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About This Club

If you're looking for a club about guys walking around with drive-by historical knowledge, look no further. We offer a full selection of drive-by historical knowledge (gluten free options now available). Also, it's a history club guys...talk things of the past. Cover Photo: Fate/Apocrypha, Icon Photo: Operation Tomodachi (Japan Tsunami Relief Effort, 2011)

  1. What's new in this club
  2. One of the last Indian Wars to be fought east of the Mississippi River was located in the northern reaches of the river valley. It traces its roots to 1804, when American settlers began to cultivate lands that belonged to the Sauk tribe near the Cuivre River. Sauk warriors sacked the settlement and killed the settlers. However, the Sauk Chiefs denounced the murders, and two of them travelled to the settlement of St. Louis to denounce the murders to the American government and, as a sign of good will, bring gifts to make amends. Unfortunately for them, the American government had a different idea in store. Upon bringing one of the braves responsible, the Americans proceeded to imprison the brave and "misleadingly" draw the two chiefs into a signatory agreement ceding a large track of land that included western Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and east central Missouri. The treaty was for an immediate payment of roughly $2,000 with annual amounts of around $1,000 to the tribe. This might be in the form of currency, but more likely would have been in goods and supplies. However, this agreement was invalid by the law of both the Sauk and the neighboring and intermingled Fox tribes. By the codices of the tribe, all tribe chiefs must be present and agree to the terms of an agreement. At the time of the signing, only two of around thirty chiefs were present. This resulted in the agreement being null to the tribes. However, in the American law, the land was rightfully American territory at this juncture. Most of the tribes did not quarrel with this matter and relocated west of the Mississippi. A small faction of Sauk people led by Black Hawk, however, remained at their capitol at Saukenuk. By 1816, the government had decided to garrison a large island in the middle of the Mississippi River for the U.S. Army. They were aware of unrest in the region, and the tribes that were in the region had previously aligned themselves with the British in the War of 1812. The island was several miles up river from where the Rock River met the Mississippi. Just a few miles up the Rock River from this location was the village of Saukenuk. The native tribes changed residence in the winter months. Black Hawk and his group left Saukenuk in the Fall of 1831 to return in the Spring of 1832 to find American settlers there. The tribe ran off the settlers, and the Americans evicted Black Hawk from the settlement. Black Hawk, however, did not recognize the agreement as valid, and proceeded to cross down stream of the river to reoccupy Saukenuk. In his group were braves, women, and children. The U.S. government recognized Black Hawk's movement as an act of war, and proceeded to dispatch the garrison at Rock Island to intercept him. Black Hawk's trail took him well within the state of Illinois, looking to out maneuver and outrun the U.S. Army that was in pursuit. His intention, upon discovering that he was alone in his quest to reclaim the land, was to retreat back across the Mississippi. However, the U.S. Army's movement prohibited this. He proceeded north, crossing into Wisconsin (fun fact: it was originally Ouisconsing). The U.S. Army by this time had determined that he was attempting to make his way back across the river. They planned to intercept him and his band, doing so at the Battle of Bad Axe in Wisconsin. Black Hawk himself was captured, while many of the braves in the group fought to their demise. After the conclusion of the war, Black Hawk was displaced and sent to Washington where he lived out the rest of his life. The Black Hawk War effectively ended all Indian resistance east of the Mississippi River, and settlements had begun to push across into Iowa, Northeast Missouri, and Minnesota. With this, Fort Armstrong at Rock Island was abandoned at the conclusion of the conflict in 1833.
  3. The term "mound builder" collectively refers to an indigenous people who used earthen mounds for a various assortment of purposes. In some instances, mounds were used as mass graves, or single graves for important or divine individuals. In other instances, they were used for ceremonial purposes. The mounds, in many ways, are akin to the pyramid designs in Egypt and the stepped pyramids of Mesoamerica. The largest concertation of mound builders was centered on the Mississippi River Valley and the tributary rivers. The most famous example of these mounds is in Cahokia, where the mound structures there indicate an immense civilization once dwelled there. Mississippian culture is defined as a nation, or nations, that were centered exclusively on the Mississippi ranging from just north of Prairie Du Chien south to approximately Cape Girardeau. It may have extended as far west as the Red Hills, and as far east as the eastern end of Lake Erie. There are some discrepancies depending on the sources you reference. This nation would have existed from approximately 900 CE to around 1400 CE. For a comparison, the reign of the pharaoh in ancient Egypt ran from about 3100 BCE to around 100 BCE, and the Olmec's lived in Mesoamerica between 1200 and 400 BCE. There is an exception to this however, and it is this exception that is the most curious and has fascinated scholars for quite some time: Cahokia. The settlement of Cahokia peaked sometime between 1200 and 1300 CE. Some estimations put this relic city's population upwards of 50,000, making it the largest northern settlement up to that point in the Americas. The ancient city of Teotihuacan predated Cahokia as the largest settlement in 450 CE with a population of almost a quarter million. Cahokia had no fewer than ten mounds clustered around what was believed to be a city center. Outward from this center extended numbers of smaller huts and mud structures. Archeological surveys conducted at this site continue to expand the city outward, and population estimates continue to increase. The upper limit of the population suggested approaches 100,000 - which would make it the largest mound city to be built. There is still some mystery surrounding the abandonment of Cahokia. However, the most likely reason can be found further south in the westernized settlement of Kaskaskia. Here, Americans had settled what was once the state capitol of Illinois territory. When the capitol was moved in the 1820s, much of the population moved to the state center. However, Kaskaskia remained an incorporated town for a while after that. It was not until floods struck Kaskaskia that the population dwindled. It is theorized that the volatile nature of floods on the Mississippi is especially voracious in this part of the river. The river may have flooded the town or caused long-term damage to hunting or vegetation in the area. Repetitive floods may have also caused the issue, such as what happened in Kaskaskia. Elsewhere on the Mississippi, some mounds have been carbon dated to as early as 4500 BCE. These mounds, predating the Mississippian, were found in Louisiana - officially putting humans as far south and east into the Americas as Baton Rouge. Falling squarely in the Archaic period, these mounds represent the earliest known settlements in the United States, and some of the oldest settlements in North America - predated only by the Lithic era. Many different types of mounds served many different purposes, as previously stated. One of the most fascinating types of mound are the ones that take the form of spiraling serpents. The most famous of these is the Serpent Mound in Ohio, but many others - such as the one in Dubuque - exist in far smaller scale. The exact purpose of these mounds is unknown. Thousands of these structures can be found along and east of the Mississippi River and throughout the eastern seaboard. West of the river - especially beyond Missouri - soil composition was not conducive for such features. However, there are many examples of unique design, architecture, and art in ancient findings in the Rocky Mountains and points west as well. Cahokia remains the best kept and intact example of the mound builders. Today, a state sanctioned museum operates depicting the history of the mound builders and the old city of Cahokia proper. Monks Mound also remains relatively intact and is a UNESCO National Historic Site. Make plans if you ever plan to visit Illinois!
