More Warship Pictures

This blog (in true Ronseal tradition named: “Vintage photographs of battleships, battlecruisers and cruisers”) features a lot of very nicely reworked pictures of warships from all over the world and a lot of different times. Some stuff I did not even know existed once upon a time. Most importantly however, it contains very nice pictures of Regia Marina vessels.

http://dennilfloss.blogspot.ru/2013/03/italian-cruiser-raimondo-montecuccoli.html

Worth checking out.

Pencil Drawings of Italian Naval Vessels

This is an absolutely fantastic site I came across by accident today. It looks as if it has thousands of pencil drawings of Italian ships, including several hundred of the Italian navy including auxiliaries. The drawings seem to be based on photos

http://www.cherini.eu/mmi/index.html

Unfortunately in Italian only, but it should be easy enough to manoeuvre for ship lovers. Below a drawing from the site and the corresponding photo of Sagittarius, from the Italian Wikipedia. 

Sagittarius was a 600 ton escort of the Spica-class, sub-class Perseo. Sagittarius survived the war and soldiered on until 1964, before being stricken from the naval list.

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Duxford Flying Legends Airshow

Last weekend I went to Duxford for the annual Flying Legends Airshow. I found the sky perfect, providing a dramatic backdrop to the planes. Below are some pictures with a desert connection. A CASA licence-built version of the Me 109, equipped with a Merlin engine, a Ju 52 of Deutsche Lufthansa, a P-40F in a striking 1944 Italy paint scheme, B-17 ‘Sally G’ coming in to land, a Swordfish of Royal Navy’s Historical Flight, the business end of a Beaufighter undergoing restoration, a Fieseler Storch. Enjoy!

Next year the Gloster Gladiator is supposed to fly as well, for all you biplane fans!

On the Beaufighter, I discussed the chances of seeing this bird in the air with one of the chaps restoring the Fighter Collection planes. He told me that it was pretty impossible to get her certified in the UK, despite her being 80% complete. Problem is the paperwork, and the UK authorities won’t let her fly without it. Since restoration began about 20 years ago, when paperwork wasn’t considered as important, documentation is the major issue. His view was that the best chance to see her fly again would be through a sale to an Australian or US collection, where requirements are more lenient. Let’s hope for the best!









A Trip to Yeovilton FAA Museum

During half-term we went to Devon for a week in a cottage near Otterton. Very nice, and a very good break. I took the opportunity to go to Yeovilton for a visit to the Fleet Air Arm Museum. Well worth it, I was very very impressed. If you ever find yourself in the beautiful southwest of England, make sure you stop by there.

Below are some of the pictures I took.

 


The museum building

 



Two pictures of a Grumman Martlet I undergoing restoration. Similar to this type, Martlet IIIs, originally intended for Greece, equipped part of the Royal Navy Fighter Squadron which was based onshore in Egypt during CRUSADER, and provided aerial protection and fighter cover to convoys from Alexandria to Tobruk and to 8 Army.


A Fairey Albacore, showing quite neatly the size of the plane next to the car. Albacores were active in various roles, dropping flares over land targets to guide Wellington’s to their objective, engaging in night bombing, laying mines, and indeed in their intended role, as torpedo bombers. An Albacore from No. 826 Squadron FAA, operating out of Berka airfield, south of Benghazi Cyrenaica, sank the large liner Vittoria, which served as a troop ship during convoy operation T.18, on 23 January 1942 off the Libyan coast.


The modern Fleet Air Arm, in this case Sea King helicopters. After the retirement of the Harrier, no more fixed wing strike aircraft are operated by the FAA.


Sunset over Devon

The End of the Halfaya Garrison

On 17 January 1942 the Axis garrison of the Halfaya Pass surrendered, just before a final attack was supposed to go in and capture the pass. It consisted of about 6,000 men, with ca. 60% of them Italian, and the remainder German. The commander was the Italian General Fedele de Giorgis, General Officer Commanding 55 ‘Savona’ infantry division, who was awarded the Knights Cross for the defense he conducted. After the war he became commander of the Carabinieri corps of the Italian army. More famous is the senior German officer, Major Wilhelm Bach, a former protestant priest, who commanded I./SR104, the German motorised rifle battalion charged with the defense of the pass.

