Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Battle of Komarów

This battle in 1920 is not well known in Britain but it is a milestone in that it was the last significant cavalry battle - and the largest cavalry action since 1813 to boot. Images (of presumably a Polish tachanka or taczanka) plus others from a Polish reenactment here

Первая конная/ Pervaja konnaja (1941) 01/10

I am not sure if this film is the original of the below film - probably - this is set in the war between the Soviets and Poland in 1920. There are some interesting things going on in this first clip.

Первая Конная (1984)

Pervaya konnaya 1984. Can't find an English translation so might I dub it 'First Horse Army'? This looks like an interesting film set in the Russian Civil War or perhaps in the war between the Polish and the Soviets. I think it's a remake. Watch this clip and see what you think - looks good to me. Very spectacular. Budyonny is one of the main characters and it was made by Mosfilms. Can't find any clips other than this though there are plenty of torrents. I suppose I will have to download it but if any of you can find anything about this movie - plot etc let me know... Imdb here

Tachanka (Тачанка)

Song from 1936 about the legendary machine gun carts. Great animation to go with it. Also includes subtitles. Great stuff.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Are From Kronstadt (1936)

This is one I have seen - in fact I bought it on VHS. If I remember rightly this was premiered in Spain during the Civil War there. 'Where's your Dad?' 'Turned him over to the Cheka'. Good man.

"Чапаев" (1934)

"Chapaev" wiki here - considered to be one of the 100 great films of history - deal with the Russian Civil War - and we haven't heard of it before. Looks great from this.

The Red and the White 1967

One film I do know of is this acclaimed film. Held by many as the greatest war film ever made. Not about the Red Cavalry as such but the Russian Civil War.

Red Cavalry

When I started this blog many years ago we were into the Russian Civil War and I was particularly fascinated by the Red Cavalry and read Izaak Babel's Red Cavalry stories etc. I wonder if there are any movies about this subject that might be out there?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Juke Boy Bonner 'Mojo Hand' 1975

1/144 scale tanks

Maybe I will do this period in 1/144 scale. This is a fast growing scale with lots of Far Eastern made tanks - ready painted and assembled and 'collectable'. It's quite a craze with obviously lots of US and German tanks - not so many Russians. Started off as a scale for aeroplanes but now there's plenty of armour. Check out this wikipedia list of manufacturers. Figures are approximately 10mm... But of course they are priced accordingly - you can get cheaper lead or resin models you paint yourself -Pendraken do a pretty good range. They also do Spanish Civil War. Check out this 1/144 blog to see the micro or mini world up close. Also check out WGS for an expanding range. Pegasus hobbies do a lot of things for the period Ukrainian houses, tanks and even infantry like these painted Russians.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Soviet Military Parade 1941

One good thing about having a blog like this that few people read is that I can post what I like...and I choose to post this sequence - it's quite a contrast to the parade in 1945 - lots of cavalry, tachankas (horse drawn machine gun carts pictured at the same parade in 41), some very old-fashioned looking artillery and lots of KV-1s by the look of it. Fascinating. To me.

BT tank

This fast tank was produced in the 30s and saw some service in the Spanish Civil War and the Winter War. The forerunner of the T-34. It was based on an American design that was smuggled out in some secrecy...see the Wiki. Watching the footage below which is from a 1939 movie. Watch part one of this movie 'Tractor Drivers' here.
I can't help thinking the tank drivers would have lost their teeth performing some of these stunts.

The Molotov Cocktail

With the rise of the tank came the need for an equaliser - and this was solved by a simple solution - a brave man and a bottle of petrol. First used in the Spanish Civil War by Franco's forces against enthusiastic Republican T-26 tanks it didn't get its name 'Molotov cocktail' until the Winter War between the Soviets and Finland when the Finnish troops used the name sardonically against the Russian foreign minister Molotov. Read more about the history of the Molotov Cocktail and it's triumphs here - notably the destruction of some 400 tanks in the Hungarian uprising and how the petrol driven tanks of the war period were particularly vulnerable to this attack. Here's a clip from a Finnish movie showing the T-26 under attack.

