World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
German battleship Tirpitz
Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Kaiserliche Marine, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and her hull was launched two and a half years later. Work was completed in February 1941. Like her sister ship Bismarck, Tirpitz was armed with a main battery of eight 38-centimetre guns in four twin turrets. After a series of wartime modifications she was 2000 tonnes heavier than Bismarck, making her the heaviest battleship built by a European navy. After completing sea trials in early 1941, Tirpitz served as the centrepiece of the Baltic Fleet, intended to prevent a possible break-out attempt by the Soviet Baltic Fleet. In early 1942, the ship sailed to Norway to act as a deterrent against an Allied invasion. While stationed in Norway, Tirpitz was intended to be used to intercept Allied convoys to the Soviet Union, two such missions were attempted in 1942.
This was the only feasible role for her, since the St Nazaire Raid had made operations against the Atlantic convoy lanes too risky. Tirpitz acted as a fleet in being, forcing the British Royal Navy to retain significant naval forces in the area to contain the battleship. In September 1943, along with the battleship Scharnhorst, bombarded Allied positions on Spitzbergen, the only time the ship used her main battery in an offensive role. Shortly thereafter, the ship was damaged in an attack by British mini-submarines and subsequently subjected to a series of large-scale air raids. On 12 November 1944, British Lancaster bombers equipped with 12,000-pound "Tallboy" bombs scored two direct hits and a near miss which caused the ship to capsize rapidly. A deck fire spread to the ammunition magazine for one of the main battery turrets, which caused a large explosion. Figures for the number of men killed in the attack range from 950 to 1,204. Between 1948 and 1957 the wreck was broken up by German salvage operation.
The two Bismarck-class battleships were designed in the mid-1930s by the German Kriegsmarine as a counter to French naval expansion the two Richelieu-class battleships France had started in 1935. Laid down after the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935, Tirpitz and her sister Bismarck were nominally within the 35,000-long-ton limit imposed by the Washington regime that governed battleship construction in the interwar period; the ships secretly exceeded the figure by a wide margin, though before either vessel was completed, the international treaty system had fallen apart following Japan's withdrawal in 1937, allowing signatories to invoke an "escalator clause" that permitted displacements as high as 45,000 long tons. Tirpitz displaced 42,900 t as built and 52,600 tonnes loaded, with a length of 251 m, a beam of 36 m and a maximum draft of 10.60 m. She was powered by three Brown, Boveri & Cie geared steam turbines and twelve oil-fired Wagner superheated boilers, which developed a total of 163,023 PS and yielded a maximum speed of 30.8 knots on speed trials.
Her standard crew numbered 1,962 enlisted men. As built, Tirpitz was equipped with Model 23 search radars mounted on the forward and rear rangefinders; these were replaced with Model 27 and Model 26 radars, which had a larger antenna array. A Model 30 radar, known as the Hohentwiel, was mounted in 1944 in her topmast, a Model 213 Würzburg fire-control radar was added on her stern 10.5 cm Flak rangefinders. She was armed with eight 38 cm SK C/34 L/52 guns arranged in four twin gun turrets: two superfiring turrets forward—Anton and Bruno—and two aft—Caesar and Dora, her secondary armament consisted of twelve 15 cm L/55 guns, sixteen 10.5 cm L/65 and sixteen 3.7 cm L/83, twelve 2 cm C/30 antiaircraft guns. The number of 2 cm guns was increased to 58. After 1942, eight 53.3 cm above-water torpedo tubes were installed in two quadruple mounts, one mount on each side of the ship. The ship's main belt was 320 mm thick and was covered by a pair of upper and main armoured decks that were 50 mm and 100 to 120 mm thick, respectively.
