Hunter Biden and the Corrupt Media’s War on Truth

Recall the blockbuster New York Post story in the end run up to the 2020 election? The major scoop that Hunter Biden had left a laptop at a repair shop – and the repairman found all kind of illicit doings (and pictures!) on the computer? 

The story was not only hotly denied by the Biden campaign and —  falsely —  assailed as part of a Russian disinformation campaign, it was suppressed by its Big Tech allies and ignored by the Democrat’s liberal media buddies.

Now comes Politico, of all places, to confess that…well, um, ahhh…ok, yes. The Post story was in fact true. An amused Post editorial headlined: “The Hunter Biden laptop is confirmed?! Color us shocked!” 

Said the paper: 

“In his new book, “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power,” Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger says that evidence points to Hunter Biden’s laptop being legit.

While we appreciate the support, the truth is The Post’s reports always have been true, and it’s only because the media wants to protect Joe Biden that they keep referring to the laptop as ‘unsubstantiated.’”

Bingo.

But the media wasn’t done in ignoring a Hunter Biden scandal. Just this week Fox’s Bret Baier reported on a story from Business Insider. As reported by NewsBusters’s own Nicholas Fondacaro there was this: 

“According to a Thursday report from Business Insider, they obtained e-mail evidence that Hunter Biden had tried to ‘shakedown’ the government of Libya for millions of dollars as they tried to get him to help release money frozen when his dad was vice president.”

And what did Fondacaro report of the media coverage of this new Hunter Biden scandal? You guessed it: “….the broadcast networks simply ignored it.”

The real problem here is the effort by the media or the government or a Democratic presidential campaign to suppress a news story they don’t like or goes against the favored liberal media narrative of story X. Or to push a wildly untrue story that is in fact no more than a political campaign’s dirty trick. 

This is about deliberately keeping the American people in the dark or completely misinformed about some topic of the day.

Here’s another headline from The Post, this one about the investigation into the so-called Trump-Russia collusion episode from the 2016 presidential campaign. The headline: “DIRTY TRICKS EXPOSED.” 

From the article: 

Jake Sullivan testified that he didn’t know the Hillary Clinton campaign’s dirty tricks against Donald Trump — yet emails uncovered by special counsel John Durham suggest otherwise.

This jewel of a story from investigative reporter Paul Sperry reports on the indictment of Clinton Campaign lawyer Michael Sussman, saying essentially that Jake Sullivan, now President Biden’s national security advisor, lied to Congress on his role in spreading the false story of Trump-Russia collusion. 

And the indictment itself makes it crystal clear that the much ballyhooed Trump-Russia collusion story was made up out of whole cloth by the Clinton campaign- but flogged repeatedly across the mainstream media.

To borrow from old astronaut lingo? Houston, America has a media problem. And a big one.

Time after time after time one story after another that is either a bombshell or runs counter to the liberal narrative of the moment is repeatedly suppressed or ignored by the media. One day its suppressing Hunter’s laptop story or the latest tale of his Libyan scandal. The next day its suppressing footage that shows the actual events on the “insurrection” story and the next day after that its flogging the Trump-Russia collusion story that turns out to be utterly fabricated by the Clinton campaign.

As Greg Gutfeld pointed out on Fox the other day, now the media is playing fast and loose with the goings on at the southern border. Said Greg of the sudden mass media attention to images of Border Patrol agents on horseback pushing back illegals swarming the border — with the reins of their horses and not whips as claimed as the Border Patrol does not have or use whips.  

“So it’s all on the press. And they still love to bury things. Take the border. For months, horrifying video relayed the hell that was going on. But they ran from that footage like it was an incoming Zoom call from Jeffrey Toobin.

But the media only cared when they found ‘one image’ they could use to demonize Border Patrol. But now – surprise surprise – the so-called whipping, was downgraded to wielding, then whirling – and now it’s just twirling. What’s next – wooing?”

Which is to say, the border mess was ignored —  until the images of those agents arrived and were fixated on by the liberal media, ginning up the inevitable outrage from Biden himself and others.

And as to those images of the Border Patrol? It took the conservative Daily Caller to headline this: “Photographer Who Took Photos Of Alleged ‘Whipping’ Says He Never Saw Anyone Actually Being Whipped.” 

Is it any wonder Fox reports this: “Border Patrol stunned as Biden goes to war with his own agents over false ‘whipping’ allegations.” 

But don’t expect that story to dominate the liberal media. And, as this Breitbart story headlined, the American people in this Rasmussen poll are onto the game. The headline: “Poll: Voters Give Media ‘Poor’ Rating for Migration Coverage.” 

As Tucker also noted, there are doubtless Americans today who still believe the 1960’s media of the day and the tall tale that President Kennedy was killed by a right-winger when in fact his assassin was a pro-Cuban Communist who had once tried to defect to the Soviet Union.  

As I’ve mentioned previously, 1964’s GOP and conservative nominee Senator Barry Goldwater went to his grave still furious at a report from CBS that had him headed to Germany after his nomination to visit Hitler’s old stomping grounds. The story was 100 percent false —  there was no German trip and Goldwater merely went home to Arizona for a quick rest —   but it was designed to push the liberal narrative of the day that Goldwater was a wannabe fascist, a danger to America and the world who should never be president.

All of this is complicated big time in our day, as the Hunter Biden laptop episode illustrates, by a Big Tech world that has demonstrated repeatedly its determination to suppress stories it doesn’t like.

The simple fact here is that at this moment in the history of the American media, as reported multiples of times, the American people have little to no trust in the mainstream media to report the truth. 

