Hindenburg and his chief of staff, Ludendorff, took over command of the East Prussian front on August 23 and immediately began a vigorous policy of attack against the advancing Russian armies under Samsonov. Between August 26 and 30 the two armies were in constant battle, and Hindenburg's triumph was such that, at the end, he had crushed two Russian armies, and captured over 100,000 prisoners and 500 guns.
An eye-witness account,
by Major-Gen. Sir Alfred Knox
A British Observer on the Eastern Front
Niedenburg, 25 th Aug. The XVth Corps was halting to-day, though firing ceased at 9 a.m. yesterday. Nothing is known of the position of the XIIIth and Vlth Corps to- night. Things will have to move more quickly for the Russians to do any good in the preliminary campaign in East Prussia, the object of which should be to annihilate the two or three German corps here together with their reserve divisions before they can be reinforced.
26th Aug. There was bad staff work in starting. The Automobile Colonel—a delightful fellow to talk to—was quite unable to read a map, so we went three miles on the wrong road, and the heavy cars had to turn to the right about on a sandy track. It did not occur to him that he should have reconnoitred the road in his light car while the transport cars were taking in petrol at Niedenburg. Yet the Russians seem to muddle through in a happy-go-lucky way.
There was a dramatic incident in the middle of the meal. An officer brought in a telegram for the C. of S. and said that the G.O.C. 1st Corps wished to speak on the telephone with the Army Commander or the Chief of Staff. He said he was hotly engaged. General Postovski put on his pince-nez, read the telegram, and he and General Samsonov buckled on their swords, said good-bye to the Commandant, and left at once.
It appears that this attack on the 1st Corps was not unexpected. This corps is at Usdau, and was known to be faced by a German corps which was reinforced to-day. I tried to induce Anders to start off for the 1st Corps, but without effect.
Ostrolenka, 28th Aug. I arrived at Niedenburg at 8.30 and found Samsonov had gone on. I followed with a colonel of the General Staff along the route running north- east to Jedwabno. Every few hundred yards we stopped to question stragglers, who always had the same story—that they had lost their way through no fault of their own. Samsonov said two days ago that Jewish soldiers skulked in the woods and so avoided fighting, but many of the men we saw to-day were certainly not Jews. We found Samsonov sitting on the ground poring over maps and surrounded with his staff. I stood aside. Suddenly he stood up and ordered eight of the men of the sotnia of Cossacks that was with us to dismount and give up their animals. I prepared to go off too, but he beckoned to me and took me aside. He said that he considered it his duty to tell me that the position was very critical. His place and duty was with the army, but he advised me to return while there was time, as my duty was to send in "valuable" reports to my Government. He said that the 1st Corps, the 2nd Division and the XVth Corps had been forced back on his left. He had just heard that the Vlth Corps had been driven back yesterday afternoon in disorder on his right. He was sending back all his automobiles via Willenberg to Ostrolenka, as Niedenburg and the Niedenburg-Mlava route were no longer safe.
He concluded that he did not know what was going to happen, but even if the worst happened, it would not affect the ultimate result of the War.
It was my duty to keep in touch with my Government, and I knew enough of the Russian character to understand that the presence of a foreigner at a time so critical would increase the nerve-strain of the staff, so I said good-bye, and Samsonov, with his seven staff officers, mounted the Cossack horses and rode north-west, followed by the remainder of the squadron. Both he and his staff were as calm as possible; they said: "The enemy has luck one day, we will have luck another." They told me he was going to the XVth Corps, which was suffering from hunger as well as from heavy loss in a four-days' battle, and that he was going to collect what he could to drive the Germans back.
Warsaw, 3 m Aug. A telephone message came at 8.30 a.m. to say that the train of the G.O.C. 2nd Army was at the St. P. station. I went down and retrieved my servant Maxim. I was told that the best thing I could do would be to return to Ostrolenka and I would find out everything there. No one had any idea where Samsonov was. (He had been dead over thirty hours.)
Ostrov, 1st Sept. I arrived at Ostrolenka at 9.30 a.m., to find the staff train had gone to Ostrov. I asked the railway transport officer if he could direct me to Samsonov. He shook his head, and as I pressed for a reply, he drew his hand significantly across his throat. Samsonov has been routed and has shot himself.
The main German attack from Gilgenburg on Niedenburg and Willenberg seems to have completely cut off the XHIth as well as the XVth Corps. Only odd men of both corps are now coming into Ostrolenka. All the guns and transport have been lost.
Ostrov, 2nd Sept. . . . The Staff of the Army followed the remnants of the XVth Corps in the retreat of the 29th, having been cut off from all communication with the 1st Corps since the morning of the 28th, and with the Vlth and XHIth Corps since the evening of the same day. They soon became isolated, Samsonov having told the Cossack escort, who had suffered severely in charging a machine-gun party, to shift for themselves. All the night of the 29th-3oth they stumbled through the woods that fringe the north of the railway from Niedenburg to Willenberg, moving hand-in-hand to avoid losing one another in the darkness. Samsonov said repeatedly that the disgrace of such a defeat was more than he could bear. "The Emperor trusted me. How can I face him after such a disaster?" He went aside and his staff heard a shot. They searched for his body without success, but all are convinced that he shot himself. The Chief of Staff and other officers managed to reach Russian territory, having covered forty miles on foot.
