Παρασκευή, 8 Απριλίου 2016

First down on Yamato! By Barry Smith





On the morning of Saturday April 7th, 1945 tension aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) was times a thousand.  The fighter pilots with Hornet’s Air Group 17 were grim after the heavy kamikaze raids the day before but remained optimistic.  On this particular day the skies above them lay in a dull overcast and threatening clouds darkened the horizon in all directions.  Six days earlier on April 1, US forces under Lt. Gen. Simon Buckner had invaded Okinawa.  Five days after that, on Friday, April 6, suicide planes from Japan and Formosa rained down upon the Okinawa invasion forces by the hundreds.  American ships were sunk at random and sailors were maimed beyond recognition all according to the unfathomable fortunes of war.

Watch Massive 72 Ton Jagdtigers Surrender in Germany, 1945




German surrender of a JagdTiger equipped company of the 512th Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion (512th sJgdPzAbt) at Iserlohn, Germany. The company was under the command of Knights Cross holder Hauptmann Albert Ernst and he chose to surrender the town and his unit to the Americans rather than see its destruction.
The battalion was formed at Döllersheim on 11 February 1945, it received its first Jagdtigers on 16 February and by 13 March, it had been brought up to a strength of 20 vehicles in two companies, with the 3rd Company made up of personnel transferred from the 511th Heavy Panzer Battalion.

The Battle of North Cape, and the utter destruction of the pocket battleship Scharnhorst.




It was wholly dark. In the sea north of Tromsø in Norway, the great German battleship Scharnhorst was on a mission to sink an Allied supply convoy bound for Russia.
Unknown to the German command, the convoy’s British escort, led by Admiral Sir Robert Burnett and Admiral Bruce Fraser, had successfully intercepted the Scharnhorst’s radio communications. They were fully aware of the Scharnhorst’s plan to sink the convoy.
It was the day after Christmas. On the north sea, December 26th, total darkness reigned for most of the day. The British Admiral Fraser commanded from the HMS Duke of York, a powerful and heavily armed battleship. Supporting the Duke of York were the Cruiser Jamaica and four destroyers.

A Turning Point In The Life Of Musashi, The Undefeated Samurai




Miyamoto Musashi was three hours late. This was his way. On the beach the tension in the air was palpable. Sasaki Kojiro paced up and down on the fine sand with his hands behind his back. His wrath was rising with the sun, and with every passing minute he felt the insult to his honour growing. The date was the 13th of April, 1612.
Kojiro was considered one of the greatest Samurai in Japan. He was famous throughout the land for his speed and precision, which was made even more remarkable by his preferred weapon. He wielded a huge no-dachi blade, a curved Japanese sword in the classic style, but with a blade over a meter in length. The size and weight of the no-dachi made it a brutal, unsubtle weapon, but Kojiro had perfected its use to a degree unheard of in all Japan.

Contentious Parade Staged By Latvian Waffen SS Veterans




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Veterans of Latvian Legion held a parade this month in Riga to honor a key 1944 World War II battle. The parade is controversial because the Legion was commanded by the German Waffen-SS, the Nazis’ elite police force, and fought against the Soviet army.
More than 1,000 people paraded through the Old Town of the Latvian capital. The security presence was strong during the parade.
Jewish groups, Moscow, and much of Latvia’s Russian minority felt that the parade glorified Nazism. 25% of the 2 million people living in Latvia identify as Russian. They dislike the Legion and all it represents.

Top 5 Battle Rifles (Watch)




The term “battle rifle” is a colloquialism that is generally used to refer to rifles firing a full caliber cartridge and generally are select fire. After WWII, many nations decided to forego intermediate rounds in favor of heavy hitting, powerful fully automatic long arms that lasted until intermediate cartridges seized the day. In this video, we take a look at 5 that we consider the best.