The 38 cm turrets were protected by 220 mm thick sides. Tirpitz was ordered as Ersatz Schleswig-Holstein as a replacement for the old pre-dreadnought Schleswig-Holstein, under the contract name "G"; the Kriegsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven was awarded the contract, where the keel was laid on 20 October 1936. The hull was launched on 1 April 1939. Adolf von Trotha, a former admiral in the Imperial German Navy, spoke at the ship's launching, attended by Adolf Hitler. Fitting-out work followed her launch, was completed by February 1941. British bombers attacked the harbour in which the ship was being built. Tirpitz was commissioned into the fleet on 25 February for sea trials, which were conducted in the Baltic. After sea trials, Tirpitz was performed intensive training in the Baltic. While the ship was in Kiel, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. A temporary Baltic Fleet was created to prevent the possible break-out of the Soviet fleet based in Leningrad. T
Robert Hampton Gray
Robert Hampton "Hammy" Gray, was a Canadian naval officer and recipient of the Victoria Cross during World War II, one of only two members of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm to have been thus decorated in that war. Gray is the last Canadian to win the Victoria Cross. Gray was born in Trail, British Columbia, but resided from an early age in Nelson, where his father was a jeweller. In 1940, following education at the University of Alberta and University of British Columbia, where he completed his Bachelor of Arts and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve at HMCS Tecumseh in Calgary, Alberta. Sent to England for training, Gray was sent back to Canada to train at RCAF Station Kingston. Gray joined 757 Squadron at Winchester, England, he was assigned to the African theatre, flying Hawker Hurricanes for shore-based squadrons, nos. 795, 803, 877, where he spent two years at Nairobi. He trained to fly the Corsair fighter and in 1944 he was assigned to 1841 Squadron, based on HMS Formidable.
From August 24–29, 1944, he took part in a series of unsuccessful raids against the German battleship Tirpitz, in Norway. On August 29, 1944, he was Mentioned in Dispatches for his participation in an attack on three German destroyers, during which his plane's rudder was shot off. On January 16, 1945, he received a further Mention, "For undaunted courage and determination in carrying out daring attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz." In April 1945, HMS Formidable joined the British Pacific Fleet, involved in the invasion of Okinawa. By July 1945, the carrier was involved in strikes on the Japanese mainland. On July 18, Gray led a strafing mission against airfields in the Tokyo area. On July 24, Gray led another flight to the inland sea which damaged one merchant ship, damaged two seaplane bases and one airbase. Gray earned a Distinguished Service Cross for aiding in sinking a Japanese destroyer in the area of Tokyo on July 28; the award was not announced until August 21, 1945, when the notice appeared in the London Gazette with the citation, "For determination and address in air attacks on targets in Japan".
On August 9, 1945, at Onagawa Bay, Miyagi Prefecture, Lieutenant Gray led an attack on a group of Japanese naval vessels, sinking the Etorofu-class escort ship Amakusa before his plane crashed into the bay. The citation for his VC, gazetted on November 13, 1945, describes what happened: ADMIRALTY Whitehall, 13th November 1945; the KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS for valour to: — the late Temporary Lieutenant Robert Hampton GRAY, R. C. N. V. R. for great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Wan, on 9 August 1945. In the face of fire from shore batteries and a heavy concentration of fire from some five warships Lieutenant Gray pressed home his attack, flying low in order to ensure success, although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray has shown a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership. Gray was one of the last Canadians to die during World War II, was the last Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
His VC is owned by the Gray family. As Gray's remains were never found, he was listed as missing in action and presumed dead, he is commemorated, with other Canadians who died or were buried at sea during the First and Second World Wars, at the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park, Nova Scotia. The War Memorial Gym at University of British Columbia, Royal Canadian Legion hall in Nelson, numerous other sites in Nelson, the wardroom of HMCS Tecumseh bear plaques in his honour. A memorial for Gray was erected at Onagawa Bay in 1989 in Sakiyama Park; this is the only memorial dedicated to a foreign soldier on Japanese soil. Following the devastation of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, the monument was moved from its original location in Sakiyama Park to one beside the hospital in Onagawa Town. A rededication ceremony was held 24 August 2012. Gray is one of fourteen figures commemorated at the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa. To celebrate the Centennial of the Canadian Navy, during the 2010 air show season, Vintage Wings of Canada flew at events across Canada in a Corsair bearing the markings of the plane Gray was flying that fateful day.
