Interesting Facts and Stories

Gunner

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I think Nescafe was popular in Europe when I was over there, I kept hearing people ordering it and thought it was something gourmet European kind of thing.
Then I found out it was just instant coffee.
Not really my cup of tea as it were.
;)
 

fabishd

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@mTk You are correct. Anything hot that has a jolt when you are wet, cold and tired is a blessing, especially if you can make it yourself. Sometimes just putting a pinch between your cheek and gum can do the job also. It is just not hot to take the edge off being cold and wet.
 

Louis

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Milunka Savić (born 1892), was a Serbian soldier, and she is thought to be the most decorated female combatant in the history of warfare. In addition to her native Serbia, this heroine received medals from France, Russia, and Britain for her bravery in WW1.

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Heroine who fought in the Balkan Wars and in WW1, was the sole female recipient of the French Croix de Guerre, as well as being awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the same nation. Britain bestowed upon her the Medal of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael, Russia went with the Cross of St. George, and from Serbia came the Miloš Obilić medal. She died on 1973.
 
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Louis

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On Sept. 11, 1942, the U-boat 203 commander, Rolf Mützelburg, taking the opportunity to go swimming in the Atlantic southwest of the Azores, he dived from the conning tower and struck the deck with his head and shoulder when the U-boat lurched suddenly in the swell. A medic aboard the U-462, arrived the next day, but too late, the commander was dead. Mützelburg was buried at sea on 12 Sept 1942.

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Louis

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Nobuo Fujita, the Japanese pilot who flew bombing runs over Oregon in 1942, apparently the only time that an enemy aircraft has ever bombed the American mainland.

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Using incendiary bombs, his mission was to start massive forest fires in the Pacific Northwest near the city of Brookings, Oregon with the objective of drawing the U.S. military's resources away from the Pacific Theater.

Fujita managed to survive the end of the war and he was invited to Brookings in 1962. He visited the town with his family's 400-year-old samurai sword with the intent of presenting it to the town as an apology for the attack. The town welcomed him with open arms (local churches and businesses raised the money for his visit in 1962). He later paid for several Brookings students' trips to Japan, as well as donating money to the town's library for children's books on Japan. He visited the town three more times in his later life and planted trees at the bombing site. His family's sword was displayed in the Brookings' city hall and is currently displayed in their library. He was made an honorary citizen of the town shortly before his death in 1997, and some of his ashes were buried at the bombing site.

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Louis

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Betty Lou Oliver (1925/1999) was the elevator operator for the Empire State Building in the 1940’s. She was working on the 80th floor on July 28, 1945. What Betty did not know was that a man named Colonel Smith was flying through heavy fog over New York in a B-25 and was heading straight for the building. The plane would crash into the 78/80th floor of the building. Betty was thrown from her post and badly burned in the accident though she survived while 14 others did not.

When rescuers got to her they decided to lower her via the elevators. What the rescuers did not know is that the cables had already been weakened to the breaking point. Once the elevator doors closed, the cables snapped and she plummeted 79 stories. Betty survived but again had to be rescued. She was later treated at the hospital for serious injuries. So she was entered the as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall.

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Gunner

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Great post Louis.
I knew about the B-25 but you never hear the stories of the people around the incident or at least I haven't.that were effected.

This post piqued my interest so I did further research.....

On July 28, 1945, an airplane crashed into the Empire State Building. A B-25 bomber was flying a routine mission, chartering servicemen from Massachusetts to New York City.

Capt. William F. Smith, who had led some of the most dangerous missions in World War II in the European theatre, was the pilot. The day was foggy. Smith called LaGuardia Airport and requested a clearance to land. With nearly zero visibility, the tower suggested that Smith stay in the air. He ignored air traffic control and started a descent that took him over midtown Manhattan.
Just as he straightened out, the clouds broke up enough for him to realize he was flying among skyscrapers.
The bomber crashed into the Empire State Building, the tallest building in the world at the time. The collision killed Smith, two others on the plane, and eleven people who worked inside the building.

When the plane hit, parts of the engine flew ahead and severed the lifting cables of two elevators on the 79th floor. The elevators crashed to the sub-basement. In one of the elevators was a 19-year-old elevator operator named Betty Lou Oliver. She broke her pelvis, back and neck — but she survived.
It was a fluke of physics that saved Oliver’s life. As the elevator plummeted from the 79th floor, the elevator cables coiled underneath the cab that created a kind of spring that cushioned the fall.


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Louis

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In 1981, the Swiss Guard protected John Paul II during an assassination attempt at the Square of St. Peter. The guardsman who rushed to the aid of the pope (Alois Estermann) became a hero and was later named commandant in 1998. Sadly, mere hours following the promotion, he and his wife were shot and killed by a lower-ranking guard, who committed suicide. These three were the first murders that happened inside the walls of Vatican City since the middle of the 19th century.
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Louis

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A Frenchman named Adolphe Pégoud made history as the first ace pilot, taking down six German planes, before he himself (ironically) was shot down in 1915 by one of his pre-war German students, Unteroffizier Otto Kandulski, while intercepting a German reconnaissance aircraft. He was 26 years old.

