnel are to report to their place of duty immediately. Repeat: Snowball, snowball, snowball ..." the loudspeaker in our area (Langenwinkle) was mounted on our building ... right above MY bedroom window.  :-\
Actually, in Seelbach, Himmelsbach was one of three or four family names that made up the phone book, but this guy was too young to be a WW2 Vet.

But, if you have a Spätlze recipe from a German from Lahr.......next time I'm near Kingston, I'm hitting you up for some.  I haven't had real Spätzle in YEARS.  I have had that "Spazzel" (as they mis-pronounce it here), but it's nothing like the real deal.


EDIT TO ADD: "Spätzle" is pronounced "Shpetzlee"  ;D
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 19:53:47 by Technoviking »
So, there I was....

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2010, 19:48:54 »
One of the German butchers (the one with all the daughters) at the Fredericton Farmers Market runs a German chalet style restaurant outside of Sussex.  You need to get directions as it is out in the back roads.  Was there once and it was excellent.  Then there is also that restaurant outside Woodstock, but you really have to book in advance to eat there (very popular with cross border visitors).
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Offline mariomike

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2010, 19:52:43 »
When we worked for Commissioner ( Mr. ) Pollard ( he was a retired CDN army colonel ) they used to send us to  one of the four stations in Metro ( always around 0400 hrs ) that housed the Casualty Collection Units CCU's. They were portable hospital tents and morgues, each loaded into a truck. All we had to do was check that they were secure, do a vehicle inspection, and then drive a circuit ( 401-DVP-Gardiner-427 ) just to give them a run. So the engines did not seize up. Your partner followed in the ambulance. Park it and wash it.
In 1976 Federal funding for Metro Emergency Measures Organisation stopped. No more EMO. The CCU's disappeared. I guess they figured there would not be enough survivors to drive them?
That is about all I had to do for the Cold War.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 20:05:01 by mariomike »
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Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2010, 19:53:45 »
...
But, if you have a Spätlze recipe from a German from Lahr.......next time I'm near Kingston, I'm hitting you up for some.  I haven't had real Spätzle in YEARS.  I have had that "Spazzel" (as they mis-pronounce it here), but it's nothing like the real deal.

Done.

Zigeuner-Schnitzel, spaetzle and wurst salad. With beer.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm
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Offline 54/102 CEF

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 19:53:51 »
1960s - teacher crying during the Cuban Missile Crisis

1973 - Glorious 5 month callout with 4 Fd Sqn Lahr - much field time - much convoy time - who are those guys in Maroon Beret's? (3 Mech Cdo) - paper thin NBC suits - track vibration still rings in my ears - Napalm drops in Hohenfels, live Mine trg against old French tank targets - bridging like the last man out of Stalingrad - 104 engines (what the F is that?) warming up - bugs in the barracks near the MP/Fd Amb unit - Canex Rum Ration

Mid 80s - Umpires coming back saying 4 Bde had gone to the dogs
You can visit me when I retire to the Island of Sayonara - but if the tide goes out - you go too - OK?

Offline Kat Stevens

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 19:57:40 »
Mid 80s - Umpires coming back saying 4 Bde had gone to the dogs

They would have been wrong.
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 19:57:49 »
One of the German butchers (the one with all the daughters) at the Fredericton Farmers Market runs a German chalet style restaurant outside of Sussex.  You need to get directions as it is out in the back roads. ...

Have eaten there many times; delicious!!  Gasthof Old Bavarian.  Edited to add: Knightsville Road outside of Sussex.

The one in Woodstock is Heino's.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 20:03:13 by ArmyVern »
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Offline recceguy

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 20:01:38 »
I was on Centurions in 72-75. Everytime the alert went, it was real until we got stood down. We never knew. My wife had emergency cash, had her passport, and the town I lived in was 60 km from Basel, Switzerland. The Base was north, Basel was south. If I didn't come home for three days and there was panic in the streets, she knew which direction to head in.

