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História da Vingança V - História

História da Vingança V - História

Revenge V

(Sch .: t. 90; 1. 60 '; b. 16'6 "; dph. 6'6"; cpl. 30; a. 1 longo 18
pdr. e várias carronadas)

O quinto Revenge, foi construído em 1808 em Charleston, S.C., como Gunboat No. 158 por James Ingraham & Sons. Depois de patrulhar a costa sul do serviço, a escuna ficou parada em Charleston de 1817 a 1822. Ela foi então colocada em serviço e até 1824 operou na Frota de Mosquitos do Comodoro David Porter nas Índias Ocidentais, suprimindo a pirataria.


Eurythmics

Eurythmics foi uma dupla pop britânica composta pelos membros Annie Lennox e Dave Stewart. Stewart e Lennox estiveram ambos anteriormente no The Tourists, uma banda que se separou em 1980 Eurythmics foi formada no final daquele ano em Wagga Wagga, Austrália. [2] A dupla lançou seu primeiro álbum de estúdio, No Jardim, em 1981 com pouco sucesso, mas passou a obter sucesso global quando seu segundo álbum Doces sonhos são feitos disso), foi lançado em 1983. A faixa-título se tornou um sucesso mundial que alcançou o topo das paradas em vários países, incluindo os Estados Unidos. A dupla lançou uma série de singles e álbuns de sucesso antes de se separarem em 1990. Nessa época, Stewart era um produtor musical procurado, enquanto Lennox começou uma carreira solo de gravação em 1992 com seu álbum de estreia Divã. Depois de quase uma década separados, Eurythmics se reuniu para gravar seu nono álbum, Paz, lançado no final de 1999. Eles se reuniram novamente em 2005 para lançar o single "I've Got a Life", como parte de uma nova compilação do álbum Eurythmics, Ultimate Collection.

A dupla ganhou o MTV Video Music Award de Melhor Novo Artista em 1984, o Grammy de Melhor Performance de Rock por um Duo ou Grupo com Vocal em 1987, o Brit Award de Melhor Contribuição para a Música em 1999 e em 2005 foram introduzidos no o UK Music Hall of Fame. O Eurythmics vendeu cerca de 75 milhões de discos em todo o mundo. [3] Em 2017, o grupo foi indicado para indução ao Rock & amp Roll Hall of Fame, [4] e foi indicado novamente em 2018. [5]


Conteúdo

Em 1835, houve uma mudança drástica na nação mexicana. O triunfo das forças conservadoras nas eleições desencadeou uma série de acontecimentos que culminaram em 23 de outubro de 1835, sob uma nova constituição, após a revogação da Constituição federalista de 1824. Las Siete Leyes (Espanhol: [las ˈsjete ˈleʝes]), ou Sete Leis foram uma série de mudanças constitucionais que alteraram fundamentalmente a estrutura organizacional do México, encerrando o primeiro período federal e criando uma república unitária, oficialmente a República Mexicana (espanhol: República Mexicana) [6] Formalizados pelo presidente Antonio López de Santa Anna em 15 de dezembro de 1835, eles foram promulgados em 1836. Eles tinham como objetivo centralizar e fortalecer o governo nacional. O objetivo da constituição anterior era criar um sistema político que emularia o sucesso dos Estados Unidos, mas após uma década de turbulência política, estagnação econômica e ameaças e invasão estrangeira real, os conservadores concluíram que um caminho melhor para o México era centralizado potência.

As novas políticas e o aumento da aplicação das leis de imigração e tarifas de importação incitaram muitos imigrantes à revolta. [7] A região fronteiriça do Texas mexicano era em grande parte povoada por imigrantes dos Estados Unidos, alguns legais, mas a maioria ilegais. Essas pessoas estavam acostumadas a um governo federalista e a amplos direitos individuais, incluindo o direito de possuir escravos, e expressaram seu descontentamento com a aplicação da lei no México e com a mudança para o centralismo. [8] Já suspeitos depois de tentativas anteriores americanas de comprar o Texas mexicano, [9] as autoridades mexicanas atribuíram grande parte da agitação texana aos imigrantes americanos, a maioria dos quais havia entrado ilegalmente e feito pouco esforço para se adaptar à cultura mexicana e que continuaram a manter pessoas escravizadas quando a escravidão foi abolida no México. [10]

Em outubro, os texanos enfrentaram as tropas mexicanas na primeira batalha oficial da Revolução do Texas. [11] Determinado a reprimir a rebelião de imigrantes, Santa Anna começou a reunir uma grande força, o Exército de Operações no Texas, para restaurar a ordem. [12] A maioria de seus soldados eram recrutas inexperientes, [13] e muitos foram recrutados à força. [14]

Os texanos derrotaram sistematicamente as tropas mexicanas já estacionadas no Texas. O último grupo de soldados mexicanos na região - comandado pelo cunhado de Santa Anna, general Martín Perfecto de Cos - se rendeu em 9 de dezembro após o cerco de Béxar. [11] A essa altura, o Exército do Texas era dominado por recém-chegados à região, principalmente imigrantes ilegais dos Estados Unidos. Muitos colonos do Texas, despreparados para uma longa campanha, voltaram para casa. [15] Irritado com o que percebeu ser uma interferência americana nos assuntos mexicanos, Santa Anna encabeçou uma resolução classificando os imigrantes estrangeiros encontrados lutando no Texas como piratas. A resolução proibiu efetivamente a captura de prisioneiros de guerra: nesse período, os piratas capturados foram executados imediatamente. [15] [16] Santa Anna reiterou essa mensagem em uma carta com palavras fortes ao presidente dos Estados Unidos, Andrew Jackson. Esta carta não foi amplamente distribuída, e é improvável que a maioria dos recrutas americanos servindo no exército texano soubesse que não haveria prisioneiros de guerra. [17]

Quando as tropas mexicanas partiram de San Antonio de Béxar (atual San Antonio, Texas, EUA), soldados texanos capturaram a guarnição mexicana na Missão Alamo, um antigo posto religioso espanhol que havia sido convertido em um forte improvisado pelo recém-expulso Exército mexicano. [18] Descrito por Santa Anna como uma "fortificação irregular dificilmente digna desse nome", [18] o Álamo foi projetado para resistir a um ataque de tribos nativas, não de um exército equipado com artilharia. [19] O complexo se espalhava por 3 acres (1,2 ha), fornecendo quase 1.320 pés (400 m) de perímetro para defender. [20] Uma praça interna era delimitada a leste pela capela e a sul por um prédio de um andar conhecido como Quartel Baixo. [21] Uma paliçada de madeira se estendia entre esses dois edifícios. [22] O Long Barracks de dois andares estendia-se ao norte da capela. [21] No canto norte da parede leste ficava um curral de gado e um curral de cavalos. [23] As paredes ao redor do complexo tinham pelo menos 0,75 pés (0,84 m) de espessura e variavam de 9–12 pés (2,7–3,7 m) de altura. [24] [Nota 1]

Para compensar a falta de portas de tiro, o engenheiro texano Green B. Jameson construiu passarelas para permitir que os defensores atirassem sobre as paredes. Esse método, no entanto, deixou a parte superior do corpo do atirador exposta. [20] As forças mexicanas deixaram para trás 19 canhões, que Jameson instalou ao longo das paredes. Um grande canhão de 18 libras havia chegado ao Texas com o New Orleans Greys. Jameson posicionou este canhão no canto sudoeste do complexo. Ele vangloriou-se ao comandante do exército texano Sam Houston de que os texanos podiam "chicotear 10 para 1 com nossa artilharia". [25]

A guarnição texana estava terrivelmente mal tripulada e desprovisionada, com menos de 100 soldados restantes em 6 de janeiro de 1836. [26] O coronel James C. Neill, o comandante interino do Álamo, escreveu ao governo provisório: "Se já houve um dólar aqui Não tenho conhecimento disso ". [26] Neill solicitou tropas e suprimentos adicionais, enfatizando que a guarnição provavelmente seria incapaz de resistir a um cerco que durasse mais de quatro dias. [26] [27] O governo texano estava em crise e incapaz de fornecer muita assistência. [28] [Nota 2] Quatro homens diferentes alegaram ter recebido o comando de todo o exército: [Nota 3] em 14 de janeiro, Neill abordou um deles, Sam Houston, para obter ajuda na coleta de suprimentos, roupas e munição. [28]

