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Dogfights

Dogfights

The early definition of the word 'dogfight' meant an aerial battle between two or more aircraft. As the First World War broke out not long after the aeroplane had been invented, there had not been time to develop guns which could be built into the body of a plane. The first fighter planes were only equipped with machine-guns which were fixed onto the top wing.

These early fighter aircraft had two two seats, with a man sitting in the rear controlling the guns. Dogfights were extremely difficult because the pilot would have to dodge other enemy aircraft while listening to the commands of the gunner as to where to fly to get the enemy into his sights.

The first dog-fight is believed to have taken place on 28th August 1914, when Lieutenant Norman Spratt, flying a Sopwith Tabloid, forced down a German two-seater. This was an amazing achievement as his Sopwith was not armed.

One of Britain's first star pilots was Louis Strange. He devised a safety strap system in his Avro 504 so that it was possible for his gunner to "stand up and fire all round over the top of the plane and behind". Strange's gunner, Rabagliati, used a Lewis Gun and was soon bring down German aircraft over the Western Front. By October 1915 the Royal Flying Corps decided to fit this safety harness to all their aircraft. As well as using guns, some crews carried grenades which they tried to drop onto enemy fliers below them.

The first Victoria Cross for air combat was won by Captain Lanoe Hawker on 25th June, 1915. Flying a single-seater Bristol Scout and armed with a single-shot cavalry carbine mounted on the starboard side of the fuselage, Hawker attacked an enemy two-seater over Ypres. After forcing it to land he brought down two more enemy planes. What made the achievement so remarkable was that all three German aircraft were armed with machine-guns.

In 1915 the French pilot, Roland Garros, added deflector plates to the blades of his propeller. These small wedges of toughened steel diverted the passage of those bullets which struck the blades. It was now possible for a pilot in a single-seater aircraft to successfully fire a machine-gun.

Anton Fokker, a Dutch designer who had set up an aircraft factory in Schwerin, German, was also trying to develop a machine-gun that could fire through revolving propeller blades. By the autumn of 1915 Fokker was fitting his Eindecker monoplanes with interrupter gear, therefore producing the first true fighter aircraft. Also called a synchronising gear, the propeller was linked by a shaft to the trigger to block fire whenever they were in line.

German pilots such as Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke began destroying large numbers of British aircraft using their synchronised machine-guns. Immelmann destroyed seventeen Allied aircraft in his Eindecker before being shot down and killed on 15 June 1916. Boelcke went on to claim forty victims before he was also killed in October 1916. Pilots such as Immelmann and Boelcke, who had more than eight 'kills', became known as Flying Aces. It was not long before Britain and France began fitting synchronised machine-guns to their aircraft and pilots such as Rene Fonck and William Bishop developed reputations as flying aces.

By the spring of 1916 the British had produced the Avro DH2 fighter plane. The DH2 was a single-seater biplane with the engine behind the pilot. It carried a forward-firing Lewis machine-gun and the absence of an engine in front gave the pilot and uninterupted view of his target.

Another important innovation was the development of tracer ammunition. The Royal Flying Corps began using it in July 1916 and its pilots found it very useful. With every seventh round a tracer was fired so the gunner-pilot could see his stream of fire and adjust his aim accordingly.

Organisation and tactics changed with the introduction of the synchronized machine-gun. At first flying aces adopted "lone wolf" tactics. However, by 1917 British pilots tended to seek out enemy aircraft in groups of six. The flight commander would be in front, with an aircraft on either side forming a V shape. To the rear and above were two other planes and at the back was the sub-leader. However, when in combat, the pilots operated in pairs, one to attack, and the other to defend. German pilots preferred larger formations and these were later known as circuses.

One of the most important figures in the development of dogfight tactics was Major Mick Mannock. Between May 1917 and his death in July 1918, Mannock became Britain's leading flying ace with seventry-three victories. When attacking, the best tactic was to dive upon the target out of the sun. This strategy reduced the time that the pilot being attacked could bank or dive and avoid being hit. Later in the war some observers fixed mirrors in line with their gun, which could them be used to reflect the rays of the sun back into the eyes of the attacking pilot.

Fighter pilots also made good use of cloud-cover. This enabled a pilot to attack the enemy and quickly return to the safety of the cloud. Pilots did not have long to destroy their target. Fighter aircraft at that time only carried enough ammunition to fire at the enemy for about fifty seconds. Therefore pilots had to make sure they used their machine-guns wisely. Rene Fonck, the French flying ace, usually took no more than five or six rounds to down an enemy aircraft.

Almost all the pilots involved in flying aircraft in the First World War were under the age of twenty-five. As the death-rate was very high by 1918 a large proportion of the pilots were aged between eighteen and twenty-one. Pilots were sent into combat after only some thirty hours of air training. Training in how to take part in dogfights had to be given by the more experienced pilots at the battle front.

I fixed a safety strap to leading edge of top plane so as to enable passenger to stand up and fire all round over top of plane and behind. Took Lieutenant Rabagliati as my passenger on trial trip; great success. Increases range of fire greatly and I hear that these belts are to be fitted to all machines.

(1) Always try to secure an advantageous position before attacking. Climb before and during approach in order to surprise the enemy from above, and dive on him swiftly from the rear when the moment to attack is at hand.

(2) Try to place yourself between the sun and the enemy. This puts the glare of the sun in the enemy's eyes and makes it difficult to see you and impossible for him to shoot with any accuracy.

(3) Do not fire the machine guns until the enemy is within range and you have him squarely within your sights.

(4) Attack when the enemy least expects it or when he is preoccupied with other duties such as observation, photography or bombing.

(5) Never turn your back and try to run away from an enemy fighter. If you are surprised by an attack on your tail, turn and face the enemy with your guns.

(6) Keep your eyes on the enemy and do not let him deceive you with tricks. If your opponent appears damaged, follow him down until he crashes to be sure he is not faking.

In view of the character of our fight it was clear to me that I had been tackling a flying champion. One day I was blithely flying to give chase when I noticed three Englishmen who also had apparently gone a-hunting. I noticed that they were watching me and as I felt much inclination to have a fight I did not want to disappoint them.

