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The History Behind Body Armors and Bulletproof vests

Militaries around the world have been trying to protect their personnel for hundreds of years.  The only way to win wars was to have the largest troops that would be able to fight and stay alive to the very end.  As longs as countries had strength in numbers, they could take over and occupy their intended targets.  However, as nations became creative with their weapons they also created better protective gear.

Timeline

In the beginning, warriors wore chain mail which consisted of metal rings that were linked together to form a shirt that was worn over clothing.  This type of armor would provide protection from a sword strike.  Other countries would wear layers of animal skin, such as rhinoceroses as their skin were very durable.  In some instances, actual metal plates would be constructed that would provide a certain level of protection.

In the 1960s, Natick Laboratories designed a vest carrier that held ceramic plates which stopped 7mm rifle rounds.  In 1969, police officers would begin to use the Barrier Vest that was made by American Body Armor.  It was the most widely used body armor product in its time.

In later years, weapons became stronger and companies found new ways to protect against bullets.  In 1965, a DuPont scientist named Stephanie Kwolek created Kevlar.  This revolutionary material would provide decades of protection from various bullets.

In 1989, the Allied Signal Company created Spectra which were a clear contender against Kevlar.  The result of these two products is the same, which are high quality bulletproof vests.  Since this time, other materials have been made such as Zylon, Dyneema and Gold Flex.

The Future

New technologies are making it possible to make body armor stronger, more durable and lighter.  Many scientists are using liquid or fluid based materials that either coat fibers or turn into a solid state when under impact.

Testing methods are also set to become more rigid in order to ensure uniformity and safety.  The National Institute of Justice will be testing for sun exposure, heat, moisture, stretching and detergents to see how it affects the life of a bullet proof vest.

Many manufacturing companies are making 2020 soldier suits that are being presented to the U.S. military and Congress.  This futuristic body armour gear provides new features and added comfort.

If you are looking to purchase bullet proof vests or other body armor products, then you should visit www.bulletproofvestshop.com for high quality items.


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Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Aids Isn’t Going Away: ?tomorrow Will Come With a Hellish Vengeance?

A few years ago, I took a class at ETSU: Biology and Beyond which was a course that dealt with education on HIV and the history of AIDS. I wanted to learn more about the disease so I signed up for the class. It was one that would forever change my life. While taking the class, I was not only able to hear the stories of extraordinary people but I also learned of their horrific, yet heroic lives after discovering they were living with HIV. Today, our global community ignores the fact that HIV and AIDS is on the rise again and as the memory of those lost to AIDS seemingly fades in the eyes of our leaders; their voices should forever be heard throughout the world.

HIV and AIDS are as different as Night and Day, HIV is Life and AIDS is (still) a death sentence.

You can live with HIV but you will die of AIDS. You can fight the battle as hard as your body will allow but AIDS will win the war. While our leaders refuse to spend more money and time on prevention, people continue to die and AIDS is gaining ground on us as a global community.

We haven’t found AIDS to be contained at any point since its first appearance in 1981, when the CDC learned of the epidemic that would later be referred to as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). By the year 2000, an estimated 36.1 million people were living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 800,000-900,000 people were living with the virus in the United States. According to statistics posted at http://www.one.org , 38 million people are now infected by HIV/AIDS. While some say there is progression toward finding a cure, many are blinded by facts that simply don’t exist. While some will convince themselves it will not affect them or their lives, an estimated 2.8 million people died in 2005 and in that same year, an estimated 4.1 million people were infected with the virus (2006 Report on the Global AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS, May 2006). With rising numbers once again, eventually this disease will affect you or someone you know.

The timeline of the disease is staggering and those lives that have been affected by HIV and AIDS include far more than the names we will all remember. I have the permanent stories of Kimberly Bergalis, Elizabeth Glaser, Debbie Runions, and a precious little boy named Ryan White forever in my mind. All of these individuals seemed to live with great bravery yet they have died in vain if this country doesn’t begin to take a stand now.

I really believe that tomorrow will come with a hellish vengeance if today we ignore what we should’ve done yesterday about this disease.

There’s no question about it. When I first signed up for the Biology and Beyond Class, I thought there would eventually be a cure for AIDS. However, by the end of the semester, after I spent time working at a local hospital where there were patients diagnosed with the disease, I saw their vision. There wasn’t one. It’s ironic really, many of those people living with HIV, and later even in the face of death, felt as if they were just the early victims. They knew others would follow and those who died, knew the tomorrow they wouldn’t see held the same for many more victims as they started to battle for their own last days. The reason is apparent now but back then, it wasn’t that clear to me. HIV and AIDS patients knew there was too much of a stigma attached for full awareness to ever be successful. This is thanks to misdirected political agendas and it still exists today.

In 1992, Elizabeth Glaser addressed the Democratic National Convention and stated, “Exactly 4 years ago, my daughter died of AIDS. She did not survive the Reagan administration. I am here because my son and I may not survive 4 more years of leaders who say they care but do nothing.” She later went on to say, “America Wake up. We are all in a struggle between life and death.”

Elizabeth Glaser pleaded with our leaders in 1992 and all who were in attendance heard her but chose to do nothing. Today, we sit at a standstill as our elected and appointed officials decide how to spend more money and more time just to avoid accepting responsibility. I absolutely believe that tomorrow will come with a hellish vengeance if today we ignore what we should’ve done yesterday about this disease. There is no doubt in my mind.

While state and federal leaders spent hours opposing online wagering, ironically, they were gambling with the lives of those who could’ve used their support and would have appreciated the appropriated funds to work toward the fight against AIDS. Instead, our government chose to play craps with human lives and people continued to die.

The fact is, Americans have been led to believe through silence that the AIDS epidemic was on a road that would soon end when in actuality; the spread of HIV has apparently taken a U-Turn when you look at the shocking numbers above.

Let Us Stop This Disease Before It Stops All of Us Who Are Left

While I was a student at ETSU, I had the opportunity to meet Debbie Runions who became an advocate for the education and prevention of AIDS. Debbie, after just one sexual encounter became very ill three weeks later and three months later tested positive for HIV. That was in 1992. She too, addressed the Democratic National Convention in 1996 and she too was heard. Our politicians then simply pushed forward in another direction. Debbie died in October of 2005.

When I heard her speak at ETSU and later had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her, I discovered what her life had been like after she was diagnosed with HIV. She talked openly and honestly about her disease. She surprised me when she talked about the fact that she was thankful she had been given the opportunity to have the disease because of what it had allowed her to do. I learned later that was Debbie. She radiated optimism. Debbie knew her fate was sealed yet she chose to make the most of the life she had to live while she could live it even if it would be within the parameters and limitations of living with the virus.

Debbie’s story will always be imbedded in my mind. I can honestly say after hearing her speak, I was deeply humbled and truly feel she made a profound difference in so many lives. She had a gift to give through her message and her spirit will live on forever but her hope for political intervention may not.

While our politicians have been slinging mud at one another, their efforts could’ve been redirected in a more positive light. Instead of ministers on television running around with an entourage of followers running up astronomical bills on lavish lifestyles, they too could help. Instead of picking up prostitutes on their congregation’s dollars, they could make a choice to spend their money to save a family ridden by poverty and AIDS.

Our country and the entire global community must understand, this disease doesn’t just pick out favorites. It attacks people of all races, young and old, straight and gay. The disease is not interested in what you look like, who you’ve slept with, or what drug you’ve put in a needle. This disease takes hostages and then slowly but surely, begins terrorizing them with the stigma of the disease itself and the fear of dying.

We do have an epidemic on our hands. While our leaders have gone from one issue to another, people have gotten sick. While meetings were conducted to decide something as frivolous as whether or not Americans could have the freedom to gamble online, more people died. While a television evangelist took his body guards out for another four thousand dollar outing, countless people clung to their one dollar a week and still others were left in the epitome of poverty because of the high cost of health care and medications for a person living with HIV.

What have we decided holds value in this country? Does a human life no longer hold any substantial meaning to those in political office with the means to do something to help mankind? Apparently not, but as Americans, we have an obligation to do something to help. This is our world and our problem.

We no longer have the Debbie Runions and Elizabeth Glasers to speak out at the Democratic Conventions. Now it is up to everyone else to lead by their example. Visit ONE and start doing your best to make a difference. Global AIDS and extreme poverty is more important than who’s sleeping with whom. It’s far more detrimental to our society than any online gambling campaign just to prove a political point and it is certainly more important than listening to the ramblings of a television evangelist asking for your money so he can go buy his methamphetamines.

Isn’t it time after all the pleading from those who had their lives cut short that we finally take a stand? Isn’t it time we demand for our government to take the initiative to fight extreme poverty and Global AIDS? Isn’t it time for a day of reckoning? The debt we’ve paid to this global crisis has already been way too high. It’s time this country took a stand on the important issues at hand. It is time for retribution.

You can visit Susan Smith Alvis at her website at http://www.susanalvis.com


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Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

The 10 Most Popular Movies of All Time – A Cheat Sheet

Are you a movie dunce? Do you not know your Corleone from your Kurosawa? Would you recognise a lightsaber if it hit you in the face? Well, don’t panic. To help you catch up on your movie knowledge here’s a crash course in the top 10 movies of all time, as voted by the readers of the Internet Movie Database. Careful, though… here be spoilers.

10. Star Wars IV: A New Hope

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away . . .

Luke Skywalker, farmhand and son of Darth Vader, is torn from his home when his aunt and uncle are murdered by Imperial Storm Troopers searching for the stolen plans to the Death Star, a space station with weaponry capable of destroying planets. Luke escapes with his two droids, Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi, smuggler Han Solo and first mate Chewbacca.

After escaping Tatooine, the ragtag crew stumble upon the Death Star shortly after it has destroyed the planet Alderaan. Caught by its tractor beam, their ship is dragged in. While attempting to escape the Death Star the team rescue Princess Leia, held prisoner in the ships bowels. During the rescue Obi Wan sacrifices himself to allow the others to escape.

In a grand finale, Luke destroys the Death Star by firing a missile into a weak spot in the structure of the ship and Darth Vader, is cannoned off into the depths of space.

Quote: I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Trivia: Al Pacino, Burt Reynolds and James Caan reportedly turned down the role of Han Solo.

9. Pulp Fiction

A movie whose various plotlines are far too intertwined to summarise in a paragraph or two, Pulp Fiction simply tells the story of a day in the life of a group of unusual people—two hitmen, the wife of a gangster, and a boxer who killed in the ring among others.

Edited to tie each story together, the movie often plays out of sequence—to the point where the final scene and the opening scene take place at the same time. Full of pop culture references and quotable lines, Pulp Fiction stays true to form as a Tarantino movie.

Quote: Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.

Trivia: Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is the brother of Vic Vega, also known as Mr Blonde, in Reservoir Dogs.

8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Set during the US Civil War, the movie follows the three protagonists Blondie (The Good), Snake Eyes (The Bad) and Tuco (The Ugly) in their search for a hoard of gold stolen by bank robber Bill Carson. All three want 50% of the gold—resulting in a good old-fashioned standoff. Snake Eyes is shot dead, and the honorable Blondie allows Tuco his share of the booty.

Quote: You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

Trivia: Clint Eastwood wore the same poncho for all three ‘Man With No Name’ movies—without washing it once.

7. Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List tells the true story of Oscar Schindler, a Nazi industrialist who becomes so moved by the plight of the Jewish people during World War II that he devotes himself to saving as many as he can. Even after rescuing over 1,100 Jews from the gas chamber, Schindler bemoans the fact that he could have saved more had he sacrificed everything he had.

Quote: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.

Trivia: Steven Spielberg refused to take any pay for the film, claiming that it would feel like he was taking ‘blood money’.

6. The Seven Samurai

Regarded as Akira Kurosawa’s greatest film, the Seven Samurai tells the story of a terrorised village in war-torn 16th Century Japan. Constantly attacked by gangs of bandits, the residents enlist the services of seven ronin, or samurai without masters, to protect them.

Despite initial tensions between the villagers and the samurai, they together successfully defend the village against the bandits. However, their success comes at the cost of the lives of four samurai.

Quote: What’s the use of worrying about your beard when your head’s about to be taken?

Trivia: The three samurai whose characters survived the film were the first three to die in real life.

5. Casablanca

Hiding out in Casablanca, Morocco during World War II, exiled American and former freedom fighter Rick Blaine passes the time running a popular nightspot. Blaine’s tedium is interrupted when Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo arrives with his beautiful wife Ilsa—Blaine’s ex-lover.

Blaine holds the key to Laszlo’s safe passage out of the country, and Ilsa offers herself to him in exchange for her husband’s safety. Blaine faces the choice of sacrificing Laszlo to win back Ilsa, but in the end decides to do the honorable thing…

Quote: If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

Trivia: The line ‘Here’s lookin’ at you, kid’ was voted the 5th most well known movie line in history by the American Film Institute.

