The Story of NASA’s Gemini Program

NASA’s Project Gemini, which launched twelve spacecraft into Earth’s orbit between April 1964 and November 1966, was an intermediate step in the Apollo program’s ultimate goal of achieving a moon landing. The information and experience gained from the Gemini missions was vital for the success of future Apollo missions.

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Flames In Notre Dame Shake France’s Rich Heritage

Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has described the fire in the 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral as “a terrible tragedy”.

At about 6.45 this Monday, a blaze broke out in the roof of Paris’ beloved Notre Dame Cathedral, which is, according to Macron, “the very centre of our lives”. Five minutes later, the first reports of a fire emerged, as flames were spotted near its two bell towers.

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The Germans Invade Poland | WWII Series EP.1

Image result for germany invades poland

Adolf Hitler’s rearmament program began when he brought the National Socialist German Workers’ Party into power in 1933. This policy was immediately noticed by the Allied powers, but they did little to enforce the Treaty of Versailles and allowed Hitler to expand the German Army beyond the 100,000 combatants that were permitted in 1919. Notably, the Wehrmacht was founded in 1935 – the dawn of the Nazi forces. Production of war resources and military weapons/gear continued.

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Beads, Buttons and a Bible Found In Uncovered German Massacre Forest

Credit: LWL and Thomas Poggel

Recent excavations in the Westphalia-Lippe region of Central Germany have revealed shocking discoveries, attesting to an atrocious mass-killing of Polish and Russian forced-labourers, “one of the biggest crimes in the final stages of the war in Germany“.

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The M3 Lee – Ugliest Tank of WWII?

One might argue that the seemingly ugly, flawed and difficult-to-control M3 and its variants deserved a better treatment from its adversaries. After all, it was neither designed to be superior to the Sherman nor built to any degree of perfection, and was merely planned as an urgent combination of heavy armour and mobility with a minimal production time in mind. On the brink of war, most Allied nations were in dire need of new, reliable tanks in large numbers and the M3 brought just that. Despite its numerous issues, the M3 series was surprisingly sturdy in battle and could be depended on when necessary.

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AH-64 Apache – Portfolio Piece

THE AH-64 APACHE, ITS VARIANTS AND FUNCTIONS

Despite existing for a seemingly-interminable four decades since its birth, the AH-64 Apache remains the flagship helicopter of the United States military and continues in active service in Egypt, Japan, the UK, Saudi Arabia and countless more countries around the globe. Designed both to support ground operations and launch intensive attacks in the air itself, the Apache series is crucial for Boeing’s supply and logistical contract with America and AH-64s are the favored combat chopper of choice.  Many countries around the world use Apache variants as their main form of aerial attack aircraft.

The British Army, to state one example, are provided with the AugustaWestland Apache – a unique, modified version of the AH-64D Longbow which features two T700-GE-701C engines, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 180mph. Additionally, British Apaches have been powered by Rolls-Royce Turbomeca engines – still recommendable alternatives.

In 1967, the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne, prototyped and designed in response to the threat of heavily-armed Soviet vehicles in Europe, was test-flown. The Cheyenne was a powerful and worthy helicopter, but it still couldn’t meet the needs of the army. Ultimately, it was abandoned in favor of something quicker and more agile and sleek. This would allow them considerably more conflict and logistical flexibility, which was extremely important for their missions in the late 20th century. The United States Army wanted an “Advanced Attack Helicopter” – a chopper to carry the same, primary role as a Tactical Attack Aircraft – which would prove to be rigorous in tough, intensive combat situations and support ground operations by simultaneously utilizing advanced tracking and pilot-sighting systems.

Hence, America initiated their AAH program in 1972 by calling for proposals to suggest a new helicopter model; this request received great interest from numerous notable manufacturers, including Bell, Lockheed and Hughes. One design, the Model 77 (YAH-64A), submitted by Hughes Helicopters, made its first flight on the 30th of September 1975. Overwhelmed by a considerably large number of responses to their initial demand, the USA was unable to provide a response until the next year; this coincided with the death of Howard Hughes – the founder of Hughes Helicopters – in 1976, who left no will. Understandably, the company was sent into a bitter dispute over who should take over leadership of planning and manufacturing. Despite this, Hughes was chosen as the winner for the AAH design contest as the army preferred the YAH-64A instead of its Bell counterpart, mainly because of the advantages of the YAH-64’s landing gear arrangement over the Bell organization.