Houston não podia dispensar o número de homens necessários para montar uma defesa bem-sucedida. [29] Em vez disso, ele enviou o coronel James Bowie com 30 homens para remover a artilharia do Álamo e destruir o complexo. [28] [Nota 4] Bowie não foi capaz de transportar a artilharia porque a guarnição de Alamo não tinha os animais de tração necessários. Neill logo convenceu Bowie de que o local tinha importância estratégica. [30] Em uma carta ao governador Henry Smith, Bowie argumentou que "a salvação do Texas depende em grande medida de manter Béxar fora das mãos do inimigo. Ele serve como guarda do piquete da fronteira, e se estiver em posse de Santa Anna, não há fortaleza da qual repeli-lo em sua marcha em direção ao Sabine. " [31] [Nota 5] A carta para Smith terminava: "O coronel Neill e eu chegamos à resolução solene de que preferiremos morrer nestas valas do que entregá-la ao inimigo." [31] Bowie também escreveu ao governo provisório, pedindo "homens, dinheiro, rifles e pólvora de canhão". [31] Poucos reforços foram autorizados o oficial de cavalaria William B. Travis chegou a Béxar com 30 homens em 3 de fevereiro. Cinco dias depois, um pequeno grupo de voluntários chegou, incluindo o famoso homem da fronteira e ex-congressista norte-americano David Crockett, do Tennessee. [32]

Em 11 de fevereiro, Neill deixou o Alamo, determinado a recrutar reforços adicionais e reunir suprimentos. [33] [34] Ele transferiu o comando para Travis, o oficial do exército regular de mais alta patente na guarnição. [31] Os voluntários compunham grande parte da guarnição, e eles não estavam dispostos a aceitar Travis como seu líder. [Nota 6] Em vez disso, os homens elegeram Bowie, que tinha uma reputação de lutador feroz, como comandante. Bowie comemorou ficando muito embriagado e criando confusão em Béxar. Para mitigar os sentimentos negativos resultantes, Bowie concordou em compartilhar o comando com Travis. [34] [35] [36]

Enquanto os texanos lutavam para encontrar homens e suprimentos, Santa Anna continuou a reunir homens em San Luis Potosi no final de 1835, seu exército contava com 6.019 soldados. [37] Em vez de avançar ao longo da costa, onde suprimentos e reforços poderiam ser facilmente entregues por mar, Santa Anna ordenou que seu exército fosse para Béxar, o centro político do Texas e local da derrota de Cos. [37] O exército começou sua marcha para o norte no final de dezembro. [37] Oficiais usaram a longa jornada para treinar os homens. Muitos dos novos recrutas não sabiam como usar a mira de suas armas e muitos se recusaram a atirar do ombro por causa do grande recuo. [38]

O progresso era lento. Não havia mulas suficientes para transportar todos os suprimentos, e muitos dos carroceiros, todos civis, desistiram quando seu pagamento atrasou. Os muitos soldaderas - mulheres e crianças que seguiram o exército - consumiram grande parte dos suprimentos já escassos. Os soldados logo foram reduzidos a rações parciais. [39] Em 12 de fevereiro eles cruzaram o Rio Grande. [40] [Nota 7] As temperaturas no Texas atingiram baixas recordes e, em 13 de fevereiro, cerca de 15–16 polegadas (38–41 cm) de neve haviam caído. Hipotermia, disenteria e grupos de assalto Comanche cobraram um forte preço dos soldados mexicanos. [41]

Em 21 de fevereiro, Santa Anna e sua vanguarda chegaram às margens do rio Medina, a 40 km de Béxar. [42] [43] Sem saber da proximidade do Exército mexicano, a maioria da guarnição de Alamo se juntou aos residentes de Béxar em uma festa. [44] [Nota 8] Depois de saber da celebração planejada, Santa Anna ordenou ao general Joaquín Ramírez y Sesma que apreendesse imediatamente o Alamo desprotegido, mas chuvas repentinas interromperam a operação. [43]

Investimento

Na madrugada de 23 de fevereiro, os moradores começaram a fugir de Béxar, temendo a chegada iminente do exército mexicano. Embora não se convença com os relatos, Travis posicionou um soldado na torre do sino da igreja de San Fernando, o local mais alto da cidade, para ficar atento a sinais de aproximação de uma força. Várias horas depois, batedores texanos relataram ter visto tropas mexicanas a 2,4 km da cidade. [44] Poucos arranjos foram feitos para um cerco potencial. Um grupo de texanos lutou para levar o gado para o Álamo, enquanto outros procuravam comida nas casas recentemente abandonadas. [45] Vários membros da guarnição que viviam na cidade trouxeram suas famílias com eles quando se reportaram ao Alamo. Entre estes estavam Almaron Dickinson, que trouxe sua esposa Susanna e sua filha Angelina Bowie, que estava acompanhada pelos primos de sua falecida esposa, Gertrudis Navarro e Juana Navarro Alsbury, e o filho mais novo de Alsbury [46] e Gregorio Esparza, cuja família escalou através do janela da capela do Álamo após a chegada do exército mexicano. [47] Outros membros da guarnição não compareceram ao serviço. A maioria dos homens que trabalhavam fora de Béxar não tentou passar furtivamente pelas linhas mexicanas. [48]

resposta de José Bartres aos pedidos texanos de uma rendição honrosa, conforme citado no jornal de Juan Almonte [49]

No final da tarde, Béxar foi ocupado por cerca de 1.500 soldados mexicanos. [50] Quando as tropas mexicanas ergueram uma bandeira vermelho-sangue, significando nenhum quarto, Travis respondeu com uma explosão do maior canhão do Álamo. [51] Acreditando que Travis agiu precipitadamente, Bowie enviou Jameson para se encontrar com Santa Anna. [49] Travis ficou furioso porque Bowie agiu unilateralmente e enviou seu próprio representante, o capitão Albert Martin. [52] Ambos os emissários se encontraram com o coronel Juan Almonte e José Bartres. De acordo com Almonte, os texanos pediram uma rendição honrosa, mas foram informados de que qualquer rendição deve ser incondicional. Ao saber disso, Bowie e Travis concordaram mutuamente em disparar o canhão novamente. [52] [Nota 9]

Escaramuças

A primeira noite do cerco foi relativamente tranquila. [53] Nos dias seguintes, os soldados mexicanos estabeleceram baterias de artilharia, inicialmente a cerca de 1.000 pés (300 m) das paredes sul e leste do Álamo. [54] Uma terceira bateria foi posicionada a sudeste do forte. A cada noite, as baterias se aproximavam das paredes do Álamo. [55] Durante a primeira semana do cerco, mais de 200 balas de canhão caíram na praça do Álamo. No início, os texanos igualaram o fogo da artilharia mexicana, muitas vezes reutilizando as balas de canhão mexicanas. [56] [57] Em 26 de fevereiro, Travis ordenou que a artilharia conservasse pólvora e balas. [56]

Dois eventos notáveis ​​ocorreram na quarta-feira, 24 de fevereiro. Em algum momento daquele dia, Bowie desmaiou de doença, [58] deixando Travis no comando exclusivo da guarnição. [58] No final da tarde, dois batedores mexicanos foram as primeiras vítimas fatais do cerco. [59] [Nota 9] Na manhã seguinte, 200–300 soldados mexicanos cruzaram o rio San Antonio e se abrigaram em barracos abandonados perto das muralhas do Álamo. [55] [59] [60] Vários texanos se aventuraram a queimar as cabanas [60] enquanto os texanos dentro do Álamo forneciam fogo de cobertura. [61] [62] Após uma escaramuça de duas horas, as tropas mexicanas recuaram para Béxar. [55] [62] Seis soldados mexicanos foram mortos e quatro outros ficaram feridos. [55] Nenhum texano ficou ferido. [63]

Um norte azul soprou em 25 de fevereiro, baixando a temperatura para 39 ° F (4 ° C). [56] Nenhum exército estava preparado para as temperaturas frias. [64] As tentativas texanas de coletar lenha foram frustradas pelas tropas mexicanas. [56] Na noite de 26 de fevereiro, o coronel Juan Bringas enfrentou vários texanos que estavam queimando mais cabanas. [65] De acordo com o historiador J.R. Edmondson, um texano foi morto. [66] Quatro dias depois, os texanos atiraram e mataram o soldado Secundino Alvarez, um soldado de um dos dois batalhões que Santa Anna havia estacionado nos dois lados do Álamo. Em 1º de março, o número de vítimas mexicanas era de nove mortos e quatro feridos, enquanto a guarnição texana havia perdido apenas um homem.

