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Interesting history thread
#31
There are many reasons why Germans  lost WWII.But yes .Without any doubts Battle of Stalingrad was most important during WW2.
Anyway , it depends on the point of view.But ok i can accept that the Battle of Stalingrad was more important .

BTW, we have many misconceptions  in Western history books.i.e Weygand legend.
"During the Polish–Soviet War, Weygand was a member of the Interallied Mission to Poland of July and August 1920, supporting the infant Second Polish Republic against Soviet Russia. (He had not been on the 1919 French Military Mission to Poland headed by General Paul Prosper Henrys.) The Interallied Mission, which also included French diplomat Jean Jules Jusserand and the British diplomat Lord Edgar Vincent D'Abernon, achieved little: its report was submitted after the Poles had won the crucial Battle of Warsaw. Nonetheless, the presence of the Allied missions in Poland gave rise to a myth that the timely arrival of Allied forces saved Poland, a myth in which Weygand occupies the central role.[20]
Weygand travelled to Warsaw expecting to assume command of the Polish army, yet those expectations were quickly dashed. He had no good reply for Józef Piłsudski, who on 24 July during their first meeting asked "How many divisions do you bring?" Weygand had none to offer. From 27 July Weygand was an adviser to the Polish Chief of Staff, Tadeusz Jordan-Rozwadowski. It was a difficult position; most Polish officers regarded him as an interloper, and spoke only Polish, which he did not understand. At the end of July he proposed that the Poles hold the length of the Bug River; a week later he proposed a purely defensive posture along the Vistula River; both plans were rejected, as were most of his other suggestions. One of his few lasting contributions was to insist on replacing the existing system of spoken orders by written documents. Norman Davies writes: "on the whole he was quite out of his element, a man trained to give orders yet placed among people without the inclination to obey, a proponent of defence in the company of enthusiasts for the attack."[20] During another meeting with Piłsudski on 18 August, Weygand became offended and threatened to leave, depressed by his failure and dismayed by Poland's disregard for the Allied powers. At the station at Warsaw on 25 August he was consoled by the award of the Virtuti Militari, 2nd class; at Paris on the 28th he was cheered by crowds lining the platform of the Gare de l'Est, kissed on both cheeks by the Premier Alexandre Millerand and presented with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.[20] He could not understand what had happened and has admitted in his memoirs what he said to a French journalist already on 21 August 1920: that "the victory was Polish, the plan was Polish, the army was Polish".[21] As Norman Davies notes: "He was the first uncomprehending victim, as well as the chief beneficiary, of a legend already in circulation that he, Weygand, was the victor of Warsaw. This legend persisted for more than forty years even in academic circles."[20]"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxime_Weygand
And, yes there were Communists in Germany and other European countries (fewer in number than anti-Communists), but it's still far fetched to say they'd have fell if Poland fell.

.

Not enough?Especially when you take into account military intervention?
For example:
"The founding National Congress of the CPC was held on 23–31 July 1921.[10] With only 50 members in the beginning of 1921, the CPC organization and authorities grew tremendously.[11

"The CPC has its origins in the May Fourth Movement of 1919, during which radical Western ideologies like Marxism and anarchism gained traction among Chinese intellectuals.[3] Other influences stemming from the Bolshevik revolution and Marxist theory inspired the Communist Party of China.[4] Li Dazhao was the first leading Chinese intellectual who publicly supported Leninism and world revolution.[5] In contrast to Chen Duxiu, Li did not renounce participation in the affairs of the Republic of China.[6] Both of them regarded the October Revolution in Russia as groundbreaking, believing it to herald a new era for oppressed countries everywhere.[6] The CPC was modeled on Vladimir Lenin's theory of a vanguard party.[7] Study circles were, according to Cai Hesen, "the rudiments [of our party]".[8] Several study circles were established during the New Culture Movement, but "by 1920 skepticism about their suitability as vehicles for reform had become widespread."[9]
The founding National Congress of the CPC was held on 23–31 July 1921.[10] With only 50 members in the beginning of 1921, the CPC organization and authorities grew tremendously.[11] While it was originally held in a house in the Shanghai French Concession, French police interrupted the meeting on 30 July[12] and the congress was moved to a tourist boat on South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province.[12] Only 12 delegates attended the congress, with neither Li nor Chen being able to attend,[12] the latter sending a personal representative in his stead.[12] The resolutions of the congress called for the establishment of a communist party (as a branch of the Communist International) and elected Chen as its leader.[

Even if the Turks won the Battle of Vienna, it doesn't mean they could have conquered the rest of the Christian World lol.

