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haphazard_history haphazard_history

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Historians Union  Please join me in exploring one of my great passions - history! Posts focus around WWII & aviation, but I'll post anything I find interesting. Thanks!

SEPTEMBER 15th, 1940 - “BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY:” RAF Fighter Command is claiming victory over the Luftwaffe after a day of heavy bombing raids ended in big losses for the enemy. According to the RAF, 176 enemy aircraft were destroyed by fighter planes. At least another nine aircraft were hit by anti-aircraft guns. British casualties were much lighter - only 25 aircraft lost with 13 pilots killed or missing. The Air Ministry says the German losses are the highest since 18 August, five days after the Battle of Britain began in earnest.

Two days later it became clear Hitler had indefinitely postponed Operation Sealion - his plan to invade Britain. British intelligence decoded a message from the German General staff to the officer responsible for loading the transport aircraft earmarked for the invasion ordered him to cease the operation. Without this equipment there could be no invasion.

Air raids continued over London and the south east of England into October and the German bombers inflicted considerable damage and casualties.
But they were also losing planes faster than they could repair or replace them and switched to night-time raids.

As summer gave way to autumn and worsening weather conditions, the Germans realised the RAF could not be beaten in 1940 and as Germany was preparing to attack Russia, Operation Sealion was cancelled.

The actual number of planes lost is far lower than the RAF and Luftwaffe claimed at the time. In fact only 60 German aircraft were shot down on 15 September. In total the RAF claimed to have shot down 2,698 German planes. The actual figure was more like 1,294. The RAF lost 788 planes - far fewer than the 3,058 the Luftwaffe claimed (news.bbc.co.uk)
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The above picture was taken in RAF Fighter Command last year. I had the opportunity to visit the bunker during my trip to Great Britain. The cool thing about the room is that it is set up to look exactly as it did on September 15th, 1940, down to the calendar on the wall and the airfields that were activated that day. If you have the opportunity to go there, I highly recommend you do!
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This post is part of a Battle of Britain timeline series! #haphazardhistory

SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001 - GROUND ZERO, DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN: As a native New Yorker, I felt it necessary to write a brief, albeit late, message about the terrorist attacks of September 11th. To say that the events of that day were a tragedy is an understatement. With no recollection of remembrance of anything other than a dusty construction sight and now the 9/11 Memorial, it is hard for me to fathom that two of the largest buildings in the world once stood in what is now a hole in the skyline. 2,977 innocent lives were taken that day, and since then, hundreds more have perished due to the toxic dust and smoke that they breathed in as they ran toward what others ran from. The picture above is representative of the struggle our first responders faced. In the above picture, the firefighters were standing eighteen feet above the rubble. The two tallest buildings in New York reduced to just eighteen feet. And under that was fire and smoke, and only a handful of survivors.
This picture shows a special significance to me. First, I see the resiliency of America in a very shocking and mournful time. Just like with Pearl Harbor, the "sleeping giant" was awoken. The other significance to this image, on a personal note, is that after seeing this image as a small boy I finally realized what had really happened in Manhattan on that day. In the fall of 2001 or winter of 2002, I went to the grocery store with my mother. The clerk was wearing a button, and on it was the image above. I asked her if I could have it, because, as a three year old, I idolized firefighters. She pulled open a drawer full of these buttons and handed me one. My mother thanked her as I wondered why somebody would have a drawer full of these buttons. It was around this time that I had realized, in my childhood, that things were different; that were damaged as a nation. One of my favorite quotes is, "We weren't old enough to do anything then, but we are old enough to do something now." Learn, educate, remember, and NEVER forget.