For all the Snowballs I went through, there never seemed to be any direction for our families. If it had ever been real, we likely weren't coming back, but no one seemed to consider what our loved ones were supposed to do. There never was any direction on that, that we were aware of. My suggestion to her was to wait it out for a couple of days, head for Switzerland with our landlord, and get a flight home.
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2010, 20:02:29 »
CFRN was my “Alarm Clock”.  They would usually end their broadcast day at around midnight and then the white noise would put me to sleep.  At 0600 hrs they would come back on the air with the National Anthem and it was time to rise and shine and head into work.  If there was a Snowball at zero dark thirty, then the Snowball music and announcement would wake me up and it would be time to rush into work. 

Very few people had telephones at home in those days as the Germans charged by the second when the handset was taken off the hanger.   The yellow telephone box was used by everyone, or they would use the phones at work or the Sally Ann.  Now everyone has a "Handy".
 
We also had people assigned as “Alerters” who would go around knocking on doors to raise the Canadian soldiers.  I only had an Alerter wake me a couple of times and sign his register as I got in the habit of leaving the radio on at all times tuned to CFRN.  They actually had some very excellent DJs on some of their shows.

One lesson I did learn and never forget from a Snowball was not to assemble my .50 Cal M2 HMG in the Wpns Locker and then carry it out to the vehicle.  I did that only once.  Next time I either made two trips, or had someone else carry parts and then assemble and mount the wpn on the veh.

I wish that I had been awake enough to record that Snowball message and some of that Gawd awful Snowball music (A War of the Worlds thing).  I wonder if anyone has a recording of it?
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2010, 20:06:59 »
The one in Woodstock is Heino's.

Is that a name change?  It used to be John Gyles 



You're correct:

Just Googled it and it is John Gyles Motor Inn Ltd.: Heino's German Restaurant~ Woodstock
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Offline Northalbertan

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2010, 20:12:47 »
Would love that spatzle recipe and if you could throw one in for the jaegershnitzel?
Attention all personel. Attention all personel.  Snowball, Snowball, snowball.
I remember it well.  Our Regimental Assembly Area was infested with these little white spiders, poisonous little things.
Somedays it got so bad you had to fix bayonets and run through the trees waving your rifle in front of your face to clear the spider webs.
We'd move out for three days and the yankee airforce would move in.
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Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2010, 20:13:45 »
...
We also had people assigned as “Alerters” who would go around knocking on doors to raise the Canadian soldiers.  I only had an Alerter wake me a couple of times and sign his register as I got in the habit of leaving the radio on at all times tuned to CFRN.  They actually had some very excellent DJs on some of their shows.
...
I wish that I had been awake enough to record that Snowball message and some of that Gawd awful Snowball music (A War of the Worlds thing).  I wonder if anyone has a recording of it?

Derek Quinn. Radio personality extraordinaire from my youth there; And, great friends of my mother and father. I used to love visiting his house - or he ours -- especially New Years Eve & you just knew there'd be awesome music happening. I last saw him a couple years after he & his wife (BJ) attended my wedding, but if anyone I know has a copy of that Snowball Alert ... it would be him.

I see (by googling) that he's now a big-wig at RCI and an international diplomacy consultant. Perhaps, I'll send him an email to reaquint & see if he still has all those old reel to reel recordings we used to have a blast with.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 20:21:57 by ArmyVern »
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Offline Jammer

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2010, 20:22:36 »
I spent my formative years in Lahr (74-78).  I remember Dad going into work at some ridiculous hour when we lived in a small town called Dorlinbach, and then seeing masses of vehicles (and my dad) rolling through several hours later. I always looked forward to getting that cool Tonka Toy every time he came home, usually seven weeks later.
When we moved into Lahr we always went into the Sally Ann downtown, and the Globe theater afterwards. Sundays was usually a trip to the Rod and Gun Club...dad so he could have a few beers...me so I could hang out near the runway.
I miss those days, especially the school trips that would take us all over Europe and going to Europapark!
What could possibly go wrong?

