1846 in Galicia

“Rzeź galicyjska” by Jan Lewicki (1795-1871)
Some critical observers such as Count István Széchenyi (1791–1860) in Hungary blamed Hungary’s political weakness and economic poverty precisely on a shortsighted nobility that gave little thought to the economic welfare of the larger society and fought only to maintain its class privilege. Nobles in Galicia learned the hard way that if a Polish nation did in fact exist, its membership was limited to the uppermost classes, who were often hated by the rest of society. In another sign of the limited extent of national self-identification in these regions, peasants often mythologized their Habsburg rulers for having attempted to intervene on their behalf over the years against their noble masters. Such peasants did not see themselves as part of an imagined Hungarian or Polish nation. When in 1846 Polish nobles in Galicia rebelled against the Habsburgs, Polish- and Ukrainian-speaking peasants famously turned on their rebellious landlords in large numbers and massacred them, claiming to oppose the oppressive Polish nation in whose name the nobles had rebelled.

Book Review: Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World.

Exciting re-creation of the epic mid-16th-century struggle between the encroaching Ottoman Empire and the beleaguered Christian Europeans.
Crowley picks up where he left off in 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West (2005). After the fall of Constantinople to Mehmet the Conqueror and his army of Turks, the author writes, it was only a matter of time before Mehmet’s great-grandson Suleiman set out to achieve his own ambition to become “Padishah of the White Sea”—the Mediterranean. From the 1520s on, Suleiman and later his son Selim II clashed repeatedly with Charles V and then Philip II of Spain in a battle for holy ascendancy that stretched from Rhodes to Tunis, Cyprus to Lepanto. Suleiman unleashed his murderous corsairs, led by the Barbarossa brothers, to wreak havoc on the Barbary Coast (North Africa), while Charles employed the astute services of the valiant Genoese sea commander Andrea Doria. Radiating from Madrid and Istanbul across Europe, the engines of imperial power collided catastrophically in 1565 on the rugged island of Malta, a launch pad for the crusading Knights of Saint John headed by the zealous Jean Parisot de La Valette. Here Crowley lingers with chillingly detailed precision, depicting the armada of Turkish galleys bearing down on the island. Seventy-year-old La Valette and his 6,000 or so fighting men hastily prepared for defense against an Ottoman force exceeding 20,000. The Knights and the rest of Europe were convinced that this was the final redoubt, “the glorious last-ditch stand against impossible odds, massacre, martyrdom, and death.” What ensued was a four-month bloodbath, with the Christians routing the Turks and checking their advance into the White Sea.
A masterly narrative that captures the religious fervor, brutality and mayhem of this intensive contest for the “center of the world.”


The Arabic term that denotes navigation is milaha, which signifies in a broader sense seafaring or in a narrower connotation the sailor’s act of determining the vessel’s position, location, and course to the destination. The sunna of the Prophet (his sayings and doings) and the Qur’an do not prohibit Muslims from sailing the seas. The Qur’an urges Muslims to consider navigating as well as exploiting the rich resources of the sea. Likewise, the sunna comprises hundreds of hadiths that exhort Muslims to organize maritime expeditions, to sail to Mecca on pilgrimage, to exploit marine resources, and to expand overseas trade. Regarding military operations at sea, Prophetic traditions give more credit to Muslim naval warriors and amphibious troops than to holy warriors who fight on land. One hadith says that ‘‘a maritime expedition is better than ten campaigns of conquest on land.’’ The Prophet also said that ‘‘a day at sea is equivalent to one month on land, and a martyr at sea is like two martyrs on land’’ and that ‘‘those who perish while fighting at sea will receive double the compensation of those fighting on land.’’ Al-Shaybani added that ‘‘any Muslim who takes part in a sea expedition would be doubly compensated (rewarded) and that once the soldier puts his foot on ship all his sins are forgiven as if he were born anew.’’ This emphasis on the double reward might reflect the legacy of a traditional fear of the sea and the necessity for encouraging recruitment for a religious war (jihad) at sea. Maritime expeditions were regarded as very risky owing to unreliable weather and the naval power and maneuvers of the enemy, but these factors did not allow a soldier to flee the scene of the battle unless the Muslim admiral commanded his flotilla to withdraw collectively.