В бой идут одни старики (1973) 1/9

V boi idut odni stariki (Only 'oldmen' go fighting)- Imdb here - A film about pilots and the orchestra they form.

Torpedonostsy 1983 (Torpedo Bombers)

Imdb here someone on there states
The film describes actions of the soviet torpedo bombers over the Barents Sea. You'll feel ruthless horror of war and cold of the Northern seas. You'll see why torpedo bomber usually made only three battle flights. It is hard to beleive, but one of the last scenes of the film - fire in the cockpit - is ABSOLUTELY realistic. However, excellent use of the original chronicle film and air film shooting.

На всю оставшуюся жизнь (1975) - 1/27

"Na vsyu ostavshuyusya zhizn''' (Translated title would be "For the rest/remainder of our lives...")
An antidote to the epic action films already featured. It is about a medical train - no action at all, they only learn about the war from the wounded they treat and from letters from home. The Chief doctor of the train returns home to Leningrad and finds his home bombed and family killed. A touching and poignant movie.

Eugene, Little Eugene and Katyusha (1967) - 1/8

Back by popular demand, our Russian film season continues with this romantic comedy set in a mortar battery during the last days of WW2. Apparently this film was banned for a number of years.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bobby Freeman 'C'mon and Swim' (1964)

This song we first heard on WFMU's Ichiban Rock and Soul stream which we love - it's a great song with a perfect dance - I mean who hasn't emulated swimming when you dance?


One of the stars of the movies below is this famous submachine gun. Made in huge numbers (around 6 million) it was adopted by the Germans and used in large numbers. The below film is a good history of this war winning weapon. I think the Hungarians during the uprising called it the 'guitar' because of its round drum.

Russian WW2 Film Festival

Well in response to all the hype about the HBO 'Pacific' season I thought I'd try and find some decent Russian films about WW2. The eagle-eyed among you will probably detect I had some help halfway through when the quality picks up and for that I am most grateful. So enjoy, damn you and don't mention 'Enemy at the Gates'.

В августе 44-го (2001) 11/11

"In August 1944". Final scene of a drama about a SMERSH squad investigating Nazi spies in the Soviet army.

Zvezda (2002)

A film, which is a remake of a 1947 movie of the same name, about a reconaissance part behind enemy lines whose radio is not working - this is the final nail biting scene. Wiki

Мы из будущего (2008) : 10/12

"My iz buduschego" (We are from the future)- this film tells the story of youngsters transported from the present back to the time of 1942. A well constructed battle sequence and watch out for this famous image reconstructed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Хроника пикирующего бомбардировщика (1967)

Chronicle of a dive bomber. A story about a PE-2 and its crew. Sue's Dad would probably enjoy this movie - he speaks Russian, and I think he used to play a flight sim based on Russian WW2 planes.

На войне как на войне (1968)

OK - a lot of the Soviet films I have posted so far are a little cliched...but this one looks really a different kettle of fish. "Na voine kak na voine" (À la guerre comme à la guerre). Based on the story of the crew of an SU-100 self-propelled gun it offers a more realistic and less political film than some of the epics so far considered. So if you are interested in Soviet armour this looks like your film.

'Mao Mao' Claude Channes

From the Godard movie La Chinoise.

They Fought for the Motherland (1975) pt3/15

We have had this Bondarchuk movie before on this blog but what the hell...this scene sees the troops digging in for an attack.

Come and See (1985)

Wiki here. Considered by many to be the most traumatic and harrowing movie made about war - this is something of a different style of film - less heroic than the movies below, but nevertheless has to be included in the list of Soviet or Russian films about WW2.

