german raids

10

Trench Clubs, WW1

One distinctive part of trench warfare, made possible by its static nature, was the night raid. These sorties across no-man’s-land to capture enemy soldiers or map out their positions required efficient and silent weapons, prompting the production of many variants of these rather medieval tools behind the frontline by craftsmen or regular soldiers, limited only by the materials available to them.
The simpler designs were barely more than lead-weighted clubs, but there were commonly outfitted with boots’ hobnails, barbed wire, heavy metal cogs, and all sorts of salvaged parts to make them more deadly. Some examples came to resemble flails, either with springs for a main shaft or the usual chains that wouldn’t have been an odd sight five centuries earlier.

It’s a shame that X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of the worst superhero films ever made, because it also contains one of the best superhero films never made: right there during the opening credits. 

 In the first couple minutes of Origins, we’re treated to a montage of Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting alongside one another through a series of battles plucked straight out of your 10th grade history class. They survive an infantry charge during the American Civil War, a nighttime raid on German trenches during WWI, Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion, and even their own execution during the Vietnam War.

Screw a two-hour movie – that’s an amazing TV series. Wolverine and Sabretooth, surly, stubbled, almost literally grizzly immortal soldiers bantering their way through every war in history – and also claw-mauling Nazis. Plus, for long-term drama: Comic book readers know these literal brothers in arms eventually become bitter enemies – imagine experiencing that heartbreak firsthand, after binge-watching several seasons of manly super-bonding. Instead, we got the worst possible version of Deadpool: One literally without a mouth. Whose brilliant idea was that? And how fucking fired are they? We hope it’s “a lot.”

6 Really Awesome Movies Hidden Inside Really Crappy Movies

3

Gotha Bomber Plane

In the autumn of 1916 the Germans began to equip with the Gotha twin engined bomber.  Of a pusher layout, these aircraft could fly at 15,000 feet, above contemporary fighter’s maximum height.  With a range of 800 km (500 miles) and a bomb load of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), the Gotha’s were designed to carry out attacks across the channel against Britain.

A group of four squadrons was established in Belgium, and they carried out their first bombing raid towards the end of May, 1917.  This 22 plane sortie, against the town of Folkestone, caused 95 deaths.  In mid June a force of 18 Gothas attacked London in broad daylight.  They were met by over 90 British fighters, but not one Gotha was brought down.  This bombing raid caused 162 deaths.

On the 7th of July 1917 over a hundred defensive sorties were flown against a 22 plane Gotha raid.  In this case one Gotha was shot down, and three were damaged, at the cost of two fighters shot down by the Gotha’s defensive gunners.  It was only when the RFC began to equip their home defences with Sopwith Camels that the Gothas began to suffer serious losses and were forced to switch to night attacks

Gotha G.V Stats

Top speed: 87 mph (140 km/h)

Range: 522 miles (840 km)

Weight: 6,038 lbs (2,739 kg)

Wingspan: 78’ (24 m)

Length: 41’ (12 m)

First flight: 1915

Engine type: Mercedes D.IVa

September 4, 1917 - First Large German Night Raid over England

Pictured - A Gotha’s forward observer.

Germany’s aerial Gotha bombers switched to nighttime raids over England in fall 1917 because of daytime losses. On the night of September 3 the bomber squadrons based in Belgium launched their first large-scale nighttime bombing mission on the British homeland, striking Chatham in Kent.

The nocturnal attack brought encouraging results. In spite of the difficulty of nighttime flying and aiming, a bomb struck a dormitory full of Royal Navy sailors, killing 152 people. It was the worst single bombing incident of the war. On the night of September 4 the German planes set out again for London. Of the eleven which set out, five found their way over the British capital and dropped their payloads. Sorties by British Sopwith Camels failed to make contact, although one Gotha was lost to anti-aircraft fire before reaching the English Channel.

2

The Other Capitals of the Roman Empire,

What’s the capital of the Roman Empire? Why Rome of course! While Rome was the heart of the Roman Republic and Empire for many centuries, there were actually two other capitals that not a lot of people who aren’t well versed in history know about.  To clarify in the context of this post when I say the “Roman Empire” I specifically am focusing on the Western Roman Empire, not the east and Constantinople. That’s a story perhaps for another day.