A development contract was formed in 1976 and the AmericanArmy finally approved all plans in 1982. The plains of Mesa, Arizona have oftenbeen considered an excellent place to produce and test helicopters. Thus, thefirst Army AH-64 rolled out of Hughes’ facility and made a flight in 1983,being named “Apache”. Military helicopters in the USA were frequently given thenames of Native American tribes because Indians had served honorably in thearmy during American history. Securing a $470 million deal with McDonnellDouglas in 1984, the AH-64 Apache was brought into full-scale development andbecame a primary feature of the production line. McDonnell Douglas were in turnbought out by Boeing, who laid claim to the Apache series and remain the mainmanufacture of AH-64s today.

Powered by theT700 twin turbo-shaft engine – supplied by the General Electric and Pratt &Whitney partnership – Apache variations were able to output up to (and over)2,000 shaft horsepower, with the T6A Model accelerating to a staggering 2,768SHP. T700 turbo-shafts were able to continue operating in extremely intense andstressful situations, making it a revered and ideal solution for a combatengine. After being delivered to at least fifty nations, the T700 has poweredaeroplanes and helicopters for 40 years. Most notably, it supplies a modifiedBlack Hawk UH-60 known as the “Firehawk” with its admired and awe-strikingspeed. Despite the immense speed of the AH-64, it is still highly agile and canmake beautiful, quick and sloping turns to conduct a follow up strike of itstarget. Not only this, but its navigational systems allow it to find theoperation location with complete ease and return to base, hassle-free.

Weighing between 400 and 500 pounds, the AH-64 Apache has a tandem cockpit for two; the copilot gunner being situated at the front with the pilot controlling the aircraft from the rear. Due to the limited crew-size, the loss of one chopper does not matter as much in terms of casualty/death rate as a larger, highly-manned craft. It also sports a set of excellent laser-targeting and night-vision systems mounted on the nose of the helicopter. These sensors and equipment allow the AH-64 Apache to continue operating at both night and day and it can withstand countless weather situations. Highly armored and easily maneuverable, the USA’s “most loved chopper” can fight through heavy enemy fire striking critical points on its body and return shots using a 30mm M230 chain gun hung beneath the fuselage, between the landing gears. Additionally, the AH-64D can carry approximately 22,000 pounds at maximum-load. All these upgrades and functionality features make the AH-64 and its counterparts extremely dangerous and effective weapons – one of the reasons they are loved so much. Although other helicopter models may be chosen over the Hughes’ design for certain circumstances and operations, the Apache is the ultimate multi-purpose (helicopter) aircraft, which is able to efficiently track and take out targets. ultimate multi-purpose (helicopter) aircraft, which is able to efficiently track and take out targets.

During Desert Storm – the primary operation of the Gulf War – the Apache was used as the main constituent for the air attack force body, with the purpose of shattering enemy radar positions, tanks and armored posts. Boeing remains in a position of contract with the United States and continues to deliver Apaches to armies across the globe. Until a manufacturer designs a new helicopter or weapon to one-up the AH-64, the Apache series will remain the most formidable, tactical air helicopter in the world and will forever be loved by aircraft enthusiasts, mechanists and engineers.

Five Reasons Why The Spanish Armada Would Never Have Made It

In July, 1588, Philip II of Spain sent out an enormous fleet of 130 ships organised into a crescent formation. They were to head for England to launch an invasion against the Protestant Queen, but would Philip really have achieved his ambitions… or was it doomed to fail all along?

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Why Napoleon Was Not As Short As You Think

From 1803 to 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte, known also as “Little Boney” conducted his Imperial wars in Europe, hugely expanding French territory and humiliatingly defeating his enemies. Two hundred years later, we still remember him as a rampaging little kid, who couldn’t back down after being exiled to the island of Elba.

