June 13, 2009

"Oh..that was ME!?"

John Moffat fought a hard war. He served on 4 carriers in the Second World War, saw action in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific and survived the sinking of the HMS Ark Royal and the terrible fire aboard HMS Formidable. However, his most famous action took place early in the war.The target was the Nazi battleship Bismark, which was had sent the Home fleet flagship to the bottom of the Denmark Straits and was at extreme range. Churchill himself  ordered ordered the carrier Ark Royal to launch an attack....weather be damned....At the time HMS Ark Royal was  caught in hurricane force winds and taking green water over her flight deck.

"The ship was pitching 60ft, water was running over the decks and the wind was blowing at 70 or 80mph... And nobody mentions the deck hands who had to bring the planes up from the hangars  -  they did something special. After they brought them up they had to open
the wings which took ten men for each wing. And then they had to wind a handle to get the starters working."

 Only 3 pilots were able to get their machines into the air under those hellish conditions and those machines were Fairy Swordfish....utterly obsolete biplane Torpedo bombers.
3 Stringbags against a battleship.
3 torpedoed dropped in the face of a hellstorm of flack.
One of those torpedoes struck.
It jammed the Bismark's rudder.
That hit allowed the remnants of the home fleet to get within range.  
KMS Bismark died as a result.

Nearly 60 years later, John Moffat was informed by the Royal Navy that it had been his torpedo that landed what turned out to be a fatal blow. His response?
It gave me a sort of satisfaction.'


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June 06, 2009

June 6...

...is not about Tetris.

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