WAR IS NEVER EASY, and sometimes victory requires a lucky break. Think about that moment in March 1945 when the U.S. Army managed to seize a bridge over the Rhine—a major river and an operational obstacle of the first order. No one on the Allied side thought getting across was going to be easy. And then suddenly they did just that! As elements of General John W. Leonard's 9th Armored Division approached the river on March 7, they saw to their astonishment that the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen still stood. Hardly pausing for breath, they rushed toward it. The Germans set off explosives, and eyewitnesses actually saw the bridge lift off its foundations—then settle back down again, intact. Soon the U.S. Army was pushing everything it could across the bridge, establishing a powerful bridgehead on the Rhine's eastern bank, and preparing for a thrust into the heart of Germany. That quickly, a terrain barrier that might have held up the Allies for weeks had been overcome. General Courtney Hodges, commander of the U.S. First Army, wasn't the ebullient type, but he couldn't contain himself: "Brad," he shouted over the phone to his commanding officer, "we've got a bridge!" General Omar Bradley, commander of the U.S. 12th Army Group, responded with one of the war's great comebacks: "Hot dog, Courtney—this will bust him wide open."
The secret of Trafalgar is obscured by the simplicity of its conception. On 29 September 1805, 15 of his captains dined with Nelson aboard the Victory in celebration of his 47th birthday. Anticipating battle with the combined Franco-Spanish fleet then at anchor in Cadiz harbour, he took the opportunity to explain his plan. Instead of sailing parallel to the enemy fleet in line-ahead formation, such that full broadsides could be fired as soon as possible by as many ships as possible, the British fleet would be formed into two divisions and these would sail directly towards the enemy line, cutting it at right-angles into three segements. That was it. He called it 'the Nelson touch'. The assembled captains were stunned. Some were overcome and shed tears. But all approved: it was new - it was singular -it was simple!' Nelson explained that 'no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy'.
In 1951 Nicholas Monsarrat published his fourth book on the naval war: The Cruel Sea. Monsarrat described it as the story 'of one ocean, two ships, and about one hundred and fifty men,'In a gritty, realistic style, the book conveys the joys and the tragedies, the cruelty and the horror of the Battle of Atlantic. It focuses on the relationship between Captain George Ericson and a reserve officer who becomes his Number One. Keith Lockhart. It tells the story of HMS Compass Rose, a corvette, and HMS Saltash, a frigate, and the crews who sailed them from 1939 to 1945. The book captures the rituals of life at sea. and goes into the heart of the action. At times the description of sailing through rough seas is strong enough to make the reader almost feel seasick. The Cruel Sea is a novel, but it is based very much on Monsarrat's own wartime experiences. He had served on corvettes and on a frigate in the Atlantic for four years, rising through the ranks. He had sailed with crews whose moving human stories are reflected in the characters in The Cruel Sea.
The Messerschmitt Bf.110 Zerstörer (Destroyer) was the pre-eminent night fighter aircraft for the Luftwaffe during WW II. Powered by twin Daimler-Benz DB 605B 1,450-hp liquid-cooled, V-12 engines, it was originally designed as a fighter-bomber. After the Battle of Britain, however, its role was changed to a primary night fighter and it was nicknamed "Ironsides" by commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering. In this role and as a ground support aircraft, it excelled and remained in service throughout the war. The Durafly version of the Bf.110 is made of molded foam and comes as a "Plug and Fly" version that only requires only the addition of your receiver and motor battery. It is highly prefabricated and comes with a speed control, motors, and servos all factory installed. The 110 is incredibly detailed, so in only a few hours, you can have a scale twin-engine warbird that's ready to fly. Total assembly takes about three or four hours, and if you're an intermediate flier, you'll find it's very pilot friendly.
Sponsored by the Ministry of Supply (MoS), Avro Tudor 8VXI95 was a dramatic departure from previous versions of its kind. Instead of the familiar Rolls-Royce Merlin piston engines it was powered by four 5,000lb/thrust Rolls-Royce Nene Mk.4 turbojets and, when it first flew on September 6, I948,AV Roe and Company (Avro) entered the jet age. The maiden flight was performed from Woodford airfield in Cheshire by Avro's Chief Test Pilot J H 'Jimmy' Orrell and when VX195 appeared at Farnborough's SBAC Show later that month the aircraft was billed as "the world's first four-engined jet-powered transport." But the reality was far removed. The aircraft would never carry passengers and its pressurised fuselage was actually intended for research into problems of flying large jets at high altitudes and speeds. VXI95 had already led a varied life having originally been the second prototype Tudor I (G-AGST/TT181 ) and then rebuilt as a Mk.4 before being converted again to jet power Much of its jet-powered career was spent at Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) Farnborough undergoing trials, including development of new instruments and evaluation of cabin combustion heaters.
Boeing and Saab have begun work on developing a new-advanced jet trainer to compete for a pending T-X requirement to replace the US Air Force's venerable Northrop T-38 Talons. Under their joint development agreement - which was announced on 6 December, several months after rumours of a pact had surfaced - Boeing is to act as prime contractor and Saab as primary partner. The collaboration will cover design, development, production, support, sales and marketing activities, they say. "The trainer solution from Boeing and Saab and other potential team members will be a new aircraft, built to meet the needs of the USAF," the partners say, with the Swedish firm stressing that it is not proposing a derivative of its Gripen fighter. likely to be among the air force's largest acquisition programmes in the coming decade, the strategy for T-X is still evolving. The service has previously released proposed requirements for an off-the-shelf aircraft, with the makers of the Alenia Aermacchi M-346, BAE Systems Hawk T2 and Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 expressing interest.
China is on its way to the first controlled lunar landing in almost four decades—a planned touchdown in the poetically named Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridium) to unleash a robotic rover called Yutu (see illustration), an equally poetic reference to the jade rabbit the goddess Chang'e took with her when she flew to the Moon. China's Chang'e-3 mission made it out of low Earth orbit Dec. 1 into a translunar trajectory that sets up Yutu for a landing on Dec. 14. Even if the mission does not work out as planned—the Moon's surface is littered wreckage from failed robotic landings—attempting it underscores China's ambitions in space, which have drawn praise from other spacefaring nations. Russian federal space agency Roscosmos posted news of the "flawless" launch on its English-language Facebook page, and the European Space Agency's (ESA) website noted that its ground-based space-tracking network is helping the Chinese, who normally rely on ocean-going tracking vessels for global coverage.