[x]
Welcome to the Stink Eye Discussion Forum!
Join the Discussion! Click Here for Instant Registration.
The Stink Eye Conservative Forum; Politics, News, Republican Election Headquarters
August 21, 2017, 09:40:08 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: 1 ... 6 7 [8] 9 10 ... 16   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: PzLdr History Facts  (Read 12348 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #105 on: December 06, 2016, 01:04:09 am »

World War II was fought over two countries, the Soviet Union, and the Dutch East Indies [now known as Indonesia]. The former was the focal point of Hitler's obsession with geopolitics and lebensraum, the latter because of its oil. And that oil was the focal point of Japan's planning starting in 1940.

The problem the Japanese faced was Franklin D. Roosevelt and China. Japan had been at war with China since 1931, when she seized Manchuria, turned it into the puppet state of Manchukuo, and installed the last Manchu Emperor of China, Henry Pu Yi as Emperor. Manchuria gave Japan many needed resources, coal and minerals among them, but no oil. In 1937, the Japanese invaded the rest of northern China, and also seized the strategic coastal enclaves.

This did not sit well with FDR, who fancied himself somewhat of a China hand, due to the fact his mother's family had made a fortune selling opium in China. Instinctively siding with China, FDR's attitude toward Japan hardened, and he began to look for ways to pressure the Japanese into withdrawing.

And then, the Germans overran and destroyed France in 1940. One result of the blitzkrieg was that Japan got the Germans to force the French into allowing the Japanese to occupy French Indochina. At that point two things happened. Roosevelt looked to further up the pressure, and the Royal Navy launched an air attack on Taranto Harbor, in Italy, sinking two Italian battleships, and damaging another. The Japanese naval attache in Britain [I believe, or Berlin, less likely], Minoru Genda, gathered all the information he could gather, at the request of the new commander of the Combined Fleet, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

Roosevelt hit upon the ultimate lever to put pressure on Japan. Having already embargoed Japan's acquisition of U.S. scrap metal, he now placed a total embargo on Japanese procurement of oil, and aviation fuel. Since almost all of Japan's fuel came from the United States, Roosevelt was effectively strangling both the Japanese economy, and the Japanese navy's ability to wage war.

[As an interesting aside, Roosevelt received memos from his Treasury Department calling for the hard line. They came from Harry Dexter White, who was also an NKVD agent. And Stalin's interest was better served if the Japanese turned south instead of attacking him].

And much to Japan's surprise, Roosevelt was not only demanding Japan withdraw from Indochina, but China as well, in return for the lifting of the embargo. Having lost a great deal of blood and treasure in their almost 10 years of war, the Japanese were not inclined to accede, but they kept talking. They also prepared other options. And those options included war.

The math was simple. The Japanese fleet had roughly three months reserves of fuel by late 1941. Where was there oil? The Dutch East Indies. But to seize the oil meant war with the Dutch. Who were allied with Great Britain. Which meant war with the Brits. So the Japanese Army and Navy were looking at a drive south that now included Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and eventually Burma, and some Pacific archipelagos.

But what about the Americans? The drive south would take the Japanese past the Philippines. And Roosevelt had moved the Pacific Fleet from the West Coast to Pearl Harbor. That meant proceeding south with three aircraft carriers and eight battleships, plus cruisers, etc. sitting on their left flank, and controlled by no friend to Japan. Enter Yamamoto.

Yamamoto was one of the most air minded  sailors in the Japanese Navy. He cast his gaze on Pearl Harbor, and began to play with the idea of striking it. And he had the perfect weapon to do so, the First Air Fleet, usually referred to as "KIDO BUTAI", 'The Strike Force', a fleet built around four [later six] aircraft carriers accompanied by fast battleships, cruisers modified for scout planes, and destroyers. The carriers carried three different types of aircraft, the 'Kate', a high level and torpedo bomber, the 'Val' a dive bomber, and the 'Zero' fighter. The first two were the equal of anything being flown in the Pacific. the Zero was the equal of, or better than, anything in the world.

The problems the Japanese faced were twofold: how to overcome the shallow depth of Pearl Harbor for torpedo attack, and how to provide heavy enough bombs to penetrate the battleships' armored decks. As to the former, they stole a page from the Brits at Taranto [shallower than Pearl Harbor], and put wooden stabilizer fins on the torpedoes. For the latter, they converted 16" shells from the flagship NAGATO into bombs.

By early November, they were ready, and the ships of KIDO BUTAI slipped their moorings, and in small groups headed north to the Kurile Islands. The fleet consisted of Carrier Division 1 [AKAGI and KAGA], Carrier Division 2 [SORYU and HIRYU], and the newly formed Carrier Division 5 [SHOKAKU and ZUIKAKU], plus two fast battleships, the usual escorts, and a train of tankers and supply ships. They were commanded by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, who was not an airman. He was a torpedo expert who had been a destroyer man. He was there solely based on seniority. To help him, his air commander was Minoru Genda, who had planned the details of the attack. The air commander for the attack would be Commander Fuchida.

