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Author Topic: PzLdr History Facts  (Read 38735 times)
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apples
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« Reply #345 on: December 03, 2017, 10:48:32 am »

I thank both of you for another history lesson!
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« Reply #346 on: December 04, 2017, 11:25:44 am »

Quote
He was the self-proclaimed [and only] "Capo di Tutti Capi" ['Boss of all bosses']. He had fought a bloody internecine Mafia war for control of the Italian mob in New York against Joseph "Joe the Boss" Masseria. And he had won. He had then re-organized the Mafia in New York City into five families, a structure they still function under today. And then he made one mistake. He crossed Lucky Luciano. And that mistake was fatal.

Salvatore Maranzano was a late comer to New York. Unlike Joe the Boss, he had not emigrated to the United States with the early waves of Italian immigrants. Unlike Lucky Luciano, he had not arrived as a child. Maranzano had come to America in the 1920s, as an adult, an as a Mafia Don.

He gathered around him other Mafiosi from his hometown and region Castellammare del Golfo, including future Mafia Dons Joe Bonano, and Stefano Maggadino. He then began to cut into Masseria's rackets and 'territory'. The result was called the Castallamase War.

The Castallamarese War was strictly intramural. Except as hired hands, no outsiders were involved. No matter. the bodies piled up, and although Maranzano was winning, it was a long slow slog. The breakthrough came when Maranzano cut a deal with Masseria's underboss, Lucky Luciano.

Luciano had led an interesting life of crime. He had worked for Arnold Rothstein, along with a crew that included Jack 'Legs' Diamond, Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter and Meyer Lansky. his association with Lansky, and Benjaimn "Bugsy" Siegel went back to his adolescence. So Luciano came to his criminal adulthood in an ethnically mixed organization which operated on the principle that you worked with anybody you could make money with.

The Mafia at that time did NOT operate that way. Membership was for Sicilians only [Al Capone was never a Mafiosi. First he was American born. Second, he was of Neapolitan descent]. and even within the Mafia, they tended only to work with Mafiosi from their hiome region in Sicily [It was no wonder Luciano referred to them as "Moustache Petes"].But the Mafia knew talent and they wanted Luciano, putting increasing pressure on him to join. It was the classic offer you couldn't refuse. And by the time of the Castallamarese War, Luciano was Masseria's underboss.

But Luciano was extremely unhappy with the situation. He had an instinctive aversion to all the publicity the dead bodies in the street were causing, and the 'heat' that went with it. and the fighting was 'bad for business', as close to a religious credo as Lucky had.

So Luciano was receptive to Maranzano's overtures, and a deal was struck. Luciano would head his own family [he believed he was being offered an equal partnership with Maranzano]. There would be no repercussions against Masseria loyalists, who would be folded into the new organization. the price? joe the Boss.

Luciano took Masseria to a favorite restaurant in Coney Island for lunch. they ate, played some cards, and drank some wine. then while Lucky was in the bathroom, four men walked in, including mkore than likely, Albert Anastasia, and possibly Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel, and opened fire. Masseria slumped dead on the table [the famous picture of him holding an Ace of Spades was actually posed by a photographer who responded to the scene]. the war was over.

Much to Luciano's surprise, he learned two things at the massive  banquet to herald the end of the war. First, he didn't get his own family and a partnership with Maranzano. He became Maranzano' underboss. Second, he became aware that Maranzano was in the processing of contracting one Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll to kill him. The betrayal did not sit well with the now betrayed Luciano. so he made his own plans.

Maranzano fronted his rackets with an office in the New York Central building. His only concern seemed to have been IRS agents. And then, mirabile dictu, four men, with badges and credentials appeared in his office, claiming to be from the IRS. they weren't. they were from Luciano [none were Italian, to avoid being recognized]. Maranzano was shot and stabbed to death [his guards, having been disarmed, were not harmed]. As the killers fled, they ran into Coll, who was a day late, and a dollar short for his meetin with Maranzano.

Luciano took over the New York Mafia. He gave Joe Bonano Maranzano's family. He abolished the title of "Capo di Tutti Capi", preferring Augustus Caesar to Julius Caesar [Maranzano's hero], and became Primus Inter Pares. He established  the  Commission to govern criminal activities like a Board of Directors. He actively cooperated and worked with non-Sicilian gangsters. Allegedly, he organized a massacre of "Moustache Petes" nationwide, the so-called "Night of the Sicilian Vespers", but that appears to be urban legend, more than fact. What he did do was drag the Mafia into the twentieth century, and made it the most successful, and longest standing criminal organization in American history. And it toke the death of two men, Joe the Boss and Salvatore Maranzano, to bring it about.

