From: West Yorkshire, England
I never got to to know my grandpa as he was KIA in march 1945, but my uncle was not bitter in his war tales. What I got told about winter combat in Russia sounded like a big adventure he had to endure and fortunately survived. Maybe the distance of 30 years tinted his memories and made it easier to speak about those things.
Anyway, I'm fully aware that I sometimes tend to idealize stuff. But then again, nobody get harmed by playing games and maybe the war generation would have been happy to see, that their grandsons get along together and rather take conflicts to a virtual level. God forbid that we ever have to experience another european tragedy.
How much do you think the experiences of your grandfather and uncle influenced your interest in history and wargaming? For me, the answer to that would be probably a great deal, but I'd never really considered it properly until this thread.
I think we can all be guilty of idealising things like this. I tend to see the romantic side of this history sometimes, which is both good and bad. You know, everyone pulling together in the community, comradeship, heroism to help and often save your brothers in arms and so on. This is probably nothing like the reality, but even some of those who lived through the war describe it in this way.
Funnily enough, my great grandfather, who died when I was around 14, fought in both wars. He used to talk quite a bit about it, but I was too young to really appreciate or understand what it meant. His sister-in-law (my grandmother's sister) married a German ex-POW! He was in the Luftwaffe and was apparently shot down and captured by the English. He stayed over here after the war and married his English rose. Now, that's romantic! Sadly, he died a few weeks ago. I regret not seeing him for many years and not keeping in touch. I remember him as a very humble, gently spoken man with a dry wit.
2nd Lt. George Rice: Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.
Richard Winters: We're paratroopers, Lieutenant, we're supposed to be surrounded.