Archive for May 7th, 2009


Spike Buck


He’s beginning to get his first set of antlers.


White-tailed Deer: Buck and Yearlings

When I began taking pictures of these deer, I had vowed that I wouldn’t name them.  I wouldn’t give them names and so make them like pets, but I’ve found that giving some of these individual deer names has helped me understand some of the things I observe happening with this herd.  Last weekend I observed some behavior that has raised the eyebrows of a few people, including longtime deer hunters.


The big fellow in the middle I’ve named Big Boy.  Big Boy is a male about five years old.  He is not the dominant male deer of the herd, but I have seen him associated with the dominant, and pregnant, female of the herd.  In this picture Big Boy is with two of the yearlings.  Pictures of the yearlings can be found scattered throughout this blog, starting from last July when they were about six weeks old.  I took this picture last weekend.  What raised people’s eyebrows?  I’ve never seen the yearlings without their mother and last weekend when I took this photo their mother was nowhere in sight and the two yearlings were with Big Boy.  Most people, me included, don’t equate male deer as being paternal, but clearly in this picture Big Boy is looking after the yearlings in the absence of their mother.


In this photo of Big Boy, you can also see that he has started going into velvet.  It also looks like the young male on the right side of the top picture has started going into velvet.  What you are seeing in this picture is a White-tailed Deer ploy.  White-tailed Deer will do a head-bob, especially the young deer.  The head-bob is them pretending to bend down to eat and then quickly raising their head to see if you are going to attack them.  Big Boy had spotted me before I saw him, and here he has refined the head-bob into pretending to nibble on some leaves to see if I’m going to attack.


In this picture you can clearly see that Big Boy’s antlers have begun to grow.


On This Day, May 7: German Unconditional Surrender

May 7, 1945

Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims

On this day in 1945, the German High Command, in the person of General Alfred Jodl, signs the unconditional surrender of all German forces, East and West, at Reims, in northwestern France.

At first, General Jodl hoped to limit the terms of German surrender to only those forces still fighting the Western Allies. But General Dwight Eisenhower demanded complete surrender of all German forces, those fighting in the East as well as in the West. If this demand was not met, Eisenhower was prepared to seal off the Western front, preventing Germans from fleeing to the West in order to surrender, thereby leaving them in the hands of the enveloping Soviet forces. Jodl radioed Grand Admiral Karl Donitz, Hitler’s successor, with the terms. Donitz ordered him to sign. So with Russian General Ivan Susloparov and French General Francois Sevez signing as witnesses, and General Walter Bedell Smith, Ike’s chief of staff, signing for the Allied Expeditionary Force, Germany was-at least on paper-defeated. Fighting would still go on in the East for almost another day. But the war in the West was over.

Since General Susloparov did not have explicit permission from Soviet Premier Stalin to sign the surrender papers, even as a witness, he was quickly hustled back East-into the hands of the Soviet secret police, never to be heard from again. Alfred Jodl, who was wounded in the assassination attempt on Hitler on July 20, 1944, would be found guilty of war crimes (which included the shooting of hostages) at Nuremberg and hanged on October 16, 1946-then granted a pardon, posthumously, in 1953, after a German appeals court found Jodl not guilty of breaking international law.

“Germany surrenders unconditionally to the Allies at Reims,” The History Channel website, 2009, [accessed May 7, 2009]

On This Day

0558 – The dome of the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople collapsed. It was immediately rebuilt as ordered by Justinian.

1429 – The English siege of Orleans was broken by Joan of Arc.

1525 – The German peasants’ revolt was crushed by the ruling class and church.

1763 – Indian chief Pontiac began all out war on the British in New York.

1800 – The U.S. Congress divided the Northwest Territory into two parts. The western part became the Indiana Territory and the eastern section remained the Northwest Territory.

1912 – The first airplane equipped with a machine gun flew over College Park, MD.

1915 – The Lusitania, a civilian ship, was sunk by a German submarine. 1,198 people were killed.

1937 – The German Condor Legion arrived in Spain to assist Franco’s forces.

1939 – Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.

1942 – In the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese and American navies attacked each other with carrier planes. It was the first time in the history of naval warfare where two enemy fleets fought without seeing each other.

1958 – Howard Johnson set an aircraft altitude record in F-104.

1960 – Leonid Brezhnev became president of the Soviet Union.

1975 – U.S. President Ford declared an end to the Vietnam War.

1997 – A report released by the U.S. government said that Switzerland provided Nazi Germany with equipment and credit during World War II. Germany exchanged for gold what had been plundered or stolen. Switzerland did not comply with postwar agreements to return the gold.

May 7, 1954

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu

In northwest Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces decisively defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu, a French stronghold besieged by the Vietnamese communists for 57 days. The Viet Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu signaled the end of French colonial influence in Indochina and cleared the way for the division of Vietnam along the 17th parallel at the conference of Geneva.

On September 2, 1945, hours after the Japanese signed their unconditional surrender in World War II, communist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam, hoping to prevent the French from reclaiming their former colonial possession. In 1946, he hesitantly accepted a French proposal that allowed Vietnam to exist as an autonomous state within the French Union, but fighting broke out when the French tried to reestablish colonial rule. Beginning in 1949, the Viet Minh fought an increasingly effective guerrilla war against France with military and economic assistance from newly Communist China. France received military aid from the United States.

In November 1953, the French, weary of jungle warfare, occupied Dien Bien Phu, a small mountain outpost on the Vietnamese border near Laos. Although the Vietnamese rapidly cut off all roads to the fort, the French were confident that they could be supplied by air. The fort was also out in the open, and the French believed that their superior artillery would keep the position safe. In 1954, the Viet Minh army, under General Vo Nguyen Giap, moved against Dien Bien Phu and in March encircled it with 40,000 Communist troops and heavy artillery.

The first Viet Minh assault against the 13,000 entrenched French troops came on March 12, and despite massive air support, the French held only two square miles by late April. On May 7, after 57 days of siege, the French positions collapsed. Although the defeat brought an end to French colonial efforts in Indochina, the United States soon stepped up to fill the vacuum, increasing military aid to South Vietnam and sending the first U.S. military advisers to the country in 1959.

“French defeated at Dien Bien Phu,” The History Channel website, 2009, [accessed May 7, 2009]

May 2009

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