4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The third and final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King offers an epic finale to Frodo’s quest (thousands of extras took part in the filming to add to the drama). Finally arriving at Mt. Doom, Frodo is overcome by exhaustion and the stress of bearing the Ring. Helped by Sam, Frodo manages to make his way into the volcano.

At the last moment he finds himself unable to throw the Ring into the magma, choosing instead to wear it. Gollum, surviving Frodo’s earlier attempt on his life, attacks Frodo and bites off his finger, removing the ring. Losing his grip, Gollum falls into the pit along with the Ring, breaking its hold over Frodo and killing Sauron.

With Sauron’s death his army is destroyed, just in time to save the army of Men, poised to fight to the death at the gates of Mordor.

Quote: Come on, Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you… but I can carry you.

Trivia: The Return of the King used over seven times the number of special effects shots used in an average movie.

3. The Godfather: Part II

Split between two timelines, the second instalment of The Godfather trilogy follows Don Vito Corleone through his adolescence in Sicily and New York during the early 20th Century, and later his rise to power as a Mafia Don. It also returns to a point a few years after the conclusion of the first movie, with Michael Corleone running the family interests following his father’s death.

After learning that his brother Fredo has betrayed the family, Michael must order his execution.

Quote: I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!

Trivia: Robert de Niro won an Oscar for his portrayal of a young Vito Corleone. De Niro and Marlon Brando are the only actors to win Oscars for the portrayal of the same character.

2. The Shawshank Redemption

Based on a novella by Steven King, The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a successful banker wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife and her lover. Given two life sentences, Dufresne is sent to the maximum security Shawshank Prison where he befriends Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, a lifer who helps him adjust to prison life.

Over the next twenty years their friendship grows while Andy has a positive effect on the inmates, helping to establish a prison library and education system. Unfortunately, the mean-spirited and criminal warden beats down Andy’s spirit until he finally escapes through a tunnel that took him two decades to dig.

In a final act of revenge Andy exposes the warden’s crimes, driving him to suicide to avoid being sent to prison. Red is later released on parole, and tracks down Andy to a beach in Mexico.

Quote: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Trivia: The mugshots of Morgan Freeman as a young man are actually pictures of his real life son, Alfonso.

1. The Godfather

Adapted from Mario Puzo’s seminal Mafia novel, the first instalment of The Godfather trilogy sees Don Vito Corleone, head of the Corleone crime family, struggle with the realities of a changing world. When he refuses to work with drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo in a scheme to push heroin in New York, he falls foul of Sollozzo’s backers the Tattaglia family.

When Vito is wounded in an attempted assassination his son Michael—previously determined to have nothing to do with the family business—volunteers to kill Sollozzo. Following the execution Michael is sent to Sicily to hide out until it is safe to return. After Michael’s brother Sonny is executed by the rival Barzini family, Michael safely returns and takes his place as the head of the family in time to see Vito Corleone die of a heart attack. In revenge for the attacks on his family Michael arranges for the murder of the heads of the other families, to take place during the baptism ceremony of his nephew.

Following the baptism Michael orders the execution of the father of the baptised child—and his own brother in-law—Carlo Rizzi, in retribution for Carlo’s role in setting up Sonny’s death. The movie ends with the widow, Michael’s sister Connie, suspecting that Michael was involved in Carlo’s death.

Quote: I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.

Trivia: Sofia Coppola, the director’s daughter, played the baby baptised at the end of the movie. She returned to play the role of Michael’s daughter Mary in The Godfather: Part III).

So there you have it. If you’ve been paying attention you should now have just enough knowledge of the top ten movies of all time to bluff your way through a conversation with a movie buff. These bare bones won’t take you far, though, so I suggest you set aside some time, get a big bucket of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the best of Hollywood. You won’t be disappointed.

James Shenton is a freelance writer and cinema buff whose work can often be found gracing the pages of industry journals and entertainment portals.

You can find more of his work at the Internet’s best movie downloads site, http://www.EliteMovieDownloads.com.


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Monday, November 22nd, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Royal Air Force uniform

Current uniforms

Official numbering

The RAF currently numbers the various uniforms which may be worn. The following table summarizes the numbering:

Number

Name

Notes on use

No 1

Service Dress

In temperate regions.

No 2

Service Working Dress

In temperate regions.

No 3

Operational Clothing

Different patterns for different climates.

No 4

Interim Mess Dress

For personnel without No 5 dress.

No 5

Mess Dress

In temperate regions.

No 6

Service Dress

In warm weather regions. In stone colour, except for 6A (full ceremonial) which is white.

No 7

Service Working Dress

In warm weather regions. In stone colour.

No 8

Mess Dress

In warm weather regions. Jacket in white.

No 9

RAF Music Services uniform

For Directors of Music, bandmasters and musicians

No 10

RAF Music Services uniform

For Directors of Music, bandmasters and musicians

No 11

RAF Music Services uniform

For Directors of Music, bandmasters and musicians

No 12

Physical Training Instructor Dress

Various patterns

No 13

Physical Training Instructor Dress – Parachute Jump Instructor Duties

With helmet or beret

No 14

Flying Clothing

Various patterns. Consists of a flight suit and optional jacket

Service dress

Air Commodore Scarlett wearing 1920s service dress

The RAF’s service dress is worn on formal and ceremonial occasions. In temperate regions, it is the most formal uniform in use at present. It remains essentially unchanged from the service dress uniform adopted in the early 1920s. It consists of a blue-grey jacket and trousers (or skirt for female personnel). A great coat may be worn at ceremonial events when the weather is cold.

In 1947, the temperate officers’ services dress jacket was altered. The lower side pockets were removed and the single slit was replaced by two hacking jacket style slits. The lower button was moved up to a position behind the belt and silk embroidery flying badges were replaced with ones in bullion embroidery. These changes were unpopular and in 1951, with the exception of the lower button move, the former uniform style was re-adopted.

Service dress takes the following forms:

No. 1 Service Dress, for temperate regions. Blue-grey colour.

No. 1A Service Dress (Ceremonial Day Dress), for temperate regions and for air officers only. As per No. 1 Service Dress. Air vice-marshals and above wear a ceremonial sash and shoulder boards. Entitled air commodores only add the ceremonial sash.

No. 6 Service Dress, for tropical regions. Stone colour.

Service working dress

Sir Barry Thornton in service working dress (short sleeve order)

Service working dress, officially designated Number 2 Dress, is the routine uniform worn by most RAF personnel not on operations. It is analogous to the Army’s barrack dress. RAF service working dress comes in a number of variations:

No 2: Long sleeve shirt with jumper, tie optional

No 2a: Long sleeve shirt with tie, jumper not worn

No 2b: Short sleeve shirt without tie, jumper optional

No 2c: Long sleeve dark blue shirt without tie, jumper optional (certain trades only)

The RAF stable belt may be worn with all forms of service working dress, except for No 2c.

Operational clothing

Flying duties

Aircrew-specific uniforms are officially designated as Number 14 Dress by the RAF. Aircrew on flying duties wear an olive drab flying suit in temperate regions or a khaki flying suit in desert regions. A leather flying jacket, purchased at individual expense, may be worn with the flying suit but only while the wearer is on the ground.

Ground duties

Desert Combat Dress, as worn by Air Commodore Bryan Collins

RAF personnel either on operations, on exercise or in certain formed units wear a disruptive pattern material uniform which is essentially the same as the British Army’s operational uniform. In temperate regions Combat Soldier 95 uniform is worn and in desert regions, Desert Combat Clothing is worn.

In order to distinguish RAF personnel from Army personnel, in 2006 an operational clothing identity patch was introduced with the text “ROYAL AIR FORCE” in black capitals on a green background. The patch is worn over the right chest pocket, the Desert Combat DPM dress also features this “ROYAL AIR FORCE” text but it is not mandatory to have this patch whilst operationally deployed.

Also in 2006 a 45mm squared tactical recognition flash was introduced for all personnel to wear on their operation clothing.

The operational clothing identity patch

The tactical recognition flash

Mess dress

In the RAF mess dress, officially designated Number 5 dress, is worn at formal evening functions. All regular officers possess mess dress whereas warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers wear mess dress if they choose to purchase it. The current mess dress for men consists of a high waisted blue-grey single-breasted jacket fastened at the front by a single link of two RAF buttons connected by a link clip, white marcella shirt, bow tie, waistcoat or cummerbund and blue-grey trousers. Rank, for officers, is indicated in gold braid on the lower sleeve.

The first RAF mess dress was introduced in 1920 and it featured a high waisted single-breasted blue-grey jacket which tapered to a point at the front below the waist. A blue-grey waistcoat, trousers and black shoes were also worn. Rank was indicated on shoulder boards in gold lace. This uniform was modified in 1928 when the shoes were replaced by boots and overalls with gold lace and bright blue stripes were introduced. This modified form of the uniform lasted until 1934 when it was replaced by a version similar to the current mens’ mess dress. The wearing of mess dress was suspended during World War II.

For women, mess dress currently consists of the same style high waisted blue-grey single-breasted jacket and white marcella shirt as men, a small bow tie and cummerbund and a straight ankle length blue-gray skirt, worn with patent-leather court shoes and barely-black tights or stockings. From the 1970s and prior to the introduction of current women’s mess dress in 1996, female officers wore a royal blue “Empire line” dress made of crimplene material with a loose mandarin neck, long sleeves and an ankle length hem. Rank was indicated on a small enamelled brooch worn near the neck.

Officers serving at Scottish stations may wear the RAF tartan with their mess dress. The tartan was designed in 1988 and it was officially recognised by the Ministry of Defence in 2001. The tartan is also worn by the RAF’s voluntary pipes bands, although not as part of an official RAF uniform.

RAF personnel without No 5 dress, such as airmen, junior officer cadets and some non-regular officers, wear No 1 dress with the blue shirt and tie replaced with a white marcella shirt and black bow tie should the need to wear mess dress arise. This dress pattern is officially designated Number 4 Dress and was previously known as (Interim) Mess Dress.

Historic uniforms

Initial uniform

With the establishment of the Royal Air Force as an independent service on 1 April 1918, orders were issued detailing new uniform patterns. Major General Mark Kerr designed the first officer uniform which was largely pale blue with gold braid trimmings. Additionally, the Royal Flying Corps’ use of khaki was continued. It has been suggested that the pale blue colour was adopted as the cloth had been intended for use by the Imperial Russian Cavalry and, following their disbandment after the Bolshevik Revolution it became available at low cost. As it was the responsibility of officers to buy their own uniforms, a wearing-out period for old uniforms was allowed and the change-over to the air force uniform was slow.

The ‘wearing out’ period also applied to other ranks. Former members of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service continued to wear their old uniforms. New recruits into the newly formed Royal Air Force were often issued with the khaki Army Pattern General Service Tunic. Later in 1918 a belted khaki uniform was adopted for other ranks, and it was these tunics that first carried the RAF eagle badges on each shoulder.

The pale blue colour for officers’ uniforms was unpopular and impractical and John Slessor who was later promoted to Marshal of the RAF described it as “a nasty pale blue with a lot of gold over it, which brought irresistibly to mind a vision of the gentlemen who stands outside the cinema”. A little over a year after its introduction, the pale blue colour was discontinued. On the 15 September 1919, Air Ministry Order 1049 replaced it with the blue-grey colour which has remained in use to this day. The khaki uniform continued to be worn until 1924 when it too was replaced by a blue-grey colour.

Full dress

Air Vice-Marshal Lambe wearing full dress

In April 1920 Air Ministry Weekly Order 332 detailed a full dress uniform. It consisted of a single-breasted jacket in blue-grey with a stand-up collar. Rank was indicated in gold braid on the lower sleeve and white gloves were worn.

Initially the full dress uniform was worn with the service dress cap. However, in 1921 a new form of head-dress was introduced. It was designed to resemble the original flying helmet and it consisted of a leather skull cap trimmed with black rabbit fur. The helmet also featured an ostrich feather plume which was connected at an RAF badge. This helmet was never popular and junior officers were eventually permitted to wear the service dress hat on full dress occasions.

Group Captain HRH the Duke of York (later King George VI) wore RAF full dress at his wedding to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923. The Duke wore or carried the full dress headgear rather than the service dress cap.

Today the blue-grey full dress uniform is no longer worn, except in a modified form by RAF bandsmen.

There is also a full dress uniform for use by officers in the tropics, officially designated as No.6A Full Ceremonial Dress (Warm Weather Areas). It consists of a white tunic with stand collar, matching trousers, blue-grey peaked cap and black leather shoes. It is only issued to specific appointment holders (e.g. aide-de-camp and air attach), and even then these are hardly ever worn. Other officers may purchase the uniform at their own expense but few choose to do so.

