Glider Attack On D-Day - We Are The Mighty
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Glider Attack On D-Day

They are known as America’s first military stealth aircraft. Under cover of darkness, the Waco CG-4A combat glider carried U.S. troops and materiel into battle during World War II.  William Horn and Leo Cordier, pilots who flew these unarmed and un-powered planes, landed behind enemy lines before the invasion troops arrived in Europe on D-Day. Their courageous stories are a little known chapter in the Allied march to victory during WWII.

 

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Fighter Pilot of the Tuskegee Airmen

Colonel Charles Bussey courageously flew P-51 Mustangs as a fighter pilot in World War II.  His training came with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the all black Army Air Corps unit. Bussey also went on to serve as a decorated Commander of Army engineers during the Korean War. Charles Bussey was a war hero, but his first struggle wasn’t in a combat zone overseas. His first battle was at home in what you might call the fight for the right to fight.  This is his dramatic story, in his own words.

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The dictator of Zimbabwe was ousted in a coup overnight and no one really knows what’s next

After nearly 40 years as Zimbabwe’s leader, President Robert Mugabe appears to have lost his grip on power.


Early Nov. 15, the country’s military drove tanks into the capital, Harare, and seized control of the state broadcaster, ZBC. A senior officer of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces denied that a coup was in progress and said Mugabe, 93, was “safe and sound.”

Later Nov. 15, South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement that he had spoken to Mugabe and that Mugabe was unharmed and under house arrest. The Guardian’s Jason Burke reported that Mugabe would step down on Nov. 17.

Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, who was contending for leadership of the ruling ZANU-PF party, has fled to Namibia, The Guardian reported, citing opposition sources. The first lady has long been seen as Robert Mugabe’s chosen successor.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Robert and Grace Mugabe, 2013, in Harare, Zimbabwe (Photo from Wikimedia Commons user DandjkRoberts)

Mugabe’s reported removal from power is surely welcome news to his critics in a country that saw its economy collapse into a hyperinflationary spell in 2008 as Mugabe implemented price controls and printed large amounts of money, leading to a multibillion-percent inflation rate.

The human-rights group Amnesty International has also accused Mugabe and his government of repressing political expression, arbitrarily arresting activists and others, carrying out “torture and extrajudicial executions,” and fomenting mass political violence.

So what’s next?

The military’s denying a coup implies Zimbabwe’s next leader won’t be a general.

Related: Turkish President Erdogan holds on to power as military coup fails

South Africa’s Independent Online reports that Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe dismissed as vice president last week, is en route to Harare to take control of the country’s government.

Mnangagwa has the support of both the military and the wider population, according to BMI Research.

The firm says there are three possible outcomes that could play out over the coming months:

  1. “Mugabe resigns and is replaced by Mnangagwa before year-end.”
  2. “Mnangagwa selected to run as ZANU-PF party leader in 2018 election.”
  3. “Mnangagwa established as constitutional successor in the event of Mugabe’s death.”

Glider Attack On D-Day
Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe at a Politburo meeting. Grace was previously thought to be the successor to the Presidency. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons user Brainy263)

The economic impact

It is likely to take years to reverse the damage caused by Mugabe’s economic policies.

“It was the 10th-largest economy in the region in the late 1990s,” said William Jackson, the senior emerging-markets economist at Capital Economics. “But its performance has been significantly worse than many of its peers. For example, in 1998, Zimbabwe’s economy was roughly the same size as that of Angola, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Now, those economies are three to seven times larger than Zimbabwe.”

Additionally, Mugabe’s policies have caused public external debt — most of which is already in arrears — to balloon to more than 40% of gross domestic product, the International Monetary Fund says.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Zimbabwean inflation ran rampant during the presidency of Robert Mugabe, leading to the printing of a one-hundred trillion ZWD note. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

It’s unclear what would happen if Zimbabweans fled to other parts of the region.

“There is already a large Zimbabwean diaspora in South Africa — the UN estimates there are around 500,000 Zimbabweans living there, although unofficial estimates suggest that it could be closer to 3 million,” Jackson wrote. “If refugee inflows did pick up again, there would be a fiscal cost to the South African government, and it could lead to social strains in an economy already struggling with very high unemployment.”

Members of the ZANU-PF party and the opposition weren’t immediately available for comment.

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This is the bond between soldiers in combat summed up in one video clip

It’s well known that many U.S. service members join the military to protect their country from its enemies and to serve a higher purpose. It’s a calling that’s drawn millions of Americans into uniform over the nation’s history.


But when the bullets start flying, most of those higher-minded motivations are stripped away, and it becomes about protecting that buddy at your side. It’s a bond unlike any other.

While often this camaraderie manifests itself in acts of courage during battle, it can also shine in private moments of tenderness and respect — even under life-threatening stress.

In episode one of National Geographic’s amazing series “Inside Combat Rescue,” there’s a short scene that shows this inseparable bond — one that many might miss as the action of a medical evacuation swirls across the screen.

As Special Forces soldiers load their severely-wounded comrade — the team’s medic — on the Black Hawk MEDEVAC, each takes a second to kiss their fellow soldier before he’s flown to a field hospital.

