Posts Tagged ‘Luftwaffe

07
Mar
09

Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet

100_0759

The Luftwaffe tried many experimental designs throughout World War II.  The Me-163 rocket plane, with a top speed of around six hundred miles an hour, was one such plane.  To make it lightweight, the landing gear would be jettisoned on take-off and the plane would land on a wooden ski.  Powered by a rocket engine with limited fuel capacity it had a very limited flight duration and would glide in for an unpowered landing.  The plane’s purpose was to streak into American bomber formations, do as much damage as possible and then return to base.  Dangerous to fly and dangerous to fuel, it suffered more casualties from accidents than it did from combat.

Advertisements
01
Sep
08

On This Day, 9-1-2008: World War II Begins

Germans invade Poland

At 4:45 a.m., some 1.5 million German troops invade Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. Simultaneously, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields, and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II.

“Germans invade Poland.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Sep 2008, 05:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=7007.

On This Day

1799 – The Bank of Manhattan Company opened in New York City, NY. It was the forerunner of Chase Manhattan.

1807 – Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was found innocent of treason.

1859 – The Pullman sleeping car was placed into service.

1894 – A forest fire in Hinckley, MN, killed more than 400 people.

1923 – About 100,000 people were killed when an earthquake hit Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan.

1942 – A federal judge in Sacramento, CA, upheld the wartime detention of Japanese-Americans as well as Japanese nationals.

1969 – Col. Moammar Gadhafi came into power in Libya after the government was overthrown.

1972 – America’s Bobby Fischer beat Russia’s Boris Spassky to become world chess champion. The chess match took place in Reykjavik, Iceland.

1979 – The U.S. Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn.

1983 – A Soviet jet fighter shot down a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 when it entered Soviet airspace. 269 people were killed.

King George refuses Olive Branch Petition

Richard Penn and Arthur Lee, representing the Continental Congress, present the so-called Olive Branch Petition to the Earl of Dartmouth on this day in 1775. Britain’s King George III, however, refused to receive the petition, which, written by John Dickinson, appealed directly to the king and expressed hope for reconciliation between the colonies and Great Britain.

Dickinson, who hoped desperately to avoid a final break with Britain, phrased colonial opposition to British policy this way: “Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defense, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.”

By phrasing their discontent this way, Congress attempted to notify the king that American colonists were unhappy with ministerial policy, not his own. They then concluded their plea with a final statement of fidelity to the crown: “That your Majesty may enjoy long and prosperous reign, and that your descendants may govern your Dominions with honor to themselves and happiness to their subjects, is our sincere prayer.”

By July 1776, though, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed something very different: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” In fact, Congress insisted that Thomas Jefferson remove any language from the declaration that implicated the people of Great Britain or their elected representatives in Parliament. The fundamental grounds upon which Americans were taking up arms had shifted. The militia that had fired upon Redcoats at Lexington and Concord in April 1775 had been angry with Parliament, not the king, who they still trusted to desire only good for all of his subjects around the globe. This belief changed after Congress learned that King George refused to so much as receive the Olive Branch Petition.

Americans had hoped that Parliament had curtailed colonial rights without the king’s full knowledge, and that the petition would cause him to come to his subjects’ defense. When George III refused to read the petition, many Americans realized that Parliament was acting with royal knowledge and support. Americans’ patriotic rage was further intensified by the January 1776 publication by English-born radical Thomas Paine of Common Sense, an influential pamphlet that attacked the monarchy, which Paine claimed had allowed “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”

“King George refuses Olive Branch Petition.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Sep 2008, 05:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50884.

Soldier recounts brush with poison gas

On this day in 1917, American soldier Stull Holt writes a letter home recounting some of his battlefield experiences on the Western Front at Verdun, France.

Born in New York City in 1896, Holt served during World War I as a driver with the American Ambulance Field Service. He later joined the American Air Service, receiving his pilot commission as a first lieutenant.

“Dear Lois,” Holt began his letter, written while he was in Paris on leave, “enjoying the luxuries of life including ice cream, sheets, cafes and things.” The bulk of Holt’s letter discussed his experiences at the fortress city of Verdun, where French and German troops had battled for an excruciating 10 months in 1916 and where fighting continued throughout the following year. “The French have a saying to the effect that no one comes out of Verdun the same. As the fighting is stiff there always the statement is probably true for all times, it certainly is true of Verdun during an attack. It would take a book to tell about all that happened there and when I try to write, little incidents entirely unconnected come to my mind so I don’t know where or how to begin.”

Holt described the ruined countryside and villages around Verdun, as well as the sights—and stench—of constant battle. “Besides the desolation visible to the eye there was the desolation visible to the nose. You could often see old bones, boots, clothing and things besides lots of recent ones.” The letter’s most vivid passage, however, recounted his own experiences under fire, including an incident in which he was struck by a shell containing poisonous gas.

