How the (Royal) Navy Forged the Modern World.
December 17, 2016
December 14, 2016
Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer who organized the Castilian (‘Spanish’) expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano.
December 10, 2016
If the Japanese Navy in 1941 had sent only two carriers, and had instructed the pilots to attack only the oil storage tanks, the two oil tankers, and the dry dock, the Japanese Navy would have had at least two years of smooth sailing.
“We had about 4.5 million barrels of oil out there and all of it was vulnerable to .50-caliber bullets. Had the Japanese destroyed the oil, it would have prolonged the war another two years.” — Admiral Chester Nimitz
Seventy-five years ago today, the Japanese Imperial Navy launched the most suicidal naval attack in modern history. It was strategically suicidal. It was also tactically suicidal. The fleet’s commander, Admiral Nagumo, announced that it had been a great success, turned the fleet around, and sailed back to Japan. Six months later, the fleet’s four largest carriers were sunk at Midway, including Nagumo’s Akagi.
STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES
There were six crucial targets at Pearl Harbor: the fighter planes that had been conveniently lined up along the runways by General Short, who somehow feared sabotage from a ground attack; the oil storage tanks; the two oil tankers; the dry docks repair facility; the electrical power system; and the basement-based cryptography center. The Japanese knew about all except the last. They targeted only the planes and fighting ships.
November 21, 2016
In 1802, Hamilton attacked Jefferson for reversing his 1784 stance in NOTES ON VIRGINIA which was hostile to heavy immigration. Hamilton ACTUALLY said “…what has become of the nations of savages who exercised this [alleged policy of toleration to early settlers in America]? And who now occupies the territory which they then inhabited? Perhaps a useful lesson might be drawn from this very reflection.” adding “…hardly any thing contributed more to the downfall of Rome, than her precipitate communication of the privileges of citizenship to the inhabitants of Italy at large.”
Alexander Hamilton wrote in 1802:
The Examination Number VII, [7 January 1802]
The next exceptionable feature in the Message [from President Jefferson], is the proposal to abolish all restriction on naturalization, arising from a previous residence.2
In this the President is not more at variance with the concurrent maxims of all commentators on popular governments, than he is with himself. The Notes on Virginia are in direct contradiction to the Message, and furnish us with strong reasons against the policy now recommended. The passage alluded to is here presented:
Speaking of the population of America, Mr. Jefferson there says, “Here I will beg leave to propose a doubt. The present desire of America, is to produce rapid population, by as great importations of foreigners as possible. But is this founded in good policy?”3 “Are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale, against the advantage expected from a multiplication of numbers, by the importation of foreigners? It is for the happiness of those united in society, to harmonize as much as possible, in matters which they must of necessity transact together. Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent. Every species of government has its specific principles: Ours, perhaps, are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe. It is a composition of the freest principles of the English Constitution, with others, derived from natural right and reason. To these, nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies. Yet from such, we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants. They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. Their principles with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us in the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience, during the present contest, for a verification of these conjectures: but if they be not certain in event, are they not possible, are they not probable? Is it not safer to wait with patience for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected? May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable? Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans, thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners, to our present numbers, would produce a similar effect here.”
September 18, 2016
Hundred-million-year-old water was trapped after ancient impact, study says.
Scientists drilling the United States’ biggest crater have tapped into the oldest body of seawater ever found.
They weren’t expecting to find the ancient water, estimated to be 100 to 145 million years old, while boring a hole 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers) deep into the massive crater, located under the Chesapeake Bay.
The crater was formed about 35 million years ago when a large rock or chunk of ice slammed into what’s now the mouth of the bay, off Cape Charles, Virginia, hollowing out a 56-mile-wide (90-kilometer-wide) hole in the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean.
“The water was in the sediment long before the impact occurred. The impact simply reshuffled the sediment in large blocks, which helped preserve it,” said study leader Ward Sanford, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
The asteroid wallup also spawned gigantic tsunamis that possibly hit the Blue Ridge Mountains more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away.
