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 on: May 29, 2020, 10:46:26 pm 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
See "PzLdr History Facts" Archive, p.2

 on: May 27, 2020, 08:22:50 am 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
"For want of a nail"...

When Admiral Guenther Lutjens failed to "top off" the battleship BISMARCK's fuel bunkers in Bergen, Norway prior to setting sail for the Atlantic, he may not have given that failure any thought. But he should have. It would, indirectly lead to the destruction of his ship.

During the Battle of the Denmark Strait, BISMARCK was hit by several rounds from the British battleship PRINCE OF WALES [PoW]. One of those hits was to a forward fuel bunker on the port side, causing the loss of, or contamination of, several hundred or thousand gallons of fuel oil. That meant two things. First, BISMARCK's part in the Rhine Exercise was over, and secondly, she would have to return to Europe for repairs. Lutjens decided on Brest.

The Bismarck's top speed was 30 knots or a little better, and the only British capital ship capable of matching that speed [in theory] lay in pieces at the bottom of the Denmark Strait. BUT, BISMARCK's failure to take on fuel in Norway, and the oil loss suffered as a result of the hit by PoW meant Lutjens couldn't run at top speed. As a result, Bismarck slowed to a maximum speed of 27 knots, which was one knot less than the KING GEORGE V class battleships were capable of. BISMARCK was, in theory 'catchable'.

But at first it didn't seem so. On the night of 24 MAY, she slipped the British shadowing her, while PRINZ EUGEN sailed into the Atlantic, and headed east. Even when Lutjens gave the British help [several long radio transmissions that allowed the British to 'fix' his position, they either  miscalculated the plot, sending their own ships the wrong way, or realized they were too far behind to catch him.

But then Lutjens gave an address to his crew that sent morale plummeting, basically telling them they were doomed. And on 26 MAY just before darkness, British double winged torpedo planes [Swordfish], from the carrier ARK ROYAL, launched an attack [BISMARCK had been spotted by a British PBY Catalina co-piloted by an American, and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter MODOC]. The attack came after an almost free-fire incident with the cruiser HMS SHEFFIELD, which actually helped the British by showing them their new torpedo firing devices were defective.

One fo the torpedos struck BISMARCK near the stern, jamming the rudders, and causing flooding. The Germans had determined during sea trials, that BISMARCK had a design flaw [her rudders were too close together, and too close to the screws] which could cause the ship to be unable to steer in any fashion. Morale, low already, sank further when the crew was allowed to take what they wanted from the ship's stores.

With the damage to her stern, BISMARCK sailed in circles, and into the wind. Toward the British fleet.

During the night BISMARCK was harassed by a group of detroyers, but the real showdown occurred around 0830 hours, when contact was made with some nine British warships, including KGV [10x14" guns], and HMS RODNEY [9x16" guns].

The British opened the battle, with BISMARCK initially firing on KGV, but soon switching to RODNEY [the more dangerous of the two] narrowly missing her. But BISMARCK's inability to steer meant that was as close as she got, and for the next hour she was pounded by the British battleships [RODNEY got so close she damaged her own guns. She would spend the rest of the war in SCAPA FLOW]. The battleships fire was joined by that of cruisers, and torpedoes were launched as well.

Some 400+ rounds hit BISMARCK, reducing her to a flaming wreck. All her main guns were put out of action [her secondary continued to fire until they were put out of action]. But Admiral Tovey, low on fuel, needed to break off, and ordered the heavy cruiser, HMS DORSETSHIRE to finish BISMARCK with torpedoes. DORSETSHIRE did torpedo BISMARCK, but undereas cameras have shown the torpedoes failed to penetrate the BISMARCK's armored torpedo belt.