And as these fresh examples illustrate — with reason.



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Kim Jong Un’s sister says North Korea open to ending war if conditions met

North Korea is open to officially ending the Korean War if the South ends its “hostile policies,” according to the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Kim Yo-jong made her unexpected statement in response to a renewed call from the South to officially end the long conflict, the BBC reported Friday.

The Korean war, which split the peninsula into two, unofficially ended in 1953 with an armistice and not a peace treaty. The two countries have technically been at war ever since, locked in an often contentious relationship.

Last week, South Korean president Moon Jae-in called for the two Koreas and their allies – the US which backs the South, and China, which supports the North – to declare a formal end to the conflict.

The idea was first derided as “premature” by a top North Korean minister.

But in a surprise statement released Friday, Kim Jo-yong said the idea was “admirable”.

The Imjingak ‘peace park’ near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is seen separating North and South Korea, in Paju.
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

But she said that the North would only discuss the proposal if the South stopped what she called “hostile policies” towards them.

“What needs to be dropped is the double-dealing attitudes, illogical prejudice, bad habits and hostile stand of justifying their own acts while faulting our just exercise of the right to self-defense,” she said

Kim Yo-jong helps her brother North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sign a joint statement following the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Kim Yo-jong helps her brother North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sign a joint statement following the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP, File

“Only when such a precondition is met, would it be possible to sit face to face and declare the significant termination of war.”

South Korea earlier this month tested its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, just hours after the North tested their own weapon.

North Korea has also often criticized South Korea’s annual military drills with the US.



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‘Go F*ck Yourself!’: Hillary Clinton Gets Called A ‘War Criminal’ As She Walks Into University

A video posted to Twitter on Friday shows a crowd of people shouting at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she walks into Queen’s University in Belfast to be inaugurated as the school’s new chancellor.

WATCH:

Members of the crowd repeatedly shouted “war criminal” as Clinton climbed the stairs flocked by security. Others can be heard shouting  “Shame on Queens! Shame on you!” and “Go f*ck yourself!” (RELATED: Hillary, Bill Clinton Spotted Taking A Walk In The Hamptons)

The students were protesting America’s foreign policy, according to BBC.

As a New York Senator in 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the war in Iraq. During her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, Clinton persuaded President Barack Obama to participate in the bombing of Libya, “leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven,” according to the New York Times. She also supported the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan. (RELATED: Bill Clinton Escaped #MeToo)

Clinton, who was appointed in January 2020, spoke at the event for about 15 minutes, during which time she encouraged the people of Northern Ireland to “work together to resolve their differences over Brexit and dealing with the legacy of past violence,” according to BBC.





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Border Patrol Outraged by Biden’s Scapegoating: ‘He Just Started a War’

President Joe Biden answers questions from the media in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 24, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

President Biden earned the ire of Border Patrol agents on Friday after endorsing the false claim that they were recorded “whipping” migrants who were attempting to cross the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas, earlier this week.

At a press briefing Friday, Biden said the agents would “pay” for allegedly lashing the Haitian migrants — a narrative popularized by journalists on social media even though the video evidence shows no such thing.

Border Patrol morale is suffering due to the administration’s scapegoating.

“Would you go to work and do your best knowing that if you do your boss is going to ‘make you pay’?” one agent told Fox News. “I’m dumbfounded and don’t know what to say. Is the president threatening to throw us in prison?”

“I see the administration wants to fry our agents, he just started a war with Border Patrol,” said another agent.

Brandon Judd, leader of the National Border Patrol Council, noted to Fox News that the investigation has already been skewed against the agents now that Biden has prematurely pronounced them guilty.

“Now that the President of the United States has already said they did wrong, how is an investigator supposed to do a true and honest investigation?” he said. “Because if that investigator finds they did nothing wrong — and they didn’t do anything wrong — but if that investigator finds they didn’t do anything wrong, how is that investigator’s job going to go?”

A former mounted Border Patrol supervisor explained to National Review that the agents who can be seen in the video were actually twirling their reins to keep control of their horses, not lashing the migrants with them.

“It’s a training tool, and it’s a training aid if a horse does not want to cooperate with its rider,” explained George Syer, a retired horse patrol coordinator in the Rio Grande Valley and Border Patrol supervisor.

Even Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas initially squashed the claim, although he backtracked when Biden condemned the agents in front of reporters, subsequently appearing on CNN to say that “one cannot weaponize a horse” against migrants.

“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped – it’s outrageous,” Biden said. “I promise you, those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences.”

Judd added that agents were simply following instructions and orders as passed down from the executive branch that Biden presides over. He indicated that Biden’s comments have been interpreted as a betrayal by many agents, which he did to remain in favor with his supporters who denounced the incident without reviewing the facts on the ground.

“Nobody was struck by a rein, not one person was struck by a rein, not one person was run over by those horses. They used the tactics they were trained to use, to do the job [Biden] sent them out to do — these are executive branch employees,” he told Fox News. “He sent them out there to do the job, and now he’s criticizing them because his base wants them to.”

Adding to the fury, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Thursday that Border Patrol agents will be forbidden from using horses to guard the border in Del Rio, Texas, referencing the “horrific” photos of agents swinging reins while responding to Haitian migrants.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.





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Scary Thought: Hitler Almost Won World War II’s Battle of the Bulge

The chief shuffled to his seat in the underground conference room. He sat down heavily, eyes unfocused and dreamy, while a litany of woes was read to him. His military had sustained well over one million casualties in the past three months. Strong enemy forces were pushing against his country’s frontiers from all directions. And there seemed to be little the poorly equipped and disorganized remnants of his army could do to stop them.

