Thought of the Day


Name the Mystery Aircraft

The Soviet Union entered the Second World War with a deficit in aviation.


In 2018

The hovel was still under construction.


Yesterday was Bastille Day [which isn’t what they call it in France], wherein the French celebrate the storming of the old prison and armory in 1789 which gloriously secured the liberation of four forgers, a “lunatic” imprisoned at the request of his family; a man who had tried to assassinate Louis XV thirty years before; and one “deviant” aristocrat, the Comte de Solages, imprisoned supposedly for incest on orders of his father. The “La révolution française” itself eventually led to a bloody orgy of murder which became known as “The Great Terror” and the popularization of the guillotine as the “most humane form of capital punishment” of its day. The greatest irony of the endeavor was that it led within fifteen years to the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor of France in 1804. So much for the abolition of the monarchy…


  1. Not sure of the plane but it does remind me of the Polikarpov I-16 which was not, of course, a biplane.

    • Actually, the I-16 came before the I-153.

      I-16s had some problems with CR-32s in Spain, and the Soviets upgraded the I-15 down a “maneuverability” dead-end in response.


      • Of course, the I-153 (bi-plane) was the successor of the I-15 (bi-plane).

        The I-16 “rata” (monoplane, low decker) was a very successful fighter for its time although at the time of its deployment to Spain (on the Republican side, supported by Moscow) it was practically at the peak of its development while the German Bf 109E (on the Falangist side) was just starting its its career.
        The I-16 was still in service in the Soviet Union at the start of the German invasion and proved to be a worthy adversary of the Luftwaffe, in spite of being obsolete and outclassed.
        Personal dedication and valor can compensate for a lot.

  2. I know, it’s all very odd. One minute it’s chop off their their heads and the next it’s crowning Boney.

    Josephine, they say, apart from being beautiful, had rotten teeth. I feel there’s a moral in that.

  3. “Hovel”, “a small, squalid, unpleasant, or simply constructed dwelling”. I get the tongue in cheek, but if you’re nearer to shower #4 you are not in a millennial tiny house. Hehe

    Isn’t it nice to be beyond that phase of construction and outfitting the place as “yours”.

    Those French are some “wild and crazy” people.

  4. And what was one of the root causes of the French Revolution and the whole Bastille thingy?
    Icelandic volcanoes.
    Which caused a serious several-years agricultural crisis.
    Which resulted in the Crown freezing prices on wheat and ordering farmers to sell their seed stock.
    Which resulted in the farmers saying F.U. to the Crown and not sending wheat and flour to Paris.
    Which resulted in all the people in Paris getting pissy and uppity and rioty over lack of bread.
    And… thus. The French Revolution caused by asshattery over no food.

    Coming to America maybe this year, or next year.

    Yay. I sometimes hate knowing history and knowing cyclical trends. Dammit.

    As to the stupid little plane, it was effective as a night harassment aircraft. But in any useable light, it was a death trap.

    But then again, so many Soviet aircraft were deathtraps. By design flaws or by poor maintenance.

    Always wondered what would have happened if we hadn’t Lend-Leased to the Soviets. Let them fight Hitler without us giving them food, fuel, equipment, supplies. I think that, though they might have eventually ‘won’ against the Germans, it would have been a much less powerful country.

    • Stalin accused the other allies of fighting the war to the last Russian during their Great Patriotic War by “delaying” the invasion of Europe. Their casualties were appalling. So were the German casualties on the Eastern Front.

      A friend of mine is writing a historical novel based around a Russian tank officer on the Eastern Front from the beginning of the war to the end. Most of the Russian Army who survived the war did so because they were wounded seriously enough to merit evacuation where they were invalided out. I have read his draft manuscript and it’s good. You almost need to tell that story from a historical fiction perspective because the people who fought there died. 18 million Russian soldiers. The German casualties were fewer but no less profound.

      A lot of the books written by survivors were sugar-coated with a bias toward their side of the conflict. The Russian problem with moving their tube artillery was eventually addressed with lend-lease, but until the very end of the war, they had difficulty with combined arms coordination and the Germans did not.

      • I recall a line in Tigers in the mud about being sent to support a pioneer battalion (? maybe a company), and when he got there there was less than a platoon. Could anyone in the western world comprehend or deal with that level of casualties?

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