Electromagnetic weapons-also known as E-bombs-are designed to release a high-power flash of radio waves or microwaves. Depending on the energy of the electromagnetic pulse, effects can range from the disabling of electronic circuitry to physiological effects in those exposed to the electromagnetic pulse.
The pulse released by an electromagnetic weapon lasts for an extremely short time, around 100 picoseconds (one ten-billionth of a second). The absorption of this blast of high energy by anything capable of conducting electricity, including nerves and neurons, overwhelms the recipient.
Research and development into the effects of electromagnetic weapons on human beings and animals was underway in the 1940s. The Japanese spent considerable sums of money on the development of a “Death Ray” between 1940 and 1945. A review of these studies by the United States military concluded that it was possible to develop a weapon that would produce an electromagnetic ray capable of killing humans five to 10 miles away from the source.
Animal studies have demonstrated the lethal nature of electromagnetic radiation. In the studies, wavelengths ranging from 60 centimeters destroyed the lung cells of mice and ground hogs. Wavelengths less than two meters also destroyed brain cells.
Electronic stimulation can have other, nonlethal effects on humans. Secret research conducted in the United States following World War II demonstrated that electronic stimulation of different regions of the brain of test subjects could produce extreme emotions of rage, lust, and fatigue. Another research program, dubbed “Operation Knockout,” operated at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, Canada, with funding from the Central Intelligence Agency. The study’s director, Dr. Ewen Cameron, discovered that electroshock treatments caused amnesia. Memories could be erased, and the subjects reprogrammed. Once these “psychic driving” experiments became public, Cameron-then a pre-eminent psychiatrist, endured harsh public and professional criticism.
In the 1960s, the U. S. Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) studied the health and psychological effects of low energy microwaves for weapons applications. The ability of microwaves to damage the heart, create leaks in blood vessels in the brain, and to produce hallucinations were demonstrated.
Many scientists assume that research into the debilitating effects of electromagnetic radiation has continued up to the present day. However, increasing restrictions on the information obtainable through the U. S. Freedom of Information Act have made verification difficult. A 1993 U. S. Air Command and Staff College paper entitled “Non-Lethal Technology and Air Power” documented low frequency, “acoustic” and high power microwave weapons that could deter or debilitate humans.
Low frequency electromagnetic waves, also known as acoustic waves, have been commonly used for decades in functions such as ultrasound machines. However, acoustic waves can also cause internal organs of humans to vibrate. The result can be nausea, diarrhea, earache, and mental confusion. The discomfort increases as one gets closer to the source.
Shorter wavelength electromagnetic radiation produces different effects. A common example is microwave radiation, which in a microwave oven can be used to heat up foods and liquids. When directed at humans, a microwave weapon causes atoms to vibrate, which in turn generates heat. At 200 yards away, body temperature increases from the normal 98.6° F to 107° F. At closer range, the temperature increase can be even higher, and is lethal.
Microwave electromagnetic weapons can also stun a victim. This is the result of the stimulation of peripheral nerves. The simultaneous activity of many nerves overwhelms the capacity of the brain to process the incoming information, and can induce unconsciousness.
The biochemical effect of microwave exposure is dependent on the distance from the source, as electromagnetic fields become much weaker as the distance from the source increases.
Experiments with very low frequency electromagnetic radiation have demonstrated that the radiation can induce the brain to release chemicals that induce slumber, or to release a chemical called histamine. In human volunteers, the histamine release produces flu-like symptoms, which dissipate when the radiation stops.
Not all electromagnetic weapons are cloaked in military secrecy. A device called the Pulse Wave Myotron is commercially available. The Myotron emits rapid pulses of electromagnetic radiation. The pulses incapacitate the movement of voluntary muscles by overriding the electrical pulse that normally flows from nerve to nerve within the muscles. Involuntary muscles, such as the heart and muscles that operate the lungs, are unaffected. Thus, a victim is rendered incapable of movement or speech. The effect lasts until the muscles can repolarize; approximately 30 minutes.
FURTHER READING : BOOKS: Alexander, John B. Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-First Century Warfare. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. PERIODICALS: Pasternak, D. “Wonder Weapons.” U. S. News & World Report. July 7 (1997): 38-46.
Joseph I’s reign was dominated by the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), which pitted Bourbon France and Spain against the ‘‘Grand Alliance’’ led by Austria and the Maritime Powers. Born to Emperor Leopold I and Eleonore of the Palatinate-Neuburg, Joseph’s upbringing was notable for the absence of Jesuit influence and the resurgence of German patriotism during lengthy struggles against France and the Ottoman Empire. In 1699 he married Wilhemine Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who his parents hoped would tame his youthful excesses, which included wild parties and a string of indiscriminate sexual escapades. He was soon admitted to the privy council, where he became the center of a ‘‘young court’’ of reform minded ministers eager to resolve the daunting financial and military crises that confronted the monarchy during the opening years of the war, which Leopold had entered to secure the far-flung Spanish inheritance for his second son, Archduke Charles (the future Holy Roman emperor Charles VI). Their first victory came in 1703, with the appointments of Prince Eugene of Savoy and Gundaker Starhemberg to head the war council (Hofkriegsrat) and treasury (Hofkammer). Shortly afterward, John Churchill, the duke of Marlborough, was induced to march a British army into southern Germany, where it combined with imperial troops in destroying a Franco-Bavarian force at Blenheim (August 1704).
Although the great victory saved the monarchy from imminent defeat, Joseph had to overcome a succession of new challenges after succeeding his father (5 May 1705), which included the need to wage war on multiple fronts in Germany, the Spanish Netherlands, Italy, the Low Countries, and Spain, while simultaneously suppressing a massive rebellion in Hungary led by Prince Ferenc II Rákóczi. Joseph’s strong German identity informed vigorous initiatives within the empire, including reform of the Imperial Aulic Council (Reichshofrat) and the banning of several renegade German and Italian princes who had sided with the Bourbons. Yet he gave little assistance to the imperial army fighting along the Rhine frontier or to the Maritime Powers campaigning in the Low Countries. Instead, he focused his resources (together with considerable Anglo-Dutch loans) on Italy, which Prince Eugene delivered in a single stroke at the battle of Turin (1706), after which the French evacuated northern Italy, much as they had abandoned Germany after Blenheim. A small force expelled Spanish forces from Naples the following spring. Joseph’s other principal concern was Hungary, where Rákóczi had aroused widespread support against Leopold’s regime of heavy taxation and religious persecution. Although Joseph dissociated himself from his father’s policies and promised to respect Hungary’s liberties, he refused Rákóczi’s demand that he cede Transylvania as a guarantee against future Habsburg tyranny. As a result, the war dragged on for eight years, as Joseph committed roughly half of all Austrian forces to the difficult process of reconquering the country. Once victory was assured, relatively generous terms were granted the rebels at the peace of Szatmár (April 1711), signed just ten days after Joseph’s death.
With Italy secured and the Hungarian rebellion under control, Joseph shifted his attention to the last and least pressing of his war aims—his brother’s acquisition of the rest of Spain’s European and American empire. Prince Eugene and a small force were sent to join Marlborough’s Anglo-Dutch army in the Spanish Netherlands, most of which fell after their victory at Oudenarde (1708). Joseph also instigated a short war with Pope Clement XI at the end of 1709, forcing him to recognize Charles as king of Spain. By 1710, the first Austrian troops were fighting alongside their British, Dutch, and Portuguese allies in Spain itself. Nonetheless, a combination of logistical difficulties, timely French reinforcements, and the Spanish people’s dogged support for the Bourbon claimant, Philip V, doomed the allied effort. Unsuccessful peace negotiations at The Hague (1709) and Gertruydenberg (1710) failed to deliver what the allies could not win for themselves. Finally, a new British cabinet initiated secret peace talks with Louis XIV at the beginning of 1711, foreshadowing the Peace of Utrecht two years later.
Despite his untimely death from smallpox (17 April 1711), Joseph attained his two main objectives: securing an Italian glacis to the southwest and reconciling Hungary to Austrian domination, albeit with constitutional safeguards. Indeed, both achievements endured until 1866. Much of his success rested with a talent for choosing and managing able ministers to whom he could delegate much of the responsibility for realizing policy objectives. At the same time, Joseph jeopardized these gains through extramarital liaisons, which prevented his wife from bearing children after he gave her a venereal infection in 1704. Although he was survived by two daughters, the absence of a male heir foreshadowed the dynasty’s extinction in 1740.
WWII for the US was the first completely mechanized war. There were tanks, jeeps, tanks, armored cars, tank destroyers, halftracks, and trucks that were used by the US military. They came in all sizes from the 1/4 ton 4×4 Jeep to the 10 ton wreckers. But there is one truck that comes to a person’s mind when thinking or thinking of a trucks from WWII, and it is the GMC 2-1/2 ton 6X6. It is the definitive truck of WWII!
When one thinks of US military medium trucks, the GMC 2 1/2-ton 6×6 immediately springs to mind.
The trucks used in this convoy system were CCKW, built by GMC, and known by the troops as either the `Deuce-and-a-half’ or the `Jimmy’. They were capable of carrying payloads of up to 2.5 tons but in reality many were greatly overloaded due to the emergencies during battle. All could tow trailers and some were also developed for specialist roles such as the 750-gallon capacity fuel tanker and 700-gallon capacity water tanker, while others were converted to be used in bomb disposal, as medical support vehicles and fire trucks; the famous DUKW (`Duck’) amphibious truck was also developed from the CCKW design. There were two basic types of these 6×6 trucks, the Short Wheel Base 352 and the Long Wheel Base 353 and either the closed cab or open cab versions. The CCKW lettering designated the year 1941 (C), conventional cab (C), all-wheel drive (K) and tandem rear axles (K). The basic version weighed 5.3 tons and measured 21.36ft long, 7.35ft wide and 9.19ft high. Between 1941 and 1945 General Motors produced over 562,000 of these trucks and other manufacturers took the production figure to more than 812,000 vehicles. The Jimmy was fitted with a GMC six-cylinder 269 cid 91.5hp engine, which gave road speeds of up to 45mph. It was thirsty on fuel and a 40-gallon fuel capacity would allow an operational range of 300 miles (7.5 miles to the gallon). Some Jimmys had provision for a .50in-calibre machine gun to be mounted above the cab roof for use in self-defence in case of attack.