When no diplomatic breakthrough occurred by 25 November, KIDO BUTAI sortied from Tankan Bay, and headed across the Northern Pacific, following a route scouted by a liner earlier. Stopping to refuel twice,  the carriers were approximately 200 miles NNW of Hawaii on December 7th. Some 180 planes constituted the first attack wave. They came in from both sides, and down the middle of Oahu. They were picked up by an Army radar unit, but the news wasn't passed up the chain of command past their own CO. In a like vein, the report of the U.S.S WARD, a destroyer that sighted and fired on [and sank]a Japanese midget submarine, didn't reach senior staff until the attack was almost underway.

The first objectives hit, contrary to the movies, were the airfields. The Japanese were determined to prevent an air attack on their bombers. Zeros strafed the airfields, followed by bombers [most from Carrier Division 5]. Since the Army commander, LTG Walter Short, was more concerned with sabotage than air attack, he had his planes lined  up wingtip to wingtip on the runways. It was a duck shoot.

First into the harbor were shotais of Kates with the modified torpedoes. From his vantage point above, Fuchida radioed the fleet, the words "Tora!, Tora! Tora!" indicating complete surprise [due to atmospherics, Yamamoto on the NAGATO heard it back in Japan]The torpedoes worked successfully in the shallow depths of Pearl Harbor, wreaking havoc on the outboard ships. More Kates flew high overhead, in the role of horizontal bombers. It was one of these Kates that dropped the bomb on U.S.S ARIZONA, which set off her magazines and blew her up. By the time the first wave left OKLAHOMA was capsized, NEVADA had beached herself, ARIZONA was a mass of flames, and the remaining battleships suffered damage that ranged from fairly light to fairly serious.

By now, the Americans were responding to the attack in a more organized, more disciplined way. When the second wave, of some 160 aircraft showed up, the AA was intense, and U.S Army pilots in P 40s were up. The result was 29 Japanese aircraft shot down  before the Japanese left. The attack was over. Some 20 plus ships had been sunk or damaged. Over 2,000 Americans were dead [half on ARIZONA]. 170 planes were destroyed, and almost as many damaged. BUT the Japanese had failed to attack the oil storage tanks, the drydocks, or the U.S. submarines [Genda wanted a third attack, but Nagumo refused, in large part because no U.S. carriers were found at Pearl]. So KIDO BUTAI  recovered her aircraft, and sailed away.

Tactically, Pearl Harbor was a success. Strategically it wasn't. And it masked the fact that the Japanese were able to mount carrier raids, but not long term operations. They never built the 'trains' the U.S fleets did that allowed them to operate for months on end at sea. And the Japanese never replaced the types of aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor on their carriers with new types.

By the end of the war, every ship of KIDO BUTAI had been sunk. But on December 7th, 1941, they were the best in the world.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
apples
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 37719



« Reply #106 on: December 07, 2016, 12:46:24 pm »

Thank you for posting....Never forget Pearl Harbor! 
Logged
apples
Global Moderator
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 37719



« Reply #107 on: December 07, 2016, 01:35:34 pm »

Pearl Harbor Day 2016: Photos From the Attack

http://heavy.com/news/2016/12/pearl-harbor-day-photos-of-the-attack-photographs-best-top-remembrance/

Logged
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #108 on: December 11, 2016, 12:22:38 am »

The  Reich that was supposed to exist for a thousand years became 'a dead man walking' on 11 DEC 1941, when Adolf Hitler declared war on the United states of America. In fact, that Reich would continue to exist for a mere 40 months and 28 days from the declaration. And a valid question is why did Hitler do it. He was already at war with the two remaining first tier nations in Europe, Great Britain and the Soviet union. There was no reason to believe that the united States was going to unilaterally declare war on Germany. Indeed, the declaration of war by the U.S. on 8 DEC applied only to the Empire of Japan. So why?

In the immediate time frame, Hitler was almost euphoric over Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, despite the fact he was given no prior notice of Japan's plans, and despite the fact that the Japanese war with America [and Britain, the Netherlands and Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the Commonwealth] boded ill for the prospect of a Japanese attack on the U.S.S.R., which Hitler had been urging on the Japanese. He served champagne to the members of his staff and entourage at the Wolfsschanze. He enthused that the Japanese hadn't lost a war in 3,000 years. And yet, that hardly seemed the basis for launching into a war with the greatest industrial power on the planet. And it wasn't.

Hitler's view of America was a jumble of shrewd assessment of its mass production [at least as far as the assembly line of the auto industry [Hitler loved cars. Hell, he helped design the Volkswagen], contempt for the racial polyglot society he saw through the 'eyes' of Nazi racial ideology and for the U.S's democratic society, and a romanticized view provided by the Karl May western novels of his youth, which he still periodically read. Neither he, nor Ribbentropp, had an accurate, or even semi-accurate picture of America and what it could do.

