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Friday, 4 August 2017

Full-Scale War Breaks Out in China


After years of brutal infighting the government finally delivered a sensible ruling on the question of whether the Royal Air Force or the Royal Navy should control naval aviation. Control had devolved on the RAF when it was formed from the Army’s RFC and the Navy’s RNAS in 1918 but compared to the service’s obsession with “strategic” bombing, it had been treated as only a trivial responsibility. The government overrode the anguished complaints of the RAF and its backers to give control of ship-borne aircraft to the Royal Navy. Land based aircraft involved in naval warfare remained under the RAF’s control, in the eventual guise of Coastal Command. The decision was long overdue but it meant that the Fleet Air Arm went into WWII with obsolete or ill-designed aircraft. Mercifully the US Navy had jealously guarded its own aviation and US designed carrier aircraft were available to make good the woeful inadequacy of British designs.

The Sino-Japanese war which is generally considered to have been a few weeks before with the “incident” at the Marco Polo bridge turned into a full-scale conflict with a large mutiny by Chinese troops who turned on Japanese garrisons inflicting heavy casualties. In turn, the Japanese launched an all-out offensive to take control of Peking and its port city. This was the first and the longest-lasting of the various armed conflicts that was to coalesce into WWII.

Belgrade was rocked by large-scale protests triggered by the death of the Orthodox Patriarch Varnava. He had resolutely resisted government plans to grant greater powers to Yugoslavia’s minority Roman Catholic church, which was especially strong  in Croatia. It was widely suspected that the Patriarch had been poisoned. His death was declared to be from natural causes but the matter has never been settled conclusively.

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