Semi-trailer tractors come into this category with designations from 2 1/2ton to 5-ton. These special-purpose vehicles were used to haul large trailers of all descriptions. The general service bodies were used in great numbers during the advance across Europe, proving extremely useful in such organized deployments as the ‘Red Ball Express’ route. Starting with some of the less publicized vehicles, the AutocarModelU4144T 4×4 tractor was basically used in the USA, very few crossing the Atlantic and the US Army Air Force being a major user for the fuel bowser-towing role. Another early model, the GMC AFKX-502-8E COE tractor, was used to tow early horse box trailers for the cavalry. The GMC was powered by a 6-cylmder 91-kW (122-bhp) engine. Perhaps the two most popular and publicized tractors were the Autocar Model U7144T and the Federal 94×93, which were used in quite large numbers for haulage. The Autocar was used by artillery units to tow van bodies, fitted out with radio equipment mostly for use by antiaircraft units. These trailers were designed to use a front dolly wheel for use as full towing trailer, though when the trailer was coupled to the tractor the dolly could be towed behind the whole assembly. Early vehicles had fixed steel cabs, these later being changed to soft tops in line with most other American-produced military transport vehicles. Many soft-top vehicles were fitted with a ring mount for a 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-gun. The Studebaker produced almost 200,000 2 1/2-ton trucks, similar to the GMC 6×6, but more than half of that production went to the Soviet Union under Lend-lease. Many were produced with the Studebaker commercial-type closed cab. 100 Federal model was used in the same basic way, the power unit for this type being the Hercules 6-cylinder RXC engine.
In the 4-ton cargo range the FWD HARI saw extensive service with American, British and Canadian forces. It was powered by a Waukesha GB2 6-cylinder engine. Many of the trucks were instrumental in hauling supplies along the Allied supply line from Persia to the USSR. One interesting deployment of the FWD in British service was its use to tow mobile smoke generators. The RAF used the truck as mobile power supply vehicles and as snow ploughs, the latter being fitted with a Bros rotary plough, for which the rear body was replaced by a large Climax R6 petrol engine unit. Transmission of power to the plough was twofold, first by V-belts to the rotary parts then through transmission shafts to the rotor assembly with a chain drive for final power to the rake.
Diamond T supplied a 6×6 medium truck, the Diamond T 968, this being one of the US Army’s cargo trucks until the end of the war. Variants included tipper, map reproduction, wrecker and bitumen tank vehicles. A total of 10,551 was built, and a further 2,197 were supplied as long- and short-wheelbase vehicles (cab and chassis) for fitment of special engineering bodies. These were supplied to many other countries during and after World War II.
GMC World War Two Production Statistics:
There were 528,829 2-1/2 ton 6×6 trucks produced with the GMC nameplate on it. GMC built 377,254, or 70% of these at its Pontiac, MI plant. Chevrolet built the other 151,575 at two of its assembly plants.
There were 21,147 2-1/2 ton 6×6 amphibious trucks produced with the GMC nameplate on it. GMC built 14,399, or 68% of these at its Pontiac, MI plant. Chevrolet built the other 6,748 at its St. Louis assembly plant.
GMC built 24,910 2-1/2 ton 6×4 trucks at its Pontiac, MI plant.
Total GMC Division WWII production at Pontiac was 416,563 2-1/2 ton trucks of different types.
Raids along the Habsburg-Ottoman borders in Croatia led to a renewal of the war in Hungary in 1593. In Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II’s “Long Turkish War” (1593-1606), the Ottomans briefly lost Transylvania, Walachia, and Moldavia before anti-Habsburg revolts restored the territories to Ottoman control. The bitter stalemate of the war signaled an important shift in the strategic balance of power of the Ottoman Empire vis-a-vis its European enemies. A succession of weak sultans, financial difficulties brought about by an inflationary crisis, and social turmoil combined at the turn of the seventeenth century to erode Ottoman military capacity. Subsequent wars added little territory to the empire and were fought primarily to recover or round out earlier conquests.
Rudolf confidently took up a challenge to his lands from the Ottomans in 1593, embarking on what became the Long Turkish War that proved a fiasco for both sides. The thirteen-year struggle contributed to a chain of problems that kept the Ottoman empire out of the Thirty Years War and ensured a period of relative tranquillity for Hungary. With hindsight, this was of undoubted benefit for the Habsburgs, since it enabled them to concentrate on the problems of the Empire and their western and northern European enemies. However, this was not clear at the time and the Turkish menace remained a constant source of anxiety. Worse, the Turkish War left the Habsburgs financially and politically bankrupt, in turn contributing to the outbreak of renewed conflict in 1618.
The Scourge of God
These events and their consequences have not received the attention they deserve, leaving the Ottomans as a shadowy presence in most accounts of the Thirty Years War. Their empire was the superpower of the early modern world, stretching for 2.3 million square kilometres across three continents with at least 22 million inhabitants, well over three times the number in the Habsburg monarchy. Much of the original dynamism was lost after the death of Süleyman the Magnificent in 1566, but it would be wrong to categorize the Ottomans as in decline. They remained the terror of Europe, associated by Protestants and Catholics alike with the scourge of God sent to punish a sinful mankind and viewed with a mixture of awe and revulsion. Their empire continued to expand, particularly in the east where they seized Georgia and Azerbaijan from the Shiite Persian empire between 1576 and 1590. The Habsburgs were sufficiently alarmed by this that they accepted humiliating terms in November 1590 to obtain an eight-year extension to the truce agreed at the end of the previous Turkish war in 1568. Despite the expense, the emperor maintained a permanent embassy in Constantinople, whereas the sultan disdained to deal with the infidel and rarely sent ambassadors to Christian courts. The Austrian diplomats struggled to secure accurate intelligence at a court that was truly the successor to medieval Byzantium. They were kept waiting for weeks before being received by officials who gave evasive or contradictory answers. The presence of Dutch, English, French, Venetian and other Christian embassies was a further source of concern as these were all powers considered hostile to the emperor.
The difficulty in obtaining a clear picture prevented outsiders from perceiving the Ottomans’ mounting internal difficulties. The absence of accepted rules of succession bred bitter family feuds and forced each new sultan to command his deaf mutes to strangle his immediate brothers and sisters. The internal intrigues weakened the sultanate that lost direction at a time when their most dangerous foes to the east were entering a period of renewed vigour under the Safavid dynasty in Persia. The new conquests failed to bring sufficient rewards to satisfy the groups essential to the running of the Ottoman empire – notably the army, which had once been a pillar of strength and which now entered politics with disastrous results. Accustomed to rich bonuses from new sultans, the regular Janissary infantry began extorting rewards in return for continued loyalty, leading to the assassination of Osman II in 1622, setting a precedent that was repeated in 1648 and again later in the seventeenth century.
The internal problems of their empire made the Ottomans more unpredictable in their actions, adding to an already unstable situation in south-east Europe at the point where their empire met that of the Habsburgs to the west and the lands of the Poles to the north. The war that broke out in 1593 was essentially a struggle between two of these powers to extend influence over the intervening region while denying access to their rivals. Hungary to the west was already split into Habsburg and Ottoman spheres, with the emperor controlling the north and south-west, along with Croatia, while the sultan commanded the central area and south-east. Neither side had a clear position in the region further east that was split into four principalities, all nominally under Turkish suzerainty, but pursuing varying degrees of autonomy. The area along the northern shores of the Black Sea belonged to the Crimean Tartars, the descendants of Ghengis Khan who had paid tribute to the sultan since the later fifteenth century. They provided useful auxiliaries for his armies, but were largely left alone since they served as a buffer between Ottoman territory and that of the Russian tsar further to the north-east. The three Christian principalities of Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania lay to the north and west of the Tartars. They likewise paid tribute, but were more open to influence from Poland and Austria. The Poles sought access to the Black Sea by pushing into Podolia, between Moldavia and the Crimea. Polish influence grew pronounced in Moldavia during the 1590s and they also intrigued in Transylvanian and Wallachian politics.
Of the three, Transylvania is the most significant to our story, and an examination of its internal politics reveals much that was typical for Moldavia and Wallachia as well. Formed from the wreckage of old Hungary in the 1540s, Transylvania was a patchwork of four major and several minor communities. In addition to pockets of Turkish peasants and Eastern Slavs, there were Orthodox Romanians, Calvinist Magyars, Lutheran German immigrants, called Saxons, and finally the self-governing Szekler people, living in the forested east, who remained Catholic. The prince maintained power by brokering agreements between these groups, particularly the three ‘nations’ of Magyar nobles, Saxon towns and Szekler villages entitled to sit in the diet. The balance was enshrined in the Torda agreement from 1568 that extended equal rights to Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists and the radical Unitarians (who rejected the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and refused to believe that Christ had been human in any way). Separate princely decrees extended toleration to Jews and the substantial Romanian population.
It was an arrangement that worked surprisingly well at a time when people elsewhere in Europe were murdering each other in God’s name. All parties recognized Transylvania’s vulnerability and wanted to deny predatory outsiders a chance to intervene. Over time, toleration became embedded in society and political culture, enhancing princely power since he could pose as the defender of all faiths and their liberties against Habsburg confessionalization and absolutism. However, it created confusion for external relations, particularly once the prince converted to Calvinism in 1604. While nine-tenths of his nobles now shared his faith, the peasantry were mainly Catholic or Orthodox, while the burghers were Lutheran. Christian powers looking to Transylvania only saw its leadership and mistook the principality as a Protestant champion ready to save them in their hour of need. While it might serve his purpose to present himself as such to outsiders, the prince remained conscious that his rule depended on preserving the balance between the ethnic and confessional groups.
There were also significant material obstacles that inhibited Transylvania from playing a major role in European affairs. Over half its territory was covered by forest and barely a fifth lay under cultivation. The population was concentrated in isolated pockets largely cut off from each other by trees and mountains. It was impossible to maintain a western-style regular army, and in any case, such an army would be ill-suited to operating in such conditions. Like its immediate neighbours, Transylvania relied on lightly armed cavalry able to cover 35km a day, supported by smaller numbers of irregular musketeers to hold outposts on the border. Such forces lacked staying power in a formal battle, which they generally avoided, preferring to break their opponent’s will to resist by rounding up livestock and civilians. These tactics were thwarted if the enemy took refuge in walled towns or fortresses, since the Transylvanians lacked artillery and the disciplined infantry needed for a siege. They were also unable to sustain operations for more than a few months, waiting until the grass grew in the spring for their horses before setting out, and returning home with their booty before the high summer scorched the ground.
Strategy and Logistics
These logistical problems were found elsewhere in the Danube valley and across the Hungarian plains (puszta) where temperatures soared in the summer and plummeted below freezing in winter, and hampered all combatants. The surrounding mountains were blocked by snow from the autumn until the spring thaws that swelled the rivers and flooded a third of the plains for much of the year, providing a rich breeding ground for malarial mosquitoes. Hungary lay at the north-west periphery of the Ottomans’ world empire, 1,100km from their European base at Adrianople (Edirne). A field army of 40,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry required 300 tonnes of bread and fodder a day. Crop yields in eastern Europe were half those of Flanders and other western agricultural regions that could support ten times more non-producers. Even Poland, rapidly becoming the bread basket of western European cities, exported only about 10 per cent of its net crop in the later sixteenth century. It was often impossible to requisition supplies locally in the Danube area, especially as the population tended to be concentrated in isolated pockets, as in Transylvania. The Turks were forced to follow the line of the river during hostilities, reducing their advance to 15km a day. If they set out in April, they could not reach Vienna before July. Not surprisingly, Ottoman armies relied on Belgrade once war broke out, since this was already two-thirds of the way to the front and was the first major city on the Danube west of the Iron Gates (Orsova) pass between the Transylvanian Alps and the northern reaches of the Balkan mountains of modern Bulgaria. These strategic and logistical factors imposed a certain routine on the Turks’ campaigns. Operations began slowly with the collection of troops from across the empire at Adrianople or Belgrade. The main army reached the front in July, leaving only a few months to achieve success before the autumn rains set in during September, while the sultan traditionally suspended campaigns on 30 November with the onset of winter.
