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Procopius last won the day on January 1

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About Procopius

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    Never less alone than when I'm alone with you
  • Birthday 03/15/1983

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  1. On 15 September, twelve pilots defending London were killed in action. They were: Georges Doutrepont, aged 27, who had escaped his native Belgium with his friend Capitaine A Van Den Hove d'Ertsenrijck (also killed on 15 September 1940) in May to fight on from Britain. His son Eric was just a year old. Ross Smither, aged 27, from Canada. He had enlisted in the RCAF on 10 September 1939. His brother, also with the RCAF, would be killed in action on 5 June 1942, over France. Roy Marchand, aged 22, from Kent. He had been a medical student at London University. He fought in France and had gotten married in May of 1940. Geoffrey Gaunt, aged 24, from Yorkshire. He was a cousin of the actor James Mason. John Gurteen, aged 24, from Suffolk. He had lived for a time in the United States after winning a scholarship there. Michael Jebb, aged 22, from Northumberland. He was studying Mediaeval and Modern Languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, when he was called up on 1 September 1939. Severely burned on 15 September, he died of his injuries on the 19th. Leslie Pidd, aged 22, from Yorkshire. A German fighter killed Pidd after he had taken to his parachute. Arthur Pease, aged 22, from Yorkshire. He was reading History at Cambridge when called up in October of 1939. Gerald Langley, aged 24, from Northamptonshire. Tadeusz Chlopik, aged 32, from Poland. A pre-war Polish fighter pilot, he had escaped to Britain in 1940. Michal Brzezowski, aged 20, from Poland. A fighter pilot in his homeland before the war, he fought with 151 Eskadra in defence of Poland, then escaped to France and fought with Groupe de Chasse II/6 of the French l'Armee de l'Air, before again escaping to Britain to fight on with 303 ("Kościuszko") Squadron. Van den Hove d'Ertsenrijck, aged 32, from Belgium. He was one of only two Belgian fighter pilots to get airborne when the Force Aérienne Belge was destroyed, largely on the ground, on 10 May 1940, damaging one of the attacking bombers. He escaped to Britain by driving to Spain and thence to Gibraltar, for which he was marked as a deserter in his homeland until 1948. They will never grow old, but their names will live forever.
  2. On September 15, 1940, Winston Churchill visited the headquarters of RAF Fighter Command's 11 Group, responsible for the defence of London. Across the English Channel, only twenty miles wide at its narrowest point, over 200,000 German soldiers waited for the invasion of Britain, scheduled for 17 September, to begin. Today, the Luftwaffe was to strike London, where a quarter of the population of the British Isles lived, twice: first in the morning a small force of 27 bombers, escorted by 120 fighters, to draw up the last fifty or so Spitfires and destroy them; and then, in the afternoon, after the RAF had been smashed, the real attack would come: 114 bombers escorted by 360 fighters, an unstoppable bulldozer that would crush anything in its path and then, with London defenceless below, the bombs would fall. On 14 May, four months before, eighty German bombers had blasted the city center of Rotterdam, killing 884 people and leaving 80,000 homeless; the complete surrender of the Netherlands had soon followed. With a little luck, the annihilation of the RAF and London facing destruction from the air would be enough to cause the fall of Churchill's government and British capitulation. If not, there was still the invasion, and then the planned extermination of Britain's 300,000 Jews, and the export of all British males aged 17-45 to Europe for slave labour. The first wave formed up over Calais; the bombers first, and then their fighter escorts. But the same winds that had blown for Sir Francis Drake against the Armada were blowing again, and the Germans took an unusually long time to sort out their formation before heading for London. Churchill watched as the radar plots were indicated on a large map. First one, estimated at one hundred plus aircraft. Then a second plot, estimated at one hundred and fifty plus. The two plots merged. Churchill, who by superhuman effort was resisting his almost insatiable urge to involve himself in the action, whatever it might be, was unable to refrain from comment. "There appear to be many aircraft coming in," he said to Air Vice-Marshall Keith Park. "And we are ready for them. There'll be someone there to meet them." The Germans weren't bothering to try and confuse the British radar operators with complicated maneuvers or tricks; they were headed across the Channel on the shortest possible route to London, to maximize the fighting time of their escorts. It was eleven o'clock in the morning. Five minutes later, the first two British squadrons were airborne, 72 and 92 Squadrons, both flying Spitfires, the best fighter in the world in 1940. At full strength, an RAF squadron had twelve aircraft; twenty-four Spitfires were now headed to meet 150 German bombers and fighters as they crossed over the white cliffs of the English coast. The two squadrons, callsigned TENNIS and GANNIC, respectively, received terse instructions as they gained height: "Hello, GANNIC Leader, GANNIC Leader! SAPPER calling! 