Jan 31, 2005

Game round two

So, answers to yesterday's quiz.

Zepplin answer: TRUE

Winner: Noah and Flow, who voted true. Although none of you were very convincing :D

Rule update: only answers in the blog comments section or send to me by mail are counted. I don't mind if you send me sth on ICQ or etc., but don't count I will remember who send what few hours later. My memory is not what is used to be... :> To find my mail, click 'About me' on the left panel.

From my favourite source: Zeppelin article on Wiki

While Germany determined the Zeppelin would be obsolete for military purposes in the coming war and concentrated on the development of airplanes, the United States pursued a program of military zeppelin construction even though it had not developed a clear military doctrine for Zeppelin use. At the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 that brought the United States into World War II, it had 10 pressure zeppelins:

  • 4 K-class US Zeppelins: K-2, K-3, K-4 and K-5 designed as a patrol zeppelins built from 1938.
  • 3 L-class US Zeppelins: L-1, L-2 and L-3 as small training zeppelins, produced from 1938.
  • 1 G-class US Zeppelin built in 1936 for training.
  • 2 TC-class US Zeppelins that were older patrol zeppelins designed for land forces, build in 1933. The US Navy acquired them from Army in 1938.

Only K and TC class zeppelins could be used for combat purposes and they were quickly pressed into service against Japanese and German submarines which at that time were sinking US shipping in visual range of US coast. US Navy command, remembering the zeppelins anti-submarine success from WWI, immediately requested that new modern anti-submarine Zeppelin and on [2 January]] 1942 formed the ZP-12 patrol unit based in Lakehurst from the 4 K zeppelins. The ZP-32 patrol unit was formed from 2 TC and 2 L zeppelins a month later, based at US Navy (Moffet Field) in Sunnyvale in California. A zeppelin training base was created there as well.

In the years 1942-1944, approximately 1400 zeppelin pilots and 3000 support crew members were trained in the military zeppelin crew training program and the zeppelin military personnel grew from 430 to 12400. The US Zeppelins were produced by the Goodyear factory in Akron. From 1942 till 1945, 154 zeppelins were built for the US Navy (133 K-class, 10 L-class, 7 G-class, 4 M-class) and 5 L-class for civilian customers (serial number L-4 to L-8).

The primary zeppelin tasks were patrol and escort of ships near the coastline. They also served as an organisation center for the convoys to direct ship movements and course, and were used during naval search and rescue operations. Rarer duties of the zeppelins included aerophoto reconaissance, naval minelaying and minesweeping, parachute unit transport and deployment, cargo and personnel transportation. They were deemed quite successful in their duties with the highest combat readiness factor in the entire US airforce (87%). They were extremely successful in their primary goal of anti-submarine warfare as the below numbers ilustrate:

  • 1942: 454 ships sunk near the US coat, 4-13 zeppelins in service
  • 1943: 65 ships sunk near the US coat, 17-53 zeppelins in service
  • 1944: 8 ships sunk near the US coat, 56-68 zeppelins in service
  • 1945: 3 ships sunk near the US coat, 53-48 zeppelins in service

Not a single ship from a convoy escorted by zeppelins was sunk. Zeppelins engaged the submarines with depth charges, or rarely from other onboard weapns. They were very successful since they could match the slow speed of the submarine and bomb it until its destruction. Additionally, sumberged sumbarines had no means of detecting a zeppelin approaching.

Only one zeppelin was ever destroyed by U-boot: on the night of 18/19 July 1943 a K-class zeppelin (K-74) from ZP-21 division was patrolling the coastline near Florida. Using a radar, the zeppelin located a surfaced German submarine. Due to the failure of the depth charge release mechanism, the Zeppelin was unable to release the bombs during the bombing run and the German returned fire. The (K-74) received serious damage and was forced to make a water landing. The crew was rescued by patrol boats in the morning, but one crewman died from a shark attack. The U-Boat responsible was sunk a few hours later.

Some US zeppelins saw action in the European war theater. The ZP-14 unit operating in the Mediterranian area from June 1944 completely denied the use of the Gibraltar Straits to Axis submarines. Zeppelins from the ZP-12 unit took part in the sinking of the last U-Boat before German capitulation, sinking U-881 on 6 May 1945 together with destroyers Atherton and Mobery.

Now, for the question #2:

Look at the picture below and tell me, what in the world is going on there? The person who answers with the description closest to the real historical event, gets the prize. Of course if sb manages to find EXACTLY the event in question, the better.

Rules of the Game

All right, I decided to do something to this blog to make it more fun than it already is - yes, I know it is a challenge, but it can be done! :D

Seriously. In addition to my normal posts, the game will be based on what I posted yesterday about Zeppelins. So:
* every day (more or less...) I will post a question. After 24h AND after I receive at least one reply, I will post the answers. There will be Hall of Fame for the players, and we can discuss the prizes later (for example, blog links exchange, etc.).

Answer to the Zep question coming in <12h. Yep, that means 2 updates in one day. Aren't I full of surpises today? :D

Jan 30, 2005


Fascinating topic. But let's keep this short today - I'll ask you a single question and you reply 'True' or 'False'. Answer is coming tommorow.

Question: Did USA use zeppelins extensively during the Second World War?

Prize is...well, you post, you tell me what you want, I'll see what can be done.

U.S. Navy Zeppelin ZRS-5 "USS Macon" over Moffett Field in 1933

Jan 29, 2005

World War Two: The Game

The blogger seems to be having trouble with html coding today, so no pic in this update. and if the links is butchered, you know who to blame :> Today's theme is: the coolest game simulating WW2. Whether you remember the Panzer General times and dreamed of a full world map lile me, or just like strategy game - this is one good piece of work!