So for many centuries Rome was the heart of the Republic and Empire.  However by the end of the third century Rome was becoming less important when it came to Roman commerce, politics, and culture. The population of Rome was decreasing, dropping from 1.5- 2 million in in the 1st century to around 500,000 at the end of the 3rd. During the Crisis of the Third Century, there were many emperors who had never even stepped foot in Rome.  In 286 AD the Emperor Diocletian moved the capital from Rome to Mediolanum, known today as the city of Milan.  At this point in Roman history, the empire was beginning to decline as a result of civil war, corruption, and economic factors.  The relocation of the capital was a result of Diocletian’s reforms to stabilize the empire.  Ever since the times of the first emperor, Augustus, the Rhine and Danube border had always been problematic for Rome as trouble making Germans would often raid or invade Roman territory. Thus under the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian, the empire had developed a system of walls and fortifications to secure the border.  The fortifications of the Rhine and Danube border had always been important in defending the empire from barbarian invaders.  Odds were, if something was going to happen, whether invasion, rebellion, or general unrest, it was most likely going to happen there. Over the decades, the Rhine and Danube legions became more and more important, even deciding the political fates of the empire at several points in history.   By the third century, the Germans were causing even more problems and the arrival of the Goths made the situation even more complex.  Thus the capital was moved to Milan as it was closer to the border, making administration and communication easier.  

By the 5th century, the empire was rapidly collapsing and it was apparent that both Milan and the city of Rome itself was becoming vulnerable to invasion.  In 402 AD, Emperor Honorius moved the capital from Milan to Ravenna. This was a wise decision since the Visigoths would sack Rome eight years later, and the Vandals would sack it again in 455.  A small city along the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea, Ravenna was located in the midst of a delta and was surrounded by a system of rivers and swamps.  Only a few passable routes led to the city, and thus Ravenna was relatively easy to defend, even if few loyal troops were available.  The relocation of the capital also serve another purpose. As the empire crumbled the emperor ceased to be important, with limited powers which were easily surpassed by a large abundance of incompetence. More often then not, the emperor was a puppet of Roman generals such as Stilicho or Aetius, or Germanic warlords such as Gundobad or Ricimer.  Ravenna was a good place to stash the emperor where he was out of the way, allowing for real leaders to take up the job of running the empire. After the fall of the empire, Ravenna would remain the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy, and later the the seat of governorship when the Eastern Roman Empire briefly reclaimed Italy in the 6th century.

Why I find this topic interesting is because the location of the capital symbolically reflects the state of the Roman Empire throughout history.  When the capital was in Rome, the empire was strong, in the midst of its golden age, and it was inconceivable that Rome would ever fall victim to barbarian invaders. After all, the legions were doing a good job of defending the borders and it had been hundreds of years since the Gauls had sacked Rome, way back in the days of the early Republic.  When the capital was moved to Milan in the late 3rd century, cracks were beginning to form in the Imperial system, and the empire was becoming less and less able to fend off barbarian invaders at the border.  However the empire was still strong enough to do something about it, with the emperor commanding his troops and resources from a heavily defended alpine fortress close to the front lines. By the time the capital was moved to Ravenna, the empire was crumbling to pieces, the emperor was typically an incompetent idiot or spoiled asshole, and perhaps it would be best to just stash him away in the middle of a swamp somewhere.

Edith Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the Marchioness of Londonderry (1918). Philip Alexius de László (Hungarian, 1869-1937). Oil on canvas. Imperial War Museums.

Lady Londonderry was appointed the Colonel-in-Chief of the Women’s Volunteer Reserve (WVR), a volunteer force formed of women replacing the men who had left work and gone up to the Front. The WVR was established in December 1914 in response to German bombing raids on East Coast towns during WW I. She also aided with the organisation of the Officers’ Hospital set up in her house.

Fandom Fic Rec Days

(Somewhere it is still Feb, 12th, shhh)

(Johnlock in the BBC Sherlock universe)

Something new

A Study in Spherification by @mistyzeo (explicit, 58k): John Watson has been out of work for eighteen months after his last restaurant, Fifth Northumberland, burned to the ground in a kitchen accident. He’s more than ready for a new project, but who wants to open a restaurant with a washed up celebrity chef who can’t even hold a knife anymore?