That was first step that stopped the expansion of the Ottomans Empire.
And off course great battle.

In short:

"After a few years of peace, the Ottoman Empire attacked the Habsburg Empire again. The Turks almost captured Vienna, but king of Poland John III Sobieski led a Christian alliance that defeated them in the Battle of Vienna which shook the Ottoman Empire's hegemony in south-eastern Europe.[2]
A new Holy League was initiated by Pope Innocent XI and encompassed the Holy Roman Empire (headed by Habsburg Austria), the Venetian Republic and Poland in 1684, joined by Tsarist Russia in 1686. Ottomans suffered two decisive defeats against the Holy Roman Empire: the second Battle of Mohács in 1687 and a decade later, in 1697, the battle of Zenta.
On the smaller Polish front, after the battles of 1683 (Vienna and Parkany), Sobieski, after his proposal for the League to state a major coordinated offensive, undertook a rather unsuccessful offensive in Moldavia in 1686, with the Ottomans refusing a major engagement and harassing the army. For the next four years Poland would blockade the key fortress at Kamenets, and Ottoman Tatars would raid the borderlands. In 1691, Sobieski undertook another expedition to Moldavia, with slightly better results, but still with no decisive victories.[3]
The last battle of the campaign was the battle of Podhajce in 1698, where Polish hetman Feliks Kazimierz Potocki defeated the Ottoman incursion into the Commonwealth. The League won the war in 1699 and forced the Ottoman Empire to sign the Treaty of Karlowitz. The Ottomans lost much of their European possessions, with Podolia (including Kamenets) returned to Poland with imposion of Austria.[2]
More expensive description


Polish winged hussars
Original hussars were light cavalry. But when prince of Transylvania, Stephen Bathory, became king of Poland in 1576, he completely reorganized these forces into elite, heavy units, that were much better trained and equipped, with unique tactics. They became famous as so called "winged cavalry". It will be easier to understand why, when you look at the picture below:
Hetman's guard, painting by Wacław Pawliszak
There was a strong belief that the wings caused psychological effect on the enemy, frightening horses and riders. Surprisingly it's mentioned mainly by foreign, not Polish sources, what now leads historians to think that it was just a rumor.
What made husaria of Jan III Sobieski different than other heavy cavalry units of 17th century? A few facts:
Husaria used horses that were breed and trained specially to this aim. They were a mixture of Polish and Tatar blood horses, able to run very fast even under a heavy load. They were also recovering quickly. Thanks to these, and to a special kind of saddle, hussars and the horse could wear much heavier armor. They could also repeat the charge several times during the battle.
The tactic of husaria included a special kind of charge, which proved to be decisive in many battles won by Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By concentrating the formation at the last, crucial moment before crushing the enemy, it was able to completely break the enemy lines, while still being able to change formation or direction even a short time before crushing the opponent. By combining speed and mobility with advantages of strong formations, it was effective against both eastern and western armed forces. Apart from Vienna, other famous battles were Kircholm (1605 against Sweden) and Klushino (1610 against Russia).
As I've written, the charge could be repeated during the battle, going on and through the enemy line, until the enemy forces were finally broken. The main weapon was a lance, which varied in length depending on the enemy. Hussars also had a stabbing sword (koncerz), a sabre (szabla), pistol (or two), and often a carbine or arquebus (bandolet), and even a bow.
Winged hussars in Battle of Vienna
I've got a tendency of depicting this battle with colorful details, legends and anecdotes which are sometimes more or less fake (as it's typical to tourist guides), but I'll try to stick to the facts.
The charge of winged hussars started at 6 pm, while the battle started in the morning. Different historians counts the overall number of cavalry that took part in it as more or less 20000 of horses, what makes the charge of John III Sobieski the biggest cavalry charge in history. This way the mentioned 3000 were only the heaviest, frontal part of the charge, which was supported by other Polish, Austrian and Bavarian cavalry forces under the command of Polish king.
As for Polish cavalry that was stopped in difficult terrain, mentioned by Drux, it's surely connected with the charge of Zwierzchowski and his 200 hussars, that were sent by Sobieski to probe enemy lines and check for possible traps. During the charge it was stopped by the ditch or trench, before it could continue and return to the king with heavy losses. Thanks to them main forces avoided the obstacle.
The attack lasted for half an hour, after which Ottoman army went into panic and run away from the battlefield.