It’s in those few seconds — barely noticeable by most viewers — that the true bond between combat veterans is on display (the video is cropped to the specific scene).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RZSlxCRnHw
SnakeDog/YouTube
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Here’s how US Marines evacuate an American Embassy

The U.S. Marine Corps has the unique mission of securing embassies worldwide. Marines are stationed in embassies as security, they’re sent as reinforcements for diplomatic missions that find themselves in trouble, and they get the first call if an embassy gets evacuation orders. They even have a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force based in Spain that specializes in embassy evacuations and other missions in Africa.


Here’s what the Marines do when an American ambassador decides it’s not safe to stay in an embassy.

1. Marines are generally alerted a few days ahead that an embassy evacuation is likely and stage in forward bases. Once the call comes in, they’re able to quickly move into transports.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A quick reaction force with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response prepares to depart Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, in support of a military assisted departure from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, Saturday, July 26, 2014. Photo: US Marine Corps 1st Lt. Maida Kalic

2. Which base is used depends on diplomatic clearances, available equipment, and local security situations. The Marines will typically stage in the most secure place that will allow them to move to the embassy as quickly as possible.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Ospreys with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response prepare to take off in support of a military assisted departure from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, July 26, 2014. Photo: US Marine Corps 1st Lt. Maida Kalic

3. Once they arrive at the embassy, the Marines establish communications with their headquarters and begin securing the area.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Marines establish communications during an embassy evacuation exercise. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

4. The Marines establish a defensive perimeter for the embassy personnel to move within.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Marines secure the exit route for civilian personnel inside the U.S. Embassy housing compound in Tirana, Albania, on March 15, 1997. Photo: US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brett Siegel

5. Besides the Marines on the ground, air and naval assets may be used to ensure the security of the evacuation.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A U.S. Marine provides security during an embassy evacuation exercise while an AV-8B Harrier flies overhead. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

5. Marines can track the civilians they are evacuating in a few ways. When available, barcodes can allow the Marines to quickly track confirmed passengers, rather than checking the I.D. cards and passports at each stage.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A Marine tags a confirmed role player while conducting an embassy evacuation exercise. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

6. Once Marines have confirmed the personnel they will be evacuating, they can begin moving those people to the transports.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Marines guide U.S. citizens down the flight line in Juba, South Sudan, during an evacuation of personnel from the U.S. Embassy, Jan. 3, 2014. Photo: US Marine Corps Staff. Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

Glider Attack On D-Day
Role players are led by a Marine into a CH-53E Super Stallion during an embassy evacuation exercise. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

7. A Marine will track the passengers entering the transport against a manifest to ensure that no personnel are left behind.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A Marine accounts for passengers on a manifest in Juba, South Sudan, during an evacuation of personnel from the U.S. Embassy, Jan. 3, 2014. Photo: US Marine Corps Staff. Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

8. The task force will remain on the ground as the transports depart, keeping the area secure until all are ferried out.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Marines brace themselves against rotor wash from a CH-53E Super Stallion during an embassy evacuation exercise. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

Glider Attack On D-Day
Marines provide security during an embassy evacuation exercise. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

9. Once the civilians have been removed from the embassy, the Marines will follow them out.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Marines sit in a CH-53E Super Stallion after conducting an embassy evacuation exercise. Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

10. The transports will bring everyone to a secure area where the Marines will get final accountability of both the civilians and their own forces.

Glider Attack On D-Day
Master Sgt. Robert Gupton, a Marine with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, accounts for passengers on a manifest at Entebbe, Uganda, after safely evacuating them from the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan, Jan. 3, 2014. Photo: US Marine Corps Staff. Sgt. Robert L. Fisher III

NOW: 21 photos that show what it’s like when soldiers assault a Taliban stronghold

OR: Here’s what a Navy Corpsman does after a Marine is hit

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Tunnel Rats in Vietnam

The tunnel rats were courageous soldiers who performed underground search and destroy missions during the Vietnam War.  American and Australian troops uncovered the enemy’s intricate network of tunnels while conducting larger operations. Tunnel rats were tasked with gathering intelligence within them, and killing or capturing their occupants–often in conditions of close combat. CW Bowman, Gerry Schooler and Art Tejeda spent days maneuvering through the tunnel complexes clearing and destroying lethal booby-traps.

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Battle of the Bulge

Toward the end of December 1944 it was clear the Germans were losing WWII. Low on fuel, munitions and morale, the ability of the rogue nation was slipping by the hour. Still with 6,000,000 men under arms, Hitler burned with a passion for one more mad drive into the Allied lines. In December, 1944 with the Russians closing in from the east and the Allies chipping away at the western front, the Nazis made their move. 600,000 Germans in 29 divisions with 11 armored panzer divisions, surged into the Allied front. The stage was set for total Allied defeat, but Hitler had failed to calculate the most important element of all. He could count the thousands of guns, the tons of munitions and the hundreds of tanks, but he could never grasp the unfailing courage and valor of the American fighting man.

