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Hurricane Irma, An Historic Storm

Hurricane Irma

A hurricane is coming named Irma. It is now a level 5 with winds up to 185 miles an hour and Florida is in its cone of possibilities. The only question is, will it hit the east coast or will Irma head towards the west coast and possibility go into the Gulf of Mexico. But one thing for sure is the Florida Keys is definitely in her sights.

That was a few days ago. The Florida Keys is a disaster. Naples and Fort Myer have been hit and Miami is Flooded. If Hurricane Irma continues on its path and goes into the Gulf of Mexico and huddles along the Florida coastline. Lakewood Ranch where I reside will become another disaster zone.

As the hurricane came closer fearing for my brother’s safety. I asked my brother and his girlfriend to come stay with us as the hurricane approaches quickly. Especially, since the girlfriends’ home was on a canal near the Manatee River.  I also contacted my friend Don and his wife to stay with us since his condo was also near the Manatee River. The possibility of strong surges places both homes in jeopardy

The storm hit us Sunday evening with powerful impact to the Lakewood Ranch area. The trees that surrounded the area were being forcefully bent over to the point of breaking. My beautiful wife and soul mate Susan stood beside me as we looked out our back window to our pool area and the pool cage that we had little doubt would survive. It was a hard night for everyone to rest with the wind howling and our home shaking from the vicious winds of Hurricane Irma. In the morning we were all still here. The home wasn’t damaged and our pool cage, surprised us to still be standing!

Hurricane Passed

We were very lucky this time. Hurricane Irma at the last moment landed near Naples and continued to stay on the land.  This caused the hurricane to fall to a level 3 hurricane instead of returning to a level 5 when it would enter the Gulf of Mexico.

That day we dodged the bullet. Now, the question is how long before our time comes!

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The Battle Of Dunkirk May 26-June 4, 1940

 

The Battle of Dunkirk lasting from May 26th to June 4th. It was almost a massive defeat of the allied forces against the superior forces of the Nazi War machine. As a matter of fact, The Battle of Dunkirk became the defense and evacuation of British and Allied forces in Europe. Keeping them from total annihilation.

Winston Churchill took control as Prime Minister of Great Britain on May 10, 1939. On the 26th of May 1940; two weeks later the BEF, who was in France to bolster support for the French force. They were in full retreat under the onslaught of the German Blitzkrieg.

Two massive German armies flanked them. General Fedor von Bock‘s Army Group B was to the east and General Gerd von Rundstedt‘s Army Group A to the west. They succeeded to push the BEF and the French army back towards the English Channel. Therefore, the Germans then formulated their next move to destroy or capture the allied forces.

In one of the most widely debated decisions of the war, the Germans halted their advance on Dunkirk. The “Halt Order” as it was called was not given by Adolf Hitler, but by Field Marshals Gerd von Rundstedt and Günther von Kluge. As a matter of fact, they suggested that the German forces around the Dunkirk pocket should stop their advance on the port. Then they could concentrate their forces. Then they could avoid an Allied breakout. Hitler sanctioned the order on 24 May with the support of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW).

The army was to halt for three days, which gave the Allies sufficient time to organize the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive line. Even though the Allies’ estimate of the situation was not very bright. The British had no choice but to start contemplating a possible conditional surrender with Germany.

But it was not to be. The British press later exploited the successful evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, and particularly the role of the “Dunkirk little ships”, very effectively. Many of these were private vessels such as fishing boats and pleasure cruisers. In addition, commercial vessels such as ferries also contributed to the force. To say nothing of some of these boats came as far away as the Isle of Man and Glasgow. The boats were guided by naval craft across the Channel from the Thames Estuary. In addition, the naval boats gave them protection from Dover to help assist in the official evacuation.

These smaller boats were able to move closer into the shallow waters near the beach much safer than the larger craft. These smaller ships were used as shuttles to and from the larger ships. There they lifted troops who were queuing in the water, many waiting shoulder-deep in water for hours. With the help and the resolve of the British people and the solidarity of the British people in times of adversity. They were able to rescue more than 330,000 Allied troops.

On June 4th the new Prime Minister of Britain Winston Churchill gave one of his Stoic speeches. Here is an insert of that speech in the House of Commons:

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

 

 

C N Trueman “Dunkirk.” 20 Apr 2015.- 25 Jul 2017 <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-two/world-war-two-in-western-europe/the-attack-on-western-europe/dunkirk/>

 Kennedy Hickman “World War II: Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk.” June 06, 2017 <https://www.thoughtco.com/battle-and-evacuation-of-dunkirk-2361491>

EyeWitness to History “The Evacuation at Dunkirk, 1940.”  <https://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2008)>

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica “Dunkirk evacuation WORLD WAR II.” <https://www.britannica.com/event/Dunkirk-evacuation>

The Churchill Society “We Shall Fight on the Beaches July 30, 2017
London”.<http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/Dunkirk.html>

 

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The Greatest Battles in History

Great Battles
Battle Of Ampheia, 738 BC

There have been some great battles throughout our history. These are the ones considered the great battles of all time.  If your thoughts are different than mine please let me know. We can have a friendly war over it.