His life is recorded in A Formidable Hero, Lt. R. H. Gray, VC, DSC, RCNVR by Stuart E. Soward, published by Trafford Neptune. On March 12, 1946, the Geographic Board of Canada named a mountain in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, British Columbia, after Gray and his brother, John Balfour Gray, killed in World War II. Rising to a height of 2,753m, Grays Peak is well known in Canada as the mountain pictured on the label of Kokanee beer; the elementary school at CFB Shearwater is named after Gray. The Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps in Nelson, BC is named 81 Hampton Gray, VC Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps. In 2012, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets created a new squadron in his honour called 789 Lt. R. Hampton Gray VC Squadron, located in Mississauga, Ontario; the six and final Harry DeWolf-class offshore patrol vessel will be named for Gray. "Casualty details—Gray, Robert Hampton". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 2009-10-15; the Last Battle of Hampton Gray on IMDb "Biography and photographies of Robert Hampton Gray".
Archived from the original on 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2005-12-25. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown Vintage Wings of Canada article on Gray
Kingston Norman Rogers Airport
Kingston Airport known as Norman Rogers Airport, is an airport located 4.3 nautical miles west of the core of Kingston, Canada. The airport is named after former MP Norman McLeod Rogers, Minister of Labour and National Defence in Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's cabinet. Rogers died in a plane crash on June 10, 1940 while flying from Ottawa to Toronto for a speaking engagement. Before 1940, Kingston was served only by the Kingston Airfield, a grass strip just north of the city's downtown, which closed in 1942. In 1940, during the Second World War, an airfield was built to the west of Kingston to serve as a training station for the Royal Air Force's No. 31 Service Flying Training School. The school provided advanced flight training in Harvard aircraft. In 1942 the school became part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan; the BCATP's No. 14 Service Flying Training School moved to Kingston in 1944 and merged with the RAF school. No. 14 SFTS used Harvards and Ansons. A decommissioned yellow Harvard aircraft now stands on a pedestal near the airport entrance to commemorate the airport's wartime role.
The airport was transferred to city control in 1972. The airport's runway outline displays the classic BCATP triangle pattern; the airport was built with six 2,500 ft runways. One can still see. Runway 01/19 was extended northwards to a length of 5,000 ft to handle larger aircraft, it is planned to be extended to 6,000 ft. Runway 07/25 was extended northeastwards to a length of nearly 4,000 ft, with no plans to extend it, due to the requirements for certified airports on runways over a certain length; the remaining runway, 12/30, was converted to a taxiway. Kingston Airport services three frequencies: ATIS and radio. There is guidance for private aircraft needing fuel or parking on Kingston Flying Club Advisory Kingston is a mandatory frequency airport with an operating flight service station; the airport supports a large amount of general aviation traffic, including flight training and general recreational flying. As one of the only public airports to offer an ILS approach along the corridor between Montréal–Trudeau and Toronto–Pearson, the Kingston airport is an important alternate during poor weather conditions.
There are two Flight Training Units located on the field. Kingston Flying Club, a flight school and charter operation is located in hanger 5 and Fly Kingston/Fly Canadian is located in hanger 4; the airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency. CBSA officers at this airport can handle aircraft with no more than 30 passengers. RCAF Station Kingston Official website Page about this airport on COPA's Places to Fly airport directory Past three hours METARs, SPECI and current TAFs for Kingston Airport from Nav Canada as available
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, on the south and east by the American state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. Many of Ontario's most populous cities, including Toronto, Canada's most populous city, Hamilton, are on the lake's northern or western shores. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí'io means "Lake of Shining Waters", its primary inlet is the Niagara River from Lake Erie. The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River, it is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan. Lake Ontario is the easternmost of the Great Lakes and the smallest in surface area, although it exceeds Lake Erie in volume, it is the 13th largest lake in the world. When its islands are included, the lake's shoreline is 712 miles long.
