16 February 2008

Not that way Private!

I stumbled across this website last night in doing some further research and wanted to do a quick post to share with everyone what I had found. Southern Methodist University is on a mission to save original documentation from the World War II era.

The site itself is great, and one of the best things I found was the soldier guides. Printed to help the individual soldier who knew little or nothing about the country they were invading and/or landing upon, these little manuals were similiar to the one I got in Desert Storm.

Just remember, if you are looking for these guides in particular, and not the whole exhibit, then you will need to do a title word search for best results. Here's a screenshot to help:

Have a great Saturday! I will probably not be posting tomorrow, but see you first thing Monday morning!

Links to SMU Collection

15 February 2008

Apollo 8: Race To the Darkness!

1968 was probably a year a lot of Americans didn't want to remember. It was the year of the Tet Offensive and the Pueblo had been seized by North Korea. Then there was the B-52 crash in Greenland which sent hydrogen bombs careening across the landscape.

It was also the year of Apollo 8!
Known as the Apollo mission to first reach the far (dark) side of the moon, this mission included "prep" for the later Apollo flights to come. This included examination of potential landing sites for the missions to follow:

"... One of the crew's major tasks was reconnaissance of planned future landing sites on the Moon, especially one in Mare Tranquillitatis that would be the Apollo 11 landing site. The launch time of Apollo 8 had been chosen to give the best lighting conditions for examining the site..."
(Source: Wikipedia-Apollo 8)

This mission also was the first time that astronaut sickness was experienced, causing some concern at mission control. The astronauts also saw their first "Earthrise." Labeled a success, this event provided a solid step for progress in the Apollo program. Hit the links below for more details, movies and background information. Now, does anybody have any Tang?

Have a great Friday! See you tomorrow!


Google Video Link

14 February 2008

It's the Motoramic Chevrolet! (By Jam Handy?)

Combining Chevrolet's new OHV V-8 engine with a fantastically styled body, the 55 Chevrolet revolutionized the automotive industry. In the clip(s) above, we see the automobile being put through its paces. What you might not realize is the organization that made the film.

The Handy Organization (affiliated with Bray Productions)was a major producer of industrial films in America and had the automobile manufacturers as some of its largest customers. Led by Henry Jamison Handy, prior Olympic athlete, this organization embodies the "best" of the fifties era public service and advertising films. They also were a major film producer during World War II. So grab some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the film!

For more details (and movies) hit the links below! Have a great day!

See you tomorrow!



(TOCMP) The Old Car Manual Project-Chevrolet

Prelinger Archives: Direct Link to Video Source

Handy Organization (Industrial Films)

Handy Organization Films at archive.org

13 February 2008

Operation Vittles and the (maybe) passing of Templehof

I noticed in the Wall Street Journal this morning that there is some controversy brewing about the proposed closing of the Templehof airport in Berlin. While I can't speak for the modern commercial aspects of the airport, I can address the historical significance.

US Army Center of Military History: Operation Vittles

For it was this airport, along with others, that became the focal point of the Berlin Airlift.


Divided up into two parts after the war and controlled by both the Allies and the Soviets, Germany became the new lead point for the newly emerging Cold War. Nowhere could be seen better than in Berlin, which itself was divided into opposing Soviet and Allied zones. The sticky point with Berlin however, is that the city was located in the Soviet held part of Germany.

By the late forties, the rush to rebuild Germany was already in place by the Allies. The Soviets, however, had a different point of view. Beginning in 1948 a series of events drew both factions to a boiling point. These included airplane collisi0ns, train track outages and blockages and a host of diplomatic maneuvering on both sides of the table.

In June of 1948, the Soviets cast their die and cut off access to Berlin via land routes . Responding immediately, the Allies began resupply of Berlin by air routes. Involving staggering amounts of foodstuffs and coal as well as air support with all types of aircraft in the Allied inventory, the effort was massive.

As an example:

"...By the end of the operation, American and British pilots had flown 92 million miles on 277,000 flights from four primary airfields in the western sectors of Germany into Berlin to deliver nearly 2.3 million tons of supplies to three airfields conducting round-the-clock operations within 10 miles of each other...."

Included in this event was the operation within an operation, that is Operation Little Vittles, but I'll probably save that for later.

Don't forget to hit the links below for more information in depth and have a great day!

See you tomorrow!


NY Times PermaLink on Berlin Airlift

NPR Story on Berlin Airlift

Wikipedia: Berlin Airlift

National Museum of the USAF

Wikipedia: Templehof

12 February 2008

Operation Deep Freeze: Charting Antartica!

Post WW2 America has come to stand for Rock&Roll, Levittown, McDonalds and the rise of the "Man in the Grey Flannel Suit".

What is less known is the transformation and exploration of the US military during this time. While our forces were shadows of their former selves from a numerical standpoint, they were rapidly undergoing major change in technology and force projection. A component of this, and primarily driven by competition with the Soviet Union, was the continued exploration of the seas and parts unknown.

Operation Deep Freeze was part of this.

Charged with supporting the scientific goal of learning more about this frozen, uncharted part of the planet, the Navy assembled Task Force 43 to assist with the mission. Ships and forces included:

  • Ice Breakers
  • Attack Cargo Ships
  • Tankers
  • Cargo ships

This was not totally unfamiliar territory for the US, however, as there had been earlier missions in the 1920's by Byrd and the establishment of Little America.

There was quite a bit of military art for this operation. The first picture above shows an Albatross, while the picture below shows a bit more of the operational side of the mission:

(Source: Navy Art Gallery-Operation Deep Freeze)

This is a facinating part of our history and seemingly overlooked by many. For more details, hit the links and enjoy the artwork!

See you tomorrow!

Navy Historical Center: Operation Deep Freeze

Wikipedia entry for Operation Deep Freeze

11 February 2008

"Hit The Road Jack"

With the wonderful song, "Hit The Road Jack" penned by Percy Mayfield and recorded by the incomparable Ray Charles going through my mind, I was out this morning on 40W through Columbus. Getting home later and digging into some sources on the history of it, the statistics and "backstory" are quite impressive. These include:

  • Goes across 12 states
  • Goes through various state capitals
  • Incorporated in its design and construction are older highways such as the Victory Highway, Oregon Trail, and the National Road.

I never realized all of the history, especially the Victory Highway! Preinterstate roads are rapidly disappearing and/or falling into disuse. Let's not forget the great information that can be found with these.

Check the links below for more details and I leave you with some Ray Charles video I found on YouTube this morning.

Have a great Monday!

US 40

Victory Highway


Hit The Road Jack

Ray Charles