Major operations were the exception and most fighting involved cross-border raiding that remained endemic due to political, ideological and social factors. The region lay at the extremity of both the Ottoman empire and the kingdom of Poland, and while physically closer to the heart of Habsburg power, it was still politically distant. All the major powers were forced to rely on local landowners and their private armies who commanded the resources, loyalty and respect of the scattered population. Though wealthy, the magnates in Hungary and Transylvania were adopting expensive new lifestyles, with decorated country houses, foreign university education and grand European tours for sons and heirs. They could not afford large permanent forces to defend the frontier and also needed to satisfy poorer clients who relied on banditry to supplement their incomes from livestock, horse breeding or farming. Those at the centre tolerated the situation as the only way to retain the loyalty of the unruly border lords, and as a convenient means to put pressure on their international opponents. As the secular representatives of opposing world religions, neither the emperor nor the sultan could accept permanent peace without implying recognition of an alternative civilization. The lack of clear frontiers allowed a policy of gradual expansion by encroachment, whereby whichever side was currently stronger exploited weakness in the other to assert the right to collect tribute from border villages. Frontiers shifted back and forth like sand with the tide, while major fortified towns remained immovable rocks that required open war to crack.
Such fortresses began to be built during the 1530s as both the Ottomans and Habsburgs entrenched their hold over Hungary. The Turks had the advantage of shorter interior lines of defence, with a compact position along the middle Danube and in Bosnia to the south-west. They relied on around 65 relatively large castles held by 18,000 regular soldiers, with 22,000 militia recruited from their predominantly Christian subjects to patrol the gaps. The Habsburgs were forced to defend an 850km-long arc to the west and north, partly detached from Austria and Bohemia by chains of mountains. Lateral movement was restricted, since all the rivers drained eastwards into the Ottoman-held Hungarian plain. Each Austrian and Bohemian province had its own militia, but mobilization depended on the Estates who wanted them mainly for local defence. The Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1529 proved a shock and prompted the construction there of new bastioned fortifications in the Italian manner between 1531 and 1567. Plans to modernize these had to be shelved in 1596 due to the peasant unrest and a lack of funds, leaving the capital weakly defended when the Bohemians and Transylvanians attacked in 1619. The civic militia was converted into a regular garrison in 1582, but they numbered only five hundred men.
The Military Frontier
To keep the Turks at bay, the Habsburgs revived and expanded existing Hungarian defence measures to create what became known as the ‘military frontier’. This militarized zone around 50km deep ran the entire length of the frontier and rested on 12 major and around 130 minor fortified posts held by over 22,000 men by the 1570s. Its development and upkeep was heavily subsidized by the Reichstag, which voted eight grants with a nominal value of around 12 million fl. between 1530 and 1582, plus well over another million towards fortress construction. At least four-fifths of this amount was actually paid, despite the confessional tension in the Empire, since the Ottomans were considered a common menace to all Christians. Indeed, the largest two grants had been made in 1576 and 1582 at a time when many historians think confessional tension was growing worse. However, disagreements did ensure there was no immediate renewal when the last grant expired in 1587, increasing the dynasty’s dependency on taxes voted by its Estates to maintain particular sectors. Only about half the border troops could be spared from their garrisons, limiting the scope for offensive operations. A major army of 55,000 men was reckoned to cost at least 7.4 million fl. for a single campaign, a figure way in excess of the monarchy’s entire revenue.
Financial considerations forced the Habsburgs to place large sections of the frontier in local hands. The southern or maritime border, based around Senj on the Adriatic, was held by a people known as the Uskoks, after the Serbian for ‘refugee’. This mountainous region could not support the growing number of refugees who were supposed to be paid by the government to defend the frontier with Ottoman Bosnia. Chronic indebtedness forced the Habsburgs to tolerate Uskok raiding and piracy instead. The next sector to the north was the Croatian border around the castle of Karlstadt that had been built in 1579 with funds granted by the Inner Austrian Estates in return for the Pacification of Bruck, and which protected the upper reaches of the Save river, blocking an invasion of Carniola. The Slovenian border around Warasdin on the upper Drava was also subsidized by Inner Austria since it protected Styria. Around half of all the minor posts were concentrated in these two sectors and were manned by colonists settled on crown land in return for militia duty. They received little help from central coffers and were expected to supplement their meagre existence from farming by raiding villages across the frontier.
The Hungarian border was split into three sections, with that in the south stretching from the Drava to the southern end of Lake Balaton and containing the important fortress of Kanizsa. The middle section ran north from Lake Balaton to the Danube, before curving east around the Ottoman salient at Gran where the river makes a right-angled turn from due east to flow south past Buda and Pest. This was the most heavily contested sector, because the Danube valley gave the best access for both sides. The Ottomans were concerned to protect Buda as the seat of their Hungarian government and as a forward base for an attack against Vienna. To forestall this, the Habsburgs built Komorn at the east end of Schütt Island, a large area that stretched west to Pressburg which was formed by two branches of the river and often flooded. Another fortress was constructed at Raab, approximately 40km south west of Komorn, to guard the only practicable route south of Schütt Island into Lower Austria. The lesser fortress of Neuhäusel covered Komorn’s northern flank by blocking the Neutra river. The final Hungarian section stretched eastwards from there to the Tisza river and Transylvania. Its main fortress was Erlau, which blocked the road north over the Matra mountains into Upper Hungary and so safeguarded communications between Austria and Transylvania. Central funds covered only the principal garrisons, leaving the intervening sections in the hands of Hungarian magnates who maintained private armies of haiduk infantry. The haiduks were originally nomadic oxen drovers who had been forced by the partition of Hungary to accept a semi-settled existence as border guards, living in their own villages under elected headmen and relying on banditry between wars to supplement their irregular pay.
There were few opportunities to test these tactics in large battles during the Turkish War of 1593–1606, which mainly consisted of sieges and skirmishes like the Spanish operations in Flanders against the Dutch. Hostilities arose from the systemic problem of endemic banditry and unstable frontiers. The Habsburgs could do little for the Uskoks who were facing overpopulation and were forced to intensify their piratical activities in the Adriatic. Venice, the chief target of their seaborne attacks, encouraged them to redirect their attention to Ottoman Bosnia and Hungary after 1591. The pasha of Bosnia retaliated by besieging a Croatian border fort and was captured and executed by its defenders. Sinan Pasha, the energetic grand vizier, persuaded a reluctant Sultan Murad III to agree general war in 1593. As an opening move, Sinan seized the Habsburg embassy and enslaved its staff: an occupational hazard for those posted to Constantinople.
Rudolf’s advisers believed the war offered a golden opportunity to expand Habsburg influence in the region and extend control over Transylvania. The Croats’ minor victory convinced them the Ottomans were in decline and they thought war against the Turks would rally Christians within the Empire and so reduce problems there. Certainly Rudolf was roused from his depression, and readily embraced what he saw as his traditional role as defender of the true faith. The Reichstag reconvened in 1594 and voted another substantial tax grant, renewing this four years later and again in 1603. At least four-fifths of the 20 million florins promised actually reached the imperial treasury, along with a further 7 to 8 million paid when Rudolf appealed to the Kreis assemblies as well. The Habsburg lands raised around 20 million, and another 7.1 million flowed in from the pope, Spain and Italy. Even the maverick Henri IV of France promised assistance, and many Catholics, recently defeated in that country’s civil war, now flocked to the imperial standard. Others came from further afield, including Captain John Smith, the later founder of Virginia. The princes of the three subject principalities of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia followed suit, and although the Poles refused to help directly, their Ukrainian Cossacks attacked the Crimean Tartars and so prevented these from aiding the sultan. The imperial field army doubled to around 20,000 men, supplemented by about 10,000 Hungarians and about twice that number of Transylvanians and other auxiliaries.
After all the effort, the result was a crushing disappointment. Some of the assistance proved rather meagre in practice, as in the case of the Russian tsar who sent a huge consignment of furs that flooded the market and brought little return. Worse, imperial planning was unrealistic. Talks were opened with Morocco and Persia to open additional fronts, but an embassy from Shah Abbas did not arrive until 1600, by which time it was unlikely the emperor could win. The sultan managed to keep 60–100,000 men in the field and so generally held the initiative.
The war opened in the south, where the main Ottoman offensive made some gains at Croatian expense in 1593 before the onset of winter forced Sinan to suspend operations. Thereafter, the Croatian, Slovenian and Senj border defenders held their own. Other Ottoman assaults against both ends of Lake Balaton were driven off, and from November 1593 the Habsburgs made periodic counter-attacks from this sector, trying to seize the Turkish fortress of Stuhlweißenburg that guarded the south-western approaches to Buda. The next Ottoman offensive hit the crucial central Hungarian sector, scoring a major success with the capture of Raab in September 1594, thus outflanking Komorn and opening the way to Vienna. Habsburg efforts concentrated on reversing, or at least offsetting, this blow and Archduke Matthias managed to puncture the Ottoman salient by taking Gran and Visegrad the following year. The sultan retaliated by shifting the war north-eastwards, leading his army in person to take Erlau in 1596, and defeating a relief army at Mezökeresztes, the war’s only major field battle, that October. All attention now focused on the three principalities of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia that had defied the sultan and entered the war on the emperor’s side.
Intervention in Transylvania
Habsburg planners saw the new Transylvanian alliance as a means of extending Habsburg suzerainty, and even forcing that country back under royal Hungarian control. The moment seemed opportune, since the current prince, Sigismund Báthory, appeared to welcome a Habsburg takeover. Polish influence had been strong under his predecessor but was now on the wane due to that country’s new preoccupation with Sweden. Imperial troops retook Raab in 1598, stabilizing the main front, while mounting difficulties in the Ottoman Empire sparked widespread revolts there from 1599. The apparent success of Catholic reform in Austria contributed to the growing sense of confidence among the emperor’s advisers, and led to the fateful decision to invade Transylvania in conjunction with Prince Michael of Wallachia, who hoped to get Moldavia out of the bargain. A period of confused fighting ended with the Habsburgs’ complete defeat thanks to unofficial Polish intervention that restored Sigismund and installed Polish puppet-rulers in the other two principalities.
