1940

Throwback Thursday: Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse 1940

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Tacoma Narrows Bridge Image One
Image Credit: www.tacomanarrowsbridge.org

The caption above reads:

On July 1, 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was opened to traffic. This picture, taken from the air during dedication ceremonies, plainly shows three unusual characteristics of design: (1) Extremely narrow deck – 39′; (2) extreme length of suspension span – 2800′; (3) the solid stiffening girders used in the place of orthodox truss girders. Use of the solid girders is commonly blamed for the collapse.

Seventy-nine years ago, today, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed at approximately 11:00am PST due to a wind-induced aeroelastic flutter.

[A] suspension bridge in [Washington State] that spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound, between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula, [it] opened to traffic on July 1, 1940. The bridge’s collapse has been described as “spectacular” and in subsequent decades “has attracted the attention of engineers, physicists and mathematicians”. Throughout its short existence, it was the world’s third-longest suspension bridge by main span, behind the Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Image Two
Image Credit: tacomanarrowsbridge.org
Notice the view of the car in the center of the twist.

Construction began in September 1938. From the time the deck was built, it began to move vertically in windy conditions, so, construction workers nicknamed the bridge Galloping Gertie. The motion continued after the bridge opened to the public, despite several damping measures. The bridge’s main span finally collapsed in 40-mile-per-hour (64 km/h) winds on the morning of November 7, 1940. Efforts to replace the bridge were delayed by the United States’ entry into World War II […]. The portion of the bridge that fell into the water now serves as an artificial reef.

The bridge’s collapse had a lasting effect on science and engineering. In many physics textbooks, the event is presented as an example of elementary forced resonance. [The] bridge collapsed because normal speed winds produced aeroelastic flutter that matched the bridge’s natural frequency. The collapse boosted research into bridge aerodynamics-aeroelastics, which has influenced the designs of all later long-span bridges.

[Source]

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Image Three
Photo Credit: tacomanarrowsbridge.org

I saw the Narrows bridge die today and only by the grace of God, escaped dying with it…

I drove on the bridge and started across. Just as I drove past the towers, the bridge began to sway violently from side to side. Before I realized it, the tilt became so violent that I lost control of the car…I jammed on the brakes and got out, only to be thrown onto my face against the curb. Around me I could hear concrete cracking. The car, itself, began to slide from side to side on the roadway. I decided the bridge was breaking up and my only hope was to get back to shore. On hands and knees most of the time, I crawled 500 yards or more to the towers. My breath was coming in gasps…my knees were raw and bleeding, my hands bruised and swollen from gripping the concrete curb. Toward the last, I risked rising to my feet and running a few yards at a time. Safely back at the toll plaza, I saw the bridge in its final collapse and saw my car plunge into the Narrows.

[Leonard Coatsworth, Tacoma News Tribune Editor]

[See also Tubby The Dog]

Some Bridge Facts:
♦ [The] entire 1940 bridge did not collapse into the water, though most of the center span did fall. The side spans were badly damaged and the 2 big towers got bent beyond repair […]. It would be 10 years before the bridge was replaced.
♦ [Due] to the undulating motions up and down […], you could be driving across it and, the car ahead of you might dip out of view. Sometimes the roadway would rise above the height of a car […].
♦ The 1940 bridge remains at the bottom of the water have provided a place for sealife [sic] that was not there, before and much of the life includes the giant Pacific octopus as well as lingcod, wolf eels and black seabass [sic].
♦ (Referencing the image at the very top…) Did a ship go under the bridge for opening day in 1940? Yes, it is true…the ship Atlanta was a Coast Guard Cutter. Ironically, not only was it the first ship to go under the bridge on opening day July 1, 1940, it was also the last ship to travel under the bridge before it collapsed […]. When the concrete started to crumble and fall off, the ship was underneath and pieces fell on her deck. Luckily, no pieces were big enough to cause any damage to the ship and the ship’s Commander was one of the first to report the collapse.

Link to the Armistice Day Blizzard
Harbor History Museum

Flashback Friday: Paris, Lithuania & Tarnów 1940

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June 14 was a banner day for the countries of France, Lithuania and Poland. Except for reading the words, we, today, have no clue what these people went through. ~Vic

Paris Occupied Image One
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

[Source]

Paris started mobilizing for war in September 1939 when Nazi Germany, and their allied Soviet Union, according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Treaty, invaded Poland. […] the war seemed far away until May 10, 1940, when the Germans attacked France and quickly defeated the French army. The French government departed Paris on June 10 and the Germans occupied the city on June 14.

In the spring of 1939, war with Germany already seemed inevitable. On March 10, the city began to distribute gas masks to civilians and on March 19, signs were posted guiding Parisians to the nearest shelters. On August 31, anticipating bombardment, the French government began to evacuate 30,000 children out of the city […]. On September 1, news reached Paris that Germany had invaded Poland, and France, as expected, promptly declared war on Germany. […] in February 1940, ration cards for food were issued [..].