Major-Gen. Sir Alfred Knox
Dieu Le Roy!
WASHINGTON – Retail sales disappointed in July and the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week. The latest government reports reinforced concerns about how quickly consumers will be able to contribute to a broad economic recovery.
"There is really no positive spin to put on these numbers," Jennifer Lee, an economist with BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research note. "The U.S. consumer remains very weak. The jobs situation, while slowly improving, is still dismal."
The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month. Economists had expected a gain of 0.7 percent. more...
The epitome of the French World War I image.
A ragged poilu defending his ground was commissioned by the Union des Grandes Associations Francaises. It translates as follows:
“They shall not pass! Twice I have stood fast and conquered on the Marne, my brother civilian. A deceptive ‘peace offensive’ will attack you in your turn; like me, you must stand firm and conquer. Be strong and shrewd. Beware of Boche hypocrisy.”
Painted by Maurice Neumont 1918.
The sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland whose subject I am, has allowed the ancient protocol of walking backwards when leaving the room after seeing her, to be dropped. Apparently "royal aides", mindful of "health and safety issues" have said that somebody might get hurt and then sue Buckingham Palace for damages.
In days gone by, suing the Sovereign would have got you damaged quite a lot more but one doesn't need to return to absolute monarchy to see that this ludicrous kow-towing to 'Elfin Safety makes a laughing-stock of the Queen's constitutional role. The passport I am carrying says proudly in the front:
Her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
That doesn't fill me with much confidence if Her Majesty can't even request and require people to walk out of the room backwards because the Health and Safety advisers won't let her.
Apparently the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, and the Queen's equerry will still be walking backwards and: Their successors will also be expected to learn to walk backwards safely and discreetly when leaving the monarch's presence.
They will be "expected to learn" will they? Come on, let's admit it, there will be a Training Day in "Safe Reverse Ambulation", led by a Qualified Facilitator who has at least an MA in "Human Polydirectional Movement" studies.
See: Royal tradition takes a backward step as the Queen bows to 'health and safety' concerns
In another crazy moment of idiocy the Prince of Wales, Charles handed a CBE to Robert Plant... from the Monarchist Initiative
Robert Plant was honoured as a CBE by Prince Charles in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace last Friday, letting the former Led Zeppelin singer finally one-up guitarist Jimmy Page.
While Page is a member of the Order of the British Empire, Plant now outranks him with his new title of Commander of the British Empire.
Led Zeppelin have not played together since their one-off O2 Arena gig in December 2007. Though Page had tried to reunite the group for a tour with bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham, the late John Bonham's son, Plant declined to join them.
Asked if a Led Zeppelin reunion may still be on the horizon, Plant pretended to be hard of hearing. "Sometimes I go a bit deaf in either ear, especially when people are talking nonsense," he said.
I dunno, but does Robert Plant look a bit scuzzy? Maybe he should have gone home and bathed before meeting with the next King of England. Hey if Charles doesn't mind maybe we should just call him Chucky.
It is sad that even Plant dresses better than many people do to go to Mass in the United States.
In May of 1782 Paris was in a flurry over the visit of the "Comte and Comtesse du Nord," the pseudonyms adopted by Grand Duke Paul and Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna, future Tsar and Empress of Russia. The imperial couple traveled incognito so as to lessen the formality of their European tour, which otherwise would have entailed a variety of stiff state receptions. As it was, the young pair were able to meet with other royals, such as Louis and Antoinette, on a more informal basis. They even won the approval of the Orléans clan by sending calling cards to all the Princes of the Blood the day after their arrival in Paris. Although Paul was called a "Tartar," Maria's tact and wit made the visit of the Russian heirs a social success.
Grand Duke Paul, the son and heir of Empress Catherine the Great, was known for his mercurial temperament and general oddness. He was loved, however, with unconditional and endless devotion by his second wife, Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, who upon her conversion to Orthodoxy became "Maria Feodorovna." When Maria married Paul in 1776 she was hailed as "an angel incarnate." They made family life a priority and had ten children, two of whom later became Tsars of Russia. Maria Feodorovna had a tenuous relationship with her mother-in-law Empress Catherine, whom she rivaled in both intellect and sense of style. Maria was a skilled horticulturist and the gardens she created at the imperial palace of Pavlovsk lasted for generations to come. More...
Thanks and a tip of the beret and a White Cockade to Elena-Maria.
Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit has entered this article today on another Jesuit martyr during the clash of empires...
During the war between England and France, and while Canada was in possession of the latter power, the Indians were often instigated by them to fall on the frontier settlements of the British colonies. In these proceedings, the French governor of Canada was much assisted by the Roman Catholic missionaries, who had attained a great ascendancy over the Indians.
One of the most celebrated of these missionaries was Father Sebastian Ralle, a French Jesuit, who spent thirty-seven years among the Indian tribes, in the interior parts of America, and learned most of their languages. He was a man of learning and address; and by a gentle, condescending deportment, and a compliance with the Indian modes and customs, he obtained a complete ascendancy over the natives; and used his influence to promote the interests of the French among them. more
Special thanks and a White Cockade to Joseph over at Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit...