I was flying at a lower altitude. Consequently I had to wait until one of my English friends tried to drop on me. After a short while one of the three came sailing along and attempted to tackle me in the rear. After firing five shots he had to stop for I had swerved in a sharp curve.

The Englishman tried to catch me up in the rear while I tried to get behind him. So we circled round and round like madmen after one another at an altitude of about 10,000 feet.

First we circled twenty times to the left, and then thirty times to the right. Each tried to get behind and above the other. Soon I discovered that I was not meeting a beginner. He had not the slightest intention of breaking off the fight. He was traveling in a machine which turned beautifully. However, my own was better at rising than his, and I succeeded at last in getting above and beyond my English waltzing partner.

When we had got down to about 6,000 feet without having achieved anything in particular, my opponent ought to have discovered that it was time for him to take his leave. The wind was favorable to me for it drove us more and more towards the German position. At last we were above Bapaume, about half a mile behind the German front. The impertinent fellow was full of cheek and when we had got down to about 3,000 feet he merrily waved to me as if he would say, "Well, how do you do?"

The circles which we made around one another were so narrow that their diameter was probably no more than 250 or 300 feet. I had time to take a good look at my opponent. I looked down into his carriage and could see every movement of his head. If he had not had his cap on I would have noticed what kind of a face he was making.

My Englishmen was a good sportsman, but by and by the thing became a little too hot for him. He had to decide whether he would land on German ground or whether he would fly back to the English lines. Of course he tried the latter, after having endeavored in vain to escape me by loopings and such like tricks. At that time his first bullets were flying around me, for hitherto neither of us had been able to do any shooting.

When he had come down to about three hundred feet he tried to escape by flying in a zig-zag course during which, as is well known, it is difficult for an observer to shoot. That was my most favorable moment. I followed him at an altitude of from two hundred and fifty feet to one hundred and fifty feet, firing all the time. The Englishman could not help falling. But the jamming of my gun nearly robbed me of my success.

My opponent fell, shot through the head, one hundred and fifty feet behind our line

On 30th April 1917 Mick took me up to 'see me right' as he put it. Near Poperinghe, we spotted a Hun two-seater. Instead of signaling for me to go down with him, he told me to stay where I was. All signals are given by hand-movements and moving the aircraft in various ways. By this time we were circling around the Hun and had the sun behind us. When we were almost directly ahead of the Hun, down goes Mick like a rocket. He positioned himself so that the pilot could not see him because of the upper wing, and the observer was looking the other way for the expected form of attack from the rear. He gave it a quick burst and then pulled up a long, curving climb to join me. As he pulled alongside, he waved his arm down at the running German and nodded at me to get it. I went down on the Hun's tail and saw that Mick had killed the gunner, and I could attack safely. He had set the Hun up for me and deliberately killed the gunner to ensure that I got my kill.

The fact that I am still alive is due to Mick's high standard of leadership and the strict discipline on which he insisted. We were all expected to follow and cover him as far as possible during an engagement and then to rejoin the formation as soon as that engagement was over. None of Mick's pilots would have dreamed of chasing off alone after the retreating enemy or any other such foolhardy act. He moulded us into a team, and because of his skilled leadership we became a highly efficient team. Our squadron leader said that Mannock was the most skillful patrol leader in World War I, which would account for the relatively few casualties in his flight team compared with the high number of enemy aircraft destroyed.

Mick goes down on his prey like a hawk. The Huns don't know what's hit them until it's too late to do anything but go down in bits. He goes down vertically at a frightening speed and pulls out at the last moment. He opens fire when only yards away and zooms up over the Huns and turns back for another crack at the target if necessary.

There was a scout coming towards us from north of Pont-à-Mousson. It was at about our altitude. I knew it was a Hun the moment I saw it, for it had the familiar lines of their new Pfalz. More. over, my confidence in James Norman Hall was such that I knew he couldn't make a mistake. And he was still climbing into the sun, carefully keeping his position between its glare and the oncoming fighting plane I clung as closely to Hall as I could. The Hun was steadily approaching us, unconscious of his danger, for we were full in the sun.

With the first downward dive of Jimmy's machine I was by his side. We had at least a thousand feet advantage over the enemy and we were two to one numerically. He might outdive our machines, for the Pfalz is a famous diver, while our faster climbing Nieuports had a droll little habit of shedding their fabric when plunged too furiously through the air. The Boche hadn't a chance to outfly us. His only salvation would be in a dive towards his own lines.

These thoughts passed through my mind in a flash and I instantly determined upon my tactics. While Hall went in for his attack I would keep my altitude and get a position the other side of the Pfalz, to cut off his retreat.

No sooner had I altered my line of flight than the German pilot saw me leave the sun's rays. Hall was already half-way to him when he stuck up his nose and began furiously climbing to the upper ceiling. I let him pass me and found myself on the other side just as Hall began firing. I doubt if the Boche had seen Hall's Nieuport at all.

Surprised by discovering this new antagonist, Hall, ahead of him, the Pfalz immediately abandoned all idea of a battle and banking around to the right started for home, just as I had expected him to do. In a trice I was on his tail. Down, down we sped with throttles both full open. Hall was coming on somewhere in my rear. The Boche had no heart for evolutions or maneuvers. He was running like a scared rabbit, as I had run from Campbell. I was gaining upon him every instant and had my sights trained dead upon his seat before I fired my first shot.

At 150 yards I pressed my triggers. The tracer bullets cut a streak of living fire into the rear of the Pfalz tail. Raising the nose of my aeroplane slightly the fiery streak lifted itself like the stream of water pouring from a garden hose. Gradually it settled into the pilot's seat. The swerving of the Pfalz course indicated that its rudder no longer was held by a directing hand. At 2000 feet above the enemy's lines I pulled up my headlong dive and watched the enemy machine continuing on its course. Curving slightly to the left the Pfalz circled a little to the south and the next minute crashed onto the ground just at the edge of the woods a mile inside their own lines. I had brought down my first enemy aeroplane and had not been subjected to a single shot!

