Interesting Facts and Stories

Louis

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73 years ago, on Oct 14, 1944, german Field Marshal E. Rommel, suspected of complicity in the July 20th plot against Hitler, is visited at home by two of Hitler's staff and given the choice of public trial or suicide by poison. He chooses suicide and it is announced that he died of wounds.
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Louis

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The aircraftcarrier USS Forrestal (CV-59) was also informally known in the fleet as the "USS Zippo" and "Forest Fire" or "Firestal" because of a number of highly publicized fires on board, most notably a 1967 incident in which 134 sailors died and an additional 161 were injured.

On the morning of July 29, at around 10:50 that morning, an unguided Zuni rocket accidently fired. It exploded into a few fully armed planes, creating a massive fire. The fire was fueled by a ruptured 400-gallon fuel tank and exploding bombs.



Was decommissioned in 1993.
 

Louis

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100 years ago, on march 21, 1918, the Operation 'Michael' begins. Near the Somme River in France, the German army launches its first major offensive on the Western Front With the first of the Spring offensives, German forces achieve unprecedented gains measured in miles.

German troops during the "Operation Michael" / March 21st, 1918
 

Louis

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Schaffhausen, Switzerland, was accidentally bombed by the USAF in April 1944.

Happened when the USAF bombed this city near the German border on 1 April 1944, killing dozens of civilians and damaging a large part of the city. An in-depth investigation eventually showed that the winds from France had doubled the ground speed of the US bombers, causing them to mistake Schaffhausen for the real target at Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. President Roosevelt sent a personal apology letter to the mayor and the United States quickly offered four million dollars in reparations.
 

steve

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I have just spent half an hour watching a fascinating documentary, originally released in 1960 by the BBC and narrated by Richard Burton.


Borrowed Pasture - BBC I Player.


Richard Burton narrates this stunning film of two Polish soldiers struggling to make a living from a derelict farm in Carmarthenshire.
Eugenius Okolowicz and Vlodek Bulaj, soldiers exiled after serving in the Second World War, sought shelter in Wales. They came upon a desolate hillside farm which had lain unoccupied and decaying for 20 years. Neither of the Poles had farmed before, but the land was cheap because it was unwanted. This film tells the story of the men's 12th year living at Penygaer. But it is more the tragic story of the price they have paid for poor independence and of their unending struggle, in loneliness and hardship, to be themselves.

If you can access this programme I highly recommend watching this very poignant look at life for two men who deserved better luck.

Steve
 

steve

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.................
A Russian warship that sank 113 years ago has been found off the coast of a South Korean island, salvagers say.
The Shinil Group say they found the Dimitrii Donskoi off the coast of Ulleungdo island, east of South Korea.
Companies have claimed in the past to have found the wreck, amid historic rumours of treasure on board.
The cruiser was scuttled by her crew in 1905 after Japan's victory in the Battle of Tsushima - a key moment of the Russo-Japanese War.
Setting sail in 1885, the armoured cruiser served in the Mediterranean and the Baltic before heading to the Pacific.
While not badly damaged in the battle itself, the ship fell behind the fleet and was attacked by the Japanese. Her crew scuttled the Donskoi off Ulleungdo.


Rumours persist that the Donskoi was carrying the gold for Russia's Pacific Fleet, used to pay crew salaries and docking fees - gold which would be worth billions of dollars if found today.
But no proof exists that the ship carried gold, with academics raising doubts that a warship would carry such valuable cargo.
Kirill Kolesnichenko, a professor of social sciences at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, told Russian news site RIA Novosti that keeping all your money on one ship would be too dangerous. He asked why Russia would send gold by ship when it could move it by train to Vladivostok without any risk.
Nevertheless, several Japanese and South Korean companies have made efforts to find the ship in the last century.
Don-A Construction was declared bankrupt by a Seoul District Court in 2001 after claiming to have found the wreck, but failing to lift it from the depths.
Now, Shinil Group say they have finally found the Donskoi, and have posted photos online and footage on YouTube of their team's alleged discovery.


However, doubts have been raised about the company.
South Korean news website Chosun Biz reported that Shinil Group was only founded in June, even though it says it is the successor company to Shinil Corporation, formed in 1957.
Moreover, the company was reportedly only formed with about 100 million Korean won (£67,689).
The company still has not applied for salvage rights to South Korea's Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, BBC Korean says, and were it to do so it would need to pay 10% of the estimated value of the wreck - which, if rumours are true, would be far more than the company is worth.
Shinil Group told BBC Korean that they would hold a press conference soonto explain all doubts, and that salvage will take "about three months".
 

Louis

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The T13 Beano Grenade was that a spherical grenade the size and weight of а common baseball. Was designed to be thrown as a traditional baseball and that would be effective in the hands of American troops.

Yep, the designers believed that by emulating a baseball, any American young man should be able to properly throw the grenade with both accuracy and distance.
 
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