Air Chief Marshal Tedder wearing war service dress

War service dress

War service dress, also known as battle dress, was introduced in 1940 as a blue/grey version of the British Army’s battle dress. Initially, war service dress was only worn by air crew. However, in 1943, its use was authorised for all ranks and trades. War service dress continued to be worn after the end of World War II. It was significantly altered in 1948 and not phased out until 1973.

1972 pattern service working dress

During 1973 the wartime “Hairy Mary” working dress uniforms were replaced for all ranks with the 1972 pattern No 2 uniforms. Made of a smooth woollen and man-made fibre mix material the jacket was a loose blouson design with a front zip fastener and epaulettes. Earlier RAF blue crew-necked woollen pullovers were replaced with a new V-neck design featuring blue-grey cloth elbow and shoulder patches plus a pen holder patch on the left sleeve.

Introduced at the same time was an RAF blue nylon foul weather jacket and overtrousers. Although not initially intended it quickly became standard practice for officers and other ranks to attach rank badges to the lapels and wear the nylon jacket in place of the uniform raincoat, as a more practical modern wear.

References

Hobart, Malcolm “Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force”, ISBN 0-85052-739-2

Royal Air Force – uniforms

External links

Royal Air Force – uniforms

See also

Aircrew brevet

Notes

^ Royal Air Force 1947 Uniform

^ http://www.kamrafa.co.uk/

^ a b M E F Kerr_P

^ Royal Air Force 1918 Light Blue Uniform

^ http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcms/mediafiles/F21C6257_ABD1_7132_E8716B8C2DA98948.pdf

^ http://www.britairforce.com/imagepages/raf_uniform_music.htm

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Royal Air Force
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Branches

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Reserve forces

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Equipment

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Personnel

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Sunday, November 21st, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Japan: Making the Sun Rise Again

Japan knows what to do to get itself back on track, it needs no advice from anybody, it has all the human resource required to identify and tackle its current problems. The Japanese know how to fix Japan and I have no doubt in their ability to get things right.

Those who know Japan, have an eternally abiding faith in the ability of the country to get out of mess, they say that the country always seems to shuffle its feet but then snaps into action when faced with a crisis. It did so in 19th century, adopting modern ways to avoid being colonized, and again after the Second World War. Japan was the world’s second largest economy for 40 years. But the qualities that made it an economic power house in the 20th century: easy capital, big companies, excellent education, disciplined and efficient management, and stable lifetime jobs for male breadwinners- are out of fashion with the 21st century. Japan’s biggest obstacle today is itself.

In the recently released global ranking of Newsweek magazine’s 100 Best Countries in the World, Japan was placed a not quite impressive 9th position of the overall ranking. Except in the health category which Japan undisputedly holds the 1st position, it hovered around 4th to 10th position for other categories such as education, economic dynamism, quality of life and happiness.

Its reluctance to change has become has led to an anticlimax for this once economic power house. Just some few weeks ago, when the global media was abuzz with the news of China overtaking Japan as the world’s 2nd largest economy, the general mood in Japan was resignation and hopelessness, it is understandable why such mood can overtake a people once proudly revered for their once enviable achievements.

Despondency and resignation is only naturally expected after being faced with two lost economic decades characterized by a protracted deflationary cycle, declining growth and an ageing population.

But we must also remember that “faith without work is dead”. Without dramatic reform, Japan will slip swiftly to number four, five and beyond.

However, we still need to take a look at Japan to see if we can identify any new or hidden issues militating against efforts to revive this ailing giant. For this, we need to take a deep retrospective look at Japan through its remarkable history. Starting from the Tokugawa shogunate, the first and second Meiji restoration, the modern era, until the great wars that humbled an ambitious Japan and subsequently its re-emergence as a global economic and industrial power house, and finally, to the current economic challenges that has plagued it.

Historical timeline of Japan:

Since 1854, when the Tokugawa shogunate first opened the country to Western commerce and influence (Bakumatsu), Japan has gone through two periods of economic development. When the Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown and the Meiji government was founded, Japanese Westernization began completely. The first cycle was during Pre-war Japan, the second cycle was during the period of Post-war Japan.

 

In the Meiji period, Japan, under visionary leadership, inaugurated a new Western-based education system for all young people, it sent thousands of students to the United States and Europe, and hired more than 3,000 Westerners to teach modern science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages in Japan (O-yatoi gaikokujin). The government also built railroads, improved roads, and inaugurated a land reform program to prepare the country for further development.

 

In tandem with its objective to promote rapid industrialization, the government decided that, while it should help private business to allocate resources and to plan, the private sector was best equipped to stimulate economic growth. The greatest role of government was to help provide the economic conditions in which business could flourish. Essentially, government was to be the guide and business the producer.

In the early Meiji period, the government built factories and shipyards that were sold to entrepreneurs at a fraction of their value. Many of these businesses grew rapidly into the larger conglomerates. Government emerged as chief promoter of private enterprise, enacting a series of pro-business policies.

 

The development of banking and reliance on bank funding has been at the centre of Japanese economic development at least since the Meiji era.

In the mid 1930s, the Japanese nominal wage rates were 10 times less than the one of the U.S (based on mid-1930s exchange rates), while the price level is estimated to have been about 44% the one of the U.S.

 

Comparison of GDP per capita between East-Asian Nations and the U.S. in 1935:

Country

GDP/capita, 1935$ (Liu-Ta-Chung [2])

GDP-PPP/capita, 1990$ (Fukao [1])

GDP-PPP/capita, 1990$ (Maddison [3])

U.S.

540

5,590

5,590

Japan (excl. Taiwan and Korea)

64

1,745

2,154

Taiwan

42

1,266

1,212

Korea

24

662

1,224

China

18

543

562

 

Oil crisis

Japan faced a severe economic challenge in the mid-1970s. The world oil crisis in 1973 shocked an economy that had become virtually dependent on foreign petroleum. Japan experienced its first post-war decline in industrial production, together with severe price inflation. The recovery that followed the first oil crisis revived the optimism of most business leaders, but the maintenance of industrial growth in the face of high energy costs required shifts in the industrial structure.

 

The subsequent result of the oil crisis was to increase the energy efficiency of manufacturing and to expand so-called knowledge-intensive industries. The service industries expanded in an increasingly post-industrial economy.

 

Structural economic changes, however, were unable to check the slowing of economic growth as the economy matured in the late 1970s and 1980s, attaining annual growth rates at only 4 to 6%. But these rates were remarkable in a world of expensive petroleum and in a nation of few domestic resources. Japan’s average growth rate of 5% in the late 1980s, for example, was far higher than the 3.8% growth rate of the United States.

 

Despite more petroleum price increases in 1979, the strength of the Japanese economy was apparent. It expanded without the double-digit inflation that afflicted other industrial nations (and that had bothered Japan itself after the first oil crisis in 1973). Japan experienced slower growth in the mid-1980s, but its demand-sustained economic boom of the late 1980s revived many troubled industries.

 

Factors of growth

Complex economic and institutional factors affected Japan’s post-war growth. First, the nation’s pre-war experience provided several important legacies. The Tokugawa period (1600–1867) bequeathed a vital commercial sector in burgeoning urban centres, a relatively well-educated elite (although one with limited knowledge of European science), a sophisticated government bureaucracy, productive agriculture, a closely unified nation with highly developed financial and marketing systems, and a national infrastructure of roads. The build up of industry during the Meiji period to the point where Japan could vie for world power was an important prelude to post-war growth and provided a pool of experienced labour following World War II.

 

Second, and more important, was the level and quality of investment that persisted through the 1980s. Investment in capital equipment, which averaged more than 11% of GNP during the pre-war period, rose to about 20% of GNP during the 1950s and to more than 30% in the late 1960s and 1970s. During the economic boom of the late 1980s, the rate still hovered around 20%. Japanese businesses imported the latest technologies to develop the industrial base. As a latecomer to modernization, Japan was able to avoid some of the trial and error earlier needed by other nations to develop industrial processes. In the 1970s and 1980s, Japan improved its industrial base through technology licensing, patent purchases, and imitation and improvement of foreign inventions. In the 1980s, industry stepped up its research and development, and many firms became famous for their innovations and creativity.

 

Japan’s labour force contributed significantly to economic growth, not only because of its availability and literacy but also because of its reasonable wage demands. Before and immediately after World War II, the transfer of numerous agricultural workers to modern industry resulted in rising productivity and only moderate wage increases. As population growth slowed and the nation became increasingly industrialized in the mid-1960s, wages rose significantly. However, labour union cooperation generally kept salary increases within the range of gains in productivity.

 

High productivity growth played a key role in post-war economic growth. The highly skilled and educated labour force, extraordinary savings rates and accompanying levels of investment and the low growth of Japan’s labour force were major factors in the high rate of productivity growth.

 

The nation has also benefited from economies of scale. Although medium-sized and small enterprises generated much of the nation’s employment, large facilities were the most productive. Many industrial enterprises consolidated to form larger, more efficient units. Before World War II, large holding companies formed wealth groups, or zaibatsu, which dominated most industry. The zaibatsu were dissolved after the war, but keiretsu—large, modern industrial enterprise groupings—emerged. The coordination of activities within these groupings and the integration of smaller subcontractors into the groups enhanced industrial efficiency.

 

Circumstances beyond Japan’s direct control contributed to its success. International conflicts tended to stimulate the Japanese economy until the devastation at the end of World War II. The Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), World War I (1914–18), the Korean War (1950–53), and the Second Indochina War (1954–75) brought economic booms to Japan. In addition, benign treatment from the United States after World War II facilitated the nation’s reconstruction and growth.

 

1980s

Throughout the 1970s, Japan had the world’s second largest gross national product (GNP)—just behind the United States— and ranked first among major industrial nations in 1990 in per capita GNP at US,801, up sharply from US,068 in 1980. After a mild economic slump in the mid-1980s, Japan’s economy began a period of expansion in 1986 that continued until it again entered a recessionary period in 1992. Economic growth averaging 5% between 1987 and 1989 revived industries, such as steel and construction, which had been relatively dormant in the mid-1980s, and brought record salaries and employment. In 1992, however, Japan’s real GNP growth slowed to 1.7%. Even industries such as automobiles and electronics that had experienced phenomenal growth in the 1980s entered a recessionary period in 1992. The domestic market for Japanese automobiles shrank at the same time that Japan’s share of the United States’ market declined. Foreign and domestic demand for Japanese electronics also declined, and Japan seemed on the way to losing its leadership in the world semiconductor market to the United States, Korea and Taiwan.

 

Japanese post-war technological research was carried out for the sake of economic growth rather than military development. The growth in high-technology industries in the 1980s resulted from heightened domestic demand for high-technology products and for higher living, housing, and environmental standards; better health, medical, and welfare opportunities; better leisure-time facilities; and improved ways to accommodate a rapidly aging society. This reliance on domestic consumption also meant that consumption grew by only 2.2% in 1991 and at the same rate again in 1992

 

During the 1980s, the Japanese economy shifted its emphasis away from primary and secondary activities (primarily agriculture, manufacturing, and mining) to processing, with telecommunications and computers becoming increasingly vital. Information became an important resource and product, central to wealth and power. The rise of an information-based economy was led by major research in highly sophisticated technology, such as advanced computers. The selling and use of information became very beneficial to the economy. Tokyo became a major financial centre, home of some of the world’s major banks, financial firms, insurance companies, and the world’s largest stock exchange, the Tokyo Securities and Stock Exchange. Even here, however, the recession took its toll. In 1992, the Nikkei 225 stock average began the year at 23,000 points, but fell to 14,000 points in mid-August before leveling off at 17,000 by the end of the year.

 

1989 Economic Bubble: Enter the Lost Decades.

In the decades following World War II, Japan implemented stringent tariffs and policies to encourage the people to save their income. With more money in banks, loans and credit became easier to obtain, and with Japan running large trade surpluses, the yen appreciated against foreign currencies. This allowed local companies to invest in capital resources much more easily than their competitors overseas, which reduced the price of Japanese-made goods and widened the trade surplus further. And, with the yen appreciating, financial assets became very lucrative.

 

With so much money readily available for investment, speculation was inevitable, particularly in the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the real estate market. The Nikkei stock index hit its all-time high on December 29, 1989 when it reached an intra-day high of 38,957.44 before closing at 38,915.87. The rates for housing, stocks, and bonds rose so much that at one point the government issued 100-year bonds. Additionally, banks granted increasingly risky loans.