Was able to watch on TV about Lucky and these gangs.  Going to re-read these now.
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« Reply #347 on: December 04, 2017, 11:28:55 am »

When Lucky Luciano set up organized crime in the early '30s, it was not a purely Italian organization. the Purple Gang of Detroit was Jewish. the Mayfield Road Gang and Egan's Rats were ethnically mixed. And aside from Luciano's associates, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, there was a strong component, especially in the New York area of Jewish criminal organizations [Lepke and Shapiro, Dutch Schultz, Longy Zwillman, etc.]

So when the Commission began to put together an enforcement team, they looked to combine both Jewish and Italian gangs in its composition. the result was the Union of two gangs from East New York, Happy Maione's Ocean Hill crew, and the Brownsville gang helmed by Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, and 'Bugsy Goldstein. The two gangs were combined for the purposes of contract killing, and were put on retainer. They were also allowed to keep their own rackets in East New York, without 'kicking up'. In addition, the individual killers on any contract were paid for the job. Contracts in New York were passed down by the Commission through Albert Anastasia, who supervised the gang, and occasionally went along on a job. Contracts from the rest of the U.S were funneled through the commission to the gang, and then carried out nationally.

Murder, Inc., as it later became known, had a crew of "talent" unrivalled in gangland. There was Charlie "The Bug" Workman, the man who killed Dutch Schultz. There was Harry "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss, who volunteered for contracts and favored ice picks. There was Frank "The Dasher" Abbondando, Vito "Chicken Head" Guarino, as well as Reles , Maione and a raft of others.

In an era before forensics, Murder, Inc. was a fearsome proposition. Out of New York City, they came, killed, and left, often on the same day as the murder. With no connection to the victim, they were virtually untraceable. IN New York City, they dumped bodies down sewers, sunk them in bodies of weater in the Catskills, burned the bodies in vacant lots. By the mid to late 1930s, Murder, Inc. had carried out hundreds, if not a few thousand, contract killings. They had even scouted Thomas E. Dewey for the feasibility of his murder [They decided it was possible, but the contract was never let.]

As the '30s progressed, Murder, Inc. began to evolve into a hit squad primarily for Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. Luciano and the Five families had their own killers [One of the ways you 'made your "button"', and get on the books was to kill someone], although Murder, Inc. was still contracted for Commission hits. But an increasing percentage of their work was silencing people who presented a threat to Lepke, real or imagined.

Lepke was in hiding, from both local and Federal authorities, and he began ordering murders in job lots. Bodies began turning up in greater numbers, and many had connections to Lepke. the authorities began to take notice. And a result was increased heat on the Brownsville boys

And Abe Reles, sitting in jail, and somewhat concerned about when, not if, Lepke got around to him, decided to sing for his supper. And Reles sang an aria. His first transcripted statement took over three days to record. Reles brought three things to the table. First he had been in Murder, Inc. from its founding. Second, he had an almost photographic memory for some 44 murders he had either participated in, witnessed or heard ordered. And third, he could give the DA Lepke on a murder rap, the execution of Joe Rosen. Reles, who had not participated in that homicide had been present when Lepke ordered his own button man, Mendy Weiss, to kill Rosen. But Reles, in return for immunity gave the District Attorney, William O'Dwyer so much more. By the time he finished testifying, Happy Maione, Bugsy Goldstein, Pittsburgh Phil, Frank the Dasher, Vito Guarino, and most of the rest of Murder, Inc. were awaiting an appointment with the electric chair, as was Lepke, Mendy Weiss, and Louis Capone [no relation]. Charlie the Bug was sentenced to 30 years in New Jersey.

And then O'Dwyer prepared his star witness for the "Lord High Executioner of Murder, Inc.", Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, the man who had ordered most of the contracts Murder, Inc. had carried out. But there was a problem. That problem's name was Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Anastasia was a loyal friend and follower of Luciano. He had been made underboss of a family on Luciano's orders. Hwe had helped kill Joe "The Boss" Masseria for Luciano. And Lucky was not about to let Reles bury his friend.

Abe Reles was in protective custody on the 7th floor of the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island. He was the only occupant on the floor, and possibly that whole wing of the hotel, except for his police guards. Reles either fell, jumped or was pushed out the window [bed sheets which would have gotten him to the 5th floor were tied to the radiator]. Luciano later mentioned that Reles had cost him 50 grand to fix. But with Reles' death, Anastasia was in the clear.

Murder, Inc. died not with a bang, but a thud.
Not only died with a bang....but was a canary that couldn't fly!
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« Reply #348 on: December 05, 2017, 04:25:21 pm »

Although more famously associated with Monroe, Michigan, George Armstrong Custer is born on this date in New Rumley, Ohio, in 1839. A member of a large family [his father had children by two wives, the first pre-deceasing him], Custer spent part of his youth in New rumley, asnd then moved to Monroe, where he was raised by his half-sister and her husband. A carefree youth, Custer was known for his love of practical jokes [a practice he carried into his cadet years at West Point], and his resistance to discipline.