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The same German crew later dropped a funeral wreath behind the French lines. Two weeks later Kandulski was shot down by the French pilot Roger Ronserail earning Roger the title "Le Vengeur de Pegoud".
 

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120 years ago, April 21, 1918, German fighter ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen "The Red Baron", shot down and killed over Vaux sur Somme in France, Canadian pilot Arthur Roy Brown credited with the kill.

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"The myths and mystique associated with Manfred von Richthofen and his death resulted in immediate and continuing fascination by the press and other media. Captain Arthur Brown received a bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross but not the Victoria Cross, earlier allegedly promised by Britain for the man who killed The Red Baron. In spite of many claimants no Australian soldier received any decoration for causing von Richthofen’s end. The best scenario for the death of von Richthofen gives credit to Sergeant Cedric Popkin of the 24th Machine Gun Company of the First Australian Imperial Force who fired his Vickers machine gun at the red Fokker DR1 triplane as it banked to the left and fled to avoid fire from Lewis guns manned by Robert Buie and Snowy Evans. It can be assumed that the flying skills of The Red Baron were quite intact on 21 April for he had downed two enemy planes just the day before.

That Baron von Richthofen was almost surely brought to his death barely above these trenches by a plucky Australian machine gunner remains a great irony of The Great War."


By Professor Frederick Holmes, University of Kansas School of Medicine
 

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In Dec 1944, Lt. Hajime Fujii (born on Aug 30, 1915) applied for a kamikaze pilot in the Imperial Army of Japan. He was rejected for being the father of two children.

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On Dec 14, 1944, his wife Fumiko left the house with her two young daughters, went to the Arakawa River near the Kumagaya Aviation School, and jumped into the ice water with her daughters to allow her husband to fulfill his mission.

Later, Fujii found Fukuko's last letter, which included the following words: "Since he would probably be concerned about us and could not freely perform his duties because we are here, we advance before you and wait for him. Please fight without reservation "

Five months later (may 28, 1945), Fujii ended his life by crashing on USS Drexler near Okinawa.
 

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Additional to the above:


On February 8, 1945, Fujii became the commander of the 45th Shinbu Squadron – which he named Kaishin (cheerful spirit). Just before dawn on May 28, the nine planes headed to Okinawa, each carrying a pilot and gunner. To their delight, they came upon the USS Drexler and USS Lowry.

Two slammed into the Drexler, sinking her within minutes and taking out 158 of its crew. Fuji was in one of them. He was reunited with his family.

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Drexler departed Ulithi 27 March 1945 bound for Okinawa and dangerous duty on a radar picket station. On 28 May at 07:00, two kamikazes attacked Drexler and Lowry. The first was downed by the combined fire of the two destroyers and planes from the combat air patrol. The second tried to crash onto Lowry but missed, hitting Drexler instead and cutting off all power and starting large gasoline fires. Despite the heavy damage, she kept firing, aiding in shooting down two planes which attacked immediately after the crash. At 07:03 she was hit by another aircraft, a twin-engined "Frances" P1Y1 bomber, and the "impact rolled her on to her beam ends, causing her to sink in less than 50 seconds"[2] at 27°6′N 127°38′ECoordinates:
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27°6′N 127°38′E. Because of the speed with which she sank, casualties were heavy: 158 dead and 52 wounded. The captain was one of the wounded. Few of the survivors are still alive. They honor their comrades every year at the annual Drexler Survivors reunion.
 

Louis

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Count Francesco Baracca (9 May 1888 - 19 June 1918) was Italy's top fighter ace of World War I. He was credited with 34 aerial victories.
After the war, in 1923 the mother of Francesco Baracca offered Enzo Ferrari to use the emblem of the rampant horse in his team. It is not clear if Ferrari changed the color to black in mourning for the Italian pilots killed in the war (assuming it was red), although it is clear that it changed the direction in which the tail points, and also that it added the background yellow in tribute to his hometown, Modena.
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Concord

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Interesting story @Louis, I'm going to keep my eye on this thread.

I did a quick search on the internet, and Italy was part of the Allied forces in WW1, which I didn't know.

Baracca was apparently shot down by ground fire (a surprising number of pilots and aces were) in 1918.
He crash landed his burning plane and was found with a gunshot wound to his forehead and his pistol nearby, causing speculation that he killed himself.

The plane in the background appears to be a SPAD S.XIII, a late war French fighter with twin machine guns (early war biplanes only had one MG).


P.S. No parachutes for the pilots in those days! :oops:
 
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