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From Our Home Page Archive:
Page as originally published in July 2015
— This Month —
A Signal Corps Sweetheart
Beauty AND Brains...
Signal Corps Successes
How Seven Signal OCS Graduates Built
The 103rd Infantry Division’s Signal Company – Part IV of IV –
Happy Fourth Of July! Now, Where Are The Firecrackers?!
- - - - -
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A Signal Corps Sweetheart
Beauty AND Brains...
Last month we
posted a story that looked at the kind of
women who follow men to war, ostensibly to bring
comfort to fighting men. The kind of women we
spoke of ran the gamut from those who used
physical intimacy to bring comfort to the
warriors they sought, to those who, having once
promised to take care of the heart of a soldier
they loved, then dumped him for some Jody down
the street. This month we carry the story
forward one more notch… and look at one
particular “Comfort Giver” who not only brought
solace to America’s soldiers during a time of
war, but also gave them the technological
breakthrough they needed to help them win that
war. The lady’s name was Hedy Lamarr, and when
God gave Hedy to the world he put both brains
and beauty in one package.
For those of you too young to remember Bob Hope
constantly lusting over her in his Road Show
films, Hedy Lamarr was one of the great movie
actresses of all time. So great was she, and so
renown her beauty, that she was once voted the
most beautiful woman in the world.
She was also
Born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, she
began her career in 1930, acting in both
Czechoslovakian and German films. Not a
shrinking violet, Hedy knew she had beauty as
well as brains. The first she used to advance
her acting career; the second she used to
finagle her way into business deals usually
closed to women of such rarified beauty.
Beauty wise, her fine, milk white complexion,
dark hair, blue eyes the size of dark still
pools of water on a starless night, lips that
pouted like a freshly picked plum, deep sultry
voice, and eyelashes that went on forever, drove
men mad. That, plus the fact that she played a
very hot, very nude, sex scene in a 1933 film
called Ecstasy… gave her the sexual vixen
notoriety she carried so well.
people presumed she had none… a view that would
be proven wrong when years later, in 1997, she
would receive the prized Gnass Spirit of
Achievement Bronze Award (the "Oscar" of
inventing), an award given to individuals whose
creative lifetime achievements in the arts,
sciences, business, or invention fields have
significantly contributed to society, or the
world at large.
It was her sex scene in the movie Ecstasy
first brought her to the world’s attention.
Consider the times… 1933… and consider the
woman… a tender girl of 18… one of the very
first actresses to play a nude scene in a
professional, big studio, full scale movie production … one in which she appeared
nude and then proceeded to simulate an orgasm.
The resulting notoriety was off the chart. Made
in Europe, when the movie was released producers
from all over the world scrambled to the
try to sign her.
Not surprisingly, Hollywood won
the race, and it wasn’t long before MGM brought
her back to America like a prized possession.
Once ensconced in Beverly Hills, the studio
changed her name to the more elegant "Hedy
Lamarr" and put her in a series of exotic
adventure epics. In 1938 she appeared in
Algiers, then came White
Cargo in 1942, and more after that. By far
her biggest success was in Cecil B. DeMille's
spectacular Samson and Delilah, which debuted in
and Delilah... is there a Baby Boomer alive today that
doesn’t remember seeing her in that movie—likely
as not sometime in the late 1950s? Do you not
remember feeling that strange stirring in the
pit of your stomach, as she floated across the
screen? That feeling that made you realize,
perhaps for the first time in your pubescent
life, that some women in the world seemed very, very different
from your mother?
Hedy Lamar, beautiful beyond measure… but, as we
alluded to earlier… beauty was not her strong
Signal Corps Successes
How Seven Signal OCS Graduates From Class 42-06 Built The
103rd Infantry Division’s Signal Company – Part IV of IV
The 103rd Signal Company,
the unit that supported the 103rd Infantry
Division in its fight across Europe during WWII,
was not a rarity for the times. Many, many
Signal Companies saw duty in Europe. What makes
the 103rd so unique is the fact that it
supported an entire Division, and that it was
formed from scratch to do so. Of interest to us
is that when it was formed the Officers assigned
to lead this unit came straight from Army Signal
OCS Class 42-06. They were fresh out of school,
wet behind the ears, and only Second
Lieutenants. Yet they were still tasked with the
awesome job of standing up a Signal Company able
to support a Division with well over 10,000 men
OCS Signal Officers built the 103rd Signal
Company, and in the process built a Company that
went on—with their leadership—to support their
infantrymen cousins through 34 battles. From the
very first day of their landing in France, until
the surrender of German forces on Victory in
Europe (V-E) Day, on 8 May 1945, the Officers
and men of the 103rd Signal Company stood the
test. This story follows their test, and this
article, Part IV in the series, brings their
crusade to defeat Germany to a close.
