SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Convoy

A convoy is a group of vehicles motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. A convoy is organized with armed defensive support, it may be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas. Arriving at the scene of a major emergency with a well-ordered unit and intact command structure can be another motivation. Naval convoys have been in use for centuries, with examples of merchant ships traveling under naval protection dating to the 12th century; the use of organized naval convoys dates from when ships began to be separated into specialist classes and national navies were established. By the French Revolutionary Wars of the late 18th century, effective naval convoy tactics had been developed to ward off pirates and privateers; some convoys contained several hundred merchant ships. The most enduring system of convoys were the Spanish treasure fleets, that sailed from the 1520s until 1790; when merchant ships sailed independently, a privateer could cruise a shipping lane and capture ships as they passed.

Ships sailing in convoy presented a much smaller target: a convoy was as hard to find as a single ship. If the privateer found a convoy and the wind was favourable for an attack, it could still hope to capture only a handful of ships before the rest managed to escape, a small escort of warships could thwart it; as a result of the convoy system's effectiveness, wartime insurance premiums were lower for ships that sailed in convoys. Many naval battles in the Age of Sail were fought around convoys, including: The Battle of Portland The Battle of Ushant The Battle of Dogger Bank The Glorious First of June The Battle of Pulo Aura By the end of the Napoleonic Wars the Royal Navy had in place a sophisticated convoy system to protect merchant ships. Losses of ships travelling out of convoy however were so high that no merchant ship was allowed to sail unescorted. In the early 20th century, the dreadnought changed the balance of power in convoy battles. Steaming faster than merchant ships and firing at long ranges, a single battleship could destroy many ships in a convoy before the others could scatter over the horizon.

To protect a convoy against a capital ship required providing it with an escort of another capital ship, at high opportunity cost. Battleships were the main reason that the British Admiralty did not adopt convoy tactics at the start of the first Battle of the Atlantic in World War I, but the German capital ships had been bottled up in the North Sea, the main threat to shipping came from U-boats. From a tactical point of view, World War I–era submarines were similar to privateers in the age of sail; these submarines were only a little faster than the merchant ships they were attacking, capable of sinking only a small number of vessels in a convoy because of their limited supply of torpedoes and shells. The Admiralty took a long time to respond to this change in the tactical position, in April 1917 convoys were trialled, before being introduced in the Atlantic in September 1917. Other arguments against convoys were raised; the primary issue was the loss of productivity, as merchant shipping in convoy has to travel at the speed of the slowest vessel in the convoy and spent a considerable amount of time in ports waiting for the next convoy to depart.

Further, large convoys were thought to overload port resources. Actual analysis of shipping losses in World War I disproved all these arguments, at least so far as they applied to transatlantic and other long-distance traffic. Ships sailing in convoys were far less to be sunk when not provided with an escort; the loss of productivity due to convoy delays was small compared with the loss of productivity due to ships being sunk. Ports could deal more with convoys because they tended to arrive on schedule and so loading and unloading could be planned. In his book On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, Norman Dixon suggested that the hostility towards convoys in the naval establishment were in part caused by a perception of convoys as effeminating, due to warships having to care for civilian merchant ships. Convoy duty exposes the escorting warships to the sometimes hazardous conditions of the North Atlantic, with only rare occurrences of visible achievement; the British adopted a convoy system voluntary and compulsory for all merchant ships, the moment that World War II was declared.

Each convoy consisted of between 30 and 70 unarmed merchant ships. Canadian, American, supplies were vital for Britain to continue its war effort; the course of the Battle of the Atlantic was a long struggle as the Germans developed anti-convoy tactics and the British developed counter-tactics to thwart the Germans. The capability of a armed warship against a convoy was illustrated by the fate of Convoy HX 84. On November 5, 1940, the German heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer encountered the convoy. Maiden, Kenbame Head and Fresno were sunk, other ships were damaged. Only the sacrifice of the Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Jervis Bay and failing light allowed the rest of the convoy to escape; the deterrence value of a battleship in protecting a convoy was dramatically illustrated when the German light battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, mounting 11 in guns, came upon an eastbound British convoy in the North Atlantic on February 8, 1941. When the Germans detected the slow but well-protected battleship HMS Ramillies escorting the convoy, they f

Harnden Farm

Harnden Farm, known today as Infinity Farm, is a historic farmstead at 261 Salem Street in Andover, Massachusetts. It includes a barn, built c. 1840 for Jesse Harnden, a farmer who moved from Reading. The house is notable for its late Federal style elements as well as its Greek Revival styling, it is five bays wide, with a side gable roof and end chimneys. Its main entrance is sheltered by a balustrade on its roof; the barn on the property is a rare surviving example of a Greek Revival barn. The farmstead was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. National Register of Historic Places listings in Andover, Massachusetts National Register of Historic Places listings in Essex County, Massachusetts

Rafik Yousef

Rafik Mohamad Yousef known as Rafik Youssef, was an Islamist terrorist, tried and convicted for plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister of Iraq during his visit to Germany in 2004, served time, after being released from prison, was shot and killed when he attacked a German police officer with a knife in Berlin on 17 September 2015. Yousef was 41 years old and a citizen of Iraq. In 2004, Yousef and two other Iraqis, Ata R. and Mazen H. planned to assassinate Iraq's then-current Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, while he visited Germany. The assassination was planned to take place during an appearance by Allawi in Berlin at Deutsche Bank on 3 December 2004; the three were among more than 20 alleged affiliates of Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamist group linked to al-Qaeda, arrested in Europe in 2004 as security officials asserted that the group was sneaking trained operatives into Europe to carry out attacks. The three were convicted of plotting to assassinate Allawi, sentenced to prison, they were arrested separately on 3 December 2004.

Yousef served an eight-year sentence and was freed in 2013, but he was required to wear an electronic leg tag. According to Bild newspaper, the tag had been removed only hours before attacking the police officer in 2015; the attack took place in the Spandau district of Berlin. Police were alerted to a "madman with a knife", threatening passersby; as the first police officer arrived at the scene and emerged from her vehicle, Yousef stabbed her in the neck just above her protective vest, her partner drew his gun and shot Yousef four times, killing him. A conspiracy theory claiming that Yousef is still alive and active began in Italy before spreading to Germany and to the English-speaking world, it purported that Yousef is "Paul H.", the name given to the as-of-yet unidentified suspect of a fatal knife attack at Grafing station in Grafing, southern Germany, on 10 May 2016. Conspiracy theorists claimed that Yousef's name had been changed as part of a cover-up