 

At the height of the bubble, real estate values were extremely over-valued. Prices were highest in Tokyo’s Ginza district in 1989, with choice properties fetching over US.5 million per square meter (9,000 per square foot). Prices were only slightly less in other areas of Tokyo. By 2004, prime “A” property in Tokyo’s financial districts had slumped and Tokyo’s residential homes were a fraction of their peak, but still managed to be listed as the most expensive real estate in the world. Trillions were wiped out with the combined collapse of the Tokyo stock and real estate markets.

 

With Japan’s economy driven by its high rates of reinvestment, this crash hit particularly hard. Investments were increasingly directed out of the country, and Japanese manufacturing firms lost some degree of their technological edge. As Japanese products became less competitive overseas, it is believed that the low consumption rate began to bear on the economy, causing a deflationary spiral.

 

The easily obtainable credit that had helped create and engorge the real estate bubble continued to be a problem for several years to come, and as late as 1997, banks were still making loans that had a low guarantee of being repaid.

The time after the bubble’s collapse, which occurred gradually rather than catastrophically, is known as the “lost decade or end of the century” (ushinawareta jūnen) in Japan. The Nikkei 225 stock index eventually bottomed out at 7603.76 in April 2003, moved upward to a new peak of 18,138 in June 2007, before resuming a downward trend. The downward movement in the Nikkei is likely due to global as well as national economic problems.

 

Japan’s problem are two fold: an intractable credit crisis which has inadvertently derailed the Japanese economy and a thinning labour force characterized by a fast aging population with a corresponding low birth rate that makes the prospect of replenishing the graying labour force harder to achieve.

 

The core problem of Japan is that it suffers from a gross misallocation of resources both financial and human. Japan has long kept the cost of capital low, to boost investment or help struggling companies. Since the financial crisis started, bureaucratic organs such as the Innovation Network Corporation (INC) of Japan and the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation (ETIC) have been allocated over billion to revive ailing corporations. A good example of the misallocation of credit issue was the choice by ETIC of aiding a wireless operator which operates on archaic technology.

 

This is what can be described as “unnatural selection”, in Japan by agencies or lenders charged with the responsibility of providing credit to corporations that require funds. There exist perverse incentives for the allocating credit to needless sections of industry. The system almost guarantees that fresh capital goes to the losers of yester years. And because struggling companies rarely die, new ones do not form. Japan’s bankruptcy rate is half America’s; and the rate at which it creates new firms is only a third as high. Japanese venture capitalists are few. Japan’s bureaucratic allocation of credit seldom spurs animal spirits, instead it breeds zombies.

 

Japanese banks’ practice of continually extending credit to very weak or even insolvent firms. In Japan’s bank-centred economy, where banks often have the responsibility for corporate monitoring and governance, many lending decisions are strongly influenced by perceived duty to support troubled firms, rather than an objective, non-biased credit risk assessment, such as what is obtained in other developed economies. Both government policy and bank regulations in Japan actually encourage banks to keep extending credit to problematic borrowers, which is unofficially known as “evergreening of credit”.

 

Japanese banks fund firms to enable the firms make interest payments on outstanding loans, and thus avoid, or at least delay, bankruptcy. This practice allows the banks to have healthier “mirage” looking balance sheets, because the banks report fewer problem loans and make smaller loan loss provisions. The evergreening of bank loans for debt servicing purposes was widespread. With banks more likely to increase loans to firms with weaker financial health. With such practice widespread, banks had more incentives to extend additional credit to troubled firms with loans already outstanding as those same banks’ reported risk-based capital ratios neared their required capital ratios. What mattered most was the need to have a good appearance than the reality of best practices and adequate capital.

 

A second factor was, corporate connections made it even more likely that banks will extend such credit. Third, government-controlled banks were also more likely to increase loans to financially weak firms. Finally, the only firms that were not under pressure to evergreen loans to the weakest firms were non-affiliated, non-bank lenders. The evergreening of loans in Japan clearly insulated many troubled firms from market forces this may have prevented a bank credit crunch as at that time, instead it made economic problems worse by promoting the allocation of an increasing share of bank credit to many firms least likely to use it.

 

The pertinent question any observer would be forced to ask is: was there any regulator or were there no regulations to check such practices, or was there an apparent lack of foresight as to where such practices would eventually bring the Japanese economy to?

Japan had its own banking regulator as is definitely the practice. Forbearance by bank regulators had allowed the banks to neglect restructuring of non-financial firms.

 

Enter the Amakudari: “descent from heaven.”

The term’s literal meaning “descent from heaven” refers to the descent of the Shinto gods from heaven to earth. In modern usage, it refers to the upper echelons of civil service, the civil servants are seen as the deities, and the earth is the private sector corporations.

The amakudari phenomenon partly explains the apparent weakness of Japanese regulators and regulations from preventing the initial factors that led to the present economic woes faced by Japan. Amakudari is the institutionalized practice in Japan, where Japanese senior bureaucrats retire to high profile positions in the private and public sectors. The practice is inherently corrupt and it is a drag on efforts to break the ties between private sector and the state which prevents economic and political reform.

 

Reforming the reformer (scrapping amakudari)

The relationship that exists between these senior bureaucrats and their former junior colleagues who would have replaced them fosters blind loyalty such as what is obtainable in the ranks of mobsters. It is in Japan’s best interest to break the blind loyalty between the regulators and the regulators, efforts at reform should first target institutional and cultural practices that sustain the greater and familiar economic crisis.

Amakudari and any of its variant (e.g. Yokosuberi or “sideslip” that is retiring to jobs at other government organizations) should be completely abolished. Such practices have proven over time to promote risky business practices. Regulations and proactive regulators are essential to healthy economic growth and sustenance. Japan lacks both because of those the descended from heaven. It is only wise to shut the gates of heaven before Japan is finally ruined by these angels. This will provide the vital first step which would ensure that other measures being muted by experts and economists will eventually get to be fully implemented without prejudice or interference that has always sabotaged such expert opinions.

The seniority and gender issues

Japanese society is one deeply built on respect and age based seniority. This has made Japan lose its knack for getting the best out of its human capital. Despite the superb literacy of its people, the cultural requirement of respect for seniority means that promotions go to the older, not the most able. Young executives with good ideas refrain from speaking up. Retiring presidents are also kept as chairmen or advisers, making it hard for the new boss to undo his predecessor’s mistakes. A rising executive at a big trading house says he was counselled by his seniors to keep his views hidden if he wanted to get on. Half of Japan’s talent is squandered. Only 8% of managers are female, compared with 40% in America and even China’s 20%. A manager at one of Tokyo’s biggest conglomerates says that 70% of qualified job applicants are women, but fewer than 10% are hired, since the work conditions may require visits to factories and mines, where they might perspire in an unladylike way.

Japan is also remarkably “racist” it maintains one of the purest race on earth with very few inter racial marriages. Japan is also not favourably disposed to foreigners and migrants. This has deprived it of the cheap labour offered by migrant workers seeking better living conditions. Instead, it has had to outsource manufacturing to other locations that offer cheap labour, whereas it could have exploited such cheap labour within its boarders. Bosses grouse that the young Japanese eschew overseas posts; even a foreign-ministry official confides that Japanese diplomats prefer to stay at home.

In an attempt to kick-start the Japanese economy again, the government of Japan took a cue from industrial-policy books of old. The trade ministry released a comprehensive new “growth strategy” which identified scores of vibrant sectors meriting government assistance, from overseas construction to attracting medical tourists and migrant workers. The report called for hundreds of reform, very extensive reform in some cases. But the bureaucratic egg heads responsible for drafting the report were promptly drafted to other jobs just a month later. Leaving observers in doubt about the sincerity of the government to implement the outcome of the reports.

This is a clear example of how the old static and “changeophile” Japan scuttles the new. Japan knows what is best for it.

References:

Fukao, Kyoji (2007) (PDF). 
Liu, Ta-Chung (1946). China’s National Income 1931-36, An Exploratory Study. The Brookings Institution.
Maddison, Angus (2003). 

Fortune Nwaiwu
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group Limited by Guarantee
Mobile: 08076657803
Email: fortune.nwaiwu@nesgroup.org, fortune.nwaiwu@gmail.com
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Friday, November 19th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Operation Compass

Prelude

First skirmishes

On 10 June 1940, after the Italian declaration of war on France and Britain, the Italian forces in Libya and the British and Commonwealth forces in Egypt began a series of cross-border raids. An early British raid on 12 June by the British Army’s 11th Hussars, an armoured car regiment, resulted in 61 Italians being taken prisoner. On 14 June, Fort Capuzzo and Fort Maddalena were captured by the 11th Hussars, light tanks of the 7th Hussars and infantry of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, resulting in the capture of some 220 Italian prisoners. On 16 June, two notable actions were fought, resulting in the destruction of a number of Italian tanks and vehicles, and the capture of General Lastucci, the chief engineer of the Italian Tenth Army.

The Italian advance into Egypt

Main article: Italian invasion of Egypt

Benito Mussolini urged Marshal Italo Balbo, Commander-in-Chief of Italian North Africa and Governor-General of Libya, to launch a large scale offensive against the British in Egypt. Mussolini’s immediate aim was to capture the Suez Canal, ultimately wanting to link up his forces in Libya with those in Italian East Africa. But, for many reasons, Balbo was reluctant.

After Balbo’s accidental death on 28 June, Mussolini was just as adamant in urging his replacement, General Rodolfo Graziani, to attack. Like Balbo, Graziani too was reluctant; stating that the water supply was inadequate. He said to Count Ciano (the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs) on 8 August 1940: “We move toward a defeat which, in the desert, must inevitably develop into a rapid and total disaster.”

Graziani ultimately followed Mussolini’s orders and, on 13 September 1940, elements of the Italian Tenth Army advanced into Egypt as part of what was codenamed “Operation E.” The advancing Italian force included five infantry divisions and the “Maletti Group” (Raggruppamento Maletti). The advance included most of the available Libyan units. The regular Libyan cavalry (Savari) formed part of the “Royal Corps of Libyan Colonial Troops” (Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali della Libia) which was also known as the “Group of Libyan Divisions” (Gruppo Divisioni Libiche) or, more simply, the “Libyan Corps.” This included desert and camel troops, infantry battalions, artillery and irregular cavalry (“Spahis”).

As the Italians advanced, the small British force at Sollum withdrew to the main defensive positions east of Mersa Matruh. The Italian advance was harassed by the 7th Support Group, a mobile element of the 7th Armoured Division.

After recapturing Fort Capuzzo, progress was slow. The Italians advanced approximately 95 kilometres (59 mi) in three days. On 16 September, the advance stopped at the town of Maktila, ten miles (16 km) beyond Sidi Barrani. The Italians then dug in, fortified their positions, and awaited reinforcements and supplies. They created a number of fortified camps around Sidi Barrani which ran from Maktila 15 miles (24 km) east of the coast southward through Tummar East, Tummar West and Nibeiwa to Sofafi on the escarpment to the south-west.

According to Virginio Gayda, Italian newspaper editor and mouthpiece for Mussolini’s fascist regime, “Nothing can save Britain now.” However, the British Royal Navy had transferred assets, including the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious to the Mediterranean to reinforce the British Mediterranean Fleet, making provisioning of North Africa problematic for the Italians.

Opposing forces

When war was declared, the Italian Fifth Army commanded by General Italo Gariboldi was located towards the west in Tripolitania and the Italian Tenth Army commanded by General Mario Berti was located towards the east in Cyrenaica. Once the French in Tunisia no longer posed a threat to Tripolitania, the assets of the Fifth Army were used more and more to supplement the needs of the Tenth Army. When Balbo was killed, Marshall Rodolfo Graziani took his place as Governor-General of Libya. Graziani expressed doubts about the capabilities of his larger but largely un-mechanized force to defeat the British, who, though smaller in numbers, were largely motorised.[nb 3]

After being reinforced at the expense of the Fifth Army, the Tenth Army controlled the equivalent of four army corps. The XX Corps had the Italian 60 Infantry Division Sabratha. The XXI Corps had the 1st “23 March” Blackshirt Division, the 2nd “28 October” Blackshirt Division and the 63 Infantry Division Cirene. The XXII Corps had the 61 Infantry Division Sirte. The XXIII Corps had the 4th “3 January” Blackshirt Division and the 64 Infantry Division Catanzaro. The newly created “Group of Libyan Divisions” (Gruppo Divisioni Libiche) had the “Maletti Group,” the 1 Libyan Division Sibelle commanded by Major-General Luigi Sibelle, and the 2 Libyan Division Pescatori commanded by Major-General Armando Pescatori.