I can't write much these days. I'm too nervous. I can hardly hold a pen. I'm all right in the air, as calm as a cucumber, but on the ground I'm a wreck and I get panicky. Nobody in the squadron can get a glass to his mouth with one hand after one of these decoy patrols except Cal and he's got no nerve - he's made of cheese. But some nights we both have nightmares at the same time and Mac has to get up and find his teeth and quiet us. We don't sleep much at night. But we get tired and sleep all afternoon when there's nothing to do.

The aeroplanes are wonderfully fascinating. One would like to watch them all day - theirs and ours, darting about the sky amid storms of shrapnel. They spot for the big guns, you know, and each side makes frantic efforts to drive hostile craft away when they come over. The sky is pitted with the little black and white shrapnel shells when any come in range of enemy guns. The shells are coming from all directions by the thousand, ours and theirs, but I'm resting in quite a comfy little machine gun emplacement. We hope to be out of it in a few days, thank goodness. Our losses have been heavy.


Dogfight

A dogfight, or dog fight, is an aerial battle between fighter aircraft conducted at close range. Dogfighting first occurred in Mexico in 1913, shortly after the invention of the airplane. Until at least 1992, it was a component in every major war, despite beliefs after World War II that increasingly greater speeds and longer-range weapons would make dogfighting obsolete. [1] [2]

Play media

Modern terminology for air-to-air combat is air combat maneuvering (ACM), which refers to tactical situations requiring the use of individual basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) to attack or evade one or more opponents. This differs from aerial warfare, which deals with the strategy involved in planning and executing various missions. [3]


With its distinctive twin booms on either side of a central pod containing the cockpit and armaments, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning is one of the most recognizable airplanes of WWII. It was also the only successful twin engine fighter of the war, with over 10,000 produced during the conflict.

The Lightning&rsquos prototype was the world&rsquos fastest airplane when it was first introduced in 1939, and it remained one of the fastest climbers until war&rsquos end. Operationally deployed in 1941, the P-38 saw service in both the European and Pacific theaters, but excelled more in the Pacific, where its long range capabilities were well suited to the vast distances characteristic of that theater.

The placement of the Lightning&rsquos machine guns on the plane&rsquos nose was unusual among American fighters of WWII, which relied on wing mounted machine guns instead. While wing mounted guns were calibrated to shoot at crisscrossing trajectories of between 100 to 250 yards, the Lightning&rsquos straight ahead gun arrangement gave it a significantly longer useful range: P-38s were able to reliably deliver effective and aimed concentrated machine gun fire at a range of up to 1000 yards. America&rsquos top two aces of World War II, Richard Bong and Thomas McGuire, both flew P-38s.

The P-38&rsquos most famous mission was Operation Vengeance, which highlighted its excellence as a long range fighter, and resulted in the death of Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy&rsquos Combined Fleet and the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. When American codebreakers intercepted and deciphered Japanese signals that he was scheduled to fly from Rabaul to the island of Bougainville on April 18, 1943, a flight of 16 Lightnings was dispatched from Guadalcanal on a 600 mile roundabout trip to intercept and shoot down Yamamoto&rsquos airplane, followed by a 400 mile straight line return flight to Guadalcanal. At the time, only P-38s were capable of making such a 1000 mile round trip.

Skimming the ocean at less than 50 feet above the waves in order to avoid detection, the operation worked like precision clockwork. The P-38s arrived at Bougainville and climbed to altitude just as Yamamoto&rsquos plane and its escorts arrived over the island, reaching the planned interception point within one minute of the admiral. The Lightnings fell upon the Japanese, and Yamamoto&rsquos plane was shot down, along with another transport plane plus two escorting Zeroes, for the loss of one P-38.

Operation Vengeance: P-38 interception and dawning of Yamamoto. Aviation History Online Museum

Lightnings remained America&rsquos primary long range fighter until the arrival of the P-51 Mustang. Versatile, the P-38 was used not only in the long range fighter role, but also served effectively in reconnaissance, dive bombing and level bombing, as well as ground attack.


Messerschmitt Bf 109

The Messerschmitt Bf 109, officially shortened to Bf 109, was the iconic German fighter of WWII. An argument could be made that the Bf 109 was the most successful fighter platform of the war. Which is not to say that the 109 was the best fighter of the war, but that its design was the most solid and serviceable of WWII.

With initial plans dating back to 1934, first prototype flown in 1935, and the first model entering operational service in 1937 and seeing combat in the Spanish Civil War, the Bf 109 was the only fighter, aside from the Spitfire, that was deployed in front line service at war&rsquos beginning in 1939, and with incremental improvements, remained in front line service, effective and competitive against newer fighters, until war&rsquos end. The prototype that flew in 1935 was the world&rsquos first low wing, retractable wheels, all metal monoplane fighter &ndash a basic design subsequently used by all sides during WWII.

At its most basic, the essence of the Bf 109 was to take the smallest feasible airframe, and attach to it the most powerful engine possible. The design had flaws, such as a cramped cockpit, a poor rear view, and a narrow undercarriage that rendered ground handling hazardous to inexperienced pilots. Moreover, small size translated into limited fuel capacity, reducing its range &ndash which proved problematic during the Battle of Britain, when Bf 109s were typically limited to 15 minutes&rsquo worth of fighting over Britain, before dwindling fuel forced them to disengage and fly back home.

Nonetheless, the basic concept of small airframe married to big engine proved successful, allowing as it did for progressive upgrades as more powerful engines became available, and allowing the Bf 109 to remain competitive throughout the war. The adaptable design allowed the plane to progress from the 109D model in 1939, with a top speed of 320 m.p.h., to the 109K model at war&rsquos end, capable of 452 m.p.h.

Eric Hartman, the war&rsquos top ace with 352 kills, flew the Bf 109. Indeed, the top three aces of the war, with over 900 kills between them, flew 109s, as did the top scoring ace against the Western Allies. In addition to the interceptor and escort role for which it had been originally designed, the 109 was sufficiently adaptable to serve in other roles, including ground attack, and reconnaissance. With nearly 34,000 manufactured between 1936 and 1945, the Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history.


