Author Topic: This Day in History  (Read 16425 times)

besilarius

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Reply #300 on: January 19, 2020, 08:23:42 AM
On this date in 1915,  Germany begin Zeppelin raids on Great Britain, bombing Great Yarmouth & King's Lynn, c. 20 die

From January of 1915 through July of 1917, Germany conducted numerous air raids on British cities using rigid airships – Zeppelins.

This was hazardous duty, for Zeppelins full of hydrogen were liable to burn at the slightest spark, which could be provided by British fighters or anti-aircraft guns or just friction, and the airships were often at the mercy of the winds as well. So casualties were high. In the course of the war Germany deployed 117 Zeppelins, including ships that were not used to raid Britain. Of these, 39 were shot down by Allied ground fire or airplanes and another 42 lost to due to the weather or to accidents, or were just never heard from again.

A raid on England on October 19, 1917 was perhaps typical. The eleven attacking zeppelins dropped 275 bombs, which caused the deaths of 36 people. But five of the airships failed to return, though only one was lost to enemy action.

Despite these heavy losses, the morale of the Kaiser’s airshipmen remained high throughout the war. Indeed, it was so high that many of the men, already volunteers for hazardous duty, would eagerly volunteer for the even more hazardous duty of serving as observers.

Since navigation was often uncertain when Zeppelins were flying above clouds, some were equipped with an observation basket that could be lowered through the cloud layers. In that way one or two men in the basket would have a good view of the earth’s surface. From this position, they could keep the ship informed by telephone of the landmarks below, helping it navigate to and from its target.

Of course this was particularly hazardous, as the men were without parachutes in a flimsy basket dangling at the end of a 750 meter tether, in freezing cold. Yet there never seems to have been a shortage of volunteers for this duty. In part this was due to the very high morale of the airshipmen. But volunteers also gained a privilege denied to everyone else on the ship; the little basket dangling at the end of nearly a half-mile of cable was the only place on the airship where a man was allowed to have a cigarette.

"These things must be done delicately-- or you hurt the spell."  - The Wicked Witch of the West.
"We've got the torpedo damage temporarily shored up, the fires out and soon will have the ship back on an even keel. But I would suggest, sir, that if you have to take any more torpedoes, you take 'em on the starboard side."   Pops Healy, DCA USS Lexington.


Martok

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Reply #301 on: January 19, 2020, 09:27:10 PM
Interesting stuff.  I knew Germany employed zeppelins in WW1, but not that extensively. 

"Evil is easy, and has infinite forms." - Pascal


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Reply #302 on: January 19, 2020, 10:35:16 PM
Interesting stuff.  I knew Germany employed zeppelins in WW1, but not that extensively.


Reports of their effectiveness were highly over inflated

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Sir Slash

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Reply #303 on: January 19, 2020, 11:33:36 PM
Right, they were blown up out of proportion. And sometimes just blown up.  :hehe:

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besilarius

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Reply #304 on: January 21, 2020, 07:44:43 PM
On this date, Alfonso II of Naples (1494-1495) abdicates in favor of his son Ferrante II (1495-1496)

In 1493, although only 24, Charles VIII had been on the throne of France for 10 years. That year, he decided to assert a dubious claim to the throne of Naples. Naples had been in dispute between the house of Aragon and the house of Anjou for some two centuries. In 1442 King Alfonso V of Aragon had deposed Charles’ uncle, Rene “the Good,” and set himself up as Alfonso I of Naples. This passed to his illegitimate son Ferrante I in 1458. By 1493 Ferrante was ill, and the Neapolitan barons, long unhappy with Aragonese efforts to curb their power in the interests of national unity, were encouraging Charles to step in. By the time Ferrante died, in January of 1494, leaving the throne to his son, Alfonso II, Charles was already preparing an invasion of Italy.