AUGUST 25-26, 1940 - BERLIN, GERMANY: As discussed in the last post, on this day, the Royal Air Force bombed Berlin in retaliation for the Luftwaffe attack on London. In the first picture, crews survey the damage to a building in Berlin. In the second picture, Wellington bomber crews are photographed at a press conference after carrying out their mission. It's rather interesting to see the "after" picture from both perspectives (worldwartwodaily.filminspector.com).
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This post is part of a Battle of Britain timeline series!
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#history #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #historiansunion #aviation #worldwartwo #wwii #military #militaryaviation #airforce #Luftwaffe #Heinkel #dornier #battleofbritain #royalairforceuk #spirfire #hurricane #adlertag #raf #royalairforce

AUGUST 24, 1940 - LONDON, ENGLAND: On this day in 1940, a lost German bomber formation jettisoned its bombs during a night raid on London. Although this appeared to be an accident that occurred in the fog of war, the bombing sparked an immediate counter attack by the British, who bombed Berlin on 25 August. This contributed to the start of London's "blitz," which did not end until 1941. In this picture, taken in the fall of 1940, a milkman is seen walking through rubble, displaying the "Keep calm and carry on" mentality. Although this is an incredible image, it was actually faked. The man in the picture was the camera man's assistant, and he borrowed the milkman uniform from someone. The firefighters and flames in the background are real, however (bentleypriorymuseum.org and rare historical photos.com).
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This post is part of a Battle of Britain timeline series!
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#history #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #historiansunion #aviation #worldwartwo #wwii #military #militaryaviation #airforce #Luftwaffe #Heinkel #dornier #battleofbritain #royalairforceuk #spirfire #hurricane #adlertag #raf #royalairforce

AUGUST 18th, 1940 - THE HARDEST DAY: On this day, the Luftwaffe tried its utmost to destroy RAF airfields flying 850 sorties involving 2200 aircrew. The RAF resisted with equal vigour flying 927 sorties involving 600 aircrew.

Between lunchtime and teatime, three big Luftwaffe raids were attempted, the first and third by mixed groups of Dornier Do 17, Junkers Ju 88 and Heinkel He 111 bombers, escorted by Messerschmitt Bf 109 and B 110 fighters, and a second by Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers, also escorted by Bf 109s. The targets were the airfields at Kenley, Biggin Hill, Gosport, Ford, Thorney Island, Hornchurch and North Weald, and the radar station at Poling. Although the last wave failed to reach its targets, which were obscured by cloud, the fighting was no less fierce along the route.

The RAF and Fleet Air Arm lost altogether 68 aircraft, 31 in air combat. 69 German aircraft were destroyed or damaged beyond repair (rafmuseum)
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Official photo caption: Soldiers collecting for the Spitfire Fund use the fuselage of a Heinkel He 111 as a focus of interest for locals in a street 'somewhere in south east England', 10 October 1940 (iwm)
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This post is part of a Battle of Britain timeline series!
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#history #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #historiansunion #aviation #worldwartwo #wwii #military #militaryaviation #airforce #Luftwaffe #Heinkel #dornier #battleofbritain #royalairforceuk #spirfire #hurricane #adlertag #raf #royalairforce

AUGUST 13th, 1940 - SOUTHEAST ENGLAND: On August 13th, Phase Two of the Battle of Britain began - "Adlertag," or "Eagles' Day." As part of this phase, intense Luftwaffe bombing raids focused in on Royal Air Force bases in southeastern England. The end goal, of course, was to knock out the RAF in preparation for a land invasion of Great Britain. Seen in this picture is a Dornier 17 crew receiving a briefing before a mission in the summer of 1940 (picture: ww2today.com).
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This post is part of a Battle of Britain timeline series!
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#history #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #historiansunion #aviation #worldwartwo #wwii #military #militaryaviation #airforce #Luftwaffe #Heinkel #dornier #battleofbritain #royalairforceuk #spirfire #hurricane #adlertag #raf #royalairforce

JULY 13th, 1977 - THE BLACKOUT OF NEW YORK CITY: On this day 40 years ago, several lightning strikes created a "blackout" of the New York City and most of Westchester County. July 13th is sometimes referred to as "the worst night in New York City's history, as there were thousands of cases of looting and vandalism including arson in the city on the night of the 13th. It took nearly a full day to restore power. "The robbers weren’t shy or afraid of punishment. A lot of different cars were coming close to shops and loading trunks of their cars by stolen goods. On a next day, people can buy a colour TV for 25 dollars or expensive sneakers only for 1 dollar. It was like a nightmare" (newyorkretrospective.com).
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#history #historiansunion #haphazardhistory #dailyhistory #newyorkcity #city #blackout #worldtradecenter #brooklynbridge #manhattan #nyc

