Reflections in Armor
I loved your article “Profiles in Cold Steel” (September/October 2014). I recognize the significance of Chrysler and Ford’s production in the Midwest, but would be remiss not to point out the contributions to the war effort of the small town of Berwick, Pennsylvania, and the American Car & Foundry Company. At its peak, ACF-Berwick employed 9,135 workers from 177 northeastern Pennsylvania municipalities, and produced 40 Stuart light tanks a day, along with mil lions of artillery shells, hundreds of rail cars, and other items. Every armored vehicle produced in the United States for World War II utilized at least some Berwick armor plate. One in every eight American-made armored vehicles was built at ACF-Berwick. Hitler even selected the ACF as one of 19 targets for his “Amerika Bomber” program.
George G. Conyngham Jr.
Greatly enjoyed the article. After reading I could not help rethinking the huge dis parity in cost of American to German tanks. But could we take this cost analysis and place it today on the F-35? Amuse us for a moment. So what if it may be the best fighter? If 1,000 F-16-type aircraft, relatively cheap to make in comparison, face 300 F-35 fighters, will not the F-35 just run out of weapons and be over whelmed? What about the Israeli Iron Dome system? Isn’t its cost many times more than that of the system it is publicly seen as defeating? Does not the cost of a system at some point overwhelm the country making it? Does the country with cheaper systems ultimately win?
Mickey, Front and Center
The article “Showtime on the Front Line” rang a bell loud and clear. Mickey Rooney came to visit us while the 30th Division was in reserve—I think near Warden, Germany. The impressive thing about his visit is that he did his own setup, carrying the large P.A. system from his jeep to the clearing in the field. I believe one man accompanied him to operate the sound equipment and one man drove his jeep. A few years ago, I wrote to Mickey to tell him how much we GIs enjoyed his time and effort.
Basking Ridge, N.J.
Schooled by a Sansei
I am a Japanese American (and proud of it) and my family was interned during World War II at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, located near Cody, Wyoming. Heart Mountain had 10,000 people and was the third largest community in Wyoming.
I really enjoyed reading “The Curious Case of the Turncoat Navigator” (September/October 2014), although some things need to be made clearer. Nisei is the first generation born in the United States. They are the children of Issei who came to the United States from Japan. The Issei until 1952 could not become an American citizen or own property in California. To get around the law, Issei bought property under the name of the Nisei. Kebei was born in America, and went to Japan for their education. During World War II many Kebeis were attached to American forces in the Pacific to make use of their knowledge of Japanese.
I am a Sansei, which is the third generation. I am 77 now, and was 5 when we were interned.
A Haunting Dispatch
The war diary entry written by Lieutenant Commander Johann Mohr aboard U-124 (“Translator Brings U-Boat War Diaries to Life,” WWII Today, September/October 2014), was the same date U-124 sank my dad’s ship, the SS Naeco, in a March 1942 night attack of the North Carolina coast. The ship exploded, killing my father, Captain Emil H. Engelbrecht, and two thirds of his officers and crew. My three brothers and I also served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. I might mention my older brother, Captain Joseph Engelbrecht, was the youngest captain in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II.
George E. Engelbrecht
A small clarification might be in order for your September/October 2014 Ask WWII column. The answer stated that “it would have taken too much time” to produce another bomb after Nagasaki. In fact, a second “Fat Man”—the implosion type plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki—was going to be available by August 24, 1945. On August 10, General Leslie Groves, commanding general of the Manhattan Project, sent General George C. Marshall a memo informing him about the August 24 bomb. General Marshall replied that same day with the order that the second Fat Man was not to be released “without express authority from the President.”
Dachau Gas Chambers?
I read the article “Finding Humor in Hell” (Conversation, September/October 2014). Peter Jorgensen said there was a gas chamber at Dachau. I was born in Munich in 1939 and as school kids we traveled to Dachau on a field trip and were shown the gas chamber. Now, a sign at the camp says it’s been proven that there was no gas chamber and that no one was gassed at the camp. I hope you correct this error.
Henry von Seyfried
Editor’s note: Dachau did have a gas chamber, although according to Megan Lewis, a reference librarian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, it was not used for mass killing. Statements made immediately postwar by U.S. Army investigators indicated that medical doctors were experimenting with test gassing inside the building, which was attached to working crematoria.
Originally published in the February 2015 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.