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A head and shoulder portrait of Major The Reverend Bach, facing slightly to the right. He is in uniform with an iron cross around his neck. (Courtesy IWM ART LD 1945)

The final two weeks of the defense must have been hell for the defenders, and the ca. 75 Commonwealth POW which were encircled with them. There were little to no rations left, and access to water had been lost as well. The surrender became inevitable after this. Just a few days before a vicious little battle was fought for the town of Lower Sollum, which was captured at a cost of about 100 casualties by the South African forces of 2 South African Division, which besieged the pass.

The position was under constant bombardment by the Blenheim light bombers of the Royal Air Force and the ‘Lorraine’ Squadron, the first operational unit of the Free French Air Force in the Western Desert. Attacks were so heavy that questions were raised about the efficacy of the effort in Whitehall. A token effort was made to bring in supplies to the garrison by air from Crete, but this was hampered by weather, lack of communications, and interference by Commonwealth night fighters.

The continued defense of the pass, even after Bardia had fallen to the assault of 2 South African Division on 2 January 42, contributed to the serious supply shortage that hampered Commonwealth operations west of Tobruk so severely. It had a major strategic and operational impact, and the loss of the garrison was well worth it, as far as Axis planners were concerned, even though it is clear that Rommel himself felt badly about leaving behind so many of his men, and so much material.

The Australian War Memorial has a series of pictures of one of the raids, which I reproduce below, followed by some pictures taken after the pass was re-captured. The text is the original text associated with the photos. A big round of applause to the Australian War Memorial for making these pictures available to all.

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Western Desert, Egypt. 5 January 1942. En route to a raid on Halfaya, this pilot of a Bristol Blenheim bomber aircraft looks through his gunsight as the raiding aircraft sweep down on the isolated Axis positions. Ceaseless attacks are being carried out by RAF and Free French squadrons. (Courtesy AWM MED0297)

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Western Desert, Egypt. 5 January 1942. En route to a raid on Halfaya, the observer of a Bristol Blenheim bomber aircraft peers down on the target as the raiding aircraft sweep down on the isolated Axis positions. Ceaseless attacks are being carried out by RAF and Free French squadrons. Courtesy AWM MED0298

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Western Desert, Egypt. 5 January 1942. Missiles speeding down on the targets during a raid on Halfaya by Bristol Blenheim bomber aircraft aircraft. Ceaseless attacks are being carried out by RAF and Free French squadrons. Courtesy AWM MED0299

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Western Desert, Egypt. 5 January 1942. Missiles speeding down on the targets during a raid on Halfaya by Bristol Blenheim bomber aircraft aircraft. The rugged nature of the terrain is clearly illustrated. Ceaseless attacks are being carried out by RAF and Free French squadrons.(Courtesy AWM MED0300)

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Western Desert, Egypt. 20 January 1942. Aerial photograph taken by an Air Ministry photographer soon after the surrender of the Axis garrison at Halfaya on 17 January 1942. It shows transport of the Imperial forces travelling along Halfaya Pass. The rugged nature of the terrain is clearly illustrated. Courtesy AWM MED0303

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Western Desert, Egypt. 20 January 1942. Devastation caused by the incessant raids of Free French and RAF squadrons which played a big part in bringing about the capitulation of the garrison on 17 January 1942. This aerial photograph was taken by an Air Ministry photographer flying over Halfaya a few hours after the surrender. Courtesy AWM MED0305

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Western Desert, Egypt. 20 January 1942. Flying over Halfaya soon after the surrender of the garrison on 17 January 1942, an Air Ministry photographer took this aerial photograph which shows knocked out tanks, armoured vehicles and emplacements. To the right can be seen the graves of members of the garrison. Courtesy AWM Med0306.

Aerial Pictures of Tripoli – Nov. 42

Just a small post today, since I am a bit busy, but I came across this site in a BBC article on Operation Crossbow.

In the link below you’ll find three pictures of wartime Tripoli

UK Aerial Pictures Website

While outside the time period of Operation CRUSADER, the city would presumably not have changed much in those short months.

There are also many other interesting pictures to be found at the site.

Happy reading.