JULY 10th, 1940 - LONDON, ENGLAND: The Battle of Britain begins. Over the course of the summer, I will be doing a series of posts to commemorate the Battle of Britain, in an effort to give you an idea of what "the few" and the people they defended went through.
On July 10th, 1940, the Battle of Britain officially began with the first of many German bombing raids. In the above picture, taken on July 14th, a British convoy is bombed on the English Channel. At the outset of the battle, Britain had several advantages: more maneuverable aircraft, an intricate radar system, and the sheer will to protect their homeland. The Germans, however, had more planes, more pilots, and more raw materials such as aluminum. Bombing of convoys like the one in the above picture had a great hand in making precious materials sparse in Britain. The Germans' main goal was to destroy the Royal Air Force in preparation of an invasion of Great Britain by the Wehrmacht. What started with purely strategic attacks eventually turned into attacks meant to break the will of the British people. More on this to follow...
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#history #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #historiansunion #aviation #worldwartwo #wwii #military #militaryaviation #airforce #Luftwaffe #Heinkel #battleofbritain #royalairforceuk #spirfire #hurricane

OCTOBER 11th - 22nd, 1968 - THE NEAR "MUTINY" OF APOLLO 7: Before I get into the nitty gritty of the flight, this is a pre-flight photo of the Apollo 7 crew (Walter Cunningham, Donn Eisele, and Wally Schirra). On to the details of the flight! An Apollo spacecraft was cramped quarters under the best of circumstances. On Apollo 7, the crew immediately learned of one of the drawbacks: it was very easy to catch an illness.

Schirra came down with a cold only 15 hours after launch, and reportedly passed along the illness to Cunningham and Eisele. (Accounts differ on the severity of their colds.) In the microgravity environment of space, fluids don't drain as they do on Earth. This meant blocked ears and noses for the crew, who tried to alleviate the symptoms through taking medication. But with 11 days of space travel, performing their tasks was difficult.

According to several accounts by other Apollo astronauts and mission controllers, the Apollo 7 crew then became unforgivingly snippy with the folks they were talking to on the ground (at one point saying "Go to hell"). Schirra pulled the plug on the one of the television broadcasts. Eisele complained about one test the crew performed, saying he wanted to speak to the person who "thought up that little gem." (The person ended up being a high-ranking NASA official: flight director Glynn Lunney.) When the crew was asked to make changes to the flight plan, they were reportedly sullen and for the most part, unwilling to deviate.

But they did make one major alteration to the mission: they refused to wear their suit helmets during re-entry because they worried they would not be able to blow their noses. This drew the ire of senior NASA managers. "It was insubordinate ... This crew shouldn't fly again," wrote Chris Kraft in his memoirs, "Flight: My Life in Mission Control." (Space.com, NASA History Office).
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Regardless of the near mutiny of the crew, it is still important to recognize the service of these men to the United States, both before and during their NASA careers! #history #historiansunion #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #nasa #apollo #capsule #mutiny #space #spacerace #photography

