In 2011, I went on an amazing trip, from Delhi to Katmandu. I just want to use this Post to share with you some of the photographs I took on the way. Both were amazing countries and India was particularly vibrant and exciting. Some of the photos were taken through vehicle windows, so i apologise for the poor quality.

I don’t propose to write very much, I am supposed to be editing my third novel,  Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun, and starting on my new ‘Cold War’ series. So please just enjoy the pictures.

Delhi to Katmandu, Part 2.

The journey continues…

It was difficult to imagine the sites getting any better after a fabulous visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, but the adventure continued to capture my imagination.

Cows were a regular feature – Agra, October 2010

Some photos were taken through a coach or train (or aeroplane) window, so I apologise for the quality in advance.

My first visit was to the Agra Marble Emporium.  This long established art form of marble inlay was brought to India in the 17th century by the Mughals.

Craftsman at work, Agra marble Emporium – 2010

Beautiful piece of work…


….and another….


…this was part of a marble table top.

My next visit took me to the Agra Fort, or the Red Fort. Agra played an important role at the center of the Mughal Empire.

Agra Fort, more of a walled city. – Agra, October 2010

Agra Fort. Originally a brick fort held by the Hindu Sikarwar Rajputs. First mentioned in 1080 AD. Photo 2010

The Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra – 2010

Even got to see Ghandi – Agra Fort, 2010

The walls, and the architecture, were impressive – Agra Fort

The Fort was clearly visited by local and distant schools – Agra Fort, 2010

It was an Architect’s dream – Agra Fort, 2010

More gorgeous outfits.

Agra Fort

The view towards the Taj Mahal from the Red Fort – 2010

View from the upper levels.

These were regular guests

Seemed quite relaxed around us, but I kept a close watch on my hat.

The marble inlay was beautiful.

No words needed…

Hair colour that matches your shirt…

It was a huge site, close to a full days visit.

Agra Fort – October 2010

My next journey was southeast to the ancient town of Orchha,  continuing by train.

Agra railway station – 2010


Off on a journey, leaving with a friendly smile – Agra Station 2010

The end

I hope you managed to stay awake, if so there will be a part 3 next week.

 Photographs copyrighted to Harvey Black.

WARNING – GRAPHIC PHOTOS – WARNING

During 1979/80, I served with Task Force Bravo, later known as 22nd Armoured Brigade, based in Northern West Germany. I took this as an opportunity to visit the Nazis concentration camp that was right on our doorstep. Unlike my previous Post on Auschwitz, the colour photographs were taken in 1979, and the quality wasn’t up to the standard of the Digital ones we’re used to today.

Again, it is not my intention to write the history of this notorious site, that has already been done, and by much better writers than me. I would just like to share some of my photography with you.

Bergen-Belsen, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle. – 1979

 Very little remains there today, part from the mass graves  and a small covered area where photographs of the original site were displayed. I don’t know if it is still there.

One of the barrack rooms after the camp was liberated. – 1945

From 1941 t0 1945, almost 20,000 Russian prisoners of war and over 50,000 other inmates died there. Many of them dying of typhus.

I think, this was roughly at the centre of the site. – 1979

The camp was liberated on the 15th April, 1945 by the British 11th Armoured Division. They discovered 53,000 prisoners inside, half starved and seriously ill, along with over 10,000 corpses.

The British soldiers had the unenviable task of clearing the dead bodies, but necessary to stop the spread of disease. – 1945

They were buried in Mass Graves, this one being Number 3. – 1945

One of the Mass Graves, Bergen-Belsen – 2,500 dead. – 1979

The site felt quite eerie. There were no birds singing and there seemed to be a deathly silence. The ground seemed barren and apart from a few trees and poor quality grass, little else was visible.

Site of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. – 1979

I believe that in in 2007, a redesigned memorial site was opened. It now has a large new Documentation Centre and a permanent exhibition.  The structure and the layout of the camp can now also be traced. I must return there one day.

As indicated at the beginning, my intention was just to share a few photographs with you and not do a write up on the background to the camp and the atrocities linked to it. It was a fascinating, yet horrific, time in our Worlds history and I sometimes wonder if all the lessons from it have been learnt.

Colour photographs copyrighted to Harvey Black

HB

The Invasion of Crete, WW2.

This would be the first ever airborne invasion in military history. The Fallschirmjager, supported by the famous Gebirgsjager mountain troops, are up against 40,000 allied soldiers – who will fight to the bitter end to protect Crete.

Before dawn on the 20th May 1941, the JU-52’s, “Tante Ju’s”, warmed up their engines on the Greek airfields of Corinth, Megara and Tanagra ready to undertake the first full scale invasion of a country from the air. They were to attack the 160 mile long Island of Crete.

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Loading a weapons canister into a JU-52.

Within minutes of the first few taking off, carrying their loads of paratroopers towards their objectives, a dust storm had been created by the backdraft from the three engined Junkers, playing havoc with the German’s carefully planned schedule. Eventually, waiting for the clouds of dust to settle, all were launched.

Ju-52’s and towed DFS-230 gliders on route to Crete.