There was more bad news. In their latest headlong retreat, the chief’s soldiers had left completely unguarded a key border zone. Well known to all present as a traditional invasion route, this heavily wooded region was called the Ardennes.

Upon hearing the word “Ardennes,” the chief abruptly raised his hand for silence. A long pause followed. Finally, he stood up and, eyes ablaze, announced in a firm voice: “I have made a momentous decision. I shall go over on the offensive, that is to say here,” he stabbed at a map, “out of the Ardennes—with the objective Antwerp!”

Adolf Hitler’s proclamation, made in his East Prussian command post on September 16, 1944, was indeed a momentous event. It led directly to Nazi Germany’s last great strategic gamble in the West, an operation popularly labeled “The Battle of the Bulge” by generations of writers. For many, the words Hitler spoke that day serve to mark the campaign’s starting point.

Yet, as U.S. Army historian Hugh M. Cole observes, it is unrealistic to believe this colossal encounter was fought “because the Führer had placed his finger on a map and made a pronouncement.” The story of Hitler’s high-stakes decision to risk the very existence of Germany on a desperate winter struggle is a fascinating glimpse into the Third Reich’s military, political, and economic circumstances during the second half of 1944.

Understanding the Ardennes offensive also requires an exploration into the mind of the man who conceived this operation, dictated its time, place, and objective, and later involved himself in virtually every detail of its execution. This man was Chancellor of Germany and supreme commander of her armed forces: Adolf Hitler.

His challenges in mounting this attack were many. Five years of war had taken an alarming human toll on the Reich. Some 3,750,000 of Germany’s best soldiers had already been killed, captured, wounded, or gone missing, and while 10 million men and women still wore its uniform the combat effectiveness of those remaining diminished with every military setback.

Setbacks there were, and in 1944 these came at a dizzying speed. During June and July the Red Army ripped a hole 100 miles wide and 200 miles deep into Hitler’s Ukrainian front. This summer offensive—codenamed Operation Bagration—resulted in the annihilation of his 9th, 4th, and 3rd Panzer Armies along with 500,000 Wehrmacht soldiers.

The Soviets struck again in August, this time along the Danube River in Romania. Within two weeks Russian armies obliterated another 16 German divisions while inflicting 380,000 casualties. This calamity prompted the Romanian government on August 23 to switch sides—the first of several such defections the Third Reich would suffer that season.

Next to abandon Germany was Bulgaria, quitting the Axis camp on September 8. As a result the Wehrmacht, its flank no longer tenable, evacuated Greece. Still worse, all Nazi forces were made to leave Finland after September 15, when that nation signed an armistice with the Soviet Union.

Aside from whatever military support these former allies were no longer providing Germany, the loss of their raw materials severely hampered the Reich’s war production effort. Gone were Ukrainian manganese, Yugoslavian copper, Finnish nickel, Belgian steel, and French bauxite. Supplies of Turkish chrome, Spanish tungsten, and Swedish iron ore became increasingly uncertain as these neutral powers began to reevaluate their relationships with Hitler’s regime.

Most troubling to Albert Speer, Germany’s brilliant head of war production, was the forfeiture of Romania’s oil fields. A modern, mechanized army could not fight without petroleum, and the Luftwaffe—Hitler’s once feared air force—was now mostly grounded due to fuel shortages. In September Speer advised his Führer that the Reich had stockpiled raw materials sufficient for just one more year of war, providing no more territory was lost.

By this point, however, Germany was surrendering territory on almost every front. After successfully assaulting the Normandy coast on June 6, British, Canadian, and American armies began pouring onto the European continent. During July and August, the Western Allies broke clear of their beachheads and began a rapid advance across France and Belgium. Paris was liberated by August 25, Brussels nine days later, and the port of Antwerp fell on September 4.

After Allied troops moving out of Normandy linked up with another invasion force from southern France, the Wehrmacht could no longer offer a coherent defense against them. With most of their equipment destroyed, thousands of desperate soldiers began streaming east toward Germany. The collapse in France was both sudden and total.

It was an utter disaster for Hitler’s legions in the West. From Holland, across Belgium, and down to the Swiss border, there remained almost no organized force able to combat the rampaging Anglo-Americans. Seemingly all the Western Allies had to do was make one final push directly into the heart of an unprotected Germany and end the war.

Any national leader, when faced with military threats such as these, would have good cause for concern. Adolf Hitler, however, remained unworried, even confident in the face of catastrophe on both the Eastern and Western Fronts during the first weeks of September 1944. This was partially due to the Führer’s unbridled optimism and confidence in Germany and her people. Another important factor was his belief in the force of will, notably his own.

As Hitler himself explained that summer, “My task has been to never lose my nerve under any circumstances…. I live for the single task of leading this struggle because I know if there is not a man who by his very nature has a will of iron, then the struggle cannot be won.”

The Führer’s willpower was sorely tested when assassins detonated a bomb in his East Prussia headquarters, named the Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair), shortly after noon on July 20. While the explosion failed to kill its intended target, Hitler did sustain significant physical and psychological injuries. He was partially deafened, his right eardrum perforated and bleeding. Inner ear trouble affected Hitler’s balance; for months he exhibited signs of vertigo. A lacerated right arm stubbornly refused to heal.

