Quotulatiousness

September 18, 2017

5 Medieval Dynasties That Still Exist Today

Filed under: Europe, France, Germany, History — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 18 Aug 2017

The medieval period produced a lot of powerful dynasties which fought for influence and wealth in Europe. These families where once the most powerful people on the planet, but who and where are they today? Here are 5 Medieval dynasties that still exist today.

September 13, 2017

The Thirty Years War

Filed under: Europe, France, Germany, History, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 10 Nov 2014

http://www.tomrichey.net

The Thirty Years’ War was fought from 1618-1648 (Thirty Years!) in the Holy Roman Empire. It began as a conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Bohemia, but grew to involve Denmark, Sweden, and France. After the French began helping Gustavus Adolphus, the Protestant king of Sweden, the lines became blurry and the war became more about the balance of power in Europe than about religion. The Peace of Westphalia paved the way for France to become the dominant power in Western Europe and for the permanent decline of the Holy Roman Empire as a political institution.

If you like this lecture, check out my other lectures for AP European History and Western Civilization!

September 9, 2017

The Seven Years’ War

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 19 Nov 2016

The Seven Years’ War essentially comprised two struggles. One centered on the maritime and colonial conflict between Britain and its Bourbon enemies, France and Spain; the second, on the conflict between Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia and his opponents: Austria, France, Russia, and Sweden. Two other less prominent struggles were also worthy of note. As an ally of Frederick, George II of Britain, as elector of Hanover, resisted French attacks in Germany, initially only with Hanoverian and Hessian troops but from 1758 with the assistance of British forces also. In 1762, Spain, with French support, attacked Britain’s ally Portugal, but, after initial checks, the Portuguese, thanks to British assistance, managed to resist successfully.

September 5, 2017

Georges Guynemer – The Flying Icon of France I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

Filed under: Europe, France, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 4 Sep 2017

George Guynemer was one of the top scoring flying aces of the entire First World War with 54 aerial victories. In his lifetime, he was celebrated as a hero, an icon and an inspiration in France. When he went missing 100 years ago, in September 1917, it was a great shock to the nation and to this day his death is not fully understood.

September 3, 2017

Battlefield 1 Historical Analysis – In The Name Of The Tsar – They Shall Not Pass I THE GREAT WAR

Filed under: Europe, France, Gaming, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 2 Sep 2017

WW1 Armoured Trains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5Jl5KdG-Tc
WW1 China: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TofCRaOBWZ0
Women’s Battalion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cndgoEd3fkk

Two new expansions for Battlefield 1 dropped in the past few months and they introduced two of the most important factions of World War 1: France and Russia. And since you guys liked our other trailer analysis videos, we decided to review the existing trailer footage and give you some background.

Please send your comments about the mistaken General Liu rifle to: allww1erarifleslookthesametous@thegreatwar.tv

September 1, 2017

The Moscow State Conference – Black Sea Revolutionaries I THE GREAT WAR Week 162

Filed under: Europe, France, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 31 Aug 2017

The political factions that oppose the rise of Bolshevism in post-revolutionary Russia come together for a conference this week 100 years ago. But apart from the Moscow State Conference, some people in the military actually aim for a military dictatorship to restore order in Russia and continue the war. At the same time the 2nd Battle of Verdun comes to an end with a French victory and revolutionary fever also spreads across the Black Sea Fleet.

August 28, 2017

Heavy Machine Guns of the Great War

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 14 Aug 2015

Check out The Great War’s complete playlist here for your easy binge-watching enjoyment:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB2vhKMBjSxMK8YelHj6VS6w3KxuKsMvT

I have been really enjoying The Great War series, so I figured I ought to take advantage of an opportunity to look at several WWI heavy machine guns side by side. This is a video to give some historical context to the guns, and not a technical breakdown of exactly how they work (that will come later). These really were the epitome of industrialized warfare, and they wrought horrendous destruction on armies of the Great War.

The guns covered here are the German MG08, British Vickers, and French Hotchkiss 1914.