Now at the time, France had the best army in the world, essentially the first professional standing army in Western Europe since the fall of Rome. So when Charles invaded Italy in a surprise late-season campaign in September of 1494 with 18,000 troops, including French men-at-arms, Swiss pikemen, and a train of 40 cannon, his army proved remarkably effective. With the finest artillery train in the west, great fortified cities fell so easily into his power, that in short order places began surrendering as soon as Charles’ gunners set up their pieces. By December, the French had occupied Rome, forcing Pope Alexander VI, hardly the finest occupant of the See of Peter, to concede his claim to Naples, which was technically a papal fief.

From Rome, Charles launched an unprecedented winter campaign, invading Naples on two fronts with an army swollen to 40,000 by alliances with various Italian princes.

At this point, Alfonso, an artistically-inclined prince of no great intelligence, abdicated and passed the throne to his son, Ferrante II. Ferrante, although already a proven campaigner despite his age, only 25, could put up little resistance, faced with an empty treasury, an invading army, and unreliable barons, and so fled to Sicily, where his cousin Ferdinand II (as in “Ferdinand and Isabella”), reigned. While Ferrante and Ferdinand concentrated an army in Sicily, Charles captured Naples itself on February 20, 1495, and soon was in control of most of the kingdom.

Believing his work done, within weeks Charles marched back to France. Italian efforts to interfere in his retirement led to a spectacular French victory at the Taro, in Tuscany, on July 6, 1495. Oddly, this victory came just a few days before Charles received word that an Aragonese-Neapolitan army landed from Sicily had liberated Naples on July 7th. Despite news of this reverse, Charles continued on his way, returning to France.

So in the end, Charles gained nothing from his campaign.

Well, not quite.

He did manage to keep one “conquest.” While fleeing Naples, Ferrante had neglected to take along his mistress, Caterina Gonzaga. Applying the ancient maxim, “To the victor belong the spoils, Charles promptly made the young woman his mistress.

But Charles didn’t get to enjoy even that little bit of his victory for very long. Early in April of 1498, Charles accidentally bunked his head against a stone door lintel, and died of a concussion on the 7th.

The only lasting legacy of Charles’ invasion of Italy was to initiate over a generational conflict between France and Spain for control of the peninsula that would last more than 60 years (1494-1559), and end in complete Spanish dominance

"These things must be done delicately-- or you hurt the spell."  - The Wicked Witch of the West.
"We've got the torpedo damage temporarily shored up, the fires out and soon will have the ship back on an even keel. But I would suggest, sir, that if you have to take any more torpedoes, you take 'em on the starboard side."   Pops Healy, DCA USS Lexington.


besilarius

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Reply #305 on: January 22, 2020, 08:24:37 AM

"These things must be done delicately-- or you hurt the spell."  - The Wicked Witch of the West.
"We've got the torpedo damage temporarily shored up, the fires out and soon will have the ship back on an even keel. But I would suggest, sir, that if you have to take any more torpedoes, you take 'em on the starboard side."   Pops Healy, DCA USS Lexington.


mirth

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Reply #306 on: January 22, 2020, 01:39:26 PM

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


mirth

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Reply #307 on: January 26, 2020, 03:19:57 PM

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


Martok

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Reply #308 on: January 26, 2020, 03:41:53 PM
He was almost ridiculously badass. 

"Evil is easy, and has infinite forms." - Pascal


besilarius

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Reply #309 on: January 26, 2020, 04:56:58 PM
Audie was a very boyish, quite short individual.  On being introduced to John Wayne, Wayne refused to believe that this "little kid" could have been any kind of a war hero.
One story was that Audie had a very large auto, like a Buick or Caddy.  He looked like a kid who had stolen his parent's car for a joyride.
He was driving down Hollywood Blvd and had a fender bender.
The other car had two guys who were muscle builders.  They started pushing Audie around.
He took it for a moment.  Then, according to an eye witness, "he just seemed to explode into them."
By the time the police arrived, one guy was out cold with a broken arm.  Audie was kneeling on the other fellow's shoulders and pounding him into the cement.  A policeman had to pull him off the guy.
The police couldn't believe "this little shrimp" could have taken out the two muscle jocks.

