An introduction to Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung." This monumental cycle of four operas is one of the major achievements in the annals of art. The documentary breaks down and reveals all the Leitmotiv's, characters, scenes, plots, metaphors, mythology, and names in Wagner's Ring Cycle.
This book is made of the stories told by the Northern folk,—the people who live in the land of the midnight sun, where summer is green and pleasant, but winter is a terrible time of cold and gloom; where rocky mountains tower like huge giants, over whose heads the thunder rolls and crashes, and under whose feet are mines of precious metals. Therefore you will find the tales full of giants and dwarfs,—spirits of the cold mountains and dark caverns. You will find the hero to be Thor, with his thunderbolt hammer, who dwells in the happy heaven of Asgard, where All-Father Odin is king, and where Balder the beautiful makes springtime with his smile. In the north countries, winter, cold, and frost are very real and terrible enemies; while spring, sunshine, and warmth are near and dear friends. So the story of the Beginning of Things is a story of cold and heat, of the wicked giants who loved the cold, and of the good Æsir, who basked in pleasant warmth.
The first Me-321 A-1 production aircraft entered service in May 1941 with Grossraumlastensegler 321 at Leipheim, initially towed by Ju 90s and later by the He 111Z and the Troikaschlepp arrangement of three Bf 110s. The later Me-321 B-1 variant had a crew of three and was armed with four 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine guns. In spring 1942, the remaining Me-321s were withdrawn from service in Russia in anticipation of the planned Operation Herkules, the invasion of Malta, in which a fleet of the gliders hauled by He 111Zs were to be used. The plan was abandoned due to a lack of towing aircraft.
In 1943, the Me-321s were returned to Russia to be used in a projected operation to relieve General Friedrich Paulus' besieged army at Stalingrad, but by the time they reached the front line, no suitable airfields remained and they were sent back to Germany.
Following the cancellation of the Stalingrad operation, the Me-321 gliders were either mothballed or scrapped, though some were converted into the powered variant, the Me-323 with six 895 kW (1,200 hp) engines. This was the biggest land-based cargo aircraft of World War II. A further proposed operation — in which the remaining Me-321s would have landed troops on Sicily — was also abandoned, due to a lack of suitable landing sites. Ultimately, 200 Me-321s were produced.
The Messerschmitt Me-262 Schwalbe ("Swallow") was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began but engine problems prevented the aircraft from attaining operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944. Compared with Allied fighters of its day, including the jet-powered Gloster Meteor, it was much faster and better armed. One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II, the Me-262 was used in a variety of roles, including light bomber, reconnaissance and even experimental night fighter versions. Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied kills (although higher claims are sometimes made) against the loss of about 100 Me-262s. The Allies countered its potential effectiveness in the air by relentlessly attacking the aircraft on the ground and while they were taking off or landing. Maintenance problems and a lack of fuel during the deteriorating late-war situation also reduced the effectiveness of the aircraft as a fighting force. In the end, the Me-262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war due to its late introduction and the small numbers that were deployed in operational service.
The Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet,[N 1] designed by Alexander Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft. It is the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational. Its design was revolutionary, and the Me 163 was capable of performance unrivaled at the time. Messerschmitt test pilot Rudy Opitz in 1944 reached 1,123 km/h (698 mph). Over 300 aircraft were built; however, the Komet proved ineffective as a fighter, having been responsible for the destruction of only about nine Allied aircraft (16 air victories for 10 losses, according to other sources).
The Junkers Ju-88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' company through the services of two American aviation engineers in the mid-1930s, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early operational roles, but became one of the most versatile combat aircraft of the war. Affectionately known as "The Maid of all Work" (a feminine version of "jack of all trades"), the Ju 88 proved to be suited to almost any role. Like a number of other Luftwaffe bombers, it was used successfully as a bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, torpedo bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter, and even as a flying bomb during the closing stages of conflict.
The Junkers Ju-87 or Stuka (from Sturzkampfflugzeug, "dive bomber") was a two-man (pilot and rear gunner) German ground-attack aircraft. Designed by Hermann Pohlmann, the Stuka first flew in 1935 and made its combat debut in 1936 as part of the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.
The aircraft was easily recognizable by its inverted gull wings, fixed spatted undercarriage and its infamous Jericho-Trompete ("Jericho Trumpet") wailing siren, becoming the propaganda symbol of German air power and the blitzkrieg victories of 1939--1942. The Stuka's design included several innovative features, including automatic pull-up dive brakes under both wings to ensure that the aircraft recovered from its attack dive even if the pilot blacked out from the high acceleration.