Although the Arabs had long been acquainted with the sea and had sailed for centuries through the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean using different types of ships and nautical techniques, it seems that they emerged as a global sea power after the Islamic military advents on the eastern and western fronts. Within less than a century of the emergence of Islam in Arabia, the Prophet’s followers dominated more than half of the maritime possessions of their former neighbors. The eastern, western, and southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea were entirely under Islamic dominion, as were the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and parts of the coast of the Indian Ocean. The Islamic expansions in the east and west united the former Persian and Byzantine territories that had been split by the successors of Alexander the Great (356–323 BCE). Owing to this new political unity, commercial activity between the Far East and the Mediterranean greatly expanded. As evidence, al-Biruni reports the following:

‘‘… the power of the Muslim state and its extension from the al-Andalus in the west to the outermost reaches of China and Central India in the east, and from Abyssinia and Bilad al-Zinj (East Africa) in the south to the Slav and Turkish land in the north enabled many nations to live together in intimacy, without allowing outsiders to bother them or to interrupt traffic. Other peoples who were non-Muslims and still pagans came to regard the Muslim state and its people with respect.’’ (Nazmi, Commercial Relations, p. 54)

Muslim caliphs, especially the Umayyads, maintained all dockyards and naval bases and the former administrative system of Rome and Byzantium in the southern shores of the Mediterranean as well as the marine system in the former Persian provinces; they also established new maritime installations. In AH 18/640 CE, when a severe famine spread in Arabia, Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab ordered a cleaning of Trajan’s canal, which connected Babylon with Clysma (sixty-nine miles in length), for the transport of sixty thousand irdabbs of corn from Egypt to Jar, the port of Medina. The real age of Islamic navigation began from the reign of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan. During the Umayyad and ‘Abbasid periods, many port cities on the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, and the Arab, Red, and Mediterranean Seas flourished. Among these cities were Basra, Siraf, Aden, Suhar, Shihr, Qais, Bahrain, Hurmuz, Jedda, Jar, Qulzum, ‘Aydhab, Tarsus, Ladhiqiyya, Beirut, Sidon, Tyre (Sur), Acre, Alexandria, Rosetta, Damietta, Tinnis, Babylon, Barqa, and Tunis.

Over the course of time, Islamic societies contributed to the art of navigation. Their contributions are reflected in manuals of seafaring, nautical instruments, and the introduction of the lateen sail (a triangular sail suspended from a long yardarm at an angle to the mast) to Mediterranean navigation. Among the oldest Islamic manuals of navigational science that have come down to us are Kitab al-Fawa’id fi Usul ‘ilm al-Bahr wa-l-Qawa‘id, which was composed by Ahmad ibn Majid in 895/1490, and the works of Sulayman ibn Muhammad al-Mahri (d. 917/1511). This should not be interpreted to mean that Muslim navigators did not produce and use portolan charts (sing., qunbas) before the days of Ibn Majid. By contrast, Ibn Majid names two Persian navigators, Ahmad ibn Tabruya and Khawsshir Ibn Yusuf al-Ariki, who sailed during the early years of the eleventh century and who wrote navigational works. Another major instrument that Muslim astronomers and mathematicians developed as early as the seventh century was the astrolabe, an instrument for observing or showing the positions of the stars. On the astrolabe, latitude was determined by the height of the sun or the pole star, which was measured by the qis figure system (science of taking latitude measurements). A third nautical instrument that Muslim sailors transferred from China was the compass. This magnetic instrument was known to Muslim seafarers before the tenth century and probably was not considered very important in the East, because the skies over the Indian Ocean were usually very clear, especially during the times that Muslim mariners sailed with monsoons. The earliest documented Arab use of the compass in the Mediterranean dates to the 1240s. In brief, Muslim navigators mastered astrology; the science of latitude and longitude; the nature and directions of winds; the seasons; the knowledge and locations of coasts, ports, islands, dangerous shoals, and the narrow maritime lanes; the use of various terrestrial instruments; and the art of calculating solar months and days. Most of the Islamic literature about the science of navigation was translated into Latin. For instance, the population of the Balearic Islands—especially the Mallorcan Jewish cartographers—played a vital role in translating Arabic nautical charts, instruments, and books into Latin. By doing so, Western European commercial ships could sail toward the Canary Islands and other destinations along western African coasts.