As the last lake in the Great Lakes' hydrologic chain, Lake Ontario has the lowest mean surface elevation of the lakes at 243 feet above sea level. Its maximum length is 193 statute miles and its maximum width is 53 statute miles; the lake's average depth is 47 fathoms 1 foot, with a maximum depth of 133 fathoms 4 feet. The lake's primary source is the Niagara River, draining Lake Erie, with the St. Lawrence River serving as the outlet; the drainage basin covers 24,720 square miles. As with all the Great Lakes, water levels change both among years; these water level fluctuations are an integral part of lake ecology, produce and maintain extensive wetlands. The lake has an important freshwater fishery, although it has been negatively affected by factors including over-fishing, water pollution and invasive species. Baymouth bars built by prevailing winds and currents have created a significant number of lagoons and sheltered harbors near Prince Edward County and the easternmost shores; the best-known example is Toronto Bay, chosen as the site of the Upper Canada capital for its strategic harbour.
Other prominent examples include Hamilton Harbour, Irondequoit Bay, Presqu'ile Bay, Sodus Bay. The bars themselves are the sites of long beaches, such as Sandbanks Provincial Park and Sandy Island Beach State Park; these sand bars are associated with large wetlands, which support large numbers of plant and animal species, as well as providing important rest areas for migratory birds. Presqu'ile, on the north shore of Lake Ontario, is significant in this regard. One unique feature of the lake is the Z-shaped Bay of Quinte which separates Prince Edward County from the Ontario mainland, save for a 2-mile isthmus near Trenton. Major rivers draining into Lake Ontario include the Niagara River, Don River, Humber River, Trent River, Cataraqui River, Genesee River, Oswego River, Black River, Little Salmon River, the Salmon River; the lake basin was carved out of soft, weak Silurian-age rocks by the Wisconsin ice sheet during the last ice age. The action of the ice occurred along the pre-glacial Ontarian River valley which had the same orientation as today's basin.
Material, pushed southward by the ice sheet left landforms such as drumlins and moraines, both on the modern land surface and the lake bottom, reorganizing the region's entire drainage system. As the ice sheet retreated toward the north, it still dammed the St. Lawrence valley outlet, so the lake surface was at a higher level; this stage is known as Lake Iroquois. During that time the lake drained through present-day Syracuse, New York into the Mohawk River, thence to the Hudson River and the Atlantic; the shoreline created during this stage can be recognized by the beaches and wave-cut hills 10 to 25 miles from the present shoreline. When the ice receded from the St. Lawrence valley, the outlet was below sea level, for a short time the lake became a bay of the Atlantic Ocean, in association with the Champlain Sea; the land rebounded from the release of the weight of about 6,500 feet of ice, stacked on it. It is still rebounding about 12 inches per century in the St. Lawrence area. Since the ice receded from the area last, the most rapid rebound still occurs there.
This means the lake bed is tilting southward, inundating the south shore and turning river valleys into bays. Both north and south shores experience shoreline erosion, but the tilting amplifies this effect on the south shore, causing loss to property owners; the name Ontario is derived from the Huron word Ontarí'io, which means "great lake". The lake was a border between the Huron people and the Iroquois Confederacy in the pre-Columbian era. In the 1600s, the Iroquois drove out the Huron from southern Ontario and settled the northern shores of Lake Ontario; when the Iroquois withdrew and the Anishnabeg / Ojibwa / Mississaugas moved in from the north to southern Ontario, they retained the Iroquois name. It is believed the first European to reach the lake was Étienne Brûlé in 1615; as was their practice, the French explorers introduced other names for the lake. In 1632 and 1656, the lake was referred to as Lac de St. Louis or Lake St. Louis by Samuel de Champlain and cartographer Nicolas Sanson In
The Avro Anson is a British twin-engined, multi-role aircraft built by the aircraft manufacturer Avro. Large numbers of the type served in a variety of roles for the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Canadian Air Force and numerous other air forces before and after the Second World War. Known as the Avro 652A, the Anson was developed during the mid-1930s from the earlier Avro 652 airliner in response to a request for tenders issued by the British Air Ministry for a maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Having suitably impressed the Ministry, a single prototype was ordered, which conducted its maiden flight on 24 March 1935. Following an evaluation in which the Type 652A bettered the competing de Havilland DH.89, it was selected as the winner, leading to Air Ministry Specification 18/35 being written around the type and an initial order for 174 aircraft being ordered in July 1935. The Type 652A was promptly named after British Admiral George Anson; the type was placed into service with the Royal Air Force and was used in the envisioned maritime reconnaissance operation alongside the larger flying boats.