The Junkers Ju-52 (nicknamed Tante Ju ("Auntie Ju") and Iron Annie) was a German trimotor transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler. In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber. The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s.
The Heinkel He-111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Often described as a "Wolf in sheep's clothing", it masqueraded as a transport aircraft, but its purpose was to provide the Luftwaffe with a fast medium bomber.
Perhaps the best-recognised German bomber due to the distinctive, extensively glazed, bullet-shaped "greenhouse" nose of later versions, the Heinkel was the most numerous and the primary Luftwaffe bomber during the early stages of World War II. It fared well until the Battle of Britain, when its weak defensive armament, relatively low speed, and poor manoeuvrability were exposed. Nevertheless, it proved capable of sustaining heavy damage and remaining airborne. As the war progressed, the He 111 was used in a variety of roles on every front in the European Theatre. It was used as a strategic bomber during the Battle of Britain, a torpedo bomber during the Battle of the Atlantic, and a medium bomber and a transport aircraft on the Western, Eastern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African Fronts.
Formed in 1935, the German Luftwaffe secretly began designing formidable military aircraft while other countries leisurely explored aviation. the Luftwaffe launched many of the greatest combat aircraft of the era. The Fw 190 was a deadly success. The Me 109 became the German's reliable workhorse. The Me 262 was the only truly successful jet fighter bomber. With these planes, German Aces gave the Allies an awesome challenge in the skies. FW 190 "Butcherbird" - Armed with great speed, climbing ability and agility, it penetrated Allied bomber formations, and forced them to higher altitudes. Many who flew the Fw 190 call it the war's best fighter. Messerschmitt Me 109 "Legend" - The Bf 109, later known as Me 109, is credited for more than half of the German kills in WWII. This successful plane became the backbone of the Luftwaffe. Me 262 "Swallow" - The development of the Me 262 was plagued with controversy and setbacks, but in combat the jet's performance was unequalled. With speeds of almost 550 mph, the Me 262 flew lethal missions over Europe in 1944 and 1945.
The Messerschmitt Bf-109, often called Me-109, was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusser during the early to mid 1930s. It was one of the first true modern fighters of the era, including such features as all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, retractable landing gear, and was powered by a liquid-cooled inverted-V12 aero engine.
Russia's 40 million farmers resist Stalin's attempt to seize their lands and to collectivize Soviet farming. The result is a virtual war that lasts for years and results in the deaths of 20 million farmers and their families through execution, deliberate starvation and death in the labor camps.
Written by Ulf Kjell Gür
For nearly 500 years the Norse people dominated the oceans, known by their remarkable ships and known for their death, destruction and burning down of anything in their way. They used sophisticated navigation methods and navigated safely over remarkably long distances.
Relive the time when the Viking dragon – an emblem of terror and devastation – flew from the shores of Scandinavia, across seas and rivers, to the rest of Europe and beyond.
Francis Pryor concludes his investigation into Celtic Britain, asking why the Romans perceived such a threat from Druids when more critical events were occurring in East Anglia as Boudicca led a bloody revolt. Pryor travels from Stonehenge to Orkney in search of answers, reinterpreting the meaning of stone circles as he explores the invaders' fascination with the ancient druid religion.
"Scottish Myths & Legends" explores the magic, mystery and sprinkling of mayhem that covers the dramatic landscape of Scotland. From the ancient tales of the Loch Ness Monster to the stories of shape shifting Kelpies, we go on a fascinating journey of discovery to uncover the stories behind the myths and the magnificent Scottish landscape that has inspired these truly legendary legends.
This literature represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branches of Celtic mythology. Although many of the manuscripts have not survived and much more material was probably never committed to writing, there is enough remaining to enable the identification of distinct, if overlapping, cycles: the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle, the Fenian Cycle and the Historical Cycle. There are also a number of extant mythological texts that do not fit into any of the cycles. Additionally, there are a large number of recorded folk tales that, while not strictly mythological, feature personages from one or more of these four cycles.
The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths
Before time as we know it began, gods and goddesses lived in the city of Asgard. Odin All Father crossed the Rainbow Bridge to walk among men in Midgard. Thor defended Asgard with his mighty hammer. Mischievous Loki was constantly getting into trouble with the other gods, and dragons and giants walked free.
by Padraic Colum