Tall grasses on the Allied side of the bridge gave their company cover.
That side was recently abandoned by the Germans in preparation for the explosive collapse of that bridge. The German defenders were shocked at the appearance of his uncle;s company charging the bridge.
His uncle’s company arrived at a fortuitous time to take the lightly defended bridge before enemy engineers triggered the explosions. They may have been a scouting company for heavier units in the division. Not really geared for direct combat. However the slowdowns across various rivers after D-Day was understood by all. The Germans commonly destroyed bridges in their retreat to stall pursuit by Allied forces.
Interesting – I’d never heard that the French had a WWI-era railway gun that was used by the Germans in WWII. Just from a theoretical viewpoint, however, I doubt that it could have been used to intentionally target Red Navy ships or even shore facilities; guns of that type probably weren’t accurate enough to hit anything specific within a city-sized target. It was probably used for general-purpose shelling during the siege of the city, to add to the overall misery of the population.
Congratulations to Mr. Prewitt. It should be noted, however, that France’s highest order of merit is called the Legion of Honour (Légion d’honneur), not the Legion of Armour, and also that France doesn’t actually have knighthoods in the same sense as Britain does. “Chevalier” (knight) is indeed one of the Legion of Honour’s five levels, and the name is a holdover from the days when France still had an aristocracy, but the French nobility system went out the window with the French Revolution. I once saw a series of amusing cartoons depicting what life in France would be like today if the Bourbon monarchy hadn’t fallen, and one of them showed an irate air traveler standing at the ticket counter of “Royal Air France” and telling the ticket agent “But I’m a baron and I have a confirmed reservation!” The agent replies, “I’m sorry, sir, but the Duke of So-and-so has precedence over you, so we gave him your seat.” In fairness, the same sort of thing actually happens in real-life republican France. A few years ago, there was scandal involving one of the major D-Day anniversaries (I think it was the 50th one), when the French government contacted various hotels in Normany and appropriated some of their existing reservations so that various French officials could have rooms for the event. Some of those rooms, however, had been reserved by foreign veterans of the D-Day invasion. When the story broke on the front page of French newspapers (under such headlines as “Our Liberators Insulted!”), public opinion was outraged and the French government beat a hasty retreat. The prevailing editorial opinion over this affair was: Do this to our own citizens if you want, but don’t do this to the heroes who ended the occupation of France.
German bombers attacked the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh on 16 October 1939. The last raid was a V2 rocket attack near Iwade in Kent on 29 March 1945.
Thanks for the interesting link!
The map seems to be offline right now ‘due to high demand’, but the data can still be accessed. And indicate that the first ‘attack’ actually consisted of two unexploded shells on 6 September 1939. Also, the last raid was actually a V1 according to: https://www.flickr.com/photos/22124479@N03/5001363807
The Wikipedia article on the V1 has Datchworth as its final British target, however. And the dataset lists 7 attacks on that day, apparently listing Datchworth as ‘Batchworth’.
The daughter of Captain Hans Langsdorff will travel to her father’s grave in Buenos Aires next month, marking the 80th anniversary of his death and the scuttling of the Graf Spee. She’ll be accompanied by the descendants of some of the 1,000 German sailors who served on the ship.
yea Spruance steaming away at night was a smart move. I wonder if Halsey was in the same situation if he would have. I kinda doubt it
Agreed. Ray Spruance was an excellent combat officer – he and Halsey spent the last few years of WWII alternating command of the 5th Fleet / 3rd Fleet, which was actually the same force whose name got switched every time the two admirals rotated, much to the confusion of Japanese naval intelligence – but he was very different from Bill Halsey in terms of style and personality. Spruance was precise and analytical; he certainly didn’t lack aggressiveness (when he made a decision to attack, he sent in “everything that wasn’t bolted to the flight deck”), but before making his decision to attack he would carefully weigh all the factors of the situation, which sometimes translated into over-cautiousness. Halsey was a hell-for-leather type – sort of the naval counterpart of George Patton – whose fighting spirit greatly inspired his men (the enlisted sailors loved him, not least for the fact that he could drink and swear as well as any of them), but this sometimes translated into recklessness. After the war, someone – I think it was Spruance himself – said that it would have been better if Halsey has been in command at the Battle of the Philippine Sea (where the IJN lost hundred of planes and pilots, but managed to save the bulk of its fleet) and if Spruance had been in command at the Battle of Leyte Gulf (where Halsey fell for a Japanese decoy operation, and compounded his error by leaving no covering force to guard the San Bernardino Straight).
