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Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force defended the United Kingdom against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought by air forces; the British recognise the battle's duration as being from 10 July until 31 October 1940, which overlaps the period of large-scale night attacks known as the Blitz, that lasted from 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941. German historians do not accept this subdivision and regard the battle as a single campaign lasting from July 1940 to June 1941, including the Blitz; the primary objective of the German forces was to compel Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement. In July 1940, the air and sea blockade began, with the Luftwaffe targeting coastal-shipping convoys and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth. On 1 August, the Luftwaffe was directed to achieve air superiority over the RAF with the aim of incapacitating RAF Fighter Command.

As the battle progressed, the Luftwaffe targeted factories involved in aircraft production and strategic infrastructure. It employed terror bombing on areas of political significance and on civilians; the Germans had overwhelmed France and the Low Countries, leaving Britain to face the threat of invasion by sea. The German high command knew the difficulties of a seaborne attack and its impracticality while the Royal Navy controlled the English Channel and the North Sea. On 16 July, Adolf Hitler ordered the preparation of Operation Sea Lion as a potential amphibious and airborne assault on Britain, to follow once the Luftwaffe had air superiority over the UK. In September, RAF Bomber Command night raids disrupted the German preparation of converted barges, the Luftwaffe's failure to overwhelm the RAF forced Hitler to postpone, cancel Operation Sea Lion. Germany proved unable to sustain daylight raids, but their continued night-bombing operations on Britain - became known as the Blitz. Historian Stephen Bungay cited Germany's failure to destroy Britain's air defences to force an armistice as the first major German defeat in World War II and a crucial turning point in the conflict.

The Battle of Britain takes its name from the speech given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18 June: "What General Weygand called the'Battle of France' is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin." Strategic bombing during World War I introduced air attacks intended to panic civilian targets and led in 1918 to the amalgamation of British army and navy air services into the Royal Air Force. Its first Chief of the Air Staff Hugh Trenchard was among the military strategists in the 1920s like Giulio Douhet who saw air warfare as a new way to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare. Interception was nearly impossible with fighter planes no faster than bombers, their view was that the bomber will always get through, the only defence was a deterrent bomber force capable of matching retaliation. Predictions were made that a bomber offensive would cause thousands of deaths and civilian hysteria leading to capitulation, but widespread pacifism contributed to a reluctance to provide resources.

Germany was forbidden a military air force by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, therefore air crew were trained by means of civilian and sport flying. Following a 1923 memorandum, the Deutsche Luft Hansa airline developed designs for aircraft such as the Junkers Ju 52, which could carry passengers and freight, but be adapted into bombers. In 1926, the secret Lipetsk fighter-pilot school began operating. Erhard Milch organised rapid expansion, following the 1933 Nazi seizure of power, his subordinate Robert Knauss formulated a deterrence theory incorporating Douhet's ideas and Tirpitz's "risk theory", which proposed a fleet of heavy bombers to deter a preventive attack by France and Poland before Germany could rearm. A 1933–34 war game indicated a need for fighters and anti-aircraft protection as well as bombers. On 1 March 1935, the Luftwaffe was formally announced, with Walther Wever as Chief of Staff; the 1935 Luftwaffe doctrine for "Conduct of Air War" set air power within the overall military strategy, with critical tasks of attaining air superiority and providing battlefield support for army and naval forces.

Strategic bombing of industries and transport could be decisive longer term options, dependent on opportunity or preparations by the army and navy, to overcome a stalemate or used when only destruction of the enemy's economy would be conclusive. The list excluded bombing civilians to destroy homes or undermine morale, as, considered a waste of strategic effort, but the doctrine allowed revenge attacks if German civilians were bombed. A revised edition was issued in 1940, the continuing central principle of Luftwaffe doctrine was that destruction of enemy armed forces was of primary importance; the RAF responded to Luftwaffe developments with its 1934 Expansion Plan A rearmament scheme, in 1936 it was restructured into Bomber Command, Coastal Command, Training Command and Fighter Command. The latter was under Hugh Dowding, who opposed the doctrine that bombers were unstoppable: the invention of radar at that time could allow early detection, prototype monoplane fighters were faster. Priorities were disputed, but in December 1937 the Minister in charge of defence coordination Sir Thomas Inskip decided in Dowding's favour, that "The role of our air force is not an early knock-o

Aletia cyanopetra

Aletia cyanopetra is a species of moth in the family Noctuidae. It is endemic to New Zealand, it is classified as "Data Deficient" by the Department of Conservation. This species was first named Melanchra cyanopetra, it was discovered by Amy Castle at Waiho Gorge in South Westland in April. In 1971 John S. Dugdale proposed placing this species within the genus Graphania. In 1988 Dugdale placed the species in the genus Aletia; however the genus level classification of species of New Zealand endemic moths within the genus Aletia is regarded as unsatisfactory and is under revision. It is that this species will be removed from the genus Aletia and be placed within one of the following genera: Physetica, Tmetolophota or Ichneutica; as such this species is also known as Aletia cyanopetra. Meyrick described the species as follows: ♂ 36 mm. ♀ 40 mm. Head and thorax dark bluish-grey. Antennaeserrate, moderately fasciculate-ciliated. Abdomen grey. Forewings posteriorly dilated, termen bowed, rather oblique, waved.