Custer got an appointment to West Point from a Republican Congressman, despite the fact his fasther, emanual, was a well known Democrat. the appointment may have been, in part, the result of Custer's involvement with the daughter of  local Republican big wig, who wanted to get Custer away from his daughter.

Whatever the reason, Custer joined the Cadet class of 1861, and despite the fact most of his closest friends were southerners, and that Custer was anything but an Abolitionist, he sided with the Union when war seemed inevitable, and a large portion of his friends resigned and went South.

But before that, Custer had to graduate and get commissioned, which was no easy task. During his time at the  Point, Custer piled up more demerits, and tours than any other cadet in the class. But no matter how close he got to removal, he always avoided expulsion. And so he graduated in 1861 - as last in his class [an honor shared with the previously graduated George Pickett]. And yet, as officer of the day, he almost blew even that break by allowing two cadets to engage in a fight, which he refereed.

But with a letter of reprimand in his file, 2 LT George Armstrong Custer went to Washington, where he joined what would become the Army of the Potomac. He would spend the next four years with them.

Custer's Civil War was tumultuous. He fought in every major battle his Army did. He was one of the first Union officers to capture a flag. He was the first Union officer to observe enemy troops from a hot air balloon [the Peninsula]. He made a significant contribution to the victory at Gettysburg [Runnel's Farm]. His men killed JEB Stuart [Yellow Tavern]. And he became the youngest Major General in the U.S. Army [at 23].

After the Civil War, Custer remained in the Army. Demoted to LTC, he accepted the executive officer slot in the newly formed 7th U.S. Cavalry [after refusing the Colonelcy of one of the Black Cavalry regiments]. His post Civil War career was a combination of successes and failures. And he went from history to legend on a windswept hill in Montana, on June 25th, 1876.

George Armstrong Custer is buried with his beloved wife at West Point, a place where he said he had been happiest. He is still one of the best known figures in the history of the Civil War and the old west. He has appeared in dozens of movies, novels, television scripts [he had his own show] and stories. And it all began on December 5, 1839.
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« Reply #349 on: December 08, 2017, 09:33:46 am »

It wasn't a long speech, but it was one of America's most memorable ones. Referring to a date that would live in infamy, in his dry, Bramhin accent, FDR called on the Congress to declare war on the empire of Japan, effective as of the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese First air fleet.

And Congress did vote the declaration of war with one exception. Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin [MT], a hard core pacifist became the only member of either house to vote 'Nay' [she also voted against entry into World War I] . She would be voted out in the next election.

And so America mobilized for war against the Japanese. But even before the declaration of war on the U.S. Hitler gifted America with on December 11th, Roosevelt continued to demonstrate his real desire, the defeat of Germany. Despite having our navy in disarray, and an enemy advancing into the Philippines, Roosevelt continued to prioritize aid to Great Britain and the U.S.S.R over the needs of American troops in the Pacific. and once Hitler declared war, Roosevelt was able to take the mask off. 'Germany First' became the official U.S. strategy. And for the rest of the war, the forces in the Pacific received the short end of the stick, i.e. no more, and usually less than American war production and troop assets.

In any case, within a week of Pearl Harbor was involved in a second, more catastrophic world war. 
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« Reply #350 on: December 10, 2017, 11:29:47 am »

She was probably the unluckiest ship of WW II. PRINCE OF WALES had sailed, in company with HMS HOOD, to intercept the battleship BISMARCK and heavy cruiser PRINZ EUGEN when the latter ships set out to commerce raid the Atlantic in May, 1941. By end of day on May 24th, HOOD had been blown out of the water, and PRINCE OF WALES had been savaged by BISMARCK. After repairs in America, POW [PRINCE OF WALES] carried Churchill to the Acasta Conference with FDR. But then, POW became the victim of one of Churchill's brainstorms.

With hostilities with Japan on the horizon, and Singapore a likely target for Japanese aggression, Churchill decided to send a naval task force to Malaya to 'deter' the Japanese the force, Force 'Z', was to consist of the POW [battleship 10 x 14" guns], the Battlecruiser REPULSE, the carrier ILLUSTRIOUS, and several destroyers. One thing that was lacking were any reinforcements and additions to the RAF in Malaya. not only were they given obsolete or obsolescent aircraft, they weren't sent enough or them, nor were they sent in a timely manner [they were transported by cargo ship.

Then, while on the way, ILLUSTRIOUS ran aground, requiring extensive repair. Force 'Z' now had absolutely NO organic air cover. Churchill sent them on anyway.