Islamic ships sailed to every part of the known world, including the major ports on the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Marmara, Black, and Caspian Seas, in addition to the western African coasts on the Atlantic Ocean; their ships also sailed as far north as Denmark in 844. In the East, Muslim seafarers navigated the Red and Arab Seas, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean. Their merchant ships sailed from Near Eastern ports to India and Sri Lanka, Malay, the Philippines, Indonesia, and China in the Far East as well as Zanzibar, Mozambique, and even Madagascar in east and southeast Africa. Certainly the seasons and art of navigation differ for each one of the seas and oceans mentioned above. For instance, the sailing season in the Mediterranean had been observed from the Classical Hellenic period to the late medieval period. Ships habitually set out from the eastern basin of the Mediterranean during the early spring and returned from the west during the Feast of the Cross (‘id al-salib), which was celebrated on the 26th or 27th of September, whereas the return journey of ships heading eastward took place between the end of July and the beginning of September. However, sailing during inappropriate times was probably limited to military expeditions and instant transport of food supplies. As for the seasons of navigation in the Indian Ocean, navigators took advantage of the seasonal winds (monsoons) that blow in one direction for about six months and in the opposite direction for the rest of the year. With regard to the art of navigation on these waters, Muslim geographers (e.g., al- Mas‘udi [d. 346/956]; author of Muruj al-Dhahab) point out that navigating on each one of these seas required the previous personal knowledge and expertise of sailors.

The duration of maritime voyages depended on the seaworthiness of the vessel, the professional behavior of the sailors, the distances between ports of origin and destinations, cargo’s volume and weight, weather conditions, and the human hostilities that the ship could encounter. After the embarkation and debarkation ports were specified, captains and shipmasters could fix the ship’s course, whether it had to cross the high sea, hug the coast, or sail on inland waters (e.g., rivers, artificial canals).

This discussion cannot be concluded without saying a few words about navigation for military purposes. One of the few—but most important— sources about the subject that still survives is Al-Ahkam al-Mulukiyya fý Fann al-Qital fi l-Bahr wa-l-Dawabit al-Namusiyya, by Muhammad Ibn Mankali (d. 784/1382). His treatise, which contains explicit references to and fragments of an Arabic translation of Leo VI’s Tactica, is a mine of information about the technology of Islamic warships and ‘‘Greek fire’’; rights and duties of sailors, marines, and commanders; navigation under various climatic conditions; and, most importantly, how to plan, manage, and coordinate the battle at sea.

Royal Flying Corps (RFC) / Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) / Royal Air Force (RAF)