Reforços

Santa Anna postou uma empresa a leste do Alamo, na estrada para Gonzales. [55] [68] Almonte e 800 dragões estavam estacionados ao longo da estrada para Goliad. [69] Durante o cerco, essas cidades receberam vários mensageiros, despachados por Travis para implorar por reforços e suprimentos. [51] [70] A mais famosa de suas missivas, escrita em 24 de fevereiro, foi dirigida ao Povo do Texas e a Todos os Americanos no Mundo. Segundo a historiadora Mary Deborah Petite, a carta é "considerada por muitos como uma das obras-primas do patriotismo americano". [71] Cópias da carta foram distribuídas em todo o Texas, [72] e eventualmente reimpressas em todos os Estados Unidos e grande parte da Europa. [59] No final do primeiro dia do cerco, as tropas de Santa Anna foram reforçadas por 600 homens sob o comando do general Joaquin Ramirez y Sesma, elevando o exército mexicano para mais de 2.000 homens.

Conforme a notícia do cerco se espalhou por todo o Texas, reforços em potencial se reuniram em Gonzales. Eles esperavam encontrar-se com o coronel James Fannin, que deveria chegar de Goliad com sua guarnição. [73] Em 26 de fevereiro, após dias de indecisão, Fannin ordenou que 320 homens, quatro canhões e várias carroças de suprimentos marchassem em direção ao Álamo, a 90 milhas (140 km) de distância. Este grupo viajou menos de 1,0 milha (1,6 km) antes de voltar. [74] [75] Fannin culpou seus oficiais, os oficiais, pela retirada, e os homens alistados acusaram Fannin de abortar a missão. [76]

Os texanos reunidos em Gonzales não sabiam do retorno de Fannin a Goliad, e a maioria continuou a esperar. Impaciente com o atraso, em 27 de fevereiro Travis ordenou que Samuel G. Bastian fosse a Gonzales "para apressar os reforços". [77] De acordo com o historiador Thomas Ricks Lindley, Bastian encontrou a Gonzales Ranging Company liderada pelo tenente George C. Kimble e o mensageiro de Travis para Gonzales, Albert Martin, que estava cansado de esperar por Fannin. Uma patrulha mexicana atacou, expulsando quatro dos homens, incluindo Bastian. [Nota 10] [78] Na escuridão, os texanos atiraram nos 32 homens restantes, que eles presumiram serem soldados mexicanos. Um homem foi ferido e suas maldições inglesas convenceram os ocupantes a abrir os portões. [Nota 11] [79]

Em 3 de março, os texanos assistiram das paredes enquanto aproximadamente 1.000 mexicanos marcharam para Béxar. O exército mexicano comemorou ruidosamente ao longo da tarde, tanto em homenagem a seus reforços quanto às notícias de que as tropas comandadas pelo general José de Urrea haviam derrotado de forma sólida o coronel texano Frank W. Johnson na Batalha de San Patricio em 27 de fevereiro. [80] os texanos no Álamo acreditavam que Sesma havia liderado as forças mexicanas durante o cerco e erroneamente atribuíram a celebração à chegada de Santa Anna. Os reforços elevaram o número de soldados mexicanos em Béxar para quase 3.100. [81]

A chegada dos reforços mexicanos levou Travis a enviar três homens, incluindo Davy Crockett, para encontrar a força de Fannin, que ele ainda acreditava estar a caminho. [82] Os batedores descobriram um grande grupo de texanos acampados a 32 km do Álamo. [83] A pesquisa de Lindley indica que até 50 desses homens vieram de Goliad após a missão de resgate abortada de Fannin. Os outros haviam deixado Gonzales vários dias antes. [84] Pouco antes do amanhecer em 4 de março, parte da força texana rompeu as linhas mexicanas e entrou no Álamo. Soldados mexicanos conduziram um segundo grupo pela pradaria. [83] [Nota 12]

Preparativos para assalto

Em 4 de março, um dia após a chegada de seus reforços, Santa Anna propôs um ataque ao Álamo. Muitos de seus oficiais superiores recomendaram que esperassem por dois canhões de 12 libras que deveriam chegar em 7 de março. [85] Naquela noite, uma mulher local, provavelmente a prima de Bowie, Juana Navarro Alsbury, abordou Santa Anna para negociar uma rendição para os ocupantes do Alamo. [86] De acordo com muitos historiadores, esta visita provavelmente aumentou a impaciência de Santa Anna como o historiador Timothy Todish observou, "teria havido pouca glória em uma vitória sem derramamento de sangue". [87] Na manhã seguinte, Santa Anna anunciou a sua equipe que o ataque ocorreria na manhã de 6 de março. Santa Anna providenciou para que as tropas de Béxar fossem retiradas das linhas de frente para que não fossem forçadas a lutar contra suas próprias famílias . [87]

A lenda diz que em algum momento de 5 de março, Travis reuniu seus homens e explicou que um ataque era iminente e que eles estavam em grande desvantagem em número para o exército mexicano. Ele supostamente traçou uma linha no chão e pediu àqueles dispostos a morrer pela causa texana que cruzassem e ficassem ao lado dele apenas um homem (Moses Rose) teria recusado. [88] A maioria dos estudiosos desconsidera este conto, pois não há evidência de fonte primária para apoiá-lo (a história só apareceu décadas após a batalha em um relato de terceira mão). [89] Travis aparentemente fez, em algum ponto antes do ataque final, reunir os homens para uma conferência para informá-los da terrível situação e dar-lhes a chance de escapar ou ficar e morrer pela causa. Susannah Dickinson lembrou-se de Travis anunciando que qualquer homem que desejasse escapar deveria avisar e sair da hierarquia. [90]

O último texano verificado como tendo deixado o Álamo foi James Allen, um mensageiro que carregava mensagens pessoais de Travis e de vários outros homens em 5 de março. [91]

Luta exterior

Implantação inicial de tropas mexicanas [92] [93]
Comandante Tropas Equipamento
Cos 350 10 escadas
2 pés de cabra
2 eixos
Duque / Castrillón 400 10 escadas
Romero 400 6 escadas
Morales 125 2 escadas
Sesma 500 cavalaria
Santa anna 400 reservas

Às 22 horas em 5 de março, a artilharia mexicana cessou seu bombardeio. Como Santa Anna previra, os exaustos texanos logo caíram no primeiro sono ininterrupto que muitos deles tiveram desde o início do cerco. [94] Pouco depois da meia-noite, mais de 2.000 soldados mexicanos começaram a se preparar para o ataque final. [95] Menos de 1.800 foram divididos em quatro colunas, comandados por Cos, Coronel Francisco Duque, Coronel José María Romero e Coronel Juan Morales. [92] [93] Os veteranos foram posicionados do lado de fora das colunas para controlar melhor os novos recrutas e conscritos no meio. [96] Como precaução, 500 cavaleiros mexicanos foram posicionados ao redor do Álamo para evitar a fuga de soldados texanos ou mexicanos. Santa Anna permaneceu no acampamento com as 400 reservas. [93] [97] Apesar do frio intenso, os soldados receberam ordens de não usar sobretudos que pudessem impedir seus movimentos. [93] Nuvens ocultaram a lua e, portanto, os movimentos dos soldados. [98]

Às 5h30, as tropas avançaram silenciosamente. Cos e seus homens se aproximaram do canto noroeste do Álamo, [96] enquanto Duque liderou seus homens do noroeste em direção a uma brecha reparada na parede norte do Álamo. [99] A coluna comandada por Romero marchou em direção à parede leste, e a coluna de Morales apontou para o parapeito baixo da capela. [99]

Os três sentinelas texanos estacionados fora das muralhas foram mortos durante o sono, [100] [101] permitindo que os soldados mexicanos se aproximassem sem serem detectados dentro do alcance dos mosquetes das muralhas. [100] Neste ponto, o silêncio foi quebrado por gritos de "¡Viva Santa Anna!" e música dos corneteiros. [95] O barulho acordou os texanos. [101] A maioria dos não combatentes se reuniram na sacristia da igreja por segurança. [102] Travis correu para o seu posto gritando: "Vamos, rapazes, os mexicanos estão sobre nós e vamos dar-lhes o diabo!" [100] e, ao passar por um grupo de Tejanos, "¡No rendirse, muchachos!" ("Não se rendam, meninos"). [94]