The commander of Force 'Z' was Admiral Tom Phillips. Phillips had been a senior officer in the Royal Naval staff, and was a well known derider of the efficacy of air power against moving battleships. In short, he was a 'big gun boy'. Nor was Phillips particularly well liked by the POW crew, since he had been one of the voices seeking to court-martial POW's captain in the aftermath of the Denmark Strait [It took Admiral Tovey's threat to resign as C in C, Home Fleet if the court martial took place, to end that imbroglio].

But Force 'Z' arrived in Singapore just before the hostilities broke out. And on December 8th, with Great Britain's declaration of war on Japan, the Japanese moved into Thailand and invaded Malaya. Force 'Z' was at war.

Phillips immediately set sail to intercept and attack Japanese transports and the landings themselves. And although not a fan of air power, Phillips made every effort he could to get air cover from the RAF. But air cover was not forthcoming.

Force 'Z' was spotted fairly early by Japanese submarines, but Japanese plans for an airstrike were spoiled when Phillips reversed course and headed back south, since all his intelligence pointed to successful, and unassailable Japanese landings in northern Malaya. However, Phillips soon received fresher [and erroneous] reports of Japanese landings further south. He reversed course again, heading towards the erroneously reported landing zones. He was again spotted by Japanese submarines. This time there would be no escape.

The aircraft that sallied to attack Force 'Z' comprised all land based high level multi-engine bombers, dive bombers and torpedo bombers. they flew from Hainan [Taiwan], and French Indochina. They were all veterans.

The action lasted less than an hour total. And when it was over, PRINCE OF WALES and REPULSE were both at the bottom of the ocean. And Admiral Phillips, who had gone down with his ship, had proved aircraft were capable, by themselves, of sinking a moving battleship.
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« Reply #351 on: December 12, 2017, 12:08:12 pm »

It was, in a sense, a ship out of an earlier age, or a potboiler novel, a gun boat, with a whiff of "Terry and the Pirates", or "Tales of the golden Monkey". But it was real, a U.S naval vessel. and it was tasked with helping U.S evacuees down the Yangtze River as the Japanese and Chinese battled for Nanking [ Rape (and Massacre) of in progress].

The Panay and several British gunboats were observing neutrality in the conflagration, seeking only to remove citizens and property of their respective countries from the fighting.

In accordance with that neutrality, the U.S.S Panay notified the Japanese of its location, and covered portions of the ships deck and superstructure with American Flags, as well as flying the same from the ship's masts.

Despite that, Japanese bombers and fighters appeared over Panay, bombed her, and strafed those fleeing in  lifeboats, and huddled on the river's bank. They also sank the gunboat H.M.S. Ladybird.

Although the attack was carried out by Imperial Navy aircraft, it appears the order originated with Imperial Army officers [to say Admiral Yamamoto was outraged would be putting it mildly]. In any case, Tokyo assumed full responsibility for the sinking, and had an Admiral fully apologize for the incident. Japan also paid over $2 million dollars in indemnity to the United States.

And the Rape of Nanking went on. 
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« Reply #352 on: December 12, 2017, 12:27:50 pm »

One of the more little known aspects of the Civil War was the involvement of Indians in it.

With the outbreak of the civil War, both the Union, and the Confederacy made determined efforts to align the "F8ive Civilized Tribes" [Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Chickasaw, Creek] in the Indian Territory to their side. And both had some success.

One might well ask why the Indians would choose to side with either government, since historically, such alliances had never worked out well for the indigenous aboriginies [see the Iroquois, the Shawnee, etc]. But there were reasons, specifically as to the Confederacy that had some effect.

First, many of the Indians held slaves. Slavery was more pronounced in some of the tribes than others, but it existed. Second, they had been exiled by the U.S. government, not Richmond. which was fighting the government that exiled them. But there was no unity as to which way to go. The Tribes fought for both sides, often against each other, for the duration.

Stand Watie was a Cherokee who had trod 'The Trail of Tears'. In fact, he had been one of the signatories of the treaty which had forfeited the Cherokee lands in the southeast [he was the only Cherokee signer who was not subsequently assassinated].

But with the beginning of hostilities, Stand Watie raised a regiment of the Confederacy, and waged war against the Union in the Trans-Mississippi theater of war.

By 1865, Watie had commanded a cavalry brigade, then a division of Indian troops. He was, by now, a Brigadier General, the only Indian Brigadier General in the history of the Confederacy. He was the last Confederate General to surrender, in June of 1865.
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« Reply #353 on: December 15, 2017, 10:27:59 am »

It was the closest either side came in the civil War to destroying, not merely defeating, an enemy army. It's architect was MG George Thomas, a Virginian who remained loyal to the union [his family disowned him, and never spoke to him again], and who already had two major accomplishments to his credit, stopping the rout of the Union army at Chickamauga, and breaking Braxton Bragg's siege of Nashville. And he labored under some handicaps. While Sherman trusted him enough to act independently, and gave him the bulk of his army to defend Tennessee from any potential confederate attack, Grant did not care for him, and considered him too slow.