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D-Day The First Hours

Hours before the Allied Forces hit the beaches of Normandy, courageous British and American soldiers entered France with parachutes and gliders to secure key bridges and enemy artillery positions.  Their dangerous missions led the way for the D-Day invasion and ultimate victory in Europe.  Wally Parr, Terance Otway and Bill True recount their dramatic stories, In Their Own Words.

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Guadalcanal

The unrelenting ferocity of the Pacific War was without a doubt the bloodiest and most savage of the two theaters of World War II. The memories of brutal battles like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Midway and Iwo Jima are forever seared into minds of the courageous men who fought there.  The island of Guadalcanal represented one of the last chances for the Allies to turn back the Japanese advance in the Pacific.  Marine veteran Victor Croizat experienced the “hell of earth” of the battle for Guadalcanal.

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How stupid-looking minisubs could sink a US aircraft carrier

While there has been a pause in tensions with North Korea — to the point where the dictatorship, led by Kim Jong Un, is taking part in next month’s Winter Olympics — that regime has always been tricky. Remember, we’re talking about a rogue nation that sank the South Korean corvette Cheonan with a minisub out of nowhere on March 26, 2010, killing 46 of her crew.


Glider Attack On D-Day
Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, and Rear Adm. Park Sung-bae, commander of the Republic of Korea Navy Second Fleet, tour the ROKS Pohang-class corvette Cheonan that was sunk by a North Korean torpedo on March 26, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Bryce Bruns)

Now, you might think that an American carrier isn’t at the same risk as a South Korean corvette. After all, a North Korean minisub can’t carry that many torpedoes. A Yono-class minisub, the type suspected of sinking the Cheonan, packs two 21-inch torpedoes. The larger Sang-o-class sub carries four.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A North Korean-designed Yono-class mini-sub in Iranian service. A similar sub is suspected to have sunk the Cheonan. (Wikimedia Commons photo by ThePulleySystem)

Could the United States Navy lose an aircraft carrier if attacked by one of these minisubs? It seems far-fetched at first. The United States Navy has lost only one fleet carrier, USS Wasp, to a submarine-only attack. Two escort carriers, USS Block Island and USS Liscome Bay were also sunk in submarine attacks, and USS Yorktown was finished off by a Japanese submarine after being rendered dead in the water by aircraft.

Glider Attack On D-Day
USS Wasp was the last fleet carrier to be sunk by an enemy submarine. (U.S. Navy photo)

Wasp weighed in at 14,900 tons, according to MilitaryFactory.com. By comparison, today’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers have a much larger displacement of over 90,000 tons. When the Soviet Union was considering how to kill a Nimitz, they designed the Oscar-class submarine for the job. That was a huge vessel, carrying 24 SS-N-19 anti-ship missiles as well as eight torpedo tubes for disabling and destroying the carrier.

Fortune plays a big role in war, however. For example, The Japanese carrier HIJMS Taiho was sunk by a single torpedo in 1944. Additionally, since the end of the Cold War, American expertise in anti-submarine warfare has declined. In 2006, a Chinese submarine surfaced near and surprised the aircraft carrier, USS Kitty Hawk.

Glider Attack On D-Day
In 2006, a Chinese Communist submarine surfaced next to the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, showing that American anti-submarine warfare skills had atrophied. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Lee McCaskill)

While two-to-four torpedos typically wouldn’t do the job against a U.S. carrier, North Korea could get lucky and sink one, but that luck would quickly turn into bad news for Kim Jong Un.

Learn more about North Korean submarine capabilities in the video below.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rYwDjIiVf8
(Warthog Defense | YouTube)
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Communist China is trying to match the US’ newest bomber

As the U.S. continues to develop the B-21 Raider, a long-range, stealth strategic bomber, peers and rivals around the world are working to stay competitive. While Russia works on the PAK DA, Communist China is trying to counter the future backbone of the United States Air Force’s strategic bomber force with a design of their own.


This new bomber, which will likely be operated by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, is being called the H-20. Details remain sparse, but reports state that it will have a top speed of 600 miles per hour and a maximum range of 5,282 miles. Although we’re not certain about the ordnance it’ll carry, it’s likely that it’ll carry a variety of dumb bombs, smart bombs, and missiles, just like the B-2.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A B-2 Spirit drops a host of dumb bombs. (USAF photo)

Currently, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force leans heavily on the H-6 Badger as the primary airframe in their strategic bomber force. This plane is a far cry from the original Soviet Tu-16 on which it’s based. The current version, according to MilitaryFactory.com, has a range of 3,728 miles and a top speed of 652 miles per hour. Unlike the up-and-coming H-20, the H-6 doesn’t have stealth technology, and while its range allows it to operate against naval units in the South China Sea, it doesn’t have the reach to hit American bases in Guam or Okinawa.

The Chinese Communists used the H-6 to send a message in December 2016, when one of these bombers flew along the so-called “nine-dash line,” which delineates Chinese claims in the South China Sea. About 180 of these bombers were built and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force has roughly 120 H-6s in service, with another 30 in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force.

Glider Attack On D-Day
A People’s Liberation Army Air Force H-6K Badger bomber. (Japanese Ministry of Defense photo)

The H-20 is slated to enter service in 2025, coincidentally around the time that the B-21 Raider is set to deploy.

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