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WWII’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Together
War history Online ^ | January 19, 2014

Posted on 01/19/2014 5:43:24 PM PST by Jacob Kell

Days after Hitler’s suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division—the only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II. Andrew Roberts on a story so wild that it has to be made into a movie. The most extraordinary things about Stephen Harding’s The Last Battle, a truly incredible tale of World War II, are that it hasn’t been told before in English, and that it hasn’t already been made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie. Here are the basic facts: on 5 May 1945—five days after Hitler’s suicide—three Sherman tanks from the 23rd Tank Battalion of the U.S. 12th Armored Division under the command of Capt. John C. ‘Jack’ Lee Jr., liberated an Austrian castle called Schloss Itter in the Tyrol, a special prison that housed various French VIPs, including the ex-prime ministers Paul Reynaud and Eduard Daladier and former commanders-in-chief Generals Maxime Weygand and Paul Gamelin, amongst several others. Yet when the units of the veteran 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division arrived to recapture the castle and execute the prisoners, Lee’s beleaguered and outnumbered men were joined by anti-Nazi German soldiers of the Wehrmacht, as well as some of the extremely feisty wives and girlfriends of the (needless-to-say hitherto bickering) French VIPs, and together they fought off some of the best crack troops of the Third Reich. Steven Spielberg, how did you miss this story?

(Excerpt) Read more at warhistoryonline.com ...


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: austria; germany; military; readinglist; wwii
I never heard of this until quite recently. Has anyone?
1 posted on 01/19/2014 5:43:24 PM PST by Jacob Kell
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To: Jacob Kell
I haven't but then you know Hollyweird: they HATE Germany, Germans and anything remotely German.

Gee, can't imagine why.

2 posted on 01/19/2014 5:56:04 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: Jacob Kell

Forget Spielberg, this one is right up Mark Wahlberg’s alley. He would do it justice.


3 posted on 01/19/2014 5:59:27 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Jacob Kell

Nope, never heard this b4.

4 posted on 01/19/2014 6:03:03 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Jacob Kell

Should have teamed up and fought the Soviets.


5 posted on 01/19/2014 6:03:56 PM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both.)
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To: Jacob Kell

Bump.


6 posted on 01/19/2014 6:04:19 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: jwalsh07

Tarantino, if he realizes by now that he doesn’t need to pad his cool credentials anymore, would do well with this. Inglorious Bastards was actually a pretty good movie.


7 posted on 01/19/2014 6:07:06 PM PST by bakeneko
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To: jwalsh07

he couldn’t even get Tony Stark right in the screen tests..


8 posted on 01/19/2014 6:08:04 PM PST by max americana (fired liberals in our company last election, and I laughed while they cried (true story))
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To: Jacob Kell
aren't there some incidents, where some German soldiers/pilots either ignored/or actually
disobeyed orders to harm/imprison allied soldiers?..not many but they're out there.

9 posted on 01/19/2014 6:08:20 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi :-)
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To: Jacob Kell
"The M3 was an American .45-caliber submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service on 12 December 1942, as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M3.[5] Compared to the Thompson submachine gun, the M3 was cheaper to produce, lighter, more accurate, and was also chambered in .45 ACP."

Never seen this one before either..


10 posted on 01/19/2014 6:09:12 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: cloudmountain

They do like to make black girls drive those Hitler jeeps from VW at holyweird in many of their movies.


11 posted on 01/19/2014 6:12:40 PM PST by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: Paladin2

never seen one? we had 2 per tank in my unit in germany in 1975


12 posted on 01/19/2014 6:15:43 PM PST by bravo whiskey (We should not fear our government. Our government should fear us.)
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To: skinkinthegrass
Ye Olde Pub.
13 posted on 01/19/2014 6:18:21 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: bravo whiskey
That one needs a better PR agent.

It's a whole new "Cowboy" action event (1911 & M3).

14 posted on 01/19/2014 6:20:14 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: lavaroise
They do like to make black girls drive those Hitler jeeps from VW at holyweird in many of their movies.\

There were no blacks to speak of. ONCE IN A WHILE, there would be some African blood that snuck in but it was very rare. If I saw two black Saudis in FIVE long years that would be a lot. I can only remember one. And we could see the skin on their hands so color was obvious.
The Saudis are brown to white-white, lots of mixtures of middle eastern browns to white-white. No black.
Hollywood is fantasy. I learned JUST how fantasy there were when I saw WITH MY OWN EYES, what lies I learned from good ole Hollywood.

I kept waiting for Lawrence of Arabia and Omar Shariff to come by on camels....no such luck. They all drove Fords, especially pick-ups. We saw them load their sheep and goats on the back and drive away.
By the way, their sheep have these HUGE triangle shaped tails. WEIRDEST thing I ever saw.

