Saturday, 3 December 2011

de lesseps

Ferdinand de Lesseps was born on 19 November 1805 into a family of French career-diplomats. He went into the same profession, and during his early career was posted to Tunisia and Egypt. In Egypt, he became friends with Said Pasha, son of the viceroy. De Lesseps became fascinated with the cultures of the Mediterranean and Middle East and the growth of western European trade. After postings to Spain and Italy, in 1849 he retired after a disagreement with the French government. In 1854, his friend Said Pasha became the new viceroy of Egypt. De Lesseps immediately returned to Egypt, where he was given a warm welcome and, soon afterwards, permission to begin work on the Suez Canal. De Lesseps had been inspired by reading about Napoleon's abandoned plans for a canal that would allow large ships wishing to sail to the east to go directly from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, thereby cutting out the long sea journey around Africa.
De Lesseps' scheme was backed by an international commission of engineers, but failed to win the support of the British government, despite de Lesseps making a number of trips to London. He persevered and eventually attracted financial backing from the French emperor Napoleon III and others. De Lesseps was no engineer - his achievement lay in organising the necessary political and financial backing, and providing the technical support necessary for such a huge project. Construction began in April 1859, and the Suez Canal was opened in November 1869. British attitudes changed when the canal was seen to be a success and de Lesseps was treated as a great celebrity on his subsequent visit to Britain. In 1875, the Egyptian government sold its shares in the canal and the British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, bought effective control of the Canal Company.
In his 74th year, de Lesseps began to plan a new canal in Panama. In 1879, an international congress was held in Paris, which chose the route for the Panama Canal and appointed de Lesseps as leader of the undertaking. Work began in 1881, but the canal proved much more complicated to build than the Suez Canal. After eight years, little progress appeared to have been made (it was eventually finished in 1914). A French court found de Lesseps and his son Charles guilty of mismanagement. Both were heavily fined and sentenced to imprisonment. In the event, de Lesseps did not go to jail, but his son paid for his elderly father's misjudgements with a year in prison. De Lesseps died on 7 December 1894.

hell is for heroes


A brilliasnt film based on the Americans fighting the Germans and it has a very good but offbeat ending.Squad leader Sergeant Larkin (Harry Guardino) and his men are getting ready to take a long deserved rest after being on the front-line for several weeks. During an interlude at a church and later at a tavern, the senior non-commissioned officer, Technical Sergeant Pike (Fess Parker), happens upon former fellow sergeant, now Private, John Reese (Steve McQueen). Reese is the quintessential troubled loner, managing to alienate himself from almost everyone in the squad right from the beginning. The company commander, Captain Loomis (Joseph Hoover), is worried because Reese goes crazy when there is no fighting, but Pike comments that he is a good soldier in combat.
Sergeant Pike informs the men that they will be going back on the line. After much complaining, the men get ready to move out. The remaining members of 2nd Squad include con-man/thief Corby (Bobby Darin), the mechanic-who-can-fix-anything Corporal Henshaw (James Coburn), the easy-going, somewhat-naive kid, Cumberly (Bill Mullikin), Polish refugee Homer Janeczek (Nick Adams), and family man Kolinsky (Mike Kellin). The morning after they arrive at their appointed post and dig in, the men realize they are spread so thin that any reconnaissance by the Germans will quickly reveal how weak the American defenses are.
One stroke of good luck is the sudden and mistaken arrival of an Army company clerk, Private First Class James Driscoll (Bob Newhart in his first film role). Larkin quickly puts Driscoll’s jeep to use by having Henshaw rig it to backfire and sound like a tank. Driscoll himself is put to use improvising misleading radio messages for a hidden microphone left by the Germans in an abandoned pillbox (Newhart was noted for his telephone conversation skits in his stand-up comedy routines).
A German raid results in Cumberly's death, but Reese manages to kill three Germans in close combat. Reese, so wound up he can barely stand still, recommends hitting the German pillbox on the other side of a field filled with mines and barbed wire to make the enemy think the Americans are at normal strength. Larkin decides to go find some help and see if he can get permission from Pike for the attack, but is killed by artillery. Reese decides to proceed without orders and persuades the others to go along. The attack fails, with Henshaw fatally burned by his exploding flamethrower tanks and Kolinsky dying screaming from shrapnel through the back and abdomen.Example of the World War 2 Soldier when cast and painted.
Reinforcements do arrive soon thereafter, along with Sergeant Pike and Captain Loomis, who berates Reese and decides not to court-martial the insubordinate private only so he can be at the front of the American assault at dawn. The pillbox fires on the advancing Americans. Reese throws a satchel charge into the pillbox. When it is tossed out by the defenders, he grabs it and, by now gravely wounded, carries it in, blowing up the fortification and himself.