1946 - "THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES:" This clip is from the movie "The Best Years of Our Lives," directed by William Wyler. The movie is about three servicemen who return home after World War Two - a bombardier who has PTSD, an army sergeant who has drinking problems, and a sailor who was disabled during his service. This is truly a remarkable and special film, as it is one of the first looks at how our servicemen and women have to adjust to going back to civilian life. The movie is also fantastic due to the directing genius of William Wyler. During the war, he suffered from almost complete hearing loss as a result of his work filming the bomber crews in action during World War Two. In my opinion, one of the reasons why the movie was so good was because he was able to relate to many veterans as a result of his injuries. In this clip, the bombardier played by Dana Andrews visits a boneyard in his town. If you haven't seen this film yet and are a history buff, you need to ASAP! (Video courtesy of Boeing B-17 Resource (Youtube), with fact checks from imdb.com). I do not own this video - simply displaying it here for reference). #dailyhistory #history #historiansunion #b17 #flyingfortress #classicfilms #classicmovies #ptsd
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Check out these accounts for more awesome historic images!:
@historical_paparazzi
@ww2_daily_photography
@82nd_rum_runner
@fuehrer_of_photography
@war_history_enthusiast
@war_colourised
@ww2_anything_history_
@ww2_worldwarhistory
@w.w.2_history
@modern_military_history

DECEMBER 5th - 9th, 1952 - THE "GREAT SMOG" OF LONDON, ENGLAND: (2/2) Authorities advised parents to keep their children home from school in fear they would get lost in the smog. Burglaries and purse snatchings increased as emboldened criminals easily vanished into the cloaking darkness. Birds lost in the fog crashed into buildings. Eleven prize heifers brought to Earls Court for the famed Smithfield Show choked to death, and breeders fashioned improvised gas masks for their cattle by soaking grain sacks in whiskey. Weekend soccer games were cancelled, although Oxford and Cambridge carried on with their annual cross-country competition at Wimbledon Common with the help of track marshals who continually shouted, “This way, this way, Oxford and Cambridge” as runners materialized out of the thick haze. The smog seeped inside as well. A greasy grime covered exposed surfaces, and movie theaters even closed as the yellow haze made it impossible for ticket-holders to see the screen.

Unfortunately, the Great Smog was much more than a nuisance. It was lethal, particularly for the elderly, babies and those with respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Outside of the coughing and the wheezing, death came silently to London. It wasn’t until undertakers began to run out of coffins and florists out of bouquets that the deadly impact of the Great Smog was realized. Deaths from bronchitis and pneumonia increased more than sevenfold. The death rate in the East End increased nine fold. Initial reports estimated that upwards of 4,000 died prematurely in the immediate aftermath of the smog, which finally lifted on December 9, 1952, after a cold wind from the west swept the toxic cloud away from London and out to the North Sea. The detrimental effects lingered, however, and death rates remained above normal into the summer, which have caused some experts to estimate the Great Smog claimed as many as 12,000 lives (history.com).#history #historiansunion #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #london #britishhistory #unitedkingdom #greatbritain #smog #londonbus #pollution

DECEMBER 5th - 9th, 1952 - THE "GREAT SMOG" OF LONDON, ENGLAND: (1/2) Ever wonder where the word "smog" came from? Read below! Clear skies dawned over London on December 5, 1952. An unusual cold snap had gripped the British capital for weeks, and as Londoners awoke, coal fireplaces worked overtime to take the chill from the air. As the day progressed, a light veil of fog began to enshroud Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the rest of the city. By the afternoon, though, the fog began to turn a sickly shade of yellow as it mixed with the thousands of tons of soot being pumped into the skies of London by its forest of chimneys and industrial smokestacks. Smog was nothing new in London, but this particular “pea souper” quickly thickened into a poisonous brew unlike anything the city had ever experienced. A high-pressure system parked over London caused a temperature inversion—with the air 1,000 feet above the surface warmer than that at ground level—that prevented the smoke from the record amount of coal being burned into the skies from rising. And with nary a breeze to be found, there was no wind to disperse the soot-laden soup... (history.com, historytoday.com). 2014/01)
#history #historiansunion #dailyhistory #haphazardhistory #london #britishhistory #unitedkingdom #greatbritain #smog #londonbus #pollution
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Check out some of these accounts for more awesome historic images!:
@historical_paparazzi
@ww2_daily_photography
@82nd_rum_runner
@fuehrer_of_photography
@war_history_enthusiast
@war_colourised
@ww2_anything_history_
@ww2_worldwarhistory
@w.w.2_history
@modern_military_history

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