Thomas was in Nashville's extensive fortifications because LTG John Bell Hood, having battered the Army of Tennessee against Sherman in five separate attacks, and having lost Atlanta, had seized upon the idea of invading Tennessee [and possibly Ohio] before moving east to join Lee, in the hope that he would force Sherman to withdraw fro the Deep south.

It was a pipe dream. Sherman was heading east, on his March to the Sea, so he wasn't concerned with his supply lines. Thomas was the guarantee that Hood would get nowhere.

Surprisingly, Hood's offensive initially went well. The Southerners crossed the duck river and headed north, surprising a Corps sized force under John Schofield. But the exhausted rebels let Schofield slip the noose and continue north, toward Nashville. hood was furious, and when he again caught up with Schofield, he let his temper, and possibly his medications [Hood had lost both an arm and a leg earlier - He had to be strapped into the saddle] overrule his judgement.

Schofield was dug in at Franklin, in an exceptionally fine defensive position. Hood ordered a series of frontal attacks, against the advice of his generals, who he accused of cowardice when they questioned the attack. As a result, five of his senior generals were killed [including Patrick Cleburne, the best divisional commander in Hood's Army]. Seven more were wounded. And over 50 regimental commanders were hors de combat. Hood had not only seriously weakened the strength of his army through his overall losses, he had destroyed his leadership cadre as well. And Schofield marched away. to join Thomas in Nashville.

Hood arrived at Thomas' lines shortly after. He now had an army outnumbered by his enemy by some 5 to 2. Hood dug in and sat there. The question was why. He lacked the men to take Nashville. The reason for the campaign had failed. Sherman was carving his way to the Sea, not hurrying north to face Hood. And while Hood dithered [and Grant pushed Sherman to make Thomas move], Thomas finished his preparations. He first demonstrated on hood's left. And at that point, he launched a major attack, led by James H. Wilson's cavalry on the confederate left. The Union troops flanked, and turned the confederate lines, forcing Hood's men back. The next day, the Union troops, again led by Wilson's cavalry, stormed the confederate left, broke it - and kept going. A retreat turned into a rout. But for a heroic reasr guard action, Hood's army would have been annihilated. As it was, they were incapable of combat until the Spring of 1865. Thomas had basically removed them from the Confederate order of battle.

Hood resigned his command when the retreat south of the duck River was completed. He never commanded again. George Thomas had effected the most devastating defeat on an enemy army in the entire Civil War. He secured Tennessee, destroyed the Army of Tennessee, and allowed Sherman to give his full attention to reaching Savannah, and then advancing into the Carolinas without having to face any major rebel troop concentrations.
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« Reply #354 on: December 19, 2017, 11:25:52 am »



1777: Washington leads his troops into winter quarters at Valley forge:

   George Washington and the Continental Army march into winter quarters at valley forge. It will be a test, and a crucible. Washington will have to contend with a Congress that is ineffective and composed of idiots [some things never change], a lack of food, clothing and medicine for his troops [but the Oneida of the Iroquois will deliver a life saving shipment of corn (the Oneida and Tuscarora will side with the Patriots, the Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga and eventually Onondaga with the British)], and none of the colonials in the area will sell the continentals supplies [better prices from the British]. Many live die of disease and the cold.

But Valley Forge will also supply Washington with a tool for his Army's, and his nation's salvation, Prussian General Baron Friedrich von Steuben [he was neither a general, nor a Baron]. Steuben will form a model company, and train them in drill, marching, firing, loading, and infantry tactics. Each will then, in turn, train a company on their own, under Steuben's supervision. the result is that, by the time the Army breaks camp in the Spring, Washington has a force that can, and does, go toe to toe with the British regulars - and can beat them. And Washington and his army never looked back.



1941: Hitler assumes the job of Commander in chief of the German Army.

As the Wehrmacht retreats through the winter snows in front of Moscow, Hitler does two things. First, he demands the troops stand fast [probably the correct order at THAT time], while the generals counsel retreat. Second, he begins relieving his generals in job lots. Some are relieved for retreating without, or against orders [Rundstedt, Guderian, Hoeppner, Bock]. Others are relieved for no discernible reason [Ritter von Leeb]. But one of the most critical, yet little declaimed [he wasn't popular with his own generals] was the commander in chief of the German army, Walter von Brauschitsch.

Brauschitsch was perceived [rightly] as being unable to represent the Army's interests and stand up to Hitler. He had also been tainted by a divorce that Hitler helped with by giving him money to pay off his soon to be ex-wife.