“Something hit me on the head, making a big dent in my helmet and raising a bump on my head. If it hadn’t been for my helmet my head would have been cracked. As it was I was dazed, knocked down and my gas mask knocked off. I got several breathes [sic] of the strong solution right from the shell before it got diluted with much air. If it hadn’t been for the fellow with me I probably wouldn’t be writing this letter because I couldn’t see, my eyes were running water and burning, so was my nose and I could hardly breathe. I gasped, choked and felt the extreme terror of the man who goes under in the water and will clutch at a straw. The fellow with me grabbed me and led me the hundred yards or so to the post where the doctor gave me a little stuff and where I became alright again in a few hours except that I was a little intoxicated from the gas for a while. I had other close calls but that was the closest and shook me up most. I think the hardest thing I did was to go back again alone the next night. I had to call myself names before I got up nerve enough.”

Holt’s letters were later published in The Great War at Home and Abroad: The World War I Diaries and Letters of W. Stull Holt (1999).

“Soldier recounts brush with poison gas.” 2008. The History Channel website. 1 Sep 2008, 05:50 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=50854

08
Aug
08

On This Day 8-08-08: Nixon Resigns

Nixon resigns

In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

“Nixon resigns.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6983.

Vice President Agnew under attack

Vice President Agnew branded reports that he took kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland as “damned lies.” Agnew had taken a lot of heat in the media when he assumed a lead position as Nixon’s point man on Vietnam. He frequently attacked the student protest movement, blaming the intellectual community, which he referred to as “impudent snobs,” for campus unrest. Despite the charges of bribery and income tax evasion, Agnew vowed that he would never resign and blamed his troubles on the press, who, he said, were out to get him for his controversial stand on the war. Ultimately, however, he resigned from office on October 10, 1973.

“Vice President Agnew under attack.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:28 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1253.

 

1588 – The Spanish Armada was defeated by the English fleet ending an invasion attempt.

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for St. Helena, in the South Atlantic. The remainder of his life was spent there in exile.

1844 – After the killing of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young was chosen to lead the Mormons.

1866 – African-American explorer Matthew A. Henson was born. Henson, along with Robert Peary and their Eskimo guide, were the first people to reach the North Pole.

1876 – Thomas Edison received a patent for the mimeograph. The mimeograph was a “method of preparing autographic stencils for printing.”

1899 – The refrigerator was patented by A.T. Marshall.

1911 – The number of representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives was established at 435. There was one member of Congress for every 211,877 residents.

1940 – The German Luftwaffe began a series of daylight air raids on Great Britain.

1942 – Six Nazi saboteurs were executed in Washington after conviction. Two others were cooperative and received life in prison.

1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed by U.S. President Truman.

1953 – The U.S. and South Korea initiated a mutual security pact.

1966 – Michael DeBakey became the first surgeon to install an artificial heart pump in a patient.

1978 – The U.S. launched Pioneer Venus II, which carried scientific probes to study the atmosphere of Venus.

1994 – Representatives from China and Taiwan signed a cooperation agreement.

2000 – The submarine H.L. Hunley was raised from ocean bottom after 136 years. The sub had been lost during an attack on the U.S.S. Housatonic in 1864. The Hunley was the first submarine in history to sink a warship.

 

Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria

On this day in 1945, the Soviet Union officially declares war on Japan, pouring more than 1 million Soviet soldiers into Japanese-occupied Manchuria, northeastern China, to take on the 700,000-strong Japanese army.

The dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima by the Americans did not have the effect intended: unconditional surrender by Japan. Half of the Japanese inner Cabinet, called the Supreme War Direction Council, refused to surrender unless guarantees about Japan’s future were given by the Allies, especially regarding the position of the emperor, Hirohito. The only Japanese civilians who even knew what happened at Hiroshima were either dead or suffering terribly.

Japan had not been too worried about the Soviet Union, so busy with the Germans on the Eastern front. The Japanese army went so far as to believe that they would not have to engage a Soviet attack until spring 1946. But the Soviets surprised them with their invasion of Manchuria, an assault so strong (of the 850 Japanese soldiers engaged at Pingyanchen, 650 were killed or wounded within the first two days of fighting) that Emperor Hirohito began to plead with his War Council to reconsider surrender. The recalcitrant members began to waver.

“Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria.” 2008. The History Channel website. 7 Aug 2008, 01:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6544.

29
Jul
08

World War I German Fighters: Fokker D.VII

Fokker D.VII

Fokker D.VII

The Fokker D. VII is considered the best fighter aircraft of World War I.

