11/21/14

Wüstennotstaffel – Part Two

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Part Two continues the story of the Wustennotstaffel in May 1942. Featured stories include the Wüstennotstaffel‘s role in the British capture of General der Panzertruppe Ludwig Crüwell during the Battle of Gazala, and the dramatic escape by a Wüstennotstaffel pilot and German doctor from the feared and renowned British Long Range Desert Group and Special Air Service. Perhaps the most surprising story is that of a nocturnal sabotage mission undertaken by the Wüstennotstaffel.

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The article includes numerous photos, two colour profiles of Fieseler Storch aircraft and five maps. Also featured are two detailed appendices – one with unit losses and one with known desert rescues.

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11/26/14

The Shadow War I

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Federal artillerymen, guarding a railroad bridge near Relay House, watch for troublemakers from secessionist Baltimore, eight miles to the north. Their commander, General Benjamin F. Butler, had no fear of an attack, declaring that he had never seen “any force of Maryland secessionists that could not have been overcome with a large yellow dog.”

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Struggling with a huge timber, troops of the Washington-bound 8th Massachusetts and 7th New York rebuild a sabotaged railroad bridge at Annapolis Junction, Maryland, reopening the route to the capital.

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11/26/14

The Shadow War II

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Cheered by thousands of well-wishers, soldiers of the elite 7th New York Militia parade down Broadway en route to Washington on the 19th of April, 1861. “It was worth a life, that march,” wrote a young private, who would pay exactly that price less than two months later.

Lincoln’s mainstay during the uncertain days of late April was Winfield Scott, the General in Chief of the Army. Scott had been a national hero since the infancy of the republic, had commanded the American army that won the Mexican War of 1846-1848, had served in the Army for 53 years and had been its top general since 1841. The handicaps of age, poor health and enormous bulk-Scott was almost 75, matched Lincoln’s height of six feet four and tipped the scales at almost 300 pounds-made it impossible for him to lead an army in the field; he had enough difficulty merely hauling his great weight up from his desk. But he stayed at that desk 16 hours a day during the crisis, calmly deploying his meager, motley forces in defense of Washington, planning strategy, sending frequent reports to the White House and doing the voluminous paperwork necessary to bring a genuine army into being. And although Scott conceded that the Confederate force of about 30,000 men at Charleston was larger than his whole army east of the frontier, he remained serenely confident that all would be well.

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11/26/14

PC Game Review: War is an Art

Europa Universalis IV: Art of War reviewed

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by James Tanaleon

Let’s not kid ourselves: despite the immense depth of politics, religion, culture, trade, and exploration, the bread and butter of any grand strategy game like Europa Universalis IV is warfare. Tens of thousands of men marching for King and Country is one of the biggest draws for this beloved title and now Paradox Development Studios has released their latest expansion for it aptly titled “Art of War.”

“Art of War” is billed as one of their largest expansions to date which focuses heavily on the warfare mechanics in the game. While previous DLCs have tweaked the mechanics associated with colonization, exploration, or trade aspects of the game, Paradox has finally turned its attention to the finer details of managing a war. Whole swathes of new mechanics are available. The ability to switch captured province control, for example, is one of the most welcomed aspects of this attention to warfare. The player can now choose to change a province he has captured to be under the control of a co-belligerent. On the surface, this may seem like a cosmetic change as it does not grossly affect the warscore, nor does it really present any advantages or disadvantages militarily. However, this does improve the way in which the peace process is managed later on when different provinces can be allotted to different players or nations. This is a very welcome change. Before, it was only a matter of luck or speed on as to who would get to a province first. Before the expansion, tactical micromanagement was key in order to make sure each party controlled the provinces they wanted out of a subsequent peace deal. This was also problematic if one was relying on AI allies to take a piece of the pie that they needed to take. It was also impossible to artificially expand one’s vassals unless they had a core on a particular province. One of the happy consequences of this expansion is that the player can now assign control of provinces over to vassals so that they may take up the province in the treaty.

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11/26/14

BirdAir

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Bird & Sons, Inc was a San Francisco heavy construction company operating in Vietnam and Laos. Bird & Sons, Inc maintained its own air division. William H. Bird had been operating an aviation division of his construction company Bird & Son in Laos since 1960. Bird later sold the air division and its aircraft to Continental, $4.5 million cash, in 1964 to form CASI. When Bird sold that division there was a non-compete clause in his contract with Continental that precluded Bird from operating another aviation company in Laos for a certain number of years. When that time expired, Bird got back into the air charter business and created BirdAir.

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