Very few toy soldier companies did pilots let alone USAF ones but a couple that did were Marx and Atlantic. The atlantic ones are easily converted.The War Lover is a 1962 British black-and-white war film directed by Philip Leacock and written by Howard Koch loosely based on the 1959 novel, The War Lover by John Hersey, altering the names of characters and events but retaining its basic framework. It stars Steve McQueen, Robert Wagner, Shirley Anne Field, Ed Bishop and features a young Michael Crawford.
The war itself is not the most important element of the film. Instead it focuses on the character of Buzz Rickson (McQueen) and his determination to serve himself and get what he wants – in the process antagonizing everyone.
In 1943, Captain Buzz Rickson (Steve McQueen) is an arrogant B-17 File:Color Photographed B-17E in Flight.jpgpilot stationed in England during World War II. When a bombing mission is aborted because clouds obscure all potential targets, Rickson ignores the order to turn around, dives under the clouds and completes the job, at the cost of one of the bombers in his squadron and its entire crew. Rickson revels in the fighting and destruction; when he is assigned to drop propaganda leaflets, he makes his displeasure felt by buzzing the airfield. His commanding officer tolerates his repeated insubordination because he is the best pilot in the bomber group. imageEven so, when he asks the flight surgeon his opinion, the latter is uncertain whether Rickson is a hero or a psychopath. However, Rickson's crew trusts his great flying skill, especially his co-pilot Lieutenant Ed Bolland (Robert Wagner).
Between missions, Rickson and Bolland meet a woman, Daphne Caldwell (Shirley Anne Field). Though she is attracted to both pilots, she quickly finds out what kind of man Rickson is and chooses Bolland. They soon begin sleeping together. She falls in love with him, though she suspects he will leave her behind and return to America at the end of his tour of duty.image
Meanwhile, Bolland becomes increasingly disillusioned with Rickson, his arrogance, and his callousness. Rickson pressures his navigator, Second Lieutenant Marty Lynch (Gary Cockrell), into transferring to another aircraft because he questions his orders and behavior. Soon afterwards, family man Lynch is killed in combat. His friend Bolland takes it hard and blames Rickson.B-3 Sheepskin Flight Jacket World War II
Then, when the crew is near the end of the required 25 missions, Rickson makes a move on Daphne, visiting her in her flat after Bolland heads back to the base. Rickson plans to embark on a second tour of duty, while his rival goes home. Daphne rejects his forceful advances, (unlike the novel) but Rickson tries to make Bolland think otherwise.
Finally, on a bombing mission, the B-17 is badly shot up and one crew member, Sgt. Sailen (Michael Crawford), dies of wounds. It limps back over the English Channel and the rest of the crew bails out. Rickson then pushes the unsuspecting Bolland out of the plane and tries to nurse the bomber back to base by himself, only to crash into the cliffs of Dover.

Friday, 2 December 2011


Its a film that is worth every film of spielburg, a film that captured the real men in a war and not the wannabees that Spielburg wanted them to be. Ten times the film Ryan was and maybe the greatest film about war ever. An Oscar winning performance from Palance and maybe Marvin .Its a must see film and overs great possibility for 54mm wargaming.
"A cynical and grim account of war",the film is set in the latter stages of World War II and tells of a front line combat unit led by a cowardly captain clearly out of his depth and a tougher subordinate who threatens to do away with him. As the official trailer put it: "Not every gun is pointed at the enemy
Europe 1944: Fragile Fox is a company of American G.I.s based in a Belgian town near the front line. They are led by Captain Erskine Cooney (Eddie Albert)File:EddieAlbertinSmashUp.jpg, a man who appears to be better at handling red tape than military strategy. Cooney is a natural coward who freezes under fire and cannot bring himself to send more men into battle to reinforce those already under attack. The increasing and unnecessary loss of life is causing morale problems among the troops and trying the patience of Platoon Leader Lt. Joe Costa (Jack Palance), a bold and brave fighter and a natural leader of men. The Executive Officer, Lt. Harold Woodruff (William Smithers, in his first credited screen role) is the "voice of reason" who tries to keep the peace between Cooney and Costa. Both he and Costa are respected by the enlisted troops. While Woodruff tries to get Cooney re-assigned to a desk job behind the ines, Costa hints at a more direct solution to the problem. It's a well-known fact that Cooney owes his position to battalion commander Lt. Col. Clyde Bartlett (Lee Marvin), a man who has known the Cooney family since he was a 14-year-old clerk in the office of Cooney's father, a top judge. The judge and his influence could be very useful to Bartlett's post-war political ambitions and it all depends on his and Erskine's war records. Neither Captain Erskine Cooney nor Bartlett are liked by the company: as Pfc. Bernstein (Robert Strauss) puts it: "When you salute them two, you have to apologize to your arm."
When the Germans start the counter-attack known as the Battle of the Bulge, Bartlett orders Cooney to seize the town of La Nelle. Since there is no way of knowing if the Germans are there or not, Cooney overrules an all-out attack and decides that Costa should lead a reconnaissance mission. Costa agrees provided that both Cooney and Woodruff promise him to
send in reinforcements if necessary. As he is about to leave, Costa warns Cooney of the consequences if he ever plays the "gutless wonder" again: "I'll shove this grenade down your throat and pull the pin!" As they approach La Nelle, the platoon comes under fire by German SS. Most of them are killed or injured. Costa and a handful of men take refuge in a farmhouse but find themselves under siege. When Costa calls for reinforcements, Cooney snaps, ignores the pressure from Woodruff to go in and turns to drink. A little strategy and deception enables Costa and his men to hold up but when panzers appear he has no choice but to call a retreat. He furiously tells Woodruff over the radio to warn Cooney that he's "coming back!"