The Vatican granted Father Tomislav Vlasic his request and laicized him. An ongoing investigation into growing concerns over the alleged apparitions continues.
Pilgrims in Prayer in Medjugorje, Bosnia where some have alleged there have been apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary beginning in 1981.
LONDON (Catholic Online) - Simon Caldwell, the ever reliable reporter for the “Daily Mail” and the "UK Catholic Herald" reports that Father Tomislav Vlasic, the priest often identified with the beginning of the purported apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, has been reduced to the lay state.
This action follows growing concerns at the Vatican over the claims surrounding the alleged apparitions, the behavior of some of the purported “seers” and an ongoing dispute between the local Ordinary and those involved.It appears that the now laicized priest had asked to be laicized and to leave his religious community.
We offer the following excerpt from an article written by Simon Caldwell which appeared in the Daily Mail Online on Monday. We take no position on the purported apparitions and await the clear direction of the church:
EXCERPT FROM SIMON CALDWELL'S ARTICLE
“The Pope has defrocked the priest at the centre of claims that the Virgin Mary has been appearing in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje.
“The Vatican stripped Father Tomislav Vlasic of his priest status after an investigation into growing concerns over the alleged apparitions.
“Father Vlasic was named as the 'creator' of the phenomenon by Pavao Zanic, the local bishop at the time the apparitions began in 1981.
“In the midst of a spat with the local bishop and the Vatican, he had earlier made a prophecy that the Virgin Mary would appear in Bosnia.
“Months later, six local children said they had seen the Virgin on a nearby hillside. Soon after Father Vlasic announced he was 'spiritual adviser' to the 'visionaries' who now claim that Our Lady has visited them 40,000 times over the last 28 years.
“An estimated 30 million pilgrims have visited the shrine since 1981, including many from Britain and Ireland.
“Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, issued a ban on pilgrimages to the site but this has been widely ignored.
“Father Vlasic was suspended last year by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith amid an inquiry into his conduct after three three commissions failed to find evidence to support the visionaries' claims.
“The Vatican also began an inquiry into claims he was guilty of sexual immorality after he made a nun pregnant.
“The defrocking was secretly signed off by the Pope in March.
“Father Vlasic refused to cooperate with the investigation from the outset and he was banished to a monastery in L’Aquila, Italy, where he was forbidden to communicate with anyone, even his lawyers, without the permission of his superior.
“It emerged yesterday that he has chosen to leave the priesthood and his order, a move which has brought the investigation to an abrupt halt.
“The defrocking of Father Vlasic means he is stripped of his priest status.
“This represents a massive blow to millions of Medjugorje followers worldwide who were hoping that the Vatican would one day legitimise the controversial shrine.
“The seers have grown wealthy as a result of their claims – and so has their town, which has boomed as a result of the ‘Madonna gold rush’.
“Some today own smart executive houses with immaculate gardens, double garages and security gates, and one has a tennis court.
“They also own expensive cars and have married.”
End of Excerpt From Simon Caldwell
A very important mark of a true apparition is if the visionaries remain dis-intrested, that is to say they have not desired fame of reward. A case in point is St Bernardette who was offered all kinds of money for her sponsorship of products. Another would be Françoise Mélanie Calvat, whose book was placed on the index of forbidden books. It may be for that reason that she was not raised to the altar.
Let us pray for the visionaries that they may converted.
Formed in 1622 by Louis XIII when he furnished a company of light cavalry Carabiniers with muskets. The Musketeers trained to fight both on foot as mounted infantry and on horseback, similar to dragoons. When the King travelled out side the Louvre (under Louis XIII) and later Versailles (under Louis XIV and after) and other royal residences they acted as a personal guard.
Soon after the first company was formed a second company was formed by Cardinal Richelieu. So as not to offend the King with a perceived sense of self-importance, Richelieu did not name them Garde du Corps like the King's personal guards but rather Musketeers after the King's junior guard cavalry. This was the start of a bitter rivalry between both corps of Musketeers. Upon the death of Richelieu his succesor Mazarin gained the second company, however he disbanded them in 1646. In 1657 the company was reformed with 150 men. When Cardinal Mazarin died in 1661, King Louis XIV assumed them and added them to the other company. As the original company became the first company they were called the "mousquetaires gris" because this company rode grey horses, the former compnay of the cardinal became the "mousquetaires noirs" due to the colour of their horses being black. It was about this time that the companies doubled in size.
Of all the companies of the Kings army the musketeers were among the most prestigious. Many of the musketeers were nobility because the army reforms of Michel Tellier mandated that nobles would no longer be promoted to officer based soley on their rank, and had to serve for a period of time before they could be considered for promotion. Service in the Musketeers meant that they would be in the presence of the King, and their courage might recommend a commision from him.
On the eve of France's entrance in the American War, King Louis XVI again disbanded the Musketeers due to monitary shortfalls. Reformed on the eve of the French Revolution they were disbanded again. Upon the 1st restoration in 1814 they were formed but disbanded again in 1816.