Nos momentos iniciais do ataque, as tropas mexicanas estavam em desvantagem. A formação da coluna permitia que apenas as primeiras filas de soldados atirassem com segurança. [103] Sem saber dos perigos, os recrutas inexperientes nas fileiras "dispararam cegamente suas armas", ferindo ou matando as tropas à sua frente. [104] A forte concentração de tropas também ofereceu um excelente alvo para a artilharia texana. [103] Sem o tiro do canister, os texanos encheram seus canhões com qualquer metal que puderam encontrar, incluindo dobradiças de portas, pregos e ferraduras picadas, essencialmente transformando o canhão em espingardas gigantes. [100] De acordo com o diário de José Enrique de la Peña, "uma única salva de canhão matou metade da companhia dos caçadores de Toluca". [105] Duque caiu de seu cavalo após sofrer um ferimento na coxa e quase foi pisoteado por seus próprios homens. O general Manuel Castrillón rapidamente assumiu o comando da coluna de Duque. [23]

Embora alguns na frente das fileiras mexicanas vacilassem, os soldados na retaguarda os empurraram. [103] Enquanto as tropas se aglomeravam contra as paredes, os texanos foram forçados a se inclinar sobre as paredes para atirar, deixando-os expostos ao fogo mexicano. Travis se tornou um dos primeiros ocupantes a morrer, baleado enquanto disparava sua espingarda contra os soldados abaixo dele, embora uma fonte diga que ele desembainhou a espada e esfaqueou um oficial mexicano que havia atacado a parede antes de sucumbir aos ferimentos. [103] Poucas escadas mexicanas alcançaram as paredes. [106] Os poucos soldados que conseguiram subir as escadas foram mortos ou espancados rapidamente. Conforme os texanos descarregavam seus rifles carregados anteriormente, eles achavam cada vez mais difícil recarregar enquanto tentavam evitar que os soldados mexicanos escalassem as paredes. [23]

Os soldados mexicanos se retiraram e se reagruparam, mas seu segundo ataque foi repelido. Quinze minutos de batalha, eles atacaram pela terceira vez. [23] [103] Durante o terceiro ataque, a coluna de Romero, visando a parede leste, foi exposta a tiros de canhão e deslocada para o norte, misturando-se com a segunda coluna. [23] A coluna de Cos, sob fogo dos texanos na parede oeste, também desviou para o norte. [107] Quando Santa Anna viu que o grosso de seu exército estava concentrado contra a parede norte, ele temeu uma derrota "em pânico", ele enviou as reservas para a mesma área. [108] Os soldados mexicanos mais próximos da parede norte perceberam que a parede improvisada continha muitas fendas e apoios para os pés. Um dos primeiros a escalar a parede de 12 pés (3,7 m) foi o general Juan Amador em seu desafio, seus homens começaram a escalar a parede. Amador abriu o postern na parede norte, permitindo que soldados mexicanos entrassem no complexo. [106] Outros escalaram as portas de armas na parede oeste, que tinha poucos ocupantes. [109] Enquanto os ocupantes texanos abandonaram a parede norte e a extremidade norte da parede oeste, [106] [109] os artilheiros texanos na extremidade sul da missão viraram seus canhões para o norte e dispararam contra os soldados mexicanos que avançavam. Isso deixou a extremidade sul da missão desprotegida em poucos minutos. Os soldados mexicanos escalaram as paredes e mataram os artilheiros, ganhando o controle do canhão de 18 libras do Álamo. [98] A essa altura, os homens de Romero haviam tomado a parede leste do complexo e estavam entrando pelo curral. [109]

Luta interior

As últimas palavras do defensor texano Almaron Dickinson para sua esposa Susanna enquanto se preparava para defender a capela. [107]

Conforme planejado anteriormente, a maioria dos texanos voltou para o quartel e a capela. Buracos foram escavados nas paredes para permitir que os texanos atirassem. [107] Incapaz de alcançar o quartel, os texanos estacionados ao longo da parede oeste seguiram para o oeste em direção ao rio San Antonio. Quando a cavalaria atacou, os texanos se protegeram e começaram a atirar de uma vala. Sesma foi forçado a enviar reforços e os texanos foram eventualmente mortos. Sesma relatou que esse conflito envolveu 50 texanos, mas Edmondson acredita que esse número foi inflado. [110]

Os ocupantes do curral recuaram para o curral dos cavalos. Depois de descarregar suas armas, o pequeno bando de texanos escalou o muro baixo, circulou atrás da igreja e correu a pé para a pradaria leste, que parecia vazia. [107] [109] [111] Enquanto a cavalaria mexicana avançava sobre o grupo, Almaron Dickinson e sua tripulação de artilharia viraram um canhão e dispararam contra a cavalaria, provavelmente causando baixas. No entanto, todos os fugitivos texanos foram mortos. [111]

O último grupo texano a permanecer ao ar livre foi Crockett e seus homens, defendendo o muro baixo em frente à igreja. Incapazes de recarregar, eles usaram seus rifles como porretes e lutaram com facas. Depois de uma saraivada de fogo e uma onda de baionetas mexicanas, os poucos texanos restantes neste grupo voltaram para a igreja. [110] O exército mexicano agora controlava todas as paredes externas e o interior do complexo de Álamo, exceto a igreja e as salas ao longo das paredes leste e oeste. [112] Soldados mexicanos voltaram sua atenção para uma bandeira texana tremulando no telhado de um edifício. Quatro mexicanos foram mortos antes que a bandeira do México fosse hasteada naquele local. [Nota 13] [113]

Durante a hora seguinte, o exército mexicano trabalhou para assegurar o controle total do Álamo. [114] Muitos dos ocupantes restantes foram acomodados nas salas dos quartéis fortificados. [115] Na confusão, os texanos se esqueceram de cravar seus canhões antes de recuar. Soldados mexicanos viraram o canhão na direção do quartel. [106] À medida que cada porta era arrancada, os soldados mexicanos disparavam uma saraivada de mosquetes na sala escura, em seguida, atacavam para o combate corpo a corpo. [115]

Muito doente para participar da batalha, Bowie provavelmente morreu na cama. Testemunhas oculares da batalha deram relatos conflitantes de sua morte. Algumas testemunhas afirmaram que viram vários soldados mexicanos entrarem no quarto de Bowie, aplicá-lo com uma baioneta e carregá-lo vivo para fora do quarto. [116] Outros afirmaram que Bowie atirou em si mesmo ou foi morto por soldados quando estava fraco demais para levantar a cabeça. [117] De acordo com o historiador Wallace Chariton, a versão "mais popular e provavelmente a mais precisa" [118] é que Bowie morreu em sua cama, "com as costas apoiadas na parede e usando suas pistolas e sua famosa faca." [117]

Os últimos texanos a morrer foram os 11 homens que comandavam os dois canhões de 12 libras na capela. [113] [119] Um tiro do canhão de 18 libras destruiu as barricadas na frente da igreja, e soldados mexicanos entraram no prédio depois de disparar uma saraivada inicial de mosquete. A tripulação de Dickinson disparou seu canhão da abside contra os soldados mexicanos na porta. Sem tempo para recarregar, os texanos, incluindo Dickinson, Gregorio Esparza e James Bonham, pegaram rifles e atiraram antes de serem mortos a baionetas. [120] O texano Robert Evans, o mestre da artilharia, foi encarregado de evitar que a pólvora caísse nas mãos dos mexicanos. Ferido, ele rastejou em direção ao paiol, mas foi morto por uma bala de mosquete com sua tocha a apenas alguns centímetros da pólvora. [120] Se ele tivesse conseguido, a explosão teria destruído a igreja e matado as mulheres e crianças escondidas na sacristia. [121]

Quando os soldados se aproximaram da sacristia, um dos filhos do ocupante Anthony Wolf se levantou para puxar um cobertor sobre seus ombros. [120] No escuro, soldados mexicanos o confundiram com um adulto e o mataram. [Nota 14] [122] Possivelmente o último texano a morrer em batalha foi Jacob Walker, [123] que tentou se esconder atrás de Susannah Dickinson e foi golpeado com uma baioneta na frente das mulheres. [124] Outro texano, Brigido Guerrero, também buscou refúgio na sacristia. [120] Guerrero, que desertou do exército mexicano em dezembro de 1835, foi poupado depois de convencer os soldados de que era um prisioneiro texano. [122] [125]