Hammer Prices:
Vickers: $20,000
MG08: $11,000
Hotchkiss 1914: $7,000

Other heavies used in the war include the Austrian Schwarzlose 1907/12, the Russian 1905 and 1910 Maxims, the Italian Fiat-Revelli, and the American Browning 1895. The book I was quoting from towards the end was Dolf Goldsmith’s unmatched work on the Maxim, The Devil’s Paintbrush.

August 25, 2017

The 2nd Battle Of Verdun – Lost Opportunities On The Isonzo River I THE GREAT WAR Week 161

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 24 Aug 2017

The 11th Battle of the Isonzo river continued this week and the Italians manage to break through parts of the Austro-Hungarian lines, they hesitate to exploit the breakthrough though and the opportunity is lost. Meanwhile the French break through the German lines at Verdun and Herbert Plumer comes up with a plan to defeat the German Hindenburg Line.

August 23, 2017

One definite success from the Dieppe raid

Filed under: Cancon, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

The allied attack on Dieppe in August, 1942 was an operational failure: nearly 60% of the raiding force were killed, wounded or captured and the tactical objectives in the harbour area were not achieved. I’ve mentioned the speculations on an Enigma side-operation (which does not seem to be given credence by most historians), using the main Canadian attack as cover for an attempt to snatch the latest German encryption device from one or more high-security locations within the target area. A second side-mission was also conducted to capture one of the newest German radar stations at Pourville, just down the coast from Dieppe:

Aerial reconnaissance photos indicated that one of these new Freya radar sets had been installed at Pourville-sur-Mer, near Dieppe. A military raid on Dieppe, to test British and Canadian plans for an amphibious invasion, was already being planned. Senior officers immediately added a sub-plan to the Dieppe raid: a small force would be detached to attack the Pourville radar station. There, a radar expert would dismantle the station’s vital equipment and transport it back to the UK for analysis.

A German FuMG 401 “Freya LZ” radar station of the type installed at Pourville. (US National Archives and Records Administration image, via Wikimedia)

Nissenthall, a Jewish cockney who had a lifelong fascination with electronics and radio technology, had joined the Air Force as an apprentice in 1936. By the outbreak of the war in 1939 he was assigned to RAF radio direction finding stations (RDF, the short-lived original term for radar) and rapidly built up a reputation as a competent and technically skilled operator. Before the war he had also worked directly with Robert Watson-Watt, widely regarded today as the father of radar.

[…]

More than 5,000 soldiers of the First Canadian Division set off from the south coast of England in the early hours of 19 August 1942. Embedded with A Company of the South Saskatchewan Regiment, Nissenthall’s 11-man bodyguard landed on French soil – but on the wrong side of the Scie River from the radar station.

After finding their way to their intended starting point, the team ran into stiff German resistance. Casualties soon mounted up as they probed the area, looking for a way into the radar station.

Thanks to the Bruneval raid six months previously, the Germans had beefed up their defences around coastal radar stations. This, combined with the naivete of the Allied planners back in Britain, had left the Canadians exposed and vulnerable. Though Nissenthall’s team had just about reached the radar station, there was no hope they would be able to get inside it, much less examine it, dismantle it and take away the most valuable parts of the Freya set inside.

August 21, 2017

Top Five Tanks – Indy Neidell

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, Military — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 11 Aug 2017

For the fourth in our Top 5 series, Great War Channel presenter Indy Neidell came to The Tank Museum to share his 5 favourite tanks. https://www.youtube.com/TheGreatWar

It’s all about opinions, so please feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below.

Whose Top 5 would you like to see next?

August 19, 2017

Dieppe Raid 19 August, 1942 – Assault, escape and aftermath

Filed under: Cancon, France, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 22 Mar 2009

http://worldwarii.ca

The Dieppe Raid was one of the costliest days for the Canadian Army in the entire Second World War. 907 Canadians were killed, in addition more than 2,500 were wounded or captured, all on August 19 of 1942.

At the BBC site: Julian Thompson’s summary of the Dieppe Raid.