With a demo to download: Hearts of Iron

And if you manage to defend Poland in '39 I'll give you a present :)

PS. It appears that the popularity of this blog is slowly increasing (see Stat4U link below if you don't believe me, it is non-passed). I am happy that some of you find my ramblings somewhat useful D Feel free to use comment button for some feedback! <- Yes, this is a hint.

Be seeing you!

Jan 27, 2005

Auschwitz concentration camp

Seems to be the current topic of the day, and rightly so. I recently reviewied a very interesting article arguing that the number of people who pershed there is not ~1,5 million but ~5 million. Somehow reading this article (unfortunately, not online yet), in an academic manner detailing things like crematories workload capacities, with columns of numbers calculating how efficient Nazi machine was...it was the most horryfing this I have ever seen or read.

My grandfather, a prisoner of a Nazi camp himself, used to say: 'Don't be afraid of ghosts. Be afraid of man'. I understand now why.

Entrance to Auschwitz, 1941. — The slogan Arbeit macht frei over the gate translates as "work liberates".

Turn on your TV and see the International Anniversairy speeches. Or just read a Wiki article. One way or another, we should make sure such things never happen again.

You are of course aware that Soviet Union used to run its own concentration camps? That China still runs its own camps, the Laogai? That before the US Invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein regime had its own camps, in which ~500,000 of Iraqis opposed to his regime have perished? That hundred thousands of people are dying in North Korean concentration camps, where families of three generations are sent for life for a casual remark about the ruling party? That death squads in Sudan are commiting genocide as you read those words, that the still lingering Congo Civil War is responsible for civilian casualties approximetly equal to the number of Auschwitz dead...

Just something to think over while listening to the Auschwitz memorial. We have many words to say...but pitfuly little of will to back them up with action. People are still dying, as they have been in Auschwitz. I wonder for how much longer...

Jan 24, 2005

Pilecki nominated

Today, Witold Pilecki is a FA on Wiki.

That's my 4th featured FA :) Time fora 5th, I think :)

Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, founder of the resistance movement Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) and member of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). During World War II he was the only person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. While there, he organized inmate resistance and as early as 1940 informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's camp atrocities. He escaped from Auschwitz in 1943 and took part in the Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944). Pilecki was executed in 1948 by communist authorities.

Jan 21, 2005

Wikinews growth

I have just checked on Wikinews growth, and I am very pleasantly suprised. Late Novermber there was hardly any news, and now? See for yourself. Or to quote a friend: We're even starting to have scoops. http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Crisis_in_Belize isn't covered by the major media yet.

I wrote obituary for Jan Nowak-JezioraƄski, see Jan Nowak-Jezioranski Dies. It is easy to report on the news you deem important. No corporaton tells wikinews what to write - we report the truth only.

Reporting from Wikinews, the ultimate news service.

Jan 15, 2005

Happy Birthday Wiki!

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, turned 4 years old 15 January 2005.

The English Wikipedia alone now has more than 450,000 articles. Soon, we will know the winner of the Wikipedia:Half-million pool. As of today, bets are still open on when the millionth English article will be reached (Wikipedia:Million pool)

Fifty four of the non-English Wikipedias have over 1,000 articles.

On 29 December 2004, for the first time, Wikipedia was listed on Alexa's list (http://www.alexa.com/site/ds/top_sites?ts_mode=lang&lang=en) of the top 100 English-language web sites, at #99. On Wikipedia Day 2005, it was listed at rank 87.

Let's party!

Jan 14, 2005


The Cassini-Huygens probe has landed on Saturn's moon Titan, the mysterious satellite that has perplexed astronomers for decades.

An artist's impression of the Huygens probe as it descends through Titan's atmosphere. Titan's sky may well be darker and smoggier than this painting suggests and Saturn never actually rises above the horizon at the probe's landing site.

See Space.com for current coverage, and Wikipedia article for a comprehensive (and constantly updated) background

Jan 12, 2005


According to Alexa, Wiki is much more popular then Slashdot.com and is the #196 most popular internet size, rising fast.

This has a downsize: Wiki is quite slow recently :(

Oh well. It is still *so nifty*. And a reason I have been bloggin a little less recently - most stuff I write is on Wiki. See?

Jan 8, 2005

First words in space...

On 12 April, 1961, 06:17 UTC Yuri Gagarin, from Vostok 1 spacecraft, said "The craft is operating normally. I can see Earth in the view port of the Vzor. Everything is proceeding as planned".

Perhaps not the most inspiring words, but nonetheless, the first words a man has spoken outside Earth.

Good enough for me. You can read the entire transcript from the mission here.

Jan 7, 2005

The 18th Most Decisive War in the world's history

Is the article I am working on the Wiki right now. Feel free to help me make Polish-Soviet War a featured article. Or just read it for fun.

‘If Charles Martel had not checked the Saracen conquest at the Battle of Tours, the interpretation of the Koran would be taught at the schools of Oxford, and her pupils might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.
Had Pilsudski and Weygand failed to arrest the triumphant advance of the Soviet Army at the Battle of Warsaw, not only would Christianity have experienced a dangerous reverse, but the very existence of Western civilisation would have been imperilled. The Battle of Tours saved our ancestors from the Yoke of the Koran; it is probable that the Battle of Warsaw saved Central and parts of Western Europe from a more subversive danger – the fanatical tyranny of the Soviet.
On the essential point, there can be little room for doubt; had the Soviet forces overcome Polish resistance… Bolshevism would have spread throughout Central Europe and might well have penetrated the whole continent.’
-- Edgar Vincent D'Abernon

Jan 4, 2005

Restraining creativity

How legal issues strangle creativity: The Case of FairUse on WikiCommons.

In other news. MegaMek is nifty. Check it out. Feel free to challenge me to a duel :)


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