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The history of the Swiss Air Force began in 1914with the establishment of an ad hoc force consisting of a handful of men in outdated and largely civilian aircraft. It was only in the 1930s that an effective air force was established at great cost, capable of inflicting several embarrassing defeats on the NaziLuftwaffe in the course of an initially vigorous defence of neutral Swiss airspace. The Swiss Air Force as an autonomous military service was created in October 1936. After World War II it was renamed the Swiss Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Command (Schweizerische Flugwaffe Kommando der Flieger und Fliegerabwehrtruppen) and in 1996became a separate service independent from the Army, under its present name Schweizer Luftwaffe.
The mission of the Swiss Air Force historically has been to support ground troops (erdkampf) in repelling invasions of neutral Swiss territory, with a secondary mission of defending the sovereignty of Swiss airspace. During World War II this doctrine was severely tested when Switzerland was literally caught in the middle of an air war and subjected to both attacks and intrusions by aircraft of all combatants. Its inability to prevent such violations of its neutrality led for a period to a complete cessation of air intercepts, followed by a practice of coercing small numbers of intruders to submit to internment. (Full article...)
Image 5Although there is reasonable doubt whether William Tell ever lived at all, the legend itself had a great impact on the history and culture of Switzerland (statue in Altdorf) (from Culture of Switzerland)
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The Battle of Winterthur (27 May 1799) was an important action between elements of the Army of the Danube and elements of the Habsburg army, commanded by Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze, during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The small town of Winterthur lies 18 kilometers (11mi) northeast of Zürich, in Switzerland. Because of its position at the junction of seven roads, the army that held the town controlled access to most of Switzerland and points crossing the Rhine into southern Germany. Although the forces involved were small, the ability of the Austrians to sustain their 11-hour assault on the French line resulted in the consolidation of three Austrian forces on the plateau north of Zürich, leading to the French defeat a few days later.
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