Georgian Uprising and Subsequent Massacre on Texel – Western Europe’s Last Battle Of WWII

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This was not the actual last battle in Europe, although I believe it is the last one in Western Europe. However, this story is a fascinating one and one I wasn’t aware of until recently.
The Georgian Uprising on Texel (5 April 1945 – 20 May 1945) was an insurrection by the 882nd Infantry Battalion Königin Tamara (Queen Tamar or Tamara) of the Georgian Legion of the German Army (Wehrmacht Heer) stationed on the German-occupied Dutch island of Texel (pronounced Tessel). The battalion was made up of 800 Georgians and 400 Germans, with mainly German officers.
For five years it was as idyllic as war could be. But for the last six weeks – extending beyond the official end of the Second World War – it was bloody carnage. Those who were once comrades in uniform suddenly took to butchering one another in a conflict that has come to be called Western Europe’s last battle.

What Do You Get When You Cross a T-34 with a Mig 21? (Watch)


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A Hungarian company lashes two MiG engines to a Soviet T-34  tank and proceeds to huff and puff and blow out the worst sort of raging oil-well fire.
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The Kuwaiti oil fires were caused by Iraqi military forces setting fire to a reported 605 to 732 oil wells along with an unspecified number of oil filled low-lying areas, such as oil lakes and fire trenches, as part of a scorched earth policy while retreating from Kuwait in 1991 due to the advances of Coalition military forces in the Persian Gulf War.

MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109 – Review by Mark Barnes


Main image, right: Bundesarchiv / Wikipedia
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Caraktère Presse et Éditions are based in sunny Aix-en-Provence in France. They produce a number of vibrant looking magazines filled with superb archive imagery and artwork on a range of military history subjects. Unfortunately my schoolboy French isn’t good enough to appreciate much of the text, so I am glad this colourful and dynamic book, typical of their style; is published in English.
We saw their look at German panzers towards the end of last year and this time round the publisher turns our attention to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane. The book takes the reader through the history of design and development of the famous fighter before looking at the long sequence of production variants including a phalanx of differences in detail. The authors finish up by outlining the special versions of the aircraft and the appendices include a wealth of technical information.

Personal Effects Of WWII Pilot Returned To Family 72 years After His Death


Republic P-47D-22-RE Thunderbolt 42-26057 of the 63d Fighter Squadron in D-Day invasion markings, 1944


Republic P-47D-22-RE Thunderbolt 42-26057 of the 63d Fighter Squadron in D-Day invasion markings, 1944
Lieutenant Harry F. Warner, Jr., was a decorated WWII hero killed during a bombing mission with the 63rd Fighter Squadron. His plane was shot down over the French village of Liancourt Saint-Pierre on June 7, 1944.

FUSAG: Patton’s D-Day Army That Didn’t Exist


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An army can help win a war without even existing. Strange as it might seem, that was exactly what happened with the First United States Army Group (FUSAG), a fictional formation that played a key role in the Second World War.

Preparing for D-Day

Landing craft in Southampton ready for the invasion.
Landing craft in Southampton ready for the invasion.
By the spring of 1944, Nazi Germany was on the retreat. The Red Army was pushing German forces back on the Eastern Front while American and British troops fought their way up Italy. Defeat was clearly coming for the Germans.
But for the western powers, this created a problem. The Germans under Kesselring were slowing their advance up Italy, and would become even harder to fight in the mountain passes of the Alps. By the time the British and Americans reached beyond Italy, the Russians might have taken most of Europe, something the western nations feared. After all, they and Russia were allies of convenience.

The deadliest fighter planes of WWII ...




OK, so we have added the British Typhoon or the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 as they they are multi-role attack aircraft. Over a period of six years of conflict, from 1939 to 1945, aircraft designs had progressed in leaps and bounds. From the obsolete biplane, to the world’s first jet fighter, from crude two-engined bombers, to radical designs of the B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers, World War Two had seen the most radical use of aircraft in the battlefield. So lets have a look at the 10 deadliest fighters of WWII. It will cause debate but lets see what you think….
Hawker Hurricane
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The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft became renowned during the Battle of Britain, accounting for 60% of the RAF’s air victories in the battle, and served in all the major theatres of the Second World War.