https://history.stackexchange.com/questi...ally-elite

BTW
here is another description about Polish Winged Hussars


https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2015/07/27/hello-world/



BTW
"In late 1683, in commemoration of the victory of Christian forces led by Polish King John III Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna, he invented and named the constellation Scutum Sobiescianum (Sobieski's Shield), now called Scutum. This constellation first occurred publicly in his star atlas Firmamentum Sobiescianum, that was printed in his own house at lavish expense, and he himself engraved many of the printing plates.[2]"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Hevelius
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#32
(09-29-2018, 10:04 PM)Lightning Wrote:
Quote:[b]WW2: Britain's secret Weapon of Mass Destruction[/b]

The war was going very badly for Britain from 1939 to 1942. The Germans had captured most of Western Europe, London and other cities were being subjected to regular bombing raids and German submarines were sinking supply ships.

In 1942, with the threat of invasion looming, the British came up with a plan to drop linseed cakes infected with anthrax spores into Germany's pastures and grazing fields. Anthrax is a deadly disease caused by bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

Consumption of anthrax-infected food would result in death 60% of the time and the inhalation of anthrax would result in death 90% of the time (modern treatments cut the mortality rates but those treatments were not available during WW2).

By early 1944, Britain had developed 5 million cakes infected with anthrax spores. However, by then, the US and the Soviet Union had both entered the war, Germany was losing badly and Britain's survival was no longer at stake. Thus, the deadly weapon was never used. The cakes were destroyed after the war ended.

Had Britain really dropped 5 million anthrax cakes over German, the result would have been devastating. Millions of Germans would of died from inhalation of anthrax, millions more would have died from eating cattle that became infected by eating the cakes dropped on fields, Germany's cattle would have been wiped out, severly restricting its food supply and Germany itself may have become uninhabitable for decades to come.

The British tested the weapon on Gruinard Island (off the coast of Scotland), in 1942 and 1943. In one such test, 60 sheep were tethered in a line and an anthrax bomb was detonated upwind from them. The sheep inhaled the anthrax spores, and within a few days all of them were dead. And Guinard Island remained uninhabitable and quarantined until the British decontaminated it nearly 50 years later in 1990.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/...egetarian/
https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/01/1...egetarian/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Vegetarian

I've read this article about how destructive anthrax is:

https://www.pnas.org/content/100/8/4355

Quote:"The model in ref. 3 assumes a point-release of 1 kg of spores, concentrated at a trillion spores per gram, from a height of 100 m, in a city of 10 million inhabitants." 

...

"The model in ref. 3 provides a virtual construct for the reality of an actual attack. The conclusions drawn from computer simulations of the model are stunning, even in the base case (p = 0), when the postattack response is relatively efficient. In the base case, >100,000 deaths result in the population of 10 million inhabitants. Less aggressive distribution of antibiotics to asymptomatics (p > 0) increases this number up to 7-fold." 

If true, it's scary to think about how terrible the consequences might have been if Britain had really dropped 5 million anthrax cakes on Germany.
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#33
Longbow development.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1...rmed20&

American soldier uniform evolution.

[Image: Nldz4oD.jpg]

And some Confederate soldiers who were still armed with flintlock muskets (note that these are flipped; the locks were on the right side of the musket. Here is one of the below photos with original orientation).

[Image: westernreb-jpg.43698]
[Image: unidentified-soldier-in-confederate-unif...t-1024.jpg]
[Image: file.jpg]
[Image: 006aed9f8cfb197e0ce51f5564717b59.jpg]

The reason I found this particularly interesting was because this was the same war when you could have run across guys armed with lever action Henry rifles or Spencer rifles. A stark contrast in technological sophistication.
[Image: 9wf8nho.png]
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#34
oohh That reminds me of the artillery short swords some civil war soldiers had.

[Image: ey0sah70f2w21.png]

Also, actual confederate battle cries were very underwhelming (or overwhelming, depends on how you wanna look at it). 
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#35
From Tiger Hunter to Slave Laborer in Arctic Camps

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Oldest Living Gulag Survivor? 98 Year Old Man Found Alive And Well In Russia!
Available for the first time in English - Escape: A True Story. Written by Valery G. Yankovsky, translated from the original Russian by Michael Hintze.