In 1844, Dumas wrote the first of his novels which included some very real personages or composites of real characters, Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan really existed, as did Aramis, Athos, and Porthos whose nom-de-guerres reflected their real name and station.
During the sucessive reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, the uniform closely resembled those of line regiments with the exception that the tabbard became a sleeveless soubrevste and was worn over a red justicorpes. (Les Mousquetaires portent un uniforme rouge à parements rouges et par dessus une soubreveste bleue galonnée d'argent, chargé d'une croix argent, fleurs de lis d'or et flammes d'or à 5 rayons. L'emmanchure de la soubreveste est très basse, au niveau du ceinturon de l'épée. )
REVUE DE MOUSQUETAIRES. 1729 par Robert Paul Ponce Antoine ; dit Robert De Seri, ce tableau conservé à Versailles au musée national du château et des Trianons est signé et daté de 1729.
Dieu le Roy!
References: Nec Pluribus Impar, par Jean Vial http://vial.jean.free.fr/new_npi/archives/archiv.htm
New York Public Library digital images, the The Vinkhuijzen collection of military uniforms, (France) http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgtitle_tree.cfm?title_id=614958&level=2&tword=
By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer Jeannine Aversa, Ap Economics
WriterWASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve delivered a vote of confidence in the recovery on Wednesday, declaring that economic activity is "leveling out." The central bank also signaled that it would end one of its programs aimed at propping up the economy, and kept a key lending rate at a record low.
The Fed said it would gradually slow the pace of its program to buy $300 billion worth of Treasury securities so that it will shut down at the end of October, versus September. It has bought $253 billion of the securities so far.
The program is aimed at lowering rates on mortgages and other consumer debt, a move to spur Americans to spend more. But its effectiveness has been questioned by some on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill who worry that the program makes it look like the Fed is printing money to pay for Uncle Sam's exploding deficits.
With the economy on the mend, the Fed held a key banking lending rate at a record low near zero and again pledged to keep it there for "an extended period." more...
God Help Us. (I mean the real God!)
PARIS – A Muslim woman who tried to go swimming in a head-to-toe "burquini" has been banned from her local pool in the latest tussle between religious practices and secular authority in France.
Officials on Wednesday insisted they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly swimsuit because of France's unusually strict hygiene standards in pools — not because of official hostility to wearing overtly Muslim garb.
Under the policy, swimmers are prevented from wearing any street-compatible or baggy clothing, such as Bermuda shorts, in favor of figure-hugging suits.
The woman, a 35-year-old convert to Islam identified only as Carole, complained of religious discrimination after trying to go swimming in her burquini in the Paris suburb of Emerainville.
She was quoted as telling the daily Le Parisien newspaper that she had bought the burquini after deciding "it would allow me the pleasure of bathing without showing too much of myself, as Islam recommends."
"For me this is nothing but segregation," she added.
The issue of religious attire is a hot topic in France, where head-to-toe burqas or other full-body coverings worn by Muslim fundamentalists are in official disfavor.
French lawmakers recently proposed a ban on the burqa and other voluminous Muslim attire. President Nicolas Sarkozy backs the move, saying such clothing makes women prisoners.
But Daniel Guillaume, a regional official in charge of swimming pools, said Carole's poolside rebuff had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with public health standards.
He said swimmers throughout France must wear special clothes to the pool, whereas a burquini could be worn all day long, collecting everything from food spills to sweat along the way.
"These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers," Guillaume said in a telephone interview.
"We reminded this woman that one should not bathe all dressed, just as we would tell someone who is a nudist not to bathe all naked," he said.
Guillaume said France's public health standards require all pool-goers to don appropriate attire — swimsuits for women and tight, swim-specific briefs for men — and caps to cover their hair. Bathers also must shower before entering the water.
Guillaume said Carole had tried to file a complaint at a local police station, but her request was turned down as groundless.
Carole told the daily Le Parisien she would protest with the help of anti-discrimination groups.
The story in "Le Parisien" may be found here...(en français)
I wonder, as in the United States, if this woman a convert to Islam wishes to show how Islamic she is by forcing the media to cover this perceived insult to Islam. Usually Muslims burn everyone's car..
Good for the French.
Dieu Sauvez La France.
August 12, 2009
All these centuries, the devil simply has been misunderstood.
So says Henry Ansgar Kelly, an Iowa-born scholar in Omaha this week to argue for an angel he says popular culture incorrectly portrays as the pitchfork-toting root of all evil.
Kelly, a UCLA English professor schooled at Creighton University in the 1950s, spoke during a four-day international Catholic biblical conference that wraps up at the Jesuit campus today.
Although Kelly, 75, did not complete his priestly training, he has traced sources from the Old Testament to the present and has written three books on the devil.
His talk Monday was titled, “Lucifer: the Good, the Bad, and the Really Bad.”
The Fonda, Iowa, native challenges the notion of Satan (or Lucifer) as a fallen dark angel who tempted Adam and Eve into committing the “original sin” and who now runs Hell and tempts humans to sin.
