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This Day in WWII 7 January 1940 - 1945


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BendixAd-Jan1943.jpg Bendix Ad - January 1943

1940: General Semyon Timoshenko takes command of all Soviet forces in Finland and begins to build up his forces for a decisive offensive.

Barbara%20Bouchet1.jpg *Barbara Bouchet

1941: Tobruk is surrounded, but the British are unable to assault it immediately as supplies and reinforcements need to be brought up.

1941: Yamamoto proposes Operation Z in letter. His goal is to destroy U.S. fleet, not invade or conquer the U.S. Will use massed carriers idea of Genda, not oversized battleships. Pearl Harbor raid to be part of combined operations to defeat British strongholds at Hong Kong and Singapore, occupy Philippines, the Malay barrier, Java, Borneo, New Guinea, central Pacific islands.

Barbara%20Bouchet2.jpg Barbara Bouchet

1942: Roosevelt's first War Budget includes $13,250 million of defense expenditure.

1942: The Soviet North West Front begins an offensive south of Lake Ilmen in an attempt to encircle Demyansk. At the same time the newly created Volkhov Front launches an attack to force the Germans back from around Leningrad.

1942: British forces continue to retreat south through central Malaya as the Japanese force a crossing of the river Slim. The British commander, General Arthur E. Percival, hopes to be able to hold at Johore until at least mid February.

Barbara%20Bouchet3.jpg Barbara Bouchet

1942: Japanese troops complete their capture of Sarawak and also take Jesselton in northern Borneo.

1942: Japanese attack Bataan in the Philippines.

Barbara%20Bouchet4.jpg Barbara Bouchet

1944: The U.S. Air Force announces the production of the first jet-fighter, Bell P-59 Airacomet.

1945: U.S. air ace Major Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. is killed in the Pacific. (MORE INFO)

Barbara%20Bouchet5.jpg Barbara Bouchet

*Stunningly beautiful and charismatic blonde actress Barbara Bouchet was born Barbara Goutscher on August 15th, 1943 in Reichenburg, Sudetenland, Czechslovakia. Her family was forced to leave the country when Barbara was a little girl and settled in San Francisco, Califoria. Bouchet attended Galileo High School. In 1959, Bouchet won the "Miss Gidget" beauty contest which was held by the local television station KPIX-TV. She briefly dated famous male actor James Darren. Barbara was featured as a dancer on the teen-targeted rock'n'roll TV show, The KPIX Dance Party, from 1959 to 1962. Bouchet began her official acting career as a model on magazine covers and an actress in TV commercials. She made her film debut with an uncredited bit part in the comedy "What a Way to Go!" (1964). Bouchet soon became known for openly flaunting her spectacularly curvaceous figure in several pictures: clad in alluring silk harem robes in "John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!" (1965), cavorting nude on the beaches of Pearl Harbor in the World War II epic "In Harm's Way" (1965), and wearing a bikini for the bulk of her screen time in "Agent for H.A.R.M." (1966). She also portrayed "Ursula" in Bob Fosse's outstanding musical "Sweet Charity" (1969), made for a nicely sultry "Miss Moneypenny" in the tongue-in-cheek 007 outing "Casino Royale" (1966), and had guest spots on such TV series as "The Virginian" (1962), "Star Trek" (1966), "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1964).


Barbara Bouchet as Kelinda in Star Trek Episode #51 "By Any Other Name" with William Shatner. Original air date February 23, 1968.

