The Great Escape
Untouched for almost seven decades, the tunnel used in the Great Escape has finally been unearthed.
The 111-yard passage nicknamed ‘Harry’ by Allied prisoners was sealed by the Germans after the audacious break-out from the POW camp Stalag Luft III in western Poland.
Despite huge interest in the subject, encouraged by the film starring Steve McQueen, the tunnel remained undisturbed over the decades because it was behind the Iron Curtain and the Soviet authorities had no interest in its significance.
But at last British archaeologists have excavated it, and discovered its remarkable secrets.
Many of the bed boards which had been joined together to stop it collapsing were still in position. And the ventilation shaft, ingeniously crafted from used powdered milk containers known as Klim Tins, remained in working order.
Scattered throughout the tunnel, which is 30ft below ground, were bits of old metal buckets, hammers and crowbars which were used to hollow out the route.
A total of 600 prisoners worked on three tunnels at the same time. They were nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry and were just 2 ft square for most of their length. It was on the night of March 24 and 25, 1944, that 76 Allied airmen escaped through Harry.
Barely a third of the 200 prisoners many in fake German uniforms and civilian outfits and carrying false identity papers, who were meant to slip away managed to leave before the alarm was raised when escapee number 77 was spotted.
Tunnel vision: the tunnel reconstruction showing trolley system.
Only three made it back to Britain. Another 50 were executed by firing squad on the orders of Adolf Hitler, who was furious after learning of the breach of security. In all, 90 boards from bunk beds, 62 tables, 34 chairs and 76 benches, as well as thousands of items including knives, spoons, forks, towels and blankets were squirreled away by the Allied prisoners to aid the escape plan under the noses of their captors.
Although the Hollywood movie suggested otherwise, NO Americans were involved in the operation. Most were British, and the others were from Canada (all the tunnelers were Canadian personnel with backgrounds in mining), Poland, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.
The site of the tunnel, recently excavated by British archaeologists.The latest dig, over three weeks in August, located the entrance to Harry, which was originally concealed under a stove in Hut 104.
The team also found another tunnel, called George, whose exact position had not been charted. It was never used as the 2,000 prisoners were forced to march to other camps as the Red Army approached in January 1945.
A short review…it was started by two brothers as a place to show their hobby began to grow by leaps & bounds.
Soon they were joined by other ‘Model Railroad Clubs’ and other craftsmen. Some were electricians, model makers, carpenters, computer programmers. Their wives would stop by to see what they were doing and usually bring them a lunch.
One thing led to another.
Three of the ladies had worked at a bakery, several visitors would ask if they had a snack bar. The idea was planted; some of the carpenters came and built a nice restaurant area for the bakery and a kitchen, too. If the fresh coffee smell didn’t get you, then the bakery definitely would
Over 400,000 man hours were spent making this dream come true.
This was about 5 years ago.
One of the breweries came and furnished all the tables and chairs, serving counter etc. Their latest finished area is the airport. Planes look like they are flying and landing.
GERMAN WONDERLAND IN HAMBURG!
The video says it all……….
French military using winged warriors to hunt down rogue drones.
A golden eagle grabs a flying drone during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau – RTX30HM1
Following incidents of drones flying over the presidential palace and restricted military sites – along with the deadly 2015 Paris terror attacks – the French air force has trained four golden eagles to intercept and destroy the rogue aircraft.
Aptly named d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis – an homage to Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” – the four birds of prey have been honing their attack skills at the Mont-de-Marsan in southwestern France since mid-2016.
A French army falconer works with a golden eagle as part of a military training for combat against drones in Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau – RTX30HNZ
“A drone means food for these birds,” Gerald Machoukow, the military base’s falconer, told FRANCE 24. “Now they automatically go after them.”
The use of hunting birds – normally falcons and northern goshawks – by militaries around the globe is common practice in the fight to scare other critters away from runways and so cut the risk of accidents during takeoff or landing. But it wasn’t until 2015 when the Dutch started using bald eagles to intercept drones that other militaries started to see the benefit of these winged warriors.
The French bred the four golden eagles – three males and one female — using artificial insemination since eagles are a protected species and harvesting wild eggs is strictly forbidden. They chose the golden eagle because of the birds hooked beak and sharp eyesight.
Also weighing in around 11 pounds, the birds are in a similar weight class as the drones they’re sent to destroy and clocking in at a top air speed of 50 miles per hour, with the capability of spotting its target from over a mile away, the eagles are deft hunters.
To protect the eagles from drone blades and any explosive device that might be attached the them, the French military designed mittens of leather and Kevlar, an anti-blast material, to protect the bird’s talons.
A golden eagle carries a flying drone away during a military training exercise at Mont-de-Marsan French Air Force base, Southwestern France, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau – RTX30HNX
“I love these birds,” Machoukow told Agence France-Presse. “I don’t want to send them to their death.”
The birds are first taught to attack in a straight line before graduating to diving from heights. Soon they’ll be patrolling the skies over the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France and could possibly be deployed at airports and special events, such as political summits and soccer tournaments.
While an initial progress report on the eagles’ capabilities is due in June, French officials say that the results are promising and the French air force already expects four more eagles to join the fleet at Mont-de-Marsan by the summer.