BISMARCK was scuttled by her own crew. Incapable of fighting, but with her battle flag still flying, she sank at round 1030 hours. There were 115 survivors of a crew of some 2,500 men. The RHINE EXERCISE was over.

 on: May 27, 2020, 07:40:48 am 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
See "PzLdr History Facts" Archive, p.13

 on: May 27, 2020, 07:37:52 am 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
It changed the balance of power in the Far East, heralding the rise of a new major power, and contributed directly to the decline and ending of another. It set in stone a naval doctrine that would eventually destroy the victor, and one of its participants would eventually lead the victor to its greatest victories, and its greatest defeats. It was the naval battle of Tsushima, the decisive confrontation between Imperial Russia, and Imperial Japan.

The Russo-Japanese War started in 1904, over, of all things, Korea and Russian ports and leases in China.It began with a Japanese sneak attack [destroyers and torpedo boats] against the Russian Pacific fleet in Port Arthur [a smashing-no pun intended-success], which was followed up by a land invasion.

The Czar then sent his northern fleet from the Baltic, through the channel, around Africa, and across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to relieve the russian troops under attack.

The voyage did not go smoothly. The Russians fired on some British fishing boats in the North Sea. Britain denied the Russians access to their coaling facilities along the route. France would not offer any aid. Several [at least] of the Russian squadron's ships were in poor conditions, old and slow.

Awaiting them was the Imperial Japanese Navy, composed of new ships with crews and officers trained by the British, under the command of Admiral Togo.

Togo put out a screen of scout ships that spotted the Russians making for Korea via the Inland Sea, and radioed the fleet of the Russians' location. Battle was joined on 27 MAY 1905, with Togo crossing the Russian fleet's "T". By the time the battle was over, approximately 75% of the Russian ships were sunk or captured. The Russian fleet commander was wounded [as was a Japanese ensign who lost two fingers, named Isoroku Yamamoto].

The loss meant the eventual surrender of the Russian land forces, the loss of Port Arthur and other areas, led to the riots of 1905 in Russia, and the Portsmouth Treaty that ended the war, and netted President Theodore Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize.

But many in Japan were unhappy with the Treaty, feeling their sacrifice should have resulted in greater gains, both financial and territorial, and unhappy with the U.S. for hosting, and steering, the negotiations. It was the first step toward Japan seeing the Americans as their principal enemy. And Tsushima became the bedrock of the Japanese theory of the "Decisive"[Naval] battle in Home waters that led, some 37 years later, to the defeat at Midway, with Isoroku Yamamoto commanding the IJN.

 on: May 27, 2020, 07:10:36 am 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
Jedediah Smith, a legendary Mountain Man is killed along the Santa Fe Trail by Comanche Indians.

Smith, one of the first Mountain Men was, aside from being a trapper, a prolific journal keeper, mapmaker, and explorer, traveling as far as Spanish California, and the Pacific northwest. Smith is remembered for re-discovering the South Pass through the Rockies that became an integral part of the Oregon trail and gave travelers an 'easy' route through the mountains.

Smith was leading a supply train the Santa Fe when he was ambushed by the Indians. Having failed to bring adequate water on the journey, he was scouting for a water source when he was killed. His journals are one of the primary sources historians use to study the early history of the western frontier.

 on: May 24, 2020, 11:15:28 pm 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
On this date, Boston Brave Babe Ruth goes 4 for 4, with three Home Runs, and 6 RBIs. The third of those home runs is career number 714, a record that will stand almost 40 years.

Ruth was probably the greatest player in baseball history. Originally a left handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Ruth established a record for scoreless innings in the world Series that was not broken until Whitey Ford did it. Ruth even pitched several times for the Yankees.

Ruth, the man who resurrected baseball after the Black Sox Scandal, also established a single season home run record [60] that wasn't broken until 1961 [Roger Maris]. Many of Ruth's other records still stand today.

Ruth died in 1948 of throat cancer. His number [3] was retired by the Yankees. It should have been retired throughout professional baseball.

 on: May 24, 2020, 11:08:21 pm 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
See "PzLdr History Facts" Archive, p. 13

 on: May 24, 2020, 12:05:50 pm 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
When they met at around 0530 at the southern end of the Denmark Strait, they were the two largest warships in Europe, and the pride of their respective nations.