The only unit Berti had that was not an infantry division was the partially motorized and lightly armoured “Maletti Group.” This group was commanded by its namesake General Pietro Maletti and comprised some 2,500 Libyan colonial infantry and seventy tanks. Maletti Group’s tanks were evenly divided between the lightly armoured and machine gun-armed Fiat L3s tankettes and the slightly heavier M11/39 medium tank. The M11/39 featured a hull-mounted 37 mm gun as its main armament. This gun was difficult to bring to bear on targets because of its limited traverse. The medium tank was also relatively poorly armoured and was mechanically unreliable.

Initially the British Middle East Command under General Archibald Wavell only had about 30,000 troops stationed in Egypt to defend against the approximately 150,000 Italian troops stationed in Cyrenaica. Lieutenant-General Richard O’Connor commanded the Western Desert Force. Major-General Noel Beresford-Peirse commanded the 4th Indian Infantry Division and Major-General Sir Michael O’Moore Creagh commanded the 7th Armoured Division (the “Desert Rats”). From 14 December, troops of the 6th Australian Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General Iven Mackay, replaced the Indian troops.

In comparison to the Italian tanks, the British were able to field some faster Cruiser tanks (the Mk I, Mk II, and Mk III) which were more than match to the M11/39s. The British also had a limited number of heavy Matilda Infantry tanks that, while slow, were strongly armoured and well armed. The armour of the Matilda tanks could not be pierced by any of the Italian anti-tank or field guns available at the time.

At the onset, aircraft available to both sides in the desert tended to be older biplanes. The Italians had Fiat CR.32s and Fiat CR.42s while the British had Gloster Gladiators.

British plans

Following the Italian advance, Wavell ordered the commander British Troops Egypt, Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson to plan a limited operation to push the Italians back. Wavell had noted that the Italian defensive positions were dispersed with the fortified camps separated by large distances which meant they could not provide mutual support. Operation Compass, for administrative reasons, was originally planned as a five-day raid but was extended after its initial success. Wavell was confident of his smaller force’s capabilities and on 28 November wrote to Wilson expressing a belief that an opportunity might occur for converting the enemy’s defeat into an outstanding victory:

I do not entertain extravagant hopes of this operation but I do wish to make certain that if a big opportunity occurs we are prepared morally. mentally and administratively to use it to the fullest

The British plan was for 7th Armoured Division’s Support Group to observe the Italian camps at Sofafi to prevent any intervention from them while the rest of the armoured division and 4th Indian Division passed through the gap between Sofafi and Nibeiwa. A brigade from the Indian Division supported by Infantry tanks of 7th Royal Tank Regiment (7th RTR) would then attack Nibeiwa from the west while the Armoured Division protected their northern flank. Once Nibeiwa was captured a second Indian brigade, again supported by 7th RTR would attack the Tummars. Meanwhile the Matruh Garrison Force (3rd battalion Coldstream Guards plus some artillery) would contain the enemy camp at Maktila on the coast and the Royal Navy would bombard Maktila and Sidi Barrani. Assuming a successful outcome, in the second phase Sidi Barrani would be attacked on the second day by the Indian Division and a westward exploitation would follow.

Preparations were made in the strictest secrecy. Only a few officers knew during the training exercise held on 25 and 26 November that the objectives marked out on ground near Matruh were replicas of Nibeiwa and Tummar and that the exercise was in fact a rehearsal. The troops were also told that a second exercise was to follow. Many of the troops involved in Operation Compass were not informed that the operation was not an exercise until 7 December as they arrived at their start positions.

Battle of Marmarica / Battle of the Camps

The opening stage of Operation Compass was known by the Italians as the “Battle of the Marmarica”. The British knew it as the “Battle of the Camps”. The “Battle of the Marmarica” name was derived from the name of the coastal plain where the battle was fought. The “Battle of the Camps” name was derived from the individual Italian camps set up in a defensive line outside of Sidi Barrani.

On the nights of 7 December and 8 December 1940 the Western Desert Force under the command of Major-General Richard O’Connor and comprising British 7th Armoured Division and Indian 4th Infantry Division reinforced by British 16th Infantry Brigade advanced a total of 70 miles (110 km) to their start positions for the attack. The RAF made attacks on Italian airfields destroying or damaging 29 aircraft on the ground. Selby Force, a mixed force of 1,800 under Brigadier A. R. Selby, moved up from Matruh and having stationed a brigade of dummy tanks in the desert as a decoy for the Italian airforce, had by dawn on 9 December taken position a few miles south east of Maktila. In the meantime Maktila had been bombarded by the monitor HMS Terror and the gunboat HMS Aphis, while Sidi Barrani had been shelled by the gunboat HMS Ladybird.

On 9 December, the disposition of the forward Italian fortified positions in Egypt were as follows: The 1st Libyan Colonial Infantry Division was located at Maktila. The 2nd Libyan Colonial Infantry Division was located at Tummar. The “Maletti Group” was located at Nibiewa. The 4th “3 January” Blackshirt Division and the Headquarters for the “Libyan Corps” were at Sidi Barrani. The 63 Infantry Division Cirene and the Headquarters for the XXI Corps were located at Sofafi. The 64 Infantry Division Catanzaro was located at Buq Buq. The Headquarters for the XXIII Corps and the 2nd “28 October” Blackshirt Division were located in Sollum and in the Halfaya Pass area repectively. The 62 Infantry Division Marmarica was located at Sidi Omar to the south of Sollum.”

The commander of the Italian Tenth Army, General Mario Berti, was on sick leave when the British launched their attack against his forces in Egypt. In his place was General Italo Gariboldi. Gariboldi, the 1st “23 March” Blackshirt Division, and the Headquarters for the Tenth Army were located far from the front lines in Bardia. By the time Berti arrived back in Libya to resume command, so had the British.

Nibeiwa

A Matilda tank of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert.

At 05.00 on 9 December a detachment of artillery commenced a diversionary firing for an hour at the fortified Nibeiwa camp which was occupied by the Maletti Group from the east. At 07.00 the main divisional artillery started to register targets and by 07.15 a full concentration had started. At that moment 11th Indian Infantry Brigade, with 7 RTR under command, attacked Nibeiwa from the north west which reconnaissance had established as the weakest sector. By 08.30,[nb 4] after some fierce fighting, Nibeiwa was taken; General Maletti was killed and 2,000 prisoners taken. Large quantities of supplies were also taken intact while O’Connor’s casualties amounted to eight officers and forty-eight men. Major-General Noel Beresford-Peirse, commander of 4th Indian Division, ordered his 5th Indian Infantry Brigade to move up with supporting field artillery and take positions for the attack on the Tummars.

The Tummars

The attack commenced on Tummar West at 13.50, after 7 RTR had refueled and re-armed and artillery had softened the defences up for an hour. Here too a north west approach was made and the tanks broke through the perimeter without too much difficulty and were followed twenty minutes later by the infantry. However, the defenders put up stronger opposition than at Nibeiwa[nb 5] but by 16.00 Tummar West was overrun, except for extreme north east corner. The tanks shifted their point of attack to Tummar East, the greater part of which was captured by nightfall. Meanwhile 7th Armoured Division’s 4th Armoured Brigade, while performing flank defence, had advanced to Azziziya where the garrison of 400 surrendered. Light patrols of the 7th Hussars pushed forward to cut the Sidi Barrani to Buq Buq road while armoured cars of the 11th Hussars ranged further west. The tanks of 7th Armoured Brigade was held in reserve.

Maktila

Unaware of the situation at the Tummars, Selby decided nevertheless to send units forward to seal off the western exits from Maktila. During that night, however, the 1st Libyan Division was able to filter through and make good its escape.

Sidi Barrani

On 10 December 16 Infantry Brigade was brought forward from 4th Indian Division reserve and with elements of 11th Indian Brigade under command was sent forward in lorries to attack Sidi Barrani. Moving forward that morning across exposed ground the force took some casualties but with support from artillery and 7 RTR it was in position barring the south and south western exits to Sidi Barrani by 13.30. At 16.00, supported by the whole of the division’s artillery, the attack, again with the support of 7th RTR, went in. The town was captured by nightfall and the remains of the two Libyan Divisions and the 4th Blackshirt Division were trapped between 16th Infantry Brigade and Selby Force. On 11 December Selby Force supported by some tanks attacked and secured the surrender of the 1st Libyan Division. By evening the 4th Blackshirts had also ceased resisting.

Buq Buq

On 11 December 7 Armoured Brigade was ordered out of reserve and relieved 4th Armoured Brigade in the Buq Buq area to clear it of remaining opposition and made large captures of men and guns.

Sofafi

On 11 December a patrol from 7th Support Group entered Rabia to find it empty. The Cirene Division had withdrawn from there and Sofafi overnight. An order to the withdrawing 4th Armoured Brigade to cut them off west of Sofafi arrived too late and they were able to make their way along the top of the escarpment to link with Italian forces at Halfya.

Exploitation

Over the next few days the British 4th Armoured Brigade, on top of the escarpment, and 7th Armoured Brigade, on the coast, endeavoured to pursue vigorously. They encountered acute supply problems exacerbated by the large number of prisoners (twenty times the number planned for) and found it extremely difficult to advance.

Italian forces crowded into the coast route while retreating from Sidi Barrani and Buq Buq were easy targets for the Terror and the two gunboats which bombarded the Sollum area all day and most of the night of 11 December By late 12 December the only remaining Italian positions in Egypt were at the approaches to Sollum and a force in the region of Sidi Omar.

Due praise went to Italian anti-tank and artillery gunners who managed to destroy eighteen British tanks but eventually, 237 artillery pieces, 73 light and medium tanks, and about 38,300 Italian and Libyan soldiers were destroyed or captured. The Rajputana Rifles lost 41 officers and 394 men killed and wounded in the attacks and dozens of British tanks had been destroyed or disabled. The British and Indian forces having licked their wounds then moved quickly west along the Via della Vittoria, through Halfaya Pass, and again captured Fort Capuzzo in Libya.

Walker describes the destruction of Maletti Group in his 2003 book Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts. The following is quoted from a review of that book:

The initial British assault would fall on Nibeiwa Camp, where the only available Italian armoured unit was based, and it achieved complete surprise. Raggruppamento Maletti, or Maletti Group, under General Pietro Maletti, was an ad hoc formation consisting of 2,500 Libyan soldiers and 2 Armoured Battalion, with thirty-five M11/39 medium tanks and thirty-five L3/35 light tanks. It was earmarked for early destruction in the assault, which commenced at 05.00 with what appeared to be no more than another raid on the eastern side of the camp. At 07.00, however, forty-eight Matilda tanks suddenly appeared from the opposite side of the camp. They struck twenty-three unmanned M11/39 tanks of the Maletti Group, which had been deployed to guard the unmined entrance to the camp. The Italians were caught completely off guard and many did not even reach their tanks, including General Maletti, who was killed emerging from his dugout. They were slaughtered and their vehicles destroyed by the British in less than ten minutes. The Italian artillery fought on valiantly, firing on the Matildas and recording many hits, some at point-blank range – but none penetrated their 70 mm of armour. The remaining Italian tanks were captured intact, and the Libyan infantry, left practically defenceless, quickly surrendered. The British had captured Nibeiwa and destroyed the only front-line Italian armoured unit in less than five hours.

Walker’s indication that none of the Italian artillery were able to penetrate the armour of the Matilda tanks contrasts with research by Sadkovich, who affirmed that the Maletti Group’s anti-amour guns were able to destroy 35 out of 57 Matildas prior to their own destruction.

Section commander Nazzareno Ganino, 86th Infantry Regiment, 60th “Sabratha” Infantry Division later described the patrol actions of the period:

I held the rank of corporal and was in charge of a small squad of about eleven or so men, our job was to go on night patrols into enemy held ground, either cutting wire or reporting on enemy activities or positions. Because of the nature of the work there was nearly always casualities, where one or sometimes more would not make it back to camp, either through capture or even death. We faced fear and sometimes lost our way in the darkness and featureless landscape, but I always tried to avoid unnecessary loss of life.

British redeploy Indian Division to the Sudan

O’Connor wanted to continue attacking. He wanted to get at least as far as Benghazi. However, on 11 December General Wavell whose command stretched down into Africa, had ordered the Indian 4th Infantry Division to withdraw to take part in an offensive against Italian forces in Italian East Africa. O’Connor would state, “[This] came as a complete and very unpleasant surprise . . . It put ‘paid’ to the question of immediate exploitation . . . “. The Australian 6th Division replaced the Indian troops from 14 December. The Australians had barely finished training, were missing their armoured regiment, and as yet had only one artillery regiment equipped with the new 25 pounder field guns.

