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2017 June - Lissunov Li-2

When I was in Budapest last year I have missed to see the Goldtimer Foundation's Lissunov Li-2.

The Li-2 is a licence built version of the Douglas DC-3 manufactured in the widely used as an airliner, also in Hungary with the former national carrier Malev. The Goldtimer Foundation's Li-2 ist the last airworthy machine of this type! And only this was reason enough to try to get a flight with it.

We took off from Budaörs, flew for about half an hour to land on a small private airfield. There we had a “rest”, took a lot of photos and once it was time we flew just back to Budaörs, the former International Airport of Budapest.

Now I could write endles and enthusiastic statements – I won't. But very clear: If you are going to Hungary one day, you should definitely not miss to have a flight with with this unique aircraft!

Swastika over the Aegean, Churchill's Folly & Air Battle over Malta
Swastika over the Aegean, Churchill's Folly & Air Battle over Malta

Anthony Rogers

Swastika over the Aegean, Churchill's Folly & Air Battle over Malta

Tony Rogers with whom I am in contact since many years (and whom I have still not met in person…) is not only “The” specialist if it comes to the WWII-campaigns in the Aegean but has also written about the air battle over Malta. Have a look at his books and I am sure that you won't be disappointed – I myself will for sure have a much closer look again on his “Aegean books” before I will travle to these islands one day (which is hopefully rather soon…)

Have a look at Anthony's books!

Bombenangriff auf die Brücken von Koblenz
Bombenangriff auf die Brücken von Koblenz - Februar 1945

Kuno Gross & Rudolf Meier

Bombenangriff auf die Brücken von Koblenz - Februar 1945

On February 16. 1945 bombs fell on the village where I was born. I recall the stories told when I was a boy… but now we thought it would really be time to research the topic in depth and found a fascinating new subject for a little book… the other projects are postponed at the moment so that there is sufficient time to complete this one until the end of the year.

Koblenz - Kulturnacht 2017

In May we had attended the “Kulturnacht 2017” in the vilage of Koblenz. Actually it is a regional event taking place every two years where local artists present their skills and works. This year, in Koblenz, it took place on an island in midst of the river Rhine – a spectacular and also “romantic” environment for such an event.

It is obvious that our book about the bombing raid on the bridges of Koblenz in February 1945 did not really match the “artistic environment”. We were really sceptical on how the visitors would see our presence in this event – but these thoughts were all wrong. Except for the weather all went perfectly well. We got a lot of response from people who had already read the book and also a lot of interest of others. It is really something good for an author to have the direct contact to the readers of his book; in particular if the readers did like it.

16.06.2017 12:15 | Kuno Gross

2017 March Greifensee

Who would expect a regular ferry-service across a lake in Switzerland wehre this lake is not even one kilometre wide? It exists and the name of the lake is Greifensee. Not far from Zürich but somehow already in a different world. Today all looked calm, peaceful and pittoresque and the ferry is crossing the lake every hour.

But this was not always the case. The little town with the same name as the lake was the place of a horrible story in the medieval ages. It was during the “Alter Zürichkrieg” (literally “The old war for Zürich”) when the unsucessful and frustrated “Swiss”(called “Eidgenossen”) troops returned to their homes in the inner of today's Switzerland. The tiny city “Greifensee” was the only fortified place belonging to Zürich on their way and it was just too tempting…

But not as expected by the “Eidgenossen” who outnumbered the defenders by far, the defenders under Wildhans von Breitenlandenberg did not surrender but resisted the siege for four weeks until 27. September 1444. Then they could no longer hold out since the last tower, the “Castle” was expected to collapes soon.

Breitlandenberg had only a very few soldiers with him, the others of the all in all 62 surviving defenders were citizens of the town and farmers of the surrounding area. The “Eidgenossen” were full of anger about the long resistance and the losses it had caused to them and so it was soon decided that all the captives shall be executed.

On 28. September 1444 all but two of them died by the sword. One after the other and the killing only ended when it was already dark.