200-plus coming in over RED QUEEN, vector 120, Angels 25. Watch out for snappers above." SAPPER was the ground controller vectoring them towards the enemy, based on information received from both radar and the 55,000-strong Observer Corps, civilian volunteers armed only with telephones and binoculars who reported the progress of enemy aircraft once they'd passed beyond the sweep of the radar beams. Angels 25 meant a height of 25,000 feet, with the warning that snappers, the dreaded yellow-nosed Bf 109s, would be stacked above them, ready to pounce. German fighters were designed to make diving high-speed passes on enemy aircraft below them, swooping down, shooting their unsuspecting foe down, and then using the immense speed gained in the dive to climb up and do it again. British fighters at this stage of the war could only pursue with difficulty, for their engines lacked the fuel injection that prevented them from cutting out for a few critical seconds in a dive. Instead, they were far more maneuverable; if a German fighter stayed to fight, it would find it impossible to stay behind a British Spitfire or a Hurricane. Even a 109 immediately behind a Spitfire would find the Spitfire on its tail in under a minute of sustained turning. The slower but even more maneuverable Hurricane could reverse the positions even faster. But enough theory. Here's the moment. Twenty-four Spitfires, looking small and very drab in dull green and brown camouflage, are in position, for once, for once, able to gain enough height that below them they can see the entirety of the incoming German raid: bombers in tight V formations like a series of enormous stepped herringbones, and swarming about them, over a hundred fighters. Back at 11 Group headquarters, the status boards for 72 and 92 light up with ENEMY IN SIGHT. Geoffrey "Boy" Wellum, the youngest fighter pilot in the RAF, is flying with 92 Squadron. "Well, there's not many of us," he thinks, looking at the German fighters, still oblivious to the presence of Spitfires above them, "but we'll knock ---- out of some of you, at least for as long as we can." Then Flight Lieutenant Brian "Kin-Pin" Kingcombe, leading the squadron because it's lost three Squadron Leaders since May, says "OK, here we go," and the Spitfires roll on their backs (that lack of fuel injection again) and dive into the attack. They get four in their first pass. And now the battle becomes a welter of fast-moving aircraft in a small space of sky as more and more RAF fighters are drawn into it, until, quite suddenly, thirty minutes after it began, the skies over southern England are again empty. The Germans knew something had gone wrong. In aerial fighting, the casualties are few, because the sky is a big place, and military aircraft are fast and resilient. But six bombers had been shot down, and two more crash-landed in France, out of only 27 sent. Their heavy fighter escort should have been able to protect them, but the British had been able to push through the 109s to strike at the bombers. During the Allied bombing campaign of Germany from 1941 to the end of the war, any loss rate over 5% on a raid was considered unacceptable, as it meant that losses of both machines and crews were exceeding the rate at which they could be replaced. The Germans lost almost 30% of the bombers committed, and in 1940, their aircraft production lagged far behind that of Great Britain. And there seemed to be far too many British aircraft. But it was too late to stop the second attack, and in any case, this must have been the last gasp of a corpse. The Germans came again at two in the afternoon, in a formation thirty miles wide and twice again as long. Hard fighting followed, in the course of which a RAF Hurricane, set aflame by German fighters, tore into the midst of the bombers and rammed one, cutting the German aircraft's wing off at the root. This, and RAF head-on attacks, almost as dangerous to the attacker as to the target, delivered with increasing frequency as the Luftwaffe drew closer to London, still surmounted by great palls of smoke after a week of bombing, were the two things which most disturbed the German bomber crews. A head-on attack required both immense skill on the part of the attacker, who had to judge when top open fire and when to break away at a combined closing speed of over 500 MPH, and nerves of steel to attempt. It was not a tactic for a beaten air force. Instead of the concentrated bombing of London the Germans had intended, their formations were broken up and scattered, and their crews dropped their bombs early and randomly to lighten their aircraft for escape. The British chased them all the way back to the coast. At the end of the day, the Germans had lost 57 aircraft; the British, 31. But the Germans had lost something else: the belief that they could defeat the Royal Air Force. Since 1936, when they reoccupied the Rhineland without opposition, the Nazis had been on a winning streak sans pareil; their enemies simply gave up, or if they dared to fight, were crushed. France, with the foremost army in the world, had been crushed with ease. The Soviets had been content to divvy up Poland with the Germans. There was nobody else left but a ridiculous little island lead by a fat old failure, to stop the most efficient and ruthless dictatorship ever seen by humanity, an annihilating force bent on the destruction of life; by 1940, the Germans had been murdering their own children for being born with deformities or disabilities for a full year; they would kill 5,000 by 1945. They didn't stop there. Churchill would not much later remark: "We stand here still, the champions. If we fail, all fails, and if we fall, all will fail together." For the first time since coming to power, the Nazis had suffered a serious reverse. The plans for invasion were indefinitely postponed the next day.
