Monday, April 15, 2013

A Little Time in Windsor

Since I got my Passport on Saturday, I decided to cross over into Windsor on Sunday.  It was my first time going into Canada since well before 9/11.  So I got stopped at the border and was asked a few questions.  Then they had me go into the Customs office where they asked me some more questions.  Since I told them I was over to do some photographing, they asked why and I told them about my blog.  Given that there was a hit from Ottawa at about that time, I'm sure they checked out my blog, so I hoped they enjoyed it.  Then they let me go.  I guess it wasn't too bad and almost expected in this day and age.  I just hope it gets easier as I go over more.
 One of the main reasons why I wanted to go over into Windsor was because it presents some better angles on some Detroit landmarks.  For instance, I can't get this angle of the Ambassdor Bridge over from Detroit.
 This one is doable from Detroit but there are buildings on the Windsor side.
 I do think Windsor presents some better angles for getting pictures of the Detroit skyline though.
 Although I was surprised how the Train Station sticks out like a sore thumb from over in Windsor.  I never realized how visible it was but then again, my perspective is different from the US side.
 A little known fact is that there were Canadian troops that participated in the Vietnam War but I think it was very limited or very unofficial or both.  This is a memorial dedicated to the Candadian soldiers that were killed in the war.
 I love this angle of the bridge.  It looks like it goes on forever.
 Looking up at one of the towers.  The last time I got a view like this was from the Diamond Jack.
 Another endless view of the Bridge.  I'd imagine this would look pretty cool in the fog.
 For the most part, I stuck to the park that follows along the Detroit River.  There are a number of sculptures there.  This is one of a brachiosaur.
 And a dancing bear.
 I thought this sculpture of some fur traders was pretty cool.  Considering this was the big industry when Windsor and Detroit were founded, I guess it is fitting.
 Another angle of the Detroit Skyline.
 Windsor was settled in 1749 and officially incorporated in 1854.  I'd imagine it is probably one of hte few places in Canada where you can look north and see the United States.  In 1871, there was a fire that consumed much of the downtown.  Currently, the population stands at a little over 200,000.
 The parks had quite a few memorials to the fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen from the Windsor area.  This Lancaster bomber was from a memorial that was dedicated to the Royal Canadian Air Force.
 I thought these were pretty cool.  They were kind of like a reverse sculpture.  There was a pilot for each of the major plane types of the war.  This particular pilot was for a Hurricane.
 And a sculpture of the Hurricane.
 A Lancaster pilot.  Many of the airplanes for the Royal Air Force were built in Canada.
 Another angle of the Lancaster.
 And a Spitfire pilot.
 And a sculpture of a Spitfire.  The Spitfire was probably one of the more famous planes of the war but the workhorse was the Hurricane.
 A shot of the Renaissance Center.  I never get the angle of the Renaissance Center where the towers look so spread out.
 A Memorial dedicated to the Canadian Soldiers that lost their lives in the Dieppe Raid.

The Dieppe Raid was conceived by Lord Mountbatten as a large scale commando raid.  It would consist of 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 Brits and 50 US Rangers.  The group was supposed to attack and hold the port of Dieppe for at least 2 tidal cycles.  It was approved in May of 1942.  Originally, Airborne troops were supposed to land and take the inland artillery pieces but that was switched to seaborne commandos.

It was also supposed to include substantial Naval support but that was nixed because the British didn't want to risk its ships against what might have been significant German Air Cover.  The attack was also going in blind and the Germans had a pretty idea of what was coming because of French double agents and the monitoring of radio traffic.

To say the raid didn't go well would be an understatement.  Of the 5,000 Canadian troops landed, 3,300 were either captured or killed.  Initially the criticism was laid at the fact they were inexperienced but it was later concluded that even experienced troops would have had a hard time.  Planning on the part of the Allies was minimal.  Support was minimal and those troops were basically killed for no reason.

Lord Mountbatten would later justify this as a learning experience for Normandy but there were plenty of other landings that were better learning experiences.  The raid also gave the Germans a pretty good shot in the arm.

I guess one of the key factors was that Field Marshall Montgomery looked at the plans and didn't like them.
 I really liked the symbolism of this leaf on the ground.  To this day, the Canadians feel like their troops were left out there to die.  They had little British Naval or Air Support and based on that, I could see where they would come to that conclusion.

The CBC had a pretty good special on this raid a few years ago.  If you get a chance, check it out.
 The view of the monument from the other side.
 The Royal Canadian Air Force flag.
 Another view of Downtown Windsor.  The skyline is still pretty much dominated by the Caesar's Palace Casino.
 A memorial dedicated to the Royal Canadian Navy.  The Canadian Navy played a huge role in the Battle of the Atlantic.  With the British ships tied up elsewhere, much of the escort duties fell on the Canadians.
 The flag of Ontario.
 The Royal Navy Jack.
 A view of Joe Louis Arena from Windsor.  This is where the Detroit Red Wings Hockey team plays.
 With all the memorial dedicated to the fallen, I suppose there has to be one dedicated to peace somewhere.
 Another view of the Detroit Skyline.  It's amazing how different it looks from across the River.
One more view of the skyline.  It's amazing how cool the skyline looks from over here.  It almost looks like a proper city.

Well, I had a pretty good time in Windsor even though I didn't stay long.  Crossing back into the United States wasn't too bad, so I plan on coming back to Canada more often.

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