Also, all the camels they use are females. The male camels are too unpredictable, noisy, mean and nasty.

Hubby and I went down to the Red Sea port of Yanbu and also saw the camel races. But, that's another story!

15 posted on 01/19/2014 6:29:38 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: bravo whiskey

A friend had one in his tank recovery vehicle in the Gulf War.


16 posted on 01/19/2014 6:31:20 PM PST by eartrumpet
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To: Jacob Kell

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/3018686/posts


17 posted on 01/19/2014 6:35:13 PM PST by Southack (The one thing preppers need from the 1st World? http://tinyurl.com/ktfwljc .)
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To: bakeneko
Tarantino, if he realizes by now that he doesn’t need to pad his cool credentials anymore, would do well with this. Inglorious Bastards was actually a pretty good movie.

He could resurrect Hugo Stiglitz.

18 posted on 01/19/2014 6:35:18 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: cloudmountain
"I haven't but then you know Hollyweird: they
HATE Germany..Gee, can't imagine why.
that's easy; until June 22, 1941(Operation Barberosa) NAZI Germany
& Soviets were "great buddies" after that they're were fierce enemies.

as you know, neither country had any use for the western
democracies, except financial/technical aid (the soviet).

19 posted on 01/19/2014 6:35:25 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi :-)
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To: Paladin2

That’s the “grease gun”, no?


20 posted on 01/19/2014 6:37:56 PM PST by Argus
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To: DuncanWaring
thanks, that's what I recalled. ;-)

21 posted on 01/19/2014 6:38:05 PM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi :-)
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To: bravo whiskey
"never seen one? we had 2 per tank in my unit in germany in 1975'

I know they were still authorized for M88 Recovery Vehicle crews into the 1990s. Not sure if/when they were phased out completely.

22 posted on 01/19/2014 6:38:24 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: bravo whiskey
did you have the M3A1 without the crank handle? the one in the pic looks like an M3 the way the front of receiver is up in the air resting on the crank handle
23 posted on 01/19/2014 6:38:40 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: cloudmountain

Germans in the armed forces tried to kill Hitler.

Wilhelm Franz Canaris (1 January 1887 – 9 April 1945) a German admiral, and chief of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. During the Second World War, he was among the military officers involved in the clandestine opposition to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. He was executed in the Flossenbürg concentration camp for the act of high treason.

Admiral Canaris, using multiple disguises, traveled to Italy and Spain to keep Pope Pius XII and Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, with up to day information about Hitler’s plans.

PIUS XII AND THE RESISTANCE

Pius XII, a man of great personal courage dared to be involved in a high risk venture that could even endanger the very existence of The Church-the support of the internal resistance to the Nazis inside the German Armed Forces. The French and the British governments were deaf to the pleas of the Vatican to assist the German internal resistance to the Nazi government. From the very beginning Pius XII tried to persuade the Allies to support the inside German opposition, but they did not heed the Pope.

A number of anti-Nazi plotters inside the Abwehr, the intelligence branch of the armed forces, made repeated, and ultimately futile attempts through the Holy See to reach and persuade the British to back, or even to talk with the German resistance. They were all killed in the July 20, 1944; plot to assassinate Hitler, the last in a long line of foiled attempts to get rid of the dictator. The leader, a Roman Catholic officer, Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg was shot on the spot. Other conspirators, mostly Protestants, were not so lucky; they were hung by using piano strings from butchers’ hooks and filmed on Hitler’s orders so that he could watch it himself later.

According to historian O’Carroll, in 1983 the Italian magazine Gente, published the testimony of General Wolff, the commander of the German forces in Italy during WWII. He revealed that in 1943 Pius XII had invited him to the Vatican and tried to persuade him to end the war in Italy on his own initiative. General Wolff was impressed and gave the matter thought; he finally decided against the Pope’s plea. But he recorded the immense personal impression that Pius XII made on him. We already mentioned how the whole leadership of the Italian resistance found refugee in the Church’s facilities in Rome.

Pius XII also served as a conduit for an offer made by a group of anti-Nazi German generals to topple Hitler from power. They wanted to know if the British would make peace with Germany if they succeeded in arresting Hitler and removing him from power. The proposal was made by Colonel-General Ludwig Beck (four star general), who latter was made chief of the German General Staff, but who resigned in 1938 convinced that Hitler was a criminal. Pius XII had known Beck when he was Nuncio in Berlin and “highly esteemed his honesty and integrity.”

The Pope also allowed the Vatican diplomatic corps, which was protected by diplomatic immunity, to carry messages between the Allied powers. There was a close collaboration between the Vatican and the Allies’ intelligence services. In fact, the Vatican forewarned Holland and Belgium of the upcoming German invasion.