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Five (More) Commonly Asked History Questions

1. Did the Romans really control a quarter of the world?

No, they didn’t. They conquered the majority of Europe, a slice along the North of Africa and mostly dominated the east. This map shows the extent of the Roman Empire in the year 117AD, at around the height of its landmass and power. It is true that at one point a quarter of living humanity were Romans, but they had not conquered a quarter of the world.

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The Invention Of The Automobile – Who Made The First Car?

For centuries, humans had believed that there would be a way to move quicker and more easily without the use of animals such as horses or donkeys. They knew that mechanics and scientific innovation would lead to the invention of a carriage which was powered by nature and working parts rather than biological life. But it was not until the Late Medieval era that educated individuals began to look more closely at how this dream could be achieved. Leonardo da Vinci was one of these creators, and was possibly the first to design and draw up plans for vehicles such as flying machines and tanks. Despite the sophisticated and potentially viable ideas da Vinci came up with, according to modern research, most of them would not work if they were actually attempted. It was a nice try, however.

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A brief history of Christmas through the ages…

In the oldest, darkest of Ancient Times, there existed a period of great celebration stretching from around late December to the first days of January, known to the pagans and druids of the cold and icy North.

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Stop using a diary, start using this war journal

Hello, second episode of “Reviewing History Products”! It is thanks to my kind donor, James at History Gear, that I am able to continue doing these; he has sent me a package of different things to inspect and write upon. I’ve had a look at what has arrived, and it’s fair to say that I’m pleased!

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Untold Terror – Attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941

At nearly eight on the calm Sunday morning of 7th December 1941, the first of over three hundred Japanese bombers approached the US Pacific Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Within long, the surrounding area was dive-bombed, strafed and ships destroyed as part of a surprise aircraft and submarine attack. The cause of this ambush culminated from rising tensions between the USA and Japan, and the event shocked American citizens. It would lead to them joining World War II the next day.

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Trenches of War Gameplay – Battle of the Somme

Needless to say, this game is not historically accurate nor is designed to be so. Nevertheless it’s really fun to play, if you like World War I, I recommend you download it and try it out 🙂

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Story Of The Gunpowder Plot And Is There More Than Meets The Eye?

Bonfire night is celebrated by communities all over the UK, but only recently has there been a growth in popularity for a new conspiracy theory about the plot. In today’s blog post, we look at the 400 year old tale and examine “gunpowder, treason and plot”.

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Rise To Power, Wars and Napoleon’s Death In Misery

The man who created the foundation for France’s law and civil code, controlled huge swathes of Europe, rose through the ranks and crowned himself Emperor of France and eventually became the name for his period … Napoleon Bonaparte, the greatest and most ambitious nation leader of the 19th century.

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Where Did The American Accent Come From?

We cannot be certain.

This is because the first English explorers started establishing colonies on the East coast in the early 17th century, and we don’t have many texts describing what they sounded like after a few decades of living on the new land. Nor do we have audio recordings, because we only started seeing them over two hundred years later. Therefore, there is quite a gap in our knowledge of how America gained its lingual diversity.

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Did The Battle Of Passchendaele Achieve Anything?

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Allied forces suffered over 300,000 casualties in the Third Battle of Ypres, and the utterly ruined medieval village of Passchendaele overlooking this ridge and Ypres salient was acquired. However, was it really the start of the “big push” Haig was looking for or was it, in the words of General Currie, “not worth a drop of blood”?
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My Visit To The Normandy D-Day Beaches

This year, I went on holiday to France, and saw the sights. As well as visiting the Bayeux Tapesty and Notre Dame, we had the opportunity to explore the wildly historic beaches of Northern France, where Canada, America and England launched their successful comeback to the Nazi domination of France with Operation Neptune, the start of a campaign to reclaim land in that region called Operation Overlord.

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War Caves In The Battle Of Arras

The Battle of Arras, starting on the 9th of April in 1917, was one part of a British assisted offensive doubled with the French in two directions to the North of Imperial Germany. Designed as a distraction to Triple Alliance troops, it required great precision to coordinate troops from all different nationalities, such as Canada and New Zealand. These troops would push in across the temporary front.

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