July 6, 2018

The French Canadian soldier who freed Zwolle

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 2:40 pm

At lunch, before stepping into a plane back to the Netherlands from Canada, I was told about the story of Léo Major, a French Canadian soldier of the Royal 22nd Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces who single-handedly freed the Dutch city of Zwolle, and other places, with some unbelievable tactics.

Léo Major of Longueuil, Québec was a corporal who refused to move up in rank despite his brilliant moves. He pulled off stuff without consulting his superiors and made bluffs work that nobody else would have come up with. He pretty much freelanced and the army just let him because he was brave and smart.

During WWII, Zwolle, Overijssel was surrounded by German troops and the 22nd Regiment that was trying to recapture it were failing miserably, losing dozens of soldiers every day. Léo Major and his best friend Wilfrid Arseneault volunteered to go and find out where the Germans were positioned to try and improve their situation.

At nightfall the pair went to the farm of the Van Gerner family who tried to explain in Dutch that the forest was full of Germans. Shortly after, Arseneault was shot, his stomach full of bullet holes, as explained by Major himself in the video below. Major, determined to complete the mission left his best friend behind and pressed on.

Major entered Zwolle and attacked German patrols and ran through the streets throwing grenades to convince the enemy that Canadian troops were marching in, and it worked. He captured entire troops of 8-10 Germans who let themselves be delivered to the 22nd Regiment outside the city, believing the city was under attack. Major kept going back to Zwolle to pull the same tactic over and over. He even set fire to Gestapo headquarters.

At dawn, he realised that the last German troops had left the city and that Zwolle was free. After making sure the city knew they were liberated, Major went to pick up the corpse of his friend that he brought to the Van Gerner farm for safe keeping until the burial. Later that morning, Canadian troops marched into the city and the residents of Zwolle finally saw that they were liberated.

Léo Major was given his first medal, the Distinguished Conduct Medal of the British Army, the only Canadian and one of only three soldiers in the British Commonwealth to ever receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal twice in separate wars. Major went on to pull some more great moves in the Korean War. His friend Wilfrid Arseneault was given a Bronze Lion posthumously in 1970 by Queen Juliana.

This YouTube video features Léo Major himself in English on Zwolle television, with parts translated into Dutch.

(Photos: Wikipedia)

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August 28, 2014

Two Belgian tanks ram each other on Dutch motorway

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:18 pm

Dear stand-up comedians: Christmas has come early this year.

Like two cars swerving to avoid a duck crossing the road in slow motion, two Belgian Piranha-type tanks rammed each other near Valkenswaard, Limburg on the busy N69 (giggle) motorway, attempting to avoid a tractor. Both tanks are leaking fuel, but fortunately no one was hurt. I’m sure some egos are bruised though, as they should be.

Let me see how many cheap shots I can take before reading other people’s comments:

‘Sergeant! There’s a big green tractor that keeps getting closer! BAM!

‘Whew! It’s a good thing this is just a military exercise’.

‘Crew cruise control on these things really suck.’

After the crash:
‘Right, I’m off for a slash, toodles’.

(Link: www.nu.nl)

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September 16, 2013

The Netherlands has finally become a police state

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:18 pm

Rhetoric? Offensive sloganeering? Have I finally gone off the deep end? No, I am just getting a pun in there. Volkskrant reported last Saturday that the biggest employer in the Netherlands is the police.

In 2012 the police provided jobs to 63,778 people. They passed the military which was the biggest employer in 2011, but had to cut down their numbers due to budget cuts.

The top 5 large employers in the Netherlands are:

  • The police, 63,778 employees
  • The military, 61,749 employees
  • Rabobank, 41,402 employees
  • PostNL, 33,284 employees
  • Air France-KLM, 31,189 employees

According to Volkskrant their top 100 of companies employs about 1 million people in the Netherlands. Their distribution follows a power curve, the top ten employs a third of that million. According to Statistics Netherlands there were 8.68 million people working in the Netherlands in 2012 and 0.66 million unemployed citizens. The self-employed made up 1.25 million of people working. And there were 9.24 million jobs in 2012.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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February 13, 2013

Staying in shape to catch thieves and beat the enemy

Filed under: Sports by Orangemaster @ 1:08 pm

A group of seven women in Leiden were doing an exercise bootcamp in a park when a thief ran off with the instructor’s handbag. The seven women took off after him, and one of the women caught him. While they called the cops, the man got away and the group of women ran after him and caught him again. He was arrested.

Segueing into other bootcamp-related news, Dutch newspaper AD says that about 3,300 Dutch soldiers are not fit enough to go on missions, claiming that one third, 15,500 out of 43,000, do not even show up for their obligatory physical fitness test. The test consists of 20 press-ups (push-ups), 25 sit-ups and being able to run 2,250 metres. Other tests around the world are much harder than this one and even I can do this test easily.

Why bother being in the army if you can’t defend your country because you’re out of shape? The women’s bootcamp in Leiden could run circles around you, losers.

(Link: nos.nl, www.ad.nl, Photo of Getting fit by Fit Approach. Used under the terms of GNU FDL)

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