Starbucks and Apple

Go into a Starbucks, any Starbucks any where. Where I sit now seven people working, reading or just chilling. In front of five of them are Apple products; laptops, iPhones, iPods or iPads. Well the count should be six as I am writing this on my iPad.

Today for the cost of a cup of coffee (or for me a cup of tea) you have accesses to friends and colleagues from around the would. The Starbucks that I am at is in a college section of town so most appear to be doing school work.

The combination of an iPad and Starbucks means you are always connected. Think how many books, newspapers or shows you have on you iPad? There is no better way to lose a little time while waiting on an appointment or just need to relax.

I wonder if Apple and Starbucks ever thought of complimentary market? Just a thought. Need to get back to my book on Jutland. There had to be a connection to The Great War.

Enjoy the day

Typed on my iPad. Sorry for any errors.

Mea Culpa

ImageWordPress was acting up yesterday when I was trying to post a Passover piece. It was intended to go to My Jewish Journey.  I am sorry for any confusion to those that follow Green Fields Beyond. If you are interested I hope you will follow My Jewish Journey.

Have a great day.

Book Acquisitions

This has been a great week for acquisitions. I picked up Max Hastings Catastrophe 1914 at a local independent bookshop. It is important to support the few remaining independent booksellers left. I really enjoy all the books Hastings has written and look forward to devouring it. I also picked up a book on the Vichy Air Force that will be used for TOOFATLardies’ Bag the Hun at a used game and bookshop.

The best was a total surprise. Often, I receive offers on books that are on my current wish list from Pen and Sword (also the publisher of Vichy Air Force at War). And if the deal is good enough or I have a need for the reference material for a project I am working on I place an order. Often forgetting about it as I move on to another project.

This week I was surprised to find delivered two books from England. The Battleship Builders will be part of a project with The Lardies on rules dealing with the pre-dreadnought and The Great War ears. The book Pioneer Battalions will help round out my understanding of the troops not only at the trenches but what made these siege lines possible.

I guess I need to get reading.

British Submarines of World War I – Review

hboat1When The Great War started, submarines were as underdeveloped technologically as their aeroplane cousins. Their engineering designs used both petrol as well as diesel engines. Tactics and weapons were still in development with the deck gun only gaining acceptance once the high cost of torpedoes were factored in. With all of these drawbacks both the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine sent their boats to sea and to war.

The Germans have a better-known story for their submarines and their successes and failure. Few remember the part played by the Royal Navy’s submarines. We are lucky to have Innes McCartney tell their story in British Submarines of World War I.

Dr. Innes J. McCartney is a British nautical archaeologist, historian, author and television contributor who has made impressive discoveries concerning nautical themes and The Great War in particular. It is well worth the time to Google the Doctor McCartney just for the dive photography. Having help, among other projects, to identify the 32 know WWI U-boat wrecks in the English Channel he is well qualified to tell the story of the Royal Navy’s little boats.

9781846033346-th2This book of 48 pages covers the design and theaters were the British boats fought. While the narrative is short (it is an Osprey monograph) it can act as both a primer or as an outline for further reading. Action takes place in the Baltic Sea were the submarines attempt to halt the ore deliveries from Sweden to German. Submarines hunt in the North Sea for both the High Seas Fleet and German U-Boats, often finding both. They are used extensively against the Ottoman Empire causing them to change their supply lines to go overland in the Gallipoli Campaign.

For their small numbers they fought well above their weight, adding 5 Victorian Crosses to the Royal Navy’s count in the conflict. We are also reminded that their story did not end with the peace. While development continued some of these old boats were used in World War II. The last boat from The Great War period to be lost operationally was the H31 during the “Channel Dash” operation. The cause appears to have been a mine.

This is a gem and should be part of any collection of a naval enthusiast. What impressed me were not only the book itself but also the bibliography. I have now added eight books to my wish list. Always a good sign for me.

This is a 5★ book and a Must Have.

Gazelle Class

ImageCruisers are a needed part of navies. It does not matter if we are talking of frigates in the age of sail or heavy cruisers fighting in The Slot during World War II. They are the eyes of the fleets, leading destroyer squadron, and protecting their nations trade routes.