It was originally bought for $1,000 in 1912 (almost 93,000 in today’s money) but has now gone under the hammer for $4,705,500, making it the most expensive Rolls- Royce ever sold at auction.
Unique: This 100-year-old Silver Ghost Rolls Royce has sold for a world-record price of 5 million after a furious bidding war at Bonhams.
Through the roof: The lengthy auction saw two enthusiasts dueling for the pristine car as the bidding went up in increments of 100,000, smashing past the 2 million estimate.
What it lacks in gadgetry, the British-made classic more than compensates for with an extraordinary level of luxury that leaves its modern-day counterparts looking a little unsophisticated.
Its gleaming interior fittings are made of silver and ivory, while the door panels are embroidered silk, with brocade tassels attached to silk window shades for privacy.
THE PASSENGER FOOT REST HIDES A FULL PICNIC SET FOR FOUR, A CHINA TEA SERVICE, COMPLETE WITH AN ALCOHOL-FUELED BURNER AND KETTLE TO HEAT THE WATER, AND A SET OF SIX DECANTERS – THREE IN STERLING SILVER AND THREE IN LEATHER-WRAPPED GLASS.
The sale took place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex on Friday. Auctioneers had expected it to sell for around 2 million and were astonished when the bidding between two rival collectors topped 4 million. James Knight, from Bonhams auctioneers, said: ˜There were three bidders, then one of them dropped out at 2.3 million and we thought it would end there.
Travelling in style: The design chosen by its original owner echoed the luxurious ‘ Pullman ‘ Railway carriages pioneered by American George Pullman.
Luxurious: The elegant passenger compartment (left) complete with 29 beveled glass windows and (right) the stylish steering wheel.
˜But then another bidder entered and the bidders were duelling. It went up in increments of 50,000, and then 100,000, and then back down to 50,000.
˜It went on and on and on and was the longest car sale I have ever witnessed. It was pure theatre. Everyone was very respectful but when the price reached a milestone, like 3 million, there was an intake of breath.
˜The bidders were duelling and when the hammer came down there was spontaneous applause. ˜It was fitting because the car is celebrating her centenary.
The car was commissioned by Rolls Royce connoisseur John M. Stephens, who also bought the first Silver Ghost the luxury car-maker produced in 1906. The body was built by former royal carriage-maker Barker’s of Mayfair , which had previously built coaches for King George III and Queen Victoria.
Standing the test of time: The 7.3-litre, six-cylinder engine is still purring smoothly and is capable of doing around 15 miles to the gallon.
Mark of history: A plaque bearing the vehicle’s chassis number of 1907.
Touch of class: The original owner employed the services of the best coach-making company, Barker and Co. Ltd, to do the bodywork.
Classic designs: One of the car’s brake lights. The Rolls- Royce still had its headlights, carriage lights, rear lights and inflatable tyres when it went up for sale.
The car even had an early speedometer – an important addition given that a 20 mph speed limit was introduced in 1912.Unlike most car enthusiasts of his time, Mr. Stephens, from Croydon, South London, asked the makers not to include a glass division window between the driver and the passengers as he wanted to drive it himself rather than rely on a chauffeur.
The car’s distinctive cream and green design echoed the luxury ˜Pullman Railway carriages of the time, and it was known as a Double Pullman Limousine.
But it was nicknamed ˜the Corgi Silver Ghost in the 1960s after the toy-maker based its Silver Ghost toy car on this model.
Mr. Stephens’s car is believed to be the only one of its kind to survive with its full interior and bodywork, as many Rolls Royces from the era were converted into ambulances during the First World War.
This fascinating documentary is by courtesy of National Geographic
Northrop Grumman’s X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrates how to successfully takeoff and land from the deck of a moving aircraft carrier.
A stork has flown to the same rooftop in Croatia each year for 14 years to be reunited with his crippled partner who cannot migrate after she was shot by a hunter.
The faithful bird, called Klepetan, returns to the village of Slavonski Brod, in east Croatia, after a migration of 8,000 km.
He spends his winters alone in South Africa because his disabled partner, Malena, cannot fly properly.
Klepetan keeps a very strict timetable, usually arriving back at the same time on the same day in March each year.
Malena had been found lying by the side the road by schoolteacher, Stjepan Vokic, who fixed her wing and kept her in his home for years before helping her to build a nest on his roof.
After placing her there, she was spotted by Klepetan. And now, every year, they are reunited in the Spring.
Each summer, they raise a pair of chicks, with Klepetan giving the flying lessons in preparation for the trip south in Summer.
After leading the adult chicks south, Klepetan spends his winters alone in South Africa. But this year he did not return at the usual time, causing panic among local media and fans of the stork couple.
Finally, there was huge excitement when stork-watchers saw what they thought was Klepetan circling over the nest and then come in to land.
But the new arrival turned out to be a different stork that was attempting to woo Malena.
She quickly attacked him and drove him off and continued to wait for Klepetan.
Heart-warming …. Klepetan finally returned, once again, six days late. This year, Malena made a rare flight and the couple were reportedly inseparable for hours. She does have the ability to make very short flights but her wing has not healed well enough for her to make the trip to Africa, or even to properly feed herself.
The oldest recorded living stork is 39.
Locals are hopeful the couple’s long relationship will continue for years to come.