Proper Manners by @servicerevolver (explicit, 40k): Sherlock Holmes is a charming—if somewhat eccentric—nobleman who often spends time with John, an apothecary’s son. When John is offered employment at King William’s castle, however, he fears he will have to say goodbye to Sherlock. But in the end, they might actually become closer than before.

Flesh and Blood and Bone and Heart by @silentauroriamthereal (explicit, 59k): As John takes Sherlock back to Baker Street rather than seeing him off to his mission in Serbia, Sherlock decides to reveal how very human he is, after all, and the fall-out will have enormous consequences for them both… 

A Slice of Sumatra by @blueink3 (teen, 5k): What happened while Mary was away searching for Ajay? Sherlock must have expected her to run - they did trace the memory stick, after all. He didn’t, however, expect John to show up on his doorstep in the aftermath. Then again, the army doctor always has been the wild card. (Set between “The Lying Detecive” and “The Final Problem”)

A Land so Wild and Savage by @doctornerdington (teen, 82k): In 1845, the HMS Erebus under the command of Captain James Sholto departed England on a voyage of discovery to find a Northwest Passage through the perilous arctic waters separating the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It was never heard from again. Five years later, Captain John Watson of the Investigator sets sail to recover the Erebus and determine the fate of Sholto and his men. Naturalist Sherlock Holmes takes a berth on a scientific mission to catalogue arctic fauna. What they find could strike a killing blow at the very heart of the British Empire.

Something old

How the mouth changes it shape by @havingbeenbreathedout (explicit, 132k): 1955. Under the placid veneer of suburban playparks and middle-class conformity churns a hidden London: femmes and butches dancing close in basement bars; clandestine love between women. To Sherlock Holmes, struggling private detective and mistress of disguise, it’s a realm she renounced years before. To Johnnie Watson, daredevil ambulance driver turned auto mechanic, it’s become a little too familiar. But when someone is murdered in the washroom of the city’s most notorious lesbian club, the investigation will lead both women to reconsider their assumptions about themselves, each other, and the world in which they live.

Love or What You Will by @miss-frankenstein (teen, 32k): John is an English professor who specializes in War and Post-War Literature and Sherlock is the brilliant yet impossible Ph.D. student assigned to be his TA because no one in the Chemistry Department is willing to put up with him. And - somewhere between Waugh and Plath, e-mails and takeaway, novels and villanelles - they fall in love. 

Lightning and Sea Glass by @221b-carefulwhatyouwishfor (explicit, 18k): The mad Professor Moriarty and his reluctant assistant John Watson have reanimated the dead – and the results are beautiful. At least John thinks so. When Moriarty rejects his creation, John disappears with the creature to protect it, sealing their fates together. (Loosely inspired by Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”)

Mise en Place [PodFic by @consultingsmartarse] by @azriona: John Watson had no intentions of taking over the family business, but when he returns from Afghanistan, battered and bruised, and discovers that his sister Harry has run their restaurant into the ground, he doesn’t have much choice. There’s only one thing that can save the Empire from closing for good – the celebrity star of the BBC series Restaurant Reconstructed, Chef Sherlock Holmes. 

Emperor Tales of the Frozen South by @conversationswithjohnlock (mature, 153k): At the bottom of the world, two intrepid explorers make their way in the harshest of environments. An important journey must be taken, and prophecies fulfilled, but not before family meddling, political interference, and self-doubt threaten to alter the future of an entire species.If you know me at all, you know that this had to be done.

AKA my bookmark: When I was a young girl, one of my very first books I was able to read on my own, was a story about a young penguin growing up and having great adventures. CWB ’s amazing, adorable fanfiction made me remember my own childhood experience and lead me to search for this particular book so my girl can read it in the future. It is not a story to read, it is a story to cherish.

And something which will be a Fandom Classic:

Engima by @khorazir (mature, +160k in 15 chapters): It’s the autumn of 1941, war is raging in Europe, German U-boats are raiding Allied convoys in the Atlantic, the Luftwaffe is bombing English cities, and the cryptographers at Bletchley Park are working feverishly to decode their enemies’ encrypted communications. One should consider this challenge and distraction enough for capricious codebreaker Sherlock Holmes. But the true enigmas are yet waiting to be deciphered: an unbreakable code, a strange murder, and the appearance of Surgeon Captain John H. Watson of the Royal Navy.

