Thomas Wictor

My sincerest wish for the U.S. Postal Service

My sincerest wish for the U.S. Postal Service

I wrote before about the theft ring in the U.S. Postal Service. It’s based in New York. Postal workers steal valuable postcards sent from Germany and sell them to collectors. Nobody will do a thing to stop it. Not the Postal Service, not Congress, not the FBI, and not the Germans. Nobody cares.

Well, it’s happened to me again. This time it’s a card that was utterly irreplaceable in terms of its historical value: It showed Austro-Hungarian assault troops wearing steel helmets with the brims cut off.


I knew that these helmets existed, because I have a photo of a German officer wearing one. But the “experts” taunted me, saying it couldn’t possibly be so, since nobody else had documented them. It’s kind of like the apocryphal quote attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of US patent office in 1899:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Since nobody had documented German or Austrian helmets with the brims cut off, they didn’t exist, despite my photograph. The fact that I have no pedigree makes all my contributions to military history worthless. Everyone agrees that the Turks wore brimless steel helmets, but not the Germans or Austro-Hungarians. The small, blurry image in my collection has no meaning. It depicts a one-off, if anything.

Well, my stolen postcard is a clear photo showing an entire Austro-Hungarian Sturmpatrouille from Infantry Regiment No. 14 equipped with brimless helmets. The Austrians often wore their steel helmets backwards. The brim of the German-designed M1916 Stahlhelm was like a long duck’s beak.


It got in the way in tight spaces; it obscured the soldier’s vision when the helmet got tipped forward; and in close combat, the enemy could jump on the German or Austrian soldier’s back, grab that long duck-brim with both hands, and yank up and back as hard as he could, breaking the German or Austrian soldier’s neck.

The U.S. Army recently developed the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), which has no brim at all.


My stolen postcard shows that the Austro-Hungarians had the U.S. Army beat by almost a hundred years. I was going to publish this image in my upcoming book Assault Troops of World War I: The Central, Allied, and Neutral Powers. It’s the final volume in my Military Tetrology.

But now I can’t, because some fat, piggish, greedy, foul-smelling criminal in the U.S. Postal Service stole it and sold it to a collector with no scruples.

Here’s a song for the U.S. Postal Service, for the collectors who buy from the theft ring, and for the German dealers who adamantly refuse to follow my foolproof method for getting my postcards to me. The postcard sellers are just as bad as the postal workers and the collectors who buy stolen cards.

This is my sincerest wish for those of you who steal my mail or look the other way while others do it.