When, in our article last
month, we left the men
of the 103rd Signal Company it was early April,
1945, they had crossed into
Germany, and were beginning to sense that the
war was coming to a close. Not combat
engagements mind you, but the war. As far as
combat was concerned, with the Allies pressing
deeper and deeper into Germany, heading towards
Berlin, combat was intensifying… as the Germans
fought furiously to defend every inch of their
Seeing combat operations
becoming more intense as Hitler's army moved
from northern Germany south towards Austria, to
escape the enormous pressure being put on it by
the Allies' advances on Berlin, the men of the
103rd became keenly aware that their job was to
hold the line against any German effort to
consolidate forces for a counterattack, while at
the same time they slowly began to shift their
efforts from combat operations to occupation
In early April, however,
the distinction between combat operations and
the work of an occupying Army were not that
great. Both involved dealing with an enemy that
felt that it was not yet defeated, and a local
populace both tired of war, and tired of the new
threat the advancing American Army presented to
their nicely ordered life. Even so, for the men
of the 103rd Signal Company it was obvious that
a transition was taking place... they were
winning the war, and that meant doing double
duty... combat support on one hand, while
learning how to be an occupying army on the
It's at this point that we
pick up the movements of the 103rd Signal
Company, along the German/French border, where
mixed in amidst the panic of war were moments of
hilarity and relaxation too.
these was an event that took place while the
unit was occupying the Saar, Moselle and Rhine
Triangle. Working to lay wire in support of the
Infantry, one of the squads in the Company came
across a cave near Schifferstadt. As they poked
through it looking for hiding German soldiers,
they were astonished to find it contained tens
of thousands of bottles of French Champagne that
the Germans had taken from the French and
removed to their side of the border. Needless to
say, the men of the squad set about drinking a
few bottles, until the Lieutenant in charge of
the squad caught up with them. He promptly took
control of the situation, cordoned off the
bottles… but kindly allowed each of the several
squads working the area to police up three to
four bottles for themselves, before turning the
rest over to Headquarters.
One can only assume that
the men learned a lesson from this, the lesson
being that if you have to go to war you should
try to get into one where your enemy makes
liquor… beer, wine, vodka, scotch… anything will
Despite the respite, the 103rd Signal Company pressed on
into Germany. Most of the unit crossed the Rhine at a
bridgehead near Worms, after which they fanned out east and
southward along the eastern side of the Rhine. From there
progress was swift… radio crews report advancing with the
Infantry through Neustadt, Ludwigshafen, Darmstadt,
Aschaffenburg, Heidelberg, and Heilbron. In Heilbron
skirmishes held them up for a bit, until a message was sent
into town to the mayor. He was told to either surrender his
city or see it destroyed by artillery. The mayor quickly
surrendered, and Heilbron too was taken under Allied
This page last updated 1 July 2015. New
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above... or just click here.
Continued from left column...
Gonnersheim came next, then Geinsheim,
sitting high on a hazy mountain.
Hofsloch followed, a town painted to
look like a fairy tale city from
Germany’s ancient history. Down, out of
the mountains again and onto a flat
plain, the men next moved through
Iggleheim and finally Shifferstadt. There
they settled into occupation duties for
a while, in what was termed "J" Area.
Nearly untouched by the war that waged
around it, Shifferstadt was composed of
neat cobblestone streets with brightly
painted homes along its length. Along
with the 103rd Signal Company and their
Infantry companions, the town also
headquartered men from the 100th and
So rapid was the effort to push deep into Germany that many
times the men found themselves out in front of the 103rd
Infantry Division itself. In one instance a message center
team was sent into a town that had not yet been cleared of
Germans. Sergeant Reynolds led the team into town, via jeep.