British advance resumes

Exploitation continued nevertheless by the two armoured brigades and the Support Group of 7th Armoured Division with the infantry of 16th Infantry Brigade (which had not gone with the Indian division to the Sudan) following up. By 15 December Sollum and Halfya had been captured as well as Fort Capuzzo while all Italian forces had been cleared from Egypt. 7th Armoured Division were concentrated south-west of Bardia awaiting the arrival of 6th Australian Division to make the attack on Bardia. By this time the Western Desert Force had taken 38,000 prisoners and captured 400 artillery pieces and 50 tanks while suffering casualties of 133 killed, 387 wounded and 8 missing.

Bardia

Main article: Battle of Bardia

Gunners of HMS Ladybird bombarding Bardia before the assault, 2 January 1941

After the disaster at Sidi Barrani and the withdrawal from Egypt, Lieutenant General Annibale Bergonzoli’s XXIII Corps faced the British from within the strong defences of Bardia. Mussolini wrote to Bergonzoli: “I have given you a difficult task but one suited to your courage and experience as an old and intrepid soldierhe task of defending the fortress of Bardia to the last. I am certain that ‘Electric Beard’ and his brave soldiers will stand at whatever cost, faithful to the last.” Bergonzoli replied: “I am aware of the honour and I have today repeated to my troops your message simple and unequivocal. In Bardia we are and here we stay.” Graziani daily recorded his apprehension. He bemoaned the situation and his fate, accused Marshal Pietro Badoglio (Supreme Chief of the Italian General Staff) of treachery, and he demanded mass intervention by German aircraft. While Bergonzoli prepared the defences of Bardia, Graziani began the evacuation of colonists from between Tobruk and Derna. On 23 December, Graziani replaced Berti with General Giuseppe Tellera as commander of the 10th Army.

Bergonzoli had approximately 40,000 defenders under his command. The Italian divisions defending the perimeter of Bardia included remnants of the 62nd “Marmarica” Infantry Division, remnants of the 63rd “Cirene” Infantry Division, the 1st “23 March” Blackshirt Division, and the 2nd “28 October” Blackshirt Division. These divisions guarded an 18-mile (29 km) perimeter which had a permanent anti-tank ditch, extensive wire fence, and a double row of concrete strong points. As a “mobile reserve” there were a dozen medium tanks and over one hundred L3 tankettes. While the L3s were generally worthless, the medium tanks for the first time included a few M13/40 with the turret-mounted 47 mm anti-tank gun as its main armament. This was a vast improvement over the hull-mounted 37 mm gun of the M11/39s. Bergonzoli also had the remnants of the 64 Infantry Division Catanzaro and some “fortess troops” in Bardia itself. Unfortunately for Bergonzoli, he had little more than a month’s supply of water.

Captured Italian L3 tankettes outside Bardia in 1941

Following the reorganisation of his forces, now re-named XIII Corps, O’Connor resumed his offensive. On 3 January 1941, General Mackay’s Australian 6th Division assaulted Bardia. Its Australian 16th Infantry Brigade attacked at dawn from the west, where the defences were known to be weak. Sappers blew gaps in the barbed wire with Bangalore torpedoes and filled in and broke down the sides of the anti-tank ditch with picks and shovels. This allowed the infantry and 23 Matilda II tanks of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment to enter the fortress and capture all their objectives, along with 8,000 prisoners. In the second phase of the operation, the Australian 17th Infantry Brigade exploited the breach made in the perimeter, and pressed south as far as a secondary line of defences known as the Switch Line. On the second day, the 16th Infantry Brigade captured the township of Bardia, cutting the fortress in two. Thousands of prisoners were taken, and the Italian garrison now held out only in the northern and southernmost parts of the fortress. On the third day, the 19th Infantry Brigade advanced south from Bardia, supported by artillery and the Matilda tanks, now reduced in number to just six. Its advance allowed the 17th Infantry Brigade to make progress as well, and the two brigades reduced the southern sector of the fortress. Meanwhile, the Italian garrisons in the north surrendered to the 16th Infantry Brigade and the Support Group of the British 7th Armoured Division outside the fortress. In all, some 36,000 Italian prisoners were taken. Bergonzolli escaped and was able to stay just ahead of the Allied forces as they then advanced to Tobruk along the coast road, the Via Balbia.

Tobruk

22 January 1941. The Australian 2/11th Infantry Battalion regroups on the escarpment at the south side of Tobruk harbour, after penetrating the Italian outer defences and attacking anti-aircraft positions.

Following the fall of Bardia, 7th Armoured Division with Australian 19th Brigade advanced to Tobruk which was isolated by the 7th Armoured Division on the 6 January. By 9 January it was surrounded. After a twelve day period building up forces around Tobruk, O’Connor attacked on 21 January and Tobruk was captured 22 January, yielding over 25,000 prisoners along with 236 field and medium guns, 23 medium tanks and more than 200 other vehicles. The Australian losses were 49 dead and 306 wounded. Some fierce fighting took place and a company was forced to withdraw in an Italian counter-attack, in which the Australian troops lost 100 killed, wounded and captured.

There were approximately 25,000 Italian defenders at Tobruk under the overall command of General Petassi Manella, commander of the XXII Corps. Besides “fortress troops,” the defenders comprised the 61st “Sirte” Infantry Division, sixty-two tankettes, twenty-five medium tanks, and some two-hundred guns. The perimeter was about thirty miles long and was fortified with a combination of anti-tank ditch, wire, and a double row of strongpoints. In many ways the defenses at Tobruk were a replica of the defenses at Bardia.

The Allied infantry force comprised the 16th, 17th and 19th Brigades of Australian 6th Division under Major-General Iven Mackay supported by the 16 remaining Infantry tanks of 7 RTR and the machine-gun battalions of the Northumberland Regiment and Cheshire Regiment. 7th Armoured Division with its unit of Free French Marines were to play the same containing role they had at Bardia. Given the lack of tank numbers, heavy artillery bombardment was used to soften the Italian defenses. With their Browning machine guns, and four bombs each, the Vickers Wellington and Blenheim bombers also played an important part in the softening up of defenses of the Tobruk garrison.

British 6-inch howitzers firing on Tobruk, January 1941.

On the morning of 21 January, the assault went in under the cover of darkness. Once it appeared that the 2/3rd Battalion had breached the Italian defenses, the leading companies of the 2/1st Battalion started their advance. However, one of the companies ran into booby-traps that killed or wounded several in a platoon. Major Abbot’s company was given the task of clearing the forward platoon outposts, which it took after some confused fighting, having initially been held up by Post 55. Sergeant Hoddinot hurled grenades to overcome the bunkered platoon. At Post 62, despite tank and artillery fire, the enemy stood firm. Lieutenant Clark poured a mixture of crude oil and kerosene through the gap in the bunker to silence it. Eleven Italians died and 35 surrendered. As Captain Campbell’s company reached the end of the first phase of the advance it came under fire from dug-in tanks. Captain Anderson and Lieutenant Russell were wounded and Lieutenant Russell killed. Despite encountering some stiff opposition, the 2/8th Battalion took 1,300 prisoners. At the same time, Italian gunners brought down fire on the battalion and Italian infantry counterattacked with the support of nine tanks. Under pressure from this strong battalion force, Campbell’s company was forced to withdraw, having lost 100 killed, wounded and captured. At this point help arrived in the form of two British Matilda tanks. The companies fought their way forward with grenade, Bren, rifle and bayonet. They were met by a hail of fire. Lieutenant Trevorrow and Sergeant Duncan were seriously wounded, and two of the platoon commanders had bullet holes in their clothing or equipment. At this point Captain McDonald called forward two of the British Infantry tanks to engage a platoon holding Post 42. Some close-quarter fighting saw the enemy cleared from Post 41. As Captain Abbot’s company continued its advance it came under fire from the Italian platoons dug in Posts 34 and 35, and was forced to withdraw.

During the night 19th Brigade HQ attempted to negotiate a ceasefire with the commander of the Italian XXII Corps and garrison in Tobruk. It was hoped they would succeed, but a telephone call from the Italian supreme command put paid to their efforts. Mussolini himself had spoken personally to General Manella, forbidding him to surrender, and informing him that squadrons of Italian bombers were on their way as reinforcements. Later that night Italian SM.79s carried out a surprise low-level attack, which bombed some 8,000 prisoners who had been gathered inside a fenced enclosure, killing and wounding hundreds of their men. This bombing broke the will of among those still prepared to fight.

In the end, General Manella surrendered some 12 hours after the fighting began. But Manella refused to order the surrender of his forces. This meant that it took a further day to clean up any resistance.

Next day, the capture of the remaining outposts from R1 to S11 was completed and assisted strongly by Infantry tanks of the Support Group and the 2nd Rifle Brigade and 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps which had arrived as reinforcements that morning. Meanwhile, the 7th Armoured Division which had also entered the perimeter from the Derna road that morning stood by to advance into the town if required.

On the afternoon of 22 January, Brigadier-General Vincenzo della Mura and the remaining 17,000 defenders surrendered. General della Mura was the commander of the 61 Infantry Division Sirte. The Italians had lost 25,000 killed, wounded and captured. The Australians by comparison had 400 killed, wounded and taken prisoner.

Derna

A British Matilda tank on its way into Tobruk, displaying a captured Italian flag, 24 January 1941.

In the meantime the Italian Supreme Command moved quickly to organize the “Special Armoured Brigade” (Brigata Corazzato Speciale, or BCS) consisting of fifty-five M13/40 tanks, artillery pieces, and supported by infantry formations specializing in the anti-tank role and sappers equipped with anti-tank mines. In hardly more than a month, the Italians dispatched this volunteer force under General Valentino Babini to North Africa. The M13s in the BCS were a vast improvement to the M11s. They had a better turret-mounted 47 mm tank gun which was more than able to pierce the armour of the British light and cruiser tanks. However, other than command vehicles, Italian tanks were not equipped with radios. Communicating for most Italian tankers required the use of signal flags.

Bambini’s tank force included the 3rd Battalion and the 5th Battalion from the 131st “Centauro” Armoured Division and should have amounted to at least one-hundred-and-twenty M13s. But eighty-two tanks had just arrived at Benghazi and required ten days of “acclimatization” prior to operation.

Following the fall of Tobruk, HQ British Troops Egypt was removed from the existing unwieldy line of command so that O’Connor reported directly to Wavell at Middle East Command. O’Connor continued the advance towards Derna with the Australian 6th Division while sending 7th Armoured Division south of the Jebel Akhdar mountains towards Mechili. On 24 January the 4th Armoured Brigade engaged armoured elements of BCS on the Derna – Mechili track. While the British managed to destroy nine Italian tanks in the battle, they themselves lost one cruiser and six light tanks. The 2/11th Battalion first made contact with infantry of the BCS at the Derna airfield on 25 January and progress was difficult against particularly determined resistance. In the Derna-Giovanni Berta area, held by the 60th “Sabratha” Infantry Division and infantry elements of the BCS, there were fierce exchanges with Italian counterattacks taking place around Wadi Derna. On 27 January, an Australian battalion beat off a strong daylight attack from a force of at least a thousand Italians. That same day, concealed soldiers of the BCS ambushed a column of armoured vehicles of the 6th Cavalry Regiment and took three of the survivors prisoner. The advance of other units further to the south of the Wadi Derna eventually threatened the BCS with encirclement and it disengaged on the night of 28 January. Derna, a town of 10,000 residents itself was captured on 26 January. Precise casualty figures for the fighting for Derna and Giovanni Berta have not been compiled but at least 15 Australians were killed fighting the BCS and “Sabratha” Division. The Italians lost a good part of the 60th “Sabratha” Infantry Division in the fighting.

Battle of Beda Fomm

The rapid British advance caused the Italians to make a decision to evacuate Cyrenaica. In late January 1941, the British learned that the Italians were evacuating Cyrenaica along the main coastal road from Benghazi. The British 7th Armoured Division under Major General Sir Michael O’Moore Creagh was dispatched to intercept the remnants of the fleeing Italian Tenth Army.

Creagh’s division was to travel via Msus and Antelat (the bottom of the semicircle), while the Australian 6th Division chased the Italians along the coast road round the north of the Jebel Akhdar mountains (the curve of the semicircle). The poor terrain was hard going for the tanks, and Creagh took the bold decision to send a flying column on wheels only (christened “Combe Force”) south-west across the virtually unmapped Libyan Desert. Combe Force, under its namesake Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe of the 11th Hussars, consisted of an armoured car squadron from each of 11th Hussars and King’s Dragoon Guards, 2nd Rifle Brigade, a Royal Air Force armoured car squadron, anti-tank guns from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (RHA), ‘C’ battery 4 RHA, and the 106th battery RHA with nine portee-mounted 37 mm anti-tank guns. The force totalled about 2,000 men.