Then there was the recent history between the Reich and America. Hitler believed, in the period from Poland through early 1941, that FDR was trying to get Germany into a war, or more correctly, get the U.S. into the ongoing war with Germany.  The division with Great Britain of the Atlantic Ocean into defensive zones made the U.S a technical co-belligerent if Germany chose to construe it so under international law. Ditto the destroyers for bases deal, lend lease, and other programs. Hitler let it pass. Then U.S escorts began radioing U-boat positions to the British. and eventually depth charging U-boats. U-boats then sank U.S destroyers, one of which the RUEBEN JAMES, inspired a burst of patriotism from Pete Seeger [who gave up militating against U.S. involvement in the war on June 23d]. Hitler overruled Grand Admiral Raeder's and Admiral Doenitz's demands that Germany declare war. So by 11 DEC, Hitler was of the mind that war with the U.S was inevitable, and the only question was when.

Absent the Japanese action, he would probably have waited. but the Japanese acted. And to Hitler, it was an irresistible opportunity. By winter, 1941, the U.S had achieved nowhere near the rearmament, and reconstitution of her forces the government envisaged. the masses of tanks, cannon, aircraft and other supplies were still in planning and/or in the pipeline. but industry hadn't fully geared up. And while the U.S army was no longer 17th in the world behind Romania, it wasn't exactly on the same level as the Wehrmacht. The General Staff thought the U.S wouldn't catch up for two years. With the Japanese success at Pearl Harbor, and its march through the Philippines, Hitler apparently thought it would take longer, and with the U.S forced to fight in Asia AND the western European theater [the Mediterranean was an afterthought], probably thought he had more time. He was wrong.

The United States wound up fielding an army as large as the one the Germans invaded the U.S.S.R. with, with one difference. It was fully mechanized. No 600,000 horses for them. The U.S. produced enough aircraft to fill their own needs, and to provide to the Commonwealth and British forces, and the U.S.S.R.. The U.S provided thousands of trucks to the Red Army that allowed the Soviets to concentrate on tank production for their drive west. And the U.S. provided food for all our Allies.

With the U.S in the war against Germany, from the production issue alone, Germany was doomed. Add in the troops that were an absolute necessity for the British to even attempt an invasion of northwest Europe, one can see Hitler's declaration was absolute idiocy. Idiocy based on arguable points, but idiocy none the less. Because absent Hitler's declaration of war, it is highly doubtful FDR could have inveigled a U.S. declaration of war against the Germans. Instead, Hitler gave him the Christmas gift he longed for, two weeks early.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #109 on: December 11, 2016, 11:33:45 pm »

It was a battle that led Robert E. Lee to declaim, "It is good war is so terrible, lest we should grow too fond of it", or words to that effect [and he WON the battle]. It was planned and led by a Union general who thought [correctly] that he was not competent to command [and had refused command of the Army of the Potomac once already], and whose major contribution to America was the whisker style called the 'sideburn'.

Ambrose Burnside had had an undistinguished career as a Corps commander in the Army of the Potomac. At Antietam he had thrown his troops headlong across a narrow bridge [now named after him] repeatedly into withering fire at a point where Antietam Creek could be forded [which foreshadowed his performance at Fredericksburg]. He had declined a prior invitation from Lincoln to assume command of the Army, and refused. But after McClellan's sack after Antietam, Burnside felt he could not again refuse command of the Army, and began the road to Fredericksburg.

A recurring theme in the war in the East was attempts by the various commanders of the Army of the Potomac to steal a march on Lee, flank him, or get between and Richmond, and drive on. Those attempts were never successful, even when the Union troops initially succeeded. Such was the case at Fredericksburg. the plan was to sideslip Lee, move the Union Army down the east side of the Rappahannock River, cross at Fredericksburg, and then drive on Richmond with Lee to his rear. with Lee's Army split [Jackson was in the lower Valley, the prospects for success seemed good, IF Burnside moved rapidly and got across the river before Lee counter moved. It didn't happen.

Burnside's plan relied upon Union Army engineers putting pontoon bridges over the Rappahannock quickly, and before Lee consolidated his position. Unfortunately, somewhat similarly to MARKET-GARDEN in WW II, the bridging equipment got tangled in the columns of troops and arrived late. By the time the engineers started building their bridges, they were taking rifle fire from Confederate troops positioned in various buildings in the town, artillery fire was being exchanged, and Lee had brought his Army to battle.

The Confederate lines ran, from Lee's right, through woods, behind and through the town, and on his left behind a stone wall on Marye's Heights, a piece of high ground that commanded an open piece of ground sloping up to the Heights. The Confederates were dug in behind the wall.

The first day's battle, December 11th, basically involved the Union troops crossing the river at Fredericksburg, and driving the Rebel skirmishers out of the town, which they then looted and vandalized. The day's combat showed a lack of discipline in the Union ranks, and a lack of celerity in deploying troops over the River, into line and attacking quickly.