August 16, 2017

Canadian War Museum highlights the six Canadian VCs won at the Battle of Hill 70

Filed under: Cancon, France, History, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

On August 15th, 1917, the Canadian Corps began a planned attack on German positions near Lens in northern France, to relieve pressure on the larger British and Imperial operations at Passchendaele. During the vicious fighting around the feature designated as “Hill 70”, the valour of six Canadians was deemed deserving of the highest military honour the British Empire could bestow, the Victoria Cross. From the institution of the medal in 1856, only 96 Canadians have been awarded a VC. David Pugliese reports for the Ottawa Citizen:

IWM caption : Hill 70 (Lens) 15-25 August: A group of Canadians, standing with mugs at a soup kitchen set up on boards “100 yards from Boche lines” during the push on Hill 70 (via Wikimedia)

The Canadian War Museum is marking the centenary of the Battle of Hill 70 with a special display highlighting the six Canadian soldiers who received Victoria Cross decorations as a result of their courageous actions. The Battle of Hill 70, which includes portraits of the recipients and some of their medals, will be on view from August 15 until Remembrance Day, according to the Canadian War Museum.

“Sir Arthur Currie described the Battle of Hill 70 in August 1917 as ‘altogether the hardest battle in which the Corps has participated,’” Stephen Quick, Director General of the Canadian War Museum, said in a news release. “It’s remarkable that this 11-day battle, fought four months after Vimy Ridge, resulted in six Canadian soldiers of varying backgrounds and ranks being awarded the highest honour for military valour in the British Empire.”

Here the Canadian War Museum also provides details about the battle and the Victoria Cross winners:

The Canadian Corps, under the command of Sir Arthur Currie, launched an attack on the German-held city of Lens in northern France on August 15, 1917. His strategy was to capture the high ground overlooking the town, forcing the enemy to counterattack. This prevented German units from reinforcing formations facing Allied troops struggling to gain ground at Passchendaele in Flanders. By August 25, the Canadians had withstood 21 failed counterattacks and suffered 9,000 casualties at Hill 70, but they had killed, wounded or taken as prisoner about 12,000 Germans. It was a significant and costly tactical victory for the Allies.

The Battle of Hill 70 introduces visitors to Sergeant Frederick Hobson, Corporal Filip Konowal, Private Harry Brown, Private Michael James O’Rourke, Acting Major Okill Massey Learmonth and Sergeant-Major Robert Hill Hanna. They are among only 96 Canadian recipients of the Victoria Cross since its introduction during the Crimean War in 1856.

August 13, 2017

War-Weariness I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 10

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 12 Aug 2017

In this special Recap Episode we summarize the events from May to July 1917. Two major Allied spring offensives at Arras and on the Aisne come to an end with mixed results. The Macedonian Front flares up again as does the 10th Battle of the Isonzo. Mutiny in the French army. A stunning British victory at the Battle of Messines. A vicious battle on the heights of Mount Ontigara. The first American troops are landing in France. July sees the great strides of the Kerensky offensive featuring the Russian Women´s Battalion of Death. A showdown between the Bolsheviks and the Provisional Government. The first usage of the dreaded Mustard Gas.

August 10, 2017

The Treaty of Westphalia

Filed under: Britain, Europe, France, History, Humour — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 20 Nov 2008

Treaty of Westphalia

August 6, 2017

The allure of fine wines

Filed under: France, Wine — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Dan Rosenheck recounts his first encounter with one of those mysterious Premier Cru wines:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So say those who have never had a whiff of 1998 Château Lafite Rothschild. In late 2011 I had been an aspiring wine connoisseur for about a year, long enough to have learned the names of the world’s most exalted beverages, but not to have tried more than a handful. Like many novices, I started out on Bordeaux, memorising the 1855 classification of the region’s reds into price tiers – called crus, or “growths” – and developing a childlike reverence for the premiers crus (“first growths”) at the top. Although there were no sub-rankings within each class, Lafite was listed first because it was the most expensive tipple in the France of Napoleon III, and my drinking buddies told me it was still considered the premier premier cru today. Chinese drinkers certainly thought so: they had bid it up at auctions to stratospheric heights after deciding, for still-obscure reasons, that Lafite and only Lafite made for an impressive gift – perhaps because its name was easy to pronounce in Mandarin, or because the estate had stuck the character for the lucky number eight on the label of its 2008 vintage.