Whether due to the bomb blast or his own unhealthy lifestyle, Hitler began complaining of stomach cramps, occasionally so severe he could not function normally. He also experienced insomnia, sinus headaches, and an uncontrollable shaking in his extremities. During the course of six days in mid-September, he suffered three minor coronary episodes—one occurring just hours before the meeting in which he announced his decision to attack out of the Ardennes.

The assassination attempt affected him mentally as well. Hitler’s paranoia increased—all his food had to be tasted before he would eat it, and visitors to the Wolfsschanze were searched for hidden weapons before being allowed to enter. No one, not even the Führer’s closest advisers, could bring a briefcase or sidearm inside his headquarters complex.

Growing increasingly mistrustful of his generals, some of whom were behind the bomb plot, he now saw disloyalty in any act other than unquestioning obedience. Hitler had long believed that only he could save Germany from its enemies; now he was sure of it. “After my miraculous escape from death today,” he informed a visiting Benito Mussolini that evening, “I am more than ever convinced that it is my fate to bring this [war] to a triumphant conclusion.”

Hitler also regarded himself as a strategic genius. Early luck supported this delusion; in the Führer’s mind all of Germany’s recent military defeats were attributable to traitorous Army officers who had deliberately thwarted his brilliant operational plans. Increasingly it was Hitler’s intuition, not sound military strategy, that directed the Reich’s war effort.

After July 20, Nazi officials began involving themselves with martial matters. Immediately following the assassination attempt SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler got himself named commander of the Replacement Army, or Ersatzheer. Already heading most of Germany’s internal security agencies, Himmler now oversaw its means of raising new military forces. Other political chieftains, notably Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and Party Secretary Martin Bormann, started attending daily situation conferences in the Wolfsschanze as a means of furthering their own agendas.

Hitler did keep within his inner circle several members of the armed forces who still retained his confidence. Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel continued to serve as chief of the Führer’s Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), or supreme military headquarters. It was largely a symbolic post. There was no doubt that Adolf Hitler really ran things, whereas Keitel merely carried out his chief’s bidding.

In fact, Keitel’s haughty, authoritarian manner masked a weak-minded bureaucrat, ever eager to win his Führer’s approval. So transparent was the field marshal’s toadying that other members of Hitler’s staff secretly called him “Lakeitel,” a play on his name that means “lackey.”



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Bombing Burma’s Bridges: A Daring World War II Mission

Here’s What You Need to Know: Flying the Hump involved some of the most dangerous missions of the war.

Thirty-five Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress bombers of the 7th Bomb Group happened to be on their way to Asia the morning the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. They had been sent to reinforce U.S. Army Air Corps units in the Philippines. Eight of the B-17s arrived at Hickam Field while the Japanese attack was in progress. Three were attacked by Japanese fighters and damaged; one was set afire, becoming the first American-flown B-17 destroyed in World War II. The encounter was one sided; the B-17s’ machine guns had been removed from the bombers to reduce their weight for the long flight over the Pacific. It was a dramatic introduction to World War II.

The 7th BG eventually regrouped in Australia; some of its elements were sent on to join in the futile Allied defense of Java. When Java fell, the group was ordered to India to fly against the Imperial Japanese Army, which had occupied Thailand, Malaya, and Burma. In June 1942, most U.S. heavy bombers based in India were sent to the Middle East to stop German General Erwin Rommel’s advance toward the Egyptian frontier. That reduced the 7th Bomb Group to a single squadron of B-17s and two squadrons of North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers.

In August 1942, American war planners decided that the 7th would be reconstituted as a heavy bomb group with four squadrons. The new commander of the Tenth Air Force in India, Brig. Gen. Clayton Bissell, did not consider the B-17 suitable for the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI). The Flying Fortress lacked the range required by the long distances in the theater. He asked that the group’s B-17s be replaced by Consolidated B-24 Liberators. Given heavy demand in the European Theater for the Liberator, it would be months before the B-24s reached India. In the meantime, the group flew out of Calcutta and Agra while a new base was prepared for the 7th at Pandaveswar, India, outside Calcutta. 

In 1942, the Allied position in the CBI was precarious. The British Army’s defense of its Burma colony collapsed quickly; surviving British forces retreated to India, which the Japanese were already preparing to conquer. America had just entered the war and was still mustering its forces and establishing the complex logistical network required to support sustained military operations.  

The Japanese Army in Burma had its own logistical challenges. All of its military equipment and supplies had to come from Japan by sea, a voyage of 4,000 miles from the home islands to ports in Burma and Thailand. From those ports to the Burma front lines the journey included an additional 2,000 miles of single-track railroad line. Burma’s heavy jungle offered concealment for the Japanese and made them difficult to target and engage from the air. There were no industrial targets beyond the area of the Burmese capital at Rangoon, and thus an observer wrote, “The air war in Burma became a war against enemy communications and supplies.… The interruption of the movement and transshipment of supplies by sea or land into lower Burma became the primary objective of the 7th Bomb Group.”  

The 7th BGs’ bombers first went after the major targets, the ports at Bangkok and Rangoon, and Japanese shipping heading there via the Gulf of Siam, the Andaman Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. In doing so, the 7th set bombing records. On December 19, 1943, the group flew the longest known mission of the war at that point, to Bangkok, a 14- to 15-hour flight. It also inaugurated new bombing techniques. On November 1, 1944, the campaign to destroy Japanese lines of communication in Burma began, and bridges became the primary targets.  