Major combat erupted on Day 2. While Union troops on Burnside's left struggled, and almost broke through Jackson's lines, Burnside concentrated most of his troops in serial frontal attacks on Marye's Heights. All of them failed with heavy losses. GEN Meagher of the Irish Brigade saw his troops slaughtered by, among other units, Irish volunteers in the Army of Northern Virginia. He resigned after the battle.

As the second night descended, cries from the Union wounded could be heard all over the battlefield, but particularly at Marye's Height. They had no water, and the night grew increasingly cold. At least one Confederate, called the Angel of Marye's Heights, crossed over the wall repeatedly to give them water. A truce was arranged for the Union troops to gather their wounded.

On the third day, Burnside withdrew after his subordinates convinced him not to renew the attack. The Confederates reoccupied the ruined town and watched the Union troops go. They did not pursue, although their casualties were much lower than Burnside's.

Burnside then undertook another march to flank Lee in December, which due to inclement weather became known as the "Mud March". The Union troops bogged down in view [and laughter] of the Rebels, eventually returning to their winter quarters having accomplished nothing. Except the removal of Burnside from Army command after roughly 4 to 6 weeks of being in charge. Burnside was replaced by Joseph "Fighting Joe" Hooker, and reverted to Corps command.

Burnside went on to defend eastern Tennessee from Longstreet in 1863 with creditable success. But at Petersburg, Burnside failed at the Petersburg mining operation, and was relieved by Grant. He went on to be the governor of Rhode Island. But his military reputation rests on the nadir of his career - Fredericksburg. and that reputation, as an incompetent, dogmatic, tactically inept,profligate commander is well deserved.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #110 on: December 19, 2016, 12:47:54 am »

He started the civil war as a junior officer, but by its conclusion, he had advanced rapidly in rank. Ambitious, arrogant, he was tactically aggressive, and seemed headed for greater things. Yet after the war, he was reduced in rank, and sent west. And, no, he was not George Armstrong Custer. His name was William Judd Fetterman, and he was destined to lead the worst tactical defeat on the western frontier prior to the Little Big Horn.

After the Civl War, the U.S. Army, much reduced in size and power returned to the western frontier to re-engage in the conquest and pacification of that territory. And initially, that pacification did not go well. In Arizona, Cochise's Apaches continued to run wild. Much the same could be said of the Comanches on the southern plains, the southern Cheyenne in Kansas, and the rulers of the high Plains, the Lakota. At least two campaigns were fiascos. The Sioux were unbroken, warlike to the extreme, and 'haughty' would have been an understatement. And then came a gold strike in Montana.

the government needed the gold for the post war economy. Soplanswere made, and surveys done through Lakota territory for a road to and from the gold fields. And the government called a council with the Sioux, to get permission for the road, and its protective forts. Unfortunately, several of the forts were started DURING the council, and before the Sioux had agreed to anything. One Oglala warrior, Red Cloud, showed up at the council, announced what the Army was doing, and stormed out, with a large percentage of the Indians at the meeting following him. With the bands in a state of war [joined by the Northern Cheyenne and the Arapaho], the U.S. Army continued their road building project. Each side faced problems.

For Red Cloud, the main problem was getting the tribes to put sustained pressure on the Army unis and the forts. While adopting the guerilla tactics used for centuries against all enemies, Red Cloud had to keep a large number of Indians under arms, and united in large groupings that did not hit and then leave. He did this.

For the army, the problems were multiple. They had to staff a string of forts with inadequate troops.They had to position forts to protect the road, often positioning them in less than favorable locations. Since they lacked adequate troops, they had to position the forts so far apart they were not mutually supportive. They had to build the road while under intermittent attack. And due to poor locations, the troops, in addition to the patrol of the road, had to range further afield than desirable for wood [for not only construction but fuel], and, in certain locations, water. that made them predictable - and vulnerable.

At no fort were these deficiencies more troublesome than at Ft. Phil Kearny. Kearny was understaffed. Its principal weakness were two. There was no nearby source of wood. A train of wagons traveled over a mile to a suitable site to cut wood, requiring an escort, and on more than one occasion, a rescue party. The second problem was a more than adequate supply of hostiles. Red Cloud had a large concentration of Indians not too far from Kearny. And he personally directed, even if he did not participate in many of the actions around the fort, including attacks on the wood trains, raids on the roads to the north and south of the f, and other actions. Enter Wiliam Judd Fetterman.

Fetterman, now a Captain in the 18th Infantry  was sent with a group of reinforcements to Kearny. And as soon as he arrived, trouble came with him. LTC Carrington, the post commander [an Engineer]took a defensive posture regarding his protection of the Bozeman trail. He conducted patrols, worked on the defenses, and made sure the wood details were protected. Fetterman, and other junior officers militated for more aggressive tactics. Fetterman, with no experience against the Indians went so far as to proclaim, "Give me 80 men, and I'll ride through the whole Sioux nation". and while Carrington did what he could to minimize Fetterman's opportunities for causing divisiveness in the command, he still had to use him. Thus, Fetterman found himself in the position of leading rescue parties to the wood train when it was attacked. the first time or two he adhered to his orders which were to secure the safety of the trains, and escort them back to the fort. all that changed on December 21, 1868.