Rather than cutting their losses, the Habsburgs stepped up operations in the region, entrusting new, larger forces to Giorgio Basta whose subsequent conduct earned him the reputation of a cruel tyrant among Hungarian and Romanian historians. Basta was one of the many Italians in Habsburg service and had risen from drummer boy to commander of a company of mounted arquebusiers in Spanish service in Flanders. He came to Hungary with a Spanish contingent in 1597 and soon acquired a general’s rank. Schlick, Marradas, Collalto and Ernesto Montecuccoli all served under him, but his influence spread further thanks to his numerous theoretical writings and military commentaries, many of which heavily criticized his employers for failing to pay their soldiers properly. The subsequent campaign presaged much that later followed in the Empire after 1618. As the man on the spot, Basta was forced to act quickly in rapidly changing circumstances. It was often impossible to refer back to the imperial government in Prague where Rudolf’s intentions were, in any case, far from clear. Having successfully conquered Transylvania again with Prince Michael’s help in August 1600, Basta had his ally murdered the following year, because he considered him a liability. As the Poles refused to rescue him a second time, Sigismund abdicated in return for a Habsburg pension in June 1602, leaving the Transylvanian diet no choice but to pay homage to Rudolf in return for confirmation of its privileges.
It was a pyrrhic victory. The diversion of manpower to Transylvania weakened the defence of the other sectors, and the Turks advanced up the Save in the summer of 1600, taking Kanizsa and opening the way to Styria. Though Archduke Matthias captured Stuhlweißenburg in 1601, this was lost the following year to one Turkish army, while another broke into Styria. Worsening financial problems prevented a coordinated defence as parts of the imperial army were paralysed by mutinies, with some of the French and Walloons even defecting to the Turks. Matthias retrieved the situation by capturing Pest in October 1602, precipitating a crisis for the Ottomans who now faced revolts in five provinces. Sultan Mehmet died of a heart attack and was succeeded by his thirteen-year-old son Ahmet I. Shah Abbas seized his chance and attacked from Persia, recapturing Azerbaijan and Georgia by 1604. Faced with a war on two fronts, Ahmet opened peace talks with the emperor in February 1604.
By making excessive demands, Rudolf squandered this last chance to end the war before his own position collapsed. Prolonged warfare had devastated Transylvania to the extent that it could no longer support the Habsburg garrisons. With no prospect of help from Prague, Basta resorted to seizing the property of any nobles who opposed his government. Matters spiralled rapidly out of control once the general received secret instructions from the emperor to implement the Austrian policies of Catholic renewal. As in Austria, this began with the towns, with the intention to repopulate the country with Catholic settlers and discharged soldiers after the war. Other measures targeted Upper Hungary where General Jacopo Belgiojoso began evicting Lutheran pastors from the strategic town of Kassa in January 1604, while the garrisons of 90 border posts were rotated to replace the Hungarians with 12,000 German troops. The policy of confiscations was extended to Hungary where Matthias even seized the manors of István Illésházy, a Protestant magnate who was stripped of his post as Hungarian palatine. This proved too much and the disaffected Magyars now made common cause with the oppressed Transylvanians.
The Bocskai Revolt 1604–6
Opposition coalesced around István Bocskai, a Calvinist landowner from Wardein in Upper Hungary. Bocskai’s journey from loyal servant to rebel leader encapsulates how Habsburg policies were alienating many of their most influential subjects. He had led the Transylvanian auxiliaries during the initial campaigns but was distrusted on account of his religion by Rudolf, who deprived him of his command and had him brought to Prague in 1598. He escaped execution, and retired to his estates that became a centre for malcontents. Though hailed by the local Calvinist clergy as a Hungarian Moses, Bocskai avoided inflaming religious passions for fear of alienating potential supporters, drawing instead on widespread popular discontent at the seemingly endless Turkish war. Having intercepted letters from the conspirators, Belgiojoso advanced from Kassa with his 3,500 men to arrest Bocskai, but Bocskai escaped and rallied 5,000 haiduks by granting them noble status and distributing abandoned land. Belgiojoso retired on Kassa, but the disgruntled citizens opened the gates to Bocskai who entered in triumph on 12 December 1604. The fall of Kassa severed the communications between Belgiojoso in Upper Hungary and the 5,000 Habsburg troops holding down Transylvania. As more haiduks rallied to his standard, Bocskai was able to leave a blocking force against Belgiojoso and invade Transylvania with 4,000 light cavalry in January 1605. Though the Habsburgs had the backing of the Szekler people, their troops were scattered in isolated garrisons which had all fallen to Bocskai by September. The Transylvanian diet had already proclaimed Bocskai as their new prince in February, while he was welcomed as the ‘illustrious prince of all Hungary’ when he returned westwards with the rest of his army in April.
By now, the Habsburg position was on the verge of collapse. Basta had been recalled to the main Hungarian sector in July 1604, but despite having 36,000 men, he had been unable to relieve Pest, which fell to the Ottoman besiegers. The imperial army disintegrated as it retreated northwards, allowing the Ottomans to recover both Gran and Visegrad. Bocskai captured Neuhäusel and met the new grand vizier, Lala Mehmed Pasha, outside Pressburg on 11 November 1605 where he was crowned king of Hungary with a special crown made in Constantinople.
Bowing to pressure from his relations, Rudolf reluctantly replaced Basta with Archduke Matthias who was empowered to open negotiations with Bocskai in May. The Bohemian Estates mobilized 17,000 militia, including units commanded by Wallenstein and Count Thurn, to stem the rebels’ advance into Moravia during that summer. Many of Bocskai’s aristocratic supporters were growing concerned that he was simply exchanging Habsburg rule for that of the Turks. They also doubted his ability to control the haiduks, to whom he had promised so much, and felt that the rebellion had achieved its original objectives of halting re-Catholicization and liberating Transylvania. Following a ceasefire in January 1606, the Hungarian and Transylvanian nobility concluded the Treaty of Vienna with Matthias on 23 June at the expense of both Rudolf and their own supporters. Lutheran and Calvinist Hungarian nobles received formal toleration that was extended to the royal towns and Military Frontier, but denied to peasants. Hungarian political autonomy was strengthened by restoring the post of palatine, removing financial control from Vienna, reserving administrative posts for natives, and replacing the German troops with Hungarians in the frontier fortresses. Transylvanian autonomy was also enhanced. Bocskai renounced his new Hungarian crown but kept the courtesy title of king and was recognized as prince of Transylvania by the Habsburgs, who ceded the territory another five Upper Hungarian counties east of Kassa.
While Bocskai did not live long to enjoy his success, his revolt set an important precedent. Militant Catholicism had been reversed, not by the passive resistance that had failed so miserably in Inner Austria, but by armed force. Whereas the Austrian Protestants had used their influence in the provincial Estates to bargain local concessions in the 1570s, the Hungarians and Transylvanians established a viable alliance between their countries. It was an example the Bohemians were to follow in 1618.
On 21 March, the battalion was assigned to LIII Corps and committed to the Battle of Remagen. By the end of the month it was reduced to a strength of 13 Jadgtigers. During April, the 1st and 2nd companies were destroyed in the Ruhr Pocket, while the 3rd Company was lost during fighting in the Harz Mountains. Hauptmann Albert Ernst surrender his 512th Heavy Tank Destroyer Battalion (Panzerjägerabteilung 512, sJgdPzAbt) to the US Army 99th Infantry Division at Iserlohn, Germany.
The 512th schwere Panzerjaeger Abteilung (sPz.Jg.Abt.) was formed in late January 1945 at Sennelager, north of Paderborn. It was one of only two Abteilungen (the other being the 653rd) to be equipped with Jagdtigers.
On March 7th, 1945, the US Army took the bridge at Remagen intact. Also it collapsed 10 days later, the US forces now had a bridgehead on the east bank of the Rhine. On March 14th, 2nd Company of the 512th started traveling south (via rail), eventually reaching the Lauschied woods southeast of Eitorf on March 20th, 1945 (movement was very slow and only during the darkness). Three Jagdtigers were produced in March 1945 by Nibelungen Werk and had the following chassis numbers: 305075, 305076 and 305077. These three were delivered to schwere Panzer-Abteilung 512 with 1 being transported on 14 March and 2 transported on 26 March.
On March 24th, elements of the 512th Abteilung, together with the 506th schwere Panzerabteilung and 654th schwere Jagdpanzerabteilung formed Panzergruppe Hudel and attacked between Eitorf and Siegburg towards the southwest, with the intention to destroy the US bridgehead.
The battalion was equipped with the new Jagdtiger tank destroyer, which was built at the Hindenburg factory in St. Valentin near Linz, Austria. Ernst was impressed by the giant vehicle and its 12.8cm gun, whose barrel was more than eight meters long.
Following firing trials in the Döllersheim area, on 10 March 1945 the new tank destroyers were thrown into action against the American bridgehead across the Rhine at Remagen. For crews experienced in conventional tanks, fighting in the Jagdtiger held some novelties. Before entering combat the gun’s travel lock and barrel support had to be disengaged. Aiming required pointing the entire vehicle, as the 12.8cm gun was housed in a fixed superstructure. For Ernst and others with experience in tank destroyers, conversion to the Jagdtiger posed few problems.
The German assault on the Remagen bridgehead failed mainly because the attack forces were committed piecemeal. Generalleutnant Bayerlein, commanding general of the German LIII Army Corps, suggested that the attack not begin until all three designated divisions and their heavy weapons were in place. This idea was rejected, however, and he was forced to attack on 10 March. Hitler had given orders to attack “immediately with every available unit.”
The attack, in which the Ernst company took part, was unsuccessful. Guderian’s maxim, to strike hard and not disperse one’s forces, had been disregarded.
Following the failure of the attack, Ernst and his Jagdtigers were given the job of covering the German withdrawal. The tank destroyers moved into position and knocked out pursuing American tanks from a range of two kilometers, demonstrating the outstanding accuracy of the Jagdtiger’s 12.8cm gun. Ernst and his unit then fell back through Niedernepfen and Obernepfen to Siegen. A German attack was planned from there to open the Ruhr pocket.
COMMENTS OF GENERAL BAYERLEIN, commanding general, German LIII corps
The following story, told to American interrogators by General Leutenant Frity Bayerlein, depicts, to some extent, the state of mind of the German high command in the field during March 1945. The subject, General Bayerlein became an officer in 1922. He served with the panzers in the Polish Campaign (1939) and the French Campaign (1940), and was Rommel’s Chief of Staff in the Afrika Corps in 1943. After commanding the 3d Panzer Division in Russia for a brief period. General Bayerlein was ordered to France to organize, train, and command the Panzer Lehr Division-the unit especially equipped and trained to repulse the Allied invasion of France. After the seizure of the LUDENDORF BRIDGE over the RHINE by the 9th US Armored Division, General Bayerlein was designated the commander of the LIII Corps, a battle group charged with the mission of throwing the American forces back across the RHINK.
The interrogation is especially interesting for three reasons: It is a partial chronicle of historical events, it indicates the German preoccupation with our air corps, and it details by example the state of mind of the German officer corps when faced with certain defeat. The careful student will note the lack of prevision demonstrated by General Bayerlein in his location of his units. This interrogation took place one month after the events recounted. At that time, the subject’s recollection of the events which transpired was most vague in contrast to his vivid remembrance of Personal danger or embarrassments.
