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Interesting Facts and Stories

ChuckDyke

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The Fiat revenge...

On June 27, 1991, T-55 tanks from the Yugoslav People’s Army rolled through Osijek, Croatia, a city that would later suffer heavy damage from the independence war, in a forceful demonstration of power. But the army’s efforts failed to instill fear in all of the people.

A citizen decided to protest the incoming forces. He parked his red Fiat (also called a Fićo) on the street in front of the approaching tanks, blocking the road as an act of defiance. The man calmly exited the Fiat seconds before the tank leading the horde of military vehicles rammed into the car and dragged it along the street before crushing it.

Twenty years later, a monument was unveiled to commemorate the act. A red Fiat can be seen climbing a T-55 tank, to symbolise the fearless unbreakable spirit of Croatian people in their struggle for freedom in the war for independence. The monument was called The Red Fićo (Fiat).

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Fiat Model TD.
 

Gunner

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I looked further in to Fr Browne’s story.
I was interested in seeing the pictures he took of the Titanic.

I found this site:
https://coastmonkey.ie/titanic-photos-fr-browne/

"During the trip, he made the acquaintance of an American couple who enjoyed his company. They offered to pay Fr. Browne continued passage on the ship to New York and back if he were to spend it with them. Fr Brown contacted his superior requesting the temporary leave and the response he received was curt and unequivocal: “GET OFF THAT SHIP”. He did depart, history unfolded and Fr Brown would keep that telegram in his wallet for the rest of his life telling people “it was the only time holy obedience ever saved a man’s life”."

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His life has quite a story to it.
To hear some of his own words (voiced by an actor) in a 5 minute film:

 

Concord

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What a magnificent ship and photographs.
And what a catastrophic fck-up. All those people.
Not a nice way to die I imagine, drowning in insanely cold water. I guess they wouldn't have suffered very long though.
 

Louis

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Harry Hudec (1922/2007) of the 82nd Airborne jumped into Normandy at about 01:30 hrs on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

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On June 15th, during fighting on Hill 30, Hudec was wounded in the leg and sought refuge at a farm. His owners hid him in their stable and cared for him for four days until the farmer warned him that "the Bosch are coming". Hudec hobbled down the road and was fortunate to meet up with other Americans who then had him evacuated.

He jumped again in Holland on Sept 17 and survived the fierce fighting in the Ardennes.

After the war Harry remained friends with the farmer and family over the years and visited the farm on June 6, 2004 during the D-Day Plus 60 observation.

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Harry (center) with the old farmers and family. An arrow marks the doorway where Harry was hidden out after being wounded in Picauville, France.
 

ChuckDyke

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I always liked the .45 ACP lost count of how many I hand loaded. Here we see the Thompson wonder, or it had different specifications than the .45 ACP for handguns.
 

Louis

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The US pilot Howard Clayton Knotts (born on 1895 in Illinois) by 1918 had already destroyed six enemy aircraft and, therefore, had been credited as 'ace', when he was, in turn, shot down and taken prisoner on Oct 14, 1918. Even so, he managed to expand his record and add another seven destroyed enemy planes, unique in the annals of world aviation.

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Knotts received training from the Royal Flying Corps in Toronto, Ontario and was then sent to Fort Worth, Texas on 5 November 1917. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 4 Feb 1918, he was assigned to the 182nd Aero Squadron and sent to France on 2 May 1918. He was reassigned to the 17th Aero Squadron, attached to the 13th Wing of the RAF, on 14 Aug 1918. With this squadron he was wounded in action a week later on 21 Aug 1918. Knotts then shot down six enemy aircraft in less than a month flying the Sopwith Camel. Each of his opponents flew the Fokker D.VII.

On 14 Oct 1918, Knotts was shot down by ground fire during an attempt to strafe a machine gun nest. Wounded in the right foot, he landed safely behind German lines and shot it out with five enemy soldiers before being captured. Enroute to a German prison camp at Mons, he set fire to a supply train, effectively destroying several Fokkers destined for the front. Four days after his arrival at Mons, Knotts escaped from the camp but was recaptured a few hours later. He was later transferred to a prison camp at Soignies for the duration of the war. After the war he married on 1921. Knotts later became general counsel for the American Aeronautical Association. He died of a heart attack at the age of 47.