Chasing𠅊nd being chased by𠅊 light

Three P-51 Mustangs circa 1945, the same aircraft George Gorman was flying during his UFO encounter. 

Toni Frissell/Interim Archives/Getty Images

At the time of the incident, Gorman, a 25-year-old former fighter pilot, served as a second lieutenant in the North Dakota Air National Guard. It was this role that placed him behind the flight controls of a P-51 Mustang on Oct. 1, 1948, taking part in a cross-country flight alongside other National Guard airmen.

While the other pilots landed at Fargo’s Hector Airport, on that fateful evening Gorman stayed in the air in order to get in some night-flying time in the cloudless conditions. Having circled his P-51 over a lighted football stadium, he was preparing to land at about 9 P.M. Advised by the control tower that the only other plane in the vicinity was a Piper Cub (which Gorman could see about 500 feet below him), he witnessed what he believed to be the taillight of another craft passing on the right, though the tower had no other object on the radar.

Deciding to take a closer look at the unidentified object, Gorman pulled his plane up and closed to within about 1,000 yards. “It was about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white and completely without fuzz at the edges,” he said of the object in his report. “It was blinking on and off. As I approached, however, the light suddenly became steady and pulled into a sharp left bank. I thought it was making a pass at the tower.”

Deciding to follow, Gorman tried in vain to catch up with the object, reporting that he finally got behind it at around 7,000 feet, where it made a sharp turn and headed straight for the P-51. Almost at the point of collision Gorman dived and said the light passed over his canopy at about 500 feet before cutting sharply once more and heading back in his direction. Just as collision seemed imminent once again, Gorman said the object shot straight up in the air in a steep climb—so steep that when he tried to intercept, his plane stalled at about 14,000 feet. The object was not seen again, but according to Gorman he had been engaged in aerial maneuvers with it for 27 minutes by the time he brought his plane in to land.


Britain's GCHQ spy agency has installed a giant multicoloured artwork to celebrate codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing.

The remains of Marine Elmer Drefahl of Milwaukee who died at Pearl Harbor have been identified.

The last surviving soldier who helped liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz died in Germany over the weekend.

Veterans watched the opening of the British Normandy Memorial on the anniversary of D-Day.

The sun rose over Omaha Beach Sunday morning ahead of various celebrations to commemorate the Allied troops who landed.

On National Nurses Appreciation Day, 2nd Lieutenant Agnes Woods was recognized for her efforts in the Army Nurse Corp.


Contents

Blood sports in general can be traced back to the Roman Empire. [7] In 13 BC, for instance, the ancient Roman circus slew 600 African beasts. [8] Dog fighting, more specifically, can also be traced to ancient Roman times. In AD 43, for example, dogs fought alongside the Romans and the British in the Roman Conquest of Britain. [7] In this war, the Romans used a breed that originated from Greece called the Molossus the Britons used broad-mouthed Mastiffs, which were thought to descend from the Molossus bloodline and which also originated from Greece. [9] Though the British were outnumbered and ultimately lost this war, the Romans were so impressed with the English Mastiffs that they began to import these dogs for use in the Colosseum, as well as for use in times of war. [7] While spectators watched, the imported English Mastiffs were pitted against animals such as wild elephants, lions, bears, bulls, and gladiators. [7]

Later, the Romans bred and exported fighting dogs to Spain, France and other parts of Europe until eventually these dogs made their way back to England. [7] Though bull-baiting and bear-baiting were popular throughout the Middle Ages up to the 19th century in Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands, the British pitted dogs against bulls and bears on a scale like no other. [9] [ unreliable source? ] In 12th century England during the feudal era, the landed aristocracy, who held direct military control in decentralized feudal systems and thus owned the animals necessary for waging war, introduced bull baiting and bear baiting to the rest of the British population. [9] In later years, bull-baiting and bear-baiting became a popular source of entertainment for the British royalty. [9] For instance, Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558–1603, was an avid follower of bull- and bear-baiting she bred Mastiffs for baiting and would entertain foreign guests with a fight whenever they visited England. [9] In addition to breeding Mastiffs and entertaining foreign guests with a fight, Queen Elizabeth, and later her successor, King James I, built a number of bear gardens in London. [10] The garden buildings were round and roofless, and housed not only bears, but also bulls and other wild animals that could be used in a fight. [10] Today, a person can visit the Bear Garden museum near the Shakespeare Global Complex in Bankside, Southwark. [ citation needed ]

With the popularity of bull- and bear-baiting, bears needed for such fights soon became scarce. [9] With the scarcity of the bear population, the price of bears rose and, because of this, bull-baiting became more common in England over time. [9] Bulls who survived the fights were slaughtered afterwards for their meat, as it was believed that the fight caused bull meat to become more tender. [9] In fact, if a bull was offered for sale in the market without having been baited the previous day, butchers were liable to face substantial fines. [9] Animal fights were temporarily suspended in England when Oliver Cromwell seized power, but were reinstated again after the Restoration. [10] Dog fighting, bull-baiting, and bear-baiting were officially outlawed in England by the Humane Act of 1835. [2] The official ban on all fights, however, actually served to promote dog fighting in England. [10] Since a small amount of space was required for the pit where a dog fight took place, as compared to the ring needed for bull- or bear-baiting, authorities had a difficult time enforcing the ban on dog fighting. [10]

In 1817, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog breed was brought to America and dog fighting slowly became part of American culture. [1] Yet, though historical accounts of dog fighting in America can be dated back to the 1750s, it was not until the end of the Civil War (1861–1865) that widespread interest and participation in the blood sport began in the United States. [3] For instance, in 1881, the Mississippi and Ohio railroads advertised special fares to a dog fight in Louisville public forums such as Kit Burns' Tavern, "The Sportman's Hall," in Manhattan regularly hosted matches. [1] Many of these dogs thrown into the "professional pits" that flourished during the 1860s came from England and Ireland — where citizens had turned to dogs when bull-baiting and bear-baiting became illegal in their countries. [3]