The French defense plan was purely passive, waiting for the Germans to attack. After eight months of relative calm, […] the Germans struck France on May 10, 1940, bypassing the Maginot Line and slipping through the Ardennes. On June 3, the Germans bombed Paris and its suburbs for the first time […]. On June 8, the sound of distant artillery fire could be heard in the capital. On 10 June, the French government fled Paris […]. On June 12, the French government, in Tours, declared Paris to be an open city [and] that there would be no resistance. At 5:30 in the morning of June 14, the first German advance guard entered the city […]. By the end of the afternoon, the Germans had hung a swastika flag at the Arc de Triomphe […].

Lithuania Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org & Renata3
According to the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty, Lithuania agreed to allow Soviet military bases (marked in black stars) in exchange for a portion of the Vilnius Region (in orange).

[Source]

The Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Lithuania before midnight of June 14, 1940. The Soviets, using a formal pretext, demanded to allow an unspecified number of Soviet soldiers to enter the Lithuanian territory and to form a new pro-Soviet government […]. The ultimatum and subsequent incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union stemmed from the division of Eastern Europe into the German and Russian spheres of influence in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939. Lithuania, along with Latvia and Estonia, fell into the Russian sphere. Despite the threat to the independence, Lithuanian authorities did little to plan for contingencies and were unprepared for the ultimatum. With Soviet troops already stationed in the country according to the Mutual Assistance Treaty, it was impossible to mount effective military resistance. On June 15, Lithuania unconditionally accepted the ultimatum and lost its independence.

Auschwitz Image Three
Photo Credit: wikipedia.org & flickr.com

[Source]

The first mass transport of prisoners by Nazi Germany to Auschwitz Concentration Camp was organized in occupied Poland on June 14, 1940, during World War II. The transport departed from the southern Polish city of Tarnów and, consisted of 728 Poles and 20 Polish Jews. They were dubbed ‘political prisoners’ and members of the Polish resistance. Most were Catholics, since the mass deportations of Jews had not yet begun. All were sent to Auschwitz by the German Security Police. They were transported there from a regular prison in Tarnów where they had been incarcerated as enemies of the Nazi regime. Numbers were tattooed on the prisoners’ arms in the order of their arrival […]. These inmates were assigned the numbers 31 through 758, with numbers 1 through 30 having been reserved for a group of German criminals who were brought to Auschwitz from Sachsenhausen on May 20 and became the first Auschwitz kapos.

Throwback Thursday: January 31 Trivia Bits

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January 31 Calendar Image One
Image Credit: axial.net

January 31 doesn’t appear to be a day where anything really Earth-shattering happened. I have gathered up a few noteworthy thingys…

1940…….Ida May Fuller was issued the very first Social Security check (numbered 00-000-001) for the amount of $22.54.

1958…….The very first satellite put into Earth orbit by the United States was Explorer I. Launched at 10:48pm EST, it was the first to detect the Van Allen radiation belt.

1961…….Ham the Chimp was launched from Cape Canaveral in the Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) test flight of Project Mercury. He was returned to Earth, safely and lived an additional 22 years.

1971…….Apollo 14, the third mission to land on the Moon, was launched at 4:03pm EST. Mission Commander was Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot was Stuart Roosa and Lunar Module Pilot was Edgar Mitchell. They landed in the Fra Mauro formation, the aborted Apollo 13 mission’s destination.

2000…….Dr. Harold Shipman, British serial killer, was found guilty of murdering 15 patients under his care. The Shipman Inquiry estimated the total victim count to be 250. Known as The Angel of Death, he hung himself in prison in 2004, one day before his 58th birthday.

Notable Birthdays
1892 Eddie Cantor (d. 1964)
1919 Jackie Robinson (d. 1972)
1921 Carol Channing (d. January 15, 2019).
1923 Norman Mailer (The Executioner’s Song) (d. 2007)
1929 Jean Simmons (d. 2010)

Notable Deaths
1606 Guy Fawkes (b. 1570)
1945 Eddie Slovik (the only American soldier to be court-martialed and executed for desertion since the Civil War) (b. 1920)
1956 A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh creator) (b. 1882)
1974 Samuel Goldwyn (b. 1882)
1976 Ernesto Miranda (Miranda vs Arizona & “Mirandize”) (b. 1941)

National Airborne Day

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National Day Calendar Photo

August 16 has four celebrations. National Airborne Day was created by President George ‘W’ Bush in 2001.

29th Infantry Regiment Photo
Photo Credit: wikimedia.org

On August 16, 1940, a “Test” Platoon led by Major William Lee and consisting of 48 volunteers of the U.S. 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, GA, made the first U.S. Army parachute jump from an aircraft in order to explore its applications in battle:

During the time between the World Wars, the 29th Infantry Regiment trained infantry soldiers and leaders, demonstrated tactics and tested innovations in Infantry warfare at Fort Benning including providing soldiers for the first parachute unit in the U.S. armed forces.

503rd Infantry Regiment Photo
Photo Credit: wikimedia.org

The first combat jump was in November 1942 when members of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, leapt from a C-47 into North Africa.
 
 

Also celebrated:
National Tell A Joke Day (HA!)
National Roller Coaster Day (Weeeee!)
National Rum Day (OMG, YUM)

So, let’s all have a rum drink, ride a roller coaster, tell a joke and cheer on our Airborne folks! Enjoy, everyone!