Valery ( "Valery" is a man's name in Russian, pronounced "vuh-LEH-ree") Yankovsky is a remarkable man. I say IS because although born in 1911, he is still very much alive in Russia today.

Alive and healthy today, inspite of having spent years in several GULAG concentration camps, including a GULAG prison north of the Arctic circle at Pevek in the Kolyma (Kolima)region. He had also spent some time in a high security prison at Ussuriysk near Vladivostok, sent there for actually escaping from the first camp he had been sent to, at Nakhodka. He was recaptured near the Korean border because he was trying to help some other prisoners escape. Most others would have been shot on the spot. Remarkably, he was not.

His longevity may have something to do with his early life, and also with his unwavering belief that he had done nothing wrong. He was born into a very hardy family of hunters, outdoors men and women who also raised and bred deer and horses, and owned a large estate on the Yankovsky Peninsula across the bay from Vladivostok in Far Eastern Russia. This estate had been created by his grandfather, Mikhail(Michael) Yankovsky, a Polish exile. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, a statue of Mikhail has been put up on the grounds of the old estate, and the family name has been restored to honor after having been demonized by Soviet era writers.

All the boys and many of the Yankovsky women knew how to shoot. It was a fact of life, that one needed this skill, as the area was often plagued by Hung-hu-ze - so called "red-beards", who were Chinese bandits. Because of this, the Yankovskys trusted only Koreans, and adopted many of them in to their own "clan", building up their own small private army of Koreans.

Valery and his siblings were taken by their parents to North Korea in 1922, when it became clear the Russian Revolution would take everything from them. They left just a few steps ahead of the Bolshevik forces advancing on the Vladivostok area. Valery was 11 years old at the time, already a hunter and a good shot with a rifle.

Once in North Korea, it took some time for them to establish themselves, but they created 2 settlements, both of which eventually became summer resorts - one in the mountains, one on the Sea of Japan a few miles away. All the children worked hard; their father was a tough taskmaster, whose own father had been exiled from Poland to Siberia for being a nationalistic troublemaker, and was himself a tough and unbending man. Russia ruled Poland back then, and Polish nationalists were often exiled to Siberia.

Big game hunting became a routine part of their life in North Korea, as well as breeding deer, growing and harvesting ginseng, and running the summer resorts. In the hills, they had built a Russian Camelot, called NOVINA. Built on the Ompo River near a town with famous hot springs, Novina became a flowering oasis well-known to the Far Eastern Russian communities in China and Manchuria. It was well known for about 20 years, and was once profiled in the National Geographic magazine, October 1945 issue.

Unfortunately, the Yankovsky family was surprised by the arrival of the Soviet army at the end of WW2, in 1945. All were put essentially under house arrest, although several of the men were enlisted to work for the Soviet army as translators and as people knowledgeable of the area, having lived there all those years. In fact Valery volunteered to help out because of the sentiment that he wanted to help his motherland Russia, in it's struggle with Japan.

Korea had been under Japanese occupation for quite a few years, as part of the "Japanese Empire", and the Yankovsky men spoke Japanese as well as Korean.

They were led to believe that all would be well; however Valery was suddenly arrested as he was actually on his way to Novina where his wife was soon to give birth to their first child. He was sent to the GULAGs in Russia, and did not learn what had happened to his wife and child until 17 years later, well after he was released from GULAG. His father and younger brother were arrested within days of each other and also sent back into the Soviet Union's GULAG concentration camps.

Valery eventually became a recognized author in Russia, writing many stories for Russian magazines - hunting stories, true life adventures, outdoor adventures, many of which have been collected and published in Russian. He has also written 2 autobiographical volumes. "Escape" is actually the first part of one called "The Long Return", the 2nd part of which is about his life after release from the slave labor camps, and his trip to the U.S.and Canada, where he met his son for the first time, when his son was already about 40 yars old.
https://gulagsurvivor.blogspot.com/
Russia’s Most Legendary Hunters: The Jankovski Dynasty
https://sportingbookworm.wordpress.com/2...i-dynasty/
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#36
Possibly the only photo ever taken of a Mughal Emperor:
[Image: main-qimg-9526d025578b82d26d4cdfeb685f450b]

