Chester Alan Arthur (1829–1886) was the 21stPresident of the United States (1881–1885). Taking office after the assassination of James A. Garfield, Arthur struggled to overcome suspicions of his beginnings as a politician from the New York City Republican machine, succeeding at that task by embracing the cause of civil service reform. His advocacy for the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was the centerpiece of his administration. Arthur grew up in upstate New York and practiced law in New York City. Appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the powerful post of Collector of the Port of New York in 1871, Arthur was an important supporter of Conkling and the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party. When Garfield won the Republican nomination for President in 1880, Arthur was nominated for Vice President to balance the ticket by adding an eastern Stalwart to it. After just half a year as Vice President, Arthur found himself in the Executive Mansion. To the surprise of reformers, he signed the Pendleton Act into law, and enforced its provisions vigorously. He won plaudits for his veto of a Rivers and Harbors Act that would have appropriated federal funds in a manner he thought excessive and presided over the rebirth of the United States Navy, but was criticized for failing to alleviate the federal budget surplus that had been accumulating since the end of the Civil War. In poor health, he retired at the close of his term. The New York World summed up Arthur's presidency at his death in 1886: "No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation".
The Northrop YF-23 or Northrop–McDonnell Douglas YF-23 was an American single-seat, twin-engine fighter aircraft designed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The design was a finalist in the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition, battling the Lockheed YF-22 for a production contract. Two YF-23 prototypes were built with the nicknames "Black Widow II" and "Gray Ghost". In the 1980s the USAF began looking for a replacement for its fighter aircraft, especially to counter the USSR's advanced Su-27 and MiG-29. Several companies submitted design proposals; the USAF selected proposals from Northrop and Lockheed. Northrop teamed with McDonnell Douglas to develop the YF-23, while Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics developed the YF-22. The YF-23 was stealthier and faster, but less agile than the competition. After a four-year development and evaluation process, the YF-22 was announced the winner in 1991 and entered production as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. The U.S. Navy considered using the production version of the ATF as the basis for a replacement to the F-14, but these plans were later canceled. As of 2009, the two YF-23 prototypes were museum exhibits.
SMS Grosser Kurfürst was the second battleship of the four-ship König class. She served in the German Imperial Navy during World War I. The battleship was laid down in October 1911 and launched on 5 May 1913. She was formally commissioned into the Imperial Navy on 30 July 1914, days before the outbreak of war between Germany and the United Kingdom. Grosser Kurfürst was armed with ten 30.5-centimeter (12.0 in) guns in five twin turrets and could steam at a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph). Along with her three sister ships, König, Markgraf, and Kronprinz, Grosser Kurfürst took part in most of the fleet actions during the war, including the Battle of Jutland on 31 May and 1 June 1916. The ship was subjected to heavy fire at Jutland, but was not seriously damaged. She shelled Russian positions during Operation Albion in September and October 1917. Grosser Kurfürst was involved in a number of accidents during her service career; she collided with König and Kronprinz, grounded several times, was torpedoed once, and hit a mine. After Germany's defeat and the signing of the Armistice in November 1918, Grosser Kurfürst and most of the capital ships of the High Seas Fleet were interned by the Royal Navy in Scapa Flow, and scuttled on 21 July 1919.
USS Constellation engaging the French frigate La Vengeance
The USS Constellation vs La Vengeance, or the Action of 1 February 1800, was a single-ship action fought between frigates of the French Navy and the United States Navy during the Quasi-War. The battle resulted in the American frigateUSS Constellation severely damaging the French frigate La Vengeance and forcing her to flee. In 1798, an undeclared war had begun between the United States and France due to French seizures of American merchantmen. As part of an American effort to deter French attacks, Commodore Thomas Truxtun led an American naval squadron that was dispatched to the Lesser Antilles. Learning that regular French naval forces were in the region, Truxton set out in his flagshipConstellation and sailed to Guadaloupe to engage them. On 1 February 1800, while nearing the French colony, Constellation met François Marie Pitot's frigate La Vengeance of the French Navy. Regardless of Pitot's attempts to flee, his frigate was drawn into a heavy engagement with Constellation. Although the French frigate struck her colors (surrendered) twice, Constellation was unable to take La Vengeance as a prize. Eventually Pitot was able to escape with his frigate to Curaçao, though only after sustaining severe casualties and damage to his vessel. Truxton's ship also suffered heavy damage and was forced to sail to Jamaica for repairs before returning home to a hero's welcome.