On Day 1, the glider companies landed successfully on their targets, capturing the bridge over the Tavronitis and securing an area on the outskirts of Maleme airfield. The 3rd battalion, Luftlande Sturmregiment, started their drop landing directly on top of two New Zealand battalions. The 2nd battalion landed east of Spilia and the 4th battalion west of Travonitis. Once Generalmajor Meindl had secured his HQ, and dug in on the outskirts of the airfield, he sent two companies to take Hill 107, a key position overlooking Maleme airfield. Major Koch, of Eben Emael fame, the commander of  the 1st battalion, received a head wound while helping to take Hill 107.

Fallschirmjager, paratroopers, dropping onto Crete. 

The second major drop that day was around the town of Chania. A second wave of aircraft dropped more paratroopers in the afternoon, along with further gliders containing heavy assault troops. Rethymnon was attacked at 1615 hours, Heraklion at 1730. The Fallschirmjager suffered heavy casualties that day.

Day 2

The Fallschirmjager took advantage of the New Zealand forces withdrawing from Hill 107, this eventually giving the Germans control of Maleme airfield, enabling them to land aircraft and reinforce the units on the ground.

Fallschirmjager in Crete, their distinctive helmets and combat smocks clearly visible.

Before midnight, Rear Admiral Glennie’s Force D, three light cruisers and four destroyers, intercepted a water born landing by German reinforcements. Out of the 2,000 strong German force, over 1,000 managed to escape.

Warships berthed close to the Island – Crete 1941

The Germans now had a foothold on Crete and with Maleme airfield in their possession, they flew units of the 5th Gebirgsjager, Mountain, Division in to join in the attack.

A bitter battle was fought – destroyed British light Mark VI,  tanks, 1941.

It was an exhaustive battle for the Fallschirmjager

But after 10 days of battle they had their victory march – Crete 1941.

But they suffered heavy casualties and it was the last major jump completed by the Fallschirmjager in WW2

The following are pictures from my visit to Crete while writing Devils with Wings: Silk Drop. The visit helped me with my descriptions of the environment they fought in.

When you read about Max and a certain incident, this is the plant I was describing

2010

1941

This exciting fictionalised retelling of the invasion of Crete is written by an author with extensive experience in army intelligence. It’s the follow up to Devils With Wings, and continues the wartime adventures of Fallschirmjager paratrooper Paul Brand and his Feldwebel Max Grun. On a high after their successful subjugation of Fort Eben Emael, Paul Brand, now in command of his own company, and Feldwebel Max Grun, are parachuted into Greece to help capture the bridge spanning the Corinth Canal. Tough times are ahead when the German High Command decide to invade the Island of Crete. This will be the first ever airborne invasion in military history. The Fallschirmjager, supported by the famous Gebirgsjager mountain troops, are up against 40,000 allied soldiers – who will fight to the bitter end to protect Crete. Operating behind enemy lines, Paul Brand and Max Grun will face challenges that not only tests their fortitude but strains the close bond between them. Silk Drop is a thrilling sequel to Devils With Wings and is based on a factual episode.

Photographs copyrighted to Harvey Black

In 2011, I went on an amazing trip, from Delhi to Katmandu. I just want to use this Post to share with you some of the photographs I took on the way. Both were amazing countries and India was particularly vibrant and exciting. Some of the photos were taken through vehicle windows, so i apologise for the poor quality.

I don’t propose to write very much, I am supposed to be reviewing my second draft of Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun, and starting on my new ‘Cold War’ series. So please just enjoy the pictures.

And, the first thing we saw was the ubiquitous Snake Charmer

With Cobra, he repeatedly tapped on the head to make it angry…..

Our first journey was by coach, and, as you can see, they all used ‘clean fuel’ in India….

Once off the coach we travelled around Delhi by Rickshaw. A experience in itself.

The Health and Safety Executive would have had kittens seeing this lot above their heads.

A bit of a traffic jam.

I found the locals to be welcoming and friendly.

…and well dressed.

On Day 2, we headed off on the train to see the Taj Mahal. This what welcomed us at the station.

The train journey itself was an eye opener

All along the side of the railway were dwellings like these.

This one looks like a shop.

But, they have satellite TV.

Probably off to get water, it was about 0800 in the morning.

We were looking at this from the comfort of a train….

…being served Tea and Curry. Yes Curry for breakfast. It was all very Colonial.

I wasn’t sure about these. Did they live on the railway line? Or rail workers living on the job.

Arrive at the other end, Tuk, Tuks await us.

The approach to the Taj Mahal

The Gateway.

The first glimpse.

The unveiling

My photography doesn’t do it justice.

The traditional dress was amazing.

You have to stand in front of it to truly appreciate its beauty.

Everyone person met, was friendly and approachable.

These guys insisted on having a photo taken with us as well.

No words needed.

I’m the one with the hat and the plastic bags on my feet…

View of the River Yamuna from the Taj Mahal

Another shot of the Yamuna.

I was weary at the end of the day as well.

The end

I hope you managed to stay awake, if so there will be a part 2 next week.

 Photographs copyrighted to Harvey Black.