  4. World War I saw many new technological advances on the battlefield. Widespread use of the submarine made open waters unsafe for civilians and navies, steel coffin tanks littered fields where crops used to grow, and eyes in the sky could see your every move. War was fought in the trenches, and once the lines were dug in, there was little movement and few gains. To break this stalemate, Russia’s high command (Stavka) was tasked with relieving stress on the Entente powers in France by increasing stress on Germany’s eastern front. The hope was to draw Central forces away from Verdun to allow for reinforcements and fortification. Two generals established plans for the Russian army: the first was GEN Alexei Evert, who proposed a defensive plan; the second was GEN Aleksei Brusilov, who proposed a full out offensive strike against the Austrian-Hungarian army. The Stavka opted to go with Brusilov’s plan, which included four separate armies comprised of smaller and more specialized units that would focus on weak points within the enemy lines. He faced a narrowly smaller Austrian force that was reinforced later by German forces. Brusilov, however, would not have any reinforcements, putting all of his reserves on the front lines with the main attacking force. With the massive entrenchments dug out and making their way towards the Austrian front, Brusilov and his armies were prepared to launch the largest Russian show of force in the entirety of World War I. His goal was effectively to launch a surprise attack across the entirety of his southwestern front towards the town of Lutsk, and to knock the Austrian-Hungarian Army out of the war entirely while siphoning off German forces from the French front. The offensive launched on 4 June 1916 with an artillery barrage against the Austrians, breaking through the lines swiftly, the Russians continued onward. This was attributed to Brusilov’s accurate assessment of weak points in the Austrian line. Keeping momentum, the Russians continued onward to recapture Lutsk by 8 June. The tremendous speed at which the Russians were making headway had staggered the Austrians, but Evert — still unsure of the success of the operation — did not advance. This caused flaws to open in the Russian advance, and allowed the Germans a chance to fill in the Austrian lines. By 20 September 1916, Brusilov’s forces had pushed to the doorstep of the Carpathians. Noting the success of Brusilov’s front, the Stavka continued to feed more men into Brusilov’s ranks and siphoning them off from Evert. This came long after Evert’s attacks had stalled earlier in the year and progress had slowed on his front. The sector of combat that was commanded by Brusilov was largely successful, but on all other fronts it faltered significantly. The offensive took its toll of roughly two million casualties over the course of four months. The losses on the side of the Russians amounted upwards of half a million. It is contended today that this offensive contributed to the collapse of the Russian Army due to the short amount of time that the losses were built. The majority of Central casualties were suffered by the Austro-Hungarian forces, which was the goal of the Russian Army. They also succeeded in forcing the Germans to cease the attack on Verdun on the western front. By these points, the Brusilov Offensive was successful. Germany, however, remained a viable enemy, and the fighting that was still to come between the last half of 1916 thru 1918 would still prove to be fierce. Historian John Keegan described the offensive in his 2000 book The First World War as: “the greatest victory seen on any front since the trench lines had been dug.” Indeed, Keegan’s description seems to accurately peg the brilliance of Brusilov’s plan, as the methods of combat used would set the stage for German tactics in their blitzkrieg battles during World War II. The same tactics that were devised by Brusilov would be used to stop the Axis Powers less than thirty years later as World War II came to a close. * This article is a reprint of a publication date 15 May 2018. It was published by the U.S. Army. I composed and edited this article prior to its forward to the printing presses on 10 May. I opted to do this reprint because I just don't have the time this evening to write up a scratch article like usual. Normal posts will return tomorrow!
  5. It is customary for branches of the military to poke fun at each other. I will do this all day, and take a great amount of fake offense when it comes to my own branch. However, I'm going to muse a bit for this. Today marks the 72nd birthday of the United States Air Force. Keeping the skies over the United States and her allies safe has been no easy task, and the Air Force has had to stay several steps ahead of the competition in order to maintain that level of defense and readiness. However, that being said - military forces in the sky have been defending the nation since 1907, when the U.S. Army established the Aeronautical Division within the U.S. Army Signal Corps. The early Aeronautical Division was established mainly as a means to provide information to forces on the ground ahead of troop movement. It was also used to transport messages across previously known obstacles or distances. By and large, the Signal Corps was limited to operations on the ground still and maintained operations much in the same way that the modern Signal Corps does. World War I, however, emphasized the importance of the inclusion of aviation in the grand composure of a military force. When the United States entered the war in 1917, few aircraft were available, and most aircraft were not ready for the kind of warfare being fought in Europe. The result was that the U.S. forces largely used French and British aircraft for the duration of the war. The Army established the Air Service just before the war ended in 1918, but was largely still non-committal in the future of air power. From 1918 through the late 1920s, the Air Force received constant complain by various Army and Naval officers imploring them to increase the interest in air power. Major General William L. Mitchell was the loudest of these critics, citing that airpower was only going to increase due to the nature of the asset in an evolving battlefield. MG Mitchell's complaints ran all the way up to the Secretary of War, and resulted in a two rank demotion to Colonel before his discharge in 1925. The onset of the Great Depression also meant that the armed forces were scrambling for money, with most U.S. Army training occurring with wooden sticks as guns and idle cutouts of jeeps to represent tanks. The need for air power was at the rear of their mind. By 1926, the Army went through a process of reorganization and realignment, thus renaming the Air Service to the Army Air Corps (USAAC). By the mid-to-late 1930s, it had become apparent that MG Mitchell's prophecy was coming true. The Army began to specify the needs of larger aircraft for the dedicated mission of bombing and attacking targets. Meanwhile, fighters, patrols, and escorts needed to have an increased speed to maintain relevancy. By the time World War II reached the United States in 1941, the USAAC had two dedicated medium bombers and four dedicated patrol/fighter aircraft in its arsenal. However, the recession had still grasped firmly much of the American manufacturing power. It was not until after the bombings that the Americans were able to produce aircraft in an appreciable number. By the time numbers began to mount in 1942, the Army had decided that it was no longer "simply a corps", instead it was a force. Thus in 1942, the Army renamed the corps to the Army Air Force (USAAF). The USAAF was the primary counter to the German Luftwaffe in World War II. They were the sole operators of P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings, and P-47 Thunderbolts. They flew bombing missions in the Combined Bomber Offensive with the British, mainly in B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-25 Mitchell (named in honor of MG Mitchell) bombers in Europe. In the Pacific, the USAAF operated B-29 Superfortresses, included the Enola Gay and the Bockscar, the two B-29's responsible for dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The USAAF piloted the first jet powered aircraft, including the P-80 Shooting Star and the Bell X-1 (the first aircraft publicly documented to break the sound barrier). In 1947, the War Department opted to establish the Department of the Air Force as a subordinate department, and the United States Air Force (USAF) was born. Over the last seventy-two years, the Air Force has been tasked with the responsibility of transporting forces, materiel, both domestic and foreign. It has also been charged with national defense, controlling two of the three principle components of the nuclear triad. Close Air Support is provided by the USAF for troops fighting on the front lines, and top cover allows the U.S. military a better means to project force where it needs it most. Many aeronautical innovations lend can trace their existence to the establishment of the USAF and the requirements that have been set forth. The USAF is the primary defense provider for the skies over the U.S. and joint defense for many other nations around the world. Happy birthday, big blue! You couldn't have done it without us, but we couldn't do it without you!
