Monday, November 22, 2010

HMS Audacious, The Titanic's sister ship, and the first (and most embarrassing) British naval disaster of the First World War

On the 27 of October, 1914, the Battleship HMS Audacious struck a mine while on gunnery exercises. The King George V class battleship soon started to settle by the stern. Her captain thought that if towed, the ship could be beached. The problem with this was that there were no ships big enough to do so, as they had retired for fear of submarine attack! when a suitable ship finally arrived ( White Star's Olympic, sister ship of Titanic ), it was too late. when Olympic tried to take the battleship in tow, the cable broke, and soon the Audacious was abandoned, her full compliment being taken on board the Olympic. Although no lives were lost, the sinking was very embarrassing, and the admiralty tried to keep it a secret in spite of the American passengers of Olympic who had seen it happen! Even though everyone knew about the accident, the admiralty kept her on the Navy rolls for the remainder of the war.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Combat Flight Simulator 3

CFS3, by Microsoft gaming studios, is one of my favorite games. You can play as Britain, USA or Germans. In Campaign mode, you start out in early 1943,with the allies on the verge of invasion. As a British or American player, your goal is to invade the continent and go on to Berlin. But watch out, if you fail to complete too many of your goals, the Germans might invade Britain! As a German player, you will try to do just that, London being the goal this time around. One of the more annoying aspects is the glitches. Sometimes, the goals will take a long time to appear, and other times, they don't even show up at all! This is a fun and exiting game, and although it can sometimes be tricky, things like the front line make this one of my all time favorites. If you are a lover of easy to figure out games like the Mario series, this game is not necessarily for you. But if you like flight simulators, or are simply a history buff, you might just like it.


Weegie will eat your Soul!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mitchell's challenge

In the 1920s, the United States had no air force. Its airplanes flew with the army. But there was one man who wanted to change all that. Billy Michell, an Army Air Corps officer wanted to prove once and for all that warplanes could be a superlative force independent of army and navy. He proposed using his airplanes to bomb some old Pre-Dreadnought target ships. The navy said yes, and Michell's bombers got to work. Their success was astounding, considering that they were somewhat awkward biplanes. The navy now gave Michell another, better target. The Kaiserlichmarine dreadnought Ostfriesland had been ceded to the US after WW1, during which she had participated in the Battle of Jutland. Michell pounded and pounded the ship, but still refused to sink(if a US or British dreadnought had been used, it would not have taken so long, for the Germans had some of the best-protected battleships anywhere because they designed their ships to stay afloat, not to have great speed or firepower) Michell went all out and ordered a continuous bombing of the Ostfriesland and eventually, she wnt down. These tests did not prove much in the way of actual combat, but they made a big impression on the higher-ups, and although we would not get a separate air force until after WW2, they made a step forward to accomplishing that goal, and moreover to abolish the Battleship's last speck of super-weapon dreams. But the worst was yet to come. That would have to wait about 20 more years and half a world away.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the battle for France

It was May 10, 1940. The BEF and the French armies were engaging the Germans in the low countries, and Hitler's trap was about to roll across the Meuse. That day, the Luftwaffe attacked Sedan on the Meuse river, coinciding with a Wehrmacht attack against the same city. The French were soon pushed back further and further until the Germans reached the sea. They soon gained air superiority, with which they could not lose. The BEF and the French soon evacuated all the troops they could from Dunkirk, even though many troops had to be left behind. After this, the Germans struck south, gaining Paris and shoving through southern France until that country surrendered in June.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nintendo 64

I got an N64! It is a gaming system from 1996, sort of a "middle ground" between being new and retro. Thus, N64s are some of the cheapest consoles on the market. Behind the skin of cheapness, the Nintendo 64(to use its full name) is a great system and has an equally good library of games. The Wii Virtual Console does not carry very many games for it. Ocarina of Time, for example has put the word "ocarina" into common speak.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Washington coup

In 1921, the world was locked in a naval arms race that posed an even bigger threat than that of 1914. Germany had been destroyed by world war one, and Britain had been nearly bankrupted. And yet she was sucked into an even greater arms race than before. On one side was the burgeoning power of the United States, and on the other was the then-allied nations of Britain and Japan, whose alliance was vital for both countries. Then, that year, the proposed winner of the race, America, formulated a treaty to limit naval arms! This was a carefully concocted document that would leave the U.S. as the world's leading naval power. The aim of this was to break Britain's alliance, causing civil turmoil in Japan and causing Britain to lose her eastern ally. These goals were achieved by the 5-5-3 ratio, in the order Britain ,US, Japan. Britain, although allotted an equal fleet to the US, had a much larger empire, so her fleet was mitigated. Japan had much less land than the USA, so the US gave Japan a smaller fleet. The Americans, however only had land on one continent, and the only major threat to her integrity was in the far east, so we were able to concentrate our forces on Japan.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Penny Packets and Blitzkriegs

In 1940, the world was given a shock. France, before thought to be the greatest power in Europe, lay broken before the German army. Her armies cut off or evacuated, she had no choice but to surrender. How was France, powerful France, brought down in only a few short months? Our answer lies in the dark days of the previous decade. Back in the early thirties, things were changing. Armor and airplanes had changed everything, and many armies, including that of the French, misinterpreted them. But ironically, it was a French strategist who finally got the equation right. He advocated mass use of armor and airplanes, working together with infantry to form spearheads for the complete destruction of the enemy. In France, the ideas were labeled as being unethical and a breach of chivalry, but in Germany, the ideas were hailed as the new form of war. Blitzkrieg, as it was called, was capitalized by General Guderian's book "Achtung Panzer!", and the rest of the Nazis picked it up from there. In contrast to Blitzkriegs, the French used a soon to be outdated concept called "Penny Packets", which advocated the use of small pockets of tanks to support infantry. Penny packets, as it turned out, were the death of the French armies, as was the use of a "swinging door" strategy that relied on one hinge: The "impenetrable Ardennes". Soon, the world would by shown just how penetrable they really were. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Scapa Flow and the end of Germany's fleet

On Nov. 11, the Germans had to hand over their surface fleet to the Allies. The once-proud fleet was in a state of great disarray. Shattered by mutiny, and left in disrepair, the fleet had sat in port since Jutland. The fleets reached scapa flow for internment soon after they met. But a German admiral was left in charge of the fleet, a grave mistake for the allies. In spring, 1919, the British fleet was away on exercises. People looking at them must have seen a change come over the German fleet. They may have noticed some of the ships sinking gradually into the water. Whatever the case, a loudspeaker probably confirmed that the germans were sinking their own fleet. By the time the British arrived, it was too late. Grossadmiral Tirpitz said that Germans did not understand the sea, and to brace themselves for the darkness of the future, whatever it may have been. The darkness of the future would, in only 20 years, come crashing down on Germany and the battleship.