Here’s an interesting news story from yesterday. For technology buffs, note that Mr. Smoyer posed in front of a Sherman tank for the occasion (which was a nice touch), but that the tank in which he served as a gunner, and with which he destroyed a Panther, was a Pershing, a late-war 90mm-gunned well-armoured US tank which could take on the Panther on better terms than the thinly-armoured 75mm-gunned Sherman.
Published Wednesday, September 18, 201
World War II veteran Clarence Smoyer, 96, receives the Bronze Star from U.S. Army Maj. Peter Semanoff at the World War II Memorial, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington. Smoyer fought with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division, nicknamed the Spearhead Division. In 1945, he defeated a German Panther tank near the cathedral in Cologne, Germany — a dramatic duel filmed by an Army cameraman that was seen all over the world.
The unlucky POW has the unfortunate distinction of being, as far as I know, the only British battleship which was involved in two famous and important naval actions of WWII, one against Germany and one against Japan, and of ending up on the losing end of both engagements (fatally so in the second case). On the more positive side, she was the venue for the August 1941 Churchill-Roosevelt summit in Newfoundland, which among other things resulted in the Atlantic Charter. The document would be called a “communique” today (when summit meetings are common events, and post-summit communiques are a routine element of such meetings), but back in 1941 this sort of thing was rather novel. The Atlantic Charter was referenced at various times during WWII, either pleasing or embarrassing Churchill depending on the circumstances (such as when he argued that the Charter article which expressed respect for “the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live” didn’t apply to British-rule India), and it ultimately helped to lay the foundations of the United Nations charter.
Along similar lines: General Joseph E. Johnston, who had surrendered his forces to General William Tecumseh Sherman in the last days of the Civil War, died just a few weeks after Sherman. He had attended Sherman’s funeral and had kept his hat off during the proceedings (despite the cold and rainy weather) as a sign of respect to his former adversary; he caught a cold as a result, and it developed into pneumonia.
True Marc. I also remembered that they, too, were born in the same month. Was February, actually, but 13 years apart. Funny.
As a footnote: I once read a book on the Doolittle Raid in which the author commented that James Doolittle’s family name was somewhat ironic because, on the contrary to “doing little,” the man was actually a powerhouse with a long list of accomplishments in various aviation-related fields, both theoretical and applied. He was, among other things, a test pilot and an aeronautical engineer, a record-setter and a prize winner, with many of these accomplishments pre-dating the outbreak of WWII in 1939 (at which time he was a reserve officer in the Air Corps, having resigned his regular commission in 1930; he returned to active duty in the Air Corps in 1940). WWII added more items to his C.V., the Doolittle Raid being the most famous example but by no means the only one.
As a follow-up to the original post, by the way, it’s not surprising that the bomb went off spontaneously (which is what the news story seems to indicate). Explosives can become unstable over time, which is one reason why certain types of souvenirs sometimes kept by veterans are potentially dangerous. I read a news story a few years ago about a woman who was going through the personal possessions of her father (a WWII vet) after he passed away, and who found an unexploded hand grenade in one of his desk drawers. She very sensibly called the police.
I probably won’t be able to, since I believe the movie is going to be a summer release and my jacket is on the heavier side, but if the weather is cold enough I will. It currently has the patches for Enterprise and Yorktown shown above. Only reason I haven’t put on the Hornet one is that it is rather large and I have limited real estate to work with. I may just try to find a smaller one. As you can imagine, there are few online retailers selling replica ship patches from World War II.