While all but the most prejudiced will agree that Allied air power was a most important factor in the final outcome of the war it is interesting to see the importance given to minor losses by German ground officers when he losses were caused by air power. For instance, the loss of 100 men in ground action was accepted as a normal thing, while 100 casualties sustained from air bombardment was headlined as a crippling blow to the unit— a decisive factor in a subsequent defeat.
General Bayerlein gives an excellent example of the German professional officer’s state of mind in the closing days of the war. While, from the German point of view, the war was irrevocably lost, Bayerlein continued to perform his duty to the best of his ability while blaming his superior for poor decisions and making certain that no act of omission occurred which could justify his court-martial.
Comments of General Bayerlein to US interrogators:
On 1 March 1945, General Bayerlein, Commanding General, German LIII Corps, was in his headquarters at RHEINFELD (F3879). At this time, he received an order which Hitler sent to all units west of the RHINE stating that “…no staff officers, under any circumstances, will cross the RHINE”; the hope evidently being that the continued presence of high-ranking members of the German General Staff west of the RHINE would stimulate the waning resistance. Bayerlein stated that he was only too happy to comply, as it was clear to him that the defense of Germany was finished. On 3 March, it became even clearer when US tanks fired directly into his command post at RHEINFELD, driving him and his staff practically to the river bank across from BENHAT. Such a situation seemed “the end of the world” to Bayerlein, he said; but on the night of 3-4 March, he received direct orders from Army Headquarters to cross over, which he did in a small boat early on the morning of 5 March. “It seemed that Army Headquarters did not feel, as the Fuehrer did, that Germany had so many capable division and corps commanders she could sacrifice them for a gesture.”
On 9 March, Bayerlein was ordered to OBERPLEIS (F676350) for a new assignment, and the situation at REMAGEN made it very clear to him just what it would be. Although there were no cohesive German units of any size defending against the bridgehead, elements of the 11th and 9th Panzer Divisions were marching toward the threatened area. (The size of these units was limited by the gasoline supply rather than by the number of troops and vehicles available.) The commander of the “Defense of the RHINE” was an old man, one Kortzfleisch, of indeterminate rank and commanding an assortment of Hitler Jugend and Volksturm. Kortzfleisch was in jittering terror of being disgraced and shot should the RHINE be crossed in his sector. (General Bayerlein did not state the limits of Kortzfleisch’s sector.)
Model arrived in person on 9 March and gave General Bayerlein his assignment, which was to take a battle group of the Panzer Lehr, and the 9th and 11th Panzer Divisions, and wipe out the bridgehead. He was given a day to study the situation and prepare a plan. (It should be noted that Model and Bayerlein were not particularly fond of each other. Shortly before the ARDENNES battle Bayerlein had requested that his unit, the Panzer Lehr Division, be withdrawn from the front in order to permit it to reorganize, re-equip, and retrain. Model censured his division commander and told him to “reorganize in the line. That is what we did in Russia.” Bayerlein replied that if that is what had been done in Russia it apparently had not been too successful. From that time on relations between the two officers were rather strained.)
General Bayerlein’s plan for the reduction of the REMAGEN bridgehead, which he presented to Model, was to attack along the line OBERERL (F685217)-ERPEL (F647207) at dusk on 10 March with whatever troops were available at that time. During the night of 9-10 March, however, a few American tanks crossed and moved south to HONNINGEN (F700127), and the next morning Model refused to permit the attack through OBERERL, insisting that the threat to the south be met by an attack on LINZ (F678187).
(NOTE: This decision was most illogical as: (1) The tanks referred to were one platoon of the 14th Tank Battalion, which had been east of the river for a day and a half; (2) the main effort of the bridgehead was and had been north and east; and (3) the strategic objectives in the vicinity were the RUHR area in the north and the autobahn to the east. There was neither a logical objective nor good maneuver ground to the south. Furthermore, Model was a high-caliber officer and knew that his only chance of success was.to hit the bridgehead hard and early before the Americans had time to build up their forces east of the river. The only possible reasons for General Bayerlein’s statement are that he was trying to put the blame for his failure on Model or else that Model was insane, as many people claimed.)
On 12 March, Model appeared at OBERPLEIS (F67&350) with Marshal Kesselring, who stated that he was the new commander in the West over Model, who continued his same duties but under the direction of Kesselring. During the visit, Bayerlein explained his initial plan for destroying the bridgehead to Marshal Kesselring, who became furious that the plan had not been executed. Model, perhaps to justify his decision, complained that he was being furnished nothing in the way of troops and supplies. Inasmuch as the Americans had captured OBERERL by this time, the plan became unworkable and was dropped. Marshal Kesselring did order, however, that LEYBERG (HILL 359) (F668262) be retaken.
On the night of 12-13 March, Bayerlein moved his headquarters to ASBACH (F780297) in order to be more centrally located with respect to his sector. This move, like all moves of Bayerlein, was made at night to escape the American tactical aircraft. Bayerlein claimed that, between NORMANDY and the end of the war, he had lost the fighting strength of his division two and a half times from enemy air action alone. Furthermore, the omnipresent threat of air strikes on any column so greatly restricted his freedom of movement that an active mobile defense was usually impossible. The REMAGEN operation was no exception to the general rule, although the rugged, heavily wooded terrain minimized the effectiveness of fighter-bombers on the battlefield proper. During the critical period of the bridgehead, however, there was a continual drumming of the rear areas. On 10 March, the 130th Infantry Regiment, arriving from Denmark, was due to detrain at ALTENKIRCHEN (F935320). On the preceding day ALTENKIRCHEN had been destroyed to the point where the railroad station was unusable and the streets impassable. It was necessary for the regiment to detour north and south by way of BACHENBURG (F938342) (north) and NIDER WAMBACH (F901257) (south). Such situations were the usual thing and made time and space computations nearly impossible, with the resultant piecemeal employment of units. On 13-14 March, FLAMMERSFELD (F854277) and the forest west of ALTENKIRCHEN (F935320) were heavily bombed. While the heavy 17-cm guns which were shelling the bridge at REMAGEN were located in these woods, no great damage resulted, which convinced Bayerlein that the Americans knew the general location of the guns but did not have them pin-pointed. On 16 March, however, a trainload of gasoline, nearly the entire fuel reserve of the corps, was destroyed-a tragedy to the fuel-short unit. (In spite of the losses and inconveniences enumerated by General Bayerlein, the REMAGEN operation appears to have been almost exclusively a ground force show in the plodding infantry style. As the general had no Luftwaffe under his command, it was an easy thing to place an undue amount of weight on factors affecting the operation which were beyond his control.)
In compliance with the orders of Marshal Kesselring, General Bayerlein attacked LEYBERG (F668262) on 13 March and retook the objective. An attack on HONNEF (F640275) the same day, however, failed.
(NOTE: At 132400 March, the 1st Battalion, 309th Infantry, was reported 1500 yards east of LEYBERG with the 3d Battalion, 311th Infantry, on its north and the 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry, on its south. It is extremely doubtful that three battalions from three different regiments of two divisions would falsify their locations by 1500 yards. It is much more probable that General Bayerlein reported an untrue “mission accomplished” to the new commander of the West, trusting to the confusion rampant at the time to cover his false official report.)
A second plan to smash the bridgehead was now (13 March) planned, consisting of an attack by the newly arrived 130th Infantry Regiment through BRUCHHAUSEN (F658226) and ORSBERG (F652216). Once more Model stepped in and, accusing Bayerlein of “atomizations” of his forces, demanded that the available offensive forces be consolidated with the 340th Volksgrenadier Division under the command of General Tollsdorf ( . . . “who had established some sort of a reputation for destroying tanks with panzerfausts.”). Bayerlein said that this division consisted of 200 men practically without arms and certainly without any heavy weapons or proper training under Tollsdorf, a grossly incompetent leader. Nevertheless, Bayerlein tinned over to Tollsdorf the 1500 good troops in the available battalions and assigned them a sector in front of the autobahn. Bayerlein stated that upon the employment of his last striking force he became convinced, and reported, that no chance remained to eliminate the bridgehead.
(NOTE: Indicative of the mental status of the command in the West at this time is the example of an army commander correcting a corps commander in his employment of 1500 men. Here we see high commanders with a few troops at hand that the countermanding of orders becomes the rule. Although General Bayerlein stated that in his opinion, and in the opinion of other German General Staff officers, Model was insane at this time, there is certainly no proof of this accusation in this case. Bayerlein planned an attack through the American assault forces, along the line BRUCHHAUSEN-ORSBERG to the river, with a three-battalion force totaling 1500 effectives. On 13 March, there were five American battalions in reserve within 2000 yards of BRUCHHAUSEN and ORSBERG. It appears that Bayerlein was merely trying to build up his own prestige by insinuating that his foredoomed plan would have been a success had it not been precluded by his superior. The chronic cry from German corps commanders that Model was mad could be due to his intense and misdirected sense of duty or to the human failing of subordinates covering a defeat by blaming a superior. Certainly, it is doubtful whether a disciplined officer of the mental ability of Model would become unbalanced because of a military defeat which he must have foreseen and which his training would indicate as being inevitable.)
On 16 March, Bayerlein received official notification through channels that Hitler had ordered the whole bridgehead area wiped out with V-2 bombs, regardless of the resultant harm to the local population. While this drastic defense was never employed, the knowledge of its possibility did not increase the German soldiers’ will to resist on that particular piece of ground. (NOTE: In its after action report for March 1945, III Corps reported six V-2 bombs landing in the bridgehead area. It is believed that General Bayerlein meant that while V-2 bombs were used in the operation, no cold-blooded effort was made to wipe out all living things within the bridgehead. The order required a prohibitive number of bombs in the first place and probably could not have been obeyed even if the military commanders had desired to do so.) The effectiveness of the defense was also impaired by the execution of five officers for dereliction of duty in failing to destroy the LUDENDORF BRIDGE-an event that made the whole officer corps extremely conscious of the personal responsibility for failure. As a consequence the justification of acts and decisions became the paramount thought in most minds. Bayerlein stated that when the American forces cut the autobahn on 16 March, he had concentrated an especially strong defense at the northern edge of his sector so that this disaster at least could be debted to someone else. In addition, a bridge complex swept the command which caused officers of all grades to spend a disproportionate amount of time, energy, and explosives in blowing all sorts of bridges, even senselessly. In many instances, bridges were blown in rear areas by high-ranking officers, thereby crippling the war effort but clearing the individual of responsibility for an unblown bridge.
The high command apparently concurred in Bayerlein’s belief that the reduction of the bridgehead was impossible, as he was ordered on 18 March to pull out of the line and move north to the defense of the area east of COLOGNE (F4560) and BONN (F550370). The Americans, however, unleashed a drive to the east instead of to the north, so BAYERLEIN was ordered south again with his battle group to defend ALTENKIRCHEN (F935320). The result of all this jockeying around was that he was unable to put up a strong defense anywhere, being too preoccupied with moving his troops to be able to fight them. As a consequence he retired to the north, and, facing south, extended his line to STEINBACH (FM065352), from which position he continued to retreat north until captured in the last days of the RUHR pocket.