Stalingrad (World War II, 1942-43)

During World War Two the Allies fought against the Axis. Originally, Russia had an uneasy alliance with Germany led by the Führer Adolf Hitler and Stalin the head of Russia. Hitler ended the risk of a war with Stalin by signing the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact in August 1939. The agreement secretly divided the independent nations of Eastern Europe between the two powers and assured adequate oil supplies for the German war machine.

Except, Stalin didn’t trust the little corporal from Germany, his senses were proven right. In June 1941, Hitler broke the non-aggression agreement with Stalin and Germany invaded the Soviet Union. This decision of Adolf Hitler was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.

The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943)

Stalingrad was number one in the great battles of history. It was the last great offensive by the German Nazis on the Eastern Front. The Battle of Stalingrad resulted in the death or capture of more than a quarter million German soldiers. It was an extremely costly defeat for German forces. Germany had to withdraw vast military forces from the West to replace their losses in Russia because of the Battle of Stalingrad.

 

Battle of Saragarhi (Tirah Campaign War, 1897)

Saragarhi was a small village in the border district of Kohat, situated on the Samana Range, in present-day Pakistan. The area was very volatile with tribal Pashtuns attacking British forts from time to time.

Uprising by the Afghans began there in 1897, and between 27 August – 11 September and they finally attacked. On 12 September 1897, 10,000 Pashtuns attacked the signaling post at Saragarhi which was manned by the 36th Sikh Regiment.

Around 9:00 am, around 10,000 Afghans reach the signaling post at Saragarhi. The forces protecting the fort sent out calls for getting reinforcement and that they were under attack.  Their heroism was shown by these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defense of the fort of these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defense of the fort of Saragarhi, on the 12 September 1897.

The Sikhs fought against overwhelming numbers, thus proving their loyalty and devotion to their sovereign The Queen Empress of India. They were honored for their gloriously fight maintaining the reputation of the Sikhs for unflinching courage on the field of battle.

 

Operation Overlord (Normandy, France 1944, WWII)

Operation Overlord has the place of being the second great battles of history. Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). The invasion included 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on the 6 of June, and there were estimated more than two million Allied troops in France by the end of August.

Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings (Operation Neptune, commonly known as D-Day). A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, and more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August.

Estimates of German losses for the Normandy campaign range from 400,000 (200,000 killed or wounded; 200,000 captured) to 500,000 (290,000 killed or wounded, 210,000 captured) to 530,000.

 

Yorktown (American Revolution, 1781)

The Siege of Yorktown, also known as the Battle of Yorktown, ending on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, Virginia, The battle was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau. They jointly defeated the British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The capture of both General Charles Cornwallis and his army prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict.

 

Thermopylae (Persia / Greece War 480 BC)

The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states between Sparta and Athens led by King Leonidas of Sparta, against the Persian Empire of Xerxes I, the battle lasted only three days. This was Persia second invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium where Xerxes I Navy fought the Athenian navy. The Spartan and their small force of allies fought their battle in August or September 480 BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae. The Persian invasion was a response to their defeat by the Athenian during the first Persian invasion of Greece. This ended by an Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

Xerxes had amassed a huge army and navy and set out to conquer all of Greece. The Athenian general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the advance of the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, and simultaneously block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium.

The 300 Spartans, King Leonidas of Sparta and his personal bodyguards fought to the death.

Xerxes, army, and navy were beaten badly as they retreated back to Persia.

The Greeks will have another meeting with Persia when they are defeated by Alexander The Great.

I have a point of consideration. Did Rome ever thank Persia? If there was no longer a Persia would Alexander the Great gone west instead of east and conquer the Great  Rome to be?

 

“The Battle of Stalingrad” 7/7/2017<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Stalingrad>.

“The Battle of Saragarhi” 7/7/2017< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragarhi>.

“Operation Overlord” 7/7/2017< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Overlord>.

“The Siege of Yorktown” 7/7/2017 < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Yorktown>.

“The Battle of Thermopylae” 7/7/2017<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae>.

Attila Duka  “Top Ten Greatest Battles in History” 7/7/2017 <https://www.thetoptens.com/top-ten-greatest-battles/>.