British military aviation has its roots in the Royal Engineers, which established a balloon corps in 1908. In May 1912, the Royal Flying Corps was established with a military wing, which worked for the army; a naval wing for operations with the fleet; the Central Flying School for instructional purposes; a repair depot called the Royal Aircraft Factory; and a reserve.
A form of interservice rivalry developed almost at once between the military and naval wings, and shortly before the declaration of war, in the summer of 1914, the naval wing broke away to become the Royal Naval Air Service.
When war was declared, the RFC deployed with the British Expeditionary Force; an aircraft park and four squadrons (Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5), each equipped with the entire mixed bag of aircraft then in the British inventory. After a series of moves necessitated by the initial British retreat, headquarters in France was established at Saint Omer, where it remained for most of the war. The first field commander of the RFC was Brigadier General David Henderson. Henderson would shortly return to England, though, leaving command in the field to Hugh Montague ‘Boom’ Trenchard.
Initially, each RFC unit acted as something of a self-contained air force, performing the complete range of activities, which at the time consisted primarily of reconnaissance duties with the occasional bombing mission. As the war progressed, the force grew in number, and by 1916 squadrons began to specialize either as fighter, bombing, or reconnaissance units, the latter role being further divided into photographic and artillery functions. As a consequence of specialization, the practice of units having a multiplicity of types was abandoned, and squadrons started to become known not only by their role but also by what type of equipment they possessed. Balloon companies using tethered observation balloons as artillery spotters began appearing in British service in 1915 and remained a fixture on the Western Front throughout the war.
Technological advances were rapid during the war, and keeping up with the enemy in the design and deployment of new types was a constant problem. The British sometimes suffered severely as a result. When the Germans were first to develop an interrupter gear — allowing a machine gun to fire through the propeller arc — the RFC found itself on the receiving end of the ‘Fokker scourge.’ During the spring of 1917 the problem reached a crisis. During the Battle of the Somme, the previous autumn, the Luftstreitkräfte (Air Service) had organized its single-seat fighter force into heterogeneous jagdstaffeln (fighter squadrons) and reequipped with the Albatros D.I and D.II. The type had been refined over the winter into the D.III.
The RFC, however, had lagged in the introduction of new types and went into the spring with the same complement of tired aircraft,mostly BE 2s that had been in use for the last two years. It paid a high price – the highest number of casualties in a single month it would suffer during its existence – a month that went down in history as ‘bloody April.’
Technological advantage was not the only factor in these losses; doctrine also played a part. Throughout the war, Trenchard followed an offensive policy. This action has attracted its share of criticism, but faced with German occupation of the high ground and the insatiable intelligence needs of the army, often only satisfied by aerial reconnaissance, the RFC seems to have had little choice but to press on with what it had.
The situation improved over the summer of 1917 with the introduction of the Sopwith Camel, the SE 5/5a, the de Havilland D.H. 4, and the Bristol Fighter; the SE 5/5a was the best design to emerge from the Royal Aircraft Factory during the war, the other three, of course, being the products of private firms. From that point on, technology remained fairly balanced, and casualties returned to a manageable level until spiking again in September 1918 following the German introduction of the BMW-powered Fokker D.VII.
The Royal Flying Corps did not operate exclusively on the Western Front, however. After some initial jurisdictional feuding with the RNAS, the RFC had assumed responsibility for the aerial home defense of Great Britain, thereafter regularly scrambling a hodgepodge of mostly second-line equipment in response to Zeppelin and Gotha attacks.
Outside of England and France, units also served in Egypt and Palestine, Mesopotamia, and Russia, providing support to British army operations in those theaters.
The Royal Naval Air Service mission was primarily, if not exclusively, the support of British maritime endeavors. This covered a wide range of activities, from antisubmarine patrols and general reconnaissance duties in connection with the fleet, to bombing missions against submarine pens and Zeppelin bases. To fulfill these missions, the RNAS developed a varied inventory that included floatplanes, flying boats, the first experimental torpedo-bombers, and lighter-than-air airships. Ships were also adapted to work with aircraft, leading to the balloon ship (which extended the effective range of vision of the group to which the balloon vessel was attached), the crane-equipped seaplane carrier, and, eventually, to the first flight-deck aircraft carriers.
In addition to new equipment, innovative techniques were also developed for work over the water, one of the most useful to the prosecution of the war being the so-called spider web. The spider web was an invisible grid over the English Channel and North Sea that provided an organized method for aircraft to use in searching for underwater mines and U-boats. Provision for aerial escort as part of the convoy scheme also contributed to the safety of Allied shipping as it crossed the Atlantic to and from North America.
As mentioned, the RNAS did not operate exclusively over the water. Throughout the war, naval units were deployed for land-based operations on the Western Front.And among the Allied forces, the RNAS could take credit for the first tentative attempts at strategic bombing. In the summer of 1916, the RNAS organized No. 3 Wing and equipped the unit with Sopwith 11/2 Strutters and Breguet bombers with the aim of attacking targets inside Germany. The group was stationed at Luxeuil, near Nancy, putting it within reach of manufacturing plants in the Saar River Valley. Bad weather – the perpetual enemy of aerial operations – kept No. 3 Wing grounded throughout much of its life, but its first – and most memorable – raid took place on 12 October 1916 when it attacked the Mauser Works at Oberndorf. The raid was a truly international operation involving not only the British naval unit but also French bombers and an escort of Nieuport fighters provided by the U.S. volunteers of the Lafayette Escadrille. By spring, however, the lackluster results achieved led to the breakup of the group and the reassignment of its crews to other units, many going to the navy’s single-seat squadrons up near the channel coast. There, some pilots, such as Canadian ace Raymond Collishaw, would go on to great success flying the Sopwith Pup, Triplane, and later the immortal Camel, supplementing the RFC in support of army operations.
Relations between the two British aviation services were always somewhat tense, accusations of various intrigues going in both directions. The rivalry heightened to the point that a government committee merged the RFC and RNAS into the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918.
Trenchard was ordered to run the Independent Force and General John Salmond became the RAF’s first field commander. There is little evidence to indicate that a true merger of the two services really took place prior to the Armistice, however. There was a new ‘RAF blue’ uniform issued, but not many people are seen wearing it in wartime photos,most clinging not only to the old uniform but also to the practices and brief traditions of their earlier branch. Previously, naval squadrons were renumbered, each having ‘200’ added to its original designation (e.g.,Naval Eight became No. 208 Squadron,RAF), and a few swaps of personnel were effected, probably the most notable being the transfer of RNAS ace Roderick Dallas to the command of No. 40 Squadron, an old RFC fighter unit. But these changes were largely cosmetic, and the real birth of the Royal Air Force is more likely found in the postwar struggles to remain funded and stay alive, all taking place under the stewardship of Trenchard. The fruits of his labor became apparent in 1940 when the RAF rose to the Nazi threat and achieved its finest hour during the Battle of Britain.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)