  6. Commentary This is one of those ideas that you read about and it just makes you scratch your head. There are many different versions of ideas like this: the "is that really a good idea?"; the "no way"; and the "oh God, I gotta see this." Fortunately, the Davy Crockett fulfills all three of these particular categories. There are not a lot of surviving documents on the Davy Crockett today, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately). However, I have compiled a limited quantity of information for posting here. It's an entertaining read that required a foreword, and will require some commentary from me afterwards as well. Enjoy! The M-28/29 Davy Crockett Recoilless Tactical Atomic Gun During the peak of the Cold War, deployment of nuclear arsenals was the staple of the military strategy. By and large, nuclear weapons were deterred with other nuclear weapons. This manifested mainly in the form of the deployment of nuclear capable bombers, warships, ballistic missiles, and eventually submarines. Early on, this also included short range weaponry, however. Projectiles such as the Honest John were deployed as little as 17 miles from their intended point-of-impact zones. However, the U.S. was experimenting with a more portable means to deploy these weapons than a predictable missile site. The result was the introduction of cannons and guns capable of firing an atomic round. This included the aptly named "nuke bazooka." Developed in the late 1950s and then deployed in various regions as a means to contain communist regimes, the M-28 Davy Crockett weapon system was assigned in substantial quantities to various divisions in Europe and Asia. The primary deployment zones were in the still hot DMZ of Korea, and the uncertain and heightened risk area of the Fulda Gap. Equipped with a bulbous atomic round at the front, the projectile produced a yield roughly equivalent to 30 tons of TNT. For comparison, the atomic bombings in Japan were 16-21 kilotons of TNT. The deployment of the weapon was not necessarily to create devastating damage by explosion, but rather to increase the amount of radiation across a target area. It was during this time that the use of radiation walls to prevent invasions were considered feasible. However, the apparent results of radiation sickness and affect on U.S. soldiers in the proposed plan became more apparent by the 1960s. With this revelation, the deployment of atomic weaponry for radiation walls was slowly culled and replaced with more intermediate deterrents. Still, variations of the Davy Crocket continued with conventional weaponry, and the system continued operation in limited quantities through the 1970s. It is unclear exactly what changes were required to make the gun compatible with a conventional round, and most chassis modifications occurred on the gun itself, not the projectile. The last known firing of any Davy Crockett was in 1975, and the last known atomic round was in 1964. Two versions of the Davy Crockett exists within the atomic and conventional typing: mounted and mobile. Both were technically mobile since the mounted version was attached to a jeep. However, the mobile version was able to be broken down into three parts and easily stowed for quick movement. The Unplugged Commentary To put this into perspective for everyone: consider this literally to be it's unofficial name - a "nuke bazooka." As I have told people in lectures before, the Davy Crockett required two men to fire...somewhat successfully. Ideally, you'd select a day where the wind was blowing away from you. Your buddy would be in a jeep downrange and start driving towards you as fast as he could. Just before he reaches you, you fire the weapon. If you timed it right, you jump into the bed of the jeep as he drives by and you speed away. The weapon impacts. And you still get sick from radiation poisoning and probably die. Thus is the tale of one of the...ickiest ideas we've had in our military weapons history. If you find this system interesting, there are a few surviving examples. My favorite goes to the Atomic Testing Museum in Nevada, where the projectile is painted a hotrod red. Really gives it that "baboon's butt" look. Oy...
  7. Spanning nearly the entirety of the war in Europe was the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO). Rather, it was "combined" when the Americans entered the war in 1941, with the first raids beginning in 1942. The CBO accounted for over three and a half million tons of bombs that were dropped on targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland. It is the largest aerial bombing campaign up to that point in time, and would not be surpassed until Operation Linebacker in Vietnam. The CBO targeted primarily Luftwaffe targets: air bases, manufacturing facilities, and V weapon launching sites. Unlike previous bombing campaigns, the CBOwas utilized as a method of destroying the German air superiority that had terrorized the Allies up through the middle of 1943. While other operations within the overall offensive included attacks on oil and especially rubber plants, most air strikes in some way had to do with the crippling of war industry. The mindset of the Allies was that if the Germans had no aircraft, it would significantly reduce their ability to project war onto the frontlines and enforce their hegemony behind their lines. This proved generally true, especially by the time of Operation Overlord, where only two German aircraft approached the operation airspace. They immediately retreated when discovering the numbers of Allied forces, unable to muster up and means to retaliate. Future bombing campaigns would be carried out against the Messerschmitt plant, where the primary target was the production of double-engine and jet fighters, particularly the model 262. Not all of the bombing campaigns were entirely within the realm of purpose, however. The CBO's biggest plight came with the air raid on Dresden, destroying thousands of pieces of artwork and damaging historic architecture in the city. It was an operation blunder for the Allies, and the damage to the art industry has never fully recovered, being one of the biggest losses in World War II after Monte Cassino and the theft of art by the Nazi's. The CBO operated with a standard method of procedure, with the British attacking at night, flying with no cover, and flying generally in single file. British attacks were more indiscriminate, with attacks being carried out on industry and neighborhoods near them. The Americans opted to fly during the day in a spread out formation with fighter cover. These attacks were more precise, but any bombing during the campaign was a far cry from what we consider to be accurate today. A hit was considered to be a strike within three to five miles of a target, and a bulls-eye was considered to be a one mile radius around the target.
  8. This is late, but this is posted in one of our buildings near the commissary and event hall.
  9. The Second World War was fought with large leaps and bounds in technology. Truly, in the wars fought between the Age of Revolution in Europe and the Korean War, technology had made vast strides in each iteration of warfare. World War II saw the inclusion of enhanced armaments and armor, propulsion, and stand-off weapon systems. The British were largely successful with their Earthquake bombs, which are the ancestor of modern day Bunker Buster weapons. The American's made their mark with the atomic bomb. The German's had a suite of successful weapons systems that were deployed. The notorious V weapons systems. The V-1 The V-1 flying bomb was the first attempt to move away from long range artillery and rocket systems to a more substantial payload delivery system. The V-1 was launched initially from a large rail system where the booster on the bomb would gain acceleration. The pulsejet that was employed in the weapon is still a matter of research today, as the engineering and design behind this method of propulsion is not yet perfected. Guided by radio control, the bomb was designed to crash into its target, detonating two separate explosive shells in its main body. V-1's were launched in large quantity against London, with subsequent attacks continuing against France after the Normandy invasion. Attacks spanned between late 1942 and concluded by March of 1945. A small quantity of these bombs were launched from aircraft, but in generally the most common platform for launch was from the ground. Defense against V-1's proved to be precarious. The most frequently displayed method of downing a V-1 was through the use of "wing-tipping", where British Spitfire aircraft would fly alongside the bomb and tip the wing of the plane into the wing of the bomb, causing it to fly off course or crash. Anti-air defense systems were in place by 1944 over much of Britain, and allowed for additional defense against the V-1's, but the idea of filling the sky with led was not one that was pleasing to the British. By mid 1944, the Germans had begun to export the V-1 to Japan. However, none of these V-1's are ever known to have been fully assembled. About 23,000 casualties resulted from V-1 attacks from their first reported use against British cities in 1943 through the last attacks in Belgium in 1945. The V-2 The V-2 weapon system was the gateway system that eventually lead to the development of modern Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) systems. A standard design, the V-2 has the honor of being the first weapon to ever punch through the atmosphere and as such is the first manmade object ever to reach space. The V-2's existence at the end of World War II was one of the key justifications behind Operation Paperclip and the recovery of German scientists immediately following the war. In addition, it would be an American launched V-2 that would take the first picture of Earth from outside of the stratosphere in 1948. Unlike it's cousin, the V-1, the V-2 utilized its rocket purely for the purpose of achieving escape velocity. Gravity is what would bring the V-2 crashing into it's target after radio control adjusted the rockets trajectory towards its target. A larger design, the V-2 also allowed a much larger payload. The V-2 did not appear on the scene until after the Normandy invasions, and subsequently saw targets in the interior of France (namely, Paris), London, and Antwerp. V-2 launches continued well into 1945 until the Allies finally silenced Peenemunde. Air raids were typical at Peenemunde, however, their effectiveness was always at question due to the nature of the terrain. The initial