As they rounded a corner they saw in front of them four
German soldiers fully armed, with another dozen or so
further down the road. Screeching to a halt, Sergeant
Reynolds ordered Private Erick, one of the Signaleers in the
squad, who just happened to be able to speak a little
German, to quickly order the Germans to drop their weapons
and surrender. Surprised at the arrival of the Americans,
the Germans actually did.
Erick then policed up their weapons and ordered the Germans
to jump onto the hood of the jeep. Working as a synchronized
team, Private Reuben, the jeep driver, quickly turned the
jeep around and the whole lot of them… Reuben, Reynolds and
Erick, plus the four Germans on the hood, roared out of town
like an overloaded clown car in a circus.
Amazingly, all of this happened before the Germans down the
street were able to react. As for the Germans on the hood,
embarrassed and angry that they had not made the slightest
attempt to fight back, as the jeep sped off, with rifle
muzzles now squarely in the middle of their backs, there was
not much they could do except hang on for dear life.
Levity aside, the unit moved out and pushed on the very next
day. The next town they came to was Offenbach, a very large
town which the men of the 103rd found littered with burned
and battered German tanks laying everywhere. Clearly,
Patton’s men had manhandled the Panzer division that had
been sent out to hold this town.
After Offenhach came another large residential town,
Barnsheim, followed by Hochstadt, Weingarten and Freisbach,
with its dome and pyramid steeple jutting up into the sky.
There the men found large sections of Nazi fortifications
scattered in the fields, with concrete and dirt trenches
stretching hundreds of yards in all directions, and dragon
teeth obstacles set about to stop the American tanks.
Happy Fourth Of July! Now, Where Are The Firecrackers?!
This being July, and the 4th being upon us, how can one not
think back with fondness of the first firecracker they ever
saw, held in their little hands, and set fire to?
warm summer days when uncles and aunts appeared, seemingly
from nowhere, picnic tables were set up outside, barbecue
fires lit, beer broken out for the adults, bottles of Nehi
and Coke for us kids, and cousins allowed to sleep over...
all of this and more was part of that wonderful, long summer
of unscripted enjoyment that only existed when we were kids.
Beyond the bounds of happiness, for many of us this first
taste of the youthful paradise of summer came when we were 5
or 6… at a time when we were still young and impressionable,
yet old enough to form lasting memories of the things we
For many of us, one of the things that wormed its way into
our memory had to do with those fascinating little things
called firecrackers. Today a thing of derision to be hidden
from anyone below school age, in our days learning how to
handle firecrackers while still in short pants represented
one of the passages of youth.
Originally invented in China, it is thought that as early as
200 B.C. the Chinese had figured out that if they roasted
freshly cut bamboo it would explode with a massive bang, as
the hollow air trapped inside its pockets expanded at
As time passed, the Chinese discovered that they could
improve on this little act of joy by mixing together
saltpeter (potassium nitrate, then a common food seasoning),
charcoal and sulfur… stuffing the concoction into a bamboo
shoot, and tossing the whole thing into the fire. The result
was an even bigger bang, one that created not just a louder
blast, but a shock wave of expanding force to boot.
And with this, firecrackers were born.
Considering that the Chinese invented paper, it didn’t take
long before they figured out the next step in the puzzle...
one of replacing their bamboo shoots with paper tubes, and
adding a small stick to the end of the thing so that they
could convert their little firecrackers into rockets...
which (with careful aim) could actually be shot at something
or someone... which, in turn, added to the excitement of the
can only imagine little crowds of gleeful, pigtailed Chinese
running around in silk gowns, laughing at Old Ming, who just
got hit in the eye with one of these wonderful little
By the 10th century the Chinese had developed crude bombs
out of their fireworks, and begun attaching firecrackers to
their arrows… which they then rained down on their
adversaries during military engagements. Not surprisingly,
the concept worked. Now, eleven-hundred years later, we have
explosives that can be fired into the air and guided toward
enemy targets… nothing more than a basic and rather
unimpressive improvement on China’s first firectrackers.