"These things must be done delicately-- or you hurt the spell."  - The Wicked Witch of the West.
"We've got the torpedo damage temporarily shored up, the fires out and soon will have the ship back on an even keel. But I would suggest, sir, that if you have to take any more torpedoes, you take 'em on the starboard side."   Pops Healy, DCA USS Lexington.


Sir Slash

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Reply #310 on: January 26, 2020, 11:03:00 PM
And he made a reasonably good actor too. Better than many of his contemporary fellow actors anyway. I remember hearing about him being killed the day it happened.  :'(

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judgedredd

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Reply #311 on: January 27, 2020, 05:34:56 AM
When I was in HM Forces training on exercise and we were walking along on patrol and your arm was sore so you rested the rifle down by your hip as opposed to having the butt of the rifle in the shoulder where it should be, we were always being told "Hold the rifle up to your shoulder...who do you think you are? Audie f***ing Murphy?"

I had no idea who he was back then.

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Sir Slash

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Reply #312 on: January 27, 2020, 11:42:48 AM
One of his old movies was on TV one day when my daughter and Son-In-Law were over and when I explained to them who this guy was, the most decorated soldier in U.S. History, they just looked at me like I was an alien that had just landed in their front yard.  :sigh:  I felt like telling them, 'You'll be back when your kids have to learn about in school'. But, they probably don't teach stuff like that anymore.

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bayonetbrant

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Reply #313 on: January 28, 2020, 06:15:11 AM
(OK, this was yesterday in history)

Quote
Character and Courage—Here’s a story from 75 years ago today that you likely haven't heard before. It led to this man being the first and only American soldier to be declared “Righteous Among the Nations.” This title is the highest honor Israel confers on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
US Army Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, 422nd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division, was captured by Nazi forces at the onset of the Battle of the Bulge. A native of Knoxville, TN, Edmonds was 25 years old. He had only been on the front line for five days when his unit was overrun.

Edmonds' captors sent him east to a holding camp before they eventually transferred him to Stalag IX-A, just east of Bonn, Germany. The camp was designated solely for enlisted personnel. As the senior noncommissioned officer at the camp, Edmonds found himself responsible for 1,275 American POWs.

On January 27, 1945, the first day for the prisoners at Stalag IX-A, the Nazi commandant ordered Edmonds to assemble all the Jewish-American soldiers so they could be separated from the other prisoners. Instead, Edmonds assembled all 1,275 American POWs.

Furious, the German commandant rushed up to Edmonds, placed a pistol against Edmonds' head and demanded that he identify the Jewish soldiers within the ranks.

Edmonds, a Baptist, responded, "We are all Jews here."

Edmonds then warned the commandant that if he wanted to shoot the Jews, he'd have to shoot everyone, and that if he harmed any of Edmonds' men, the commandant would be prosecuted for war crimes when the Nazis lost. Edmonds then recited that the Geneva Conventions required POWs to give only their name, rank, and serial number, NOT their religion.

The commandant backed down.

Edmonds' actions are credited with saving up to 200 Jewish-American soldiers from likely execution. He survived 100 days of captivity, and returned home after the war, but kept the event at the POW camp to himself. He served again in Korea.

It was only after Edmonds’ death in 1985 and the review of his diaries by his son that his story came to light. Jewish-American POWs, including NBC television executive Sonny Fox, verified the story as did other POWs who were glad to share. The State of Israel declared Edmonds “Righteous Among the Nations” in 2015.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. As we pause to remember the 6 million Jews and 11 million others murdered at the hand of their Nazi captors, we also commend our Veterans who helped bring the Nazi tyranny to an end. Master Sergeant Edmonds and the 1,275 American soldiers who stood defiantly with him were a part of that story. It is because of men of character and courage like Master Sergeant Edmonds that we live in the free world we do today.

Photo courtesy of Yad Vashem: World Holocaust Center, Jerusalem, Israel #WeRemember

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bbmike

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Reply #314 on: January 28, 2020, 06:17:17 AM
 :applause: Well done, Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds.

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