In any case, Hitler then passed on replacing Brauschitsch with another general [Manstein would have been a good choice], and took the job himself [it was one of the fastest, and greatest promotions in  history: Lance Corporal to Commander in chief]. From now on, and to the German Army's increasing detriment, Hitler would have direct control of the Wehrmacht. And the 'Stand Fast' orders would become a matter of routine, and completely inappropriate in the situations where they are issued.



1998: Slick Willy is impeached

Bill Clinton becomes the first President since Andrew Johnson to be impeached. Contrary to urban legend, Clinton is NOT impeached over a 'consensual sexual relationship' with a 24 year old white house intern [shades of Weinstein], but over: suborning perjury, perjury and other felonies and misdemeanors. The impeachment will fail in the senate, where neither spinal cords, nor testicles, will be much in evidence. 
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« Reply #355 on: December 21, 2017, 06:43:52 pm »

In a military hospital in Germany, General George S. Patton, Jr. dies from complications arising from his injury in an automobile accident.

Patton had been going on a hunting trip just before he was to return to the United states on leave when his car collided with a slow moving truck. Patton wound up with a broken neck, or upper back, and was paralyzed. no one else was seriously injured.

Patton's treatment was positively ghoulish. Hooks were placed in his head and lower extremities to stretch him out and relieve the pressure on his spinal column. His wife was flown over from the States in a plane provided by General Eisenhower to be with Patton.

At the time of the injury, Patton was commanding the 15th Army, a headquarters charged with preparing the history of the United States war in Europe. He had been placed there by Eisenhower after he relieved Patton of both the command of 3rd Army, and of the military governorship of Bavaria, after the latter did not fully embrace the Occupation policies ordered by Eisenhower, after Patton made certain 'explosive remarks' to the U.S. press, and after Patton challenged the wisdom of disarming U.S. forces in Europe in the face of the Soviet menace. It was the last in a long line of incidents. And Eisenhower no longer needed Patton to pull his [Ike's] and Bradley's bacon out of the fire.

Patton was buried in a military cemetery in Luxemburg, amongst those of his beloved 3d Army men who fell in the Battle of the Bulge. He specifically ordered that Beedle Smith, Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, and possibly both Bradley and Eisenhower themselves be banned from his funeral/interment ceremony. In any case, none of the three were present.

George Patton was the best field commander the United States had in world War II, and is one of the greatest generals in American history.
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« Reply #356 on: December 26, 2017, 12:27:02 pm »

1610 [or 1609] -  THE END OF THE ROAD FOR 'COUNTESS DRACULA':  Her name was Erzebet [Elizabeth] Bathory, daughter of a powerful house related to the Kings of Hungary. She was married to a famous nobleman at the age of 15, and took up residence in Csejthe Castle, his hereditary seat, where, as most noblewomen, she oversaw the day to day operations of his household. But it was her 'hobbies' that led to her fall. Elizabeth Bathory was a sadist of the first order, and there is evidence that in addition to torturing [and killing] her servants, she liked to bathe in their blood, as she grew older, ostensibly to retain her youth.

And things  went along swimmingly [no pun intended] as long as she restricted her cruelties to the peasantry. But eventually, either through hubris, belief in her immunity to prosecution for her acts [shades of Hillary Clinton], or stupidity [probably a combination of all three], she became to use her 'talents' on her ladies in waiting, who were by the definition of their jobs, young noblewomen. And the complaints of their families could not be ignored by King Matthias, even for a relative.

And so, a Royal investigator, a nobleman in his own right, was dispatched to Castle Csejthe, to investigate the disappearances of a number of Bathory's ladies in waiting, and the rumors swirling around Bathory and her minions. Unfortunately for Bathory, the investigator arrived during one of her torture sessions. She and her accomplices were tried the next year on charges of murder. All but Bathory were killed [many were burned at the stake]. She was walled up alive in a room in her castle, with only a slot in the masonry for food and water to be allowed in. The servants who performed these tasks were deaf, dumb, and illiterate. Bathory died three years later.

1776 - THE BATTLE OF TRENTON:  See Page 8 of the PZLDR HISTORY FACTS Archive

1944 - PATTON RELIEVES BASTOGNE: See the Battle of the Bulge Thread on Page 7 of the PZLDR HISTORY FACTS Archive

1946 - 'BUGSY SIEGEL OPENS THE 'FLAMINGO':

It came in late, and way over budget [due in part to a healthy skim by Bugsy and his girlfriend, Virginia Hill], but the Flamingo, the first of the modern hotel/ casinos in Las Vegas opened, and it set the pattern for the rest.

Gambling had always been legal in Las Vegas, but had been traditionally confined to small, cheap gambling parlors catering mostly to a local, or transient trade. Siegel changed all that.