In 20th century America, despite the expansion of laws to outlaw dog fighting, dog fighting continued to flourish underground. [3] Aiding in the expansion of dog fighting were the police and firemen, who saw dog fighting as a form of entertainment amongst their ranks. [3] In fact, the Police Gazette served as a "go to" source for information about where one could attend a fight. [3] When Henry Bergh, who started the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), witnessed police involvement in these fights, he was motivated to seek and receive authority for the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents to have arresting power in New York. [3] Additionally, Bergh's 1867 revision to New York's animal cruelty law made all forms of animal fighting illegal. [3] However, According to the ASPCA website, the Humane Law Enforcement department of ASPCA has been disbanded and NYPD has taken over its duty. [3] As laws were passed to outlaw the activity, high-profile organizations, such as the United Kennel Club, who once endorsed the sport by formulating rules and sanctioning referees, withdrew their endorsement. [1]

On July 8, 2009, the ASPCA also participated in one of the largest federal dog fighting raids in U.S. history. Most of the dogs rescued were pit bulls (over 400 of them). This raid took place in eight states and had 26 arrests, of which two defendants are required to spend at least 10 years in prison. [11]

Breed origins Edit

According to one scholar, Richard Strebel, the foundation for modern fighting dogs came from: 1. The Tibetan Mastiff 2. The English Mastiff, out of which came the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Bulldog and the Pug 3. The Great Dane, out of which came the Broholmer and the Boxer 4. The Newfoundland and 5. The Saint Bernard, out of which came the Leonberger. [10] However, Dieter Fleig disagreed with Strebel and offered the following list as composing of the foundation for modern fighting dogs: 1. The Tibetan Mastiff 2. The Molossus 3. The Bullenbeisser 4. The Great Dane 5. The English Mastiff 6. The Bulldog 5. The bull and terrier and 6. The Chincha Bulldog. [10]

The foundation breed of the fighting dog was, in its outward appearance, a large, low, heavy breed with a powerful build, strongly developed head, and tremendously threatening voice. [10] Additionally, these foundation breeds were also bred for a powerful jaw that would enable them to defend and protect humans, to overpower and pull down large animals on a hunt, and to control large, unmanageable domestic animals. [10] These dogs were also sometimes equipped with metal plates, chains, and collars with sharp spikes or hooked knives in order to be used in wars throughout history. [10]

When bull-baiting became popular in England due to the shortage of bears, bull-baiters soon realized that large fighting dogs were built too heavy and too slow for this type of combat. [9] When fighting a bull, dogs were trained to grab onto the bull's nose and pin the bull's head to the ground. [9] If the dog failed to do this, the bull would fling the dog out of the ring with its horns. [9] The British therefore decided to selectively breed fighting dogs for shorter legs and a more powerful jaw. [9] These efforts resulted in the Old English Bulldog. [9]

However, when countries started outlawing bull- and bear-baiting, dog fighters started pitting dogs against other dogs. [9] With the prevalence of such combat, dog fighters soon realized Bulldogs were inadequate and began to breed Bulldogs with terriers for more desired characteristics. [9] Terriers were most likely crossbred with Bulldogs due to their "generally rugged body structure", speed, aggression, and "highly developed gameness". [9] Yet, there is a debate over which type of terrier was bred with Bulldogs in order to create the bull and terrier. For instance, Joseph L. Colby claimed that it was the old English White Terrier that the bull and terrier is descended from, while Rhonda D. Evans and Craig J. Forsyth contend that its ancestor is the Rat Terrier. [9] Carl Semencic, on the other hand, held that a variety of terriers produced the bull and terrier. [9]

Eventually, out of crossbreeding Bulldogs and terriers, the English created the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. [3] When the Staffordshire Bull Terrier came to America in 1817, Americans began to selectively breed for gameness and created the American Pit Bull Terrier (originally known as the Pit Bull Terrier), which is a unique breed due to its absence of threat displays when fighting and its docility towards humans. [9] Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are all breeds that are commonly labeled as "pit bulls". [12] The fact that "pit bulls" were historically bred to fight bulls and bears has been used as justifications in some U.S. cities to implement Breed Specific Legislation. [13]

After interviewing 31 dogmen and attending 14 dog fights in the Southern United States, Evans, Gauthier, and Forsyth theorized on what attracts men to dog fights. [14] In their study, Evans, et al., discussed dog fighting's attractiveness in terms of masculinity and class immobility. [14] In the United States, masculinity embodies the qualities of strength, aggression, competition, and striving for success. By embodying these characteristics, a man can gain honor and status in his society. [14] Yet, working class occupations, unlike middle or upper class occupations, provide limited opportunities to validate this culturally accepted definition of masculinity. [14] So, working class men look for alternative ways to validate their masculinity and obtain honor and status. One way to do this is through dog fighting. [14] This is supported by the Evans, et al. findings: the majority of committed dogmen were mostly drawn from the working class, while the middle and upper classes were barely represented. [14] Men from middle and upper classes have opportunities to express their masculinity through their occupations dog fighting, therefore, is just a hobby for them while it plays a central role in the lives of working class men. [14] Those from the higher classes are drawn in by the thrill and excitement of the fight. [ citation needed ]

Aside from enjoyment of the sport and status, people are also drawn to dog fighting for money. [3] In fact, the average dog fight could easily net more money than an armed robbery or a series of isolated drug transactions. [15]

Bait animals Edit

"Bait" animals are animals used to test a dog's fighting instinct they are often mauled or killed in the process. Many of the training methods involve torturing and killing of other animals. [15] Often "bait" animals are stolen pets such as puppies, kittens, rabbits, small dogs and even stock (pit bulls acquired by the dog fighting ring which appear to be passive or less dominant). [16] Other sources for bait animals include wild or feral animals, animals obtained from a shelter or animals obtained from "free to good home" ads. [17] The snouts of bait animals are often wrapped with duct tape to prevent them from fighting back and they are used in training sessions to improve a dog's endurance, strength or fighting ability. [18] A bait animal's teeth may also be broken to prevent them from fighting back. [16] If the bait animals are still alive after the training sessions, they are usually given to the dogs as a reward and the dogs finish killing them. [15]