September 13, 2016
Perfectly preserved HMS Terror vessel sank during disastrous expedition led by British explorer Sir John Franklin.
The long-lost ship of British polar explorer Sir John Franklin, HMS Terror, has been found in pristine condition at the bottom of an Arctic bay, researchers have said, in a discovery that challenges the accepted history behind one of polar exploration’s deepest mysteries.
HMS Terror and Franklin’s flagship, HMS Erebus, were abandoned in heavy sea ice far to the north of the eventual wreck site in 1848, during the Royal Navy explorer’s doomed attempt to complete the Northwest Passage.
All 129 men on the Franklin expedition died, in the worst disaster to hit Britain’s Royal Navy in its long history of polar exploration. Search parties continued to look for the ships for 11 years after they disappeared, but found no trace, and the fate of the missing men remained an enigma that tantalised generations of historians, archaeologists and adventurers.
Now that mystery seems to have been solved by a combination of intrepid exploration – and an improbable tip from an Inuk crewmember.
July 25, 2016
Organisation lobbies International Olympic Committee and starts petition to get sport played by Henry VIII into games by 2020.
There is far more to it than two armoured horse riders hurtling towards each other with 12ft lances. Jousting demands levels of athleticism, agility and equestrianism that make it an ideal candidate for the Olympics, English Heritage argues.
The organisation has launched a campaign to get jousting recognised as an Olympic sport in time for Tokyo 2020.
“We are being deadly serious,” said Lucy Hutchings, English Heritage’s head of projects. “It is an incredible spectator sport, a really fascinating thing to watch. The skill of the knight and the horses make it a great thing to witness … we absolutely believe it deserves its place at the Olympic table.”
English Heritage has held preliminary talks with the International Olympic Committee and the Fédération Equestre Internationale, and on Thursday it launches an online petition.
Hutchings said the IOC was in the process of making the Olympic programme more flexible and bringing in a rule that allowed the host nation to make its own proposals for additional events.
May 24, 2016
“At 12 o’clock two generals will come here to discuss my future”, my father said. “So today I will see what is planned for me, the People’s Court or a new command post in the East.” Would you accept such a job?, I asked him. He took my arm and replied: “My dear boy, our enemy in the East is so horrifying that any other matter goes to second place. If the enemy manages to conquer Europe, even temporarily, it would be the end of everything that makes life worth living. Of course I would go.”
Erwin Rommel was, for a time, Hitler’s favorite general. After his success in 1940, as the commander of a Panzer division, Rommel was appointed to the command of the German forces in Africa – Afrika Korps. Here, his tactical genius was recognized even by the enemy, and the ability to inspire his soldiers and make maximum use of limited resources convinced Hitler to promote him to the rank of Field Marshall.
In 1943, Hitler charged Rommel to coordinate the fortification of the “Atlantic Wall” along the French coast, the defensive line that the Germans wanted to use to repel the inevitable Allied invasion in Europe (which would take place in June 1944).
By the beginning of the war, Rommel was confident in Germany’s power. But at the start of 1943 his trust in Germany’s ability to win the initiated conflict began to crumble as days went by, and so did his faith in Hitler. Traveling in Germany, Rommel was outraged by the devastation caused by Allied air raids and the eroded public morale was not a good sign for him.
April 27, 2016
The overloaded steamboat Sultana sunk after its boilers exploded, killing many former prisoners of war soldiers returning from Confederate prison camps. The exact death toll is unknown, but it is estimated that 1,800 perished – more than the amount counted for the Titanic.
April 12, 2016
It was the fall of 1975, and the tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were climbing. It seemed the two nations were headed for thermonuclear war, and it was that fear that caused most of the crewman of the FFG Storozhevoy to mutiny. Their goal was to send a message to the Soviet people that the Communist government was corrupt and major changes were needed. That message never reached a single person. Within hours the orders came from on high to destroy the Storozhevoy and its crew members. And this would have happened if it weren’t for Boris Gindin and few others whose heroism saved many lives.