HMS HOOD was over 800 feet long, capable [in her youth] of 31 knots, and armed with eight 15" guns. Built at the end of World War I, the "Mighty Hood" as she was known was Britain's good will ambassador in the inter-war years, which meant necessary upgrades were haphazard, if not ignored, and occasionally worse than before [Her bow tended to ride low in heavy seas after an up-armor on the frnt of the ship]. BISMARCK was brand new, outweighed HOOD by at least 8,000 tons [in armor], capable of 30 knots [at least], and had the second widest beam of any WW II battleship [making her a VERY stable gun platform], an was also armed with eight 15" guns.

So, at first glance, it would appear to be a meeting of equals. It was not.

HOOD was a WW I battlecruiser. Battlecruisers were designed for speed at the expense of armor. And Hood's armor, particularly her deck armor was thin. But for the outbreak of war in 1939, the Royal Navy had planned to decommission HOOD in 1941. Instead, she was either on patrol, shelling the French fleet at Mers el Kabir in 1940 or stationed with the flet at Scapa Flow. And while her main guns were the same caliber as BISMARCK's, they were 20 years older. So for every two salvos HOOD could fire, BISMARCK could fire three. And BISMARCK had a far superior fire control system.

When the Battle of the Denmark Strait began that morning, HOOD, acompanied by PRINCE of WALES [PoW, 10x14" guns], had sought to cross the German squadron's [ BISMARCK and the heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN, 8x8" guns] 'T'.
Because the Germans were moving faster than the British thought, that didn't happen. Whatr did happen was that the two British warships could only use their forward turrets [4 fifteen inch guns, 6 fourteen inch guns]

What did happen was that the British opened fire on the lead ship, PRINZ EUGEN, assuming she was BISMARCK [they had the same profile ], in part because the Germans, to the west were still in darker skies, with Greenland behind them.

 BISMARCK herself was unfired on for some two minutes, while PRINZ EUGEN engaged HOOD, hitting her several times[none of HOOD's seventeen salvos would strike either of the German ships].With the German fleet commander, Admiral Guenther Lutjens, refusing to engage, BISMARCK's Captain Ernst Lindemann declaimed "I'm not having my ship shot out from under my ass", and ordered BISMARCK to open fire.

BISMARCK's guns' initial salvo landed just short of Hood's bow. By the third salvo, she straddled HOOD. At that point, Vice Admiral Lancelot Holland ordered a turn to port, in an effort to bring HOOD's rear turrets into action [PoW had been ordered before the action to conform to HOOD's movements]. As HOOD was turning, BISMARCK fired her fifth salvo.

One shell hit near 'X' turret , plunged through the deck, and exploded in the main powder magazine. It is surmised that the fire resulting [there was a column of fire at least several hundred feet high observed from PoW] raced forward through the ventilation system, and touched off the forward magazine. In any case, HOOD exploded, broke in two pieces [PoW had to swerve around her], and sank, leaving only three survivors out of a crew of over 1,400.

BISMARCK then turned her attention to PoW, hitting her at least seven times. Despiute mechanical difficulties with her guns [there were civilian workmen on the ship], PoW scored several his on BISMARCK, including one in a fuel bunker that contributed to BISMARCK's eventual demise.

BISMARCK herself eluded the British for two more days, before being found, and torpedoed from planes from ARK ROYAL. Her rudders jammed, she was forced to sail back toward the British. Engaged by some nine British ships, including the battleships RODNEY [9x16" guns], and KING GEORGE V [10x14" guns], BISMARCK was reduced to a flaming wreck, and scuttled.

 on: May 24, 2020, 11:28:20 am 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr
On 24 May 1943, Dr. Josef Mengele reports to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp for duty as a Casmp 'physician' and researcher.