Às 6h30, a batalha pelo Álamo havia acabado. [124] Soldados mexicanos inspecionaram cada cadáver, aplicando baionetas em qualquer corpo que se movesse. [122] Mesmo com todos os texanos mortos, os soldados mexicanos continuaram a atirar, alguns matando uns aos outros na confusão. Os generais mexicanos foram incapazes de deter a sede de sangue e apelaram a Santa Anna por ajuda. Embora o general tenha se mostrado, a violência continuou e os corneteiros finalmente receberam ordem de bater em retirada. Por 15 minutos depois disso, os soldados continuaram a atirar nos cadáveres. [126]

Vítimas

De acordo com muitos relatos da batalha, entre cinco e sete texanos se renderam. [Nota 15] [127] [128] Indignado porque suas ordens foram ignoradas, Santa Anna exigiu a execução imediata dos sobreviventes. [129] Semanas após a batalha, circularam histórias de que Crockett estava entre os que se renderam. [128] Ben, um ex-escravo americano que cozinhava para um dos oficiais de Santa Anna, afirmou que o corpo de Crockett foi encontrado cercado por "nada menos que dezesseis cadáveres mexicanos". [130] Os historiadores discordam sobre qual versão da morte de Crockett é precisa. [Nota 16] [131]

Segundo consta, Santa Anna disse ao capitão Fernando Urizza que a batalha "não passou de um pequeno acontecimento". [132] Outro oficial comentou então que "com outra vitória como esta, iremos para o diabo". [Nota 17] [2] Em seu relatório inicial, Santa Anna afirmou que 600 texanos foram mortos, com apenas 70 soldados mexicanos mortos e 300 feridos. [133] Seu secretário, Ramón Martínez Caro, posteriormente repudiou o relatório. [134] Outras estimativas do número de soldados mexicanos mortos variou de 60 a 200, com um adicional de 250 a 300 feridos. [2] Most Alamo historians place the number of Mexican casualties at 400–600. [2] [3] [4] This would represent about one-third of the Mexican soldiers involved in the final assault, which Todish remarks is "a tremendous casualty rate by any standards". [2] Most eyewitnesses counted between 182 and 257 Texians killed. [135] Some historians believe that at least one Texian, Henry Warnell, successfully escaped from the battle. Warnell died several months later of wounds incurred either during the final battle or during his escape as a courier. [136] [137]

Mexican soldiers were buried in the local cemetery, Campo Santo. [Note 18] [133] Shortly after the battle, Colonel José Juan Sanchez Navarro proposed that a monument should be erected to the fallen Mexican soldiers. Cos rejected the idea. [138]

The Texian bodies were stacked and burned. [Note 19] [133] The only exception was the body of Gregorio Esparza. His brother Francisco, an officer in Santa Anna's army, received permission to give Gregorio a proper burial. [133] The ashes were left where they fell until February 1837, when Juan Seguín returned to Béxar to examine the remains. A simple coffin inscribed with the names Travis, Crockett, and Bowie was filled with ashes from the funeral pyres. [139] According to a March 28, 1837, article in the Telegraph and Texas Register, [140] Seguín buried the coffin under a peach tree grove. The spot was not marked and cannot now be identified. [141] Seguín later claimed that he had placed the coffin in front of the altar at the San Fernando Cathedral. In July 1936 a coffin was discovered buried in that location, but according to historian Wallace Chariton, it is unlikely to actually contain the remains of the Alamo defenders. Fragments of uniforms were found in the coffin and the Texian soldiers who fought at the Alamo were known not to wear uniforms. [140]

Texian survivors

In an attempt to convince other slaves in Texas to support the Mexican government over the Texian rebellion, Santa Anna spared Travis' slave, Joe. [142] The day after the battle, he interviewed each noncombatant individually. Impressed with Susanna Dickinson, Santa Anna offered to adopt her infant daughter Angelina and have the child educated in Mexico City. Dickinson refused the offer, which was not extended to Juana Navarro Alsbury although her son was of similar age. [2] Each woman was given a blanket and two silver pesos. [143] Alsbury and the other Tejano women were allowed to return to their homes in Béxar Dickinson, her daughter and Joe were sent to Gonzales, escorted by Ben. They were encouraged to relate the events of the battle, and to inform the remainder of the Texian forces that Santa Anna's army was unbeatable. [2]

Impact on revolution

During the siege, newly elected delegates from across Texas met at the Convention of 1836. On March 2, the delegates declared independence, forming the Republic of Texas. Four days later, the delegates at the convention received a dispatch Travis had written March 3 warning of his dire situation. Unaware that the Alamo had fallen, Robert Potter called for the convention to adjourn and march immediately to relieve the Alamo. Sam Houston convinced the delegates to remain in Washington-on-the-Brazos to develop a constitution. After being appointed sole commander of all Texian troops, Houston journeyed to Gonzales to take command of the 400 volunteers who were still waiting for Fannin to lead them to the Alamo. [144]

Within hours of Houston's arrival on March 11, Andres Barcenas and Anselmo Bergaras arrived with news that the Alamo had fallen and all Texians were slain. [145] Hoping to halt a panic, Houston arrested the men as enemy spies. They were released hours later when Susannah Dickinson and Joe reached Gonzales and confirmed the report. [146] Realizing that the Mexican army would soon advance towards the Texian settlements, Houston advised all civilians in the area to evacuate and ordered his new army to retreat. [147] This sparked a mass exodus, known as the Runaway Scrape, and most Texians, including members of the new government, fled east. [148]

Despite their losses at the Alamo, the Mexican army in Texas still outnumbered the Texian army by almost six to one. [149] Santa Anna assumed that knowledge of the disparity in troop numbers and the fate of the Texian soldiers at the Alamo would quell the resistance, [150] and that Texian soldiers would quickly leave the territory. [151] News of the Alamo's fall had the opposite effect, and men flocked to join Houston's army. [150] The New York Post editorialized that "had [Santa Anna] treated the vanquished with moderation and generosity, it would have been difficult if not impossible to awaken that general sympathy for the people of Texas which now impels so many adventurous and ardent spirits to throng to the aid of their brethren". [152]

On the afternoon of April 21 the Texian army attacked Santa Anna's camp near Lynchburg Ferry. The Mexican army was taken by surprise, and the Battle of San Jacinto was essentially over after 18 minutes. During the fighting, many of the Texian soldiers repeatedly cried "Remember the Alamo!" as they slaughtered fleeing Mexican troops. [153] Santa Anna was captured the following day, and reportedly told Houston: "That man may consider himself born to no common destiny who has conquered the Napoleon of the West. And now it remains for him to be generous to the vanquished." Houston replied, "You should have remembered that at the Alamo". Santa Anna's life was spared, and he was forced to order his troops out of Texas, ending Mexican control of the province and bestowing some legitimacy on the new republic. [154]

Following the battle, Santa Anna was alternately viewed as a national hero or a pariah. Mexican perceptions of the battle often mirrored the prevailing viewpoint. [155] Santa Anna had been disgraced following his capture at the Battle of San Jacinto, and many Mexican accounts of the battle were written by men who had been, or had become, his outspoken critics. Petite and many other historians believe that some of the stories, such as the execution of Crockett, may have been invented to further discredit Santa Anna. [131] In Mexican history, the Texas campaign, including the Battle of the Alamo, was soon overshadowed by the Mexican–American War of 1846–48. [155]

In San Antonio de Béxar, the largely Tejano population viewed the Alamo complex as more than just a battle site it represented decades of assistance—as a mission, a hospital, or a military post. [156] As the English-speaking population increased, the complex became best known for the battle. Focus has centered primarily on the Texian occupiers, with little emphasis given to the role of the Tejano soldiers who served in the Texian army or the actions of the Mexican army. [157] In the early 20th century the Texas Legislature purchased the property and appointed the Daughters of the Republic of Texas as permanent caretakers [158] of what is now an official state shrine. [159] In front of the church, in the center of Alamo Plaza, stands a cenotaph, designed by Pompeo Coppini, which commemorates the Texians and Tejanos who died during the battle. [160] According to Bill Groneman's Battlefields of Texas, the Alamo has become "the most popular tourist site in Texas". [159]

The first English-language histories of the battle were written and published by Texas Ranger and amateur historian John Henry Brown. [161] The next major treatment of the battle was Reuben Potter's A Queda do Álamo, publicado em The Magazine of American History in 1878. Potter based his work on interviews with many of the Mexican survivors of the battle. [161] [162] The first full-length, non-fiction book covering the battle, John Myers Myers' The Alamo, was published in 1948. [163] In the decades since, the battle has featured prominently in many non-fiction works.