Битва за Москву (1985)

More epic tank action from a Russian movie. This one is Battle for Moscow. Apparently it's 6 hours long. Those Russians knew how to make epic cinema. Another clip here

'Tank Brigade'

Old Czechoslovakian movie set in WW2. Some spectacular tank action if that interests you.

Pegasus BA-6

So I think that I might give these a go when I next go to the Frome Model Shop. You get two which clinches the deal. I like the products that Pegasus produce - here's a Facebook page that tells you what's coming out.

WW2 wargaming 70s style

This blog is considered by Google as an Animals and Men blog - in which case you might find a load of posts about tanks a bit strange but there is a precedence for it. Back in the late 70s when we were at the height of our productivity as a band World War 2 wargaming was kind of the band's unofficial hobby. Sue and I had a large flat with lots of rooms and so one room was put aside for just wargames battles and we had a large hardboard table. We used these simple rules by Charles Grant and the period we did was the Battle of France 1940. We also pursued other aspects like a band visit to the Bovington tank museum and the reading of corny comics like the War Picture Library. So pretty nerdy for a cutting edge punk band - making kits and fighting battles but that was how it was. You can make a list of what we should have been doing but this was quite high on the list of things we were doing at the time. We also used to have fights with plastic swords but that's another story...
I quite fancy doing some WW2 wargaming again - I wonder if these rules are still available?
These rules (a PDF) - for the Russo-German aspect look good - they're based on the Charles Grant system (ie not hard on the old brain) and have all I need.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

War is declared on cider drinkers

If you drink cider be prepared to become even poorer as the government think of new ways to steal money off us - probably to go towards their moats and so forth. Even the Wurzels are up in arms. If you feel nostalgic to the good old days watch this old feature about Coates cider followed by a clip of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels singing 'Drink up Thy Cider'.

Lion of the Desert (1981) Trailer

A film with some great armoured car action and an impressive epic to boot is this film about the Italian invasion of Libya. It's a brilliant and unusual film - I lent my DVD to someone but never mind.

Military aspects of the Spanish Civil War blog

If you have an interest in the 1930s and the lessons learnt in the run-up then this blog is worth checking out. I can't be bothered to work out what political axes they might be grinding - just know I found it interesting.

Soviet armoured cars of WW2

So what type of armoured car was it in the clip below? Here's a list to check against. If you guess wrong - consider yourself purged.

The Brest Fortress (2010)

This forthcoming Russian movie comes recommended from our 'man on the ground' - this trailer has some very interesting bits - looks quite harrowing but also spectacular. I like the 'armoured car cam' view. If you want to know what Brest is about the Defence of Brest Fortress wiki is the place to start.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ran trailer

Today is Akira Kurosawa's 100th birthday so we should celebrate it with a fan trailer made for his last epic 'Ran'.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Burnt By the Sun 2

Burnt by The Sun was a great Russian film about a former Russian hero who is purged by Stalin. Now finally this film has a sequel - I'm looking forward to it - apparently taking us into WW2. Out in May - check out the original while you wait.

1945 Soviet victory parade

Artillery and tanks in this section.

Josif Stalin tank

This super heavy tank in this variant did not see service in WW2 (the IS-2 saw some action in the fall of Berlin) but starred in a victory parade that gave it maximum impact in the Cold War world. Wiki here

More epic movie stuff

Oh the pre digital epic - when you really got your money's worth. This is from the film below - this part dealing with the fall of Berlin. There's a nice piece when a T-34 shunts a tramcar.

Heng Long KV 1

The world of cheap 1/16 scale WW2 r/c tanks has progressed a lot - they now do a Russian tank but it's not a T-34 surprisingly but a KV 1 - but with scale speed, smoke, noise and a BB or infrared battling version so quite a few improvements. Next up for import is apparently a Sherman.