In the afternoon of 5 February 1941, Combe Force arrived at the Benghazi Tripoli road and set up road blocks near Sidi Saleh, some 20 miles (32 km) north of Ajedabia and 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Antelat. The leading elements of the Italian Tenth Army arrived 30 minutes later and were blocked. By the evening 4th Armoured Brigade had reached Beda Fomm, overlooking the coastal road some 10 miles (16 km) to the north of them while 7th Armoured Support Group took a more northerly route to threaten the retreating Italian Tenth Army’s flank and rear and prevent a breakout across the desert. The following day, the Italian army had concentrated and attacked. The fighting was intense and, as the day progressed, increasingly desperate.

Through 6 February, the riflemen, tanks, and guns of Combe Force managed to hold off about 20,000 Italian soldiers supported by sixty M13/40 medium tanks and two hundred guns. Initially, Bambini’s “Special Armoured Brigade” (Brigata Corazzato Speciale, or BCS) was in the vicinity of Benghazi. The BCS was part of the rear guard and included approximately one-hundred tanks. But, because at least thirty tanks were kept back at Benghazi for rear guard purposes, the BCS was limited to sixty tanks to make the crucial break through at Beda Fomm.

The fighting was close and often hand-to-hand. At one point, a regimental sergeant major captured an Italian light tank by hitting the commander over the head with a rifle-butt.

The final Italian effort came in the morning of 7 February when the last twenty Italian medium tanks broke through the thin cordon of riflemen and anti-tank guns. But even this breakthrough was ultimately stopped by the fire of British field guns located just a few yards from regimental HQ. After this final failure, with the rest of the British 7th Armoured Division arriving, and the Australian 6th Division bearing down on them from the Benghazi, the Italians surrendered. Among the dead was the commander of the 10th Army, Tellera. Among the prisoners captured was Babini and the elusive Bergonzoli.

By mid-morning on 7 February, O’Connor wrote: “I think this may be termed a complete victory as none of the enemy escaped.” Later, after surveying the shambles of what was left of the Italian 10th Army at Beda Fomm, O’Connor sent his celebrated message to Wavell: “Fox killed in the open.” He dispatched the 11th Hussars westwards to Agedabia and then on to El Agheila to round up any stragglers and to keep in contact with a quickly departing enemy.

Battle of the oasis

Main article: Battle of Kufra

General Wavell’s advance had cut off a garrison of approximately 800 Italians and 1,200 colonial troops at Giarabub (marked as Jarabub on the map) under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Castagna. Giarabub was an oasis 160 miles (260 km) to the south of Bardia and 25 miles (40 km) from the border. Although the colonial troops surrendered quickly, the regular troops held firm and were still in place in mid-March. Although cut off, the garrison was supplied by air and the 6th Australian Division’s divisional mechanised cavalry unit which was observing the oasis did not have the strength to attack the position.

In late March Wavell needed clear the oasis to allow him to withdraw the divisional cavalry regiment to join the rest of the division to travel to Greece. The cavalry was joined by 2/9th Australian Infantry battalion and an attack launched under the leadership of Brigadier Wootten. On 21 March, the final attack on Giararub lasted for about two days and once again the Australians and Italians took heavy casualties but the Australians prevailed although 2/9th Battalion lost 17 killed and 77 wounded. It was estimated that 250 casualties had been caused to the Italian battalion under the weight of artillery softening up fire, hand to hand combat and the British air strikes.

Aftermath

After ten weeks, the Italian Tenth Army was no more. The Allied forces had advanced 800 km, destroyed or captured about 400 tanks and 1290 artillery pieces, and captured 130,000 Libyan and Italian prisoners of war besides a vast quantity of other war material. Their prisoners included 22 generals. The Italian general staff on the other hand records 960 guns of all types lost. The British and Commonwealth forces suffered 494 dead and 1,225 wounded. The issue of Life Magazine that went out on 10 February 1941 included a story entitled: “Mussolini Takes a Bad Licking in Africa.”

On 9 February 1941, as the British advance reached El Agheila, Churchill ordered that it be stopped and troops be dispatched to defend Greece. The Greeks were already in a war with the Italians and a German attack was soon expected.

Italian Fiat CR-32 with Stuka in background.

The British advance stopped short of driving the Italians totally out of North Africa. While only about 32,000 demoralized Italian troops escaped the disaster in Cyrenaica, Italy still had the 5th Army and its four divisions in Tripolitania. In readiness for additional British advances, the Italians reinforced the Sirte, Tmed Hassan, and Buerat strongholds. The 17th “Pavia” Infantry Division, the 25th “Bologna” Infantry Division, the 27th “Brescia” Infantry Division, and the 55th “Savona” Infantry Division had contributed much equipment and most of the better artillery to the divisions lost in Cyrenaica but reinforcements continued to arrive from Italy. Several of the infantry divisions in Tripolitania were “motorized” in theory, but much of the motor transport had been contributed to the 10th Army.

Additional Italian forces continued to arrive from Italy. Among the recently arrived units were the reformed 60th “Sabratha” Infantry Division (the original being lost at Derna), the 102nd “Trento” Motorised Division and the 132nd “Ariete” Armored Division (minus the armour lost at Beda Fomm). This brought the total of Italian soldiers in Tripolitania to about 150,000. The Italians had already lost almost as many soldiers in Cyrenaica and most of the better equipment and armour available, but much equipment and armour continued to arrive from Italy.

On 11 January 1941, HMS Illustrious had suffered a crippling dive-bomber attack from Italian Stukas (called Picchiatello in Italian service). This loss allowed the first troops of the German Africa Corps (Deutsches Afrikakorps, DAK) to begin arriving in Tripolitania. On 11 February, as part of Operation Sunflower (Unternehmen Sonnenblume), elements of DAK started to arrive. With the arrival of DAK, commanded by General Erwin Rommel, the desert war would take a completely different turn.

On 25 March 1941, General Italo Gariboldi replaced Marshal Rodolfo Graziani. Graziani had requested to be relieved and was granted his request. By 19 July, Gariboldi himself was relieved because of his alleged lack of cooperation with Rommel.

Towards the end of April, the Italian divisional commaders reviewed the Italo-German forces. A German officer shouted: “At the beginning of Italian-German cooperation on African soil, we swear to make the greatest effort for a joint victory for Great Germany and Great Italy. Long live Great Italy! Long live Great Germany!” The assembled troops roared: “We swear it!”

Given other setbacks suffered during the early war years, the Allied troops of Operation Compass were highly publicized and became renown as “Wavell’s Thirty Thousand,” which was used as the title of a 1942 British documentary chronicling the campaign.

Quotes

Bonner Fellers: “General Wavell told me they were going to do manoeuvres, so I went up as an observer, and God dammit it was the works.”

Anonymous Coldstream Guards officer: “We have [taken prisoner] about 5 acres (20,000 m2) of officers and 200 acres (810,000 m2) of other ranks.”

Anthony Eden: (after the battle of Bardia) “Never has so much been surrendered by so many to so few.”

Rodolfo Graziani: (writing to Mussolini after the defeat) “In this theatre of operations a single armoured division is more important than an entire [infantry] army.”

Adolf Hitler: (said with amusement to his generals) “Failure has had the healthy effect of once more compressing Italian claims to within the natural boundaries of Italian capabilities.”

Alexander von Hovart: (infamous prison-camp commandant) “And once again is proven the inferiority of the Mediterranean sub-group of the Aryan Race, for not even with the strength of superior socio-economic organization can he defeat the swarthy Briton.”[citation needed]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Operation Compass

World War II portal

North African Campaign timeline

Military history of Italy during World War II

Notes

footnotes

^ 46 fighters and 116 bombers: two squadrons of Hurricanes, one of Gloster Gladiators, three of Blenheims, three of Wellingtons and one of Bombays.

^ The number comprises 58 aircraft lost in combat, 91 captured intact on airfields and 1,100 damaged and captured.

^ This view is disputed by Sir David Hunt in his book A Don at War. He states:

In fact they had so much [motor transport] that we were able to motorise two brigades out of what we captured; ironically but for the captured transport, we could never have pushed so far into Libya, Of particular value were the large 10-ton Diesel lorries of which the 10th Army had large quantities

At this stage of the war, the Italian army had plenty of motorised transport which was used to supply Graziani’s formations which he had chosen to adopt static defensive positions. Wavell’s forces on the other hand were desperately short of motorised transport. Neither side were in a position to boast about their armoured strength but the British 7th Armoured Division had a superiority in heavier tanks (as discussed in the following paragraph).

^ Although the British Official History records that it took until 10.40 for it to be “all over”

^ The British Official History records that “the Italian gunners fought courageously”

citations

^ Bauer (2000), p.95

^ a b Playfair p. 262

^ a b c Playfair p. 266

^ a b c d Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, p. 3268, 25 June 1946.

^ a b Latimer, p. 87

^ a b Churchill 1949, p.616

^ Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37609, p. 3000, 13 June 1946.

^ Long 1952, p. 99

^ Ciano, Diaries, p. 281

^ Mackenzie (1951), pp. 26 & 27

^ Mackenzie (1951), p.27

^ “Liberation Out of Libya?”. Time Magazine (30 September 1940). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,764743-2,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 

^ “HMS Illustrious”. http://world.std.com/~ted7/Illus.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 

^ Hunt p. 52

^ Macksey, p. 121

^ a b Macksey, p. 106

^ Hunt, p. 51

^ Wavell London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, p. 3261, 25 June 1946.

^ Playfair, p. 264

^ Mead, p.331

^ a b Playfair, p. 265

^ Playfair pp. 260261

^ a b c d Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, p. 3263, 25 June 1946.

^ Playfair p. 263

^ “Battle of the Marmarica”. Time Magazine (23 December 1940). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765077-1,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 

^ Macksey, p. 68

^ Playfair p. 267

^ a b c d Playfair p. 268

^ a b c Playfair p. 269

^ a b Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, p. 3264, 25 June 1946.

^ a b c d e Playfair p. 270

^ a b Playfair p 271

^ Walker (2003), p. 62

^ Sadkovich (1991), p.293

^ Ganino, Nazzareno (26 July 2006). “A few memories of a POW and the Empress of Canada”. http://www.ganino.com/?d=33&action=fullnews&showcomments=1&id=6. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 

^ a b c d e f g Mead, p.332

^ Long 1952, p. 201

^ Stockings (2009), p. 369

^ a b Macksey 1971, p. 99

^ Stockings (2009), p. 84

^ Palyfair 1954, pp. 286-287

^ Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, p. 3265, 25 June 1946.

^ “On to Derna”. Time Magazine (3 February 1941). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765212,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 

^ Latimer, p. 64

^ Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, p. 3266, 25 June 1946.

^ Walker, p. 63

^ Latimer, p. 65.

^ Coulthard-Clark (2001), pp. 178-179

^ “Units: 2/11 battalion: Battle Honours: Derna”. Australians at War. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/units/place_1317.asp. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 

^ a b Playfair, p. 358

^ Macksey, p. 135

^ “Fall of Bengasi”. Time Magazine (17 February 1941). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,851005,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 

^ Macksey, p. 151

^ Macksey, p. 155

^ a b Wavell in London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37638, p. 3428, 3 July, 1946.

^ James J. Sadkovich, “Of Myths ad Men: Rommel and the Italians in North Africa”, The International History Review XIII, 199, p.293.

^ Bierman & Smith, p. 50

^ “Counterattack in Libya?”. Time Magazine (10 March 1941). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,790024,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 

^ “Wavell’s Thirty Thousand”. British Film Institute. http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/16284. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 

^ Bierman & Smith, p. 46

^ Regan, Geoffrey (2000). Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders. Washington D.C.: Brassey. ISBN 157488252X. , p. 165

References

Bierman, John; Smith, Colin (2002). The Battle of Alamein: Turning Point, World War II. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-67003-040-6. 

Bauer, Eddy; Young, Peter (general editor) (2000). The History of World War II (Revised ed.). London, UK: Orbis Publishing. ISBN 1-85605-552-3. 

Churchill, Winston (1949). Volume 2: Their Finest Hour. The Second World War (1st ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. 

Coulthard-Clark, Chris (2001). The Encyclopaedia of Australia’s Battles. Crow’s Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1865086347. 

Hunt, Sir David (1990). A Don at War. Frank Cass. ISBN 0-71463-383-6. 

Latimer, Jon (2000). Operation Compass 1940: Wavell’s Whirlwind Offensive. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-967-0. 

Long, Gavin (1952) (PDF). To Benghazi. Australia in the War of 1939-1945. Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/histories/second_world_war/volume.asp?levelID=67903. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 

Mackenzie, Compton (1951). Eastern Epic. Chatto & Windus, London. 

Macksey, Major Kenneth (1971). Beda Fomm: Classic Victory. Ballentine’s Illustrated History of the Violent Century, Battle Book Number 22. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345024346. 

Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill’s Lions: A biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. pp. 544 pages. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. 