According to Todish et al., "there can be little doubt that most Americans have probably formed many of their opinions on what occurred at the Alamo not from books, but from the various movies made about the battle." [164] The first film version of the battle appeared in 1911, when Gaston Méliès directed The Immortal Alamo. [5] The battle became more widely known after it was featured in the 1950s Disney miniseries Davy Crockett, which was largely based on myth. [5] Within several years, John Wayne directed and starred in one of the best-known, but questionably accurate, film versions, 1960's The Alamo. [165] [Note 20] Another film also called The Alamo was released in 2004. CNN described it as possibly "the most character-driven of all the movies made on the subject". It is also considered more faithful to the actual events than other movies. [166]

Several songwriters have been inspired by the Battle of the Alamo. Tennessee Ernie Ford's "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" spent 16 weeks on the country music charts, peaking at No. 4 in 1955. [167] Marty Robbins recorded a version of the song "The Ballad of the Alamo" in 1960 which spent 13 weeks on the pop charts, peaking at No. 34. [168] Jane Bowers' song "Remember the Alamo" has been recorded by artists including Johnny Cash [169] and Donovan. [170] British hard rock band Babe Ruth's 1972 song The Mexican pictures the conflict through the eyes of a Mexican soldier. Singer-songwriter Phil Collins collected hundreds of items related to the battle, narrated a light and sound show about the Alamo, and has spoken at related events. [171] In 2014 Collins donated his entire collection to the Alamo via the State of Texas. [172] [173]

The battle also featured in episode 13 of The Time Tunnel, "The Alamo", first aired in 1966, and episode 5 of season one of the TV series Timeless, aired 2016.


The V Weapons

The V weapons – the V1 and V2 – were used towards the end of World War Two with such an effect that the attacks on London became known as the second Blitz. The success of D-Day had speeded up the production of the V weapons and the first V1 was launched on June 13th, just one week after the Allied landings at Normandy.

A V1 at the Imperial War Museum, London

The V weapons were built at Pennemunde, a remote island off the Baltic. Here, the Nazis had assembled a group of scientists and a workforce who worked under the greatest of secrecy. In 1943, the Polish underground movement had sent back information about the base and the RAF had aerial photographs of the site. In August 1943, a heavy bombing raid by the RAF caused serious damage to Pennemunde and pushed development back some months but the project was not halted altogether.

The V1 and V2 were to be weapons of revenge – the Vergeltungswaffens. These were the fabled secret weapons that Hitler boasted about the weapons that would win the war for Nazi Germany.

A damaged V1 found by the Allies

By February 1944, 96 launch sites had been built for the V1. The R.A.F and the U.S.A.F. destroyed 73 but the remaining 23 were to cause many problems for Southern England.

The V1 carried one ton of high explosives and travelled at a maximum of 400 mph. It had a maximum flying distance of 200 miles but the weather could decrease this. A pre-set magnetic compass and gyroscopic auto-pilot determined and maintained its course. A small propeller at the front of the weapon registered the distance covered. At a pre-set distance, the guidance system cut the power to the engine and the V1 went into a steep dive.

Between 8,000 and 9,000 V1’s were launched against Southern England, primarily London. After the initial shock of the first ones, their impact was limited as V1’s could be shot out of the sky by anti-aircraft fire as these guns could lock onto the trajectory of the incoming V1. The Royal Observer Corps gave an early warning of incoming V1’s. Fighter planes were also used to tip over the ‘wings’ of the V1 so that it continued to fly but off course. Over 50% of the V1’s fired at Britain were destroyed before they crashed to the ground and exploded.

Far more dangerous was the world’s first rocket – the V2. This was developed by Wernher von Braun and his team at Peneemunde. This rocket carried one ton of high explosive but travelled at such a speed that it could not be seen. Its terminal speed was 2,386 mph.

Whereas the V1 was a visible weapon, the V2 was invisible. These weapons spread considerable fear in London. In response to them the government used its intelligence units to convince the Nazis that the government had moved its base from central London to the Dulwich area of London. This worked and the V2’s were targeted towards Dulwich. About 1000 V2’s were fired at Britain before their launch sites were overrun by the advancing Allies. In total they killed or wounded about 115,000 people.

It is difficult to assess the true military value of the V weapons. Their psychological impact was probably greater than the actual damage they did. With the V2’s no one knew in London whether they would be the next victim. But they were not used against the advancing Allied armies or against the Russians. Antwerp, a vital port for the Allies, was devastated by attacks from V weapons but, in general, they were used on civilian targets only.

Albert Speer in his book “Inside the Third Reich” claims that the V weapons (especially the V2) could have been working many months before June 1944 if the men at Peneemunde had been given more support from Berlin. Speer cited Goering as the man who had little faith in the project. Their impact, if used from an earlier date, might have been greater.


Britain's defesa

The crew of a 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun keep watch for flying bombs, June 1944. Defensive measures against the V1 included massed batteries of anti-aircraft guns along the North Downs and the coast of south-east England, and the use of fast RAF fighter aircraft to shoot or 'tip' down the incoming flying bombs before they reached their targets. Anti-aircraft guns were responsible for the shooting down over 1,800 V1s. Similar numbers were downed by fighter aircraft and 200 were destroyed by barrage balloons.


The V1

The V1 was one of Hitler’s secret weapons that he had told his generals that Nazi Germany possessed which would turn the way World War Two was going in 1944. The V1 was first launched against Britain in June 1944, just one week after D-Day. The V1 is difficult to classify as a weapon as it was not a true rocket in that it did not leave the atmosphere, but it was also clearly not a plane. Perhaps it could best be described as a winged but pilot-less fuel propelled flying bomb.

The V1 was so-called because Hitler saw it as a reprisal weapon – a Vergeltungswaffen. Intelligence had already concluded that the Germans had developed something radical as early as late 1943 when spy reports and reconnaissance photos showed the existence of launch ramps that were clearly directed at London. Winston Churchill was sent the following memo regarding the issue:

“The Chief-of-Staff feel that you should be made aware of reports of German experiments with long-range rockets. The fact that five reports have been received since the end of 1942 indicates a foundation of fact even if details are inaccurate…no time should be lost in establishing the facts and in devising counter-measures….suggest you should appoint one man..…Mr. Duncan Sandys to direct investigations. It is not considered desirable to inform the public at this stage, when the evidence is so intangible.” General Ismay.

Churchill took on board the memo and appointed Sandys to lead investigations. Sandys soon provided Churchill with reports that Germany had been carrying experiments with heavy rockets, jet-propelled planes and airborne rocket torpedoes at Peenemünde on the German Baltic coast. More establishments had been identified in northern France. In June 1943, Sandys informed Churchill that intelligence was finding out more about large rockets that flying bombs. He advised Churchill to order Bomber Command to attack the base at Peenemünde as soon as possible. Such was the fear at government level regarding these findings, that the Home Office once again went through the motions of organising the evacuation of children and pregnant women. More Morrison shelters, last seen in the Blitz, were also moved to London.

Information about Hitler’s secret weapons came from a number of sources. An eagle-eyed WAAF Flight -Officer, Constance Babington-Smith, spotted on a reconnaissance photo a tiny aircraft on a ramp and a set of rails at Peenemünde. It seemed to be pointlessly aimed out to sea. In France an agent called Michel Hollard investigated a large concrete construction being built by the Germans near Rouen. He actually got a job there himself and saw a ramp being built that was in the general direction of London. Hollard cycled around other parts of northern France and found similar structures being built. He even got plans for one of the sites at Bois Carré.

On August 17th 1943, Bomber Command launched a raid on Peenemünde which destroyed many of the assembly shops and laboratories there and killed a number of high ranking scientists – including Chamier-Glisezenski, the chief scientist. Nearly 600 bombers took part in this raid – with 41 shot down. Ironically, the success of the raid forced the Germans to move their work to the Harz Mountains where work was carried on inside the mountain itself which made an attack by bombers impossible. Test flights took place in Poland.