Battle of Kursk

We used to have a lot of this sort of stuff on this blog - maybe I should have a bit more - this is a clip from a Soviet movie from 1969, Освобождение (Liberation). Looks great. For fans of the T-34 and more - though acording the IMdb on the movie they are T-34/85s - I don't know the difference..from what I've read on this movie it looks worth tracking down - epic stuff - apparently the most expensive Soviet movie - and like most Soviet films easy to download. Watch it here

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Animals & Men at the OCCII Amsterdam

Caryne Pearce took some photos of us on stage a couple of weeks ago - one we printed out with a low ink cartridge and got this effect which we we scanned it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Scars - Adultery/Horrorshow

Great song with a brilliant scratchy guitar over gnarly bass . A great double A-side from 79. They never seemed to reach the heights attained by this early single (with its other track 'Horrorshow' a nadsat inspired homage to the Clockwork Orange movie) but never mind - this is genius enough for one band. We saw this Scottish group (who were on Fast when this single was out but then signed to Pre I think) a while after but it was a bit of a disappointment - they had another good single or two ('They came and took her') and 'All About You' but they had lost their bite somehow. Shame. One of the best 45s of the post punk era.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

J B Lenoir 'The Voodoo'

Filmed during a thunderstorm by a couple of Swedes who are seen at the end. Turn the volume up on this one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Red Foley 'Pinball Boogie'

We love listening to Wfmu's Ichiban Rock and Soul stream - its like being educated and being entertained in the same breath - this one got thrown up a minute ago and Sue instantly fell in love with it.

Zeppelin vs Pterodactyls (1936)

This is a serial that was nearly remade by Hammer in 71. It's definitely an interesting idea.

R L Burnside Johnny Woods 'Telephone Blues'

Filmed in 1984. R L Burnside had an interesting career - discovered late in life in the early 90s and operating in the world of 'punk blues'.

The Pacific trailer

Been a while since I posted on this blog about WW2 but this trailer I thought some of you might like.

I feel so good J B Lenoir

Lenoir is a highly underrated bluesman - but he had a great career on independent labels like JOB and also on Chess was still being an avant-garde and experimental figure in the blues. Not frightened of dealing with political issues JB received a visit from the 'Men in Black' about some of his critical of the government blues. There's some really good clips on the old tube but I chose this one as being the closest to his club style of the 50s. Hear him redo his big hit Mama Talk To Your Daughter here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sonny Boy 'Lonesome Cabin'

I suppose I ought to qualify my claim that Sonny Boy was a great poet - a great songwriter so I picked this one. The imagery of a small cabin with a stove in a lightning storm is pure genius - I love this song - I have it on 45.

Sonny Boy 'I'm a lonely man'

This is a great clip. I am really glad they didn't have someone 'doing Sonny Boy' in the movie Cadillac Records. Not that I watched it anyway. Anyway imagine this being on your tv back in the 60s - and video recorders weren't about - what music tv do we have these days?

Sam Chatmon 'Brownskin Woman'

Someone I should have put in with the strand of people associated with the stylings of Papa Charlie Patton is this man - possibly Patton's half-brother who was a Mississippi Sheik back in the day. Lovely sound on this clip - it's like he's there twanging on those strings in your front room. Another clip here

Big Joe Williams 'Low Down Dirty Shame'

With a career spanning playing logging camps and barrelhouses to being a Bluebird recording star and then becoming a folk boom favourtie BJW and his 9 (count 'em) string guitar did it all.

Yardbirds 'I Wish You Would'

When we were the Terraplanes we used to do a cover of this...I have some film of us doing it in 82 somewhere - maybe I'll dig it out.

