Heroes And Villains

Harry Crerar & Benito Mussolini
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Harry Crerar & Benito Mussolini

In Italy in 1943, both leaders failed at command Even heroes have flaws. General Henry (Harry) Crerar rose to lieutenant-colonel of artillery in the First World War, then commanded divisions and corps in the Second World War. Shortly after the December 1943 Ortona bloodbath, he visited the front north of the town. Studying the battlefield’s splintered olive trees and vineyards and water-filled shell craters, he muttered, “Just like Passchendaele.” Having come to Italy in late October 1943, Crerar was to expand the Canadian presence there from a single division to a corps comprised of 1st Infantry and 5th Armoured divisions, 1st Armoured Brigade and a corps headquarters with supporting units—approximately 75,000 men. Crerar was determined the corps would be distinctly Canadian and run a...
Commodore James Yeo & Commodore Isaac Chauncey
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Commodore James Yeo & Commodore Isaac Chauncey

Victory in the War of 1812 depended on which side controlled Lake Ontario James Yeo joined the Royal Navy when he was 10 and earned a rapid rise in promotions spurred on by a stunning series of military successes.  In 1810, King George III knighted him. Just 31, Yeo assumed command of the Provincial Marine in Upper Canada on May 5, 1813. His daunting task was to wrest control of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain from American Commodore Isaac Chauncey’s fleet. Previously under army command, the Provincial Marine had been manned by local sailors. Despite adding 465 Royal Navy officers and ratings, Yeo still considered his force woefully insufficient “to man the squadron” on Lake Ontario. Yet, it was essential that “a general action must take place as every military operation or success...
Sophie Scholl and Roland Freisler
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Sophie Scholl and Roland Freisler

Scholl and the White Rose Group gave their lives defying the Nazis On Feb. 18, 1943, Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans brought a suitcase full of anti-Nazi leaflets to the University of Munich. After depositing most outside lecture rooms, Sophie threw the remaining leaflets from a third-floor window into a courtyard. Seeing her, building superintendent Jakob Schmid—a Nazi Party member—reported Sophie to the Gestapo. The two siblings were quickly arrested.  About a year earlier, Sophie, Hans and three other University of Munich students had formed the White Rose group in response to the mass murder of Polish Jews and deportation of thousands of others to concentration camps. At great risk, the five acquired ink, paper and mimeograph equipment to print leaflets denouncing the Nazi r...
HEROES AND VILLAINS: Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung
Heroes And Villains

HEROES AND VILLAINS: Syngman Rhee vs Kim Il-sung

Hero: Syngman Rhee “The new UN proposal is unacceptable to this government.…We can no longer survive a stalemate of division.” —Syngman Rhee on June 6, 1953, stating his opposition to peace talks between the UN, the North Korea People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. Japan’s defeat in 1945 brought an end to the Second World War and its 35-year occupation of Korea. The East Asian nation, however, was immediately divided at the 38th parallel by the Soviet Union and the United States. In 1948, the U.S. proposed a United Nations-sponsored vote for Koreans to determine the peninsula’s future. When the Soviets rejected this, South Korea formed its own government. Syngman Rhee, then 73, was elected president by 180 of 196 national assembly votes. He had been president of th...
Heroes and Villains: Vickers and Barrett vs Zehaf-Bibeau
Heroes And Villains, Military History

Heroes and Villains: Vickers and Barrett vs Zehaf-Bibeau

HEROES: Kevin Vickers and Curtis Barrett On Oct. 22, 2014, Parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers heard at least a dozen gunshots outside his office adjacent to the House of Commons Hall of Honour.  Snapping a 15-round clip into his 9-millimetre Smith & Wesson pistol, the former RCMP officer of 29 years walked toward the firing. As Vickers closed on an alcove where gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was sheltering, a colleague shouted that he was right beside the gunman. Pressing up against a pillar, Vickers saw the barrel of a long gun thrusting out from the opposite side. Vickers could also hear Zehaf-Bibeau’s laboured breathing. Vickers was about to engage when four Mounties, who had deployed as an ad hoc incident active response team, advanced into the Hall of Honour in diamon...
Heroes and Villains: The sniper and the target
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: The sniper and the target

THE SNIPER In late May or early June 2017 (the exact date is classified), a Canadian Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) sniper team shattered previous distance records with a stunning 3,540-metre kill shot. The team, serving as part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, was providing cover protection for Iraqi security forces engaging Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents in northern Iraq. Concealed on the roof of a high-rise building near Mosul, the two-man sniper team saw a group of ISIS insurgents forming for an attack in a built-up area. The elite sniper was armed with a McMillan TAC-50 rifle—a .50-calibre bolt-action weapon—while his spotter used a spotting scope, laser range-finder and hand-held computer to guide the shooter onto the target. To improve the rifle’...

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