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Milestones

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Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
Other monarchs had more difficult choices to make, when their country was overrun.

Dutch Queen Wilhelmina fled to England and continued the war from there. She was critisized for leaving the population behind.

Belgian King Leopold capitulated, refused to follow his government to London and 'stayed with his troops'. He was critisized for it, as he had to deal with German occupation politics.
King Haakon of Norway (by then an elderly widower) and his son Crown Prince Olav can be added. Olav in particular had a fine record:

Crown Prince Olav and his father, King Haakon, were very close, and the Crown Prince was an important source of support for and trusted advisor to the King, particularly during WWII.

In the 1930s the King and Crown Prince were concerned about the state of the Norwegian defence capacity. They had sought support for a strengthening of military forces, but to no avail. When German troops invaded Norway on 9 April 1940, the King and Crown Prince accompanied the Norwegian troops as they withdrew northwards, and later to London during the time in exile.

Crown Prince Olav travelled together with the King and the Government to London. It was difficult for the Crown Prince to leave his country, and he offered to remain in Norway. Most of all, he wanted to fight on the front lines, but the Government strongly advised against it. While in exile the Crown Prince was able to make major contributions to Norway’s defence both militarily and diplomatically.

In 1939 the Crown Prince and Crown Princess had conducted a comprehensive tour of the USA. During that journey they had made the acquaintance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, thus laying the foundation for a long-lasting friendship. This friendship proved to be of great importance to Norway during WWII, as it facilitated direct contact with the US president. In 1942 the Crown Prince conducted another lengthy tour of the USA, lecturing on the Norwegian fight for liberation.

On 30 June 1944 the Government in exile in London appointed Crown Prince Olav Chief of the Defence. He overtook leadership of the Norwegian armed forces and cooperated with the Allied Powers.

As the war drew to a close, the Crown Prince worked tirelessly to secure Allied guarantees to provide rapid and adequate support to Norway should the country become a final battleground once the war on the Continent had been won. Fortunately, the need for such support never materialised.

On 13 May 1945 Crown Prince Olav and five government ministers returned to a liberated Norway. Cheering crowds lined the route of the procession as it wound its way from the harbour. The Crown Prince acted as Regent until King Haakon’s return on 7 June.

[URL unfurl="true"]https://www.royalcourt.no/artikkel.html?sek=28577&tid=28671[/URL]
 
Yes I remember the Potomac accident well - coming from an aviation family I was always very aware of these kind of incidents from quite a young age and the inherent risks involved in flying in poor weather conditions. Interestingly, that one was also made into a movie (though iirc it was a straight to tv movie rather than a mainstream release)

It's worth remembering that the dangers of ice were not as well understood 40 years ago as they are now, but the main contributing factor was the ever-present bogeyman that is completion bias - the desire to get things moving rather than waiting around for another de-icing procedure. These days of course pilots don't generally have the discretion to go ahead with risks of this nature and airline rules are very clear that no amount of ice on a plane is safe and in bad weather like this, it is mandatory to be properly de-iced immediately before departure, and if delays are expected, then to have the procedure carried out just before takeoff rather than having the plane waiting around on the tarmac getting frozen up again. Completion Bias combined with strict scheduling requirements has caused or contributed to quite a few deadly accidents over the decades, not least of which was the 1977 Tenerife disaster, which to this day, remains the very worst accident in aviation history :(

I think most of us have, at one time or another, been sat on a plane waiting to take off only to be delayed by various technical issues, including de-icing and other safety-critical operations. While it's very easy to get impatient, I would urge anyone in this position to just relax and chill out - as my dad always used to say, "It's better to arrive late in this life, than early in the next one"...