On that day, the wood train was again attacked. But it now appeared the Indians were using it as bait, to bring out a rescue party, and lead that party off. They had already tried the tactic at least once. So when Fetterman claimed the right to lead the rescue, based on the senior brevet he held in the Civil War, Carrington had to comply. But his orders to Fetterman were explicit. One: He was to rescue, relieve, and return the wood train to the fort. Two: In effecting the rescue, he was not to pursue the Indians he had driven off beyond Lodge Pole ridge, some two miles from the fort. Those orders were repeated at least twice, and in the hearing of witnesses. Fetterman then led out his rescue party. It consisted of 82 cavalrymen and infantrymen, plus two civilian volunteers. Fetterman had four more men than he thought he needed to ride through the whole Sioux nation. Now all he needed was the whole Sioux nation. He was soon to find a large piece of it.

As Fetterman drew near to the wood train, the Indians rode off. But a group of 8, led by a young Oglala named Crazy Horse, straggled behind, taunting the soldiers, staying just beyond their reach, and then riding over Lodge Pole ridge.

Fetterman went right past the wood train in pursuit of the decoys, followed them up, and then over, Lodge Pole Ridge. The Lieutenant commanding Fetterman's cavalry contingent further violated Carrington's orders by riding ahead of the infantry. He was out of contact when Fetterman marched into a gully, and the trap was sprung. It appearsthat potentially more Indians attacked Fetterman than attacked Custer eight years later, perhaps as many as 2,000+. The result was a foregone conclusion, and the 'battle' was over in a short time. Fetterman's infantry died in the guly [Fetterman and another officer killed each other in a sucide pact]. the cavalry was wiped out a short distance away, riding back to the main command. All the bodies were scalped and mutilated except one. Fetterman's bugler was found next to his bugle which had been beaten flat, probably in the final defense of his life. the Indians had covered him with a buffalo robe, and had neither scalped, nor mutilated his body.

Carrington had seen Fetterman cross Lodge Pole Ridge from the fort's ramparts, and immediately ordered CPT Ten Eycke [the officer Carrington had wanted to put in charge of the rescue effort] to take another column out. Ten Eycke halted on Lodge Pole Ridge, observin many hundreds of Indians in the gully milling about. In the time it took Ten Eycke to reach the ridge, the battle was over.

Despite the time of year, Carrington sent a civilian scout, 'Portuguese' Phillips south to report the disaster, and request reinforcements in anticipation of a full scale attack on Kearny. Reinforcements came. the attack never did.

That year [1869], the U.S found another route to the Montana gold fields, one that avoided the Lakota buffalo grounds. A treaty was then made with Red Cloud, setting aside a vast reserve for the Indians, abandoning the trail and the forts, and withdrawing the army units manning the roads without any more hostile action by the Indians. The Indians then rode into the forts and burned them down. Red Cloud had won. But more importantly, the Army failed to draw the appropriate lessons from the conflict. First, the Indians had abandoned the usual practice of hit and run by small groups. They had concentrated in much larger concentrations, and fought a more sophisticated battle drill, as part of a larger strategy. And they had done it for a sustained period of time. The Indians would repeat this in 1876, against Custer. And they would be led by the same Sioux who lured Fetterman to his death, Crazy Horse. And Fetterman? He had a fort, and a defeat named after him. You can still see the site of the latter. But the fort is gone. Just like fort Phil Kearny.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #111 on: December 22, 2016, 06:33:02 pm »

She was the most active capital warship of the KRIEGSMARINE. Launched in 1936 with her sister ship, GNIESENAU, the SCHARNHORST was, pre- BISMARCK, the largest capital ship in the German Navy. Weighing approximately 30,000 tons, the  two battlecruisers were capable of 30 knots, and were armed with 9x11" main guns in triple turrets [the only German major units so constructed], and a formidable secondary armament [There were plans to convert the ships' main armament to six 15" guns in three turrets, but it never happened]. In their time in service, SCHARNHORST and GNIESENAU were classified as heavy cruisers, battlecruisers, and, eventually, battleships.

SCHARNHORST's motto was "Immer Vorans", "Always Forward", and she lived up to her name.

In November, 1939, the battlecruisers sortied into the North Atlantic, intent on commerce raiding. Instead, they ran into H.M.S. RAWALPINDI, a merchantman converted into an auxiliary cruiser by the Royal Navy, patrolling. Although heavily outgunned, and totally outclassed, RAWALPINDI engaged the Germans. The conclusion foregone, she sunk. But, the battlecruisers broke off their mission, having lost the element of surprise, and withdrew.

In April 1940, SCHARNHORST and GNIESENAU   escorted a force of destroyers up to Narvik, Norway as part of the WESER Exercise. They then acted as decoys to draw off a British battleship, using their superior speed to escape.