“First entering combat in May 1918, the Fokker D. VII quickly showed its superior performance over Allied fighters. With its high rate of climb, higher ceiling and excellent handling characteristics, German pilots scored a remarkable 565 victories over Allied aircraft during the month of August.” http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=319

This aircraft has the distinction of being the “only aircraft mentioned in the Armistice demands of November, 1918.” http://www.aerofile.info/fokkerd7/d7html/index.html 

This aircraft can be found at http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

14
Jul
08

Luftwaffe: Focke Wulf 190 (FW 190)

FW-190

Arguably the best propeller driven fighter plane of World War II, the Focke Wulf 190 (FW 190) had superior speed and performance over the British Spitfire V and later FW 190 versions would stay a step ahead of its British contemporaries.  The brainchild of Germany’s legendary aircraft designer Kurt Tank, the FW 190-A originally had a top speed of 390mph, and carried four 20mm cannons in the wings.  Later versions with better engines and fewer guns, would be able to reach speeds around 470mph.  In the hands of a novice pilot the plane was forgiving and easy to handle, making the machine a match for experienced and seasoned allied pilots.  In the hands of a veteran Luftwaffe pilot the FW 190 was a devastating weapon capable of destroying B-17 Flying Fortresses, was an easy match for the P-38, P-47 and could go toe to toe with the P-51.  Fighting alongside the Messerschmitt Me 262, the Germans had discovered a very capable replacement for the Messerschmitt Bf 109.

This plane can be found at: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

For more history on this type of plane follow this link: http://www.aviation-history.com/focke-wulf/fw190.html

12
Jul
08

Messerschmitt Bf-109

Bf 109

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane held the line for the German Luftwaffe during World War II.  It served throughout the war but had limitations.  Limited fuel range meant it could not stay over England for long, which greatly hampered the Luftwaffe’s efforts during the Battle of Britain.  When the Americans arrived the plane had passed its prime, being easily outclassed by faster more maneuverable planes like the P-38, P-47 and the P-51

The version pictured here has two nose mounted 7.92 millimeter machine guns that shoot through the propeller, and a 20 millimeter cannon that shoots from the tip of the propeller cowling.  It packed enough firepower to take on the B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators, but with a speed of under 380 miles per hour it proved too slow to fight it out with American fighters.  The Luftwaffe would have to wait for the development of the Messerschmitt Me 262 and the Focke Wulf FW 190 before it could duke it out with the American fighters.

12
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-12-08: Boris Yeltsin

Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party

Just two days after Mikhail Gorbachev was re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, announces his resignation from the Party. Yeltsin’s action was a serious blow to Gorbachev’s efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together.

In July 1990, Soviet Communist Party leaders met in a congress for debate and elections. Gorbachev, who had risen to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, came under severe attack from Communist Party hard-liners. They believed that his political and economic reforms were destroying the Party’s control of the nation. Gorbachev fired back at his critics during a speech in which he defended his reforms and attacked the naysayers as backward-looking relics from the dark past of the Soviet Union. He was rewarded with an overwhelming vote in favor of his re-election as head of the Communist Party. Just two days after that vote, however, Yeltsin shattered the illusion that Gorbachev’s victory meant an end to political infighting in the Soviet Union. Yeltsin had been a consistent critic of Gorbachev, but his criticisms stemmed from a belief that Gorbachev was moving too slowly in democratizing the Soviet political system. Yeltsin’s dramatic announcement of his resignation from the Communist Party was a clear indication that he was demanding a multiparty political system in the Soviet Union. It was viewed as a slap in the face to Gorbachev and his policies.

During the next year and a half, Gorbachev’s power gradually waned, while Yeltsin’s star rose. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union officially dissolved. Yeltsin, however, retained his position of power as president of Russia. In their own particular ways, both men had overseen the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Yeltsin remained president of Russia until December 31, 1999, when he resigned. Despite his attempts at economic reform, his tenure in office saw the country’s economy falter badly, including a near-complete collapse of its currency. His administration was also marked by rampant corruption, an invasion of Chechnya and a series of bizarre incidents involving Yeltsin that were reputedly a result of his alcoholism. Yeltsin’s opponents twice tried to impeach him. With his resignation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became acting president until new elections could be held. On March 26, 2000, Putin became Russia’s new president.

“Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 10:24 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2726.

1543 – England’s King Henry VIII married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr.

1862 – The U.S. Congress authorized the Medal of Honor.

1864 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln witnessed the battle where Union forces repelled Jubal Early’s army on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

1941 – Moscow was bombed by the German Luftwaffe for the first time.

1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed a highway modernization program, with costs to be shared by federal and state governments.

2000 – Russia launched the Zvezda after two years of delays. The module was built to be the living quarters for the International Space Station (ISS.)

Russians halt German advance in a decisive battle at Kursk

On this day in 1943, one of the greatest clashes of armor in military history takes place as the German offensive against the Russian fortification at Kursk, a Russian railway and industrial center, is stopped in a devastating battle, marking the turning point in the Eastern front in the Russians’ favor.

“Russians halt German advance in a decisive battle at Kursk.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 10:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6517.

Ferraro named vice presidential candidate

Walter Mondale, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, announces that he has chosen Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate. Ferraro, a daughter of Italian immigrants, had previously gained notoriety as a vocal advocate of women’s rights in Congress.

“Ferraro named vice presidential candidate.” 2008. The History Channel website. 11 Jul 2008, 10:29 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5173.




October 2019
S M T W T F S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 281 other followers

Advertisements