The British reasoned that the dock was so well defended that the German’s would never expect a suicidal direct assault, so that’s exactly what they fucking did. Before the mission began, an old piece-of-shit destroyer that formally belonged to the US Navy, HMS Campbeltown, was lightened and then filled it to the brim with explosives. Once Campbeltown had been modified, the British literally sailed in a straight line until they reached the dock’s front gate and then crashed right into it.

We weren’t kidding.

Campbeltown was flanked on this mission by a number of smaller boats carrying Commandos, who began to attack the dock like it owed them money as soon the boat became grounded. During the ensuing fight, 169 of the 622 men who took part in the mission were killed while a further 205 men were captured, amongst them was then Lieutenant-Commander Stephen Beattie. After Campbeltown crashed into the dock, Beattie, who had been commanding the ship was captured and dragged off to be interrogated.

During his interrogation, Beattie was confronted by an incredulous English-speaking German officer who couldn’t believe the British had sent such a tiny boat to destroy such a large, well-defended dock. The legend goes, that just as the German officer finished laughing about how the dock could never be destroyed by such a ill-equipped ragtag group of assholes, the Campbeltown exploded, instantly destroying the dock. Because suck on that, random German officer.

I wrote a thing about a group of men who destroyed the most heavily defended dock under German control in WW2 by crashing the fuck into it. 

It was fun to research and write and I hope people like it.

Mitchell submachine gun

Designed by Allen Mitchell of Wanganui, New Zealand, the Mitchell submachine gun was sent to London for testing in 1943. It was fed through a 32-round STEN magazine and fired at a rate of about 700 rounds per minute. Tests found that it was a fine weapon for hipfiring, but the barrel got hot during sustained fire and both the stock and trigger mechanism exhibited faults. It was sent back to New Zealand shortly thereafter. Only four prototypes were made in total and are now in possession of the Waiouru National Army Museum.

A riveter at work in Burbank, California


At the link are 18 photos of Black women working during World War II

Designer Graham demonstrates Winston Churchill’s personal pressure chamber, created to enable him to make high-altitude flights safely

To protect the precious bulk of Winston Churchill in wartime a special one-man pressure chamber was built for the personal plane which carried him many times across the Atlantic and to Casablanca, Moscow and Yalta.  Churchill…was warned by his doctors that it was dangerous for a man of his age and physical condition to fly above 8,000 feet.  Much higher altitudes sometimes were necessary, however, because of weather and the enemy.  The solution was a pressure chamber complete with ash trays, telephone and an air-circulation system good enough to prevent smoke from the ubiquitous cigar from fogging the atmosphere. While pressures within the chamber were kept at the equivalent of 5,000 feet, the prime ministerial figure could loll comfortably like an outsized pearl within a gigantic oyster shell. LIFE Magazine Feb. 10 1947 (via io9)

The cabin pressure of this Xenophone TRUFAX submission to The Alt-Historian has been adjusted for your comfort and safety.

This brick outside the WWII museum caught my eye. I decided to think about Eddie Simpson. I didn’t think I’d ever learn, but a few moments on the life of a forgotten serviceman, a faceless name, couldn’t hurt. 

I took a picture of the name, thought about it as I walked to the car, thought about him, Eddie Simpson, as I drove home. “There had to have been more than one Edward Simpson,” I thought.

I googled the exact quote from the brick and found that a man, WIlliam Overstreet, who, in 1944, flew under the arches of the Eiffel tower to shoot down a German plane had died in December, 2013. William Overstreet. WBO.

A few google searches with both names lead me to Eddie Simpson’s story. After walking away from the crash of his P-51 Mustang, Simpson died to save the lives of French Resistance fighters; men and women he barely knew and with whom he could not converse.  

Read: The Stars and Stripes account of Eddie Simpson’s last day.

I remember Eddie Simpson.

This is Woodrow Wilson Keeble (May 16, 1917 – January 28, 1982) a U.S. Army National Guard veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. He was a full-blooded member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a federally recognized tribe of Dakota people. Although he was wounded (at least) twice in World War II and three times in the Korean War, he only received two purple hearts. Following a long campaign by his family and the congressional delegations of both North and South Dakota, on March 3, 2008, President George W. Bush posthumously awarded Keeble the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War.