Author Edward M. Young, in his book B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI,notes, “Bridges were never easy targets. An analysis of the bombing effort during 1943 had shown that the 7th’s Liberators had managed to achieve only one direct hit for every 81 sorties, and these were targets that required direct hits—near misses did little damage to a bridge’s structure…. Part of the solution to the problem of bombing bridges came with the introduction of a new weapon, the AZON bomb.” This was the first American smart bomb, a 1,000-pounder with a radio-controlled tail fin that allowed the bombardier to maneuver the weapon after it had been dropped to correct deflection errors in flight. A flare attached to the rear of the bomb enabled the bombardier to track its fall.

The AZON designation derived from “azimuth only,” which meant the bomb could be steered left or right but lacked pitch control. Much like today’s Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), the AZON control and guidance package was attached to the tail of a standard 1,000-pound bomb. The Eighth Air Force initially tried AZON bombing in Europe in the latter half of 1944, with disappointing results. Apparently Europe’s inclement weather, the rain and the fog, affected AZON guidance. But in the clear, dry weather of Southeast Asia’s hot season, AZON bombs proved ideal for attacking the narrow bridges on the Thai-Burma rail lines. By November 1944, the group had 10 dedicated AZON B-24s fitted with necessary transmitters and antennas and flown by crews specifically trained in the AZON technique. They were assigned to the 7th’s 493rd Bomb Squadron.

The group also developed a new bombing technique. Referred to in some histories as “dive bombing,” it actually was “glide bombing” when performed with a B-24. Young notes, “A form of glide-bombing with a sharp pull-up at the end of the glide could send a bomb directly into a bridge structure instead of it bouncing off as had happened in many low-level attacks…. The pilot would approach the target along its long axis, begin a 20 to 25 degree glide at 1,500 feet, and release the bomb at 500 feet as he pulled out. A toggle switch was fitted to the control column so that the pilot could release the bomb using a special sight designed specifically for that purpose.” On April 24, 1945, a total of 41 Liberators from all four of the 7th’s squadrons were sent out, the 493rd squadron equipped with AZON bombs, the other three prepared for glide bombing. Thirty bridges were destroyed, and 18 were damaged—a spectacular success. 

B-24 bombardier Lieutenant Guilford W. “Chip” Forbes got into the fight at the tail end of the war. He arrived at the 7th’s base at Pandaveswar in January 1945. By that stage of the war, American and British fighter groups in India had established air superiority, but there could still be a lot of flak. Forbes recalled, “Flak could be very heavy, or very light. It depended where you went. On all the missions we flew, we never saw a Japanese fighter.”

All of the missions were long ones and not all targeted railroads. One of the longest of Forbes’ early missions was to the port of Bangkok, his target a drydock that was duly put out of commission. On March 19, 1945, he participated in a mission to the Kra Isthmus, the narrowest part of the Malay Peninsula. All four of the 7th’s squadrons were represented by the 37 B-24s that participated in the raid. The targets were railroad bridges on the Bangkok-Singapore rail line. Each aircraft carried only four bombs; two bomb bays were fitted with extra gas tanks to hold the fuel required by the long flight. Orders were to fly to the target at 400 feet, “a ridiculously low altitude for a B-24,” remembered Forbes. “We heard that the strategy for this raid came right from the top commander in the CBI, Lord Mountbatten, and we griped mightily about his misuse of B-24s.”

Forbes continued, “Lumbering along at 400 feet, a B-24 is an easy target.” Sure enough, Forbes’s B-24 was struck by small-arms ground fire that cut three fuel lines in the bomb bay. “With the bomb bay doors wide open and fuel spilling, our plane was a big-time atomizer,” he added. “We were afraid the next hit would make a spark and the plane would go off like a firecracker.” Forbes and the flight engineer tried to find the leak in the bays with the extra gas tanks as their clothes got saturated, and the pilot started thinking it might be necessary to ditch in the sea. Forbes’ fingers found the leak, finally, and the mission continued. Several significant bridges were among the targets destroyed. The flight was a round trip of 2,700 miles; it took 17½hours, the longest B-24 formation flight made in the CBI. 

On March 22, Forbes’ crew went on a 10-plane raid to Great Coco Island, the north end of the Andaman Island chain, and this time bombed from 3,800 feet. Under normal procedures the Norden bombsight was linked to the autopilot, and course changes on the bomb run were made automatically. But the autopilot was not working; the pilot had to fly manually. Forbes’ primary targets were miniscule from their altitude, two small trailers, about six feet by 10, on which radar equipment was mounted. The targets were about a half mile apart, and each required a separate pass. Forbes had three bombs for three passes. “Everything worked perfectly; two passes, two bullseyes,” he remembered. For the third pass, Forbes picked a building related to the radars “and made another bullseye…. I really believe we could have hit a pickle barrel that day.”



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This Anti-Aircraft Gun Played a Crucial Role in the Vietnam War

Here’s What You Need to Know: The origins of the M42 lie in the Korean War.

U.S. Army First Lieutenant Bruce Geiger participated in the protracted siege of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War. For 77 days, the United States 26th Marine Regiment withstood the assault of three North Vietnamese Army divisions. During the famous siege, Geiger commanded A Battery from the 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery (1/44th), a U.S. Army air defense artillery battalion attached to the 3rd Marine Division, the parent unit of the 26th Marine Regiment. 

A pair of M42A1 Dusters proved to be valuable components in the defense of the combat base’s airstrip. Positioned at either end of the airstrip  with a company of entrenched Marines between them, the Dusters were greatly admired for the heavy firepower furnished by their twin-mounted 40mm Bofors guns. Geiger’s battery was augmented by four truck-mounted .50-calibre machine guns known as Quad-50s.