The Flamingo was designed for STAYING guests/customers, with upscale accommodations, upscale facilities [swimming pool, etc], and upscale gambling facilities. It also provided front line entertainment [Jimmy Durante and Xavier Cugat were the openers].

But in an effort to get rolling [and raise more cash], Siegel opened before the hotel's rooms were ready for occupancy. So the opening was a bust [Really bad weather], despite the entertainment and Hollywood buddies of Siegel in attendance. But once it re-opened the Flamingo was both a success, and a template for future casinos, both as to their physical plant, their operations, and their control by organized crime.

And Siegel? Aside from the belief in the mob that Siegel shorted them, and skimmed money, his refusal to share the profits from the western Wire racing service. So in 1947, shortly after a mob convocation in Havana that brought Lucky Luciano back from Italy [but not Siegel from the West Coast], Bugsy Siegel got whacked in Virginia hill's California home [she wasn't home at the time]. It might be considered a backhanded tribute that it took someone with Lucianos 'juice' to order the "hit" on Siegel.
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« Reply #357 on: December 29, 2017, 11:46:26 am »

It has been called a battle. It has been called a massacre. It has been blamed on the Army, particularly the 7th Cavalry. It has, occasionally, been blamed, in part on the Indians involved. But it has never been blamed on the proximate causes that brought the two sides together a t wounded Knee, militant Lakota who perverted the teachings of a Paiute mystic, and Indian Agents with a lack of spine worthy of serving in the congress.

By 1886, the Indian Wars were largely over, insofar as actual hostilities taking place. Geronimo, Naiche and the last of the Chiricahua Apaches had been sent to Florida. Peace reigned over the western part of America. but peace didn't mean happiness. The Indians were undergoing a traumatic change to their culture, their way of life, and their very existence. Once free roaming, they were confined to reservations. The buffalo were, for all extent and purposes, gone. The cultural marks for advancement for the men, hunting, horse staling and war were denied them. Their children were taken to "Indian Schools", like Carlisle, and shorn of their hair, their tribal identification, and their languages. In short, it was not a happy time for the tribes.

Enter Wovoka. Wovoka was a Paiute medicine man/mystic, like many before him [see Tecumseh's borther, the 'Prophet', and Neolin]. And like many of his predecessors, Wovoka had a vision, or series of visions, predicting the disappearance of the Whites, and the return of the old ways, via ceremonies involving what became known as the "Ghost Dance" [according to Wovoka, not only the buffalo, but all the dead ancestors would return]. But Wovoka's teachings, which included a jumbled version of Christianity were basically pacifistic. There was no call to violence against the whites.

Enter two Lakota 'envoys', Kicking Bear and Short Bull. The two carried Wovoka's teachings, and how to do the Ghost Dance back to the Lakota reservations. But they threw in one added fillip: According to them, wearing Ghost Shirts made the wearer impervious to bullets. and their version of Wovoka's theology was a sight more militant than it had been when they learned it from Wovoka.

The new religion swept the Sioux reservations. The Indians began almost unending dances. And large numbers of them traveled to the Badlands to spend all their time dancing and praying for the white man's disappearance. And the Indian Agent on the Pine hills reservation panicked. He first sent Indian Police to arrest Sitting bull, who he [wrongly] believed supported the Ghost Dance [Sitting Bull hadn't committed himself]. the result was the death of both Sitting bull, several of his followers and several Indian Police. But as Caesar would say,'the die was cast'. The Army took the field.

On December 28th, 1890, a mixed band of Minneconjou and Hunkpapa Sioux [the latter having fled after Sitting Bull's death], under Spotted Elk, a/k/a Big Foot, met a detachment of the7th Cavalry while traveling to the Pine Ridge reservation. the next day the rset of the 7th arrived.

The Indians were camped in a valley, with the cavalry around them, and a number of Hotchkiss guns surrounding them on the heights.
  As per agreement, the Indians were supposed to surrender their weapons. During that process, several troopers entered Tee Pees searching for weapons. At about the same time, one of the Lakota, allegedly deaf, was found with a rifle on his person. Either through miscommunication, his deafness, the cavalry's conduct, the Ghost Dance preaching, or a combination of all four, a shot was fired, although the perpetrator is, to this day unknown.

In any case, a fire fight erupted, and the Hotchkiss guns began to shell the village [several of the 7th's casualties may have been the result of 'friendly' fire], and groups of Indians fleeing it. By the time order was restored, almost 50 troopers were dead or wounded. But the Lakota had at least 150 dead and 50 wounded [some authors put the death toll higher]. among the dead was Spotted Elk. the survivors were taken to Pine Ridge. The deceased were buried on site in a mass grave. The Indian Wars were over.   
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« Reply #358 on: January 03, 2018, 09:08:16 am »

As a follow up to the Battle of Trenton, it couldn't have been better, although its opening did not bode well for Washington.