Not everyone at Monday’s workshop was swayed, though. Theology experts can be a tough crowd.
Aiming to be historically accurate yet entertaining, Kelly admitted that Satan was hugely disliked and overzealous in his role as “tester” of goodness. But he likened him to an “obnoxious government heavy” rather than a prideful rebel against God.
“In fact, he is not God’s enemy but rather functions as his attorney general and is no more evil than, say, John Ashcroft or Alberto Gonzales,” said Kelly.
The modern characterization of Satan, Kelly contended, is based upon misinterpretations of the Bible by the early fathers of the church and, later, media exaggeration.
“No one has been slandered more by the pen,” Kelly said.
Why is he so bent on correcting the devil’s reputation?
By making Satan God’s enemy, Kelly says, the church has turned Christianity into a dualistic religion, where there is a good God and an evil angel.
He said people instead should focus on the causes of bad behavior: Be more accountable; don’t blame it on an invisible force below.
Enough, Kelly said, of the excuse: “The devil made me do it.”
Fr. Michael Kolarcik, S.J. of Regis College in Toronto agreed with Kelly’s understanding of Satan as a prosecutor of sorts in the Old Testament.
But, Kolarcik said, Kelly did not convince him that an external influence did not change Satan to be, in the New Testament, a diabolical figure that intends to hurt human beings.
Fr. Richard Clifford,S.J., dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, aligned himself with Kolarcik. He smiled, though, and applauded Kelly’s effort to shatter the image of a caped fire-blower.
“He does like to push the envelope,” Clifford said of Kelly, a colleague he once studied with.
Both Clifford and Kolarcik, among about 30 in the Monday workshop, said they appreciated exposure to fresh ideas. Kolarcik even ordered Kelly’s latest book: “Satan, A Biography.”
Kolarcik noted that years ago, he questioned a colleague’s near obsession with the study of angels. Later, books and movies galore surfaced on the celestial figures.
“You want to know what people are thinking,” said Kolarcik.
Fr. Daniel Harrington,S.J. professor of New Testament at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., in a book review called Kelly’s “biography” of Satan both challenging and delightful.
“It raises serious questions about an aspect of Christian theology that even recent popes have admitted needs further study and clarification.”
A lengthy interview with Kelly (here)
Blogger Note: Gee, I wonder why this guy is a former Jesuit?
Satan has been trying to convince the world he doesn't exist since the Garden of Eden. So, OK he does exist but he is just a regular guy...Right? The emphasis above is mine.
I love it when these "Bible scholars say the Bible is wrong" imagine God making a mistake! Whodathunkit? This is truly satan at work...
The death of the "Year 1968" monasteries
Posted: 11 Aug 2009 03:43 AM PDT
New survey finds young candidates for the religious life flocking to conservative and traditional orders.
“We’ve heard anecdotally that the youngest people coming to religious life are distinctive, and they really are,” said Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. “They’re more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits.”
Of the new priests and nuns who recently joined religious orders, two-thirds chose orders that wear a habit all the time or regularly during prayer or ministry, the study found.
The next generation will render Vatican II irrelevant- no point in worrying whether it is valid or not.
Hopefully some day the Church militant will consider that period to be apocryphal.
Dieu Le Roy!
While much of the World War I ordnance unearthed near Chievres, Belgium, is being shipped to secondary sites for disposal, shells that are leaking are destroyed on site.
Belgian air force Cmdr. Jan Savelkoels is overseeing the removal of a large cache of World War I ordnance from a field near Chievres, Belgium.
Since April, a Belgian explosive ordnance unit has been working to clear World War I ordnance, some of which contains the elements of mustard gas, buried in a field near Chievres. The site is believed to be one of the largest of its kind unearthed in Belgium. One of the Belgian explosive ordnance troops working the site is army 1st Sgt. Dirk Gunst.
European edition, Friday, August 4, 2006
CHIEVRES, Belgium — In March 1918, a British intelligence unit set out to blow up a huge German ammunition dump in western Belgium.
By all accounts, it was an audacious mission, one that involved a Catholic priest who headed up a local spy network and the clandestine use of a German plane for the daylight insertion of a demolition expert.
“We would prefer to lose 10,000 men than to lose this munitions site,” Belgian air force Commandant Jan Savelkoels said, quoting a World War I German army general who was assigned to the region.
The mission succeeded, insofar as it effectively denied German forces use of that stockpile.
But the saboteurs failed to destroy all the munitions, something a Belgian explosive-ordnance disposal team is now addressing nearly nine decades later.
Savelkoels, the team commander, estimates that the site contains at least 300 tons of munitions, and that roughly 6 percent of it is toxic. The list of undesirable agents ranges from phosgene and diphosgene to chloramine, all of which were used by both sides in “the Great War.”
As far as Savelkoels knows, the site, near the U.S. air base at Chievres, is the biggest one of its kind from WWI. It alone will account for a normal year’s worth of recovered munitions.
In the interest of security, Belgian and U.S. officials asked that the exact location of the site not be disclosed.
“There are bombs I have never seen before,” said Savelkoels, a career EOD officer.