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Leonidas and His Three Hundred

three hundred
King Leonidas

Leonidas (c. 530-480 B.C.) was a king of the city-state of Sparta from about 490 B.C. until his death at the Battle of Thermopylae against the Persian army in 480 B.C. Although Leonidas lost the battle he was immortalized with his death and that of his three hundred personal bodyguards at Thermopylae.

Like all male Spartan citizens, Leonidas had been trained mentally and physically since he was big enough to walk. In addition, Spartan children were taken away from their mothers at an early so to start their training to become Hoplites.

Hoplites were armed with a round shield, spear, and iron short sword. Equally important, in battle, they used a formation called a phalanx, in which rows of hoplites stood directly next to each other.  So that their shields overlapped with one another. During a frontal attack, this wall of shields provided significant protection to the warriors behind it. The Roman used a similar tactic. Except they used a rectangular shield to form a wall when the shields overlapped.

The problem with the phalanx is if the enemies attacked either from the side or behind they were unprotected and vulnerable. It was this fatal weakness of the formidable phalanx formation.  These proved to be Leonidas’  and his three hundred undoing against an invading Persian army at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

FAMILY

Leonidas was the third son of Anaxandridas II of Sparta. He was the half-brother of the late King Cleomenes I of Sparta. Leonidas was crowned King after the death of his half-brother. Cleomenes’ died of a suspected suicide. Leonidas was also married to Cleomenes’ only child, the wise Gorgo, Queen of Sparta.

Battle of Thermopylae,

 The battle of Thermopylae took place in northern Greece (480 BC) during the Persian Wars. Not to mention, this was basically a revenge reprisal by the Persians (now Iran) after they were defeated at Marathon ten years earlier. This time the Persian invasion was led by King Xerxes in 480 bce. Leonidas King of Sparta and his new alliance with Athens had decided what must be done to save Greece. Leonidas knew that the army of Xerxes was going to invade Greece from the north via the very narrow Thermopylae passage and by sea. Athens would be responsible for the taken care of the Persian fleet.

Leonidas realized that the only way his small force with his three hundred personal bodyguards was to stop Xerxes army would be at Thermopylae. There the Persian King Xerxes had led a vast army overland from the Dardanelles. The army accompanied by a substantial fleet that was moving along the coast. His forces quickly seized northern Greece after he defeated King Leonidas and his forces at the narrow pass of Thermopylae.  Next to the sea nearby in the straits of Artemisium.

The End of the King and the Three Hundred

King Leonidas succeeded with his plan to hold back the Persians. Leonidas efforts gave Greece the opportunity to organize to fight Xerxes. King Leonidas armored Greek infantry held a line only a few dozen yards long between a steep hillside and the sea. This battlefield was very narrow and was personally picked by Leonidas. It prevented the Persians from bringing their superior numbers to bear. The Greeks were able to hold back two days the fierce Persian attacks. They succeeded to impose heavy casualties on the Persians while suffering relatively light losses themselves.

Unfortunately, King Leonidas and his 300-man who refused to leave their King and retreat. Mainly, because it was contrary to Spartan law and custom. This led to their demise and their infamy.

 

The Spartan motto was “come back carrying your shield or upon it”. They never left their men behind.

This thought is also followed by the United States Marines.

 

“Leonidas I” June 2017 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonidas_I>

History.com Staff “LEONIDAS” June 2017 <http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/leonidas>

N.S. Gill “King Leonidas of Sparta and the Battle at Thermopylae” June 2017 <https://www.thoughtco.com/king-leonidas-of-sparta-battle-thermopylae-112481>

Donald Sommerville “Battle of Thermopylae GREEK HISTORY” [480 BC] June 2917 <https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Thermopylae-Greek-history-480-BC>

 

 

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Lawrence Of Arabia The beginning of the Arabs As We Know Them

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia found fame in World War One for the work he did in the Middle East. He gained an almost mythical status amongst the Arabs and was titled ‘Al Auruns’ by them.Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence was born at Tremadoc in Wales in 1888. He was the son of Thomas Chapman He later changed his surname to Lawrence. T E Lawrence was born out of marriage.

He was a very able pupil and could read at the age of four. He was also reading Latin at the age of six. Lawrence won a scholarship to Oxford University and developed a passion for reading, especially military history books.

At the beginning of World War I Lawrence tried time and time again to enlist into the British Military, being rejected every time. He just did not make the minimum height of 5 feet 5inches.

Lawrence and Arabia

In the light of these drawbacks. He continued to pester the military till they decided to give him a chance and he was given a commission. Lawrence joined the intelligence branch of the general staff. His knowledge of Arabic led to a posting to Egypt where he served in the ‘Arab Bureau’ at GHQ.

When he got there the British military campaign in the Middle East had not started well. The British were able to fight back a Turkish attack on the Suez Canal. Unfortunately, the British advances against the Turks across Sinai ground came to a standstill near Gaza. The Turks were successful in other areas, such as  Aden.