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Amelia Earhart and Howard Knotts, during the rededication of the Springfield, Illinois Commercial Airport, Oct 21, 1934.
 

Louis

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Saturn, the alligator that survived Berlin WWII bombing.
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An alligator believed to have belonged to Adolf Hitler and that died aged 84 (May 2020) has been taxidermied and put on display in Moscow.
Born in the USA in 1936, Saturn was moved to the Berlin zoo where he escaped on November 23, 1943, after a bombing raid that killed several of his fellow reptiles. In 1946, he was found by British soldiers who handed him over to the Soviet authorities. His whereabouts during the intervening three years are "a mystery", the Moscow Zoo said when Saturn died on May 24, 2020.

When Saturn was brought to Moscow in July 1946, rumours began circulating that he had been part of Adolf Hitler's personal collection, the zoo said. Anyway since July 1946 the alligator has been a hit with visitors in Moscow.
 

Louis

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One of the many stories at Pearl Harbor...

The then Capt. Cassin Young (born on March 6, 1894) commanded the USS Vestal repair ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. Young was in his cabin of him in the Vestal when the attack was launched. He ran to the deck, where he organized sailors to fire the ships' three-inch guns at the Japanese planes overheard.

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But Young was blown overboard, along with 100 other sailors, when the forward magazine of the famed USS Arizona battleship, which was next to the Vestal, was hit and exploded.

The Vestal's second in command ordered the remaining sailors to abandon ship, but Young swam through the oil slick water and climbed back aboard. "Where the hell do you men think you are going?" Young yelled at the sailors abandoning ship, shouting at them to go to their stations and get the ship underway.

The Vestal eventually made it out into open waters. Damaged and on fire, she ran aground. Young later received the Medal of Honor for his actions from him, and was promoted to captain of the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA-38).

Precisely aboard the USS San Francisco during the Guadalcanal Campaign, on Nov 13, 1942, he guided his ship in action with a superior Japanese force and was killed by enemy shells while closely engaging the battleship Hiei. Cap Young was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions during the campaign and San Francisco received the Presidential Unit Citation.

In his honor, a destroyer was named the USS Cassin Young.
 

Gunner

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USS San Francisco (CA-38), a New Orleans-class cruiser, was the second ship of three of the United States Navy named after the city of San Francisco, California. Commissioned in 1934, she was one of the most decorated ships of World War II, earning 17 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Like most of her sister ships, she saw extensive action during the Guadalcanal campaign, including the Battle of Cape Esperance and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, during which she was heavily damaged and her captain and admiral killed.

Decommissioned immediately after the end of the war, she was sold for scrap in 1959.

Her bridge wings, damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal and removed during repairs, are now mounted on a promontory in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. They are set on the great circle course from San Francisco to Guadalcanal.

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Bridge Wings at the at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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USS Cassin Young

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Louis

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Ensign George Gay Jr. (1917/1994), right, was the sole survivor of his torpedo bomber squadron that made the initial attack on Japanese aircraft carriers. in the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942. In the pic in front of his Devastator aircraft with his rear gunner, ARM3c George Arthur Field, while USS Hornet was in the Coral Sea, c. May 1942.

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After his plane was shot down by Japanese fighters and he crashed in the water, Gay hid under his floating seat cushion to avoid Japanese strafing attacks.

He later remarked, "It's pretty hard to dig a foxhole in the water. They came by looking at me a number of times, but I kept real quiet and they just didn't know I was there."

Gay had a front-row seat on the destruction to follow with subsequent American aerial attacks. "I sat there and watched those things burning and blowing up all day and all night, and I saw those three carriers sink," he said.

Rescued after spending 30 hours in the water, Gay was well aware of just how lucky he'd been. Five other American fliers had been fished out of the ocean by the Japanese, according to Gay. They were interrogated, beaten and then tied up and thrown overboard.

He was awarded the Navy Cross, Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Citation for his actions in combat at Midway and was later awarded an Air Medal.
 
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