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A Mauser Model 1934 Semi Automatic Pistol in caliber 6.35mm (.25ACP)

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James Wilkinson & Son, 470 Nitro Express Double Rifle

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When British Tanks First Encountered Flak 88s at Halfaya Pass – June 1941

Allies War Well I thought it was neat!

The Royal Navy’s War by Paul Kennedy

HMS Ark Royal early in WWII

The Second World War was the Royal Navy’s finest hour, so says the acclaimed naval historian, Paul Kennedy.

There are many remarkable aspects to Victory at Sea that might be the subject of an individual blog, but one I would like to call attention to is the way the book, and perhaps especially Ian Marshall’s illustrations, confirm how much the 1939-1945 war at sea was the Royal Navy’s War.

It was there at the very start, pushing out patrols and hunting-groups in search of the German surface raiders; and it was there at the every end, with British warships [HMS Duke of York] among the Allied fleets in Tokyo Bay in 1945, and another bidding godspeed to Pres Truman in Plymouth harbor after the Potsdam settlement is over.

By my count, a full 23 out of the 53 beautiful Ian Marshall paintings are of ships and naval actions involving the Royal Navy, and they range from paintings of storm-tossed little escorts to magnificent ones of the HMS Ark Royal being slowly towed into Malta’s Grand Harbour. The very cover of this book shows, dramatically, the Bismarck under attack by the puny [if also very effective] Swordfish torpedo planes.

Chapter after chapter of this book is devoted to what was really the greatest, longest-lasting maritime struggle of all, the Battle of the Atlantic, not concluded until the serried ranks of Doenitz’s U-boats were tied up in Allied harbours.  And from chapter 5 there begins another campaign story, that of the Battle of the Mediterranean, including the Taranto Raid and the many Malta convoys.  A whole number of Ian Marshall’s paintings are of British warships at Malta, because that was one of his favourite places as a backdrop to his art.

And this was a Royal Navy which was willing to take incredible losses in the fight to keep control of the sea.  Of course Churchill would have it no other way, but the service itself never flinched at the high costs of fighting – there is considerable detail throughout this book of the HUGE losses of merchant ships and escorts in the Atlantic and Arctic convoy campaigns, the stupendous cost in Royal Navy destroyers off Dunkirk and Crete, the terrifying Malta convoy experiences  –  just count how many cruisers and destroyers, not to mention the many original carriers, were lost against enemy action in this war.

And yet this was a navy that was still receiving newer and more effective warships from the hard-working British shipyards throughout the war:  new KG-V-class battleships,  the Illustrious-class  carriers, town-class cruisers then many new light cruiser classes, fleet destroyers, frigates, sloops, corvettes.

If the lengthy conflict wore down the British economy, there was no sign of that until the very end – although it was clear by 1943 (this is one of the big points stressed in this book) that the US Navy was emerging as a far larger force than anything that had been seen in world history. And this is why, surely, the sub-title of this book Naval Power and the Transformation of the Global Order in World War II is most appropriate..”

Paul Kennedy is the author of Victory at Sea: Naval Power and the Transformation of the Global Order in World War IIpublished by Yale University Press.


Happy World Book Day N.S.F.W.

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EVIL MF The Green Machine

Scumbag of the Century

US Army financial counselor admits to defrauding Gold Star families: DOJ

ByLeah Sarnoff

A former financial counselor for the United States Army pleaded guilty to defrauding the families of fallen servicemembers out of life insurance payments, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

Gold Star family members are the immediate beneficiaries of servicemembers who have died in active-duty military service and are entitled to a $100,000 payment and the servicemember’s life insurance of up to $400,000, according to the organization.

Caz Craffy, from Colts Neck, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to obtaining more than $9.9 million from several Gold Star families to invest in accounts managed by Craffy in his private capacity without the families’ authorization, according to prosecutors.

Craffy was a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, working as a financial counselor with the Casualty Assistance Office, but he was also a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he has been enlisted since 2003, prosecutors said.

From May 2018 to November 2022, the Gold Star family accounts suffered more than $3.7 million in losses and Craffy made more than $1.4 million in commissions, according to prosecutors.

“Those who target and steal from the families of fallen American servicemembers will be held accountable for their crimes,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the press release.

“Nothing can undo the enormous loss that Gold Star families have suffered, but the Justice Department is committed to doing everything in our power to protect them from further harm,” Garland said.

On Tuesday, Craffy pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including six counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, making false statements in a loan application, committing acts affecting a personal financial interest and making false statements to a federal agency, according to the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office’s press release.

“Caz Craffy admitted today that he brazenly took advantage of his role as an Army financial counselor to prey upon families of our fallen service members, at their most vulnerable moment, using lies and deception,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in the press release.

“These Gold Star families have laid the dearest sacrifice on the altar of freedom. And they deserve our utmost respect and compassion, as well as some small measure of financial security from a grateful nation,” Sellinger said.

Craffy entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Georgette Castner in Trenton, New Jersey and is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 21.

Craffy’s plea agreement calls for a prison sentence of 8 to 10 years, according to prosecutors, and the restitution amount will be announced during his sentencing.

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