The Ottoman Empire stretched from Bosnia, Moldavia, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Armenia, Iraq, Egypt, and Cyrenaica. On June 5th, 1916, the Arab Revolt started in the Hejaz.

The Revolt

The revolt had some initial successes capturing Mecca, Jidda, and Taif but was stalemated by the Tuks. In October 1916, the British sent Ronald Storrs KCMG CBE who was an official in the British Foreign and Colonial Office. He served as Oriental Secretary in Cairo and was accompanied by Lawrence.

Lawrence was sent to meet the Amir Feisal whose tribesmen had been attempting to besiege Medina. As a matter of fact, Feisal and Lawrence developed an immediate rapport. Feisal’s small army of men didn’t have the discipline of the elite forces of the British. In the light of this Lawrence saw the potential of harnessing their commitment to the cause.

Road to Medina

He quickly realized that Feisal’s men had no chance of capturing Medina. Lawrence believed that while the Turks controlled the rail line they would always have the opportunity to supply Medina. He, therefore, believed that Feisal’s best chance lay in a form of guerilla warfare against the Turk.

He realizes that their weakness was their rail line to Medina. The rail line was a single track affair that linked Medina to Damascus. Lawrence did not want to destroy the line as it would be needed after the Turks had been defeated. Lawrence wanted to move their campaign north.

He also realized that he could bottleneck them through their rail line to Medina. The rail line was a single track affair that linked Medina to Damascus. Lawrence did not want to destroy the line as it would be needed after the Turks had been defeated. In addition, Lawrence wanted to move their campaign north.

So Lawrence advanced with his strategy. He wanted to harass the Turks along the route of the rail line so that they would have to use more and more troops to guard it along its length.

Equally important he wanted to harass the Turks so much that they would be forced to commit more soldiers to protect the rail line which would remove the forces from the front line.

Accomplishments

Some of the main accomplishment Lawrence was able to do in a short time.

  1.  Get the Hejaz Arabs to move further and further north where they linked up with Trans-Jordan tribes. Trans-Jordan tribes joined his campaign.
  2. July 6th, 1917, Lawrence and his Arab forces captured Aqaba from the rear after defeating a whole Turkish battalion.
  3. This allowed  Feisal to move his headquarters to Aqaba. Where he placed himself and his men under the command of General Allenby, a British commander in Palestine.
  4. He was able to get the Arab forces more guns, more ammunition, and more gold.
  5. On December 9th, 1917, Allenby’s forces entered Jerusalem.
  6. In January 1918, Lawrence led an attack on the Turks at Tafila in which a whole battalion was destroyed.
  7. Lawrence with his Arab forces launched a diversionary attack on the Turks at an important rail junction at Deraa on September 17th.
  8. At Deraa, he had a force of 3,000 Arabs but they tied down 50,000 Turks who could not help their comrades against Allenby.
  9. The Turkish High Command also spread their forces (150,000 men in total) thinly across the region making the British campaign that much easier.
  10. Feisal entered Damascus in triumph and Lawrence took charge of civil and military order for several weeks.
  11. On October 31st, 1918, an armistice was concluded with the Turks. The war was over.
After The War

Though the war had come to end Lawrence continued living with the Arabs. Living a Bedouin life. Coupled with the diet that he was forced to have as a Bedouin he developed a number of debilitating stomach ailments. Furthermore, he realized that he had no choice to change his life.

Lawrence accompanied the Arab delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference where they fully expected their reward for helping the Allies in the war – full independence. Conversely, it was not going to happen. Behind Lawrence and Feisal back Britain and France has already decided to carve up the Middle East to their liking. The French even ejected Feisal from Damascus.

After Versailles had finished, Lawrence resigned from the army.It was time for him to go back home, England. There he spent his time writing “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”. Here joined the RAF in 1925.  Lawrence served in India from 1927 to 1929 before returning to Britain. He stayed in the RAF until 1935.

Retired enjoying his favorite pastime which was driving his Lawrence’s last Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle at high speeds he lost control of his bike avoiding some young boys crossing a county backroad and crashed. He was only 45 years old.

 

Appendix
Lawrence of Arabia
lieutenant colonel T.E Lawrence

 

 

 

 

 

The movie Lawrence of Arabia was released in 1962

 

Lawrence- Actor Peter O'Toole
Actor Peter O’Toole

 

 

 

 

 

 

C N Trueman “Lawrence of Arabia” April 2017 <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/lawrence-of-arabia/>

“T. E. Lawrence”  April 2017 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._E._Lawrence>

Scott Anderson”True Story Of Lawrence of Arabia”<http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-lawrence-arabia-180951857/>

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