Funny review of Animals & men

In a mention here. Luckily we all really love the Big Lebowski...
awesome girl fronted post punk from inglaterra. If you like kleenex/lilliput, the raincoats, or even young marble giants, chances are you will really dig this. The vocalist sounds all austere and what not like what you would imagine the "vagina" artist-woman from big lebowski sounding like if she fronted a post punk band. I love this band. Its creepy poppy awesome.
Also we chuckled at this
ANIMALS & MEN weren't the greatest players ever but they wrote some damn catchy songs. Hey, ADAM ANT named a song after them so they gotta be great right?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sonny Boy Williamson

I have been a big fan of Sonny Boy since I was about 14 years old - setting myself the goal of trying to get all his records in some form or other - a crazy task which I have now abandoned but I am always on the lookout for more tracks. On this excellent site which is a goldmine of information I learn of a session he did with a band called the Skunks who were the only rock band that was signed to Chess who apparently had dyed black and white hair. Sonny Boy dropped in one day in 64 and sat in with them. Sonny Boy must have played with more musicians than anyone else on the planet. There's even a cd on the website that has Sonny Boy playing guitar! One day in the future Sonny Boy will be revered and held as one of America's greatest songwriters and musicians - dare I call him the Black Bob Dylan? He's up there with the top ten US musicians I reckon but as you know I know nothing and am nothing.

The Kills 'Sugar Baby'

The Kills covering Dock Boggs? You think I am kidding don't you? This is not bad - Sue and I were trying to play this song a couple of weekends ago so I can see where they are coming from - if you want to hear the original search Boggs in the bar at the top of this blog.

Gene Vincent 'You are My Sunshine'

I love this version and this video has some excellent images to go with it - think of them as stills for a future movie about Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent coming to the grimy world of Britain in 1960 - playing the Bristol Hippodrome - possibly following some Radstock Teddy Boys who have gone to see them and then bang! Death on the A4. They made a big impression over here - possibly helping to create the British beat boom - I actually know of two people who were patients in St Martin's hospital in Bath when they brought in a dead Eddie...a sad moment - the 50th anniversary of which will be in April this year so be prepared for a night in with Eddie and Gene.

Gene Vincent 'Rocky Road Blues'

This clip from Brussels in 1963 is brilliant - maybe it's time for the Gene Vincent biopic...what shall we call it? Be Bop a Lula?

'Lovin' Up A Storm' Jerry Lee

I heard this on Ichiban the other day - I hadn't heard this for decades - I used to have it on an album that got sold but it was one of my favourites from the collection...see if you like it. It's in the key of F according to my calculations - maybe that's why I like it so much - I have a fondness for F. Shit key for harmonica players though.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Howlin' Wolf 'Meet me in the bottom'

The last in a strand of bluesman who were apostles of Patton.

Furry Lewis 'Furry's Blues'

Someone who likes to clown with his guitar is this Memphis legend.

Mississippi Fred McDowell 'John Henry'

Another disciple of the Great One.You know I fell in love with the music of Charley Patton before I heard it? I used to have trouble at the age of 13-14 getting hold of blues records but the local library had a few good books on the subject and one they had was John Fahey's book on Charley Patton with a biography, lyrics and even chords and so forth - I was fascinated.

Booker White 'Aberdeen etc'

Another disciple of the church of Charlie Patton (of which I am lowly novice - maybe a choirboy?) is Booker or Bukka White. He is vocally very indebted to Patton and his guitar style is also close. I love this sort of stuff and I think you'll enjoy this but there's no accounting for people's musical tastes is there?

Son House 'Death Letter Blues'

Someone influenced by Papa Charlie (see below) is of course Son House. Here you can see him manhandling his guitar in a style reminiscent of Patton.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Charlie Patton 'Green River Blues'

As I've said before, Charlie Patton is, in my opinion, the most influential artist of the 20th century - he basically invented everything that makes your record collection NOT like the records that you find in charity shops. Anyway this is one of his best and has a strong case for being the oldest documented blues song - possibly the song heard by W C Handy when he 'discovered' blues music back in the day. Read about it and read transcriptions and analysis of the lyrics here

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A pinball in old Amsterdam

Animals and Men in Holland.
Well we had a great time playing the OCCII in Amsterdam - what a venue and such a great team working away to make it happen. They were able to direct us to some pinball in the Soundgarden which has two - 'the Getaway' and 'Theatre of Magic'. Well worth a visit if you like the silver balls.