raid - Hydra - included raids on the V-1 launching facilities and the V-2 research facilities. Of the many scientists and prisoners there, prisoners made up the bulk of the casualties in the bombing raids. The V-2 also was difficult to defend against. The incoming velocity of the rocket was such that there was no time to intercept it. Likewise, radar proved to be ineffective against an orbital threat. The British attempted to deploy various methods of jamming, but due to the rockets in-orbit trajectory adjustment, this proved to be largely minute in effectiveness. Raids on the V-2 launch sites proved to be the most effective means to stop the attacks. The Forgotten Weapon, The Original: V-3 In World War I, the Germans reportedly bombarded Paris from as far as 118 km with artillery fire. The Germans were not in regular artillery range at the time that the bombardment occurred. Subsequently, the Allies were concerned that the Germans were using new high altitude bombers. After the push back across the Rhine, the Allies discovered remnants of what appeared to be a large and powerful long range cannon. Studies suggested that the cannon may have been a weapon that had the range to strike Paris from its current location over 120 km away. In World War II, this gun resurfaced, but with a number of different modifications on it. The idea of long-range artillery was not new by this time. The V-3 cannon of World War II only has three known potential examples, and only two of these were deployed at any stage. They were generally 150 mm guns, and the deployed methods differ greatly from what recovered blueprints suggested for their actual application. Supposedly, the V-3 had a range of anywhere between 165 and 300 km, depending on the source cited. It was capable of up to 300 rounds per minute per barrel. This is where sources diverge on the application of the V-3. The weapon was either a standalone cannon that was deployed in a single battery, much like the Paris Gun of World War I, or it was a series of cannons that were deployed in a battery. Multiple-barrel concepts depict four to six barrels to a battery, and these depictions usually include an entire launching site consisting of four to eight different batteries. The V-3 system utilized a series of explosive charges within the barrel to accelerate a projectile to extremely high speeds. The velocity that the projectile would break through the end of the barrel would be such to allow it to travel over immense distances in a short amount of time. This hypothesis was not unique to the Germans having it's roots traced back to at least the 1880s when American designers came up with a similar concept for coastal artillery defense systems. Terrifying in theory, the V-3 suffered from a distinctive issue. None of the concepts had a method of setting azimuth or vector. Presumably, this could be corrected on an X axis, but a site crossing at a Y access would be required to provide full coverage - and even then, this would only address as many as thirty-two different vectors and as few as four, depending on the cluster being deployed. Nevertheless, the V-3 survived the Second World War, appearing in other weapon systems and research in subsequent years. Defensive Mechanisms As previously mentioned, defense of these weapons was difficult. The most effectively intercepted weapon was the V-1, due to its subsonic nature. No defenses were definitively effective against the V-2's or what limited deployment the V-3 may have had. It was found that the best defense against the V weapons was false reporting of casualties and damage. Reporting that London was "decimated" when a V-2 rocket landed in an open field causing little damage was the main means to deceive the enemy into firing away from populated areas. The V weapons were only one sequence of innovations the Germans had deployed during the Second World War, but they were the most notorious. Many other unique weapons were deployed, and dozens more were theorized or in prototype phase when the Third Reich collapsed. Most, if not all, of the V weapons however were not retired from service until well into the 1950s.
  10. I'm going to try to include AF in my daily essay writings to stay fresh for my academic essays and articles. I share some of this stuff on my site first, the really dense stuff, but others will get posted here first. I won't bore you all with the lines that get drawn between the two. In some rare cases, I might have a research piece that gets posted over there, so nothing would get posted here that day unless there's high demand for it. Generally, I will try to post an item Monday thru Saturday when time allows. No postings on holidays. Sourcing I generally don't do sourcing when I post general writeups online - however, I am more than amicable to those who would like more info. (An exclusion to this are what are referred to as "gray papers" - interchangeable with research pieces.) Posting As a historian, I am used to talking to myself, but I'd rather not - so please feel emboldened to respond, debate, argue, and throw things at any of the topics I have out there that you want. A Ph.D doesn't make you the definitive authority, and even if it did - I don't have one...yet. Also, please feel free to post interesting things on your own. Again, I'm used to talking to myself, but dialogues are so much more interesting. Currently On My List: (Updated each Sunday), Last on: 22 September 2019 Treaties & World War I The Atomic Bombings of Japan The Combined Bomber Offensive The Battles of Credit Island and Campbell's Island The Battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima Music's Relationship with Vietnam The Legends of Mesoamerica The Mystery of Roanoke The Legend of Honshu: Oda Nobunaga Tales of a Feathered Serpent: The Significance of Quetzalcoatl You can feel free to make suggestions here as well. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this stuff that I write up. These aren't Wiki pulls, they actually do take some time to write up and validate before posting. Enjoy!
  11. Discovered sometime in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, the Dresden Codex is the oldest known book to have survived in the Americas. Dating to approximately the thirteen century, the Codex is the center of many various stories and folklore. Mayan in origin, this text was one of several texts that were referenced in connection with the 2012 Phenomena that was popular from the 1970s through the passing of 2012. Such doomsday stories were made in connection with page 71 of the codex which depicts a serpent - identified as the Moon Goddess (or Goddess O) - spewing forth a torrent from the heavens. However, there is not connection or reference to a date with anything on this page. In addition, of the entirety of the codex, most pages appear to be that of an almanac. The almanac refers to a series of climatological information (much in the same way that our own almanacs are used today), and various ritualistic practices. This leads one to suspect that the codex may have had the primary function of serving as a reference for shaman or leaders to practice rituals in the event of abnormal weather. Researcher Michael Coe made an initial claim in his interpretation of the codex, however, that page 71 depicted a cataclysmic event connected somehow with the thirteenth cycle known as the baktun. However, in subsequent revisions of Coe's research, he rescinded his commentary on the interpretation. Likewise, Eric Thompson, another known Mesoamerican researcher, noted that the inclusion of Goddess O in the codex indicates that page 71 is attached to the initiation of a growing season. Likewise, while the termination of the thirteenth baktun is described in the codex, it does not mention anything special about the transition from the thirteenth to fourteenth cycle. Nowhere in Mayan mythology or record keeping are there any mentions of destruction attached to the change of a baktun cycle. What the Codex does indicate, however, is that the current world was created with motion and will be destroyed in that same motion. What exactly that entails, we do not know - and whether the Mayan knew is also unknown. Nevertheless, the Dresden Codex remains of prominent interest to researchers of Mesoamerican culture due to its age and significance in Mayan culture in the pre-Colonial era.
  12. On days where I'm just swamped with work, and don't have a lot of time to get away, I figure I'll write up a quick fact so there's at least something to provide. We'll call them Quick Facts, and this time I'd like to talk about Operation Tomodachi - the same operation where the group borrows its icon from. In 2011, an earthquake struck near the coast of the Tohoku region in Japan. The earthquake resulted in enough substantial damage in of its own right, especially in Fukushima. However, due to the location of the earthquake, a tsunami crashed into the coast as well - elaborating the damage already done by the earthquake. What's more, if that wasn't enough, the nuclear power plant operating in Fukushima was compromised due to the combination of meteorological phenomena and melted down. A triple hazard in Fukushima was underway, and Japan faced the largest crisis it had seen since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in August of 1945. When the disaster struck, U.S. military operations commenced unilaterally with the Japanese Self Defense Force, the Red Cross, and a number of other international organizations. Spearheading the operations was the U.S. Army Materiel Command and it's major subordinate commands, ensuring that supplies were readily available for civilians affected by the disaster. Supplies were also in demand for troops aiding the relief efforts in the region. The entire U.S. military footprint in Japan was activated and in use during the operation (also referred to as Operation Friendship). U.S. military assets were involved with extensive rebuilding of infrastructure, re-establishment of communications, increased law enforcement coverage, and clean up efforts. The 2011 events highlighted the U.S. military's humanitarian support operations and their operational reach. Previously, the same elements had been deployed to Haiti for Earthquake relief, Louisiana for Hurricane Katrina relief, and other third world countries in Mesoamerica and Europe. Military elements attached to the relief efforts remain in the Fukushima prefecture - but in very small quantities. All of these elements are attached to another post in Japan. The bulk of relief operations concluded in 2015.