Types of dog fighters Edit

Street fighters Edit

Often associated with gang activity, street fighters fight dogs over insults, turf invasions, or simple taunts like "my dog can kill your dog". [3] These type of fights are often spontaneous unorganized conducted for money, drugs, or bragging rights and occur on street corners, back alleys, and neighborhood playgrounds. [3] Urban street fighters generally have several dogs chained in backyards, often behind privacy fences, or in basements or garages. [2] After a street fight, the dogs are often discovered by police and animal control officers either dead or dying. [3] Due to the spontaneity and secrecy of a street fight, they are very difficult to respond to unless reported immediately. [3]

Hobbyists and professionals often decry the techniques that street fighters use to train their dogs. [3] Such techniques include starving, drugging, and physically abusing the dog. [3]

Hobbyists Edit

Hobbyists fight dogs for supplemental income and entertainment purposes. [3] They typically have one or more dogs participating in several organized fights and operate primarily within a specific geographic network. [3] Hobbyists are also acquainted with one another and tend to return to predetermined fight venues repeatedly. [2]

Professionals Edit

Professional fighters breed generations of skilled "game dogs" and take great pride in their dogs' lineage. [2] These fighters make a tremendous amount of money charging stud fees to breed their champions, in addition to the fees and winnings they collect for fighting them. [2] They also tend to own a large number of dogs — sometimes 50 or more. [3] Professionals also use trade journals, such as Your Friend and Mine, Game Dog Times, The American Warrior, and The Pit Bull Chronicle, to discuss recent fights and to advertise the sale of training equipment and puppies. Some fighters operate on a national or even international level within highly secret networks. [2] When a dog is not successful in a fight, a professional may dispose of it using a variety of techniques such as drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution or some other method. [3] Sometimes professionals and hobbyists dispose of dogs deemed aggressive to humans to street fighters. [3]

Gang and criminal activities Edit

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. [2] While dog fighting statutes exist independently of general anti-cruelty statutes and carry stiffer penalties than general state anti-cruelty statutes, a person can be charged under both or can be charged under one, but not the other — depending on the evidence. [2] In addition to felony charges for dog fighting, 48 states and the District of Columbia have provisions within their dog fighting statutes that explicitly prohibit attendance as a spectator at a dog fighting exhibition. [2] Since Montana and Hawaii do not have such provisions, a person can pay an entrance fee to watch a dog fight in either state and not be convicted under these statutes. Additionally, 46 states and the District of Columbia make possessing, owning or keeping a fighting dog a felony. [2]

While dog fighting was previously seen as isolated animal welfare issues — and therefore rarely enforced, the last decade has produced a growing body of legal and empirical evidence that has revealed a connection between dog fighting and other crimes within a community, such as organized crime, racketeering, drug distribution, and/or gangs. [2] Within the gang community, fighting dogs compete with firearms as the weapon of choice indeed, their versatile utility arguably surpasses that of a loaded firearm in the criminal underground. Drug dealers distribute their illicit merchandise, wagers are made, weapons are concealed, and the dogs mutilate each other in a bloody frenzy as crowds cheer them on. [2] Violence often erupts among the usually armed gamblers when debts are to be collected and paid. [2] There is also a concern for children who are routinely exposed to dog fighting and are forced to accept the inherent violence as normal. [2] The routine exposure of the children to unfettered animal abuse and neglect is a major contributing factor in their later manifestation of social deviance. [2]

Animal welfare and rights Edit

Animal advocates consider dog fighting to be one of the most serious forms of animal abuse, not only for the violence that the dogs endure during and after the fights, but because of the suffering they often endure in training, which ultimately can lead to death. [ citation needed ]


This is how Hitler’s secret weapon showed us our world

Posted On January 28, 2019 18:43:00

As seen from space, the planet Earth is a peaceful, cloud-covered ball of blue and brown and green. When the sun sets beyond the horizon, the lights of humanity wink on across the globe. The serenity of the astronaut’s eye-view belies the ballistic fire and brimstone that made that view possible.

No shuttle pierces the atmosphere, no satellite orbits the globe, no man sets foot on the moon, no space station fosters international scientific cooperation, none of it is possible, if not for World War 2 and the fury of the Nazi war machine. None of it happens without the graduate work of a young German physicist named Wernher von Braun and the fruits of his youthful labors, the V-2 ballistic rocket.

At the time that von Braun was concluding his doctorate thesis, “Construction, Theoretical, and Experimental Solution to the Problem of the Liquid Propellant Rocket,” the Nazi Party was completing its rise to power under Adolf Hitler. Von Braun’s work caught the eye of Walter Dornberger, Assistant Examiner to the Ballistics Council of the German Army Weapons Department. Dornberger was tasked with the secret development of a liquid-fueled rocket, one that was ideally both producible on a mass scale and effective at a range that surpassed the standard artillery of the day.

The V-2: U.S. Army cutaway drawing showing engine, fuel tanks, guidance system, warhead. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As of the mid-1930’s, remote bombardment of military targets was only possible by either shelling them with large-caliber artillery from relatively close range, or by dropping bombs on them from airplanes. Both methods were fraught with difficulty. Artillery batteries were themselves vulnerable to air bombardment since they were fixed in place, and bombers were vulnerable to anti-aircraft artillery since safe altitudes made bombing less accurate. It was a bit of a mechanized warfare stalemate and there was much interest in breaking new technological ground ahead of the enemy. In the spring of 1932, the hot topic at the Weapons Department was the self-piloted rocket, theoretically capable of launching from a safe distance and guiding itself toward the destruction of a precision target.

