The End of the War in Europe (1944-45)

Soviet flag flies over the German Government buildings - The Reichstag in devastated Berlin circa May,
Operation Market Garden in Arnhem Holland in September 1944 

The operation made massive use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and to allow a rapid advance by armoured ground units to consolidate north of Arnhem. The operation required the seizure of the bridges by airborne troops across the Meuse River, two arms of the Rhine (the Waal River and the Lower Rhine), together with crossings over several smaller canals and tributaries. However, this large airborne force contrasted with the ground forces being light with only one corps moving north of , XXX Corps. XXX Corps took along 5,000 vehicles full of bridging equipment and 9,000 sappers.

Men of the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, of the 1st Airlanding Brigade, advance toward Arnhem, towing a 6-pounder anti-tank gun with them, 18 September.
Men of the 2nd Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment, of the 1st Air landing Brigade, advance toward Arnhem, towing a 6-pounder anti-tank gun with them, during the defeat for the British army during Operation Market Garden in Arnhem Holland in September 1944 Photo taken on September 18,1944 Source: Wikipedia

The Allies captured several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen at the beginning of the operation. Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks’ XXX Corps ground force advance was delayed by the initial failure of the airborne units to secure bridges at Son en Breugel and Nijmegen. German forces demolished the bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Son before it could be captured by the US 101st Airborne Division, although a Bailey bridgewas then built over the canal by British sappers. This delayed XXX Corps’ advance by 12 hours, however they made up the time, reaching Nijmegen on schedule. The US 82nd Airborne Division’s failure to capture the main highway bridge over the Waal River at Nijmegen before 20 September delayed the advance by 36 hours. XXX Corps had to seize the bridge themselves instead of speeding over a captured bridge onward to Arnhem, where the British paratroopers were still holding the north end of the bridge.

At the northern point of the airborne operation, the British 1st Airborne Division initially encountered strong resistance. The delays in capturing the bridge at Nijmegen and constructing a Bailey bridge at Son gave time for German forces (the 9th SS panzer infantry and 10th SS panzer infantry Divisions, which were in the Arnhem area at the start of the jump) to organise their counterattack. A small British force managed to capture the north end of the Arnhem road bridge, denying use of the intact bridge to German forces. After the ground forces failed to relieve the paratroopers on time, they were overrun on 21 September. At the same time that XXX Corps’ tanks moved over the Nijmegen bridge, 36 hours late, after seizing it from the Germans, the British paratroopers at the Arnhem bridge were capitulating, unable to hold on any longer.[The remainder of the British 1st Airborne Division was trapped in a small pocket west of the Arnhem bridge, which was evacuated on 25 September after sustaining heavy casualties.

A 9th SS Sd.Kfz. 250 half-track in action at Oosterbeek. Notice the supply parachute in the background.
A 9th SS Sd.Kfz. 250 half-track in action at Oosterbeek. Notice the supply parachute in the background. Source: Wikipedia 

The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine. The river remained a barrier to their advance into Germany until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Operation Market Garden to form a foothold over the Rhine ended Allied hopes of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.

Battle of the Bulge

Members of the 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, move past a destroyed American M5
Members of the 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division, move past a destroyed American M5 “Stuart” tank on their march to capture the town of St. Vith at the close of the Battle of the Bulge. St. Vith was largely destroyed during the ground battle and subsequent air attack. American forces retook the town on 23 January 1945.

Source: Wikipedia Continue reading “The End of the War in Europe (1944-45)”

July 20 1969 – 2019 The Eagle Landed Fifty Years Ago

Blue Crescent Moon
Houston. Tranquillity Base Here.., The Eagle Has Landed. ‘ 


50 years ago, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission changed our world and ideas of what is possible by successfully landing humans on the surface of the moon—and bringing them home safely—for the first time in history. The video celebrates this moment of human achievement by taking us through the journey to the moon and back, narrated by someone with firsthand knowledge of the epic event: former astronaut and Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins.

Source
Apollo11~Wikipedia Continue reading “July 20 1969 – 2019 The Eagle Landed Fifty Years Ago”

Uncle Pete & Vic Reeves on British TV in 1994

His long-running Charlie Chuck stage act often involved the destruction of a drum kit and was peppered by references to fantasy characters including One Eyed Dog, Cakey Pig and a Donkey. The words “Donkey!” and “Woof! Bark! Donkey!” shouted out more-or-less at random had been part of his Charlie Chuck act and became his ‘Uncle Peter’ catchphrases on the Reeves & Mortimer TV shows. As a result of these TV appearances, Paul McCartney became a fan and invited Chuck to perform at one of his birthday parties.

In 2001, he appeared as his Charlie Chuck character in a series of TV ads for Cadbury’s Double Decker chocolate bars.


He starred in the BBC Two TV series The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer (YouTube vid above). He appeared performing his Charlie Chuck character act, but was always referred to on-screen as ‘Uncle Peter’.