Member of a family manufacturing and selling farm machinery, Mengele has two advanced degrees, one medical, and a PhD in anthropology. He is also a die hard Nazi, and a member of the SS.

Mengele's original participation in WW II is as a doctor with the 5th SS Panzer Division  "Wiking" [Viking] on the Eastern Front, where he earns the Iron Cross, First Class, and the Wounds Badge. It is after this wounding, and convalescence, that Mengele volunteers to work in the Concentration Camp system, with a primary goal of doing anthoprological research and medical research, on camp inmates.

Mengele engages in research on twins and other genetic studies, inflicting a great deal of pain, and of death, on his subjects. He also searches incoming trains for more sets of twins.

Under SS regulations, ramp selections at the camps had top be made by a doctor. The camp doctors responded to this duty with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Mengele would volunteer for it. Many survivors remembered him whistling in his white lab coatwhile amking the selections.

When Auschwitz was abandoned in early 1945, Mengele fled the camp, and eventually, Germany. Supplied over the years with money from his family,. Mengele lives, at first, in Argentina, then Paraguay, and finally Brazil, where he dies of a stroke while swimming.

 on: May 23, 2020, 01:33:58 am 
Started by PzLdr - Last post by PzLdr

On a back road in Louisiana, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are ambushed by a group of Texas and Louisiana lawmen led by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, while driving to the home of one of their accomplices families. the two are driving a stolen car. they die in a hail of bullets.

Bonnie and Clyde are the discount Dillingers of the day, but because Parker is a woman [and an rudimentary poet],they are portrayed as blue collar Robin hoods. During a two plus year rampage, the duo, with a variety of associates, including Clyde's brother Buck and sister-in-law Blanche, commit a series of robberies and homicides, killing at least nine peace officers, and several civilians [Dillinger is believed to have killed one man, a police officer]. Contrary to the myth, and the 1967 movie [Hamer's daughter sued the studio for its portrayal of him], Bonny and Clyde were neither anti-heroes, nor charming. They were psychopathic thugs, who got what they deserved.


On this date, following his arrest at a road block manned by former Soviet prisoners, Geheimefeldpolitzei Sergeant Heinrich Hitzinger is turned over to a British HQ for interrogation [The Secret Field Police, as part of the RSHA was an organization whose members were to be summarily taken into custody].

With a short time, Hitzinger, while being questioned, reveals himself to be Heinrich Himmler, Reichsfuehrer SS, head of the German Police, Minister of the Interior, Head of the Replacement Army, and the most wanted Nazi War Criminal still at large.

Himmler had been wandering around northern Germany since Hitler had stripped him of all his positions after the BBC broadcast that Himmler had been trying to negotiate a separate peace with the Western Allies, following Himmler's exit from Berlin after Hitler's last birthday.

Himmler's initial efforts to make a place for himself at Doenitz's headquarters [Doenitz was Hitler's successor], had come to nothing, and assuming the Hitzinger disguise, Himmler had hit the road with several aides, blending in with refugee columns until his apprehension.

Once his identity was eastablished, the British had a military Doctor began to examine and search Himmler. It was at that point that Himmler bit down on a cyanider capsule in his mouth, swallowing the poison. Despite British efforts, Himmler died.

Himmler was buried in an unmarked grave on the Luneburg Heath by a British NCO. The grave has never been discovered.


Israeli agents kidnap former SS Obersturmbannfuehrer [LTC] Karl Adolf Eichmann in Argentina, and take him to Israel for trial.

Eichmann, former head of Gestapo Section 4B4 had overseen the implementation of the "Final Solution" [he was the recording secretary at the Wansee Conference], and had personally directed the shipment of almost a half million Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz in the summer of 1944. He had fled, via the "Rat Line", first to Italy and then to Argentina after the war. After a public trial, he will be hanged, cremated, and have his ashes dumped in the Mediterranean by the Israelis

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