Henry Johnson the One-Man Army Who Fought Off, Dozens of German Soldiers During World War I

Amazing piece of WW1 History.

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H/T Mental Floss.

R.I.P. Sergeant Henry Johnson July 15,1892-July 1,1929.

It was after midnight on May 15, 1918 when William Henry Johnson began to hear the rustling. Johnson was a long way from his home in Albany, New York, guarding a bridge in the Argonne Forest in Champagne, France. Sleeping next to him was Needham Roberts, a fellow soldier. Both men had enlisted in the New York National Guard just a few months earlier and were now part of the French Army, donated by U.S. forces to their understaffed allies in the thick of World War I.

As Johnson continued hearing the strange noises late into the night, he urged his partner to get up. A tired Roberts waved him off, believing Johnson was just nervous. Johnson decided to prepare himself just in case, piling up his assortment of grenades and rifle cartridges…

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They Shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson’s new World War One Documentary, They Will Not Grow Old, will be released today in the U.K. to commemorate the centennial of the end of the Great War.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

 

World War I Era Weapons: The (French) Milwaukee Nail

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The Milwaukee Nail

(click on above link to be re-directed)

I have always held a fascination with all things sharp and pointy, particularly Improvised Weapons.

This is a really look at a version of a nasty trench fighting tool of WW1.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

WW I History: Operation China Snow, The Top Secret Mission of Germany’s Zeppelin L59

zeppelin-airship

“The mission would be a risky one – no airship had ever flown such a distance.”

TO DESCRIBE Germany’s Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck as a thorn in the side of the British Empire is something of an understatement.

Beginning in 1914, the dashing 34-year-old Prussian lieutenant-colonel led a rag-tag band of 3,000 regulars and 10,000 colonial troops in an audacious four-year guerrilla campaign against the Allies in East Africa – modern day Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.

A master of ambush, sabotage and hit-and-run tactics, von Lettow-Vorbeck, also known as Der Löwe von Afrika or the “Lion of Africa”, never lost a battle and consistently outfoxed the 300,000-British, Belgian and Portuguese troops tasked with destroying him.

Operating deep in the African bush, von Lettow-Vorbeck’s brigade, known as the Schutztruppe,spent much of the war living off the land. By in 1917 however, they were in desperate need of resupply. For Berlin, figuring out how to sustain this force, which was keeping hundreds of thousands of enemy troops pinned down in a remote backwater, was vital to the German war effort. But getting fresh equipment and ammunition to them was going to be a challenge. British control of the Atlantic and Indian oceans ruled out shipping materiel by sea. And no plane yet had the range to reach the region, which was more than 4,000 miles from friendly territory. Some in the high command wondered if a Zeppelin might be up to the task.

A Zeppelin to the Rescue

German airships had been mounting bombing raids on French cities since the war’s opening days and beginning in 1915, they were flying long-range strikes against England itself. Might a specially equipped navy dirigible operating from southern Europe be able to deliver supplies to von Lettow-Vorbeck a hemisphere away? No one had ever flown such a vast distance, but in theory it could be done (and so it had to be tried).

German manufacturer Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH offered one of its newest machines, the L 59, for the mission, which Berlin codenamed China-Sache or “China Show”.

Read the Remainder at Military History Now

WW1 History: 1916, A Most Terrible Year

This year I am going to start reading in earnest, a chronological history of The Great War: World War One.-SF

1916

BOOKS that focus on what happened in a particular year have become a publishing phenomenon. So Keith Jeffery, a British academic historian whose last work was a fascinating, if slightly plodding, official history of Britain’s secret intelligence service, MI6, must have thought it a clever idea to go for 1916, the midpoint of the first world war. Mr Jeffery’s purpose is to show that not only was it a year of tremendous events, but one in which the effects of the war spread across most of the world, often with consequences that can still be felt a century later.

By 1916, the war that some had believed would be over by Christmas 1914 had become an attritional slog on both the largely static Western Front and on the rather more fluctuating front in the East. To break the deadlock, the general staffs of all the main belligerents continued to work on new tactics, such as the creeping artillery barrage, and to seek new technologies, including the tank, which first saw action in September 1916. Contrary to a widely held view, the second half of the war was a period of unprecedented military innovation.

The idea that sheer offensive élan could overcome well-entrenched defences equipped with modern weaponry, in the form of accurate artillery and the machine- gun, had died during the appalling bloodletting of late 1914. In the four months before the war of movement in the West ground to a halt, France and Germany had between them suffered over 1.5m casualties—a loss rate that was not exceeded until manoeuvre returned to the battlefield in the final months of fighting. By 1916 most of the soldiers on both sides had not only lost faith in imminent victory, but had become fatalistically resigned to the war as permanent crucible for their generation which civilians and politicians at home could not begin to comprehend.

Read the Remainder at Economist

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