At the beginning of the siege on January 21, 1968, Geiger confidently told his commanding officer, Marine Corps Colonel David Lownds, that his Dusters and Quad-50s possessed sufficient firepower to repulse a North Vietnamese assault on the northern sector of the combat base should they attempt a human-wave attack. He based this not only on the confidence he had in his equipment, but also on the skill of the crews operating the weapons. Although severely tested over the course of the long siege, Geiger and his crews held their ground and helped to stop several attacks. With a firing rate of 240 rounds per minute, the M42A1s shredded North Vietnamese infantry assaulting the combat base, situated in the northwestern corner of the I Corps Tactical Zone defended by the U.S. Marines.

The M42A1 performed a variety of tasks for American forces in Vietnam. At Khe Sanh, the Marine commanders relied on their firepower for so-called harassment-and-interdiction missions. The Dusters to which Geiger was assigned went into action in March 1968, after the crews spotted the pith helmets of North Vietnamese infantry probing the combat base’s perimeter. One Duster fired upwards of 100 rounds at the targets. In so doing, the crew annihilated everything within a 100-meter radius. The engagement was over in one minute.

Dusters also played a crucial role in Operation Pegasus, tasked with re-opening the road from the coast to Khe Sanh in April 1968. Spearheading the relief column of the First Air Cavalry Division was a pair of 1/44th Dusters that belonged to C Battery. SP4 Joseph Belardo, one of Geiger’s friends, served on the crew of one of those Dusters. The two M42A1s remained at Khe Sanh until the Marine Corps eventually abandoned the combat base in February 1969.

From November 1966 to the end of December 1971, the M42A1 Duster served with three air defense artillery battalions in South Vietnam. Originally sent to South Vietnam to counter potential low-altitude attacks by the North Vietnamese Air Force, it was soon being used in various ground-support operations, such as defending combat bases or leading rescue missions. The Viet Cong both feared and respected the vehicle, giving it the nickname “Fire Dragon.” But the Americans called the M42A1 the Duster. Some say the name arose due to the amount of debris it kicked up when firing, while others remark that the name was derived from the intensity and effectiveness of its firepower while employed in ground-support missions.

The origins of the M42 lie in the Korean War. During that conflict, the U.S. Army put the M19 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage, which was equipped with Quad 50s, to use against North Korean ground forces. In the midst of the War, a decision was made to phase out all vehicles that were built upon the M24 Chaffee chassis. The M41 Walker Bulldog, an American light tank and replacement for the M24 Chaffee, would be the basis for newer designs. As the twin Bofors 40mm arrangement was still an effective weapon, the decision was made to place the M19 turret atop the M41. After modification to allow the turret to fit the M41’s larger turret ring, the vehicle went into production.

Entering production in early 1952, the new vehicle was designated the M42. It sported the twin 40mm Bofors guns with which its predecessor was armed. Each cannon fired at 120 rounds per minute. The Duster had a maximum range of three miles in anti-aircraft use, but when used in a ground-support capacity, the range stretched out to over five miles. Accuracy at these extreme ranges was not the best. To defend against enemy aircraft, the guns could elevate up to 87 degrees; against ground targets, it could depress down to -3 degrees and be moved either hydraulically or manually in an emergency.

The vehicle carried a pair of spare barrels in the turret. The barrels had an average life of 12,000 rounds. Unfortunately for the personnel manning the Bofors, the top of its turret was an open box, so both gunners and cannoneers wore flak jackets as additional protection. The turret could traverse 360 degrees in 40 seconds. Like the guns, the turret’s movement was powered hydraulically, but it could be operated manually in case of a hydraulic failure.

Designed to hold 480 rounds of ammunition, the vehicles were crammed with ammunition cases in every conceivable and available space. Fired from four-round clips, high explosive tracers and armor-piercing tracers were the two types of ammunition commonly employed. An M60 machine gun served as a secondary weapon. The rest of the M42 crew was well protected in a welded steel hull. The thickness of the hull ranged from one inch on its lower portions to one-half inch on the upper section.

Powered by a 500-hp, six-cylinder, air-cooled gasoline engine, the M42 had a top road speed of 45 miles per hour. With a fuel capacity of 140 gallons, the vehicle possessed a maximum operational range of 99 miles. The M42A1 had a combat weight of 49,500 pounds. A ground clearance of approximately 17 inches helped reduce the effects of mine detonations. Like other armored fighting vehicles, its interior was divided into three compartments. With the engine, transmission and fuel tanks in the rear compartment, the base for the twin gun mount and stowage comprised the M42’s center compartment. The front compartment held the driving controls, instrumentation, and radio. The driver was situated to the left of the commander. In theory, the commander also was the radio operator, but if the commander was preoccupied directing fire from the turret, then the driver could also call in air and artillery strikes. Alongside him was the gunner, as well as one or two cannoneers, who fed ammunition into the Bofors.

The M42 entered service with the U.S. Army in late 1953. A new 500-hp Lycoming engine, as well as a few other key upgrades, resulted in its re-designation as the M42A1. The General Motors Tank Plant in Cleveland produced the M42A1 from 1952 to 1959. During that time, the plant produced 3,700 M42s and M42A1s.

After the next-generation, self-propelled version of the MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile went into service in 1960, the M42A1 was transferred to National Guard and Reserve units.

By 1963, the Duster was removed from active duty. But when U.S. military forces in South Vietnam found the Hawk to be inadequate for defending against low-level air strikes, they pressed the M42A1s back into service.