At the end of December 1943, Air Marshall Bottomley, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, reported that 69 ‘ski’ ramps had been identified in northern Europe. Those in the Pays-de-Calais and Somme-Seine were targeted at London while those in the Cherbourg area were seemingly targeted at Bristol.

Between January 1944 and June 12th 1944, over 2000 tons of bombs had been dropped on the identified sites – either by high flying bombers or by modified Spitfires and Hurricanes carrying 500lb bombs. In fact, these raids proved of little value as the Germans were quick to rebuild the sites but also to carefully camouflage them. Any damage done was quickly repaired.

The Germans created a special unit to handle the flying bombs – the 155th Flakregiment commanded by Colonel Wachtel. The V1 – officially for the Germans the FZG-76 – was also known as the ‘doodle bug’, ‘buzz-bomb’ and ‘cherry stone’. It was 25 feet long and had a wing span of 16 feet. Loaded with fuel, it weighed 2 tons and it had a warhead of 2,000 lbs of explosives. The most common way of launching the V1 was by ramp. It could also be launched by a modified Heinkel III. Originally, the V1 had a maximum range of 150 miles but this was improved to 250 miles to allow for it to be launched from Holland. About 10,500 were launched at Britain from June 1944 on, 8,800 by ramp and the rest by plane. The first one was first on June 13th 1944.

At about 04.15 on the morning of June 13th, a member of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) in Kent saw what he described as a bright yellow glow in the dark, coming from the engine at the back of the V1. The ROC had already been told to look out for such things and the ROC lookout immediately informed his superiors with the code-word “diver”. The engine of this V1 cut out over Kent and it fell 20 miles to the east of the Tower of London on the village of Swanscombe. Very shortly, others fell on Cuckfield, West Sussex, Bethnal Green, London and Sevenoaks in Kent. The only deaths were six people killed in Bethnal Green. On June 13th, ten V1’s were fired at London but only four got through. Four crashed on take-off (confirming what Wachtel had feared, that they were not fully ready for use) and two crashed into the English Channel. If all of the sites in northern France had been fully operational, then nearly 300 V1’s may well have fallen on south-east England. Wachtel was given strict instructions by his commanding officer, Lieutenant-General Erich Heinemann, to get all the sites working as soon as was possible.

Though the V1’s had no impact on the success or otherwise of D-Day, they did present a serious threat to London and south-east England. The defence of London rested with fighter planes, anti-aircraft fire around the coast and the use of barrage balloons. Any destruction or interception of the V1’s had to be done outside of London as any that were destroyed over London itself, may well have exploded on contact with the ground – thus doing what the V1 was intended to do regardless.

One major success that the British had was finding out the height at which the V1 flew – between 2000 and 3000 feet. The top speed of the V1 was also worked out – between 340 mph to 400 mph when it approached its target. The man put in charge of defending London – Air Marshall Roderic Hill – had a number of fighter planes at his disposal which were faster than the V1’s and could fly above the weapon before descending to attack it. The Spitfire XIV, the Mustang III, the Tempest V and the Mosquito could all do this – but they had a relatively small amount of time to do their work in.

On June 15th, 244 V1’s were launched from 55 sites. 73 hit Greater London and 71 hit areas outside of London. 100 V1’s failed to get across the Channel. It was the start of a major offensive. On June 17th, Hitler flew to northern France to congratulate Wachtel and he ordered that all the ‘cherry stones’ (Hitler’s nickname for the V1) should be targeted at London and nowhere else. On June 18th, one V1 hit the Guard’s Chapel at Wellington barracks and killed 121 people and wounded 68 others. London was about to experience another terror. By the end of June 18th, 500 V1’s had been fired in total.

Churchill asked Eisenhower to do what he could to attack the V1 bases in northern France as part of the Allied advance across the region after D-Day. 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron attacked sites with ‘tallboy’ bombs (12,000 lbs bombs) but by June 29th, 2,000 V1’s had been launched at London.

In London, a decision was taken about the city’s defence. Anti-aircraft guns were moved to the coast. Here they would have an unrestricted field of fire. Radar experts also believed that their equipment would work better nearer the sea away from buildings. Nearly 800 anti-aircraft guns were moved to the coast and 1,000 barrage balloons were erected. Fighter pilots also learned new tricks to destroy V1’s such as flying alongside the weapon and tipping over one of its wings, thus knocking it off course. Pilots also flew in front of a V1 so that it flew in the fighter plane’s slipstream. This was enough to unbalance the V1 so that it flew off course.

However, many V1’s got through. By July 5th, 2,500 people had been killed and even the Air Ministry in the Strand had been hit with 198 people being killed in that attack. By July 19th, 1,600 guns were in place around the coast. Hundreds more barrage balloons had been put up but many V1’s still got through – though more and more were being destroyed before they reached London. However, it did seem that the tide had turned in favour of the defenders of London.

But London was to face an even more terrifying weapon – one that could not be seen or defended against – the V2.


Olga of Kiev: One saint you do not want to mess with

Olga of Kiev was one of the most vicious and vengeful rulers in the history of the Kievan Rus’ – the principality that would eventually give birth to modern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, stretching at its height from the Baltic Sea in the North to the Black Sea in the South.

Born sometime around 903 CE in Pskov, Russia, history gives Olga scarcely a glance for much of her life – including her marriage to Igor, Prince of Kiev and the birth of her son.

With her husband’s death though, Olga becomes more than a wife and mother, and without sacrificing either of those duties, takes centre stage.

Olga of Kiev, born circa 903 and died 963 CE.

Like all rising empires, Kievan Rus’ had grown at the expense of its neighbours and one tribe had grown wary of their smothering embrace.

The relationship between the Drevlians and Kievan Rus’ was complex – they had joined the Rus’ in military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire and paid tribute to Igor’s predecessors, but stopped in 912 when the previous prince died and instead paid this glorified protection money to a local warlord.

Igor’s attempted to restore his privileges in 945 with a trip to their capital of Iskorosten (now Korosten in Northern Ukraine). This visit – as if the previous 33 years simply hadn’t happened! – was a slap in the face and the Drevlians fought back, seizing the prince and murdering him in a gristly display.

Igor of Kiev collects his tribute from the Drevlians

“They had bent down two birch trees to the prince’s feet and tied them to his legs,” wrote Byzantine chronicler Leo the Deacon, “then they let the trees straighten again, thus tearing the prince’s body apart.”

With their son, the three-year old Svyatoslav, too young to take the throne of Kiev, Olga stepped up to rule as regent in his stead.

The Drevians would soon know her well, but for now they thought they were dealing with just another demure noblewoman who could be easily cowed and arrange to marry her to their own Prince Mal. Not only would they be free from paying tribute to the Kievan Rus’ – they would regra the Kievan Rus’.

Olga views her late husband’s body

The Drevians sent 20 of their best men to try and persuade Olga to marry the living symbol of her husband’s murder. Telling them to wait in their boat, she had a ditch dug and next morning had had the emissaries buried alive.

Rather than just leave it at this, a pretty definitive refusal if ever there was one, she sent word back to Prince Mal that should would accept his proposal, but only if the Drevians sent a part of their great and good to accompany her back to their territory, after all it was important that the proud Keivan Rus’ see just how important this matchmaking was.

Her would-be suitor obliged, sending a party of their chieftains to collect her. Extending a suitably grand welcome, she invited the visitors to wash up in her bath house and then locking the doors, burned the entire company alive.

Olga burns the Drevian nobles alive in her bath house

Amazingly this wasn’t the end of the matter.

With the whole of the Drevian ruling class cruelly exterminated, Olga hatched a plan to do away with the rest of them all together and announcing that she would be soon arriving at the Drevian capital of Iskorosten and asked for them to arrange a funeral feast where they could mourn over her husband’s death in that the very city.

Despite the not having heard from either of the missions they’d dispatched to Olga’s court, the Drevians set about preparing the feast and after drinking themselves insensible on mead, Olga’s soldiers put 5,000 of them to the sword.

Even this orgy of bloodletting wasn’t enough to satiate her need for vengeance and Olga gathered an army to wipe out her foes for good. The surviving Drevians begged for mercy and offered to pay in honey and furs to escape her anger.