However, by the outbreak of the Second World War, the Anson was soon found to have become obsolete in front line combat roles. However, large numbers of the type were put to use as a multi-engined aircrew trainer, having been found to be suitable for the role, became the mainstay of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan; the type continued to be used in this role throughout and after the conflict, remaining in RAF service as a trainer and communications aircraft until 28 June 1968. During the post-war climate, the Anson was produced for the civil market, being used as a light transport and executive aircraft. By the end of production in 1952, a total of 8,138 Ansons had been constructed by Avro in nine variants. By the 21st century, the vast majority of Ansons had been retired from flying. However, a single Anson Mk. I, manufactured during 1943, had been restored to airworthiness, having been refitted with metal wings. On 18 July 2012, this restored aircraft performed its first flight. In 1933, the British Air Ministry proposed that the Royal Air Force acquire a cheap landplane for coastal maritime reconnaissance duties.
The Air Ministry requested tenders from major aircraft manufacturers to produce a suitable aircraft in order to meet this requirement. Avro decided to respond to the request with the Avro 652A, a modified version of the earlier Avro 652, a twin-engined, six-seat monoplane airliner. After evaluating the various submissions received, the Air Ministry decided to place a pair of orders, with Avro and de Havilland to manufacture single examples of the Type 652A and the de Havilland DH.89 for evaluation purposes in order to meet this requirement late in 1934. On 24 March 1935, the Avro 652A conducted its maiden flight at Woodford Aerodrome, Greater Manchester. Between 11 and 17 May 1935, the prototype participated in a formal evaluation against the competing DH.89M by the RAF's Coastal Defence Development Unit at RAF Gosport, Hampshire. During these trials, the Avro aircraft proved to be superior and was accordingly selected as the winner of the competition on 25 May 1935. In response to its selection, Air Ministry Specification 18/35 was written around the Type 652A.
On 31 December 1935, the first production Anson performed its maiden flight. Additionally, while the prototype had not been fitted with flaps, production aircraft could accommodate their installation from the onset to increase the viable glide angle and reduce landing speed. On 6 March 1936, deliveries to the RAF commenced. By the end of production in 1952, a total of 11,020 Ansons had been completed, which made it the second most numerous British multi-engined aircraft of the Second World War; the Avro Anson was a low-wing cantilever monoplane. Developed as a general reconnaissance aircraft, it possessed many features that lent itself to the role, including considerable load-carrying ability, long range; the structure of the Anson was straightforward and uncomplicated, relying on proven methods and robust construction to produce an airframe that minimised maintenance requirements. Much of the internal structure had retained similar to the earlier Avro 652 airliner from which it had been developed.
The Anson Mk I was furnished with a low-mounted one-piece wooden wing, composed of a combination of plywood and spruce throughout the wingbox and ribs. The fuselage was composed of a welded steel tubing framework, principally clad in fabric; the Anson was powered by a pair of Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX seven-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, which were each rated at 350 horsepower. Each engine was provided with separate fuel and oil tanks; the engine cowling were intentionally designed to have a reduced diameter in order to reduce their negative impact upon external visibility, considered to be valuable to the type's reconn
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du