Lee Marvin as the manipulative Colonel
In the confusion that follows the retreat, Costa becomes MIA. The rest of the men manage to get back to the main town, though another of them is killed, in addition to the many casualties during the initial move on La Nelle. The men show their contempt for Cooney: Bernstein spits at his feet and Sergeant Tolliver (Buddy Ebsen) rejects his offer of a drink, telling him that where he comes from "We don't drink with another man unless we respect him." Bartlett appears and tells Woodruff and Cooney that they must hold their present position in spite of the German advance. Woodruff warns Bartlett that he is going to lodge a complaint with General Parsons, the Colonel's superior, over the handling of the company. With the pressure building, Cooney breaks down, telling Woodruff about having been beaten by his father in order to "make a man" out of him. Bartlett has told him that he is in command "as a favor to the judge. He's always wanted a son, now I'm trying to give him one." Feeling sorry for Cooney, Woodruff tells him to sleep it off and is about to assume command when Costa suddenly reappears, determined to kill Cooney. As they argue, they are told that the town is being overrun by Germans. Costa grabs a Bazooka and bravely disables a tank, only to have his arm crushed by its treads.
A handful of men, including Woodruff and Sergeant Tolliver, take refuge in a basement. Private Bernstein is injured and, being a Jew, is unlikely to have his POW rights respected by the attacking SS. They try to get out but their way is blocked, and a drunken and erratic Cooney insists they are "holding for Clyde [Bartlett]". As they argue, Costa suddenly appears. Seriously injured and with only minutes of life left, he appeals to God to give him enough strength to kill Cooney, but he collapses and dies. Cooney mockingly kicks the gun away from him. With Costa dead, Cooney suggests that the rest of them surrender even though they have not been discovered. At that moment Woodruff warns him that he will shoot him if he does. When Cooney does make a move, Woodruff kills him.
Woodruff insists that Tolliver place him under arrest, but he and the other GIs reject this, claiming that "shooting him was just about the most just thing I ever seen." They take turns shooting the dead Cooney themselves. Allied reinforcements arrive and the Germans retreat. Told by the men that Cooney was killed by the Germans, Bartlett appears to accept this and puts Woodruff in command. When the men ask Woodruff to confirm that he is now the C.O., there is some anxiety and hesitation in the room. Bartlett, an expert poker player who knows all about bluffing, is momentarily suspicious.
Bartlett, who has always hated Cooney, contemptuously kicks him over, remarking "So the old judge wanted a son, huh? Looks like he had to lose one to get one." He gives Woodruff a field promotion to captain and tells him to forget about the threatened complaint to General Parsons; but he then announces that he is going to nominate Cooney for the
Distinguished Service Cross. Outraged that a coward should be honoured in this way, Woodruff openly accuses Bartlett of manipulating the whole thing in order to get rid of Cooney, who was a liability, and get favors with his powerful father: "I may have pulled that trigger but you aimed the gun. You set this whole thing up so it would happen!" Bartlett is unconcerned, remarking that Woodruff has too much to lose if he makes the whole affair public. But Woodruff calls his bluff, goes to the radio and calls for General Parsons.


  • Jack Palance as Lt. Joe Costa
  • Eddie Albert as Capt. Erskine Cooney
  • Lee Marvin as Lt. Col. Clyde Bartlett
  • William Smithers as Lt. Harold "Harry" Woodruff
  • Robert Strauss as Pfc. Bernstein
  • Richard Jaeckel as Pvt. Snowden
  • Buddy Ebsen as Sfc. Tolliver
  • Jon Shepodd as Cpl. John Jackson
  • Peter van Eyck as SS Captain
  • James Goodwin as Pfc. Ricks
  • Steven Geray as Otto, German NCOSteve Geray1.jpg