Carrier Operations In the Pacific – 22 Amazing Picture you MAY Not have Seen Before !?!




Carrier OpsAircraft return to the carrier during the Gilberts operation, November 1943. Crewmen in the foreground are sitting on the wing of an SBD-5, as an F6F-3 lands and a TBF-1 taxis to a parking place on the forward flight deck.

Saint Nazaire Raid: Massive Intel, Courage, Sacrifice and Big Explosions


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A little after 1:20 AM on March 28th, 1942, searchlights on both sides of the Loire Estuary flooded the waterway to reveal the convoy of 12 motor launch boats, a motor gun boat, motor torpedo boat and a destroyer which had somehow managed to slip over the sand banks flying German colors and signal lighting friendly code.
That little delay didn’t last long before the Germans guarding the Estuary and the vital Saint Nazaire harbor and Normandie dry dock opened up all their guns on the approaching British sailors and commandos. At 1:28 AM, Lieutenant Commander Stephen Halden Beattie ordered the Royal Navy’s White Ensign raised and kept his command, the destroyer HMS Campbeltown, sailing for her target: ramming the gates of the dry dock.
A few minutes of exchanged gunfire with the German shore positions later, Campbeltown drove her weight into the gates, pushing 33 feet into the dock. A commando group divided into assault, demolition, and protection teams disembarked, cleared the area, and blew up the dock’s water pump and gate machinery at great cost of life.
But their comrades in the two columns of motor launch boats that had come in on the port and starboard sides of the Campbeltown were dying even faster. Most of those boats were burning or exploded on the push down the Estuary under fire. Some managed to put their troops ashore to little better life-expectancy.
HMS Campbeltown being converted for the raid. There are twin lines of armour plate down each side of the ship and the Oerlikon mountings. Two of her funnels have been removed, with the remaining two cut at an angle.
HMS Campbeltown being converted for the raid. There are twin lines of armour plate down each side of the ship and the Oerlikon mountings. Two of her funnels have been removed, with the remaining two cut at an angle.
All these men knew the importance of the mission and 169 of the 346 Royal Navy sailors and 264 commandos that participated perished with a further 215 taken as prisoners of war. They did, however, destroy the most important harbour in German-occupied France, dealing a monumental blow to Germany and especially the Kriegsmarine.

A tragic end to such a beautiful ship – the fate of the SS Normandie, world’s greatest passenger liner ever created



SS Normandie, is one of the relatively few legitimate contenders for the title “Greatest Liner Ever”, was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France, for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. The ship would be renamed the USS Lafayette, in honor of the French General who had helped make U.S. independence possible during the revolution.
Vladimir Yourkevitch working on the design of SS Normandie. source
The designers intended their superliner to be similar to earlier French Line ships. Then they were approached by Vladimir Yourkevitch, a former naval architect for the Imperial Russian Navy, who had emigrated to France after the revolution. His ideas included a slanting clipper-like bow and a bulbous forefoot beneath the waterline, in combination with a slim hydrodynamic hull. Yourkevitch’s concepts worked wonderfully in scale models, confirming his design’s performance advantages. The French engineers were impressed and asked Yourkevitch to join their project.

New Viking exhibit coming to New York



A new Viking exhibition will be coming to Times Square in New York City within the coming months. The exhibit is called Vikings and will actually be the largest collection of Viking artifacts ever assembled in North America. There will be over 500 artifacts that archeologists hope will help set people straight. When people generally think of Vikings, they think of the armor and horned helmets. However, the horned helmets are nothing but a myth.
The idea that Vikings wore horned helmets began in the 19th century. Authors and artists alike gave people a romanticized version of the Norse culture. However, no horned helmet that has been described and depicted has actually ever been excavated.

Top 11 Biggest Air Battles in War History




Many think of war as either one-on-one combat or trench battle; tending to forget that there were also battles going on above the soldiers’ heads.  Many mid-air skirmishes took place over the years of war.  Here are some of the top air battles in history.