Hindwings grey, somewhat darker terminally, veins darker. This species is endemic to New Zealand; as well as the type locality, this species has been collected at Camp Creek, Craigieburn Range and at the Hunter River near Lake Hāwea in Otago. The host species for the larvae of A. cyanopetra is unknown. This species has been classified as having the "Data Deficient" conservation status under the New Zealand Threat Classification System. Image of lectotype specimen

Maria Maksakova Sr.

Maria Petrovna Maksakova was a Soviet opera singer, mezzo-soprano, a leading soloist in the Bolshoi Theater, who enjoyed great success in the 1920s and 1930s, in the times referred to as the golden age of Soviet opera. Maria Maksakova, the three times laureate of the Stalin's Prize, was designated as a People's Artist of the USSR in 1971; the actress Lyudmila Maksakova is her daughter. Maria Sidorova was born in Astrakhan, one of six children of Pyotr Sidorov, the executive director of the Volga Shipping company. After her father's death, ten-year-old Maria joined a local church choir to help her 27-year-old mother sustain a family, it was there. Sidorova engaged herself in intensive self-education and a year became a lead in the alto section of the choir, with which she stayed until 1917. In late 1917, Sidorova joined the Astrakhan musical college to study the piano, she had no instrument at home, had to stay at school to practise day and night. In the early 1918, she started studying vocal as contralto.

Regarded as one of the best in the class, she was sent on obligatory'tours' to sing for the Red Army soldiers and sailors. "I enjoyed success and was proud of it", she wrote. One of her tutors, started to train Sidorova as soprano, which Sidorova enjoyed. "With her I studied for a year. The Astrakhan theatre was moved to Tsaritsyn and I decided to join its troupe, so as to go on studying with my pedagogue," she recalled. " mastered a professional vocal range, demonstrating flawless precision in intonations and perfect sense of rhythm. What was most attractive in the young singer's performances was her musical and verbal expressiveness, her total involvement with the lyrics", wrote Mikhail Lvov in his 1947 biography. In summer 1919 Sidorovamade her theatre debut as Olga in Evgeny Onegin. In the autumn the famous baritone Maximilian Maksakov joined the theatre as a new director and gave her several new roles, including those in Faust and Rigoletto. Admiring the girl's gift, but seeing flaws in her technique, the maestro sent her to Petrograd for further studying.

There she met Alexander Glazunov, was consulted by another professor who recognized a lyrical soprano in her, returned, to ask Maksakov for private lessons. The two became close, he proposed, in 1920 they married, forming a sparkling duet on stage. In 1923 Maksakova came to Moscow, debuted at the Bolshoi Theatre, was invited to join the star-studded troupe. Sergey Lemeshev in his memoirs revived the moment when a petite girl entered the stage, making young actors occupying the gallery wonder: could this be Amneris, or her young servant? …Then the girl started to sing and we had to agree: this was Amneris after all. Her lyrical voice flew and but what impressed us most was the integrity of her stage persona: for all her young age, she had the stateliness and commanding intonations of a princess who'd been accustomed to having an upper hand. Maksakova's Amneris so fascinated me, I forgot who sang Radames or Amonasro. What I do remember is that this evening I saw theatre's real wonder. All of us fell in love with Amneris.

And the public too, for the debutante received delightful reception. "Even Maksakova fascinated us with her special way with words. Not only clear and crisp was her diction, but she got this dramatic expressiveness of phrase charged with inner strife of passion and jealousy. Besides, Amneris was enchantingly feminine", Lemeshev added. Maximilian and Maria Maksakovs settled at Dmitrovka Street, in a communal flat." " turned his young wife's life into hard labour. Each day a home practice, with tears, he was 33 years older but not for a moment did she come to regret those 15 years she spent with him", daughter Lyudmila Maksakova remembered. Two of the theatre's stars provided inspiration for the young singer. "Watching the art of Nezhdanova and Sobinov... I was beginning to realize for the first time that great masters, in order to elevate their character to peaks of expressiveness have to expose their inner exaltation in the most stark, transparent ways. In 1925 Maksakova moved to Leningrad's Mariinsky Theatre where she sang parts in Orpheus and Red Petrograd by Gladkovsky and Prussak, among many others.

In 1927 she returned to the Bolshoi, where she remained a leading soloist until her retirement 1953. She sang most of the leading female parts in the theater's classic repertoire, including Carmen, Marina Mnishek, Aksinya in The Quiet Don and Charlotte in Werther. In Gluck's Orfeo Maksakova featured as a co-director, she embarked upon extensive concert tours, travelling all over the country with a repertoire which included famous arias, songs by the Soviet composers and her own interpretations of classic songs and romances by Tchaikovsky and others. Maksakova, one of the first Soviet artists who in the mid-1930s received permission to perform abroad, gave successful concerts in Turkey and Poland Sweden and East Germany. In 1936 Maximilian Maksakov died. Half a year Maria married Yakov Davtyan, but this marriage did not last long. One night her