Note: If you picked up a coffee before starting to read this text, I do really think that you can also get me one. Order a Coffee for Doc Snafu Here Thank You
Francorchamps, Belgium, January 30, 2021
A welcome message to the visitors of this website.
First of all, it seems useful to me to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that my conception of having a presence on the Internet is not limited to the spawning of supposedly historical texts, rarely exceeding 300 or 400 words, and whose only use is to serve as a support for a multitude of advertising banners. Usually, I spend most of my time looking for information and images that I might find useful when publishing an archive. So, there is nothing wrong with saying that I visit an incredible amount of websites. This is the reason why the first part of this text is devoted to a warning to my readers. Advertising yes, but then only chosen, if possible relevant with the page’s subject, and in no case inide the text. For my part, I largely prefert to insert more wartime images in a text than some advertising banner.
To sum up, I am not that special. I am what should be called a manual worker, which I have done most of my life. I was born on May 4, 1955 in Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen). My mother being German and my father Belgian and a member of the Military Police in the occupation zone, the things of life did the rest. I think I caught this I Am Pro American form of illness when s a kid, somewhere in Germany, my dad sat me on the hood of a huge US Army truck from a military convoy which had pulled over on the same parking lot. I was not lucky enough to be able to study because at the time life was difficult. We had to find a way to bring in money because I had a sister and the income of my mother alone was in no way able to generate easy ends of the month. So I started working in the Forest at the age of 15 until age 18 when I joined the Belgian Army for two years.
I do still remember today that during the interview at the Instruction Center, when they asked me what I wanted to do in the army, I replied: Paratroopers! I sign for 5 years otherwise I sign for 2 years. The next day, I was sent to a Military Hospital in Brussels where the doctors found me suffering from heartache. I have never understand this because all my life I worked hard and sometimes even very hard, I practiced karate for years, car races, motocross and today, at 66, I am doing like a young trout in a mountain stream. Army! … who said that?
Anyway, they sended me to Germany for 2 years (Düren and Siegen) in a Light Maintenance Co 17th RAV PT. Go figure.
When I returned from Germany where I had met and married my wife Annegret, I began my research on World War II with a focus on ammunition. This allowed me to do all kinds od ammunition clearance during more than 20 years, to write two books on the subject, and to publish a dozen others (Foxmaster Publishing).
Today, I spend most of my time fighting with my wife and doing field detection research as well as writing and posting new archives on my site. That’s basically who I am and what I do.
About the Work on EUCMH
This part of the text is made to give you some information about my website known as the European Center of Military History. First, the name of the site. While this might sound like a very large organization run by a multitude of experts, the European Center of Military History is actually just my creation and now, being an old man, my main activity since my retirement. The name of the site means nothing other than History of the Combats in the various countries at war during the period 1933-1945. European means that I am located in Europe, more precisely in Belgium and does not claim any membership with Europe the EU, an organization that was imposed on us despite our refusal to join. I therefore refuse here any membership in this political organization that I reject with all my might since its creation.
In fact, the choice of domain name for a site on the Internet in 1995 was relatively complicate because all the free countries on the old continent at that time generated the creation of domain names to such an extent that it was particularly difficult to find one. The first birth of my site under a name identical to the current one but with the domain name ecmh.com and not eucmh.com dates back to 1995. This first military history site was at the time neither reliable nor profitable because of the internet connections of the time (modem) and the dimensions of the photo documents took such a place that an accommodation quickly became impossible to pay despite having more than 100K visitors month. After two years or so, I abandoned the site and the hosting company offered me to buy back the domain name ecmh.com, because in 1996-1997 websites that received a very high traffic were not really common.
In 2005, I decided to restart the site. Sadly at this time, website builders on the Old Continent quickly became bread and butter for hosting companies in the United States. Despite this new difficulty, I passed the course through most of the American hosts by trying them all, that of the crocodile hosting, the funny cow hosting, the daddy hosting etc. In 2014, I decided to cross the Atlantic again and look for a hosting company while making the decision to change the TLDs of my site, eucmh.com to eucmh.be. My idea was simply to draw the attention of the visitors to the fact that the site was Belgian and hosted in France. I think this idea was one of the worst decisions I made, because it forced me to destroy the whole site in .com to rebuild it in .be. In addition, the choice of the host in France was not up to its claims, which made the work even more complicated.
Completely annoyed, I started to search WordPress groups on most social networks. I finally found a host in France (Clermont-Ferrand) and I admit that since the relocation of the site I have a feeling of paradise thanks to the kindness, speed and especially the competence of the o2switch technicians. In June 2019, my situation was as follows. I had a half website online (eucmh.be), a completely destroyed site (eucmh.com) and the transfer of the whole (17 Gigabytes) was done with a lot of good will (o2switch) and a lot of bad will (LWS). So, since June 2019, I have reset the eucmh.com counter to zero (1,889,573 page views), I installed a new theme (TagDiv Newspaper) to facilitate the navigation for visitors but especially to allow me to deploy the site in all its width. In order to put the odds in my favor, I also emptied all customer accounts (2K +) and all Newsletter accounts (4.5k +). It is therefore with you, my new visitors that I am starting from scratch. Obviously I hope I can count on your presence.
About the Site
My website is not making any money. This is not its goal. However, some advertisements, which are never in the archive texts, are there more on principle than for anything else. I have been advertising for Amazon since 2010 with a total gain of $ 2.45 which I would never touch since it takes $ 100 to request a payment. Every once in a while a visitor makes a donation, which boils down to $ 4,500 since 2015. Being a personal work, EUCMH obviously does not receive any subsidy from anyone. My Website remains a passion while, however, I really enjoy publishing new archives. When you think that some ‘specialized’ websites ask you $12.50 for a simple photo, that leaves you dreaming.
These are a few lines to draw your attention to some important points for the rest of my activities. All the photos, documents, reports that you may have, if you don’t use them, you can send them to me. It’s always great to get new information on WW2. All donations, no matter how small they are, are welcome. Guest writers are also welcome as they can often add their own researches to the website database. Any kind of help is welcome, so are all great ideas. And for the record and especially the illustration of the published documents I am always looking for Dog Tags, small soldier’s equipment (sewing Kit etc) and, if I can get there, compasses, compass pockets, Field orientation material as well as Army Air Force orientation equipment because I’ll maybe try write a new book on the subject. The only thing I collect for myself are all projectiles and accessories related to US WWII Hand Grenades (deactivated), MK-1 MK-1A1 MK-2 MK-2A1 etc, and an item I am trying to find for the past 30 years, a 2.36′ AP Rocket made of 2 US MK-2A1 (2.36′ Rocket Launcher).
Everything is welcomed.
Gunter G. Gillot Jr (Doc Snafu)
European center of Military History
rue des Thiers 8, Francorchamps 4970 Belgium