That says a lot, given that the Ypres region is still peppered with all sorts of ordnance, much of it dating to that era. Savelkoels said Belgian explosive-ordnance units annually get at least 3,000 requests.
“To see rounds that you studied about in (EOD) school is awesome,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Thomas Frankhouser, who recently visited the site and would be among those contacted in case of an emergency there. “We didn’t know it was here.”
For years, neither did members of the Belgian military, which lost or misplaced many of the documents pertaining to the ammunition site, Savelkoels said. Local residents brought the issue to the attention of Belgian authorities, but even then the details were sketchy.
The site was initially thought to cover about 130 square meters, Savelkoels said. But when his 12-man team began working the site in late April, they found it was more than four times that size. What was estimated to be a monthlong effort has turned into a six-month project.
“With every (passing) year, it is more and more dangerous,” Belgian army 1st Sgt. Dirk Gunst said.
After WWI, Belgian authorities began to work the site but lacked the expertise to handle it, so they buried it. A second effort commenced in the 1950s but it, too, was aborted.
“It’s an extraordinary site,” Frankhouser said.
The artillery rounds range in size from 7.7 cm to 25 cm, and the heaviest piece recovered so far checks in at 93 kilograms. Once the materiel is unearthed, it is either destroyed near the site, especially if it is deemed unstable due to leakage, or moved.
Every day, Savelkoels’ team checks the direction of the wind and other factors in the event an accident occurs and toxins get released into the air. So far, there have been no serious problems, though Savelkoels worries about complacency.
“Routine kills,” the Belgian officer said. “That’s what I fear here.”
That concern is negated somewhat by the extraordinary opportunity to get an extended view of a large cache of munitions nearly a century old.
“We’ve never found very large ammunition dumps from the second World War, only the first World War,” Savelkoels said, explaining the front lines were more static in World War I. “It’s the biggest one I’ve seen.”
Here is a statement I stand by;
"Most of these self described liberals would not be the 1/3 of the colonists who rebelled against the crown." They would have been the fence sitters, and sunshine soldiers. The left will not sacrifice any wealth of their own in the cause of any rebellion. The most vocal of them, the Garafolos, Streisands, Spectors, McCaskills, and Obamas, who claim to know about the founding of their country, know nothing about freedom of speech, unless the protests come from people who they agree with. Not to the left, The first amendment was writen to protect speech which disagrees.
Case in point...
WASHINGTON – Sen. Arlen Specter said Wednesday he thinks people who have been angrily disrupting town hall meetings on overhauling the health care system are "not necessarily representative of America," but should be heard.
"It's more than health care," said Specter, 79, who earlier this year left the Republican Party and became a Democrat. "I think there is a mood in America of anger with so many people unemployed, with so much bickering in Washington ... with the fear of losing their health care. It all boils over."
Specter and Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, appeared on a nationally broadcast news show Wednesday, a day after town hall meetings they hosted erupted in the same kind of catcalls, jeers and shouting that has characterized many such forums in recent weeks. "There were a couple of tough moments," McCaskill said of her experience, "but it lasted two hours and there were thousands of people there."
Jeers and taunts drowned out both Specter and McCaskill on occasion Tuesday. President Barack Obama was treated more respectfully at his town hall meeting in New Hampshire.
"You'll be gone, by God the bureaucrats will still be here," one man told Specter at a session in Lebanon, Pa.
"If they don't let us vent our frustrations out, they will have a revolution," Mary Ann Fieser of Hillsboro, Mo., told McCaskill at her Missouri health care forum. McCaskill admonished the rowdy crowd, saying "I don't understand this rudeness. I honestly don't get it."
The bitter sessions underscored the challenge for the administration as it tries to win over an increasingly skeptical public on the costly and far-reaching task of revamping the nation's health care system. Desperate to stop a hardening opposition, the White House created a Web site to dispel what it says are smears and House Democrats set up a health care "war room" out of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office to help lawmakers handle questions.
Specter, who had another such forum scheduled Wedneday at State College, Pa., said he had been "impressed with the fact that people have been very well prepared." He said many have come to meetings with copies of the legislation and have cited specific provisions in their arguments.
"These people have a right to be organized," the senator said on CBS's "The Early Show." (The thing is they are not yet oganized, that is an ACORN thing)
"I'm not going to complain about being organized. They have a right to speak," he said, "but I think we have to explain, they're not necessarily representative of America. I think they're vocal. I don't think they're representative."
Specter said he didn't think people opposed to various health care proposals have a right to disrupt public meetings on the issue.
Obama answered his critics indirectly. At his town hall in Portsmouth, N.H., he urged Americans to ignore those who try to "scare and mislead the American people," telling a cordial audience, "For all the scare tactics out there, what is truly scary is if we do nothing."
McCaskill said she was "proud of the people that showed up and I don't take that personally."
"It's that they don't trust government right now," she said on NBC's "Today" show.
"It wasn't the majority of the audience, it was a huge chunk of them," she said. "But I get that distrust. There's a lot of cynicism out there and it's important that I get out there and listen to that."
Many people "have a lot of pent-up frustration about what has happened over the past six months because it's come fast and furious," McCaskill said.