She seemed to soften, although at this point you’d think they’d know better…

“Give me three pigeons,” she said, according to the Primary Chronicle, “and three sparrows from each house. I do not desire to impose a heavy tribute, like my husband, but I require only this small gift from you, for you are impoverished by the siege.”

o Crônica records in great detail the feat of precision-guided pyromania that followed:

“Now Olga gave to each soldier in her army a pigeon or a sparrow, and ordered them to attach by thread to each pigeon and sparrow a piece of sulfur bound with small pieces of cloth. When night fell, Olga bade her soldiers release the pigeons and the sparrows. So the birds flew to their nests, the pigeons to the cotes, and the sparrows under the eaves. The dove-cotes, the coops, the porches, and the haymows were set on fire.

“There was not a house that was not consumed, and it was impossible to extinguish the flames, because all the houses caught on fire at once. The people fled from the city, and Olga ordered her soldiers to catch them. Thus she took the city and burned it, and captured the elders of the city. Some of the other captives she killed, while some she gave to others as slaves to her followers. The remnant she left to pay tribute.”

Olga burns the Drevian capital

The Drevians paid after all, in lives and homes, as well as in tribute to Keivan Rus’.

By why, despite this horrific carnage, is Olga of Kiev still venerated as a saint over a thousand years after her death (in 963 CE, in case you wondered)?

She was the first ruler of the Kievan Rus’ to adopt Christianity and Olga’s efforts to covert the rest of her people (although not her son, who remained a pagan) earned her the title Isapóstolos: “Equal to the Apostles.”

“She shone like the moon by night,” frothed the Primary Chronicle, “and she was radiant among the infidels like a pearl in the mire, since the people were soiled, and not yet purified of their sin by holy baptism.”

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7. He was tolerant of different religions.

Unlike many empire builders, Genghis Khan embraced the diversity of his newly conquered territories. He passed laws declaring religious freedom for all and even granted tax exemptions to places of worship. This tolerance had a political side—the Khan knew that happy subjects were less likely to rebel𠅋ut the Mongols also had an exceptionally liberal attitude towards religion. While Genghis and many others subscribed to a shamanistic belief system that revered the spirits of the sky, winds and mountains, the Steppe peoples were a diverse bunch that included Nestorian Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and other animistic traditions. The Great Khan also had a personal interest in spirituality. He was known to pray in his tent for multiple days before important campaigns, and he often met with different religious leaders to discuss the details of their faiths. In his old age, he even summoned the Taoist leader Qiu Chuji to his camp, and the pair supposedly had long conversations on immortality and philosophy.


Shakespeare’s Tragedies

In Shakespeare's tragedies, the main protagonist has a flaw that leads to his (and/or her) downfall. There are both internal and external struggles and often a bit of the supernatural thrown in for good measure (and tension). Often there are passages or characters that have the job of lightening the mood (comic relief), but the overall tone of the piece is quite serious. The 10 Shakespeare plays generally classified as tragedy are as follows:

  1. Antônio e Cleópatra
  2. Coriolanus
  3. Júlio César
  4. Rei Lear
  5. Otelo
  6. Timon of Athens
  7. Titus Andronicus

History of Revenge V - History

The V3 was the natural development from the V1 and V2 weapons that had terrorised London in 1944 – a weapon for revenge (‘Vergeltungswaffen’). The V3 was never fired at London though it was used in a very minor way in the Battle of the Bulge.

On July 6th, 1944, nineteen RAF Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron (the ‘Dambusters’ Squadron) carpet-bombed a hillside on the French northern coastline between Calais and Boulogne. To all intents their target appeared to be a railway tunnel. In fact, inside the hill itself was an emplacement that would have fired the V3 if the chance had been there for it to do so – part of the firing mechanism is in the photo above.#

However, the Lancasters attacked the hill with 35 tons of high explosive bombs. Their target were the concrete and steel-lined covers of the massive gun barrels that were meant to attack London with the intention of reducing the inner city to rubble. The V3 was not a rocket like to V2 nor a pilot-less plane like the V1. It was a dart-shaped shell nine feet long and the 416 feet gun barrels targeted by the Lancasters were, on paper, capable of firing 600 of these shells every hour. However, one of the ‘Tallboy’ bombs (12,000 lbs of explosives) developed by Dr Barnes Wallis penetrated one of the five gun barrel shafts and did so much damage to the ‘guts’ of the project that it was eventually abandoned.

The idea of a weapon that could destroy London was sold to Hitler by the firm Roechling – a leading German armaments and steel firm. Because it had the backing of Hitler, great sums of money and manpower was thrown into the project. Men such as Werner von Braun claimed that the money was better spent on upgrading Peenemunde but Hitler had got his mind set on the destruction of London – something the Luftwaffe had failed to do during the Blitz.

Project ‘High Pressure Pump’ was started in August 1942. The man at the head of the project was August Coenders, a machine gun engineer. He had studied captured French documents from 1918 for a multi-stage long barreled gun that was meant to be the French answer the the Germans ‘Big Bertha’ long range gun that had fired 320 eight-inch shells into Paris from the distance of 78 miles. Coenders boss, Hermann Roechling, was a personel friend of Hitler and he saw this as a chance to greatly elevate himself in the eyes of the Führer. By 1943, Albert Speer was also willing to add his name to the project.

Speer’s plan was to build 50 of these huge guns set in giant underground emplacements near the hamlet of Mimoyecques in the Pays de Calais. The guns were designed to fire one round from each barrel every five minutes which, Speer hoped, would produce a “saturation coverage” of London with a maximum of 600 shells hitting London every hour.

Ballistic experts in Nazi Germany doubted whether the plan had any reality. Lieutenant-General Erich Schneider believed in the development of the V1 and V2 but he always believed that the V3 was in the realms of fantasy. In this he was probably correct. The initial tests on the shells showed that when they were fired they had a tendency to flip over in flight as they lack stability. Therefore, from the earliest tests, London appeared to be safe. However, this did not stop Speer pushing for Hitler to continue his support the project.

The huge emplacement was built at Mimoyecques using slave labourers, POW’s and German workers. Such activity obviously attracted the attention of the French Resistance who fed intelligence back to London. 1000 artillery troops were quartered underground the complex had its own power station that powered an air conditioning unit. Speer got it into his head that the V3 was to be the weapon that would bring Britain to its knees and vast sums of money was thrown at the project, so much so that it is said that the campaign in Russia was affected by this. It became the weapon that had overriding priority within Germany.

RAF photo reconnaissance planes also spotted a tell-tale sign – haystacks out in the autumn when all others had been brought in within the region of the Pay de Calais. These haystacks disguised the gun barrel covers of the V3 project. In November 1943, the RAF made its first attack on the complex but it made little impact.

In January 1944, the guns that were to be used on the V3 project were fired for the first time in Germany at a test range. The velocity of firing was only 1000 metres a second – 50% too weak for a shell to hit London from Mimoyecques. As important, the shells that were fired were well below the size expected for an all-out attack on London:

“The explosive charge they could carry was so small that they were quite useless against a huge target like London what we needed was an atom warhead but Hitler would not see that.”Lieutenant-General Erich Schneider

However, the expert opinions of the likes of Schneider were ignored and he had to tread carefully in an era when “defeatism” was punishable by a term in a concentration camp and possible death.

Those who were concerned that the V3 was absorbing far too much money, time and manpower. They called in Professor Werner Osenberg, head of the German Wartime Scientific Research Council. He quickly realised the the ‘High Pressure Pump’ project was fraught with scientific problems that probably could not be solved. Osenberg complained that the V3 project was not based on any form of scientific thinking and he referred to it as “messing about”. Roechling complained to Hitler about such comments but this became irrelevant when in June 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy. Movement up the coast to the Pays de Calais would not take long and the project was doomed to failure.

Perhaps the most pertinent comment about the whole project came from an engineer who worked on ‘High Pressure Pump’, Anton Huber:

“The actual project itself seems not to be scientifically perfect, and its development has not been sufficiently long. The workers are wasting a lot of time on the site because there are not enough trained concrete makers.”

On July 4th 1944, Huber wrote to Osenberg that the complex had been without electricity for seven days and that nothing had been achieved. On July 8th, Huber wrote that the project had effectively been wiped out as a result of the Lancaster bombers raid. However, Hitler, still convinced that the V3 would win the war for him, ordered that the project should be moved to Germany itself and placed under the control of the SS. Hitler saw it as the secret weapon that would push back the Allies as they tried to advance to Germany.

One barrel was used with just 44 rounds in the Battle of the Bulge. The very last V3 shells fell on Luxemburg. After this, the barrel was destroyed. The final order to end the V3 project came in February 1945.


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