Again, the Mentour Pilot Youtube channel has an in-depth video on the Flight 90 accident;

Seriously for anyone with more than just a passing interest in aviation, this is one of the very best channels on Youtube for fascinating analysis and non-sensational reporting, presented by a real life pilot / instructor.
I recall a discussion about US Air Force fighter aircraft, and how strict they are about keeping runways clear of any kind of debris and grounding things for bad weather. There was then this sentence: "Of course we operate civilian airliners in all kinds of conditions". I think both policies have to do with money, the first with protecting expensive equipment and the second with protecting revenue.
 

wulf

Senator
I recall a discussion about US Air Force fighter aircraft, and how strict they are about keeping runways clear of any kind of debris and grounding things for bad weather. There was then this sentence: "Of course we operate civilian airliners in all kinds of conditions". I think both policies have to do with money, the first with protecting expensive equipment and the second with protecting revenue.
That is the very reason I will get on a military aircraft any day of the week, but will never set foot on a commercial airliner again. Fortunately I don't have to at this point in my life.
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Prince Bernhard, son in law of the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina, wanted to continue fighting, but was ordered to come to London too, with the words of his royal mother in law : "Captain! This is a direct order!"

In London, he held different liaison positions, and ill defined commands. He had the time of hs life, as his wife, the future queen Juliana, and his children lived in Canada, for security reasons, during nearly the whole war. 'Time of his life' included some extramarital affairs, and one air mission over enemy territory, for which he had bribed the pilot with a bottle of whisky, to take him with.

King George VI of England once told him : "You are the only person I know, who enjoyed the war!"
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Eighty years ago, on February 9th 1942, French Ocean liner Normandie, probably the most beautiful ocean liner ever built, met her fate.

Commissioned in 1935, and once flying the Blue Ribbon, she was laid up in New York harbour in 1939, when war broke out. When the US entered the war in 1941, she was confiscated and assigned to the US Navy. Renamed USS Lafayette, she was destined as a troop ship. While work was going on for the conversion to a troop ship, on that February 9th 1942, sparks from a welding torch set fire on highly flammable life jackets piled up nearby. During conversion, fire alerts and fire protecting equipment had been disconnected. Fire spread rapidly. One worker would die, tens got wounded. Fire fighting was carried out with little concern for the ship's stability. Advice from the designer himself, who was around, for a counterflooding operation, was neglected by US Navy. Finally, the ship capsized between the two piers she had been moored.

Free French authorities were furious, for the way, French property had been treated (the US government had considered the ship Vichy France property as a ground for the confiscation). US authorities tried to cover up the errors made, by suggesting enemy sabotage. There have been claims from the maffia, that they had ordered the fire, to make clear that, war or no war, they were 'the boss' in the harbour, not the US Navy, but these alternative theories have been dismissed by an official inquiry.

The wreck would be salvaged, but was deemed too much damaged for repair, and went to the scrapyard in 1946. Parts of the famous art deco furniture were sold and reused in buildings and other ships. The modernist art deco style of the ship was copied in contemporanous 'Normandie style' architecture.
 

Loxuru

Graf von Kreuzigung
Eighty years ago : Operation Cerberus. The Kriegsmarine succeeded where the Spanish Armada had failed.

In the evening of February 11th 1942, the German Kriegsmarine started Operation Cerberus, intended to return the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from the French port of Brest back to Germany.

The ships had arrived at, after Atlantic sorties as surface raiders. The reason to bring them back to Germany, were :

a) the time of traditional surface raids on the Atlantic was over; such operations had become too risky.

b) the ships were very vulnerable to air raids in Brest, and had already suffered damage by such attacks.

c) Hitler feared a British invasion of Norway and wanted the ships there.

So, it was decided to bring them back, by the shortest route, but also the most dangerous one : straight through The Channel, at daylight! Counting on surprise, bad visibility and protection by the Luftwaffe.

Under cover of dark, the ships with destroyer escort left Brest on the evening of February 11th 1942. Due to both German radar and radio jamming, and poor communications, patrolling and reconnaissance from the British side, the ships remained undetected for at least twelve hours. Only around 11 am, there was an alert that two big ships were in Dover Straits, but the reaction was chaotic, badly organized, and the poor visibility in Dover Straits did not help a lot. A battle in the air developed, a squadron of Swordfish was shot down by the ship’s antiaircraft batteries.

