Archive for July 31st, 2008


Early American Bomber: Martin MB-2

The Martin MB-2 is essentially a Martin MB-1 except for an increase in wing size and the engines have been moved to the lower wing.  The Martin MB-2 shown in these pictures is a reproduction as no Martin MB-2 bombers have survived.  The plane could carry three thousand pounds of bombs, had a crew of three or four, carried five 30 caliber machine guns and cruised at just under 100 miles per hour at about eight thousand feet.


World War I started with a rudimentary understanding of air power.  At the end of World War I aircraft design and tactics had changed from an observational role to both offensive and defensive planes and tactics.  Fighter aircraft design developed to stop enemy planes from observing over friendly lines, then other fighter designs developed to stop the fighters.  Aircraft had also been developed to take the war to the enemy with bombers. 


World War I bombers initially were fighter or observation aircraft pilots dropped small hand-held bombs from.  As the war progressed production of large aircraft designs made it possible to carry heavier and heavier bomb loads.  By the end of World War I planes carrying two thousand pounds of bombs and more had developed. 


The MB-2 plane design is most famous for sinking the German dreadnaught Ostfriesland after World War I.  Germany had been forced to give up its navy at the end of the war.  Maverick General William “Billy” Mitchell had argued for the importance of bombers in the military of the future.  He argued that the power of a strong air force would be more important to future warfare than any other weapon of the time.  To prove his point he used Martin MB-2 bombers to sink surrendered German ships during demonstration bombings after World War I.  He successfully completed the demonstration and an argument began within the American military as to how air power would be used in the future, eventually leading to Billy Mitchell’s court-martial because of his criticism of military leadership.

For more information about this plane:

For more information about Billy Mitchell:


On This Day, 7-31-08: Jimmy Hoffa

July 31, 1975

Jimmy Hoffa disappears

On July 31, 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, disappears in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard from again. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, conclusive evidence was never found, and Hoffa’s death remains shrouded in mystery to this day.

“Jimmy Hoffa disappears.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Jul 2008, 01:17


On This Day

1498 – Christopher Columbus, on his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, arrived at the island of Trinidad.

1919 – Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted.

1945 – Pierre Laval of France surrendered to Americans in Austria.

1964 – The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon’s surface.

1971 – Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV).

1991 – U.S. President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

1998 – More than 50 people died in Kashmir due to crossfire between India and Pakistan.

1999 – The spacecraft Lunar Prospect crashed into the moon. It was a mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface. The craft had been launched on January 6, 1998.


July 31, 1941

Goering orders Heydrich to prepare for the Final Solution

On this day in 1941, Herman Goering, writing under instructions from Hitler, ordered Reinhard Heydrich, SS general and Heinrich Himmler’s number-two man, “to submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question.”

Goering recounted briefly the outline for that “final solution” that had been drawn up on January 24, 1939: “emigration and evacuation in the best possible way.” This program of what would become mass, systematic extermination was to encompass “all the territories of Europe under German occupation.”

Heydrich already had some experience with organizing such a plan, having reintroduced the cruel medieval concept of the ghetto in Warsaw after the German occupation of Poland. Jews were crammed into cramped walled areas of major cities and held as prisoners, as their property was confiscated and given to either local Germans or non-Jewish Polish peasants.

Behind this horrendous scheme, carried out month by month, country by country, was Hitler, whose “greatest weakness was found in the vast numbers of oppressed peoples who hated [him] and the immoral ways of his government.” This assessment was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s, given at a Kremlin meeting that same day, July 31, with American adviser to the president Harry Hopkins.

“Goering orders Heydrich to prepare for the Final Solution.” 2008. The History Channel website. 30 Jul 2008, 01:15

July 2008

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