Author Topic: A Small Slice of Gunnyverse History  (Read 2540 times)

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Offline Þórgrímr (OP)

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A Small Slice of Gunnyverse History
« on: December 03, 2013, 11:25:29 AM »
Back in the 1970's I heard a song by the group Paper Lace called the Night Chicago Died. Ever since then I have always wanted to write up a 'historical' piece that inspired the group to write that song. Up until a couple of years ago I never did anything with the idea.

About 10 years ago I began to write, and one of the things I wrote was that 'historical' piece. So now it is incorporated into the official Gunnyverse canon.

Below is that effort. Comments are welcome.  :)


From July 27 to August 2, 1932, a Major gang push to take and rule Chicago began in that hot July night. When it was over one hundred and eight police officers and 250 mobsters were dead, 537 injured and about 1000 rendered homeless. The incident which sparked the 'war' was the shooting of a Capone hitter after he had drifted into a neighborhood controlled by a rival gang, on a hot, 96 degree day. The reasons for the 'war', however, lie solely with the greed and ambition of one Alphonse Capone, a vicious gangster, who controlled and organized the activities of the southside gangs, many of which were sponsored by Chicago's political machine. Most of the killing, murder, and arson was concentrated on the east side where Capone had staked out his new turf.

The 'war' was characterized by plenty of action on the part of gangs of hoodlums, and the clashes developed from sudden and spontaneous assaults into organized raids against life and property.

As part of the background of the Chicago gang war, the activities of gangs of hoodlums should be cited. There had been friction for years, especially along the western boundary of the area in which the southside gangs had tried to establish control in the spring just preceding the gang war. They reached a climax on the night of June 21, 1932, five weeks before the war, when two east-side mobsters were murdered. Each was alone at the time and was the victim of an unprovoked and particularly brutal attack.

As the raids began, clashes between the gangs stepped up. Further to the west, as darkness came on, Capone's mobster's became more active. Eastside mobsters caught in Capone's districts suffered severely at their hands. From 9:00pm until 3:00am twenty-seven Eastside mobsters were beaten, seven were stabbed, and four were shot.

The mobsters went back their territory to work the next day without incident, but a street strike forced workers to walk, creating opportunities for mayhem. But as the afternoon wore on, Capone and his boys sought malicious amusement in directing civilian mob violence against any eastside mobster they could find

Eastside mobs began to retaliate against the Capone mobsters. As the violence increased, police fired into a crowd of meleeing mobsters, killing four. the mobsters became emboldened and began to kill the police as well as each other, finally Capone began taking the offensive in raids through territory that he wanted to 'conquer'. Capone even began to use the boys of his men between sixteen and twenty-two to help with the 'conquest.'

Then it escalated even further, the drive-by shootings began: Automobile raids were added to the warring on Monday night. Cars from which Tommy guns and revolver shots were fired were driven at great speed through sections inhabited by the eastsiders. The Capone raiders were never arrested and eastsiders began 'sniping' at the police in retaliation for not stopping the raids. Chicago's Police Chief admitted to the Commission afterwards:
"There is no doubt that a great many police officers were grossly unfair in making arrests. They shut their eyes to offenses committed by Capone's men while they were very vigorous in getting all the eastsiders they could get.". Twice as many eastsiders were arrested than Capone men.

The next day gang violence grew worse; A gang of Capone's soldiers, augmented by civilians, raid the 'Loop' or downtown section of Chicago, early Tuesday, killing two eastside mobsters and beating and robbing several others. Capone and his allied gangs began raiding down as far south as Sixty-third Street in Englewood and in the section west of Wentworth Avenue near Forty-seventh Street. Pre-meditated depredations were the order of the night. Many homes in the districts were attacked, and several of them were burned. Lasalle Street railroad station was invaded twice, with Capone's gangs hunting for eastside hitters.

Rain seemed to calm the raids for a few hours and fires in the stockyards left 948 people, mainly Lithuanians, homeless. While eastside gangs were blamed for the fires, the Grand Jury suspected they were started in back of the yards by Capone and his gangs for the purpose of inciting feelings of anger by blaming it on the eastside mobs, in whose territory the stockyards were. However, by then, the war began to escalate.

The police began to intervene in the raids and so Capone then turned his Tommy guns on the police. In a running battle that even had a police station sacked and destroyed, Capone began an effort to so weaken the police that he would be essentially king, for they would be too weak to interfere with his plans for Chicago.

What actually happened was a 18 hour Gun battle where the eastside gangs were forgotten in the combat between Capone and the police. When it was over the police had finally stormed Capone's fortified hideout in Cicero and he was in custody,with a body count of 108 Police Officers dead to his credit.

Capone and his gangs, along with their activities, were an important factor throughout the raids. If not for them it is doubtful if the raids would have gone beyond the first clash. Both organized gangs, and those that sprang into existence because of the opportunity afforded, seized upon the excuse of the first conflict to engage in lawless acts.

Many of Capone's gangs came from the westside in and around Cicero, and even the police said they could get little information from residents about the activities of their gangs. The report later made about the raids singles out two of the worst of Capone's allies "Canaryville bunch" and "Hamburgs" as particularly tough and involved in the raids. Richard J. Daley, later mayor of Chicago, was a member of the gang at the time and was its president in 1924. The Hamburgs were sponsored by Bridgeport Alderman Joseph McDonough. Daley always refused to comment on whether he was involved in the raiding.

The worst of the gangs were Capone's killer's, a gang whose turf extended from Cicero to Oak Lawn and from Roosevelt Road to one hundred and eleventh Street. The gang was sponsored by Cook County Commissioner Frank Ragen. Gang members boasted that they were 'protected' and 'tipped off' by police. The Killers even broke into a police station at 47th and Halstead where they killed 12 Police Officers and stole evidence, along with some firearms.

Capone's Killers and other gangs were targeted by the Grand Jury, whose report stated:
"The authorities employed to enforce the law should thoroughly investigate clubs and other organizations posing as athletic and social clubs which really are organizations of hoodlums and criminals formed for the purpose of furthering the interest of local politics. These gangs have apparently taken an active part in the raiding, and no arrests of their members have been made as far as this jury is aware."

Other Gangs:

The Commission found that the gangs were mainly made up of boys 17-22 year old, and that many murders were committed by hitters as young as 14. Members of The Lorraine gang also terrorized residents and drove them out of areas around Wentworth and 47th. Our Flags gang, a gang located on 47th near Union participated in the raids, as did the Sparklers, were responsible for a fire on 5919 Wentworth which burned down a house. The Aylward gang also beat to death eastside mobsters in the Stockyards as a handy dumping grounds. Other gangs who participated in the raids included the Pine Club, Hamburgers, the Emeralds, the White Club, Favis Grays', and the Mayflower.

The 18 hour gun battle was later immortalized as a song by Paper Lace Called The Night Chicago Died

Cheers, Thor
Sic vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war


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