Reto.Gargamel

Reto
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About Reto.Gargamel

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  1. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    [English translation:] You, who resist At least do not seek cover! That is not a sign of great courage Go bravely into the bloodshed And fall in battle If you truly are a hero!
  2. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Headbanging myself to the hospital because of this insane chiptune metal:
  3. Reto.Gargamel

    My grandfather's infantry unit

    I called my parents last night, and much to my joy, my dad remembered some more details about my grandfather's life on the front! Literacy As I mentioned in the original post, Nonno (that's "Granddad" in Italian) was lucky enough that he knew how to read and write. Many of his fellow Calabrians were illiterate, coming from one of the poorest regions in Italy. You have to keep in mind that Italian soldiers in North Africa couldn't simply phone their families. Writing was their main lifeline to their loved ones. One of the men in Nonno's unit requested his help to read the letters he received from his girlfriend — and of course also needed him to write the replies. You can imagine how weird it must have felt to write passionate letters for someone else. It got to the point where my grandfather told the guy, "Listen dude, this is getting awkward. How about I show you how to read and write instead?" There's not much to do to kill time in the desert, so Nonno gradually taught his comrade, until one day he could read and write on his own. The man was crying for joy. Now he could write his own "sexts"! 😄 Off-course After marching an entire day, following what they assumed to be the tracks left in the sand by friendly troops preceding them, my grandfather's unit began stumbling upon pieces of their own discarded equipment and trash. Yup, the old classic where you think you're following a straight line in the desert, but in reality, your path is ever-so-slightly curving to one side, and you end up where you started, exhausted and thirsty. It's not just in movies. Fortunately some Germans eventually drove by in a Kübelwagen and said something like, "Need a lift? Stay here, we'll send a truck to pick you up". El Alamein When I told my father how I singled out the unit to which Nonno must have belonged, I asked "He was in El Alamein, right? So he must have been on the receiving end of an artillery barrage that lasted an entire night?" To which my father replied, "Three! Three days and three nights, uninterrupted! The noise of guns never paused for a second. Nonno wept and trembled every time he told the story." So yeah, definitely PTSD. When the Axis front collapsed, 27th Division "Brescia" escaped encirclement and began retreating. But as my grandfather and his men were pulling out, a heavy artillery shell landed frightfully close to their position, heaving tons of sand into the air. Instead of being killed on impact, they suddenly found themselves buried alive, desperately clawing their way out from under a dune that wasn't there ten seconds earlier. When they emerged, the first thing they saw was British rifles pointed at them. Captivity Nonno was an NCO (he held the rank of caporale) which meant that the British did not require him to perform manual labor. But again, because life in a POW camp is fantastically dull and monotonous, my grandfather insisted on being handed some task or other, to keep himself busy instead of just chain-smoking. He was assigned to a warehouse which stored mechanical parts, hardware, tools, etc. There he assisted a technical quartermaster by the name of Churchill (no relation to the Prime Minister) in keeping things neatly sorted and inventoried. The two soon became good friends, and when came the time to part ways, Churchill wanted my grandfather to have his leather wallet as a gift — empty, mind you. 😄 In fact, Nonno said that he was treated better as a prisoner of the British, than he had been as a soldier in the Italian infantry. And that's in no small part why I'm telling you this story in English and not Italian 😉. Happy holidays!
  4. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    I believe the phrase "so beautiful it hurts" applies here. 🖤
  5. Reto.Gargamel

    My grandfather's infantry unit

    Like many of you, I am interested in World War II because my grandfather saw combat. He didn't like to talk about it, however, and I didn't understand enough Italian to follow the stories he told when he was still alive. Except that one time, when my dad translated for me and I listened with great fascination. And yesterday, based on what I remembered, I found the unit in which he served. I do not have absolute confirmation, but all the details match. My grandfather Giuseppe was captured by the British at the Battle of El Alamein. Like other conscripts from Calabria (the toe of the boot), he would have been drafted in the 27th Infantry Division "Brescia". I remember him telling that this "motorized infantry" division only had trucks for the equipment: the men had to walk all the way through Lybia and Egypt. The linked article confirms this: "The Brescia was classified as an auto-transportable division, meaning staff and equipment could be transported on cars and trucks, although not simultaneously." This was symptomatic of the Italian Army's poor leadership and logistics. One memory that really upset my grandfather was that a man carrying a mail bag, with letters to the soldiers' families, eventually got tired of hauling it... so he cut a hole at the bottom to "lighten the load", and at some point the others started finding their letters in the sand. I can't imagine how they must have felt, considering their already low morale. Division "Brescia" fought alongside Rommel's Afrika Korps. I don't know if Giuseppe ever got to see Rommel in the flesh, but it's not entirely impossible. The better-supplied German troops would sometimes offer their surplus cigarettes and chocolate rations to their Italian brothers-in-arms. One time, while struggling to overcome the language barrier and ask for a cigarette, my grandfather noticed a "Rauchen verboten!" sign on a fuel truck, so he asked the Germans if they could spare a verboten. Close enough! Granddad was from a poor village, and only attended school until about the 6th grade, after which he tended flocks as a teenager. He knew just enough mathematics to calculate a parabola and aim a mortar or artillery gun, so that's what the army gave him to do. His unit faced British, Australian and New Zealand troops (maybe your grandfather was there?). He was not at all enthusiastic about going to a foreign land and making bolognese sauce out of complete strangers, and even less so when it started raining shells on his head for an entire night (Operation Lightfoot, I believe). The Italians fought bravely, but got the ever-living §@#$ smacked out of them. In fact, Giuseppe came out of the carnage doubting his Catholic faith and longing for a quiet life. After the war, he moved to Canada and worked in factories. I remember him as a wiry, taciturn old man, somberly smoking his eternal cigarettes among the tomato plants in his garden.
  6. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Laika says hi!
  7. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Check out how low Tatsu Mikami wears his bass guitar. And it doesn't seem to hinder his playing in the least!
  8. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Overdriven bass guitar through a Leslie speaker = sonic obesity.
  9. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Doesn't matter if it's folk, metal, pop or electro, Norwegians will make it sound huge and epic, like their landscapes. 🖤
  10. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    That riff at 4:05.
  11. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    That was my Saturday evening 🤘😎. Doom metal in a church: well worth the 8-hour bus ride! Var noen av dere også på konserten?
  12. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Infectious bassline. 😎
  13. Reto.Gargamel

    The music you're listening to - Post it here!

    Can't anyone spell "daemon" correctly? 😆