Rome under German occupation

At the beginning of 1944 Rome had already been under German control for four months. More than six months were yet to pass before the German troops would retreat to the North. The churches, seminaries, and convents, even those solemnly bound to the cloister were opened to all categories of refugees, regardless of political leanings, religion or race (the dispensation was granted by the Pope). More than 180 Church’s facilities were used in the rescue effort.

They harbored Jews, military officers and members of the resistance. Of the refugees hidden at Castel Gandolfo more than 3,000 were Jews. In the convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion there was a group of 200 Jewish men and women for several months. In the Roman Seminary of St. John Lateran nearly the entire National Committee of Liberation was hidden-only a few paces from the headquarters of the Gestapo police. In a raid into the extra-territorial Basilica of St. Paul’s Out-side the Walls; the neo-Fascist police found that the monastery was a shelter for the very people they were seeking.

During the German occupation of Rome, more than half of the Jewish population found refuge in The Church’s facilities, including the Vatican itself.

The Vatican City was in imminent risk of being occupied by the German troops. Spain and Brazil offered refuge to the Pope, but the Pope adamantly refused any possibility of abandoning Rome. As Cardinal Tisserant said: ”Everyone knew that the Pope was ready to go to a concentration camp.” Speaking to the College of Cardinals on February 9, 1944, when the fate of Rome was in question, Pius XII surely manifested his courage:

“There is no need to declare that we, whatever may happen, will never leave the Apostolic See or our beloved Rome. We shall yield only to violence. We do not have anxiety for our lot, but we do for yours, Venerable Brothers. Therefore we dispense you from your obligation to share our fate. Each of you is free to do as he thinks most efficient for his own safety.” (18)

German troops advance towards St. Peter Square

As German troops advanced towards St Peter Square, the Pope ordered the Papal Swiss Guards to move to the white demarcation line with their arms ready while machine guns posts were placed on high alert in the surrounding Vatican buildings. The German troops retreated.


24 posted on 01/19/2014 6:40:06 PM PST by Dqban22 (IVINIC)
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To: Argus
"“grease gun”"?

That's what I read. Seems like it needs wider distribution.

25 posted on 01/19/2014 6:41:36 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Dqban22
The German troops retreated.

Yes, indeed they did. THANKS for the mini-history lesson. I was a history minor in college and I still love it.

The Pope has the power of STATUS.

There were 44 attempts on Hitler's life by his own SS and troops. We Americans don't get to hear of that often...too much hatred/dislike of Germany...though 40% of Americans have some German ancestry.

Interesting how we have been brainwashed into disliking/hating an entire nation by Hollywood and some of the media.

26 posted on 01/19/2014 6:44:57 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: Dqban22
"Each of you is free to do as he thinks most efficient for his own safety.”"

Sweet.

27 posted on 01/19/2014 6:46:52 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: skinkinthegrass
as you know, neither country had any use for the western democracies, except financial/technical aid (the soviet).

AMEN to that, brother!!

I've been to Europe a zillion times over the last 45 years and went to Germany, since it is SOAKED in history. I love all of Europe, Germany included. It's a new world over there.
And I am delighted that they FINALLY have one currency to learn. "Euro" has a dozen different pronunciations over there...but I always "get it."

28 posted on 01/19/2014 6:48:15 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: bravo whiskey
"About 700,000 were produced at a unit cost of around $20 each."

And yet, I don't have one. Even $200 sounds good.

29 posted on 01/19/2014 6:55:20 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Jacob Kell
The most extraordinary things about Stephen Harding’s The Last Battle, a truly incredible tale of World War II, are that it hasn’t been told before

The most extraordinary thing about this battle is that French soldiers participated.

30 posted on 01/19/2014 7:26:54 PM PST by Hoodat (Democrats - Opposing Equal Protection since 1828)
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To: Paladin2

It was called the Grease Gun. Stamped receiver and other parts.


31 posted on 01/19/2014 7:45:40 PM PST by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long as it's mandatory.)
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To: Jacob Kell

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_for_Castle_Itter


32 posted on 01/19/2014 7:56:16 PM PST by packrat35 (Pelosi is only on loan to the world from Satan. Hopefully he will soon want his baby killer back)
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To: Paladin2
More accurate than a Thompson? B.S.

The Thompson was like a squirt gun, very controllable, high cyclic rate.

The M3 had a gawd-awful heavy bolt that slammed back and forth, jerking the gun all over the place. Rate of fire was quite low on the one I fired, which may have been due to a tired recoil spring.

Having fired both, would take the Thompson in a heartbeat.

