RAF Spitfires Fighting Italians

RAF Spitfires flying over mountainous country south of Rome

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRES OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE IN ITALY, JANUARY 1944 (TR 1532) Two Spitfires IX’s of No 241 Squadron, Royal Air Force, MA425/RZ-R' and MH635/RZ-U’ piloted by Flying Officers H Cogman and J V Macdonald respectively flying over mountainous country south of Rome. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188815

 

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRES OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE IN ITALY, JANUARY 1944 (TR 1534) Two Spitfire IX’s of No 241 Squadron, Royal Air Force, MA425/RZ-R' and MH635/RZ-U’ piloted by Flying Officers H Cogman and J V Macdonald respectively, flying over mountainous country south of Rome. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188817

 

RAF Spitfires flying over Mount Vesuvius

 

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRES OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE IN ITALY, JANUARY 1944 (TR 1536) Two Spitfire IX’s of No 241 Squadron, Royal Air Force, MA425/RZ-R' and MH635/RZ-U’ piloted by Flying Officers H Cogman and J V Macdonald respectively, flying over Mount Vesuvius. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210937

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRES OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE IN ITALY, JANUARY 1944 (TR 1532) Two Spitfire IX’s of No 241 Squadron, Royal Air Force, MA425/`RZ-R’ and MH635/`RZ-U’ piloted by Flying Officers H Cogman and J V Macdonald respectively flying over mountainous country south of Rome. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205188815

 

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Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire pilot of No 241 Squadron, Flying Officer W R B McMurray looking at a map in Italy. (Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

 

 

 

 

Fisherman Finds Old World War Two Bomb and It Subsequently Kills 21 People. On Purpose.

Vintage Advertising – Ministry of Defence – Unexploded Bomb

I write about this subject a lot, I know. But it fascinates me that so much deadly ordnance from World War Two is still found all over Europe along with unexploded ordnance from World War One. This, however, is the most unusual story I have read.

From the Scotsman of Tuesday 13 November 2012:

Italy has arrested a fisherman for supplying more than a ton of TNT recovered from unexploded Second World War bombs to the Mafia, which used it in a wave of explosions that killed 21 people two decades ago.

Cosimo D’Amato, 57, was held on the basis of testimony from turncoat Palermo mob boss Gaspare Spatuzza, who told investigators he had helped collect the explosives at a port near Sicily’s capital in 1992.

Notice from Thornham, UK online scrapbook.

[Source: The Scotsman. Images courtesy of Original Metal Signs and the Thornham Online Scrapbook.]

The Breakout Of The 1st Marines From The Chosin Reservoir: An American Epic Of Courage – Part 23

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20Part 21Part 22Part 23Part 24Part 25Part 26Part 27Part 28Part 29Part 30

Air Artillery, Italy. American Piper Cub observation plane flying over Allied territory in the Cassino corridor of battle as it searches for German gun emplacements & enemy troops so that the Allies can adjust their gun fire on them. Location: Italy, Date taken: February 1944 (Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White)

Planes such as the one above were used in World War Two and Korea to correct artillery fires. It was a highly effective system. No less effective was the ground to air system with forward air control officers controlling US fighter bombers.

In a battle with the Chinese in the Korean War, recounted in David Halberstan’s The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, a well-trained US Army regiment with re-enforced with combat units of the French Foreign Legion, were surrounded by tens of thousands of Chinese troops. During a massive human wave attack the Chinese were held off by machine gun fire but more critically by a large number of US ground attack aircraft vectored onto the Chinese by US forward air control officers.

Vought F4U-4B “Corsair” Fighter (Bureau # 62924) Landing on USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) after attacking targets in Korea, circa 7 December 1950. This plane belongs to Fighter Squadron 113 (VF-113). (Official US Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives)

[Source: The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam. Image courtesy of Life Magazine and the US Naval History & Heritage Command.]

Sicily’s Fiscal Problems Threaten to Swamp Italy

I was shocked, shocked, to see the above headline in the New York Times on 7.22.12 and I am certain you will be shocked as well. Seems that the autonomous government of Sicily has been spending too much money, way too much money, and hasn’t fessed up to it until recently.

A prince of a guy by the name of Mr. Lombardo, is the head of the government in Sicily. He is under investigation for ties to the Mafia. (Like duh.) And has also been in jail for corruption. Were it not for his legal problems, I’m sure he would have kept better records and in general run a tighter ship.

One of the big problems in Sicily, besides the deep traditions of corruption, thievery from the public purse, bribery of officials, vendettas, the Mafia, and a few more, is this: too many people work for the government. Certainly we are all familiar with towns or cities or states or departments of the Federal Government which seem to have some extra people but the following is truly astounding.

Once again from the New York Times:

…Sicily’s regional government…employs 26,000 auxiliary forest rangers; in the vast forestlands of British Columbia, there are fewer than 1,500…

“Of course that’s too many,” Mr. Lombardo said of the forest rangers. But he said it was difficult to cut back because state workers have job protection. “We have to wait for them to retire.”

Too many? Too many? That’s an under statement. The entire island only amounts to 25,700 square kilometers. This means that in Sicily, there is a forest ranger for each square kilometer of land. And you have to wait for all of them to retire? How long will that take? Fifty years? This is corruption on a breathtaking scale. Tammany Hall would have been proud.

Allow me to end with these figures: the US Forest Service employs approximately 28,000 people, including forest rangers, to oversee 780,000 square kilometers of Federal lands. But there are 9.83 million square kilometers of land in the USA. We could solve our unemployment problem by creating 9,830,000 new Forest Ranger positions which would bring us to the same ratio as Sicily. We can and we should learn from other nations.

[Sources: The New York Times and the US Forest Service.]