Also read: This Soviet pilot stole the plane of a Nazi pilot who landed to try and kill him

Dornberger brought von Braun into the Nazi fold and, though the young man’s true passion was the entirely hypothetical concept of manned space travel, Dornberger put him straight to work building the world’s first liquid-fueled ballistic missile. It took him over a decade, but by late 1941, von Braun and company had perfected the four key technologies necessary to produce a viable, long-range rocket. Called the A-4, the rocket combined a large, liquid-fueled engine, supersonic aerodynamics, a gyroscopic guidance system and graphite rudders that could control the rocket’s ascent from within the jet stream. Together these elements allowed the rocket to ascend to a height of 50 miles before the engine quit, after which the rocket would descend toward its target in ballistic free fall, delivering 2000 lbs. of explosive warhead unto the enemies of the Third Reich.

The first successful test flight of the A-4 was on Oct. 3, 1942 and though the technology was far from maturity, Hitler signed the rocket into immediate mass production. By that time, Germany’s military might was beginning to bog down and the Allies, now bolstered by the United States, were challenging Nazi dominance on all fronts. Hitler was in dire need of a “wonder weapon” to boost morale. To that end, the A-4 was renamed the Vergeltungswaffe 2, translating roughly as “Vengeance Weapon 2.” Fabrication of the V-2 fell to the prisoners of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. Thousands of slave laborers died pushing V-2 rockets through accelerated production.

But when the V-2 offensive finally began in Sept. 1944, the rocket, though technologically intimidating, proved only marginally effective in the field. Early barrages suffered from accuracy issues due to underdeveloped guidance systems, not to mention canny misdirection by British intelligence officers who sowed false information about where the rockets were striking relative to London. Accuracy improved through early 1945 with a new radio guide beam system and a total of 3,172 V-2 rockets were fired at various targets, mainly in the UK and Antwerp, but casualties remained relatively low. Germany’s surrender to the Allied Forces ended the V-2 program before upgrades could be implemented sufficient for it to live up to its promise as Germany’s miracle weapon.

Related: Here’s what US intelligence knew about Hitler in 1943

Ultimately, Hitler’s Vengeance Weapons program cost Nazi Germany far more than it delivered. In Reichsmarks, it cost the equivalent of $40 billion (2015 USD). In material resources, it tied up over a third of Germany’s entire production. And in the factories at Mittelbau-Dora, the slave labor that pushed 6,048 V-2 rockets off the assembly line, contributed heavily to the deaths of 12,000 to 20,000 prisoners. In the end, “more people died manufacturing the V-2 than were killed by its deployment.”


The War’s Oddest Dogfight

One of the strangest dogfights—involving three four-engine bombers—occurred in World War II. It happened the morning of August 17, 1943, when an American B-24D Liberator encountered a pair of German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors over the Atlantic Ocean, about 300 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. The Condors were flying from Bordeaux in occupied France to attack a British convoy sailing from Gibraltar to Scotland. The Liberator, attached to the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 480th Antisubmarine Group, was on the way from its base in French Morocco to protect those British ships.

The 480th had been flying from Port Lyautey in Morocco against German U-boats for several months. Big, boxy, and all-business, the Liberator had the long range required for anti-submarine missions. Modified from its original heavy bombing role, it became an Allied favorite for sub-hunting. These missions were vital to the Allied cause of blunting U-boat attacks on convoys shuttling between Britain and Gibraltar.

The 480th fought the submarine war along with the Royal Air Force’s Coastal Command and U.S. Navy patrol squadrons. When these air arms and the Royal Navy started sinking more U-boats in the Bay of Biscay, between Spain and France, Berlin transferred some of the anti-convoy work from U-boats to the Luftwaffe, increasing the chances that Allied airplanes would encounter German ones.

Pilot Hugh Maxwell named the B-24 The Ark because “it had a lot of strange animals aboard and I hoped it would bring us through the deluge.” (State Archives of North Carolina) A B-24 bomber, engine smoking, flies through flak. The Liberator also flew U-boat patrols and convoy escorts. (USAF)

The Liberators had their share of run-ins with German airplanes. From March through October 1943, they shot down nine German aircraft, including five Condors, three Dornier flying boats, and one Junkers Ju 88 multi-role combat airplane the 480th’s two squadrons lost three Liberators. The Liberator pilot, Hugh Maxwell Jr., now 98 and living in Altamonte Springs, Florida, had been with the 480th since early March, and had fought another Condor about a month before the August dogfight. Flying parallel courses, the two bombers fired at each other, and Maxwell’s gunners scored hits. The Condor was last seen diving into the clouds with one engine out.

On August 17, the Liberator’s base at Port Lyautey had broken radio silence to warn of the Condors’ approach. Maxwell’s radar operator reported a pair of contacts 15 miles away, and his navigator calculated they would arrive over the convoy at about the same time as the Liberator. That left Maxwell no choice but to engage.

The battle was spectacular. He had never flown fighters—his experience had been in B-18 and B-25 bombers—and he had never been in a dogfight, so the combat that day was the ultimate on-the-job training. He initiated the fight by diving his 28-ton bomber out of the clouds at 1,000 feet on the tail of the lead Condor. He told his gunners to hold fire until they got within range. But the Condor “fired a sighting burst and started hitting me,” he says. “I shoved the throttles and prop pitch forward and closed as fast as I could, and I opened fire. They never came out of their diving turn, and went in on fire. But boy, they had done us damage.”

The second Condor, meanwhile, was firing at Maxwell from behind, and Maxwell’s gunners were returning fire. But the Liberator had lost its number-three and -four engines, and the right wing was full of holes and in flames. The bomber was especially vulnerable to attack because modifications for anti-submarine work (enabling the aircraft to carry more fuel and a maximum load of depth charges) had required removing all the armor plating that protected the crew. So when the Condor’s bullets struck, “all of us got hit by shrapnel and our hydraulic system was knocked out, our intercom radio system was knocked out, the whole instrument panel was knocked out,” Maxwell recalls. Fortunately, one of the crewmen was able to jettison the depth charges.