The background of the Spanish Civil War dates from the end of the nineteenth century, when the owners of large estates held most of the power. In 1868 popular uprisings led to the overthrow of Queen Isabella II. In 1873 Isabella's replacement, King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy, abdicated due to increasing political pressure, and the short-lived First Spanish Republic was proclaimed. After the restoration of the Bourbons in 1874, Carlists and anarchists emerged in opposition to the monarchy. Alejandro Lerroux helped bring republicanism to the fore in Catalonia, where poverty was particularly acute. Growing resentment of conscription and of the military culminated in the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909. After the First World War, the working class, the industrial class, and the military united in hopes of removing the corrupt central government, but were unsuccessful. Fears of communism grew. A military coup brought Miguel Primo de Rivera to power in 1923, and he ran Spain as a military dictatorship. Support for his regime gradually faded, and he resigned in January 1930. There was little support for the monarchy in the major cities, and King Alfonso XIII abdicated; the Second Spanish Republic was formed, whose power would remain until the culmination of the Spanish Civil War. Tensions rose in the period between 1934 and 1936. Lerroux's Radical Republican Party formed a government and rolled back changes made under the previous administration. Open violence occurred in the streets of Spanish cities. A Popular Front alliance was organised, which narrowly won the 1936 elections. The expanding Fascist Falange created a sense of militancy on the streets. Several generals decided that the government had to be replaced if the dissolution of Spain was to be prevented. They organised a military coup in July, which started the Spanish Civil War.
The Battle of Battle Mountain was an engagement between United Nations (UN) and North Korean forces early in the Korean War from August 15 to September 19, 1950, on and around the Sobuk-san mountain area in South Korea. It was one of several large engagements fought simultaneously during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter. The battle ended in a victory for the UN after large numbers of US and Republic of Korea (ROK) troops were able to prevent a North Korean division from capturing the mountain area. Operating in defense of Masan, the US Army's 25th Infantry Division placed its 24th Infantry Regiment and 5th Infantry Regiment on Sobuk-san to defend its two peaks, P'il-bong and Hill 665, which would later be known as "Battle Mountain." What followed was a month-long struggle with the North Korean People's Army's 6th Division, in which Battle Mountain changed hands 20 times. During the deadlock, neither side was able to secure a definite victory in capturing the mountaintop, but the US forces succeeded in their mission of preventing the North Koreans from advancing beyond Battle Mountain, paving the way for the North Koreans' eventual defeat and withdrawal from the area after the Battle of Inchon.
HMS Belfast is a museum ship, originally a Royal Navylight cruiser, permanently moored in London on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum. Construction of Belfast began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1938. Commissioned shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939 Belfast struck a German mine and spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Returning to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment and armour, Belfast was the largest and arguably most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy at the time. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943, and played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. She was redeployed to the Far East in June 1945 to join the British Pacific Fleet. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of additional overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963. In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast's expected scrapping and preserve her as a museum ship. A joint committee of the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Ministry of Defence was established, and reported in June 1968 that preservation was practical. In 1971 the government decided against preservation, prompting the formation of the private HMS Belfast Trust to campaign for her preservation. The efforts of the Trust were successful, and the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames near Tower Bridge in the Pool of London. Opened to the public in October 1971, Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978. A popular tourist attraction, Belfast receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year.
HMS Eagle (pennant number 94) was an early aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. Ordered by Chile as the Almirante Latorre-classbattleshipAlmirante Cochrane, she was laid down before World War I. In early 1918 she was purchased by Britain for conversion to an aircraft carrier; this work was finished in 1924. The ship was initially assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet and then later to the China Station. Eagle spent the first nine months of World War II in the Indian Ocean searching for German commerce raiders. During the early part of the war, the Fleet Air Arm was desperately short of fighters and Eagle was equipped solely with Fairey Swordfishtorpedo bombers until late 1940. She was transferred to the Mediterranean in May 1940, where she escorted multiple convoys to Malta and Greece and attacked Italian shipping, naval units and bases in the Eastern Mediterranean. The ship also participated in the Battle of Calabria in July, but her aircraft failed to score any hits when they attempted to torpedo Italian cruisers during the battle. Whenever Eagle was not at sea, her aircraft were disembarked and used ashore. The ship was relieved by a more modern carrier in March 1941 and ordered to hunt for Axis shipping in the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic. Her aircraft sank one German blockade runner and disabled a German oil tanker in mid-1941, before being ordered home in October. After completing a major refit in early 1942, the ship made multiple trips delivering fighter aircraft to Malta to boost its air defences in the first half of 1942. Eagle was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-73 on 11 August 1942 while escorting a convoy to Malta during Operation Pedestal.