Three air defense artillery battalions soon deployed to South Vietnam. The units began arriving on November 7, 1966, with the deployment of 1st Battalion, 44th Artillery. As part of the First Field Force Vietnam, the battalion was assigned to support the 3rd U.S. Marine Division. This unit, in which both Geiger and Belardo served, was based out of Dong Ha in Quang Tri Province. The battalion was tasked with helping keep open Route 9, which connected Marine outposts on the coastal plain directly south of the DMZ, such as Cam Lo and Camp Carroll, with Khe Sanh in the mountains to the west.

The 5th Battalion, 2nd Artillery (5/2nd) also arrived in November 1966. The unit was based around Bien Hoa Air Base, which was located north of Saigon. Under III Corps Tactical Zone in the Second Field Force, some of its units also served the southern Saigon region. Among the locations it saw action was Lai Khe Combat Base, on Highway 13 north of Saigon, in 1969.

The third air defense artillery battalion equipped with Dusters to serve in South Vietnam was 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery (4/60th). The unit arrived in country on March 11, 1967. Also deployed with the First Field Force, the 4/60th operated in the Central Highlands. From its arrival in 1967 until late 1970, the battalion was based in An Khe in the II Corps Tactical Zone. In late 1970, the unit was transferred to Tuy Hoa, where it remained until its departure on December 21, 1971.

Augmenting each battalion was a battery of Quad-50s, as well as a searchlight battery. The Dusters and Quad-50s complemented each other quite well: The thick vegetation along the roads in South Vietnam tended to detonate the 40mm rounds prematurely, while the Quad-50s could fire through the obstructions. In so doing, they cleared a path through the brush and elephant grass for the Dusters to be effective. One of the limitations of the Dusters was that its main guns could not shoot at targets closer than 88 feet; the Quad-50s also compensated for that limitation.



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Ilya Shapiro: School Board Candidate Avoids Culture War

One of the ironies of the burgeoning education-reform movement sweeping across the nation is that it is its opponents, not its foot soldiers, who are most keen on nationalizing individual races.

Take Ilya Shapiro’s run for school board in Falls Church, Va. By virtue of his position as a vice president of the prominent libertarian think tank the Cato Institute who announced his candidacy in the Wall Street Journal, Shapiro can likely call himself the most famous candidate for a municipal board of education in the country. But while his campaign may be known to the nation, it’s local issues that





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Book Review ‘The Critical Temper’: The Permanent War for Culture




NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE

T
he late and much-feared New York Times art critic Hilton Kramer was once seated next to Woody Allen at a dinner. Allen asked whether Kramer ever felt embarrassed when he encountered in social settings artists whose work he had disparaged in print. No, said Kramer. Why should he be embarrassed? They made the bad art. He merely described it. It occurred to the critic after the party had concluded that he had once published an adverse review of an Allen movie, The Front.

Forty years ago, Kramer founded The New Criterion, which was taken over in his declining years by Roger





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German Prisoners of War Were Once Sent to the United States

For William “Red” Verzola, Friday night was the liveliest night of the week. That was when a group of soldiers from Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts, made their regular pilgrimage to Charlie Pino’s Victory Club, just up the road in the tiny town of Norton, to enjoy a few beers and a couple of hours of relaxation.

Red was actually an ex officio member of the group—a soldier, to be sure, but one who had marched to a slightly different drummer. The year was 1944, and the 24-year-old camp cook who had fought beside Rommel in Africa was an Italian prisoner of war.

By 1944, Italian POWs were being treated differently from other Axis prisoners. Italy had been reclassified as a “cobelligerent” after it surrendered in 1943. While Italian POWs remained confined, many of them were assigned to an Italian Service Corps and performed noncombat duties for the U.S. military. In this new role, the Italians enjoyed a good deal of freedom. Red Verzola even wore an American uniform outside camp.

For German prisoners, as well as the handful of Japanese POWs confined in the United States, life was not much tougher. By every measure, they were infinitely better off than either their erstwhile comrades in arms or their Allied counterparts, who remained in harm’s way on battlefields around the world.

It was an irony that irritated many Americans, particularly those unaware of the Italians’ new status. Scores of indignant citizens wrote to civil and military authorities to protest such spectacles as Italian soldiers being escorted to the opera in San Francisco and white-jacketed porters serving lunch to German prisoners as they rolled across America in comfortable Pullman cars.

Yet, while the complaints were understandable, there is no doubt, in retrospect, that America’s treatment of its POWs served the nation well, both in wartime and in the healing years beyond.

In practice, the humane approach reflected not only America’s moral sensibilities, but also its unswerving commitment to the terms of the 1929 Geneva Convention, which codified the treatment of prisoners of war. 

Colonel A.M. Tollefson, assistant director of the POW division of the Provost Marshal’s office, delivered a response to the protesters that was more pragmatic than pious. America intended to play by the rules, he said, and in so doing avoid giving “even the semblance of an excuse to the enemy to violate the rights of American soldiers whom they hold as prisoners of war.”

Diplomacy aside, there was a practical upside to the influx of POWs. The 425,036 Axis captives who flooded America—378,156 Germans, 41,456 Italians, and 5,424 Japanese—represented a huge manpower windfall for a nation struggling with the wartime decimation of its workforce.