So when a friend in the wine trade snuck me into Wine Spectator magazine’s “Grand Tasting” in New York that November, I made a beeline for the Lafite table. They were pouring the 1998: a middling harvest overall for Cabernet Sauvignon, which Messieurs Primi Inter Pares had nonetheless turned into a masterpiece. As a Frenchwoman doing her best to smile sprinkled her elixir among the parched mob, I made off with a couple of thimblefuls, and scurried to the corner of the room to stand watch over my booty.

The perfume wafted into my nostrils before I had time to lift my glass. “zomfg,” began my tasting note. (The “o”, “m” and “g” stand for “oh my God”, you can guess what the “f” is, and the “z” comes out when exuberance makes you miss the shift key.) The scents were so intense, so focused, so easy to distinguish: ripe blackcurrants quivering on the branch; cedar that conjured up a Lebanese hillside; tobacco or thyme leaves floating on the wind. How could a wine be this powerful and yet this elegant? At the tender age of 13, the 1998 Lafite did not yet offer much complexity, and its firm, astringent tannins left me puckering after every sip – the punishment a fine young Bordeaux inflicts on impatient drinkers who disturb its slumber prematurely. But oh…that smell. “I smelled this across the room,” I wrote. “I smelled this at the bar afterwards. I smelled this even when I was shoving pizza down my throat at 3am. And then I smelled it in my dream.”

My first experience of a premier cru was at an LCBO tasting in downtown Toronto. I had developed an interest in wine a few years before, so I was very excited to try some of the well-known wines for the first time. Here’s what I wrote on the old blog (no longer online) in 2008: “That’s not wine … it’s an ostentatious status symbol”

At some point, an expensive bottle of wine stops being just wine and starts being primarily a status symbol. Case in point:

    Staff were delighted at the sale and the three customers were eager to taste the £18,000 magnum of Pétrus 1961 — one of the greatest vintages of one of the greatest wines in the world — which they had reserved from the cellars several weeks before.

    Unfortunately, the guests at Zafferano in Knightsbridge proved to be a little too discerning.

    As the magnum was uncorked, they declared it to be a fake, refused to touch the bottle and sent it back.

I enjoy wine, and I’m usually able to appreciate the extra quality that goes with a higher price tag … up to a limit. The most expensive wine I’ve tasted was a $400 Chateau Margaux, which was excellent, but (to my taste anyway) not as good as a $95 bottle I sampled on the same evening (a Gevry-Chambertin). Wine is certainly subjective, so my experiences can’t be easily generalized, but I think it would be safe to say that the vast majority of wine drinkers would find that their actual appreciation of the wine tapers off beyond a certain price point.

If you normally drink $15-20 bottles of wine, you’ll certainly find that the $30-40 range will taste better and have more depth and complexity of flavour. Jumping up to the $150-200 range will probably have the same relative effect, but you’ve gone to 10 times the price for perhaps 2-4 times the perceived quality. Perhaps I’m wrong, and the $1,000+ wines have transcendental qualities that peasants like me can’t even imagine, but I strongly doubt it. Any wine over $500 has passed the “quality” level and is from that point onwards really a “prestige” thing.

Update: A commenter at Fark.com offered this link as counter-evidence:

    “Contrary to the basic assumptions of economics, several studies have provided behavioral evidence that marketing actions can successfully affect experienced pleasantness by manipulating non-intrinsic attributes of goods. For example, knowledge of a beer’s ingredients and brand can affect reported taste quality, and the reported enjoyment of a film is influenced by expectations about its quality,” the researchers said. “Even more intriguingly, changing the price at which an energy drink is purchased can influence the ability to solve puzzles.”

This is why wines are generally tasted blind for comparative purposes (that is, with no indication of the wine’s identity provided). It’s a well-known phenomena that people expect to enjoy more expensive things than cheaper equivalents.

You can try this one for yourself: next time you’re pouring a beer or a wine for a guest, hide the container and tell them that what you’re pouring is much more rare/expensive/unusual than what it really is. Most people, either from politeness (they don’t want to be rude) or fear of being thought ignorant (that they can’t actually perceive this wonderful quality) or genuine belief in what you’ve said, will go along with the host’s deception and praise the drink as being so much better than whatever they normally drink.

Human beings are wonderful at rationalizing … and self-deception.

H/T to Colby Cosh for the original link.

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