The Dreaded Gas Warfare of World War One

Enemy artillery shells come screaming in and crashing about, bringing a thunderous nightmare! Soon an eerie great cloud drifts slowly towards the trenches. The call to don a mask is roared out along the line, “It’s the dreaded gas boys!“. Blinding, gaseous poison that could burn the skin whilst destroying lungs in a single breath, leading to a slow,…

Mephisto – The Last German A7V Sturmpanzerwagen

I recently revisited the always impressive Australian War Memorial in Canberra, which is currently exhibiting an interesting and very rare piece of World War One history. Wander into the ground floor of the large ANZAC Hall and you will be confronted by the mighty Mephisto, the only surviving A7V Sturmpanzerwagen (armoured assault vehicle) Imperial German World War One tank…

Snapshots of Europe: Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Predjama Castle sits majestically in the middle of a 123 metre high cliff,  deep in the south-western country side of Slovenia. In the valley below, the River Lokva disappears beneath the castle and deep underground. A winding country road makes its way through the hills to the small village of Predjama and the castle which in one…

Snapshots of Europe: Graz, Austria – The Styrian Armoury

Graz in the Styria region of southern Austria is a city full of ye olde world charm. It goes way back and became the capital of the Duchy of Styria in 1180. There are plenty of impressive old buildings and structures including cathedrals and castles. The Clock Tower of Graz, high on the overlooking hill is one…

Snapshots of Europe: Bratislava Castle, Slovakia

From its hilltop perch, Bratislava Castle dominates the city skyline of Bratislava (it is a national museum with various exhibits). Construction of the various forms of the castle was conducted between the 9th century and 18th century (first it was part of the Kingdom of Moravia, then Hungary, then Czechoslovakia and today Slovakia). An accidental fire begun by soldiers…

Iceland’s Viking Saga’s

Over 1,000 years of Viking history is ever-present in Iceland. From the Icelandic Horses descended from those once used by Vikings, to museums and monuments, the Viking founders of Iceland are not forgotten (Vikings from other Scandinavian countries settled Iceland between 874 AD and 935 AD). Vikingaheimar (Viking World) Now this was something I was keen…

An Icelandic Aviation Journey

As originally posted on my aviation blog Aces Flying High: I have nothing but praise for the Icelandic airlines I flew on in January 2015. Icelandair (international) and Air Iceland (domestic) were on time, comfortable, offered great service and provided even greater views of the arctic north. The flights were an added bonus to a…

A Grim Reminder of the Past: Auschwitz-Birkenau

Poland fell to the German Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) on October 6th, 1939. The invasion had started just over a month before on September 1st, 1939 and commenced the beginning of World War Two. The Soviet Union who had a pact with Nazi Germany also invaded Poland on September 17th, 1939 (this was part of a secret protocol…

A Grim Reminder of the Past: Dachau Concentration Camp

Following Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, Dachau became the first of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany in March 1933 (it was designed to hold up to 5,000 prisoners). Initially they were intended for political prisoners but as the world spiraled into war they became a place to imprison “undesirables” and were linked to slave…

Tanks, Roll Out!

At the recent Flying Heritage Collection Skyfair 2014 at Paine Field in Everett, Washington they had a little diversion from the aviation displays. A part of their collection includes World War Two tanks and on this event they were driving around their American M4A1 Sherman and Soviet era KMDB (Main Design Bureau) T-34/85 medium tanks….