Anniversary of the Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Sayhey, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #1
    Today is the 44th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. It is a date well worth remembering for its great historical significance, but the reason I draw your attention to it is the BBC has a page on the events of almost half a century ago that I found fascinating. I would recommend the audio clips in particular. If you haven't ever heard one of Churchill's speeches take the time to listen and see why the old Tory was admired for his rhetorical skills. The comparison with certain, ahem, modern conservatives (and I don't mean just in England) is none to flattering to his latter day epigones.

    BBC
     
  2. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #2
    interesting article...
    to win the battle for britain was perhaps the most important victory for the western allies in the early war... if britain had fallen too then the world would look a lot different today...

    thx for the link
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    yeah, you austrians would be speaking german today!

    ;-)
     
  4. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #4
    IIRC, those of us stateside can look forward to a new Blockbuster movie on this subject...featuring Americans (which of course, made the real difference)...coming to a googleplex near you...

    Seriously, this was as Takao noted, one of the most important battles of the early part of the war. Although my dad educated me on it many years ago, I am curious about some details...

    Were the Aliies outnumbered?
    Did Britain have Spitfires and Hurricanes in operation yet?
    Were the German Aircraft (won't try to spell) more advanced?

    My dad remembers watching aerial battles during the war, as back then they flew at such low altitudes...

    Anyway, although often maligned (and sometimes w/ good reason), I salute my former home...England, you done good...
     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #5
    LOL

    700 RAF vs 2300 Luftwaffe at the beginning I think. But the Luftwaffe did not have radar and their fighters only had a few minutes fuel by the time they reached Blighty.
    Yes, they had both, mostly Hurricanes.

    http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/27/battleofbritain/fiaircraft.htm
    Will that do?

    Well thanks! :)

    I believe that average life expectancy for an RAF fighter pilot in those days was three weeks.
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    The casualty rates throughout WW II, all sides, were incredible.

    The total of all allied forces' casualties in the Balkans, Gulf War I, Afghanistan and Gulf War II are less than just Iwo Jima's 4,500.

    'Rat
     
  7. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #7
    While we're talking about "all sides," let's be clear: there were many more than 4,500 deaths in those four theatres.
     
  8. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Sorry I didn't make myself clear. The U.S. casualties in just the battle for Iwo Jima in WW II were some 4,500. We haven't come anywhere near that in all our "adventures" since we went into Bosnia in, what, 1991?

    But thinking of Dunkirk, D-Day, the Africa engagements...

    Until the Battle of Midway, about all we had in the news was of heroic but commonly losing efforts--or at best, stalemates. The aerial battles over Britain were among the few heartening parts in those dark days.

    I remember Gracie Fields' "London Calling" radio show, live from London during the Blitz, sirens, bombs and all...

    I remember the newsreels showing various events--but my strongest memories are of their scenes of the incredible mud and snow in Europe during late 1944 and early 1945--and the concentration camps' victims.

    My father's comment is that they'll never make a truly realistic war movie: They can't duplicate in a theater the smell of the rotting meat on a battlefield.

    'Rat
     
  9. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #9
    War is hell and we would do good as a species to eliminate it as much as possible. Sadly, here we are.
     
  10. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #10
    "There will always be wars and rumors of wars."--I don't remember the author...

    "If you would have peace, be prepared for war."--Seneca, I think.

    There's always going to be a Lenin or a Hitler or a Mao or a Saddam. Always. Or an Osama bin Laden...

    There will always be conflicts among people when any group finds a leader who will act on some view of telling others how to do, how to live. On the trivial level, it's anti-tobacco or anti-booze Nazis. At some point, economics enters the picture, or a perceived need for some resource and "lebensraum". Or a "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere". Or "Reunification" as in China/Taiwan...

    'Rat
     
  11. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #11
    don't forget that 4,500 casulties for a battle in ww2 is incredible low...
     
  12. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #12
    takao, I recently browsed through a biography of Ira Hayes, one of those who helped raise our flag on Iwo Jima. Of the 257 men in his Marine Corps unit, only 27 walked away. He later said that those memories were what turned him into the "drunken Indian" of Johnny Cash's song, not the white man's treatment of the Pima Indians.

    But I misspoke. It was some 4,500 DEAD, with some 26,000 wounded. "Casualties" includes dead and wounded.

    Of the wounded, many were hit, treated by Corpsmen, and then voluntarily returned to battle. This was common in WW II. Compare this behavior with Kerry's...

    'Rat
     
  13. Sayhey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #13
    'Rat,

    you keep bringing this up and it is, quite frankly, a unjustified smear. Kerry was treated for wounds he received in combat. He didn't manufacture those wounds, he received them while leading men on missions not of his choosing, and those men who were with him say he did so very bravely. That account is bolstered by the stellar evaluations given to him by his commanding officers at that time.

    Kerry never asked for a Purple Heart or a Bronze Star or a Silver Star; those decisions are made by other people. Your unjustified account would have him somehow receiving all these medals based on his miraculous ability to determine his own evaluations. You know better.

    The simple fact is that Kerry volunteered for some of the most hazardous duty that was available to him, and time after time he lead men in a courageous manner. It is also true that his experience led him to oppose the war. A stand that millions and millions of Americans, both veterans and noncombatants, also shared. It is this political evaluation of the war that is the basis for the smears of his combat record, not his conduct while serving. 'Rat, if you seriously doubt Kerry's courage under fire, I would only ask you read the accounts of his conduct by the men who served on that boat with him or were saved by his actions. Otherwise, give him the same respect you would demand toward yourself and others with whom you served.
     