Though, to be fair, he was an emperor in name only. By his day, the Mughal Empire was a just a mere shadow of its former self and Bahadur was, in reality, a puppet of the British. He got exiled for his part in the 1857 anti-British rebellion.
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#37
Everyone talks about the dental health of George Washington. But John Adams had some rotten chompers too.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/15508681/
[Image: 9wf8nho.png]
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#38
Quote:Did You Know The Rajputs Put Fake Elephant Trunks On Their Horses In A Very Smart War Tactic?
By Rishabh Banerji

For those who are completely illiterate about horses, they, like dogs, are born as different breeds. Not all of them look like the macho stallions we see in the movies. Wikipedia lists over 320 different kinds of horses, each very distinctive in its own way, and each used for very specific purposes by man.
The Marwari or Malani is a rare breed hailing from the Marwar or Jodhpur region of the country. Distinctively known for their ambling gait, ear tips turning inwards and the amazing ability to withstand desert heat, the Marwari horses were war horses, historically known for their valour, loyalty and bravery in battles.

[Image: 2ba248c4bb155b705a563a3a9ccbb72e_1458218447_725x725.jpg]

But why were they famous?
The Rajputs were the reason behind Marwari's fame. They would very cleverly get fake elephant trunks put on Marwari war horses. Appearing as baby elephants, the elephants carrying the enemies would instinctively not attack them, giving the Rajputs an advantage of attacking first.

[Image: mps4_1458218499_725x725.jpg]

The horses would then rise on their hind legs, placing their front legs on the elephant's head. This would give the rider a chance to attack the mahout with a spear or a sword. A fight tactic that would end up paying high dividends.

[Image: a66db0e5724f18d0aac2889aa84307f8_1458218556_725x725.jpg]

The Battle of Haldighati
It was the Battle of Haldighati in 1576 when the iconic horse Chetak saved the life of his master, Maharana Pratap, the last of the Rajputs, battling the Mughals, who were led by Man Singh, another Rajput chieftain.
The painting shows Chetak wearing the false elephant trunk with his hooves on the head of the main enemy elephant, allowing Maharana Pratap to throw a lance at Akbar's general. The general was quick with his reflexes, so he ducked. The mahout wasn't, and the lance killed him instantly.
Panicking in the situation, the elephant swung about, chopping off one of Chetak's legs with the sword that was attached to his trunk. Even with a leg chopped off, Chetak managed to carry Maharana Pratap safely to his brother, Shakti Singh's horse, on which he escaped. Even though the Rajputs were defeated, the battle is held in high regard, thanks to the incredible showcase of bravery and loyalty shown by the Marwari war horses.
The Marwari breed was so integral in a Rajput's life that people would often say that a Rajput could never be separated from his horse, come what may.

[Image: mawari6_1458218623_725x725.jpg]

But their reign didn't last long
The reign of the Marwari breed didn't last too long. As the British colonised the country, they brought their own horses with them. Disliked by the English, the Marwaris eventually lost out to imported Australian breeds. It only got worse for the horses when the British eventually left in 1947. People couldn't afford to keep them anymore. Many were castrated, abandoned, and some were even shot dead.

Although things have gotten better over the years for the Marwari breed thanks to the rise of tourism, it's nowhere close to the life they once enjoyed. Alas, that life of glory has become another tourist attraction in a trekking safari.

https://www.indiatimes.com/culture/who-w...52178.html
[Image: 9wf8nho.png]
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#39
The armor of King Henry VIII...

(The man got to 300+ lbs in case you didn’t know)
[Image: rprBus5.jpg]

[Image: he7lrb4lova11.jpg]

It’s good to be king indeed. I’m sure his horse could attest.
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#40
Exploding teeth in the 19th century.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160301...ding-teeth

Edit: should probably link where I got this from. These are too interesting (if macabre).

https://www.cracked.com/article_24245_ex...story.html
[Image: 9wf8nho.png]
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#41
If you're as into antique firearms as I am, you might find these interesting.

When flintlocks were being replaced by or converted into caplock guns, some people actually fashioned guns such that both mechanisms existed on the same weapon. Below are a few examples (the first two pictures are from a book I own; the title is The Illustrated History of Weaponry: From Flint Axes to Automatic Weapons).