After Washington defeated the Hessians at Trenton, General Howe sent Charles Cornwallis to Trenton with 8,000 men. Cornwallis fully expected that Washington would not engage, and sought to foil Washington's escape. Cornwallis, expecting Washington to attempt flight back over the Delaware River, sent troops to cut him off, and prepared for battle the next day.

But Washington, after building dummy campfires, led his army around the British flank and headed north. And there, with an over 3 to 1 advantage, they found Cornwallis' rear guard - and attacked and defeated it. The British lost just shy of 300, Washington less than 50. And unimpeded by Cornwallis, who was caught flatfooted, Washington continued heading north into winter quarters.

The results of the two battles had results all out off their proportion. Trenton reinvigorated the Colonial cause. Princeton caused Gen. [and his brother, Admiral] Howe to pull their troops back to the coast, surrendering most of New Jersey to the Rebels - and exposing British Loyalists to their wrath.
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« Reply #359 on: January 07, 2018, 09:09:42 am »

Despite the cold, and the fact that the phrase "Straw that broke the camel's back" usually refers to a Dromedary as opposed to Bactrian, camel, on this date, in 1945, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery decided to hold a press conference as the Battle of the Bulge wound down.

Monty, to his adoring fans, all British, almost all non-professional soldiers, had been counselled by his superiors in the British military chain of command [ including his patron, Field Marshal Alan Brooke]to forego the event . Monty being Monty did it anyway.

The press conference was the indirect result of Hitler's December Surprise for the western allies, the last major German offensive of the  war, a thrust toward Antwerp through the Ardennes that became known as the Battle of the Bulge.

The offensive caught the allied High Command completely flatfooted. Since the attack started in Germany, there was no 'Ultra' to tip it off to Allied codebreakers. Additionally, German movement security was especially tight. the result was complete surprise when over 200,000 German troops and some of the elite Panzer formations [1st SS, 2d SS, 9th SS, 12th SS, 2d Panzer, 116th Panzer, Panzer Lehr] of the Wehrmacht surged through the American lines form Belgium to Luxemburg.

The attack came not only at a critical time [Antwerp had just been made capable of receiving supplies, and moved the major ingress point for men and material from the Normandy beaches], but at a critical place. The Schwerpunckt was [unknowingly] aimed at the boundary line of two U.S. forces, with both 1st U.S. Army HQ [Hodges], and 12th Army Group [Bradley], directly in their path.

At first neither Bradley, nor Hodges thought the offensive was anything more than a local spoiling attack. By the time they realized their error, they were forced to decamp - at speed.

Eisenhower, on the other hand, surmised early that the offensive was what it was, a major action. and he saw it as an opportunity to draw the Germans west, and encircle them, as they had done to others so many times before.

Eisenhower then took Simpson's 9th Army away from Bradley, and gave it to Montgomery, who Eisenhower put in charge of the northern side of the Bulge. Bradley's 12th Army Group was put in charge of the south side of th3e Bulge, where George Patton's 3rd Army did a 90 degree turn to the left and attacked toward Bastogne.

By January, the Germans had been stopped and were being rolled back [To Patton's consternation there was no 'deep encirclement', and the Germans were pusshedback almost frontally].

But the victory came at high cost to the Americans. There were some 80,000 casualties. Two-thirds of a division had surrendered on the Schnee Eifel. It was a close run thing.

And then came Monty. Declaiming the battle as one of 'the trickiest, and most interesting battles' he had managed, Montgomery appeared to claim it was he, and his British troops that had saved the day [Monty had moved at his usual glacial pace, which was much slower in the cold weather]. It caused a firestorm [no pun intended], and at least several of Montgomery's staff knew it.

Bradley was livid. Eisenhower prepared a wire to Marshall, demanding that either he, or Montgomery be relieved. It was only the quick action of Monty's Chief of Staff, De Guigand, who saved his boss' bacon. He flew to Ike's HQ, and begged a 24 hour reprieve before the cable was sent. He then convinced Montgomery of his stupidity [no easy thing], and got his boss to write an apologetic letter to Eisenhower.

But the problem was now bigger than two generals bumping heads. The British newsies had trumpeted to the skies how their guy had saved our guys. And it wasn't true. The British had done little more than hold the shoulder and apply pressure. And so it was that Winston Churchill [furious with Montgomery] rose in the House of Commons, and gave a speech honoring the United states Army for its victory in the Ardennes [and slapping Monty down in the telling].

Eisenhower stripped Montgomery of Simpson's Army [Monty wanted to keep it]. He then settled once and for all Monty's subordinate role in the allied plans for 1945. Montgomery would work the North Sea littoral - and guard Bradley's flank. Revenge is usually best tasted cold.

But the 'mouth that roared' roared on this date in 1945.
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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