They returned to Norway in June, on a mission to attack troop transports withdrawing British and French troops from Norway. Instead, they attacked and sank a British fleet carrier, H.M.S. GLORIOUS [becoming the only surface warships to accomplish that feat in military history], with first blood going to SCHARNHORST [her first salvo blew a hole in the flight deck]. However, in sinking the two escorting destroyers with GLORIOUS, both the battlecruisers suffered damage requiring repairs in Germany[SCHARNHORST more so]. They were out of action for the rest of 1940.

In early 1941, SCHARNHORST, again with GNIESENAU, broke into the Atlantic via the Denmark Strait. The duo, under the command of Fleet Admiral Guenther Lutjens, spent over two months at sea, re-fueling, and re-supplying from pre-positioned supply ships. At first the pickings were slim. Hitler had ordered that no attacks were to made on convoys escorted by British battleships. The Germans came upon at least two convoys so escorted, and were forced to break off using their superior speed. But then, in a period of two days, they sank 22 ships from convoys that had broken up, racking up some 115,000 tons of shipping. With increased pressure in the Atlantic, the two ships fled to Brest, France, where they remained over a year, being bombed by the RAF, and watched by the Royal Navy. During their forced sequester, they were joined by the heavy cruiser, PRINZ EUGEN, which had broken out with BISMARCK, but detached before the battleship was found and sunk.

In 1942, Hitler ordered the three ships to break out, because he thought the ships woulod be of more use in Norway. The operation was called CEREBUS. The commander was Vice Admiral Cilliax. Jamming of British radar was slowly increased in intensity and duration over an extended period of time. Luftwaffe fighter coverage was worked out from the Channel to Germany. The key to the operation was to run the Channel in daylight [the British assumed, and planned for, the Germans to attempt the Channel at night. And catching the British on the wrong foot, the German battle squadron paased Dover during the day.

The Germans did not escape unfazed, however. SCHARNHORST struck British mines twice, the first time leaving her dead in the water for several hours. But she made it home. GNIESENAU also struck a mine, and made it home. But her damage was so severe she was decommissioned, and her weapons removed for coastal defense [one of her turrets wound up in Norway].

After her repairs were completed, SCHARNHORST was ordered to Norway, where she joined TIRPITZ [8x15"], BISMARCK's sister, ADMIRAL HIPPER [8x8"], a heavy cruiser, and ADMIRAL SCHEER [6x11"], one of the two remaining pocket battleships. Her reputation as a 'lucky ship' proceeded her, and her initial deployment seemed to bear this out. SCHARNHORST accompanied TIEPITZ in the attack on the Allied Spitzenberg weather station [the only time TIRPITZ fired her guns offensively]. And then her luck ran out.

The Kriegsmarine botched an attack on the British convoys to and from Russia badly [SCHEER and HIPPER], and Hitler was furious. His first idea was to decommission all the capital ships he had left. Admiral Doenitz talked him down from that, but the Kriegsmarine was anxious for a win. So on Christmas Day, 1943, SCHARNHORST, in concert with five destroyers sailed to intercept a convoy returning to Great Britain. It was a trap.

Almost immediately, because of exceptionally heavy seas, the destroyers were forced to return to base. That left SCHARNHORST to attack alone. One of the escorts for the convoy SCHARNHORST was groping for was H.M.S. Belfast one of the newsest, and most modern heavy cruisers in the Royal Navy. She not only had radar, she had a ballistic computer firing system for her guns, that put her on target, and adjusting fire, much more quickly and accurately. It also allowed her to relay firing data to other British ships in the area.

SCHARNHORST opened an engagement with the escorts, but then broke off. Instead of sailing back to Norway, she 'looped', and tried to attack the convoy again. But the British anticipated the move, and sprung the trap. This time SCHARNHORST ran into not only the escorts, but the KING GEORGE V class battleship, DUKE OF YORK [10x14" guns], under Admiral Bruce Fraser. SCHARNHORST and DUKE OF YORK [DOY] both scored hits, with DOY's hits causing heavier damage. SCHARNHORST's forward gunnery radar was knocked out, and the commanding Admiral, Erich Bey [a destroyer man, initially], sought to break the action off, and flee to the safety of Norway [he had a two knot advantage on DOY]. But at that point, SCHARNHORST took a hit that  knocked out one of her engines. Her speed falling, and DOY overtaking her, she was doomed. SCHARNHORST sunk fairly quickly, and only some 36 survivors were recovered [as with the BISMARCK, fear of U-boats caused the British to leave early in the recovery effort. Two days later, Admiral Fraser dropped a wrath at the presumed site of the sinking [they were 20 miles off], and commended the SCHARNHORST's actions to his officers if they ever found themselves in a similar situation.

SCHARNHORST's luck had finally run out, but she died as she lived, 'Always Forward'.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #112 on: December 26, 2016, 09:13:23 am »

His army was in tatters, and melting away like snow in the Spring. Enlistments were up for many of his troops at the end of the year, and he had little reason to think he would have an army to field in 1777 when the British came calling again.