Battle of Passchendaele Ends

A single Canadian soldier on the site of the battle.

November 10 1917, Passchendaele–The Canadians, after their initial hard-fought successes on October 26th, attacked again on the 30th and yet again on November 6th.  The latter finally saw them take the remnants of the village of Passchendaele and most of the nearby ridge.  If Haig had had his druthers, the British offensive would have continued; the capture of the Passchendaele ridge gave them a tactical advantage, and even if they could not exploit that for a breakthrough it would distract the Germans from the upcoming Third Army offensive near Cambrai.  However, the deteriorating November weather made future success unlikely, and, more importantly, the Italian collapse at Caporetto meant that British troops and effort were more badly needed on the Piave than in Flanders.

On November 10, the Canadians launched a final attack north of Passchendaele, securing the last of the ridge.  The Canadians had at last reached their objectives, albeit at a cost of nearly 16,000 casualties, almost exactly what Currie had predicted they would suffer. On the same day, General Plumer departed for Italy to command the British divisions being sent there.  After three and a half months of attacks, the British had advanced around 4.5 miles, at the cost of around 200,000 casualties on each side.

Today in 1916: German Raid on Gulf of Finland Catastrophically Fails
Today in 1915: Fourth Battle of the Isonzo
Today in 1914: Germans Take Dixmude

Germans Begin Nighttime Bombing Raids On Britain

A German Gotha crew in front of their bomber.

September 2 1917, Dover–Recent Gotha raids on England had resulted in increasingly higher losses for the Germans, as the British became better at intercepting the Gothas with fighters or targeting them with anti-aircraft weapons from the ground.  As a result, in early September, the Gothas switched over to nighttime attacks.  This was not the first time the Germans had attacked Britain with airplanes at night, but this was their first sanctioned attempt on a large scale.  Navigation was more difficult at night, but they were still able to use major waterways for navigation, especially around the full moon.

On September 2, the Germans hit Dover, killing one and injuring 6.  A larger raid the next night killed 132 people across the southeast, the vast majority of which were in a Royal Navy barracks in Chatham.  The night after that, the first Gothas reached London (though still less than half of those that set off from Belgium), killing nineteen.  The Germans attempted to hit Charing Cross station, but missed, instead causing minor damage to Cleopatra’s Needle.  One Gotha was shot down by anti-aircraft fire; British Sopwith Camels were sortied, but were unable to intercept the Gothas.  

Today in 1916: First Airship Shot Down Over Britain
Today in 1915: Australian Reporter Keith Murdoch Visits Gallipoli
Today in 1914: French Government Evacuates to Bordeaux; Germans Celebrate Sedan Anniversary

top 5, bottom 5

Tagged by @discordantwords

Rules:  Tag the person who tagged you, always post the rules, answer the questions, and add the date!

What are your five most popular works? (starting with the most kudos)

1. The Horse and his Doctor, BBC Sherlock, T, Sherlock/John, 129k words

Invalided after a run in with a poacher in Siberia, veterinary surgeon John Watson finds it difficult to acclimatise to the mundanity of London life. Things change when a friend invites him along to a local animal shelter and he meets their latest acquisition, a trouble-making Frisian with the strangest eyes and even stranger quirks John has ever encountered in a horse.

Horselock and VetJohn. It started out as a cracky idea and turned into a case-fic with an unusual friendship. I had lots of fun writing this, and am still blown away by the reception it got.

2. Enigma, BBC Sherlock, M, Sherlock/John, 194k, WIP

It’s the autumn of 1941, war is raging in Europe, German U-boats are raiding Allied convoys in the Atlantic, the Luftwaffe is bombing English cities, and the cryptographers at Bletchley Park are working feverishly to decode their enemies’ encrypted communications. One should consider this challenge and distraction enough for capricious codebreaker Sherlock Holmes. But the true enigmas are yet waiting to be deciphered: an unbreakable code, a strange murder, and the appearance of Surgeon Captain John H. Watson of the Royal Navy.

My most ambitious fic so far because of the historical setting and because it features real life figures such as Alan Turing. I’m learning a lot about wartime Britain while working on this story.

3. The Summer Boy, BBC Sherlock, T, Sherlock/John, 94k

About half a year after the fateful events at Appledore, Sherlock and John embark on a private case in Sussex. For Sherlock, it’s a journey into his past, bringing up memories both happy and sad that he has locked away for almost thirty years. For John, it means coming to terms with the present – and a potential future with Sherlock.