33 posted on 01/19/2014 8:09:05 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: bakeneko

Tarantino? You can’t be serious. That clown should
NEVER be allowed anywhere near real history. Like
I posted the last time someone opened a thread on
this topic, a better little known story to turn into
a feature film would be The Los Banos Raid. Paratroopers
from the US 11th rescued 2147 mostly American civilian
prisoners from thirty miles behind the Japanese lines
south of Manila, PI. And, NO, it was NOT the same oper-
ation as the Cabanatuan rescue by Army Rangers as de-
picted in the movie The Great Raid. That was a good
operation but nothing near the scope of the Los Banos
Raid.


34 posted on 01/19/2014 8:10:23 PM PST by Sivad (NorCal red turf)
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To: cloudmountain

Do you eat CloudBerries?


35 posted on 01/19/2014 8:12:18 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Chode
did you have the M3A1 without the crank handle?

The one I played with just had a big divot in the bolt to hook a finger into and pull it back. Never researched different versions I disliked it so much.

36 posted on 01/19/2014 8:12:34 PM PST by doorgunner69
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To: eartrumpet
"A friend had one in his tank recovery vehicle in the Gulf War."

So, where is mine?

Can I get my rep and Senators to round one up?

37 posted on 01/19/2014 8:13:57 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: GreyFriar

WW-II history ping.


38 posted on 01/19/2014 8:17:26 PM PST by zot
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To: doorgunner69
yeah, that's the M3A1 alright... the M3 had a crank handle to retract the bolt

some of the M3A1's were made by Ithaca Gun

this is the M3 with the crank

39 posted on 01/19/2014 8:18:38 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: doorgunner69
"The M3 had a gawd-awful heavy bolt that slammed back and forth, jerking the gun all over the place. Rate of fire was quite low on the one I fired, which may have been due to a tired recoil spring. "

From my extremely brief readings, the bolt was made heavy to slow the rate of fire. Should a bunch'a these be made public, a bolt replacement could "straighten" things out.

40 posted on 01/19/2014 8:19:59 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

Lol. Not unless I go to northern Europe. I like them...mit viel schlag — bitte.


41 posted on 01/19/2014 8:36:48 PM PST by cloudmountain
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To: Paladin2
The M3 "grease gun" was sometimes issued as gear to armor personnel and helicopter pilots in VN as late as 1973, when I had my familiarization training with it. It had a sluggish cycle but packed quite a wallop.
42 posted on 01/19/2014 8:53:51 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Paladin2

The Grease Gun. Lots of fun to shoot, wasted a lot of .45 ammo to take out a target, but scared the H*** out of anyone on the business end. Tankers used to have them as an issue item in the field.


43 posted on 01/19/2014 8:59:33 PM PST by Arrowhead1952 (The Second Amendment is NOT about the right to hunt. It IS a right to shoot tyrants.)
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To: doorgunner69

Yes, The Thompson has the edge in accuracy with a longer sight radius, more weight for control, and sights which could be set for various distances.

My brother produced a YouTube vid about the differences between the Colt 1921 model Thompson and the much more common 1928a1 model.


44 posted on 01/19/2014 9:18:54 PM PST by Monterrosa-24 (...even more American than a French bikini and a Russian AK-47)
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To: Paladin2
Believe it or not, it was my issue weapon for my ECM jeep while with the 5th ID in 1986.
45 posted on 01/19/2014 10:56:02 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Play the 'Knockout Game' with someone owning a 9mm and you get what you deserve)
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To: cloudmountain

“By the way, their sheep have these HUGE triangle shaped tails. WEIRDEST thing I ever saw.”

Fat tail sheep, I think. They use that to keep the kebab thing from drying out by placing it at the top so the mutton suet is continually melting over the spiced meat. I have heard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat-tailed_sheep though the pictures don’t look like other pictures I’ve seen, which matched what you’ve described.


46 posted on 01/20/2014 1:54:13 AM PST by OldNewYork
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To: zot

Thank you.


47 posted on 01/20/2014 5:51:54 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: BenLurkin

Patton thought so.


48 posted on 01/20/2014 6:51:43 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: Jacob Kell

Not exactly the “last battle” of WWII. The Battle of Okinawa went into June. My father was wounded on Okinawa 10 days after this incident in Europe.


49 posted on 01/20/2014 11:06:27 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: OldNewYork
Do you remember the "goat grabs"???
The food is always laid out on picnic blankets, on the floor.

My husband and I snuck in early to see the goat grab layout. Just peeking at the food.
We BOTH noticed a big fat cockroach crawl into the goat food...and decided NOT to join the "Kapsa," goat grab that night. We ate at home.

50 posted on 01/20/2014 8:12:23 PM PST by cloudmountain
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