The core of an army in Anglo-Saxon England was the king’s military household, whose members served their lord in return for reward, by the seventh century increasingly given as landholdings. Nobles and royal officers had their own households, which could be summoned to the army. Young warriors served a form of apprenticeship in these households before they married and settled on their lands. In another parallel development with Francia, changes occurred in the methods of raising armies in England in the eighth and ninth centuries. At the time when the Viking “Great Army” appeared in England there may have been a problem with increasing amounts of land being donated to the Church, both by kings and by aristocratic families. In the late seventh century Bede had claimed that this was diminishing the amount of land providing warriors in Northumbria. It may be that ecclesiastical land was held by the family in perpetuity, rather than being dependent on good service to the king. Alternatively, many earlier landholdings were also held in perpetuity, but the granting of them by charter, which made them “bookland,” enabled a lord to bequeath it to a person or persons of his choice rather than being compelled to divide it amongst his inheritors.
Charters of late eighth-century Mercia and Kent make it clear that there were three common obligations to the king: fortress work, bridge work, and military service. Church lands were obliged to provide labor services such as repair of fortifications and bridges, even if they were exempt from military service. Whether any were totally exempt is unclear. Kings like Offa of Mercia began to specify in their charters that Church lands were not exempt from military service, in order to maintain their military manpower. Offa used the obligations to create a network of forts and probably the Dyke on the frontier with Wales as well. By the ninth century these charter practices had spread to Wessex. It seems that it was around the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth centuries that kings began to specify the amount of military service required from a given amount of land: for instance, a Mercian charter of 801 says the owner of a thirty-hide estate should provide five men to the army, in other words one man per six hides, or more likely the owner and five men, one man per five hides. The five-hide unit is referred to in early eleventh-century tracts on social status as a designation of thegnhood. It also appears frequently in the listed military service requirements in the Domesday Book of 1086, but the variations it records in military obligation between shires tell us that this was not a universal standard throughout England. Notably, the five-hide shires largely correspond with those of Wessex and western Mercia. Given these variations, it seems unlikely that the obligations of Edward the Elder’s time were identical to those of Edward the Confessor’s, even if there was considerable continuity.
Many of the Wessex charters purporting to be ninth-century are forgeries. However, the reference made in many of these to two decimations of land by King Æthelwulf in 845 and 855 may have a basis in truth, as the ASC and Asser’s Life of Alfred also refer to the 855 decimation. The object was to provide a tenth of his lands to the Church, but probably also to give lands to thegns, who were the mainstay of his army. He, Alfred and Edward the Elder almost certainly built upon the one man per five hide requirement when they reorganized the military defenses and forces of Wessex and Mercia. Both Asser and Hincmar of Reims say that Church lands were exempt from military service in Æthelwulf’s kingdom. It is likely that the increasing Viking threat brought about some of these changes in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. When they overran most of Northumbria, East Anglia, and a large part of Mercia, and almost defeated Wessex as well, the Vikings gave the impetus for even more far-reaching reforms by Alfred of Wessex. The basis was the construction of a series of burhs, so that no one lived more than a day’s journey from one. Each had an administrative district that was to provide its garrison and maintain its defenses. The Burghal Hidage, a document which dates from the reign of Alfred’s son Edward the Elder, indicates that each hide was responsible for defending and maintaining approximately 4 feet of wall. This appears to correspond well to the length of many of the known burh ramparts and their districts. In all likelihood the system, which Edward and his sister Æthelflæd extended into Mercia as they reconquered land from the Danes, was little changed from that instituted by Alfred after his victory at Edington (878).
Alfred also wished to have an army available at all times. According to the ASC: “The king had divided his army into two, so that there was always half at home and half out, except for those men who had to hold the burhs.” The entry is made under 894, but the reform, if it was more than a temporary arrangement, was presumably carried out before this and after Edington. It is more likely to mean a division of the army into three, rather than the two parts normally envisaged, in which case a man liable to service would spend a third of the year on his land, a third garrisoning the burh of his district and a third with the field army. As Guy Halsall points out, apart from making a reasonable demand on the thegn’s time, this would enable the assembly of the field army straight from the burhs, rather than from innumerable individual landholdings. This would save time and mean that the men of each district were already familiar with each other and had probably trained together in preparation for field service. The ASC entry of 917 mentions burhs as assembly points for armies. While garrisoning the burhs men could also carry out fortress and bridge work. Both the ASC and Asser mention on several occasions that these men rode horses. This is additional evidence that these men were a select levy (fyrd). The levy of one man per hide of the Burghal Hidage must have been something else, perhaps called up in situations of imminent danger. Alternatively, they functioned as a “support force” for the real warriors, sequestered on the basis of the burghal system. Each man was supposed to provide twenty shillings for two months’ maintenance in the event that he was called up: this was presumbly the payment raised from the five hides for the support of the warrior (the ‘man’), perhaps on the basis of one per hide. Æthelstan’s Grately law-code states that “each man” should have two mounted men per plow (sylh). The latter would have been a heavy burden, even if the sylh referred to is equivalent to the Kentish sulung of the Domesday Book, which was two hides, rather than a single hide or even less. Again it may refer to the support for the “man” (warrior), who needed to be mobile to keep up with the army. Æthelstan needed to respond to threats further afield and more often than any of his Anglo-Saxon predecessors.
Even the warriors who remained “at home” might be called upon to fight if their lands were threatened. The Vikings were a mobile enemy who could strike at various points along the coast with little warning. In late 893 three ealdormen, Æthelred of Mercia, Æthelhelm of Wiltshire and Æthelnoth of Somerset, raised the garrisons and the “king’s thegns who were at home near the burhs” to attack a Viking army encamped at Buttington by the River Severn. The problem is that the terminology used by those who wrote our records is rarely precise enough to tell us exactly who was being called up to fight—for instance, the other folc who joined the garrison of London to defend it in 895 need not be read as “common folk,” but as men required to do service as soldiers who were not “on duty” at the time, or as commoners who aided in various capacities other than combat. London appears not to have been included in the Burghal Hidage, perhaps because it was on the boundary between former kingdoms. Despite the problems and uncertainties, we can be sure that it was the wealthier men who were expected to serve as warriors. Thus the military system required the service of a large proportion of the male population of England, but the fighting was (preferably) done by a minority. As in the case cited in Germany above, when “support troops” did encounter the enemy they were not up to the task. For instance, ceorls working on a fortification proved totally incapable of defending it against the Vikings in 893.
Whatever the exact functioning of the system, what we do know of it does not suggest a mass peasant levy. There are no signs of exemption for harvesting periods and the like, which suggests that the levy was not primarily made up of those who labored on the farms. The need to cultivate the land cannot have been the primary reason for leaving some of the men subject to the levy at home for half the year, as this would still have seriously depleted the agricultural labor force when it was most needed. The idea was presumably that some thegns remained at home to keep order and ensure that normal farming activities could be maintained without internal disorder or external attack. At the same time the system ideally provided a fighting force that was sufficiently large as a field army, but not so large that it could not be provisioned for any length of time.
Alfred’s (or Edward the Elder’s) reforms represent an attempt to exact military service from a wide class of landowners. As in the case of the contemporary Franks, in the burhs and on campaign the troops are likely to have been commanded by officers of the royal household. The reform therefore represents a significant shift from a system in which the king was largely dependent on the highest nobility, who were summoned by him and then turned up with their households and any other men they chose to bring, which they then commanded. We know that there was some opposition to Alfred’s reforms: in the 870s there had been some who preferred to submit to the Danes, and there must have been many landowners who were displeased with the measures he took after Edington. It was presumably the scale of the threat to Wessex that enabled Alfred to carry out his reforms, which may have involved seizure of Church property as well.
Alfred’s reforms did not make the king less dependent on the nobility, but created a greater bond between many of them and his court. Those who served the household directly were provided for and in return would have owed service. Others may have been granted land in return for service. All this increased the status of the king. However, as Richard Abels made clear in his work on lordship and military obligation, many nobles were “sub-contracted” to raise fyrdmen in districts where they, and not the sheriff or other exactor of royal service, had jurisdiction. One such was the Bishop of Worcester, who held one hundred of three hundred hides at Oswaldslow in this way “by a constitution of ancient times” when the Domesday Bookwas compiled. Elsewhere abbots and other churchmen, as well as thegns, had similar rights, if generally over less lands and inhabitants.
There were thus two groups of fyrdmen: those who held their land of the king by book-right and had rights of jurisdiction by royal favor, and those who held land as a loan from another lord or under his seignory. The first category of fyrdman was heavily punished for not attending a summons by the king, usually with loss of his possessions. Although the word fyrdwiteappears in the Laws of Ine, it is not clear what this means, and no reference to it as a fine for failure to perform fyrd service (or as a commutation of it) imposed by the king occurs before Cnut’s time. Thereafter the term appears only rarely, suggesting that its use was infrequent. The second category of fyrdmen was not directly the king’s concern: all that concerned him was that the lord who was obliged to provide a certain number of men per hide fulfilled this provision one way or another. Abels emphasized that the situation in Worcestershire may not have been typical of England as a whole, but there are indications that it was similar to some other shires, if not necessarily the majority. There would have been important consequences of such a system—firstly, many of the king’s most important lieutenants would have had to command their own contingents in the battle line and could not have stayed close to the king, and secondly, a considerable number of those provided by lords with their own jurisdictions may have been mercenaries, paid for to make up the quota for their hides, but not necessarily levies of the hides. Such commands would also have perpetuated the existence of regional contingents that had a distinct identity and perhaps ancient privileges as to position in the battle line. John of Salisbury claimed that the men of Kent held the right to strike the first blow, and the men of London the right to protect the king.
The “men of London” may in fact have been the housecarls. This group of warriors has attracted a great deal of attention, without any certainty as to who they actually were and how they served the king. They have been seen as a form of military brotherhood like the Jomsvikings (in any case of doubtful historicity) or as an early standing army. Alternatively, it has been suggested that there was little difference between them and other thegns. There is no doubt that the term “housecarl” is of Scandinavian origin, and that Cnut’s conquest altered the nature of the king’s household. Even in Domesday Book sixteen of the eighteen thegns recorded as landowning housecarls had Scandinavian names, but this does not necessarily mean that that a new type of guard corps was imported wholesale to help Cnut maintain his rule over a conquered land. The question may simply be one of a change in terminology, as we know that previous English kings maintained royal thegns, for which “huskarl” may have been a translation. Domesday Book may similarly have used “housecarl” simply as a synonym for royal thegn. Like Cnut, his predecessors as king had sometimes had to use their followings to enforce their rule, and some of these were Scandinavians, at least at the courts of Edgar and Æthelred II. If not quite to the same extent as in heroic poetry such as The Battle of Maldon, chroniclers such as Asser probably gave a somewhat idealized view of the relations between Anglo-Saxon kings such as Alfred and their followings, representing them in terms of gift exchange rather than the hiring of soldiers. The import of men from “outside” had advantages, as they had no link to vested interests in the kingdom.