Continue to play it down, it's ok, you hopefully will be part of the 10% of unemployed after the election...
Thus ends the lession...
Ernest Augustus, heir to the title of Duke of Cumberland, and grandson of Christian IX of Denmark through the latter's daughter, Princess Thyra of Denmark, came to the court and fell in love with Victoria Louise.
Their marriage, on 24 May 1913 in Berlin, put an end to the rift between the House of Hanover and House of Hohenzollern that began after the 1866 annexation of the Kingdom of Hanover into the Kingdom of Prussia following the Austro-Prussian War.
Their wedding was one of the last great social events of European royalty before World War I. It was celebrated in the presence of George V of the United Kingdom and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Empress Augusta Victoria took the separation from her youngest child and only daughter badly and spent the night weeping.
As with many European dynasties regiments would have Colonel in Chief. Princess Victoria Louise was the Colonel in Chief of the Life Hussar Regiment. I have included some photos of her in Hussar uniform. As a princess, she could not have been seen in trousers let alone Riding breaches so she wore a skirt which required her to ride on a side saddle.
Below Princess Viktoria-Luise, and her sister-in-law, Crown Princess Cecilie, in the uniforms of their respective regiments. About 1910
Here is the substance of two letter from her to me...
It is in 1650 when it first happened.
I take it from your answer that you are a white supremacist.
That means that for as far as I am concerned the case is definitely closed.
Just read about Henderson in Wikipedia.
Nothing much to be proud of especially not with the KKK in the phone book.
It opens a world to me and I understand your drive better now.
I have no idea where this came from, she originally asked me a question which I answwered and was sent hate mail instead. Go figure. She has perported to be from Holland and read an article of mine which she commented on, but I have no date time group for that time from Holland. I republican spy no doubt.
Post script: I believe I corrected the problem with the email.
Here is a film about the mobilization of France in August 1914. It is interesting to mention, that though the film is in black and white, the uniforms of the French have not changed since the 1830's, even though the rest of Europe and the world have adopted a less visable uniform. The tunics are a dark blue, and the trousers are a bright color red. The Zouaves, long gone from the United States military establishnment since the Civil War are still form part of the French establishment. I will cover the aspect of uniforms in a later article.
left: Let’s thrash it!
V. Deni, 1930
Alcohol causes over half of all deaths of adults aged 15–54 in Russia. More than half of all deaths of people of working age in Russia are caused by alcohol, according to research by Oxford University and the Russian Cancer Research Centre in Moscow. The results of the case-control study are published in The Lancet.
The researchers asked the families of 30,000 dead men and 20,000 dead women in the Russian cities of Tomsk, Barnaul and Biysk what the deceased person used to drink, and determined the cause of death from official death records.
They found that 59% of deaths in men and 33% of deaths in women between the ages of 15–54 were caused by alcohol. Most of these alcohol-attributed deaths were from alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence, or one of eight disease groups strongly related to alcohol, such as TB, pneumonia, pancreatitis or liver disease.
‘Russian health continues to be devastated by the effects of alcohol and tobacco,’ says Professor David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Centre, who led the study in Russia. ‘Many Russians die in their twenties, thirties or forties from disease, accidents, violence or suicide caused by drinking.’
If current Russian death rates continue, then about 5% of all young women and 25% of all young men will die before age 55 years from the direct or indirect effects of drinking.
Professor Sir Richard Peto Professor Sir Richard Peto of the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford, who led the statistical analyses said: ‘If current Russian death rates continue, then about 5% of all young women and 25% of all young men will die before age 55 years from the direct or indirect effects of drinking.
Our analyses are just of mortality, and ignore any other adverse or beneficial effects of alcohol use on individuals, families or society,’ he added.
Russian deaths from disease are further aggravated by widespread smoking. Male lung cancer rates (which are driven by smoking and not by drinking) are about 50% higher in Russia than in Western Europe or North America. After the age of 55, tobacco may well cause more deaths than alcohol, but at younger ages alcohol has been shown to cause, in Russia, even more deaths than tobacco.
National mortality statistics show that the overall risk of death among people of working age in Russia is now more than four times as great as in Western Europe. (It is five times as great in Russian men as in West European men, three times as great in Russian women as in West European women.) Alcohol and, to a lesser extent, tobacco can account for most or all of the large difference in premature death between Russia and Western Europe in adults of working age.
Whereas West European death rates have been decreasing steadily for the past few decades, chiefly due to decreases in tobacco deaths as people stop smoking, Russian death rates at ages 15–54 years have fluctuated wildly. They decreased suddenly when alcohol consumption fell by a quarter in 1985 under President Gorbachev’s 1985–8 anti-alcohol laws, then doubled between 1988 and the peak mortality in 1994. Since then, they have zig-zagged sharply but have remained fairly high.
Professor Peto said: ‘When Russian alcohol sales decreased by about a quarter, overall mortality of people of working age immediately decreased by nearly a quarter. This shows that when people who are at high risk of death from alcohol do change their habits, they immediately avoid most of the risk.’
Click here to read the The Lancet report.
The Russian government has been reluctant to talk about this or to institute a tax on alcohol feeling this would lead to violence by the population. In Moscow, a bottle of beer is cheaper than a bottle of water.