  13. I always can remember that it was a Tuesday (and it was) simply because I know I was working on a take-home spelling test. 6th grade was the last year of those. So I woke up early to do that, mom was already at school teaching. I had the TV on in the background and had the stereo playing Spyro Gyra's In Modern Times album. Walked to school, it was right behind our house. First period was weird. Second period on - all we did was watch the news coverage. I didn't have a clique in school, so I can't really use the term "we" - but I do know I was relatively quiet for most of the day - most students were. A lot were confused at how the teachers and faculty were acting. What I remember is the USAR element down the road from school activating sometime later, and the entire school dismissed early to wave the soldiers goodbye. Thinking back that might have been 7th grade though - the year after.
  14. I was out of school “sick” that day, saw it on the news at my friends house. It made us mad, but there was nothing we could do, being kids.
  15. I can recall what I was doing pretty well, I was old enough at least when it happened. I know that the big thing for me is that I didn't even know what was going on until 2nd period of school - and that was after I even had it on the news and was told "something" was going on in 1st. I think the reason I didn't take it seriously in 1st period is that the instructor was also in the drama club, and I couldn't quite make out if she was being serious or not. Quickly got real after that though.
  16. It is, and sadly, I’m among them. Each year the memory grows fainter in my mind. For the first time in a while I haven’t had an event to attend today.
  17. Thanks for this, @Seshi. The day was instantaneously in the history books for sure. It's a bit disheartening seeing the decline of remembrance posts on social media each year.
  18. General History chat thread. Come chat about a fun fact of the day, or anything that comes to mind really Hey @The History Kid lookin good in here. Today let’s take a moment of silence for our fallen first responders, and brave men and women who, in their efforts to save lives, lost their own in the tragedy of 9/11.
  19. Often when we hear the term "gateway to the West" we have images of the Arch in St. Louis pop into our minds. After all, St. Louis was one the first major cities on the western banks of the Mississippi. St. Louis served as the main western point of American settlement after the Louisiana Purchase, since the faltering Illinois capitol at Kaskaskia had since been moved to the interior of the Illinois territory. However, the gate to the west was arguably much further north, spanning between Iowa and Illinois. In fact, the only site in Missouri that was considered to be a more apt candidate for this gate was at Hannibal, spanning Quincy to the eastern shores of Missouri. In April 1845, Colonel George Davenport, a sutler that was operating on Rock Island, called a meeting with several perspective business partners. Amongst them was a man by the name of Henry Farnham, a longtime entrepreneur and engineer and Antoine LeClaire, a philanthropist and businessman. LeClaire had since incorporated the city of Davenport, Iowa in honor of George Davenport, as the two were close friends. At this meeting, Davenport and LeClaire pitched the idea of connecting rail lines that were west of the Mississippi River with railway systems in the east. They had posed that the growing surrounding communities in the region provided much in the way of commerce, and that the river was such in the area to allow a bridge to connect the railways with very little resistance. The region encompassed what was known as the Rock Island Rapids. Surveyed originally by Zebulon Pike in 1804, and then again by Major Robert E. Lee in the 1830's, the Rock Island Rapids was described as a "14 mile white knuckler." It was a stretch of low water that spanned from the base of Rock Island to just north of LeClaire, Iowa. Steamboats were forced to unload cargo and carry it the 14 miles upriver and reload ships (or vice versa travelling down the river). After Lee's survey, the Army Corps of Engineers had opted to dredge the river to 4 feet in the channel, part of the navigation improvement project. Despite the dredging, the Rock Island Rapids were still a perilous portion of the river due to the nature of the current resulting from the terrain below the surface. The island of Rock Island was a federally owned property, having been the site of Fort Armstrong during the Blackhawk War of 1832. As such, any construction on the island required the approval of the Secretary of War. Jefferson Davis, the Secretary of War from 1853 to 1857, continuously denied the approval for the construction of the bridge. Davis had wanted the bridge to cross further south, examining sites such as Memphis and Cape Girardeau. Despite Davis' resistance, the rail companies began construction on the bridge in the early 1850s. Two rail companies were to oversee the construction: The Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, and the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad Companies. The mission objective was to establish a transcontinental railroad that would connect the gold cities on the west coast with the commerce centers on the east coast. Davis sent out federal marshals to stop construction of the rail lines multiple times between 1853 and 1856, but each time they were sent, workers would resume work as soon as the marshals left the area. By the time the last marshal visited the area in March of 1856, the bridge was virtually completed, and the marshals opted to ignore the inquiry. The bridge opened on 22 April 1856, and the gate to the west was considered open. A draw span was placed about mid-channel, but due to the nature of the rapids in the area, this was somewhat difficult to navigate. It was also not situated where the channel was the deepest. Steamboat traffic continued in the area unaffected until about 14 days after the bridge opened on 6 May 1856. The steamboat Effie Afton, a cargo liner that was on its first venture north of St. Louis stalled just above the bridge. The failure to regain control of the boat resulted in it crashing into the bridge and burning an entire span. No passengers nor cargo were damaged however, and historians question if there was not a case of insurance fraud at play. The crash resulted in a legal dispute between the steamboats and the railroad companies. A young Illinois lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, represented the railroad companies. Despite his best efforts, Lincoln was unable to fully win the case, having it result in a Supreme Court hung jury. The resulting actions of the case allowed bridges to cross waterways of commerce, but river traffic would always have the right of way over the rail or pedestrian crossing. The damaged bridge was repaired and used from 1856 until an ice flow damaged the bridge again in 1866. The bridge was rebuilt again with upgraded weight capacity. Unfortunately, this bridge was damaged by weather as well in 1870. Brevet Brigadier General Thomas J. Rodman had assumed command of the newly established Rock Island Arsenal by this time, and had decided to move the rail line to the lower end of the island (approximately 300 feet down stream) to make way for the new arsenal. The third iron bridge was completed and open under the supervision of Major Daniel W. Flagler. The third bridge was a double decker bridge that had a wagon crossing below and a train crossing above. However, almost as soon as it opened it was considered obsolete for the increasing weight of locomotives. The fourth and current bridge to cross in this location was opened in 1896 and used the same piers as the 1872 bridge used. Created by Ralph Modjeski, the current bridge features dual tracks above with two lanes of traffic and a pedestrian walking trail below. The swing span rotates a full 360 degrees, and the Rock Island Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (a division of Tank-automotive & Armaments Command, TACOM) is fully responsible for the repairs to the drive mechanism. Over 120 years later, this bridge only uses about twenty-five percent of its weight capacity and is anticipated to remain in operation well into the 2050s and beyond. The bridge is also one of the only bridges to be owned and operated by the U.S. Army. One of only six known pictures of the first bridge, as it appeared upstream in 1856. Note the swing span at mid-river channel. Source: U.S. Army. Current bridge in place. This bridge is part of the Locks and Dam 15 system (seen in background). This Locks and Dam system was the largest river navigation project on the Mississippi River and retains that record today. Dam 15 also has the distinction of being the worlds longest roller dam - it is also one of the most lethal dams in the world. The swing span is seen at the left center. Source: U.S. Army.