Since the Geneva Convention allowed prisoners to be assigned nonmilitary duties, the prisoners were put to work. For three productive years, they picked grapes and cotton. They worked at canneries, food processing plants, and foundries. They packed meat, planted crops, and chopped trees. By late 1945, more than 115,000 prisoners were working in agriculture alone, and when they finally went home they were sorely missed by the American farmers who had not only come to rely on their services, but in many instances had become their friends.

As it did in every facet of mobilization, from building Liberty ships to recruiting air raid wardens, the United States responded with remarkable alacrity to the flood of Axis prisoners. Camp Concordia in north central Kansas was typical of the 155 full-scale POW camps that mushroomed across America in the early years of the war. Concordia, with its 280 barracks and 23 auxiliary buildings, including a gymnasium, library, and 350-seat theater, rose from the plains in just 90 days at a cost of $1.8 million. By war’s end, 5,300 prisoners had spent time there, many of them working on neighboring farms.

Some camps did double duty. Red Verzola’s temporary home, Camp Myles Standish, served as both a POW camp and staging facility for the Boston Port of Embarkation. The whirlwind pace that characterized other aspects of mobilization was clearly evident at Myles Standish. The Army announced construction plans in June

By October, the 1,600-acre compound, built to accommodate 10,000 troops, was up and running, even though workers had to take time to move 36 private homes from the site during the course of construction.

Besides the full-scale camps, the Army set up 511 auxiliary prisons in cities and towns across the nation—facilities as modest as the two-story brick building in downtown Peabody, Kansas, that had previously housed a car sales agency.

The camps were designed for security as well as utility. Specifications called for the prototypical campsite to cover 350 acres, to be located no more than five miles from a railroad and no fewer than 500 feet from any “important” public thoroughfare. For security purposes, all trees, shrubs, and tall grass were to be removed. The terrain was to feature a moderate slope to facilitate drainage.

It would be hard to argue that Uncle Sam did not go to extraordinary lengths to treat the nation’s “guests” fairly. When there was not enough space to house both the prisoners and the guards, the existing barracks remained empty until additional facilities became available. In the interim, guards and prisoners alike lived in tents, again honoring the spirit of the Geneva accords, which mandated like accommodations for prisoners and guards.

Once settled in their new surroundings, the prisoners were treated generously. Their valuables were inventoried, labeled, and packaged. They were issued personal articles ranging from towels and toothbrushes to hair clippers and shoelaces. While supplying hard liquor would have been excessively indulgent, even by generous American standards, the prisoners nevertheless were allowed to purchase 3.2 beer and light wine on their own. They also received the identical medical and dental treatment provided to U.S. troops, including vaccinations and regular examinations to identify and treat communicable diseases.

Camp supervisors even counted calories: 2,000 a day for “non-workers,” 2,500 for ordinary workers, and 2,850 for “heavy” workers. And camp cooks were allowed to prepare food according to the tastes of the prisoners.

As if all that were not enough, the prisoners were paid 80 cents a day for their labors and granted access to canteen supplies such as candy and tobacco, recreational equipment, and handicraft and fine arts programs. They could also receive visitors twice a month, a privilege much appreciated by prisoners with relatives in the United States.

Despite all this, a certain number of internees opted for freedom. Official records disclose that 2,827 managed to escape, climbing fences, digging tunnels, riding out of their compounds on service trucks, or simply walking away from work details. Most were rounded up within 48 hours.

The most spectacular breakout occurred in December 1944 at Papago Park on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, where 25 U-boat crewmen dug a 200-foot tunnel and escaped into the barren mesquite country. All were recaptured.

In the end, U.S. authorities failed to account for just one escaped prisoner, a former German draftsman named Georg Gartner. So extraordinary was his achievement that he later wrote a book about it.

It was no wonder that the escapees did not last long on the outside. Few spoke English, and those who did were encumbered by suspicious accents. For most, the road to freedom was long and disheartening given the size of the country, the distance between oceans, and the nagging realization that even if they could pull off a logistical miracle, life was a whole lot better in the camps than back home.

Once outside, many of the prisoners acted like the Three Stooges. In his definitive Nazi Prisoners of War in America, Professor Arnold Krammer recalls a couple of bizarre incidents, one involving two Afrika Korps alumni who escaped a Texas camp wearing their desert uniforms—khaki shirts and shorts. Picked up by a friendly motorist, the escapees explained in heavily accented English that they were Boy Scouts en route to an international convention in Mexico. Eyeing the pair—one a six-footer, the other a stocky fellow with a substantial abdomen, both with suspiciously knobby knees and hairy legs—the motorist drove them directly to the authorities.

Balky prisoners, including recaptured escapees, faced only token punishment. At Camp Campbell, Kentucky, Krammer recalls, 20 Germans were found guilty of indolence, arrogance, and property damage (carving swastikas on trees). They were confined for seven days on bread and water. One worker with an attitude problem was deprived of beer and shows for one month. For a recaptured escapee, 30 days on bread and water was considered a tough sentence.

Despite this indulgent atmosphere, the camps did spawn some ugly moments, most of them initiated by the small but militant percentage of Nazi zealots who infected the prison population. To the extent that they could identify the troublemakers, military authorities separated these hard cases from the rest of the prisoners, shipping 4,500 of them to Camp Tonkawa in Oklahoma. Conversely, they dispatched about 3,300 anti-Nazis to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and Camp Campbell. But they could not prevent the occasional incident. In a particularly sobering footnote to the nation’s POW experience, 14 of the hardliners were hanged at war’s end on gallows erected in an old salvage warehouse at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for killing fellow prisoners at camps in Oklahoma, Arizona, and South Carolina.



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