Dieu le Roy,
About the Poster...
This is a beautiful anti-alcohol poster created by Victor Deni – who was one of the brightest soviet poster artists of the first half of the century.
The poster shows a Red Worker standing in front of steaming factory pipes. He is about to smash a big bottle of alcohol. The giant hammer has words “The Cultural Revolution” written on. Unlike the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the sixties, which was a political struggle, the Soviet Cultural Revolution implied elimination of illiteracy, foundation of educational system, changing of private and social life of the citizens, development of science, literature and art under the supervision of the Party. Of course alcohol was considered to be the enemy of these reforms.
Below there are verses by Demian Bedny, who was one of the most noted poets of the Soviet times:
You, there, don’t trifle with booze
D’rather thrash it
At your every step,
Give no rest to the enemy.
An impressive artwork, indeed.
The attack happened on August 2 and the unnamed assailant was immediately arrested.
"The woman threw an empty cup at the Mona Lisa, but there was no damage as the cup smashed when it hit the screen protecting the painting," said Louvre spokesman David Madec.
"She was visibly upset," he added, saying she had subsequently undergone psychiatric testing.
The Mona Lisa, which is protected by a bullet-proof screen, is one of the most prized works in the Louvre and was seen by some 8.5 million visitors last year.
The woman had hidden the ceramic cup in a bag and later told police she had been upset because she had not been granted French nationality. She has since been released, but faces legal action from the Louvre.
Other museums in France have had problems.
In 2007, a man broke into the Musee D'Orsay in Paris and punched and damaged a painting by the French impressionist Claude Monet.
In 2008 a Cambodian woman was made to do community service after kissing a painting by American artist Cy Twombly at a gallery in southern France, leaving lipstick on the canvas.
...On 10 August 1792, His Majesty the King and his family are removed (escape is too kind a word) from the Tuileries by the National Guard and brought before the so called "National Assembly". Within minutes of the their departure, attackers, the mob, burst through the gates of the Tuileries and confront the Swiss Guards who are in formation on the grand staircase of the palace arrayed as if for battle. Their bright red uniforms and white cross belts gleam immaculate in the sunlight.
Shouts for the surrender arise from the crowd. One traitor who speaks German yells to the Swiss.
"Surrender to the Nation!"…
" We would think ourselves dishonoured! We are Swiss and we surrender only with our lives!" Comes the reply.
The crowd becomes angry and and increasingly violent attempting to pull the soldiers of the stair case with the hooks of halberds. They succeeded with five, removing their weapons and butchered them. Then 60 of the Guard form a hollow square and force the mob back down the street. Turning a piece of the National Guards artillery back on them they fire and have the attackers running down the street.
The King, secluded in a cramped stenographers box was told to have the Guard lay down its arms and return to the barracks. The King, who grieves at the thought of his subjects having their blood shed reluctantly agrees and orders the Guard to lay down its arms. Captain Durler of the Guard refuses to believe this order. It is madness. He asks for it in writing. He has just seen with his own eyes what the mob has done to 5 of his men moments before.
He knows surrender means death. .. The King gives him the order in writing.
Captain Durler orders his men to lay down their arms and return to the barracks. As they withdraw they are attacked, where ever they run, where ever they attempt to hide they are dragged out and murdered. No not murdered, that would be to kind a word for it, for they are hacked to pieces, women and children lustily calling for their death, whistling and cheering at each head piked, each arm severed. The heads of the guards are kicked like balls in the streets of Paris. 900 (1) are killed in this way.
At the end of the day no street in Paris is without it's head on a pike.
Let them be remembered.
"HELVETIORUM FIDEI AC VIRTUTI" – "To the Loyalty and Courage of the Swiss".
A of the hero of the Vendee' is a witness to the atrocity of 10 August 1792. Henri de la Rochejaquelein is at the Tuileries to offer his services to the royal family. He arrives just as the Mob begins the massacre and escapes only by exchanging his coat with that of a republicain. The short coat and tricolour cockade probably don't fool as many people as the leg of a Swiss he carries over his shoulder...
"Forts dans la vie, fidèles dans la mort injuste"
More may be found here at Tea at Trianon, thanks toi Elena-Maria...
Vive le Roy!
(1) The Swiss Guards formed 12 companies of 200 men
...The tocsin [church bells tolling in unison to warn of a disaster] sounded at midnight. The Swiss Guards were drawn up like walls; and in the midst of their soldierlike silence, which formed a striking contrast with the perpetual din of the National Guard. The King informed M. de J––-, an officer of the staff, of the plan of defense laid down by General Viomenil. M. de J––- said to me, after this private conference, “Put your jewels and money into your pockets; our dangers are unavoidable; the means of defense are nil; safety might be obtained by some degree of energy in the King, but that is the only virtue in which he is deficient.”
An hour after midnight the Queen and Madame Elisabeth said they would lie down on a sofa in a room in the entresol, the windows of which looked out on the courtyard of the Tuileries...more...
Thanks to Catherine, and a tip of the beret, with a white cockade.
Vive le Roy.