If Day (Si un jour ... in French) was a simulated Nazi invasion of the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and surrounding areas on February 19, 1942, during the Second World War. It was organized by the Greater Winnipeg Victory Loan organization, which was led by prominent Winnipeg businessman J. D. Perrin. The event was the largest military exercise in Winnipeg to that point. If Day included a staged firefight between Canadian troops and volunteers dressed as Nazi soldiers, the internment of prominent politicians, the imposition of Nazi rule, and a parade. The event was a fundraiser for the war effort: over C$3 million was collected in Winnipeg on that day. It was later the subject of a 2006 documentary, and was included in Guy Maddin's film My Winnipeg.
John Raeburn Balmer, OBE, DFC (1910–1944) was a senior officer and bomber pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Born in Bendigo, Victoria, he studied law before joining the RAAF as an air cadet in 1932. As an instructor at Point Cook in 1935–37, he achieved renown in Air Force circles when he reputedly parachuted from a training aircraft to motivate his pupil to land single-handedly. He also became known to the general public as a cross-country motorist, setting records for trans-Australia and round-Australia trips prior to World War II. In June 1940, Balmer was made the inaugural commander of No. 13 Squadron, operating Lockheed Hudsons out of Darwin, Northern Territory. Within two years he was leading the RAAF's first Bristol Beaufort unit, No. 100 Squadron in New Guinea, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Posted to England in June 1943, Balmer took command of No. 467 Squadron, flying Avro Lancasters in the air war over Europe. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in April 1944, and promoted to temporary group captain the following month. Days later, on the night of 11/12 May, the last scheduled operation of his tour as commander, Balmer failed to return from a mission over Belgium. Initially posted as missing, his plane was later confirmed to have been shot down, and all of the crew killed. Balmer was buried outside Brussels.
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its variants were the highest awards in the military of the Third Reich during World War II. It was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry. A total of 7,322 awards were made between its first presentation on 30 September 1939 and its last bestowal on 17 June 1945. This number is based on the analysis and acceptance of the order commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR). Presentations were made to members of the three military branches of the Wehrmacht—the Heer (Army), Kriegsmarine (Navy) and Luftwaffe (Air force)—as well as the Waffen-SS, the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) and the Volkssturm. There were also 43 recipients in the military forces of allies of the Third Reich. The 7,322 recipients are listed in the 1986 edition of Walther-Peer Fellgiebel's book, Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile — The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War. In 1996 a second edition of this book was published with an addendum delisting nine of these original 7,323 recipients. Author and historian Veit Scherzer has cast doubt on a further 192 of these listings. The majority of the disputed recipients had received the award in 1945, when the deteriorating situation of the Third Reich during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. Listed in these two articles are the seven Knight's Cross recipients whose last name starts with "Q" and the 104 Knight's Cross recipients whose last name starts in the range of "X" to "Z", although author and historian Veit Scherzer has challenged the validity of 2 of the latter.
Andrew William "Nicky" Barr, OBE, MC, DFC & Bar (1915–2006) was a member of the Australian national rugby union team who became a fighter ace in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. He was credited with twelve aerial victories, all scored flying the Curtiss P-40. Born in New Zealand, Barr was raised in Victoria and first represented the state in rugby in 1936. Selected to play for Australia against the United Kingdom in 1939, he had just arrived in England when the tour was cancelled following the outbreak of war. He joined the RAAF in 1940 and was posted to North Africa with No. 3 Squadron in September 1941. His first three victories were attained in the P-40 Tomahawk and the remainder in the Kittyhawk. Barr's achievements as a combat pilot saw him awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar. Shortly after taking command of No. 3 Squadron in May 1942, he was shot down and captured by Axis forces, and incarcerated in Italy. He eventually escaped and assisted other Allied fugitives to safety, earning the Military Cross for his efforts. Repatriated to England, he saw action during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 before returning to Australia as a Chief Instructor with No. 2 Operational Training Unit. After the war he became a company director, and rejoined the RAAF as an active reserve officer from 1951 to 1953. From the early 1960s he was heavily involved in the the oilseed industry, for which he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1983. He died in 2006, aged ninety.