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Recycled WWII European Military Maps Made Into Envelopes

 
 
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Posted 10/24/2017   4:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add John Becker to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
As a youth I was surprised to find a military map inside of an envelope in my uncle's 1950s military correspondence from Europe. Since then I have picked up several other examples from $1 boxes. Hard to show the inside without exploding the covers, but here goes ...

1. Used Feb 3, 1946, from APO 403 in Germany. American Red Cross on back flap. Map portion showing Cormery and Truyes, Indre-et-Loire department of France, near Tours, SW of Paris.





2. Used Feb 28, 1946, from APO 206 in Germany. American Red Cross on back flap. Map portion showing Janville Poinville, and Semouville, Eure-et-Loire department of France, SSW of Paris.





3. Used Apr 20, 1951, from APO 403 in Germany. Map portion showing Holtensen bei Wunstorf and Gross Munxel, west of Hanover, Germany.




4. Used May 15, 1952, from APO 403 in Germany. Map portion showing Vossmar east of Munster, Germany.




5. Used May 22, 1952, from APO 46 and postmarked at APO 162 in Germany. Large 8.5x11 envelope showing map portion of SW of Bremen including Furstenau and Ankum, Germany.




6. Used June 19, 1952, from APO 403 in Germany. Large 8.5x11 envelope showing map portion of "Muhldorf (E)" with Eggenfelden NE of Muhldorf, Germany.




7. Used Sep 5, 1952, from APO 403 in Germany. Map portion showing south end of Wassenburg, Bavaria, on the Inn River about 25 miles ESE of Munich, Germany.




8. Used July 2, 1957, from APO 30 in Morocco. Map portion showing Bernshausen on Seeburger Sea E of Gottingen, Germany.




9. Used Aug 17, 1957, from APO 113 Morocco. Map portion showing Wieda on the Wieda River SE of Hanover, Germany. previous collector exploded this cover, so we get to see all of it!



And the British did the same recycling with their old maps too.
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Edited by John Becker - 10/24/2017 8:44 pm

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Posted 10/24/2017   8:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rwoodennickel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Those are just awesome, thanks for sharing!
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Posted 10/25/2017   11:14 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add vinman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I like to collect covers like that. I am not recommending you do this but I would try to sweat the covers if they were mine so I could show the inside as well on page in my collection.
Neat Covers, tells a great story. Reminds me of Confederate States of America turned covers and wall paper covers from the Civil War.

Vince
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Posted 10/25/2017   11:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You took the words right out of my mouth. Confederate wallpaper covers immediately come to mind.

Very interesting post. Presumably these covers came about due to hardships after the war, and shortages of envelopes?
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Posted 10/25/2017   11:35 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The results certainly appear similar, but ...
The Confederate wallpaper envelopes were due to a paper shortage in the Confederacy during the war.
These post-WWII envelopes appear to be a result of responsible recycling of an excess after the war. I do not know of any evidence of paper shortages or hardships which would have required this.
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Posted 11/22/2018   9:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
And here is an envelope repurposing a map of the Pacific Ocean. A previous owner opened it up. Part of Timor is just visible at the lower right. Not nearly as interesting as the European maps!

The sender was in the War Crimes Investigation Detachment - I wonder what stories he could tell! At this time, the return address (on this and earlier mail) of APO 500 was in Japan and the postmark (on this and later mail) of APO 501 was in the Philippines, so perhaps a transitional piece for his deployment.





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Posted 11/22/2018   10:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent posts, John Becker.
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Posted 11/29/2018   10:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Turtle2900 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These are fascinating. Please share more if you have them.

I am surprised they wouldn't be censored with the chance of the maps having something "secret"?
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Posted 11/29/2018   11:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These are post war. Old maps were used because they were "available paper". Much of Europe was in ruins and there were severe shortages of everything, including paper.
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Posted 11/29/2018   4:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is a German map envelope from the same period. It is postmarked Nuertingen 24.3.47 from the American zone of occupation. Cellophane tape letter seal and U.S. civil censorship marking were applied.

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Posted 11/29/2018   5:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Turtle 2900 has a point, bookbndrbob. Plenty of stuff remained reflexively classified for years after the war, so why not maps?

Perhaps it was just a realistic assessment (milspeak for 'miracle') that there were so many maps floating around that there was no point trying to stop anyone who wanted one.

The tactical maps, for example, were for fairly small amounts of territory, and would have been dumped with all the other GI trash every time a unit moved-up more than a few miles.

Moreover, anything actually marked on the maps - directions of movement, enemy locations, etc - was obsolete within days, let alone once the war was over.

And, lastly, nothing stopped the censor from trashing any envelope made from any map that made that censor uncomfortable.

Still, a fair question.

The war was over, but the Cold War was just getting started ... the Berlin Blockade began in 1948.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Posted 11/29/2018   6:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I worked at the Pentagon, the Defense Mapping Agency was in the basement. They had a dumpster there where they threw away unused/unneeded maps-- both US and World wide on size 10,000:1 to XXXXXX:1. Anyone could grab whatever they wanted. They even would print you a map to your spec if you weren't in a rush.

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Edited by oldguy - 11/29/2018 8:02 pm
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Posted 12/24/2018   6:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add thepackrat to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow great post. Great envelopes. I would love to get on of those for my collection. Post more if you have them.
Robert
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Posted 06/08/2019   2:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add HoosRec to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing, John. I've had an avid interest in cartography since I was a kid. I was probably the only kid in town with the local USGS topo maps on his bedroom wall. I had read about the reuse of maps for envelopes, but don't recall seeing examples. If I'm not mistaken, the maps back then were usually on high quality paper.

Tom
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Posted 06/08/2019   9:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... If I'm not mistaken, the maps back then were usually on high quality paper ...


The vast majority of these maps were intended for use in the field: unfolding, refolding, stuffing into pockets & kit bags, etc.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Posted 06/08/2019   11:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Maiden to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As someone with more than a passing interest in all things WW2, I find these fascinating.

Thanks for sharing.
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