Offline OldTanker

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2010, 20:27:23 »
First Cold War memory? Air raid (?) drills in First Avenue School in Ottawa, circa 1960. Going into the basement and sitting on the floor. I'm not quite sure what that was supposed to do but we did it anyways. And lots more memories over the years.

Offline Northern Ranger

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2010, 20:43:07 »
Lahr 1987- 1992  1 RCHA.  Best part part of my time in the forces.  Challenging exercises, great friends, great parties and I must say that the high calibre of  Snr NCO's and their leadership style had a great impact on me, and the way they treated me is the way I have tried to treat any of my subordinates.

I like to think of the cold war as the war that ,    we knew who the enemy was, we knew that they would come, but they never did.

Like I said best 5 years of my time with the CF, and the only war I was part of that we won :cdn:

Offline Spanky

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2010, 20:56:44 »
Was in Lahr in '78 as a part of a fly-over troop attached to the RCD.  After seeing bases in Canada with nice white buildings with green trim etc, and flying into Lahr with the dull green buildings, bunkers, wire etc was sobering.... but only until we hit Gasthof Greif.
 

Wurst Salad!  That was awesome.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2010, 21:01:45 »
Army Group sized Exercises that covered all of Germany.  Driving tanks up the autobahn in the middle of the night.  Parking in people's driveways and camming up.  OPs in barns and towers.   Having a "real" enemy.  Tank Trains.  Convoys on the Autobahn.  Fast Air skimming the treetops.  A-10s circling like vultures.  Americans having no Voice Discipline on their Nets. 
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2010, 21:02:59 »
Was in Lahr in '78 as a part of a fly-over troop attached to the RCD.  After seeing bases in Canada with nice white buildings with green trim etc, and flying into Lahr with the dull green buildings, bunkers, wire etc was sobering....
Funny you mention that.  I noticed that too when I first flew into Lahr in August, 1982.
So, there I was....

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2010, 21:04:53 »
Funny you mention that.  I noticed that too when I first flew into Lahr in August, 1982.

Around 1994, some brainiac in the Coriano Club Mess Committee had the main lounge painted in that colour of green..........Brought back memories..........Flashbacks.   Not exactly the best colour for the Mess though.
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Offline wildman0101

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2010, 21:45:25 »
Snowball,Snowball,Snowball. You treated it as actual. Considering we had the Warsaw pact
sitting right in front of us. Poland,Checslovakia,Hugary,Romania,Comunist East Germany,
Sheesh,,,, then if we survived that onslaught, F/n Russian troop's coming right on thier
heel's,,,,,,I remember waking to a call of nature one morning 0200 hrs dark-time and
heard Snowball,,Snowball,Snowball.... And my heart jumping up my throat. Then again
Scoty B
P.S. The first thing Sgt Cheeseman taught me,,,
Allways be prepared for the un-exspected .
Because if you dont your dead.
Jim was a proud member of the Fort Garry Horse. and he knew his S@@@!
scoty b (aka the brat)
so my sister say's
she would know as she
pointed out ,,,, quote
my lil brother is one bad "mo-fo"
dont f*** with him you'll just get hurt.

Offline Occam

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Re: Cold War Memories
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2010, 21:55:35 »
But, if you have a Spätlze recipe from a German from Lahr.......next time I'm near Kingston, I'm hitting you up for some.  I haven't had real Spätzle in YEARS.  I have had that "Spazzel" (as they mis-pronounce it here), but it's nothing like the real deal.


EDIT TO ADD: "Spätzle" is pronounced "Shpetzlee"  ;D

I worked at a German restaurant during my teen years, and spent my Saturday afternoons making spätzle (pronounced "shpetzluh" by the owner) for the week.  If you want the recipe, here you go:

5 flats of eggs
~16 cups of flour (adjust for texture)
1/4 cup salt (to taste)

Mix all ingredients and knead by hand until thoroughly mixed.  Put dough through a spätzle press into boiling water.  Skim off spatzle when it floats to surface.  Drain and serve.

Sorry about the quantity....it's the only batch size I ever made.   ;D

It's really good exercise for the pecs, although you'd never know it by looking at me now...