  20. The textbook definition of World War II is pretty straightforward - or rather the starting point: "World War II started on 1 September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland." However, this definition is grossly incorrect. More commonly today, historians are reassessing their definitions of World War II, much like they are re-evaluating its conclusion and the Cold War. In terms of police action, one could argue that World War II and World War I are one in the same in conflict. Likewise, with this argument it could be said that this conflict began as far back as the middle nineteenth century - before cars, planes, U-boats, and tanks. Other historians conclude World War II at the last police action attached to the conflict when the last Belgian soldier left German territory in 2002. If one were to use this definition, the "Great War" would accurately be dubbed "The War of the Twentieth Century." However, the more accurate definition of the timeline of World War II begins on 19 September 1931 and lasts until 2 September 1945. The first offender, however, was not Germany. The Forgotten Battlefield: The Allies in Siberia and Archangelsk 1918-1925 Following the collapse of the free Russian government during World War I, the Allies were suddenly struck with the need to reclaim assets within Russian territory. In addition, there was a large faction of rebels that were fighting the Red Russian Army. Coupled with the White Russian forces, these combatants were staging an all-out civil war within the massive nation under duress. The Allies had three objectives: the retrieval of Allied supplies, the recovery of sympathetic forces, and the reinitiating of hostilities on the Eastern Front. Among these Allied forces was a large force of Japanese Imperial forces that deployed to the Siberian region. Over 50,000 Japanese soldiers and officers deployed into Manchuria, Siberia, and eastern Russia as a means to aid the American forces withdrawing. However, the Japanese forces remained in Siberia and Manchuria well beyond what their "brothers in arms", only leaving by 1925. It was difficult for this force to not be seen as an invading force, but the unilateral withdrawal had generally quelled concerns growing amongst the Allies. "It was all for nothing..." The Mukden Incident, occurring on 18 September 1931 was the opening act of World War II in Asia. Japan had continued a seething distaste for the Chinese Dynasty's which can be traced back many centuries prior. Likewise, Japan lacked many natural resources that were available on mainland Asia (rubber, crops, oil, and square mileage). Manchuria had begun to thrive following the withdrawal of warring forces (China, Russia, and Japan) in the early twentieth century. Japan had obtained rights to allow a railway run from Russia through Manchuria to a controlled port on the coast for the shipment of supplies. However, on 18 September 1931, Japan sabotaged its own rail line to appear to be a terrorist attack by dissenters within Manchuria. The attack on the rail line failed to destroy the lines nor the bridge that carried it. Regardless of this, the Japanese Army used this as a pretense for an invasion of Manchuria. The subsequent battles resulted in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which was fully encompassed by World War II. The Japanese would establish a puppet state of Manchukuo in Manchuria, bolstering a guise that the people were being well kept, and that Japan was not the overseeing entity of the nation. However, in truth, many people in Manchukuo were kept as slave labor. Keeping in time with Japanese rhetoric of the time, people under insurrection were classified as lesser in the eyes of the invading Japanese - a fate that would include the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans. The Greater Asia-Pacific Co-Prosperity Sphere The Germans were not alone in their superiority complex for "Europe for Europeans." The Japanese had begun to enforce the policy that Asia was to be for Asians, and that Japan was the superior class amongst all of the Asian nations. They saw fit that in order to unite Asia, they must do so by force; driving out westerners and enslaving the natives. The idea behind the Co-Prosperity Sphere was simple economics: Japan had a need for labor and resources, something its home islands were not able to produce. Likewise, it needed landmass to assert itself as a world power. Japan had previously acquired islands in the Pacific during World War I, when it annexed these territories from Germany. Still, these island resources proved cumbersome and problematic for the transportation of the few goods available. The need resulted in Japan invading other island territories in the Pacific, mainland Asia, and at one point - planning assaults on the west coast of the United States. This became more evident when on 7 December 1941, the Japanese launched an attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Subsequent attacks on Allied assets were carried out at Midway, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and multiple other western-held territories in the Pacific. By the peak of the Japanese expansion in 1942, Japan held the larger portion of island territories in the Pacific, and had conquered the entire Pacific coast of Asia, minus Russia. The Allied Intervention When the attacks on Pearl Harbor came, they did so with only minor surprise. Indeed, the personnel at Pearl Harbor were surprised on the day of the attack, and many people at home in the continental United States were surprised and furious. However, Allied radio interception had previously been aware that an attack was possible - rather that it appeared likely. The exact location was unknown, despite hints that attacks might occur either at Midway, Pearl Harbor, or San Diego. The Pacific Fleet had since been moved to Pearl Harbor in a posturing maneuver to deter the Japanese expansion earlier in 1941. From a strategic standpoint, this made Pearl Harbor the most likely target of an attack, but even as Japanese aircraft launched from the flight decks of their aircraft carriers, this was not entirely clear. However, when this war act was carried out, the Americans were only prepared to tackle the "Yellow Threat." Rather, the American public was only most willing to turn their attention to the Pacific. It was Germany's poor foresight to declare war on the United States that would ultimately lead to a staunch miscalculation that would eventually result in the Normandy Landings in 1944. Meanwhile, Japan made a gross miscalculation in it's ready-to-use resources and the logistics of maintaining its broad new empire. This resulting foresight would lead to their undoing and the collapse and surrender of Japanese forces in many battles following the initiation of the American War Machine in middle-to-late 1942. Regardless of the facts of events that unfold after Japan's attack on the Allies, Japan's movement into Manchuria in 1931 was in violation of the peace treaties put in place at the end of World War I. This came several years before Hitler begins his first moves in Europe, despite the Allies not keeping the Germans in check. It is for this reason that it is now argued that the opening shot - or rather - the opening explosion of World War II began on 18 September 1931, the instigator: Imperial Japan.
  21. Continuing with the series of topics we have been composing for work (and then I summarize and usually share on my own website), this month focuses on the Battle of the Atlantic. It was a difficult topic spanning seven years and a quarter of the globe, but it's implications were much more significant than a single post or article could possibly talk about. Modern day technologies can trace their origins and key function to the Battle of the Atlantic. I divided this up a little to make it a bit more palatable. Supplies, Resources, and Materiel War is fought in many ways. It can be fought in a meeting room in an argument, a shouting match, or a passionate speech in which one side argues with another. It can be fought on a front line, where steel coffin tanks line a battlefield, and men cross swords, bullets, and wits. However, what is often not considered is the war of resources, materiel, logistics, and commerce. So goes the largely forgotten Battle of the Atlantic During World War II. The U-boat Peril Much like their former incarnation, the German Kriegsmarine was composed largely of U-boats (submarines). These U-boats were tasked with the duty of carrying out warfare against the Allies in an attempt to disrupt their war producing power. On the opening day of World War II, Hitler himself directed Erich Raeder to avoid contact with passenger ships to avoid civilian casualties. As the war progressed, however, this quickly became inconsequential to the Kriegsmarine. The opening shot of the Battle of the Atlantic was heard 17 September 1939, when the HMS Courage, flying the British flag, was struck and sunk by the German U-boat U-29. A relentless onslaught of U-boat fleets, termed "wolf-pack's", began to menace British shipping immediately after this. Ships were targeted with almost indiscriminate means as a method to strangle British (and early on, French) shipping. Other Ally shipping industries were also threatened, including the Soviet's, the Polish, and the Brazilian's. By mid-1940, Italian submarines had joined in the fray in the Atlantic, assisting their German comrades. This combination led to a grave situation in the war for supply and materiel. Winston Churchill classified as the U-boat as the number one threat to the Allies, describing them as a "peril" that stalked the dark waters of the Atlantic. The Convoy's of the Atlantic