Housecarls, perhaps like the royal thegns before them, appear to have had a special relationship with the king and his immediate entourage. For instance, the “housecarls of her son the king” protected Queen Emma in 1035, and they were used to impose taxes by King Harthacnut in Worcestershire in 1041. As such they were provided with high-quality equipment, would have been well trained and must have lived within close proximity of the court. In this sense they were an elite and may have received a royal stipend, but their status need not have differed significantly from earlier royal household thegns who served as soldiers.
Despite the great outpouring of material that stresses supposedly pan-Celtic traits in warfare, religion and culture generally, it is debatable whether the remaining Celtic-speaking regions of the Viking Era—Ireland, the Pictish and Scottish kingdoms, Strathclyde, Wales, and Brittany—had much more in common with each other than they did with their Germanic neighbors, except their linguistic affinity. The evidence for military organization in all these regions in the early Middle Ages is sparse, but there is enough to show that there were many similarities with Frankish and English kingdoms.
The military household of the Welsh kings was the teulu, rendered familia in Latin, like the households of their English and later Norman neighbors. In early sources such as the Triadsand the Gododdin, we also find gosgordd: if not the same as the teulu, it may have been the household generally as opposed to the personal bodyguard. Here the term teulu will be used to mean “household.” As in the case of other early medieval households, the size of the teulu must have varied. Literary references sometimes give numbers in the hundreds, while the Brut says that Gruffudd ap Llywelyn lost 140 men of his teulu in 1047, clearly not all of them. However, even if this was not an exaggeration, it must be noted that he was a ruler of exceptional power (in Wales) at this time. Earlier sources give lower numbers—for instance, the ASC mentions that Brocmail of Powys fled the field at Chester with his fifty men. At Mynydd Carn in 1081 Trahaearn ap Caradog was killed alongside twenty-five of his teulu when many had already died in the battle, which indicates a similar strength.
Like the households of other Viking Age rulers, the teulu could include men of all ages and social rank, including leading nobles, with the probable exception of unfree bondmen. The members had horses, although their equipment may have varied according to wealth, and many had “squires,” such as the daryanogyon (shield-bearers) who attended uchelwyr, the aristocracy. These positions became offices, and were certainly of pre-Norman period origin. The teulu could also include foreigners, hostages from the households of other nobles or rivals, and, like the Frankish households, sons of nobles sent to receive training. Gruffudd ap Cynan seems to have employed an exceptional number of Irishmen, but it is not certain that these were thought of as teulu members: for instance, they are probably the “pirates” blamed for excessive ravaging in the Life of St. Gwynllyw.
The person responsible for mustering the teulu was the penteulu (head of the teulu), who was supposed to accompany the king at all times except when sent on a specific errand. Naturally, the office of penteulu had great prestige and the laws list many privileges, including a larger dwelling than others and a share of the proceeds from judicial proceedings paid to the king. Other members were appointed subordinate commanders of the llu, the military levy, should it be summoned. The teulu maintained the tradition of the comitatus, and Welsh poetry reflects the same traditions as Old English “heroic” poetry—it was supposed to stand by its lord to the last, as indeed Trahaearn’s seems to have done at Mynydd Carn. On the other hand the Triads describe the two war-bands which abandoned their leaders on the eve of battle as earning everlasting infamy. Since the teulu was also supposed to follow its lord even if he rebelled, this gave any lord the power to mount a rebellion, with consequent disruptive effects on Welsh society. A Welsh ruler had to secure the support of his nobles (uchelwyr)—as elsewhere in Europe, whatever the laws said about a king’s rights to summon his nobles and their followings, their support had to be earned. Many Welsh rulers ran into trouble while trying to impose their will on their subject lords. In 984 Einion ab Owain of Deheubarth was killed trying to do so.
As noted, the usual word for the general levy was llu, but a variety of other terms were used for “army,” such as byddin. Usually the levy was drawn only from certain districts, but Gruffudd ap Llywelyn may have been able to assemble a host from the whole of Wales at the height of his power, if this is what John of Worcester meant by “his whole realm.” Numbers are almost impossible to assess. Historia Gruffudd vab kenan gives figures that appear realistic, the highest being in the hundreds. Davies estimates his army as something under 1,000 in 1075, as he is said to have had 160 men of Gwynedd and numerous foreigners (perhaps 500), especially Irish and Danes, and suggests that the rival armies at Mynydd Carn were each over 1,000 men. Earlier, at the height of his power in 1055, Gruffudd ap Llywelyn had enough men to trouble the English and to force Edward to assemble the host of all England.
Although Wales was never unified, it did undergo a process of reduction of the number of kingdoms in the early medieval period, as happened everywhere in Europe. Several scholars have found evidence of a change in military organization around the beginning of the Viking Period: for instance, the abandonment of some political centers, including hill-forts. In poetry of this period there are hints that free men (eillion) were being called up for service. In the laws supposedly codifed by Hywel Dda (d. 950) freemen have to attend musters and pay duties. Not all the codes imposed this duty on free men, and while some spoke of a “levy of the land,” this must in practice have been selective, as in Anglo-Saxon England. Presumably the king called up those he needed. The Brutiau claim that Maredudd ap Bleddyn gathered “about four hundred kinsmen and comrades and a teulu of theirs” for a campaign in 1118. The same source makes one of the very rare references to a general levy (of Meirionnydd) in 1110, which may even have included bondmen. With the exception of one referred to in the Life of St. Cadog (a fifth-century saint), all general levies are recorded as meeting with defeat. Bondmen had certain duties to construct encampments for the king’s men and to provide pack-horses (and supplies?), but it is unclear whether they were expected to fight or not.
In Wales mercenaries (alltud—“aliens”) were certainly used in many armies. Apart from the Irish mentioned above, John of Worcester mentions Viking mercenaries employed by Gruffudd ap Llywelyn in his attack on England in 1055. The laws also mention the billeting of armed foreigners on the local populace.
There is little evidence that Church lands were exempt from military service in Wales. There are hints that the early medieval clas church functioned in a similar way to the Church in Ireland, its senior men maintaining retinues and providing military service. Given the amount of land owned by the Church and the limited resources available to any ruler, exempting it would have made the raising of forces almost impossible. Most claims to exemption are made in later saints’ lives and many of these are dubious.
In 1962, WSK-Swidnik in Poland began producing the Mi-2 Hoplite under license, although the plant did not reach full production until 1965. With two Isotov GTD-350 turboshafts mounted above the cabin, the Mi-2 produced 40 percent more power, at less than half the weight, effectively doubling the lifting capability of the Mi-1. An all-metal three-bladed rotor system, measuring 47 feet, 9 inches in diameter, provided lift for the single-pilot, eight-passenger utility helicopter. Of a modified pod and boom design, the Mi-2 attained a maximum airspeed of 110 knots and hauled 3,000 pounds of internal cargo, or a 1,750-pound slingload. External pylons provided mounting points for a combination of machine guns and AT-2 Sagger ATGMs. The Mil Company reported the maximum service ceiling at 13,000 feet.
In the late 1950s, to meet several requirements of the Soviet military, Mikhail Leontyevich Mil began designing and producing large heavy-lift helicopters. On June 5, 1957, Mil Design Bureau test pilot Rafail Kaprelian piloted the Mi-6 Hook on its maiden flight. The first of five prototypes, the Mi-6 was the world’s largest helicopter to that time, and the Soviet Union’s first production turbine-powered helicopter. The fuselage measured 134.5 feet, and the five-bladed, all-metal main rotor system 114.8 feet in diameter, dwarfing all previous helicopters. Two removable wings, with a span of 50 feet, 2 inches, provided additional lift in forward flight. The groundcrew usually removed the wings for large slingload operations, as they just increased drag.
Mil utilized plastic-impregnated wood, reinforced with steel spars, to manufacture the four-bladed tailrotor. Production models carried an alcohol-based deicing system. Equipped with two Soloviev D-25V turbine engines, producing 5,500 horsepower each, the huge machine could carry up to ninety troops and lift off at a maximum gross weight of 93,500 pounds, which translated into a payload of 26,400 pounds of internal cargo, or a 17,500-pound slingload. As an air ambulance the Hook could accommodate forty-one stretchers and two medical attendants. Two hydraulically operated rear-opening clamshell doors made possible the loading of large cargo into the fuselage, which included a winch with a capacity of 1,750 pounds. A pilot, copilot, navigator, flight engineer, and radio operator composed the crew. In 1961 the Mi-6 became not only the largest but also the fastest helicopter in the world by reaching 300 kph (162 knots), thereby winning the Igor Sikorsky International trophy. The Hook had a range of 385 statute miles and a service ceiling of 14,750 feet. For ferry flights the Mi-6 could carry four auxiliary fuel tanks, two installed internally and two mounted above the main wheels of the fixed tricycle landing gear.
The standard avionics package provided the Hook with day/night, all-weather capabilities. The helicopter usually carried a ground power unit (GPU) on a trolley for engine starting and ground operations. A single DShK 12.7-mm heavy machine gun could be installed in a flex mount in the nose for self-protection. From the time the Mi-6 entered production in late 1960, until production ended in 1981, Mil produced 860 aircraft. Aeroflot used the large helicopters in trackless Siberia, while the Soviet military utilized the heavy-lift capabilities of the machine to transport rocket launchers and other heavy weapons. The Mi-6VKP, Hook “B,” hauled a huge array of radios and functioned as an airborne command post, which eventually led to the Mi-22C “command post.” The Hook, in various modifications, provided forward refueling points for both vehicles and aircraft, fought forest fires, and recovered Soyuz space capsules. The USSR produced 860 Hooks and exported the machine to several countries, including North Vietnam, which used the Hook to carry fighter aircraft from airfields to remote locations to protect the jets from U. S. air strikes. In July 2002 an Mi-6 crashed, killing all twenty-one on board, and the Russian Ministry of Transportation halted the use of the aging Mi-6.
Continuing to focus on heavy-lift helicopters, the Mil Bureau introduced the Mi-10 Harke. In July 1961 the “flying crane” modification of the Mi-6 appeared at the Soviet Tushino Air Show; it flew at the Paris Air Show in 1965. The Mi-10 shared engines, transmissions, rotor system, hydraulics, and many other parts with the Mi-6, reducing maintenance costs for both aircraft. The Mi-10, however, featured a much modified fuselage designed for transporting large external loads weighing up to 36,300 pounds. Mil designed the machine with an extended, wide, four-legged dual-wheeled landing gear to straddle large, cumbersome loads. For whatever reason, the bureau fitted the aircraft with right-side struts a foot shorter than those on the left, causing the machine to cant slightly to the right when parked.