At the turn of the 20th century the major navies had several choices in cruiser design. Armored Cruisers were the heavies in the list able to fight in the battle line. These were followed in size by First, Second and Third Class Cruisers. Also called Protective Cruisers. The Second, and Third being little more than heavy gunboats with limited sea going capabilities.

The Germans with the Gazelle class created a new type of cruiser, the Light Cruiser. With ten 10.5 cm SK L/40 guns two torpedo tube and a speed of 21.5 knots these ships were one of the most powerful warships in their displacement. At 2,700 tones these cruisers are similar in size to Second and Third Class Cruisers but more sea worthy and heavily armed.

What made these cruisers even more powerful was what opposed them. Or more importantly what did not oppose them. While Britain and France were slow to build comparable ships the US Navy continued to use existing protective cruisers until they completed the larger Pennsylvania-Class Armored Cruiser.

USS_Pennsylvania_(CA-4)In the United States it was easier to build Battleships, as local politicians would often vote in favor of a Battleship named after their state. They are big and powerful, and President Roosevelt loved them.

Even as late as the 1920s, the US Navy was in need of cruisers. This issue was not solved until the 1930s with the launch of the Treaty Cruisers.

The Gazelle class and the follow on classes would see service in the North Sea and on the trade routes. They would often be upstaged by both the smaller submarines as well as by the massive Dreadnoughts, but they served their country’s navy well.

Braunschweig Class Battleship

Linienschiff "Hessen"With Krupp armor and four 28cm SK L/40 guns, the Braunschweig-class battleship was not the last of the German pre-dreadnoughts, but had a longer and more colorful history than most.

While thought of as coast defense ship by the beginning of The Great War these five were assigned to the IV Battle Squadron under the command of Vice Admiral Erhard Schmidt. Seeing active service in the Baltic one, the Hessen, took part in the Battle of Jutland helping to cover the withdraw of von Hipper’s battlecruisers.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-13211,_Wilhelmshaven,_Abgewrackte_KriegsschiffeTowards the end of the war these ships were used in reduced rolls of training and support ships. There age and the lack of dreadnoughts in the post war era allowed the German navy to used these again as coast defense ships.

The Hessen was taken as a prize by the Soviets and scraped in the 1960s. These ships were part of three German navies in their 40 years of service and have a place in the hearts of naval enthusiasts everywhere.

Fritz Haber

haber1Here is a man that has touched each of us. If you eat you have him to thank (and this is not an over statement).

From the Nobel Website.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1918 was awarded to Fritz Haber “for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements”.

Fritz Haber received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1919. During the selection process in 1918, the Nobel Committee for Chemistry decided that none of the year’s nominations met the criteria as outlined in the will of Alfred Nobel. According to the Nobel Foundation’s statutes, the Nobel Prize can in such a case be reserved until the following year, and this statute was then applied. Fritz Haber therefore received his Nobel Prize for 1918 one year later, in 1919.

Here is a man that was able to help feed the world with improved fertilizers. Yet this brilliant man also brought the world chemical weapons in The Great War.  He personally oversaw the first use of chlorine in Ypres in the west and on the Eastern Front.

Add to this he was also a secular Jew that was supported in his research by Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany.

A man driven by his love of science I am troubled, as I do not know what box to place him in. Yes he is a genius and a patriot (for Germany). A war criminal (for the Allies) possibly. He is definitely driven, but a good man, I am not sure.

His family life was shaky at best with losing his pacifist wife to suicide after his introduction of chemical weapons. One son committed suicide in the United States in 1946 after living with the shame of being his son.

Haber’s scientific research was than used by the Nazi’s in their gas chambers.

He died on the way to what is now Israel in 1934. I wonder how much of Israel’s history would have changed if he lived.

There are many layers to him and while I remain unsure, I will continue to delve into his life. I am not even sure if he deserved the Nobel Prize.

A Bio that I find more comprehensive than the one found on Wikipedia or the Nobel sites.

A Great Audio Story by RADIOLAB


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