Posts Tagged ‘force’

Don’t Panic! Real Dad’s Army was ‘ruthless guerrilla force’ say historians

January 29th, 2016

The BBC television series and other depictions have done a disservice to the real Home Guard, which was composed of deadly serious volunteers who believed invasion was imminent.

Many of the guard were in fact fit young men in reserve occupations which meant they could not join the regular forces, Dr Peter Johnston, collections content manager at the museum said.

He said: “I think the popular culture depiction has done them a little bit of a disservice. In a lot of cases, it was more a lads’ army, than a Dad’s Army.”

Documents and artefacts outlining the reality of the Home Guard will go on display when the museum reopens in November after a two year refurbishment.

Records show half of some units were aged in their mid-20s or younger. Of the older men, a significant proportion had combat experience from the First World War.

Dr Johnston said: “These were very serious people and these were very serious times. It’s easy to look back and laugh now at people making their own weapons, but it was a desperate time in 1940.”

The Home Guard, which was originally called initially the Local Defence Volunteers, was formed on 14 May 1940. By the end of July there were more than a million volunteers.

With regular forces taking priority for equipment, the Home Guard volunteers were at first poorly armed with their own weapons or obsolete firearms. The original idea was that the guard would act as a secondary defensive force behind the Army, guarding roads, canals and airfields.

But they were soon converted to a more aggressive role to deal with a potential German invasion, Dr Johnston said.

The German invasion plan ‘Operation Sea Lion’ called for a landing force of 67,000 German soldiers along with an airborne division to parachute in land beyond the British beach defences.

The German forces planned to push north and encircle London. The German plan estimated that if they advanced as far as Northampton, the UK would surrender.

If the Home Guard were to stand and fight well-trained and well-equipped German troops who had pioneered and mastered Blitzkrieg warfare, they would suffer enormous casualties for little gain it was decided.

So the guard was reimagined as a guerrilla force that would limit the German advance.

Dr Johnston said: “They would be a secret army, sabotaging and attacking the enemy from the rear, slowing them down to buy time for the regular Army to regroup further inland and re-establish defensive positions.”

The Home Guard drilled twice a week, took part in regular camps, and was trained by the regular Army. Within a short space of time it was probably the equivalent of today’s Army Reserve, he said.

Life in the Home Guard was also dangerous with 1,206 members being killed in the war.

Though the invasion never came, the Home Guard remained active in British defence and manned anti-aircraft guns. The Home Guard was stood down in December 1944.

Dr Johnston said: “Had the invasion come in the summer of 1940, the Home Guard would undoubtedly have fought with great commitment but probably been able to accomplish little. But the longer the delay in the planned German invasion went on, the stronger the Home Guard, and British forces overall, became, and better able to resist any prospective assault. They were a vital part of Britain’s defences throughout the war.”


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Australian Air Force and Navy uncover remains of 1943 WWII plane

November 20th, 2015

On 21 September, the Royal Australian Air Force collaborated with a Navy diving team to locate the remains of a sunken World War II aircraft.

The plane, the Catalina A24-25, had been used to fly long-range missions against Japanese submarines and shipping vessels. It crashed on 28 February, 1943, killing all 11 military personnel on board.

The Catalina was originally found about 56 kilometers south of Cairns in 2013, but coordination challenges delayed further investigations by two years.

In an official statement, the Royal Australian Air Force said that it intended to “leave the aircraft where it lies as a mark of respect to the crew whose remains are likely to be entombed in the wreckage.”

This newly released footage of the September expedition shows divers swimming through the wreckage.


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens ‘like Europe in 1944′

December 3rd, 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the darkest Star Wars film yet, with a LucasFilm insider comparing the galaxy’s situation to “the European theatre of 1944″, with the Empire being Germany and the Republic the Allies in a war of attrition.

The rumours come from a substantial leak of information from a 4Chan user called Spoiler Man, who claims to be a LucasFilm employee. Around 3,000 words of character information, plotlines and even parts of the script emerged online during the weekend and have since been posted on the Star Wars Reddit feed.

Given the source, the information is being treated cautiously by fans, however some of it corroborates with leaked concept art and other already reported spoilers about The Force Awakens.

Although there are potentially big giveaways about the character and plotlines of the characters played by Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Lupita N’yongo, the leak suggests JJ Abrams’ film will lack the levity and humour of the original trilogy. Instead, the script, which is described as being “too good for Abrams”, is far more dystopian, with people bunkering down and keeping a low profile for safety in the war-torn universe.

Notably, Luke is among those who have exiled themselves for his own safety and “a handful” of future Jedi trainees who must also never appear in the open.

Spoiler Man added that, despite ongoing rumours, Benedict Cumberbatch will not be making an appearance in the film, and that all rumours will be confirmed in February when the contracts of those who worked on the film in the UK will end – allowing them to let on more information.

Read the full post on Reddit at your peril. Here’s our rundown of Star Wars news, rumours and spoilers so far.


World War Two

In pictures: A look inside abandoned Heyford US Air Force base in Oxfordshire

May 22nd, 2014

Once allegedly used for storing nuclear warheads in case of an attack on Moscow, RAF Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire now stands abandoned and decaying. Used by the Royal Air Force primarily as a training base from 1918 to 1950, the site was transferred to the United States Air Force (USAF) at the beginning of the Cold War.Picture: Darmon Ritcher / Barcroft Media


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