The Battle of Vukovar was an 87-day siege of the Croatian town of Vukovar by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and paramilitaries from Serbia, between August and November 1991. In 1990, Croatian Serb separatists launched an armed uprising, supported by Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, and seized control of Serb-populated areas of Croatia. The JNA intervened in favour of the Croatian Serbs and launched an offensive in August 1991 against Croatian government-held territory. Vukovar was defended by around 1,800 lightly armed Croatian soldiers and civilian volunteers, against 36,000 JNA soldiers and Serbian paramilitaries equipped with heavy armour and artillery. When the town fell on 18 November 1991 after prolonged fighting, hundreds were massacred by Serb forces and the town's non-Serb population was expelled. Vukovar was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia in 1998 after the end of the Croatian War of Independence and has since been rebuilt, but deep ethnic divisions remain. Several Serb military and political officials, including Milošević, were later indicted and in some cases jailed for war crimes committed during and after the battle.
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.
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin was an American prototype fighter aircraft conceived during World War II by McDonnell Aircraft. It was intended to be carried in the bomb bay of the giant Convair B-36 bomber as a defensive parasite fighter. During World War II, Luftwaffe fighters provided stiff opposition for Allied bombers. The XF-85 was a response to a United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) requirement for a fighter to be carried within the Northrop XB-35 and B-36, then under development. Two prototypes were built and underwent testing and evaluation in 1948. Flight tests showed promise in the design, but the aircraft was inferior to the jet fighters it would be facing in combat, and there were difficulties in docking and landing. The XF-85 was swiftly canceled, and the prototypes are now museum exhibits.
Rochester Castle stands on the east bank of the River Medway in Rochester, Kent, England. The 12th-century keep or stone tower, which is the castle's most prominent feature, is one of the best preserved in England or France. The first castle at Rochester was founded in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest. Between 1087 and 1089 Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, was commissioned to build a new stone castle at Rochester. In 1127 King Henry I granted the castle to the Bishops of Canterbury in perpetuity. William de Corbeil built the massive keep that still dominates the castle today. During the First Barons' War (1215–1217) in King John's reign, baronial forces captured the castle and held it against the king. The siege that followed was one of the largest in England up to that point. Although the castle had been greatly damaged, with breaches in the outer walls and one corner of the keep collapsed, it was hunger that eventually forced their hand. Rochester was besieged for the third time in 1264 during the Second Barons' War (1264–1267). Rebel armies led by Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare entered the city and set about trying to capture the castle. Although the castle did not surrender, it suffered extensive damage which was not repaired until the following century. The castle saw action for the last time in 1381 when it was captured and ransacked during the Peasants' Revolt. The castle was opened to the public in the 1870s, and remains so today.
Stephen (c. 1092/6–1154), a grandson of William the Conqueror, was King of England from 1135 to his death. His reign was marked by the Anarchy, a civil war with his cousin and rival, the Empress Matilda. Stephen was born in the County of Blois, France. Placed in the court of his uncle, Henry I of England, Stephen rose in prominence and was granted extensive lands. When Henry died in 1135, Stephen took the throne, arguing that the preservation of order across the kingdom took priority over his earlier oaths to support the claim of Henry I's daughter, Empress Matilda. The early years of Stephen's reign were largely successful, despite a series of attacks on his possessions in England and Normandy from David I of Scotland, Welsh rebels and Matilda's husband, Geoffrey of Anjou. In 1138 the Empress's half-brother Robert of Gloucester rebelled against Stephen, threatening civil war. When the Empress and Robert invaded in 1139, Stephen was unable to rapidly crush the revolt. Captured at the battle of Lincoln in 1141, he was abandoned by many of his followers and lost control of Normandy. Although Stephen was eventually freed, the war dragged on for many years with neither side able to win an advantage. In 1153 Matilda's son, Henry Fitzempress, invaded England and built an alliance of powerful regional barons to support his claim for the throne. In the Treaty of Winchester, Stephen recognised Henry as his heir in exchange for peace. Stephen died the following year, and Henry succeeded him as the first of the Angevin kings.
Albert BallVC, DSO& Two Bars, MC (1896–1917) was an English fighter pilot of the First World War and a recipient of the Victoria Cross. At the time of his death he was, with forty-four victories, the United Kingdom's leading flying ace. Raised in Nottingham, Ball joined the Sherwood Foresters at the outbreak of war and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in October 1914. He learnt to fly in his spare time and gained his pilot's licence in October 1915. Transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), he was awarded his wings in January 1916. Ball joined No. 13 Squadron RFC in France, flying reconnaissance missions before being posted in May to No. 11 Squadron, a fighter unit. From then until his return to England on leave in October, he accrued many aerial victories, and became the first British fighter ace to capture the public's imagination. Following service on the home front he was posted to No. 56 Squadron, which deployed to the Western Front in April 1917. Ball continued his record of victories until his final flight on 7 May, when he crashed to his death in a field in France while pursuing the Red Baron's brother, Lothar von Richthofen. During the engagement he managed to force von Richthofen to the ground, but soon after emerged from a cloud bank upside down and crashed before he could recover. The Germans buried him in Annœullin, with full honours. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, and his memorials include a statue and plaque in the grounds of Nottingham Castle.
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 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 — The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945. 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 the war left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. Listed in this article are the 145 recipients whose last names begin with the letter "N".
Kenneth R. Shadrick was a private in the United States Army at the onset of the Korean War who was widely but incorrectly reported as the first American soldier killed in action in the war. He joined the U.S. Army in 1948 and spent a year of service in Japan before being dispatched to South Korea at the onset of the Korean War in 1950 along with his unit, the 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. During a patrol on July 5 1950, Shadrick was killed by the machine gun of a North KoreanT-34 tank, and his body was taken to an outpost where journalist Marguerite Higgins was covering the war. Higgins later reported that he was the first soldier killed in the war, a claim that was repeated in media across the United States, but Shadrick was actually killed after the first American combat fatalities in the Battle of Osan.
Project A119, also known as "A Study of Lunar Research Flights", was a top-secret plan developed in the late 1950s by the United States Air Force to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon to boost public morale in the United States. The existence of the project was revealed in 2000 by a former executive at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Leonard Reiffel, who led the project in 1958. A young Carl Sagan was part of the team responsible for predicting the effects of a nuclear explosion in low gravity. Project A119 was never carried out, primarily because a moon landing would be a much more acceptable achievement in the eyes of the American public. The project documents remained secret for nearly 45 years, and despite Reiffel's revelations, the US government has never officially recognized his involvement in the study.