Playfair, Major-General I.S.O.; with Stitt R.N., Commander G.M.S.; Molony, Brigadier C.J.C. & Toomer, Air Vice-Marshal S.E. (2004) [1st. pub. HMSO 1954]. Butler, J.R.M. ed. The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume I The Early Successes Against Italy (to May 1941). History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-84574-065-3. 

Sadkovich, James. J. (1991). “Of Myths and Men: Rommel and the Italians in North Africa”. The International History Review XIII: 284313. http://www.sfu.ca/ihr/index.htm. 

Walker, Ian W. (2003). Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts : Mussolini’s elite armoured divisions in North Africa. Marlborough: Crowood. ISBN 1-86126-646-4. 

Wavell, Archibald (13 June 1946). Operations in the Middle East from August, 1939 to November, 1940. Wavell’s Official Despatches.  published in the London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37609, pp. 29973006, 13 June 1946.

Wavell, Archibald (25 June 1946). Operations in the Middle East from 7th December, 1940 to 7th February, 1941. Wavell’s Official Despatches.  published in the London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37628, pp. 32613269, 25 June 1946.

Wavell, Archibald (3 July 1946). Operations in the Middle East from 7th February, 1941 to 15th July, 1941. Wavell’s Official Despatches.  published in the London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37638, pp. 34233444, 2 July 1946.

External links

Long (1961). To Benghazi, Chapters 6 12. Australia in the War of 1939 1945, Series One (Army) Volume I (Official History). Canberra: Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/histories/chapter.asp?volume=17. 

Paterson, Ian A.. “History of the British 7th Armoured Division: Beda Fomm”. http://www.btinternet.com/~ian.a.paterson/battles1941.htm#Beda. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 

Time Magazine – Battle of the Marmarica

A few memories of Corporal Nazzareno Ganino of the Sabratha Division

The Italian Army in Egypt during World War II

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Thursday, November 18th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Eiffel Tower, History of Eifel Tower, Timeline of Events of Eifel Tower in France Paris

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The tower stands 324 m (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world from its completion until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France after the 2004 Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The walk to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.

The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

History


Stages of construction of the Eiffel Tower

The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The co-architects of the Eiffel Tower were Emile Nouguier, Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre. The risk of accident was great as, unlike modern skyscrapers, the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. However, because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died. The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May.

The tower was much criticised by the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Newspapers of the day were filled with angry letters from the arts community of Paris. One is quoted extensively in William Watson’s US Government Printing Office publication of 1892 Paris Universal Exposition: Civil Engineering, Public Works, and Architecture: “And during twenty years we shall see, stretching over the entire city, still thrilling with the genius of so many centuries, we shall see stretching out like a black blot the odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates.”Signers of this letter included Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Charles Gounod, Charles Garnier, Jean-Léon Gérôme, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Alexandre Dumas.

Novelist Guy de Maupassant—who claimed to hate the  tower supposedly ate lunch in the Tower’s restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure. Today, the Tower is widely considered

 to be a striking piece of structural art.

One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the tower. In reality, since zoning restrictions limit the height of most buildings in Paris to 7 stories, only a very few of the taller buildings have a clear view of the tower.

Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; it was to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line during the First Battle of the Marne.

Timeline of events
10 September 1889Thomas Edison visited the tower. He signed the guestbook with the following message—

To M Eiffel the Engineer the brave builder of so gigantic and original specimen of modern Engineering from one who has the greatest respect and admiration for all Engineers including the Great Engineer the Bon Dieu, Thomas Edison.

1910Father Theodor Wulf measured radiant energy at the top and bottom of the tower, discovering at the top more than was expected, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.4 February 1912Austrian tailor Franz Reichelt died after jumping 60 metres from the first deck of Eiffel tower with his home-made parachute.1914a radio transmitter located in the tower jammed german radio communications during the lead-up to the First Battle of the Marne1925The con artist Victor Lustig “sold” the tower for scrap metal on two separate, but related occasions.1930The tower lost the title of the world’s tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City.1925 to 1934Illuminated signs for Citroën adorned three of the tower’s four sides, making it the tallest advertising space in the world at the time.1940-1944Upon the German occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. In 1940 German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and was replaced by a smaller one. When visiting Paris, Hitler chose to stay on the ground. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. The lifts of the Tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris.3 January 1956A fire damaged the top of the tower.1957The present radio antenna was added to the top.1980sA restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; it was purchased and reconstructed on St. Charles Avenue and Joesphine Street in Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana, by entrepreneurs John Onorio and Daniel Bonnot, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, later as the Red Room and now as the Cricket Club (owned by the New Orleans Culinary Institute). The restaurant was re-assembled from 11,000 pieces that crossed the Atlantic in a 40-foot (12 m) cargo container.31 March 1984Robert Moriarty flew a Beechcraft Bonanza through the arches of the tower1987A.J. Hackett made one of his first bungee jumps from the top of the Eiffel Tower, using a special cord he had helped develop. Hackett was arrested by the Paris police upon reaching the ground14 July 1995Bastille Day, French synthesiser musician Jean Michel Jarre performed Concert For Tolerance at the tower in aid of UNESCO. The free concert was attended by an estimated 1.5 million people, filling the Champ de Mars. The concert featured lighting and projection effects on the tower, and a huge fireworks display throughout. Three years later he returned to the same spot for a more dance music-oriented show, Electronic Night.New Year’s Eve 1999The Eiffel Tower played host to Paris’ Millennium Celebration. Fireworks were set off all over the tower. An exhibition above a cafeteria on the first floor commemorates this event.2000Flashing lights and four high-power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris’ night sky.2002The tower received its 200,000,000th guest22 July 2003At 19:20, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after 40 minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.2004The Eiffel Tower began hosting an ice skating rink on the first floor each winter.2008At the start of the French presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2008, the twelve golden stars of the European flag were mounted on the base, and whole tower bathed in blue light. In addition, every hour on the hour, 20,000 flash bulbs give the tower a sparkly appearance.2009An explosion happens at the tower.
Engraved names
Main article: The 72 names on the Eiffel Tower

Gustave Eiffel engraved on the tower seventy-two names of French scientists, engineers and other notable people. This engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century but restored in 1986–1987 by the Société Nouvelle d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Millennia Shift – Part Two – Timeline

Other than the analogy of the tidal waves mentioned in Part I, we can also use the analogies of a tug-o-war, a teeter-totter, and a pendulum with opposing energies tugging back and forth for dominance in the case of the tug-o-war; contrasting up and down motion, as in the case of the teeter-totter, or movement back and forth from one extreme to the other, as in the example of a pendulum.

A rotating world moving from day to night is also an excellent metaphor. Regardless of the analogy, the shifting of opposing forces is creating confliction, confusion, and intense levels of energy manifested in all aspects of life: physically, emotionally, sexually, financially, psychologically, domestically.

In the following chart, consider for a moment the havoc and ramifications generated with a total shift from those qualities in the One (1) column on the left to those in the Two (2) column on the right. It reflects a complete bouleversement, a total reversal of attributes, conditions, characteristics and energies.

To clarify, think of living in a house of all males for a thousand years – and all that male energy is and represents – and then suddenly finding yourself living in a house of all females and all that female energy is and represents. We can also think of living on a desert governed by dryness for a thousand years and then being instantly uprooted and thrown into a rain forest saturated with water and moisture, or moving from a thousand years of daylight to a thousand years of night.


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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Get Condensed Information From a German History Timeline

“A German history timeline will give you facts about important events that have taken place in Germany since it was first settled in prehistoric times. The timeline is divided into sections, with each section taking in anywhere from 100 to 800 years. You will find the most concise details about the history of the country in the most recent centuries, which is why there is such a difference in the segments of the time line. From this information you will learn that Germanic tribes appeared in Germany during the Nordic Bronze Age between 1000 B.C. and 500 B.C. Julius Caesar invaded this area in 57 B.C., which is the period of the Gallic Wars. By 8 B.C., the various tribes had formed a Confederation.

There were many battled fought during the course of German history and you can learn the names of these battled by consulting a timeline. These include:

- The Battle of the Teutoberg Forest in 9 A.D.

- The Battle of the Wesier River in 16 A.D.

- The Batavian Rebellion in 69 A.D

- The Battle of Tolbiac in 496 A.D.

The consecration of Popes plays an important role in the history timeline of this country as well. Pope Boniface was consecrated in 530 A.D. but during the Crusades from the 11th to the 13th centuries, the number of Popes coming from Germany really increased especially in the 11 the century. There were five German popes in this century alone. From looking at a timeline, you will also learn about the rules of Germany, such as Frederick 1 Barbarossa in 1152 and Rudolph 1 in 1273. The years between 1000 and 1500 were turbulent times for Germany as you will see from the treaties signed during this period. The 16th century gave rise to Martin Luther and his 95 Theses, which essentially cause a great deal of turmoil for the Roman Catholic Church, not only in Germany, but in other parts of Europe.

During the early part of the 17th century, Germany was engaged in the Thirty Years War and in the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War in the 18th century. Learn when Johann Sebastian Bach was born, as well as Mozart, Beethoven and other famous artists and composers simply by looking at a timeline.

On a timeline of German history, the 19th century deserves a section of its own because of the many events that took place during these years. It is not just events of historical importance that you will find in this type of document, but anything that has a bearing on the history of the country. For example, you will find that The Brothers Grimm published their first collection of fairy tales in 1812 and that the first gasoline automobiles were invented by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in 1885.

Throughout the 20th century, Germany was involved in two World Wars and suffered devastation as a result of both of them. The German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany were created in 1949 and the Berlin Wall was built to separate them in 1961. This wall fell in 1989 and Berlin was named the capital of a new united Germany.

For a more detailed German history timeline as well as information on German states, the Hamburg fish market and related visit http://www.Smart-Travel-Germany.com


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Thursday, November 11th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

National Museum Of The Pacific War

Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, the city of Fredericksburg, TX houses the newly re-opened National Museum of the Pacific War. Originally a hotel and saloon operated by the Nimitz family, it is a Texas State Historic Site as well as a National Museum and is comprised of the Admiral Nimitz Museum, the George H.W. Bush Gallery, the Pacific Combat Zone and more features and exhibits.

On December 7, 2009, the George H.W. Bush Gallery was re-opened after a multi-million dollar remodeling project. It was completely redesigned to provide an interactive experience in reliving the war in the Pacific. Comprising many current technologies, the exhibits provide not only a traditional museum experience, but is enhanced with multimedia videos and kiosks where patrons can interact and experience portions of what life was like during World War II.

Stepping into the museum exhibit path is like stepping back in time. The initial room surrounds you with a panoramic multimedia wall and presentation taking you back to the great depression and examining what happened building up to the world war, setting the tone for the rest of the museum and starting you on the path of the museum timeline. As you proceed, the exhibits immerse you in the lives and cultures not only of Americans, but from all nationalities involved in the Pacific War. The museum does an excellent job of taking an impartial stand in presenting the experience of the war, presenting all sides as the war happened, examining the struggles and strife individuals endured.

Though the museum is housed on only 33,000 sq ft, the George Bush Gallery alone consists of 36 separate sections and houses many restored full size aircraft including a B-25 Mitchell bomber, several Japanese and American fighters, an Admirals Barge, multiple tanks and other land vehicles and artillery, and one of the five Japanese Midget Submarines that were used in the attack on Pearl Harbor, all inside the museum! Adjacent to the main museum complex is the Pacific Combat Zone which is both an indoor and outdoor experience designed to show visitors what it looked like in the Pacific, highlighted by an aircraft, armored vehicles/tanks, and a PT boat exhibit.

Visiting National Museum of the Pacific War is a rich and rewarding experience that will give anyone a better appreciation for the war. For veterans, it is a chance to find peace and remember where they were when the different event happened. Seeing many of them walking through quietly reliving their own personal wars, pointing out things they recognized and events they experienced was very touching. Getting to talk with them and hear their stories helps make the museum come to life and brings home the reality that this war affected so many across the globe on an individual level. Visiting the museum is something that students, families, and veterans alike can learn from, appreciate the war’s trials, reflect on the past, and for many come to peace.

If you are interested in seeing a little more of what the museum has to offer, we have a little WWII museum virtual tour, but be sure to visit in person as the photos do not do any justice to the full experience the museum provides!

Special thanks go out to the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau (888) 997.3600, the Hangar Hotel and Airport Diner, and Geiger & Associates for making this possible.

About the author: Steven Terjeson is a World War II researcher and historian working to preserve history and educate future generations. A student of Military History working to author and collect as much data as possible on the WWII time period. See more articles and World War II history at WWarII.com.


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Thursday, November 11th, 2010 World War 2 Timeline No Comments

Get The World at War Here