Yet impressive or unimpressive as the case may be,
improvements on China’s first fireworks continued down
through the ages, even up until today. Doubt us? Then
imagine how popular you would be in your neighborhood if
this Fourth of July you could pull out of your pocket one of
America’s new scalable, offensive hand grenades for the kids
to play with. Imagine passing it around, along with a bottle
of Nehi, or an RC Cola for that matter? Wow, now wouldn’t
you be the BMOC at your family picnic?!
What’s a scalable offensive hand grenade, you ask?
On one hand, you could say it's nothing more than a fancy
cherry bomb. On the other, well... let's just say that it's
a little more powerful.
The truth be told, it’s the product of
a program by U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) to
develop a grenade that allows the user to determine howmuch
explosive power each grenade will generate when it goes off.
In this case, the word scalable refers to grenades that can
have different amounts of their explosives removed
prior to their being used, in order to produce a different
level of blast.
If explosives are removed to the point that the device
contains only a minimal charge, then the device essentially
becomes a “flash-bang” grenade… something meant to disorient
the target rather than kill or injure them. If you think of
our Chinese friend, pigtailed Old Ming, if it weren’t for
him getting hit in the eye with the firecracker rocket aimed
at him, his experience when it went off next to his ear
would have been similar to that which a flash-bang device is
intended to create. Or better still, think of your son or
daughter and what they might experience if the frat party
they get drunk at over this Fourth of July holiday becomes
the target of a police raid. In such a case, with
flash-bangs going off left and right, drunken college
students puking on the floor, balconies falling off the side
of the building, and police in military style uniforms with
protective armor breaking down the door, the fun would be
almost too much to handle.
Oh the wonder of firecrackers!
What a marvelous thing the Chinese created for our
entertainment. And how clever we are to improve on their
design by making it scalable!
Seriously though... the beauty of America's new scalable
offensive hand grenades comes about because of the simple
way by which a user can control the increments of
explosive power the device offers. By simply
determining what explosive power is needed to do the job,
and adjusting the number of explosive segments/sections
accordingly, the user can
increase the potential lethality of the thing.
Generally used in configurations that allow up to three incremental levels
above the base level of explosive power, the device can be
fine tuned for use to cover a wide range of applications.
Want to get your neighbor’s attention by knocking all of the
apples off of that
damned apple tree that hangs over your side of the fence?
Use only one level of explosive power. Want to send him a
message to stay away from your high school daughter? Use two levels. Want to send him a
bigger message that says
stay away from your wife? Then use all three levels and blow up his
damned front porch.
Join 2, 3 and 4 word answers together
as one complete word.
answer key to this month's puzzle,
see icon at bottom of page
 In her first
scene… the very first time audiences saw her in the movie
Ecstasy… Hedy was running naked through a field. By her
second scene she was deep in the throes of a very animated
orgasm. The next time Hedy appeared on screen more than five
years had passed… she had a new name, spoke a new language
and had cultivated a new image. Yet the effect was the same;
just the sight of her was enough to stop America in its
tracks. As for her original film, Ecstasy, one exhibitor
tried to import it to the United States only to have it
declared “dangerously indecent”, after which it was
“uniformly banned”. The real reason for its being banned
however wasn’t because of the nudity in the film, but the
pleasure it suggested. Specifically, Hedy’s scenes revolved
around a young girl who, having abandoned her much older
husband, ran naked with happiness. While doing so she would
meet a new, much younger man who would bring her a new,
intense level of happiness… as evidenced by the orgasm
scene… for all to see. As far as the sensors were concerned,
these were not the kind of thoughts that movies should be
putting into the heads of America’s young women, and so the
film was banned. - To return to your place above,
 Her contract
with MGM was negotiated with her by Louis B. Mayer, while
she was enroute via first class ocean liner to the U.S. By
the end of the voyage they had agreed that she would be paid
a salary of $600 a week (about $3,000 today), provided that
she learned English. - To return to your place above,
 The very earliest grenades were
designed around the concept of removing explosive material
from the device if there was a need to change its
characteristics. By taking this approach, the device could
be sent into the field fully charged, allowing the user to
reduce its capacity where required but negating the need to
carry around a separate package of explosive material if a
higher charge was needed. Today's versions are based on a
method that involves "stacking" individual explosive
segments onto the base body, by simply screwing on the
number of additional units needed. - To return to your place above,
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