1776 had been a series of one disaster after another. From Long Island, through Brooklyn Heights and White Plains and Manhattan, George Washington and the continental Army had been treated by the British Army and their Hessian allies as little more than a training aid. Twice able to sneak away via water transport, Washington was then driven the length of New Jersey by Howe's troops led by Cornwallis. Fleeing across the Delaware, prior to going into winter quarters in Pennsylvania, Washington had had the foresight to strip the New Jersey side of the Delaware of all small craft. And while taking the boats, Washington did leave something else behind - a network of spies.

As for the British, they followed time honored custom for winter time warfare. They went into cantonments to patrol and wait for the Spring to begin operations. Most of the British troops were pulled back toward New York. The strongpoints along the Delaware were left in the hands of Hessian troops.

Hessians were feared and hated by the Americans [who also further hated the British for bringing the Hessians into the war]. Originating in the small German states of the Palatine and western Germany, the Hessians [not ALL the Germans were from Hesse, but a preponderance were] were the only truly marketable export for the small principalities. Trained to a high standard [they were renowned for their bayonet work], the German mercenaries were professional, competent and well led. For the British, the addition of several thousand troops was well worth the cost as an augmentation to their own already overextended forces.

As December's cold bit in, Washington learned that the Hessians had made an unforced error in their dispositions. They were not located where they could be mutually supportive in case of attack. And with that piece of information, Washington conceived a plan that would allow him to go on offense, and potentially raise morale to the point where his men would stay with him into 1777.

And so, on Christmas night, 1776, Washington re-crossed the Delaware, with the intent to attack Trenton at dawn. the plan envisaged two separate columns converging on Trenton. But, as Moltke the Elder once said, 'no plan survives the battlefield'. The first problem was the ice on the river. the second column never made it across. On top of that, Washington's Marblehead regiment, comprised of mostly fishermen, under Col. john Glover, wasn't able to move the troops, and particularly the artillery, as quickly as they had thought possible. The movement required several more trips than anticipated. Result? Washington was on the shore of the Delaware at dawn, not at Trenton. So the attack would be made in full daylight, after an approach of several miles. The issue then came down to attack, with the element of surprise possibly gone, or withdraw back across the river. Washington decided to go forward with the attack.

On the approach, Washington split his army into two columns, putting MG John Sullivan in charge of one contingent while Washington led the other. Henry Knox, Washington's chief of artillery was in charge of the cannon.

The Hessians were taken completely by surprise, BUT they were not drunk, and they did attempt to put up a viable defense. But due to Knox's cannon, the speed of the attack, and the mortal wounding of their commander, Col. Johann Rall [Rall is buried in Trenton], their efforts soon collapsed. Trenton was Washington's, along with almost 1,000 prisoners, and a sizable number of Hessian dead.

Word of the debacle reached Princeton, but the garrison there was too far away to engage Washington before he made good his escape later that day [Princeton would be the second Washingtonian masterpiece in a few days].

The success at Trenton rocked the colonies, the British Empire and the two armies. the British could no longer assume the war would be waged on their schedule by their rules. The moves they initiated blew up in their faces at Princeton and after.

The war would go on [combat at least] until 1781. But Trenton saved the Revolution. Most of Washington's troops due for release re-enlisted. New volunteers flocked to the standards. Before long, Howe would be gone replaced by Clinton. And finally, at Yorktown, Cornwallis, who had harried Washington across New Jersey in 1777, surrendered to him at Yorktown. And the Hessian prisoners? Many of them chose to remain in the United States after the war, becoming American citizens.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #113 on: December 30, 2016, 08:38:14 am »

Lindisfarne Abbey [Monastery] was located on a low lying island just off the coast of Northumbria, one of the four Saxon Kingdoms of England. It was one of the most, if not the most, famous monasteries in Britain. Founded by a saint, patronized by the king of Northumbria, it was a center of learning, and incredible wealth, with donations from the faithful throughout the island. It was also poorly defended, relying on the protection of God and St. Cuthbert, whose relics were kept there. Its physical defenses were non-existent, and no troops were stationed there to protect it. And so it was that on 8 JUN 793 AD, three dragonprowed longships came a calling, and they weren't there for spiritual solace. they were there for the money, gold, and slaves. And since the God they worshipped was Odin, the Catholic character of the inhabitants and the place meant nothing to them. By the end of the day, they had slaughtered many of the monks, carried off the rest to the slave markets in Scandanavia, and plundered the place to its foundations.

Lindisfarne has become the stuff of legend. It is commonly cited as the opening salvo of the Viking Age in Europe. But it wasn't. Some three years earlier, Vikings had raided Portsmouth, and killed a Saxon official, who won the dubious honor of being the first Saxon killed by the Norse in Europe. There may also have been small raids on both the Saxon and French coasts before Portsmouth. But Lindisfarne grabbed all Christians attention, in part because it was one of the premiere religious centers in Europe, and in part because believers were shocked God din't defend his keep against the pagans.