Dam Busters


The men from many anti-nazi nations of  ‘The Dam Busters’ – RAF 617 Squadron led by 24-year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson were lauded as heroes after the infamous raid in 1944. and Guy Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Dam Buster raid.
Guy Gibson’s men needed to fly specially modified Lancaster bombers  of 617 squadron which would carry the ‘bouncing bomb’ needed to be dropped from a height of 60 feet (18m), and at a ground speed of 232mph. The bomb would spin backwards across the surface of the water before reaching the dam.
The raid also established 617 Squadron as a specialist precision bombing unit, experimenting with new bomb sights, target marking techniques and colossal new ‘earthquake’ bombs developed by Barnes Wallis .On the night of 16-17 May 1943, Wing Commander Guy Gibson led 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force on an audacious bombing raid to destroy three dams in the Ruhr valley, the industrial heartland of Germany. The mission was code-named Operation ‘Chastise’.The dams were fiercely protected. Torpedo nets in the water stopped underwater attacks and anti-aircraft guns defended them against enemy bombers. But 617 Squadron had a secret weapon: the ‘bouncing bomb’.

The RAF 617 Dam Busters Squadron was led by 24-year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson was made up of aircrew from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA
The RAF 617 Dam Busters Squadron was led by 24-year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson was made up of aircrew from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA

In late March 1943, a new squadron was formed to carry out the raid. 617 Squadron was led by 24-year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson was made up of aircrew from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. With one month to go before the raid, and with only Gibson knowing the full details of the operation, the squadron began intensive training in low-level night flying and navigation. They were ready for Operation ‘Chastise’.e dams. Initially code named Squadron X,

First Dam Successfully Busted 'The Möhne' in the Indus trail Ruhr in western Germany at precisely 12.28 am on May 16th., 1944.
First Dam Successfully Busted ‘The Möhne’ in the Industrial Ruhr heartland of the Nazi-War machine in western Germany at precisely 12.28 am on May 16th., 1944.

Dam Busters Lancaster Bombers Night Raid
From 9.28pm on 16 May, 133 aircrew in 19 Lancasters took off in three waves to bomb the dams. Gibson was flying in the first wave and his aircraft was first to attack the Möhne (pictured below) at 12.28am, but five aircraft had to drop their bombs before it was breached. The remaining aircraft still to drop their bombs then attacked the Eder, which finally collapsed at 1.52am. Meanwhile, aircraft from the two other waves bombed the Sorpe but it remained intact.
Continue reading “Dam Busters”

Wolfe, Washington & The French and Indian War

Last of the Mohicans Movie still image set during the North American colonies French and Indian War of 1763

The French and Indian War of 1754 – 1763 pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by military units from the parent country and by American Indian allies.

1755- The Territory of the US During the French-Indian Wars
1755- The Territory of the US During the French-Indian Wars


Source: French and Indian War – Wikipedia

In the 1700s the British and the French began to show interest in the Ohio River Valley.  Both countries viewed the valley as theirs. The French had a fur trade with Native Americans in the region, and had no interest in sharing their business with the British settlers.
The french built a chain of forts from Lake Ontario south to the Ohio River in order to protect their claims in the valley. The British responded by starting to build a fort in what is now Western Pennsylvania. The French seized the site before they could finish. They later built their own fort on it naming it Fort Duquesne.
The Ohio River Valley
In 1754 the governor of Virginia sent a Militia, lead by George Washington, to drive out the French. After Marching to Fort Duquesne  Washington made a fort of his own called Fort  Necessity.The fort was soon attacked by the French and their Native American Allies. The combined army won the battle and forced Washington’s soldiers to surrender. They were later released by the French and returned to Virginia.

The Redcoats - The Soldiers of the British Army
The Redcoats – The Soldiers of the British Army

British Advantages And Victory

Under these circumstances, the French tide in North America reached its crest by the end of 1757. In 1758 Amherst captured Louisbourg. Soon afterwards, John Bradstreet compelled the garrison of Fort Frontenac to capitulate, and that same year Forbes and Henry Bouquet brought about the fall of Fort Duquesne. The following year Sir William Johnson forced the surrender of Fort Niagara. Amherst pushed the French out of Fort-Carillon and Crown Point. The climax came with the British victory at the Battle of Quebec (September 13, 1759). Montcalm, were fatally wounded. Faced with hopeless odds, on September 8, 1760, the governor-general, the Marquis de Vaudreuilt was obliged to surrender not only his last stronghold, Montreal, but all of Canada. Thus, the North American phase of the Seven Years’ War came to a close.

Battle of the Plains of Abraham Part of the French and Indian War The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West. Oil on canvas, 1770
Battle of the Plains of Abraham Part of the French and Indian War The Death of General Wolfe by Benjamin West. Oil on canvas, 1770

During those years of defeat, the only notable success scored by the British and colonial forces was the capture in 1755 of the well-fortified Fort Beauséjour on the Chignecto Isthmus, a narrow strip of land connecting Nova Scotia with the mainland. British authorities held the region to be a part of Nova Scotia, ceded by France in the April 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. However, the French-speaking Acadians who lived in the region not only steadfastly refused to take an oath of loyalty to the British crown but had provided Fort Beauséjour with provisions and a large labour force to aid the French in consolidating their foothold on the isthmus. As no large contingent of British soldiers was available to garrison the area and subdue the pro-French populace, the British authorities at Halifax decided to disperse the Acadians as a war measure. Transports carried most of the Acadians away from their villages in western Nova Scotia and distributed them among the British colonies to the south. Some returned to the area after the war, while others settled in French Louisiana, where their descendants became known as Cajuns. The exile of the Acadians from Nova Scotia was famously dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellows’ narrative poem Evangeline (1847).

Video: ~ George Washington Documentary – Biography of the life of George Washington Continue reading “Wolfe, Washington & The French and Indian War”