[Image: 2gybzb7.jpg]

The Indian rifle on the top is the flintlock/caplock combo. If you look closely, the lower jaw of the flintlock cock doubles as a percussion hammer, and is resting on the nipple. The pan revolves so the user could switch between caplock and flintlock modes.
[Image: 2qa2zjo.jpg]
(Also, in case the text is too small to read, the percussion gun in the middle is Chinese and was originally a matchlock)

A closeup of the aforementioned arrangement on a different gun (original image source). Here, the gun is in flintlock mode.
[Image: 13748718_2.jpg?v=8CF527F5226D490]
[Image: 9wf8nho.png]
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#42
Quote:World's first tank

The Mark 1 was developed by the British in 1915 to break the stalemate of trench warfare in WW1. They called the programme 'tank' to fool German spies into thinking they were creating aquariums rather than a brand new type of weaponry. The Mark 1 tank could travel through difficult terrain, crush barbed wire and survive machine gun and rifle fire. There were male and female versions of the tank. The male version weighed 28 tons, had a crew of eight and was armed with two 6-pounder QF cannons and three hotchkiss machine guns. The female version weighed 27 tons, also had a crew of eight and was armed with four 0.303 Vickers machine guns and one hotchkiss machine gun.

A male Mark 1 tank near Thiepval in September 1916
[Image: 800px-British_Mark_I_male_tank_Somme_25_...r_1916.jpg]

Quote:Largest tank ever created

Panzerkampfwagen VIII Maus ("Mouse") was completed by the Germans in late 1944, with the intention of turning the tide of WW2. At 188 tons, the tank was almost three times heavier than the previous largest WW2 tank. The Maus' main armament was the 128mm gun, which was capable of destroying any Allied tank at ranges of over two miles. And its armour was far superior to that of the Tiger 2 tank, which itself was impenetrable to most Allied tanks and guns except at very close ranges. Only four maus tanks were built and they never saw action.

A Maus 
 [Image: 600px-Metro-maus1.jpg]

Quote:The Germans planned to build tank-like vehicles even larger than the Maus but cancelled the plans.

Landkreuzer P. 1000 "Ratte"(English: Land Cruiser P. 1000 "Rat") would have weighed 1000 tons.
[Image: P1000_ratte_scale_model.png]


The Landkreuzer P 1500 Monster would have weighed 1500 tons.
[Image: QhW0GZOZ6vkr6HYSRsZ4dYa0rZtdrwMnysBGnIGX...df4821b469]

The shells which the P.1500 monster would have fired:
[Image: 340px-Schwerer_Gustav_shell_by_Daniel_Perez_Sutil.jpg] 
Quote:The gun which can fire a million rounds per minute.

The AK-47 fires 600 rounds per minute and the M-16 can fire up to 950 rounds per minute but there is a gun which can fire 1,000,000 rounds per minute!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWEqyrKLz6M
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#43
People used to give themselves tapeworms for dieting.

[Image: The-Inevitable-Sanitized-Tape-Worms.jpg]
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#44
There are WW2 History buffs, who have spent so much time researching the identity, history and personal details of this battered girl filmed on the side of a road at the end of WW2. In the famous documentary series "The World at War", she was presented as a German Girl raped by the Red Army. It seems the story is different to that:



Injuries to her her face are obvious, but also note her swollen broken hand.
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
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#45
Quote:Battle of Cochin, 1504, victory despite the greatest numerical disadvantage 


(I'm certain that the numbers and casualties of the winning side have been vastly downplayed whilst the numbers and casualties of the losing side have been vastly exaggerated to make the battle seem more epic and grandiose than it really was but the same can be said for many other battles).

Calicut was the dominant kingdom in South West India. They had been trading with Arab merchants and sailors for centuries when the Portuguese arrived in 1498. The Portuguese began trading there too but frequently got into quarrels with the Arab traders. In December 1500, a clash led to the deaths of several Portuguese. Captain Pedro Alvares Cabral demanded that the Calicut king compensate the Portuguese and expel all Arab traders from the city. When the king refused, Cabral bombarded Calicut with his warships. Thus, began the war between Calicut and the Portuguese.

