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‘Shit End of the Stick’
Nazi SS versus Vietcong: The Deadliest Warrior 2-5


The anti-communist SS get a lot of evil billing from the caste and narrator, including an apology for not discussing ideology from the lead tester. I’m wondering if, five years later this episode could even have been made without a disclaimer and a lecture as to the relative goodness of the Viet Cong and the abject evil of the SS. The overall sense one gets from the editing job, discussion and voice over is that fascist fanatics killing American GIs is evil and that communist fanatics killing American GIs is morally good. This seems to be the only episode, thus far in the series, that got away from combat functionality and into morale judgment, if only in passing. I recall the term Evil being used often in this episode, but not in others, when, in essence, what many of these warrior types did historically is evil from an objective modern perspective. This does point to the dilemma built in to examining recent history and wars that retain narrative traction in popular media.

Jeff looked like he was going to puke over the punji sticks.

I like that the weapon selection for the Viet Cong was from the earlier portion of the war and that the SS selection was not as heavy as it could have been. They didn’t put in the MG-34 or 42, but used a lighter kit that would have been used for counter-partisan operations.

I also like the fact that the submachine gun shooting tests were done in the other party’s theater of war, with the SS trooper firing on a Viet Cong hooch and the VC shooter firing on a D-Day beach mock-up. The submachine is such a fascinating weapon to me as it was pretty much confined to the mid-20th century as a transitional small arm. The German machine pistol was fascinating and the mines simply disgusting. The landmine seems to me to be the signature of the machine age battlefield, which, in many ways has pushed the warrior away from the center-point of war to its fringe.

The entire episode stayed with firearms and explosives, which I am not qualified to comment on. This episode was fascinating and mildly informative.

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BDecember 18, 2016 4:58 PM UTC

>The overall sense one gets from the editing job, discussion and voice over is that fascist fanatics killing American GIs is evil and that communist fanatics killing American GIs is morally good.

Speaking of which, I recommend watching these interviews with Anthony Sutton:

https://youtu.be/j3vZNSAi-QM

https://youtu.be/L_YWFC1HY74

All three were, historically speaking, puppets.

The VC at least had the justification of fighting for their nation's land (albeit to impose a system that most of their countrymen were not in favor of.)

The GI at least had the justification that the people they were fighting were objectively serving pure evil.

The SS guys had started out as scum, getting assigned jobs that the Wehrmacht could not be trusted to do. The 1st SS Cavalry Division, for instance, would report things like "eliminated 10,000 partisans, captured 60 weapons" in the summer of 1941. Due to their cruelty and their bosses' incompetence (and cruelty, of course), they got the chance to actually defend their Fatherland from Communist invaders, years later.

>The submachine is such a fascinating weapon to me as it was pretty much confined to the mid-20th century as a transitional small arm.

I carried an M3 Grease Gun in Afghanistan in 2011 as an outside the wire contractor. As a defensive weapon, it was ok. By the time anyone realized I was not a local, they would have been close enough.

Going through Afghan Army checkpoints was the scariest part, since those guys were unpaid and not local, and could easily take everything you owned including weapons and armor, and throw you in jail for objecting. Mostly got around them. Went through one once, though, and the soldier was a Tajik. I let my Baluchi partner do the talking.

"Get out of the car."

"Why?"

"We want to search it."

"For what?"

"To see if you have weapons."

(laughing) "OF COURSE we have weapons!" (gestures at me, I crack up and show the guy the stock peeking out from under my jammies)

"...okay, have a good day, guys."

> The landmine seems to me to be the signature of the machine age battlefield, which, in many ways has pushed the warrior away from the center-point of war to its fringe.

Nah, it was always thus. Mutual combat is always least preferred. If you can kill the enemy in some easy and dirty way, that's the way to go.

Look at what the French and Indians did to Braddock.