History Read-Along: Gunner’s Run, Chapters 18-21

Ready to head farther west on the escape journey in the historical novel Gunner’s Run? Author Rick Barry keeps the plot moving and the history hints coming in this section of the adventure story. No spoilers ahead – just some extra historical details about World War II.

Interesting, this section has hints and ties to World War I, the conflict that had wracked Europe just decades earlier. Did you know that the anniversary of the end of World War I is coming up on November 11? It’s been one hundred years this year (2018).

Browning, 1910 (By Askild Antonsen – Browning 1910, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56166243)

Chapter 18 – Extra History

Our main character gets a sidearm for his continuing journey in Nazi occupied Europe. It’s simply described as an out-dated pistol, probably from the “Great War” – aka World War I (1914-1918).

So – what could it have been? There are a number of possibilities, but here’s one option: Browning 1910.

It’s a historic weapon model in it’s own right. This semi-automatic pistol came with a “triple safety” mechanism to help ensure the user was really ready to fire. Variations of this model were purchased by many nations in Europe in the years between the World War II. In a tragic historic event with far reaching consequences, a Browning 1910 was used to assassinate the Austrian archduke which started World War I.

Certainly, there were other hand guns that the author could have had in mind for Jim in Gunner’s Run, but this is an example of one possibility that would have been available in underground Belgium during World War II.

Chapter 19 – Extra History

So…Jim has some cultural challenges as he travel in Europe.

Here’s an entertaining video about how Americans “stand-out” in Europe and some travel tips if you’re thinking of making your own trek across the continent.

Chapter 20 – Extra History

There’s a World War I veteran character in this chapter. Many of the veterans from that earlier conflict (1914-1918) were still living during World War II (1939-1945); some even found ways to serve again. Most of these veterans wanted to avoid another large scale conflict which led to some of the negotiations and hope in diplomacy in the Allied countries prior to the outbreak of World War II.

The “Great War” had been seen as the “war to end all wars” but ultimately it set the stage for World War II in Europe with a harsh treaty for Germany, economic disasters through the Great Depression, and German militarization.

Read more about World War I here in our archives.

Chapter 21 – Extra History

In Nazi-occupied Europe, every citizen over eighteen was supposed to carry an identity card and be able to produce it if stopped by a civil or military official. Some occupied territories used an identity card called the”Kennkarte” and these cards were supposed be to obtained from the police department (controlled by the Germans). The Kennkarte was a multiple document and included religious and ethnic information.

Across Europe, resistance forgers became skilled at replicating the original documents to hide their friends, protect escaping Allied servicemen, or escape detection and punishment. With stamps, a photograph, and other specific details, these documents and their forging became works of art; the smallest details – if done incorrectly – could cost a life.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

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