  3. I am, despite all the madness going on in Kenosha, just a little ways north of me.
  4. I saw that this morning -- wonderful news! I hope I can make it over there at some point, when the rest of the world is okay with Americans visiting, to see it.
  5. Hobby 2k's reissues of the 1/72 Hasegawa F-4C and F-4D from Arma Hobby.
  6. Under Body Armour Clothing. It's a sort of athletic shirt like runners might wear, but with long camo sleeves. It's meant to be worn under the Osprey and Virtus body armour systems and not slowly broil the soldier. Womp womp wommmmmmmmp Not that bad. I bit long after his age, I'm sad to say, so I'm working to nip, no pun intended, it in the bud now.
  7. I give it a furtive glance now and then, yelp like a frightened animal, and immediately look away.
  8. Sorry for the radio silence, chaps, I'm not dead, I just have children and I was managing a $5,000 paid social media ad buy, which is peanuts in normal terms, but is the most expensive project I've ever directly controlled, for the least together and...is blivious a word? Anyway, least together internal clients I could possibly work with, for the highest profile event my org does. Oh, and my deputy was on vacation for two weeks, too. But I'm back now. Winston has made a friend, a little boy named London, whose dad was apparently a pioneer of House music in the UK (hence the name) before moving back to the states to be my neighbor. Yet again I have a neighbor with their own wikipedia entry (I used to live next door to a prominent Chicago sportswriter). Am I intimidated? Yes, even though London's dad is super nice. (I suppose it's only natural a Winston would get along with a London, name a more iconic duo.) London is six, but he and Winnie are very, very sympatico, which is why I found them running through my house with wiffle bats having a lightsabre fight last week. When Winston bit London, I tenderly explained to him that I loved him, but biting was wrong, and he'd need to go to him room. We hugged, to show I'm a Loving Dad, and then the little so-and-so bit me as hard as he could. Ho ho ho. Winston's also befriended a ten-year-old girl named Payton, sort of. She mostly I think comes over for our excellent wi-fi (since I'm working from home through 2021, it has to be good), but Winston was very excited when she showed up and cheerfully informed me that "it's so good to finally have someone nice around here." Mrs P has been the only woman in Winston's life for the last four years, so how is she taking this? Not well. She's not a fan of Payton. It's delicious. I could never make Mrs P jealous, because she's so beautiful and I'm a lumpy troll, but she can't really compete with Payton, who's in the long stretch of life where you don't need to nap during the day, which Mrs P is not. Anyway, the strain of having four or more children in the house all day every day last week was too much for Mrs P. ("I feel like I'm at work still," she complained to me, a person who is actually still at work and remains so every summer that she has off.) So on Saturday she decamped to Michigan at short notice to avoid all the extra children, leaving me here alone to get some work done without having to come upstairs and yell at my children for putting the hose in the sump pump pipe while Mrs P spends ninety minutes "putting Grant down for a nap". Nobody is fooled, but still we play the game. Anyway, today I finally had time to do a little modelling. I airbrushed the resin seat: And started laying down some interior green: The size of the kit is a little daunting, but there really aren't that many more parts than a modern Eduard 1/72 Spitfire, so I'm hoping it's not going to be too tricky. In other news, in a quest to make myself look like a huge idiot, I'm collecting bits of MTP Osprey IV kit for my own nefarious purposes, and my UBAC came in the mail today. Sort of exciting? It's the privilege of middle-aged men who can afford it to make fools of themselves.
  9. "I do realize that this struggle, if it continues, can end only with the complete annihilation of one or the other of the two adversaries. Mr. Churchill may believe this will be Germany. I know that it will be Britain...Possibly Mr. Churchill again will brush aside this statement of mine by saying that it is merely born of fear and of doubt in our final victory. In that case I shall have relieved my conscience in regard to the things to come." -- Adolf Hitler, speech to the Reichstag, 19 July 1940 “Herr Hitler, you have on occasion in the past consulted me as to the mood of the British public. So permit me to render your excellency this little service once again tonight. Let me tell you what we here in Britain think of this appeal of yours to what you are pleased to call our reason and common sense. Herr Führer and Reichskanzler, we hurl it right back at you, right in your evil-smelling teeth.” -- Sefton Delmer, BBC broadcast to Germany, 19 July 1940
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