Heroes And Villains

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’...
Heroes and Villains: Foulkes & Blaskowitz
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: Foulkes & Blaskowitz

Hero: Charles Foulkes On April 28, 1945, I Canadian Corps’ Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes—senior officer in western Netherlands—led negotiations with Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz of Germany’s 25th Army for the surrender of the 120,000-strong German garrison. With the Hunger Winter gripping the western regions still occupied by Germany, the negotiation required a twofold approach. First, convincing the Germans to stand down and enable delivery of humanitarian aid by Allied air drops and truck convoys. Second, formalizing the garrison’s surrender. Four days earlier, I Canadian Corps had halted before the fortified Grebbe Line, held in strength by 25th Army. Both sides realized that any fight west of the line would necessitate costly urban warfare and many civilian casualtie...
Skripal & GRU
Heroes And Villains

Skripal & GRU

SERGEI SKRIPAL On March 4, 2018, 66-year-old former double agent Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found “in extremely serious condition” on a park bench in Salisbury, England. The daughter—just arrived from Moscow the previous day—was comatose. Skripal was conscious, but disoriented. Rushed to hospital, the two were diagnosed as having been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. Investigators found the chemical had been sprayed on the doorknob of Skripal’s front door. Developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, Novichok is five to eight times more toxic than other chemical warfare nerve agents, such as sarin. British intelligence agencies determined the Skripals had been victims of an assassination attempt by the Main Directorate of the General Staff of ...
Heroes and Villains: MacGill & Messerschmitt
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: MacGill & Messerschmitt

ELIZABETH (ELSIE) MacGILL In 1939, Britain and the Commonwealth lacked a fighter plane to match the German Bf-109. In aerial combat over northwestern Europe in 1940, the 109, created by German aircraft designer Wilhelm (Willy) Messerschmitt, easily outfought existing Royal Air Force fighters. In its pursuit of a competitive fighter plane, the RAF sent thousands of Hawker Hurricane blueprints on microfilm to the Canadian Car and Foundry Company in Fort William, Ont. (now Thunder Bay). Transforming the blueprints into a functional fighter and creating an aircraft assembly line fell to 35-year-old Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill. In 1938, MacGill had been the first woman admitted to the Engineering Institute of Canada. Joining CanCar that same year, she oversaw the company’s conversion to aircr...
Heroes and Villains: Gandhi & Godse
Heroes And Villains

Heroes and Villains: Gandhi & Godse

Hero: Mahatma Gandhi Two days before his assassination, Mahatma Gandhi said, “If I’m to die by the bullet of a madman, I must do so smiling. God must be in my heart and on my lips. And if anything happens, you are not to shed a single tear.” In 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi—already reverently known as Mahatma for his spiritual lifestyle and beliefs—returned to India after 21 years in South Africa. During his years away, Gandhi had practised law and, more importantly, earned an international reputation as a leading proponent for Indian self-rule. Back home, Gandhi’s status quickly made him a key figure in the Indian independence movement. Advocating moderate, pacifist resistance to British rule, Gandhi was elected president of the Indian National Congress in 1920. On January 26, 1930,...

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