In 1970, Bouchet became fed-up with being typecast as mindless sexpots in Hollywood fare and moved to Italy. She soon became one of Italy's top actresses, carving out a fruitful niche for herself in sex comedies, giallo murder mysteries and gritty police crime thrillers. Among her most memorable roles in these Italian features are the brazen spoiled rich lady "Patrizia" in Lucio Fulci's disturbing "Don't Torture a Duckling" (1972), prostitute "Francine" in "The French Sex Murders" (1972), modeling agency choreographer "Kitty" in "Blood Feast" (1972), saucy love interest "Scilla" in the splendidly sleazy "Ricco" (1973), and enticing stripper "Anny" in "Death Rage" (1977). Bouchet had an unforgettably steamy lesbian love scene with Rosalba Neri in "Amuck" (1972) and appeared alongside fellow Bond girls Barbara Bach and Claudine Auger in "Black Belly of the Tarantula" (1971). Barbara married producer Luigi Borghese in 1976. In 1983, at age 40, Bouchet did a nude pictorial for the Italian edition of "Penthouse" magazine. Bouchet started her own production company in 1985 and launched her own line of fitness books and videos. She also opened her own health club in Rome. Barbara most recently popped up in a small role (as fellow giallo star David Hemmings' wife) in Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" (2002). Bouchet speaks English, German and Italian with equal fluency. Barbara Bouchet continues to act in both films and TV shows, alike, made in Italy.

BendixAd-Jan1944.jpg Bendix Ad - January 1944

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1944: The U.S. Air Force announces the production of the first jet-fighter, Bell P-59 Airacomet.

Wow, I never knew the USAF had the first jet-fighter.

Zhe firzt jet fighter vas zhe Messerchmitt Tvo-Zikz-Tvo. Zhe Tommiez vere Jahnny komen lates vizh zheir Meteor vhich vas much inverior to zhe zuperior Tjerman dezign. Zhe Ami's vere nicht even vrunner-upz.

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Zhe firzt jet fighter vas zhe Messerchmitt Tvo-Zikz-Tvo. Zhe Tommiez vere Jahnny komen lates vizh zheir Meteor vhich vas much inverior to zhe zuperior Tjerman dezign. Zhe Ami's vere nicht even vrunner-upz.

That's because we built the P-51 Mustang. You know, the plane that won the war? The one you're Luftwaffe pilots kept seeing in their nightmares? Dummkopf!

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The Me-262 flew, with jet engines, for the first time in July, 1942. The XP-59 first flew in October, 1942. The British Comet flew for the first time in March, 1943.

However, before Flink starts running off at the mouth, the He-280 first flew with jet power in March, 1941.

The Heinkel jet may have been a better choice for a number of technical reasons, but the Nazi's favorite manufacturer was Messerschmitt and the Me-262 got the go-ahead. The He-280 was canceled.

The -262 is classed as the first "Operational jet fighter", but that distinction is arguable. While about a thousand were built and at least 200 saw service in active squadrons, the engines were never reliable and because Germany had already lost air superiority, the Allies simply began killing the German bird when it was most vulnerable, landing or taking off at its home airfields. Or when one engine failed and the pilot was heading for home. With one engine out, the -262 could be overtaken by any number of Allied fighters.

In any sane environment, the -262 was never more than a development along the way to an operational fighter. But, circumstances were far from normal for Nazi Germany in late 1944, so the jet became "operational". The men who flew it suffered terrible casualties.

From an operational standpoint, I don't think any jet powered fighter reached that level until after the war. The Comet was probably the first truly reliable jet fighter in regular service, followed by various Russian birds. The American P-80 was also a decent plane.

Every jet fighter produced from WW2 through the late fifties was outclassed quickly by contemporaries. And, the attrition rate for planes and pilots was far higher than we would accept these days. For example, the F-100 suffered 889 accidents during its regular operational service, resulting in the deaths of 324 pilots. Other jets had the same high attrition rate.

I think, for practical purposes, the Me-262 has to be considered the first operational jet fighter, but the He-280 was the first jet fighter design to actually take to the air.

It's another of those never ending debates. Advocates on every side can say, "Yeah, but . . ." and provide reams of data proving their plane was first, best, fastest, etc.

Very few jet fighters built and used during the first twenty years of the jet age were sterling examples of the plane builders art. And they were all exceptionally dangerous to fly. Hats off to the men who climbed into the cockpits and lit the fire.


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