Another legend about the Lindisfarne raid was that it was led by the semi-mythical Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok [as was portrayed in the TV series "Vikings"]. There is no firm evidence Ragnar existed as he is portrayed in the sagas. There is NO evidence he led the raid on Lindisfarne if he did exist. There is no indication in the record if the raiders were Norwegians or Danes. All that is known is that Lindisfarne was sacked [it would be again], and that other monasteries [such as Iona] would follow. The Vikings adhered to the Willy Sutton adage of 'going where the money was'.

Over the next decades, and indeed, centuries, Viking raids on England would increase in number, size and ferocity, and would go from raid, to invasion, to conquest. The Vikings would also plunder Paris, western Germany the Mediterranean, and Ireland, where they would found the cities of Dublin, Cork, Warterford, Wexford and Leinster. Swedish Vikings would establish a dynasty to the East, the 'Rus', that gave Russia its name, and would attack, unsuccessfully, Constantinople itself.

But it got its real start at a monastery off the coast  of Northumbria on a Spring Day in 793 A.D.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #114 on: January 09, 2017, 12:28:13 pm »

Name your selection for the greatest American general in U.S history. State your reason for your choice. If there are enough responses, we can make a list of the top 5 or 10.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #115 on: January 09, 2017, 12:46:44 pm »

Any era, any continent. If enough responses we can post a list of the top 5 or 10.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #116 on: January 10, 2017, 08:57:52 am »

OK, guess I'll go first:

[1] The Mongol Army

[2] The German Army from 1939 to 1943

[3] the Roman Army [late Republic to @150 AD]

[4] the Imperial Army of Napoleon [1805-1806]

[5] Sherman's Army of the West [1864-1865]

Honorable mention: The Army of Northern Virginia
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
PzLdr
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 568



« Reply #117 on: January 10, 2017, 11:19:08 am »

Guess I'll start again. For me it's a tie:

General George Washington:
                   
Lost more than he won. BUT he won the crucial battle of Trenton that kept the Revolution alive, and avoided the annihilation of his Army on several occasions. He kept his force in being until the French joined up, the British tired out, his troops were professionalized to the point where they could stand toe to toe with the redcoats, and he forced Cornwallis' surrender. He also established the principle of civilian primacy over the military that exists to this day [ IMHO, not always the best thing]

General William Tecumseh Sherman:

The first modern general in the United states Army. He saw war as a whole, intertwining both the enemy's forces in the field, and his civilian support. The general who brought maneuver and logistics to the fore. His campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas anticipated, by 80 years the German Blitzkrieg that felled most of Europe. A soldier of great intellect, and diverse interests, Shenrman stands head and above his comtemporaries, and many of his successors.
Logged

You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
jafo2010
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7147


« Reply #118 on: January 10, 2017, 10:11:31 pm »

This list is obviously subjective, but I based my evaluation on results over time.

1.  USA military from 1942 to present.  In a league all their own.  In 3.5 years, they defeated the Axis decisively.  And yes, while Britain and Russia were Allies, neither of these countries would have survived without the largesse of the USA via Lend Lease and the people of America.

2.  Persian Empire  -  1,200 years

3.  Roman Empire  -  500 years

4.  Kingdom of Macedonia  - Alexander the Great was a great leader.  640 years

5.  Spartan Empire  -  700+ years

6.  Mongols

7.  Spanish Empire

7.  British Empire

Note:  Many list the German Army 1939-1945, and Russian Army 1941 to present, and while they fought many great historical battles, they are not on my list.  The Germans were resoundingly defeated and only stood strong for 6 years.  The Russian Army has been a major force in the world, but they simply would not exist if not for #1 on the list.  Had the USA and to an extent Britain not come to the aid of Russia during WWII, Germany would have continued rolling east through Russia, and once Moscow fell, Russia would have quickly collapsed and Stalin would have sued for peace or been defeated.





Logged
jafo2010
Hero Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7147


« Reply #119 on: January 11, 2017, 02:22:48 am »

This is difficult.  We have had a number of great generals in the short time the USA has existed.

1.  Gen George Marshall  -  Marshall is heavily responsible for the rise of Gen Dwight Eisenhower, and a major supporter of Gen George Patton, both being on my list as well.  There was Gen Omar Bradley, Gen Matthew Ridgway and a half dozen others that were also notable.  In addition, he tolerated the peacock Gen Douglas MacArthur, who may well not have lasted under someone else.

Marshall was the wizard behind the curtain that lead the USA to victory in just 3.5 years against the formidable Axis nations.

2.  Gen. Robert E. Lee  - in a word, brilliant!  Had the south had any economy other than cotton and tobacco, the outcome of the Civil War could have been very different.  Plus, if the war had a just cause for the south, they would have won.  The war was largely fought over slavery, and anyone with any sense of American morality objected to slavery.

3.  Gen. George Patton

3.  Gen Dwight Eisenhower

« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 12:46:57 am by jafo2010 » Logged
Pages: 1 ... 6 7 [8] 9 10 ... 16   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Contact Us by Email
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!