Set mostly on the South Downs in Sussex, this story is an homage to Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books and is partly set during Sherlock’s childhood. He has no strange sister in this verse.

4. Over Earth and Under Earth, BBC Sherlock, M, Sherlock/John, 196k

Three months after finally acknowledging their mutual feelings, John and Sherlock are not much closer to sorting out their relationship, hindered by cases, work, family issues, everyday matters and by being themselves. Will a strange case out in the Suffolk countryside bring a solution or further complicate things?

The fifth installment in my Over/Under series, this fic deals with the developing relationship of the two. Since the series was begun before S3 aired, Sherlock’s return after the Fall and his family background are different from canon. This fic contains the only sexy-times I’ve written so far ;).

5. Over Hill and Under Hill, BBC Sherlock, T, Sherlock/John, 75k

John and Sherlock travel to France to tackle the Col du Galibier (of Tour de France fame) by bicycle, and the confused state of their relationship after Sherlock’s return from the dead at the same time. A long journey, and a long climb …

The one where they go cycling, and my first long(ish) fic in the Sherlock fandom. Fourth in my Over/Under series, but written before all the others.

What are your five least popular works?

1. The Passage, BBC Sherlock, T, Sherlock & John, 12k, (WIP)

The personal Journal of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, recording his journey from Portsmouth, England to Mangalore, India, aboard HMS Charybdis under the command of Capt. G. Lestrade, commencing in the spring of the year 1803.

My very first foray into Sherlock fic, still unfinished, mostly because of the amount of research required to get the historical facts right. I still hope to finish it one day, but at the moment other stories have precedence.

2. Underground Rescue, BBC Sherlock, M, Sherlock/John, 24k, WIP

All kinds of danger lurk in the disused stations of the London Underground. When Sherlock goes missing, John has to play detective to find him, while Sherlock faces demons both present and past.

My most recent fic, and the sequel to The Summer Boy. It blends my love for Sherlock with that for London and its less well-known locations.

3. Fortunately the Milk, BBC Sherlock / Neil Gaiman fandom, G, Sherlock & John, 8k

Sherlock sets out to buy milk. It turns out to be a real adventure.

My crackiest fic to date, inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately the Milk, written on a whim after attending an event where he read from his book.

4. Over Ground and Under Ground, BBC Sherlock, T, Sherlock & John / Sherlock & London, 5k

After nine months of dismantling Jim Moriarty’s criminal empire, Sherlock finally takes the Eurostar to return to his first great love: London. The train can’t seem to move fast enough …

The second story in the Over/Under series: a brief character study of Sherlock returning to London after the Fall (not S3 compliant).

5. Over Cloud and Under Cloud, BBC Sherlock / Cabin Pressure, T, Sherlock & John, 16k

After his Fall, Sherlock travels the world to destroy what remains of James Moriarty’s criminal empire. When things don’t go according to plan and he finds himself in desperate need of a discreet means of travel, cue MJN Air …

First in the Over/Under series, crossover with Cabin Pressure. Not quite as cracky as it may sound, although I had great fun writing it, particularly Arthur’s parts.

2

Gotha Bomber

These aircraft could fly at 15,000 feet, above contemporary fighter’s maximum height.  With a range of 800 km (500 miles) and a bomb load of up to 500 kg (1,100 lb), the Gothas were designed to carry out attacks across the channel against Britain.

The planes were slow, ungainly, and notoriously difficult to take off and land in. English home front artillery was largely ineffective and british fighter planes had trouble reaching the altitude where the Gotha flew. 

The Germans hoped to cause widespread panic and even uprising with these raids.  In this they failed, but the raids tied down a large number of aircraft, anti-aircraft guns and personnel that otherwise could have been used directly on the Western Front.  The need for a coordinated air defence was one of the major reasons for the formation of the RAF in April of 1918.

One of the conditions of the armistice was that the German would hand over all their night bombers.  When the British saw how few of these aircraft there actually were they initially suspected the Germans of hiding some of them.

The seeming invincibility of the bombers, especially in 1917, had a great influence on British military thinking well into the Second World War, for it was here that the British concept that “The heavy bomber will always get through” was born.