Several other modifications differentiated the Harke from the Hook. Hydraulic arms fitted to the fuselage underside held specially designed wheeled pallets in place during flight. It was intended primarily as a cargo helicopter, and there were no provisions to install removable wings; the shortened, 107-foot, 10-inch fuselage, however, could accommodate up to twenty-eight passengers in addition to the three-man crew. The first models included a pod, or “dustbin,” under the nose by which the crew could observe external loads, but the pod was removed from later models and the crew monitored their loads via closed-circuit television. Slower than the Hook, the Mi-10 reached a top speed of 120 knots and a service ceiling of 9,850 feet.
The Mi-10K variant appeared in 1966. Differing slightly from previous models, the “K” offered greater lift capacity, shorter landing gear struts, and a gondola under the forward fuselage. The gondola, reflecting that on the Sikorsky CH-54, housed a full set of flight controls, allowing a copilot to position unwieldy payloads accurately. Certain specialized variants included the Mi-10P electronic countermeasures (ECM) helicopter. The Soviet Union produced only fifty-five Mi-10s, and none are known to have been exported.
In 1965 the Mil bureau began work on the largest helicopter ever built, the Mi-12 Homer. Designated the V-12 by the Soviets, the aircraft, comparable in size to a Boeing 727, first took flight in 1968. The next year a prototype lifted a 72,000-pound payload to 7,900 feet, setting a new weight-to-altitude record. Capable of carrying 120 passengers, the Homer made its first public appearance at the 1971 Paris Air Show.
Designed by Mil, who died in 1972 and was replaced by Marat Tischenko, the Mi-12 encountered numerous developmental problems. Of a side-by-side rotor design, the Homer incorporated the engines and transmissions of the Mi-6. At the end of two reverse-tapered wings (wider at the tip than at the root), two Soloviev 5,500-horsepower turboshafts drove a five-bladed rotor system. The Mi-12 sat on a dual-wheeled tricycle landing gear, and large clamshell doors at the rear of the fuselage allowed loading of oversize cargo. Requiring a crew of six, the Homer never fully met its design specifications, and the program was canceled. One prototype remains on static display in Russia.
In May 1960, Mil conceived a machine to replace the piston-engined Mi-4 Hound. On June 9, 1961, the first Mi-8 Hip prototype, with a single AI-24V turboshaft and four-bladed main rotor system, lifted off for its maiden flight. On September 17, 1962, the Hip B, modified with two TV2-117 1,482-horsepower turboshafts mounted atop the fuselage, and a five-bladed main rotor system measuring 70 feet in diameter, took flight. The Mi-8 went into full production in 1965, and by 2000 fifty-four countries operated the more than 10,000 Mi-8s manufactured by the Rostov and Kazan production facilities in Russia and by foreign licensees. Designed as a medium-lift transport helicopter, the Hip, in its many variants, fulfilled a miscellany of mission requirements, including troop and cargo transportation, air ambulance, attack helicopter, airborne command post, fire fighter, and civilian carrier.
Constructed of light alloys, the Hip featured a “bus-shaped” fuselage with a rounded nose and glassed-in cockpit that accommodated a pilot, copilot, and flight engineer. The cabin housed twenty-four passengers, 8,800 pounds of cargo, or twelve stretchers. A large sliding door on the forward port side and rear-opening clamshell doors simplified loading large cargo. Removable interior seats and an internal winch capable of lifting 350 pounds that doubled as a rescue hoist facilitated cargo handling. Additionally, Mil equipped the aircraft with a cargo hook capable of carrying slingloads up to 6,500 pounds. A long tailboom extended from the upper portion of the fuselage and swept up to a tapered vertical fin that housed the gearbox and tailrotor, attached to the left side (right on the export versions).
External racks attached along the center of the 61-foot fuselage were designed to hold auxiliary fuel pods or weapons systems. Variants of the Hip carried a combination of 57-mm or 80-mm rockets, AT-2 Swatter or AT-3 Sagger ATGMs, 12.7- or 23-mm gun pods, or either 4 500-pound or 2 1,000-pound bombs. In 1967, Mil introduced the Hip E and F ground support helicopters, each mounting a flexible 12.7-mm heavy machine gun under the nose and carrying 192 57-mm rockets. Combat troops could also fire their individual weapons from the windows of the helicopter. In later models Mil installed the upgraded Isotov TV2-117A engines, which produced 1,700 horsepower each. Generally a Hip cruised at 122 knots, had a service ceiling of 14,700 feet, and hovered Out of Ground Effect (OGE) at 2,600 feet. All Mi-8s rested on a fixed tricycle landing gear, with dual wheels at the nose. Total production estimates ran as high as 15,000 units of the Mi-8 and its export version, the Mi-17.
In September 1969 the Mil Design Bureau modified the Hip into the Mi-14 Haze for naval applications, mainly for shore-based ASW operations. The Mi-14 received a boat-hulled lower fuselage with pontoons on either side and a retractable landing gear. A radar dome under the nose and an internal weapons bay differentiated the Mi- 14 from the Mi-8. Both the Mi-8 and Mi-14 carried infrared jammers and flare/chaff dispensers.
Another modification allowed the TV2-117TG engines to operate on both liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and standard jet fuel (a type of kerosene). Large external tanks held the LPG under low pressure, and the pilots switched the engines to regular fuel for takeoffs and landings. The LPG tanks reduced the helicopter’s payload by 220 to 330 pounds but extended its useful range by several miles.
In July 1961 the Kamov Ka-20 Harp appeared for the first time during the Soviet Aviation Day celebration. The Ka-20 followed the traditional N. I. Kamov coaxial rotor design, with two three-bladed, counter-rotating main rotors. A large bulge under the forward fuselage and a fairing under the tailboom indicated that the Ka-20 was an ASW helicopter of some type. It was much larger than the Ka-18, with dual turbine engines mounted over the cabin body. Two fixed machine guns protruded from the nose, and two air to surface missiles (ASM), probably dummies, hung from external racks on each side of the helicopter. The new craft proved to be an advanced prototype of the Ka-25 Hormone, which became operational with the Soviet Navy in 1965.
Only slightly different from its predecessor, the Kamov Bureau (OKB) produced the Ka-25 Hormone in three major variants, all powered by two Glushenko GTD-3 900-horsepower turboshafts, as well as featuring a coaxial rotor system and the compact body most effective in shipboard operations. OKB designers included folding main rotor blades, reducing the Ka-25’s stowed length to only 36 feet. The Hormone A, designed specifically to destroy nuclear-powered submarines, carried two pilots and three sensor technicians to operate ASW equipment, which included a search radar installed in a large, chin-mounted radome, a towed magnetic anomaly detector (MAD), and a dipping sonar housed in a compartment at the rear of the cabin. Some models featured ventral weapons bays by which the Ka-25 could be armed with torpedoes, depth charges (including nuclear), or air to surface missiles. Later improvements to the Hormone included an automatic pilot, state-of-the-art avionics, and a vastly improved over-the-water navigation system for precise targeting of submarines and surface vessels. By 1968 the Hormone A operated from cruisers of the Kresta and Kara classes, Moskva and Leningrad carrier/cruisers, and Kiev and Minsk ASW carriers. The smaller cruisers carried only two Ka-25s, while as many as eighteen Hormones operated off the larger ASW carriers.
The second variant carried search radar and other electro-optic target acquisition equipment for over-the-horizon guidance of surface-to-surface missiles and naval rifles. A larger, and more spherical, chin radome, a cylindrical radome mounted at the aft end of the fuselage, and no ventral bays differentiated the Ka-25 B from other models. The Hormone reached an airspeed of 105 knots, a range of 350 nautical miles, and a service ceiling of 11,000 feet.
In a later variant, the Hormone C, OKB engineers removed the ASW and targeting instrumentation and equipped the helicopter for SAR missions. Without the electronic gear the large cabin also offered a secondary capability of transporting twelve naval infantry troops. Two other versions appeared in limited numbers, the Ka-25 BT mine countermeasures helicopter and the Ka-25 K civilian helicopter, which had a small cockpit under the forward fuselage for slingload operations. In the event of ditching, most models of the Hormone were fitted with inflatable pontoons on each of the four landing gear struts. Between 1965 and 1975 the USSR produced more than 460 Ka-25s, with export models sent to Syria, India, Bulgaria, North Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.
In January 1964 the Soviet government issued a directive for both an agricultural and a passenger transport helicopter. On August 18 of the next year, the Kamov Bureau responded with the prototype Ka-26 Hoodlum, a small, multipurpose helicopter. Kamov deputy chief designer M. A. Kupfer and project leading engineer Y. I. Petrukhin, of course, specified the installation of OKB’s typical coaxial rotor system atop the boxlike fuselage of the Ka-26. The craft incorporated a conventional Kamov tail assembly of twin vertical fins with rudders and an interconnecting horizontal stabilizer, which included the elevator. The helicopter sat on a four-wheeled fixed landing gear. Initial manufacture began in 1967 at the Kumertau Aircraft Plant. Placed in full production in 1970, the multirole helicopter was powered by two 325-horsepower Vedeneyev M-14V- 26 nine-cylinder radial engines. Flown by either one or two pilots, the Hoodlum hauled loads of 2,000 pounds up to altitudes of 9,850 feet, at speeds of 95 knots. OKB’s modular design and interchangeable cargo containers permitted rapid conversion of the Hoodlum from a passenger carrier to an air ambulance, crop duster, or “flying crane.” Kamov OKB first used composite materials for the engine cowlings, rotor blades, and chemical hoppers, which increased the useful life of Ka-26 subassemblies. The composite rotor blades, for example, demonstrated a service life of 5,000 hours, compared with the 600 to 800 hours of conventional metal blades of the era. With OKB production methods patented in five Western nations, the Hoodlum became the only Soviet helicopter certificated under U. S. federal aviation regulations (FAR). The Soviet Union produced at least 850 Ka-26s and exported the machine worldwide.
In 1970, Kamov created his first designs for the next generation of Soviet naval helicopters. He envisioned a machine similar in size to the Ka-25 but with an updated avionics and weapons package. On December 24, 1973, OKB’s chief pilot, Y. I. Laryushin, lifted the prototype Ka-252 off for its first flight. Unfortunately, the aircraft’s designer did not see his project completed; Kamov died on November 24. Sergei Viktorovich Mikheyev then assumed the directorship of OKB, which in 1974 was renamed in honor of Nikolai Il’yich Kamov.
Developed from the Ka-252 prototype, the Ka-27 Helix produced more power from the two Isotov TV3-117 2,225-horsepower turboshafts mounted under the three-bladed coaxial rotor system. Only slightly longer than the Ka-25, the Helix had a redesigned tail assembly. With a maximum gross weight of 24,250 pounds, the Ka-27 rotor diameter measured 52 feet, 2 inches and the aircraft 37 feet, 1 inch in length. Capable of 140 knots, the Helix had a maximum range of 432 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 19,700 feet. Designed specifically for the Soviet Navy as an ASW hunter/killer, the Helix did not become operational until 1978.