“As I realized that our right wing would no longer fly and I couldn’t raise it, and was trying to hold left rudder and aileron, my left foot kept slipping off the rudder pedal,” says Maxwell. “I looked down and said, ‘Oh my God.’ My whole left leg and foot were covered with blood, and there was a pool of blood and it was all over that rudder pedal. And I knew I’d been hit in the left side with shrapnel. But then I realized: It ain’t blood, it’s hydraulic fluid.

“At no time did I feel heroic or any of that kind of stuff,” he says. “Hell, I was scared. I didn’t want to die, but I had to do whatever I needed to do. The thing that sticks out in my mind the most was when I realized we were going to be crashing into the Atlantic Ocean, and I thought we were goners. But in a last-minute desperate effort to avoid catastrophe, I kicked in full right rudder and threw the plane into a skid, and sure enough, instead of our cartwheeling and breaking up and exploding, the water put the fire out, and the airplane broke in three pieces, but it didn’t explode or burn.” Seven of the 10 crew members survived.

The second Condor was seen mushing over the waves at low altitude with its number-three engine out. The pilot was able to stay in the air he made it back to Bordeaux, but his airplane crashed and burned on landing, according to one source. All crew members reportedly survived.

Maxwell’s crew was quickly picked up by one of the convoy’s escorts, the British destroyer Highlander. It also picked up “four survivors from that lead Focke-Wulf 200, two of whom died that night because they were so badly burned,” Maxwell says. The events of the day amounted to “probably my worst experience.”

In a 1989 interview with the Imperial War Museum in London, the Highlander’s captain, Colin William McMullen, described the dogfight as “really like a sort of Jules Verne scene, with these two enormous aircraft weaving about, shooting at one another.” After rescuing the Liberator crew, “who were extremely angry at being shot down,” McMullen said the ship “dashed off and found where the Focke-Wulf had gone into the sea. And there were three Germans swimming for Portugal, which was rather a long way away, and we picked up the Focke-Wulf crew. And as they came on the upper deck up the ladder, [they] came face to face with the American crew. And it was only by great tact that we managed to prevent them continuing the engagement on our upper deck.”

But, Maxwell says in an email, “There was no confrontation, other than what was done by tail gunner Milton Brown. I would never have condoned it, but Brownie snatched the epaulet off the shoulder of the [German] pilot’s uniform and later gave it to me.”

For his actions that day, Maxwell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the 480th ultimately won a Presidential Unit Citation. Maxwell went on to become a B-29 instructor pilot and finished his career in Air Force intelligence, retiring in 1969.


The Last Piston-Engine Dogfights

The last dogfights between piston-engine, propeller-driven airplanes weren’t fought in the skies over Germany in the 1940s or even Korea in the 1950s. They occurred in Central America in 1969, and all of the combatants were flying U.S.-built Corsairs and Mustangs.

The dogfights were among the final acts in a brief but bloody four-day conflict between Honduras and El Salvador, commonly (but misleadingly) known as the Football War. Although a pair of soccer games between the two nations sparked the initial riots, the war was the culmination of longstanding tension over immigration and land reform.

Honduras boasted the more impressive and better established air force. Nearly a dozen were military-surplus Vought F4U-4, F4U-5, and F4U-5N Corsairs bought privately and imported through American aid programs. Several had flown in the Korean War.

The Salvadoran air force also had Corsairs—about half a dozen Goodyear-built models called FG-1Ds, worn out and all but decommissioned. To replace them, buyers returned from the United States shortly before the war began with a handful of demilitarized P-51s, sold as Cavalier Mustang IIs. 

Hostilities commenced at dusk on July 14, 1969, when a Salvadoran Douglas C-47 transport, escorted by two Cavalier Mustangs, pushed out 100-pound bombs over Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. Although this and several other early evening aerial attacks caught the Hondurans by surprise, the damage was primarily psychological.

Over the next two days, the Salvadoran and Honduran air forces devoted most of their sorties to bombing missions and close air support. But on the third full day of fighting, Honduran Captain Fernando Soto and his wingman, Captain Edgardo Acosta, came to the aid of a third Corsair pilot who’d been jumped by a pair of Salvadoran Mustangs while strafing targets south of Tegucigalpa.

Soto was among the most experienced pilots in the Honduran air force. He pounced on one of the two Mustangs, turned inside it “real, real easy,” he recalled later, and, with three bursts from his four 20-millimeter cannon, knocked off its left wing. The Mustang pilot, Captain Douglas Varela, was reportedly killed when his parachute failed to deploy fully.

Later that afternoon, Soto and Acosta spotted a pair of Salvadoran pilots flying Goodyear Corsairs. They jettisoned their wing-mounted bombs and used their Pratt & Whitney R-2800󈛄W Double Wasp engines to climb above the Salvadoran fighters. During his diving pass, Soto flamed one of the FG-1Ds. (The pilot parachuted to safety.)

But Soto had no time to savor his victory. He quickly realized that Acosta had remained at altitude to check two Salvadoran Mustangs that had arrived on the scene. Much to Soto’s horror, the remaining Salvadoran airplane slid in on his unprotected tail.

The two Corsairs, one built by Vought and the other by Goodyear, embarked on a classic knifefight in a phone booth: each zooming, diving, and twisting to get a clear shot at the other. After what seemed to him “like a century,” Soto performed a split-S that lined him up behind his quarry. He let loose a stream of cannon fire, and Captain Guillermo Reynaldo Cortez died in the fireball.

This action was the last air-to-air engagement between Honduras and El Salvador, and Soto ended the war with the only three recorded aerial kills. He went on to become director of civil aeronautics and was declared a national hero by the National Congress of Honduras in 2003. He died three years later.

The Hondurans continued to fly Corsairs for a decade after the Football War. Soto’s airplane, FAH-609, was transferred by legislative decree to the Air Museum of Honduras. Although FAH-609 last flew in 1981, its fuselage still carries the white silhouettes of three airplanes—two Corsairs and one Mustang, the kill markings graphically symbolizing the end of the era of propeller-driven dogfights.


Watch the video: The Intense Dogfight Between a. Pilot and an Iraqi MiG (January 2022).