An intermediate method of protecting ships, supplies, and materiel, was to establish a convoy system. The benefits of a convoy system are many, including: additional vessels to pick up survivors (if need be), increased chances for supplies to reach their disembarkation point, a natural deterrent against U-boats, and an easier means to protect more important cargo. However, early convoys were not as well protected as they were later. These early convoys were only defended within the air defense network of the land. Sometimes they'd be within deployment range of naval-borne carrier fighters. Outside of this, the convoy was largely left unprotected. In an ocean as vast as the Atlantic, as few as only 600 miles may include protection by the Royal Navy or Air Force. The German's enjoyed this early success and poor planning from the British, particularly when it came to their surface raiders. The aptly named "First Happy Time", included the sinking of many cargo transports. The German Navy at the time was centered primarily on two Bismarck class battleships. Of the entire Kriegsmarine, only these two ships were considered flagships - a fatal flaw in the German's vying for superiority. The First Happy Time included many U-boat accomplishments, including engagements in the Atlantic and the Arctic. By 1941, however, the British had begun to enforce better protection of their convoys. This included adding warships to convoys. The British discovered quickly that the mere presence of a battleship lowered U-boat engagements on convoys. Naval aerial reconnaissance also aided the British, scouting for submarines near the surface of the water. All of this brought a marginal, yet noticeable, decline in ships being lost to the U-boat's. Enter: The United States In a previous article, I wrote about how Winston Churchill was relieved at the Pearl Harbor attacks. His reasoning for this was that he knew that the United States was to enter the war as an ally to the British, and with it came a wealth of resources that was not previously available. There was just one significant problem with breathing that last sigh of relief: the Atlantic Ocean. Shipping cargo from the United States to Europe was not an easy task. Logistically speaking, shipping materiel by boat was much more feasible than airlift. After all, stuffing M4 Sherman tanks, P-38 Lightning aircraft, and other heavy field artillery and ordnance was not something you do aboard a C-47 transport aircraft. Not only would the quantity of transport aircraft be insurmountable, but the weight of materiel did not make such a feat possible. As a result, cargo ships were the main go-to. This proved difficult, as the German's almost immediately began to target American shipping. Many American boats were sunk within sight of the coastline, in fact. The majority of U-boat attacks on American shipping in American waters occurred at night, when the silhouette of ships and vessels crossed the lights from American coastal cities. It was not until mid-late 1942 that the Americans began to implement a blackout for these cities. German U-boats would come up to the surface, being well beneath the deck of a regular ship, and then shell the ship until it was rendered dead-in-the-water. Few U-boats torpedoed ships that were near the coast. The Germans, for this reason were able to claim early victories in their operation's Neuland and Drumbeat. This cultivated the Second German Happy Time, as loss in Allied shipping reached its peak in 1942 and 1943. However, the luck that the German's were enjoying was about to come to an end. The Shortcoming of the Germans The Kriegsmarine, the naval wing of the Third Reich's power, was arguably the most underfunded and least considered by Hitler. The operations in the Atlantic were primarily comprised of Italian and German U-boats, with arguably a handful of surface raiders. The flagship and pride of the Kriegsmarine were the two Bismarck class battleships. This included the battleship of the same name. Battleship Bismarck was destined for damnation early in the Atlantic theater, when the British struck the ship and subsequently sank her in May of 1941. Her sister ship Tirpitz survived, operating on the high seas in the Atlantic, Arctic, and the Indian Oceans until her fate was sealed in November of 1944. However, the German's had invested more in their U-boat operations than with their surface raiders. The Type XXI and XXIII Elektroboot submarines were able to dive faster and cruise faster than their predecessors. These two revelations represented the crux of German ingenuity in the Kriegsmarine. Throughout the war, the Germans never applied full efforts to aircraft carriers nor a means to project force into the Atlantic beyond their battleships. The U-boat was designed to be the superior firepower in the seas to deter the Allies. Thus, the Kriegsmarine represents a major weak point in the German military structure. Allied Defenses The Allied methods of defense were improvised as situations changed. This evolved from and was built on the convoy system. Initially, warships were included in convoys as a means to act as a deterrent. Later on, this included modifications of merchant ships to include military technology such as aircraft catapults (CAM ships), and Sonar (Q-Ships). These ships were usually disguised as simple merchant ships, but were capable of launching their own defensive countermeasures against scouting aircraft and U-boats alike. There were two major breakthroughs that ultimately put the last two nails in the coffin for the German fleet of U-boats: the deciphering of the German naval code, and the introduction of the ASDIC visual representation system for Sonar. The breaking of this code allowed the Allies to better coordinate U-boat movements, location, armaments, and fuel level. This put the Allies on the offensive against the U-boats in the Atlantic. In addition, better visual displays for Sonar in the ASDIC system allowed for better threat recognition. It also allowed Sonar to be applied in other vessels that previously were not designed with such a feature. Ships were able to better prepare for contingency operations and, in some cases, avoid contact with U-boat wolf-pack's entirely. German Decline Unlike their adversaries, the German's were faced with the issue of having limited available resources. Most of their resources and war materiel were being tapped to the maximum extent. Others were being brought in by railroad car. The pressure being mounted by the Allies in North Africa, and later southern Europe resulted in the pinching of these commerce channels. Shipping on the seas posed almost just as great of threat for the German's as it did for the Allies. After the landing at Normandy, they faced another issue: the dwindling resources available for U-boat production and resupply. As the Allies began to advance across France, they were overtaking U-boat bases and cutting off the lifelines of these seafaring vessels. Incidentally, during the Normandy operation, no U-boats opened fire on any Allied vessels. In fact, only one ship was sunk by the Kriegsmarine. The superior firepower of the Allied air force, combined with the intense vessel numbers and deception practices, left the U-boats effectively stunned. By 1944, U-boat losses almost completed closed to Allied shipping losses. By 1945, more U-boats were sent to the deep than Allied ships - in combat. Prior to the German surrender, the Germans scuttled many of their own U-boats to prevent capture. Whatever was left was confiscated by the Allies - mainly the British. Most of these ships were used for target practice in the 1946 Operation Deadlight. Only about ten of those U-boats were retained for research or preservation purposes. The Battle Ends With the German surrender, the Battle of the Atlantic concluded in May of 1945. Over 500,000 tons of Allied shipping had been lost, with over 1,000 U-boats sunk or scuttled. 3,700 Allied ships fell prey to German wolf-packs. The Battle of the Atlantic was not a costly battle by way of casualty by comparison in World War II, with a total of around 100,000 men lost, but was costly in respects to the amount of materiel lost. In the instance of the German U-boats, many crew went down with their ship. Scarcely did the Germans have a chance to abandon ship. Conversely, many times the Allied ships that were lost were able to at least partially abandon ship. Nearby vessels allowed survivors to quickly be rescued. As a result, when considering casualty numbers, the rate of loss was far more significant for the Germans than the Allies. The production capabilities of the Allies, especially when the Americans entered the war, is also a factor when considering losses. The Americans were capable of putting out one ship in less than a month per crew. If one considered the number of shipyards, and the number of docks within those shipyards, output was greater than fifty ships per month. The Germans were unable to meet the Allies in this feat. Coupled with the German reluctance to embrace naval warfare, Germany's ability to project force into the Atlantic was a ticking timebomb. The Germans would have eventually succumbed to strangulation at sea by the Allies simply due to the overwhelming production capabilities. Some historians find themselves at odds with this, however. In some instances, it is argued that had the Germans continued to wage war in the wolf-pack design, shipping would have eventually died out. However, at that point, it becomes a war purely fought in the war production plants and shipyards. Who can outproduce who, and who can do it faster. In the annals of history the answer was and is: the Allies. So goes The Battle of the Atlantic.