In the afternoon, Scharnhorst came into trouble, after hitting two mines in front of the Dutch coast. While still in range of air raids, she came to a death stop. Finally, the whole flotilla would reach German ports.

Although the 'Channel Dash' was tactically a success, humiliating the British coastal defence in the Channel, the strategic importance of the operation is doubted. The ships did not prove to be safe for air raids, as, before the end of the month, Gneisenau was hit in Kiel by a bomb, that blew up her forward magazine. The ship would never be repaired, and was hence knocked out of the war, ending the cooperation with her sister ship Scharnhorst.

Her armament was dismantled and used for coastal defence. Gneisenau’s heavy C-turret (28 cm) still exists on a Norwegian fortress, now a museum. Other guns from the ship are still preserved in Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands.

gneis.jpg

Scharnhorst would be sunk in the battle of North Cape (26 December 1943) against a superior British force.

The cruiser Prinz Eugen would be the largest German ship to survive the war. She was used in a target fleet for atomic bomb tests on Bikini atoll. Her capsized wreck still exists on the shores of Kwajalein Atoll.

pe1.jpgpe2.jpg
 

wulf

Senator
Eighty years ago : Operation Cerberus. The Kriegsmarine succeeded where the Spanish Armada had failed.

In the evening of February 11th 1942, the German Kriegsmarine started Operation Cerberus, intended to return the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen from the French port of Brest back to Germany.

The ships had arrived at, after Atlantic sorties as surface raiders. The reason to bring them back to Germany, were :

a) the time of traditional surface raids on the Atlantic was over; such operations had become too risky.

b) the ships were very vulnerable to air raids in Brest, and had already suffered damage by such attacks.

c) Hitler feared a British invasion of Norway and wanted the ships there.

So, it was decided to bring them back, by the shortest route, but also the most dangerous one : straight through The Channel, at daylight! Counting on surprise, bad visibility and protection by the Luftwaffe.

Under cover of dark, the ships with destroyer escort left Brest on the evening of February 11th 1942. Due to both German radar and radio jamming, and poor communications, patrolling and reconnaissance from the British side, the ships remained undetected for at least twelve hours. Only around 11 am, there was an alert that two big ships were in Dover Straits, but the reaction was chaotic, badly organized, and the poor visibility in Dover Straits did not help a lot. A battle in the air developed, a squadron of Swordfish was shot down by the ship’s antiaircraft batteries.

In the afternoon, Scharnhorst came into trouble, after hitting two mines in front of the Dutch coast. While still in range of air raids, she came to a death stop. Finally, the whole flotilla would reach German ports.

Although the 'Channel Dash' was tactically a success, humiliating the British coastal defence in the Channel, the strategic importance of the operation is doubted. The ships did not prove to be safe for air raids, as, before the end of the month, Gneisenau was hit in Kiel by a bomb, that blew up her forward magazine. The ship would never be repaired, and was hence knocked out of the war, ending the cooperation with her sister ship Scharnhorst.

Her armament was dismantled and used for coastal defence. Gneisenau’s heavy C-turret (28 cm) still exists on a Norwegian fortress, now a museum. Other guns from the ship are still preserved in Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands.

View attachment 1128703

Scharnhorst would be sunk in the battle of North Cape (26 December 1943) against a superior British force.

The cruiser Prinz Eugen would be the largest German ship to survive the war. She was used in a target fleet for atomic bomb tests on Bikini atoll. Her capsized wreck still exists on the shores of Kwajalein Atoll.

View attachment 1128704View attachment 1128705
Years ago I read Adolf Galland's book The First and the Last, and there was a lengthy description of that operation. It was a very interesting event.
 

bobinder

ARTISAN
the largest German ship to survive the war.
Europa (Liberte) - a liner, although obviously you were referring to Prinz Eugen as the largest surviving Kriegsmarine warship. ;)

Europa by Daryl LeBlanc 01.jpg
 

Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
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