  14. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #14
    even 4.500 death wasn't spectacular for a battle...quite normal for such an assault...
    speaking about war memories from my grandfather: he was quite lucky to get on the western front after a few months on the eastern front (where he got wounded by grenade fragments in the back...there are still some fragments there)
    on the west front they surrendered to the US army because they knew that they would get better treatment compared to the russians...and believe me the stories from "being prisoner of the US army" aren't nice
    one of his brothers lost one and a half finger and was in medical treatment during when their unit surrendered...
    his other brother was stationed in the east..got captured there and was sent to a working camp in sybiria ...he returned in 1955 after 10 years...(he was one of the lucky 10% who survived) but he returned as a broken man and died years later because of it
    in 1945 the region where i live was freed by french troops..(i heard most stories about that because my grandmother likes to tell stories...compared to my grandfather)
     
  15. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Sayhey, it's not the turning against the war. It was the turning against the guys who were SENT. It was the accusations that far more than the actual numbers did Bad Deeds, implying that all were potential MyLai-ers. And, sorry, but I'm underwhelmed by self-reported wounds which didn't require hospital time. As near as I can tell from reading the official records (I guess they're official), I've slapped BandAids on worse cuts and kept on bending wrenches.

    Yeah, takao, the battles in Russia and eastern Europe were horrendus. I guess my point is that the U.S., today, has developed a high-tech style which dramatically reduces our own losses in a war. And, I gotta admit I'm concerned about our attitudes if a truly necessary defensive war erupted and we had serious losses as in yesteryear.

    The idea that one battle over one small island cost more casualties than all our adventures since the end of Viet Nam is certainly of interest...

    'Rat
     
  16. Sayhey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #16
    Last point first. Even if one accepts your characterization of Kerry's wounds, which I don't, Kerry did not "self-report" these wounds. He presented himself to a medical facility for treatment. The wounds and the circumstances of those wounds were evaluated at a whole different level. The implication is that Kerry was cowardly for getting treatment, regardless if that was a "band-aid" or something more substantial. He did not withdraw from combat because of minor wound, he presented himself for treatment after the combat was over. It is so over the top to accuse a man of cowardice who did the things Kerry did in combat as to be laughable.

    To your first point, it goes to prove my assertion it is the politics of his post-Vietnam activities that motivates these accusations. 'Rat, both you and I lived through these times, although neither of us served in Vietnam. You served in Korea (if I remember correctly); I not at all. I don't want to spend a whole lot of time going over the horrors of that war, but I can tell you and I think you would agree if you know any vets from the time period, that My Lai wasn't the end of US war crimes in Vietnam. Kerry came back and helped to expose some of the tactics used by military planners in that war that in many, many people's analysis was well beyond the pale. He did a service to do so. If he made enemies among some vets and others who did not want this topic talked about and would rather believe the flag-waving propaganda of the Nixon administration and others, then so be it. It still doesn't justify the lies and the underhanded crusade to distort his service in Vietnam.
     
  17. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Sayhey, I will comment about Kerry that I don't think he was a coward in the sense of fear. Overall, my comparison is with those who felt that their need to be with their buddies was more important than getting back stateside. I rather doubt Kerry had an epiphany in the aid tent that told him to go back to the Land of the Big PX to expose the evils of his fellow troops and his superior officers.

    I, like many, accepted LBJ's version of the Tonkin incident. I became first ambivalent and then opposed because of the way we screwed our own troops as well as the 'Yards and Viets. Fustercluck doesn't even begin to describe...

    'Rat
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    didn't kerry sign up for a second tour?
     
  19. Sayhey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #19
    No, 'Rat, I'm sure his epiphany took place after surveying the craziness and futility of what he was asked to do in Vietnam. As to his buddies, most of them are traveling with his campaign so they don't seem so upset about his leaving when he did.

    As to the rest of your post, we agree, as in the immortal words of our VP, "big time."

    zim, yes, his second tour was the one in the Swift Boats.
     
  20. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #20
    When Kerry was wounded, he kept fighting. Once, he was covered in his own blood. He went back to his unit missing little or no time; we was "walking wounded" and went back into action without delay or complaint.

    To say "I've slapped BandAids on worse cuts and kept on bending wrenches" is a disservice to Kerry and the many men in combat who've had such wounds and ignored them as best possible.

    You make it sound as if Kerry stopped fighting as soon as he was wounded, and I don't appreciate this misrepresentation.

    I think Kerry, by volunteering to serve two tours in Vietnam, earned the right to criticize the administration and the war.
     
  21. diamond geezer macrumors regular

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    #21
    The way I understand it was that Germany was winning the Battle of Britain, but then made the strategic mistake of moving their bombers from airfields and aircraft production, to bombing cities.

    It may have been that that Churchill bombed a German city first, in the hope of bringing this change about.

    The Hurricane shot down more German fighters than any other aeroplane in the Battle.
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #22
    Just about right: one German bomber got lost and dropped its load over London. Churchill sent a flight of 81 bombers to hit Berlin in retaliation, at which point Hitler lost his rag. The rest is history.
     

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