  22. It is absolutely imperative, I feel, that the subject matter of the Normandy Invasion be presented in any location where history may be observed. Yesterday, 6 June 2019, marked the 75th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy in what we commonly call D-Day. This is a milestone for us as historians, but also as a society. The 75th anniversary marks the last major milestone anniversary where any survivors will be among us. It signifies a great triumph, but also a harrowing reminder of mortality. Rather than dwell on the sadness accompanied with that fact, let us instead look back on a day where 160,000 soldiers put everything on the line for freedom. In mid-1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill communicated with top naval commanders within the British Navy to "prepare for an invasion" of Europe. Such a feat of this magnitude would prove elusive and perilous. Germany had long since established a bastion of defensive positions on the French coastline. Attacks on the British mainland were becoming a growing concern. However, within that concern, the southern coastline of Britain had been transformed into a defensive network that was capable of rivaling the German threat. "The whole of south Britain is a haven for our defense", said Churchill, "you've got to turn it into a springboard for our attack." Upon the Japanese surprise attack on Allied assets in the Pacific in December of 1941, Churchill recounted that he had slept with the greatest amount of peace the following evening. "I slept the peace of the saved", he recounted. The Japanese had launched several assaults in the Pacific against American, French, and British assets. This included movements in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and most notoriously, Pearl Harbor and the Hawaiian Islands. Had Germany and Italy not opted to show good faith for the Japanese, the Americans may not have entered the war in Europe. However, in the days that followed the surprise attack in the Pacific, the rest of the Axis Powers declared war on the United States. In the course of a week, the United States entered the war on the side of the Allies. Much to the miscalculation of the Axis powers, the Americans were capable of leveraging a rapid response to the attacks and were able to mount an unrivaled mass of resources and war materiel. The United States public, having been able to readily identify the enemy in the Pacific as Japan, was not as enthusiastic about fighting in Europe against an enemy that had not immediately been intimately known. However, this changed when German U-Boats began to shell the coastline of American cities. Upon the first arrival of troops in Britain in 1942, the presumption was an immediate and direct assault on the European mainland. The British military, however, was not confident in the American's ability to wage this new brand of war. In addition, severe losses at the evacuation of Dunkirk had led them to be more than just somewhat cautious. It was decided that the Allied effort would instead be focused across North Africa. Initial plans called for the invasion of Europe to begin in 1943. This did indeed occur, but it did so in the boot of Italy in September of 1943. The Allies were still wanting to launch campaigns into France, but were unable to do so due to the vast logistical issues they faced. The Tehran Conference in December of 1943 solidified that the invasion of France would instead take place in May of 1944. A large number of resources were to be mounted to successfully execute a successful campaign against the German Army. The Allies had been conducting widespread strategic bombing of German resources, including Luftwaffe targets across the interior of Germany. By late 1943, their focus began to shift to elements in France and West Germany. The Americans were able to maintain air superiority due to the deployment of faster and more experienced pilots and aircraft. In addition, American bombing campaigns utilized broader areas of air coverage allowing more bombers to penetrate German air defense networks. By the time of the Normandy invasion, the Luftwaffe only had a force of less than twenty percent of its original strength. It was so weak, in fact, that most German aircraft flew single passes on the beaches before retreating to Germany. In the weeks leading up to the invasion, GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed as the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces. Under his direction, he had ordered GEN Omar Bradley to conduct operations with the U.S. First Army on the day of landing. Meanwhile, GEN George S. Patton was instructed to deploy a phantom Eighth Army at Dover. The Germans were expecting an Allied crossing from Dover to Calais - the shortest point in the English Channel between Britain and France. The Allies created fake radio signals, blew up fake balloons in the shape of tanks, and even mounted fake rubber landing craft in the coastal areas near Dover. A second decoy group was near Edinburgh Castle, and purportedly poised to strike the Germans in Norway. Both diversionary tactics were given the names FORTITUDE NORTH and SOUTH, respectively. The decoy plan was so successful, that over 29 German Army divisions, including Panzer units were concentrated on Calais and Norway all the way up through the Normandy invasion. The Germans were already concerned due to their loss of Rome on 5 June 1944. The American forces swept through the city after the Germans executed a fleeting retreat. However, the American victory in Rome was not meant to make it to the headlines in newspapers around the world. De l'automne Blessent mon cœur D'une langueur monotone. 0530, 6 June 1944 - "Of autmn wound my heart with a monotone in languor." With those words uttered over the air of the BBC radio waves, elements from the United States First Army began their landing assault on the beaches at Utah. Airborne troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Battalion's had already parachuted into regions of Normandy the night before. They had cut supply lines, communication lines, and were lying await in ambush to pinch the Germans in and drive them off the beaches. Of the men who deployed that evening, eighty percent lost their lives or were captured. Violent waves and a sea of led and fire awaited these brave first soldiers who stepped off the landing boats at Utah. The Second British Army was the next to follow further to the east, with follow-up landings occurring throughout the morning. The Germans were surprised and caught off guard. They had no reinforcements. They had no communication. They had no supplies. While well stocked, any advanced movements on their position was unable to be checked, ultimately resulting in retreat. By the end of 6 June, the Allies were able to claim OVERLORD as a success. "Viva la France! The liberation of France has begun!" These words were shouted in a cramped news room in Britain in the afternoon of 6 June. Reporters were hard at work typing up their story about the liberation of Rome. One reporter commented that there was an awkward silence of a few moments before the room erupted into the sound of paper being ripped from type-writers and thrown away. By 22 June, the Allies had full control of the coastline that comprised Normandy, as well as the port facilities. They had also taken the city of Caen, a major springboard location for their launch into Paris. A follow-on operation in the southern part of France would launch in August, codenamed DRAGOON. This landing was to secure Monaco and Toulon, launched from the newly established Allied bases in Italy. All but a few fringe states of France would be liberated by the end of 1944. With the Soviet Red Army continuing to put force on German's eastern flank, Germany's days were numbered as it entered into a three-front war. At the end of the landings, over 4,000 Allied troops had lost their lives. Total Allied casualties exceeded 10,000. These included missing, captured, injured, and dead. The German's lost between 5,000 and 10,000 men. The diversionary tactics of the phantom army surely aided in the assault, and the subsequent damage to German morale certainly was palpable. The 1962 film The Longest Day featuring Henry Fonda and John Wayne depicts the events of the landings at Normandy fairly true to form. It is a must-see for any history buff. As this week closes, I do hope all of you at least take a moment to reflect on these brave soldiers who put everything on the line for us to be here today. I also hope it is a somber reminder to all of you to thank those who do serve and have served to preserve freedoms and safety around the world - in all nations, of all nations.
  23. Hello, to everyone in this club. I have created a quiz, purposely to test your knowledge (duh...) Well Good luck!
  24. also the day American serial killer John Wayne Gacy—whose murders of 33 boys and young men in the 1970s shocked his suburban Chicago community, where he was known for his performances as a clown at charitable events and children's parties—was executed. 1994 ~ clowns huh no wonder no one trusts them and Irish musician and human rights activist Bono, who was the lead singer of the popular rock band U2, was born. 1960 and 1954 Bill Haley releases “Rock Around the Clock”
  25. American Revolution 1780 Americans suffer worst defeat of revolution at Charleston After a siege that began on April 2, 1780, Americans suffer their worst defeat of the revolution on this day in 1780, with the unconditional surrender of Major General Benjamin Lincoln to British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton and his army of 10,000 at Charleston, South Carolina. With the victory, the British captured more than 3,000 Patriots and a great quantity of munitions and equipment, losing only 250 killed and wounded in the process. Confident of British control in the South, Lieutenant General Clinton sailed north to New York after the victory, having learned of an impending French expedition to the British-occupied northern state. He left General Charles Cornwallis in command of 8,300 British forces in the South. South Carolina was a deeply divided state, and the British presence let loose the full violence of a civil war upon the population. First, the British used Loyalists to pacify the Patriot population; the Patriots returned the violence in kind. The guerrilla warfare strategies employed by Patriots Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter and Nathanael Greene throughout the Carolina campaign of 1780-81 eventually chased the far more numerous British force into Virginia, where they eventually surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781. Having suffered the humiliation of surrendering to the British at Charleston, Major General Lincoln was able to turn the tables and accept Cornwallis’ ceremonial surrender to General George Washington at Yorktown on October 20. ~ANIMUS KD

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