Cochin, a much smaller kingdom, was an old enemy of Calicut and quickly allied itself with the Portuguese. In 1504, Calicut was about to lay siege to Cochin after it refused to hand over the Portuguese soldiers it was harbouring. Calicut assembled a massive army of around 70,000 men armed with swords, spears, bows and also with guns, cannons and 5 cannons from Venice. Against them, there were only 130 Portuguese and 300 Cochinese led by Portuguese captain Duarte Pacheco Pereira. 

However, to get to Cochin, the Calicut forces would have to travel through a narrow strait in a place called Kumbalam. The Calicut had hundreds of boats armed with gunmen and bowmen whilst the Portuguese only had 5 ships but the narrowness meant only a dozen or so Calicut boats could face the Portuguese at a single time. The Portuguese ships were much larger than the Calicut boats. Plus, Pereira had reinforced his ships with cotton layers, defence towers etc. Additionally, Indian guns were said to have “the range and power of a hand-thrown stone”. The Portuguese guns and cannons were immensely superior. The result was that, in the first assault, the Portuguese decimated waves after waves of Calicut boats whilst Calicut gunfire did very little damage to the Portuguese ships.


Several days later, the Calicut forces decided to try a new tactic. They concealed their five Venetian cannons (which were far superior to the ordinary Indian cannons) and shot at the Portuguese from a long distance away. But the Calicut gunmen had poor marksmanship skills and missed their targets. To deceive them, the Portuguese did not return fire. This caused to Calicut to think the Portuguese run out of ammunition. Waves of Calicut boats rushed in to finish them off whilst the crew with the Venetian artillery came closer to take better aim. The result was that many more Calicut boats and the Venetian artillery were annihilated.

After these series of failures, the Calicut king decided to go through another river, which wasn’t as narrow, in a place called Palignar-Palutre but the Portuguese got there first and defeated them even there, via superior ship durability, more powerful guns and better tactics.

Eventually, after more warfare, the Calicut king decided to give up. The entire battle lasted five months. Calicut casualties were 5000 killed in action and 13,000 dead from disease. According to what’s written, the Portuguese didn’t even lose a single soldier. This defeat was a major blow to Calicut dominance in the region and caused the Calicut king to lose a lot of prestige. Meanwhile, Portuguese presence in India was secured and Cochin was empowered among the cities in the region.

[Image: 525px-Duarte_Pacheco%27s_victory_at_Batt...504%29.jpg]



Quote:Battle of Isandlwana, 1879, victory despite the greatest technological disadvantage


In the 1870’s, the British (who at that point, were a superpower and had a massive empire ruling many parts of the world) wanted to conquer Zululand in South Africa. In December 1878, with the intention of starting a war, the British sent an ultimatum to the Zulu King Cetshwayo demanding that the Zulus disband their army and abandon key cultural sites. When the king refused, the British decided to invade.

In Isandlwana, a British force of around 1,800 led by Lt-Col Henry Pulleine and Col. Anthony Durnford set camp. The British had defeated other African tribes in the past and underestimated the Zulus. The British were armed with state-of-the-art Martini-Henry breech-loading rifles, which could fire 12 rounds per minute, and powerful 7 pounder mountain gun artillery whilst the Zulu were armed only with spears, clubs and carried cowhide shields. Thus, the British did not make as much defensive arrangements as they could have. They were more worried about how to move around their supplies than about a Zulu attack.

British scouts recorded Zulu troop movements, both small and large. A British scout team led by Lt. Charles Raw chased a group of Zulus into a valley. There they discovered, around seven miles from the British camp, the main Zulu Army of roughly 20,000 warriors, just sitting there in silence. Having been discovered, the Zulus attacked. The scouts led by Raw fought a fighting retreat and sent a messenger to warn Pulleine in the main British camp.

By the time the Zulus, led by General Ntshingwayo, arrived at the main British camp and tried to envelop the British forces using their buffalo head and horns tactic, the British had taken formation. Disciplined British gunfire kept the Zulus at bay for more than an hour. However, soon, the British soldiers under Durnford, who had been fighting the longest, began to fatigue and retreat. This exposed the right flank of the British forces. Eventually, the Zulus caught up to them. The British made several last stand attempts and tried to fight back with gunfire and bayonets but the Zulus overwhelmed them and cut them to pieces. Both Pulliene and Durnford were killed in action. British casualties were 1,300 dead. Zulu casualties were similar.

[Image: 450px-Isandhlwana.jpg][Image: 330px-Zuluattackgutt.jpg]
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