05.03.2017 14:42 | Kuno Gross

2017-01 Snow, finally

A happy new year to all of you! It did really not start bad here – since last night we have a layer of snow. Ok, it is a very thin layer but it is the first time for this year that we really have snow in Northern Switzerland. I thought that this is reason enough to take a day off and just go for a long walk…

Oman - the Mountains in the North-East
Flag of Oman
Flag of Oman

I am currently doing some research for a small article about the Royal Air Force of Oman and that just brought back memories of my (until now) only visit to this country in December 2012.
I thought I could share some photos. Not about the famous “Rub al-Khali* or about the Wahiba sands but rather of the stunning mountain-landscape in the north east of Oman.
Beautiful country, freindly people, impressive landscape – always worth a visti:

THE SAS AND LRDG ROLL OF HONOUR 1941
THE SAS AND LRDG ROLL OF HONOUR 1941-47

Ex-Lance-corporal X, QGM

THE SAS AND LRDG ROLL OF HONOUR 1941-47

“I am proud to have been asked to write a foreword to this astonishing document. I have not been party to its creation. That has been entirely due to the enterprise and determination of its author who has lived and worked with it for thirteen years and travelled extensively, at his own expense, to produce facts and photographs to support the remarkably detailed accounts of the lives and deaths of those for whom this work was undertaken. The result is here for all to see, a reference and history unique in its nature and purpose put together to unite as one in remembrance of the Second World War casualties of the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Squadron [later Service] and the Long Range Desert Group.”

Jim Patch, Former Navigator of Y Patrol, LRDG – Kent, 2016

The project has already raised £15,000 for Combat Stress, a charity helping former servicemen and women with PTSD, and will go on to raise a further for them, plus additional moeny for memorials, once the remaining copies have sold.

In Volo Su Zerzura
In Volo Su Zerzura

Roberto Chiarvetto, Alessandro Menardi Noguera, Michele Soffiantini

In Volo Su Zerzura

In November 1932 an Italian expedition undertook a most secret aerial and ground reconnaissance of the northern area of the Gilf Kebir, just months after the first and only flight by Sir Robert Clayton-East-Clayton, making a detailed topographical and photographical survey that survives to this day. This expedition was the absolute first to reach the area overland from Kufra. This is the story of that secret mission, of the men that undertook it, of the correspondence between the Ministries and the colonial units that prepared it in the utmost detail to make it possible.

03.01.2017 17:53 | Kuno Gross

Bombenangriff auf die Brücken von Koblenz
Bombenangriff auf die Brücken von Koblenz

Kuno Gross und Rudolf Meier

Bombenangriff auf die Brücken von Koblenz

On February 16. 1945 bombs fell on the village where I was born. I recall the stories told when I was a boy… but now we thought it would really be time to research the topic in depth and found a fascinating new subject for a little book… the other projects are postponed at the moment so that there is sufficient time to complete this one until the end of the year.

October

After doing some traveling in September, October was filled with the work on our new book about an attack of P-47D Thunderbolt* fighter bombers in February 1945 whre my home village was also hit (rather by accident than by intention). The new book is now in its final stages: Test print, last review and corrections and then the final print planned for the end of the month.

Have added also some other stuff I was working on earlier this year here: Rusty Bits

2016-10 Infanteriebunker "Sagimuehletal"

Switzerland is very famous for its bunkers. But they are not only found in the mountains as for example the Gotthard – also the area boreding to Germany was heavily fortified. Starting from 1937 until the 1990ies the army always treid to cope with the expected threat. Luckily these fortifications never had to proov their value in anger and after the collapse of the Sovjet-Union and the end of the “Cold War” eventually all of them were rendered useless and abandoned by the army. Unfortunately it was the order to remove everything of the installation – even the steel doors and the venitaltion pipes. So, when a good number of them was taken over to be kept as museums, they were nothing more than empty concrete-shells. Since then an association established first to maintain the Fortress Reuenthal has put tremendous efforts in cleaning, maintaning and re-equipping dozens of fortresses, bunkers and other mmilitary installations. Here a link to their website LINK >> Verein Festungsmuseum Reuenthal

I had the cance to join an excursion in the area of the “Bözberg” where we were visiting several of this bunkers and underground headquarters. The most pittoresque for me was the infantry-bunker in the Sagimuehletal which I want to present here in some photographs:

2016-10 Schloss Lenzburg

Although l, except for the years I had spent in Libya, I was laways living near to Schloss Lenzburg my last visit to the place dates back for at least 25 years – it was time to go there again and we had the luck of a sunny day in autumn during our visit. Great place with great views.

Below the text I copied out of the small brochure they hand out at the entrance:

Located on a rocky outcrop above the town, the same named Lenzburg is one of the most beautiful hilltop-castles in Switzerland. Today's castle complex is the result of 900 years of construction history. It evolved from a count's residence to a seat of administration of Bernese bailiffs to the private property of a rich American family.

The castle was obtaiend by the Canton of Aargau and the town of Lenzburg in 1956 and since then it is open to the public.

30.07.2016 22:05 | Kuno Gross