The Royal Australian Air Force had its humble beginnings in September 1912 as the Australian Flying Corps when a flight of four aircraft was authorized for the army. In 1913, its first two pilots went to England and returned with five aircraft and number of maintenance personnel. A total of 2,275 RAAF personnel served with British aviation forces during World War I.

Starting in January 1929, brushfire-spotting became a new mission for the RAAF. This was followed a year later by dusting for pest control.

With World War II looming, two major training expansions were instituted in 1938 and 1939. Plans were made for 32 squadrons with 360 aircraft in June 1940, but this was increased to 73 squadrons in May 1941. The RAAF began combat operations during World War II in the Southwest Pacific alongside U.S. forces. Eventually, the RAAF had squadrons fighting in almost every theater of the war. By the end of World War II, the RAAF comprised 3,187 first-line aircraft dispersed in 52 squadrons. Their missions included fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, antisubmarine, clandestine operations, and transport.

The first jets to enter RAAF service were de Havilland Vampires in May 1946.These were followed by Gloster Meteors and North American Sabres. The RAAF was part of the UN operation in Korea, employing its Meteors.

When the South Vietnamese government asked for assistance through the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, the Australians joined the anticommunist efforts. During the Vietnam War, RAAF Bell Iroquois helicopters supported Australian ground forces. An RAAF English Electric Canberra squadron served alongside a USAF Martin B-57 Canberra wing for more than four years. Another RAAF squadron provided airlift support operations with de Havilland Caribous between 1964 and 1971.

Maritime patrol operations began in World War II with Avro Lancasters and Consolidated Liberators. Subsequently Avro Lincolns were employed along with a number of large flying boats. This mission was then performed by Lockheed Neptunes and, later, Lockheed Orions.

During the early 1970s, the RAAF leased 24 USAF Mc-Donnell F-4E Phantom IIs until they were replaced by the General Dynamics F-111C. The Lockheed Hercules entered the RAAF inventory in 1958 and has since became the mainstay of RAAF transport units.

Wherever and whenever called upon, the RAAF has served Australia, the British Empire, and the United Nations. A staunch supporter of U.S. interests, RAAF personnel bring professionalism to every operation they undertake.

References Green, William, and John Fricker. The Air Forces of the World. New York: Hanover House, 1958. Parnell, Neville, and Trevor Boughton. Flypast: A Record of Aviation in Australia. A Civil Aviation Authority bicentennial project. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1988.