3 November 1982

The Salang Tunnel fire in Afghanistan kills up to 2,000 people.

Salang Tunnel fire

A distance view of the Salang Tunnel in March 2010

The Salang Tunnel fire occurred on 3 November 1982 in Afghanistan's Salang Tunnel during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Details are uncertain, but the incident may have been the deadliest known road accident, and one of the deadliest fires of modern times, with the death toll estimated at 2,700 to 3,000 people.[1]

Background

The Salang Tunnel, which opened the famous Salang Pass (or Kotal-e Salang) to motor traffic, was built by Soviet engineers in 1964 and eased traffic across the Hindu Kush mountain range that separates northern and southern Afghanistan.

Prior to this, on 23 February 1980, a similar incident killed 16 Soviet soldiers in the Salang Tunnel.[2]

Fire

Very few facts are known about the fire. All information available constitutes little more than hearsay, in part because the Soviet Army was not inclined to reveal massive losses during wartime. Neither the Soviet or Afghan governments confirmed any incident occurred.[3] Most sources agree that it involved a Soviet Army convoy traveling southward through the tunnel.

According to Soviet Army records, on 3 November 1982, two military convoys (2211 and 2212) collided in the Salang tunnel causing a traffic jam. There were no fires or explosions.[4]

Another report from a traveler,[unreliable source?] who has been to the region, sounds very different from this official version: A fuel tanker in a military convoy exploded inside (the cause of the explosion remains somewhat in doubt with the Russians still claiming it was an accident and the Mujahideen still claiming it was a successful attack) the Salang Tunnel, unleashing an explosive chain reaction. Drivers of cars, trucks, and buses evidently continued to enter the tunnel after the explosion. Soviet troops, fearing that the explosion might have been a rebel attack, closed off both ends with tanks, trapping many inside.

Victims

Initial reports described fuel and ordnance explosions, and estimates of the death toll were as high as 2,700.[5] Shortly after the event, Western diplomats indicated that a collision with a fuel truck initiated the fire in the tunnel that led to the catastrophe resulting in the death of as many as 700 Soviet soldiers and 400 to 2,000 Afghan civilians.[6] People died either from fire or of asphyxiation.[6] The death toll was subsequently revised downwards many times. A 2010 NPR article listed the death toll as at least 150.[4]

56 to 64 Soviet soldiers and 112 Afghan people were killed by carbon monoxide emitted by idling engines.[note 1] [7] US military analysts placed the casualty figure at 100 to 200 Soviet and Afghan soldiers.[6] Some burned to death; others were killed by smoke and by carbon monoxide escaping from vehicles whose drivers kept their engines idling to stay warm in the freezing cold. As many as 700 Soviet troops and 2,000 Afghan soldiers and civilians may have died.[8]

Aftermath

Afghan insurgents said they did not have any role in the explosion in the tunnel.[6]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The names of soldiers who died in the incident can be found in «The Book of remembrance of soviet soldiers fallen in Afghanistan» (Russian: Книга памяти о советских войнах, погибших в Афганистане) which can be found here.
  1. ^ "Truck explosion kills 3,000 in Afghanistan". History Channel. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  2. ^ In Russian Archived 2007-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Claiborne, William (14 November 1982). "Kabul Silent on Tunnel Disaster". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  4. ^ a b Dahiya, Nishant (December 7, 2010). "High Up in Afghanistan, A 'Ghostly' Ride Through the Salang Tunnel". NPR. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  5. ^ AFGHANISTAN: Tunnel Tragedy - TIME
  6. ^ a b c d Associated Press (November 10, 1982). "Afghan Blast Toll is Put in Hundreds". New York Times. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "«АФГАНСКИЕ ГРАБЛИ» - Родная афганская пыль - Прочее | PyramidWeb.ru". www.pyramidweb.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  8. ^ [unreliable source?]Salang Pass, Salang Tunnel and The Last Battle | The Velvet Rocket

External links and sources

Coordinates: 35°19′19.91″N 69°1′36.72″E / 35.3221972°N 69.0268667°E / 35.3221972; 69.0268667

3 November 1911

Chevrolet starts competing with the Ford Model T.

William Crapo Durant’s greatest failure led to the creation of Chevrolet. A year after he incorporated General Motors, he went after Henry Ford’s third, and most successful, car company. Ford, according to Lawrence R. Gustin’s biography of Durant, was concerned about Selden’s patent suit claiming invention of the automobile, and was amenable to selling to GM if he could retain the rights for motorized farm implements.

GM was to pay Ford $2 million cash, plus $4 million at 5 percent interest over three years. On October 26, 1909, GM’s board “gave Durant authority to purchase Ford if financing could be arranged,” Gustin writes in “Billy Durant, Creator of General Motors.”

Banks were nervous about the nascent, fly-by-night auto industry, and refused Durant a $2 million loan for the downpayment. During a financial panic in 1910, GM’s board kicked Durant out and let bankers take over his company.

Durant began work on his comeback and set up retired Buick race driver Louis Chevrolet with his own Detroit shop in early 1911. Durant returned to Flint, Michigan, where he had seeded GM in the early 1900s, and bought the assets of the failing Flint Wagon Works. He then got former Buick engine builder Arthur C. Mason to set up a new operation, while Durant organized the Little Motor Car Company.

Durant incorporated the Chevrolet Motor Company on November 3, 1911. Louis Chevrolet was not an officer, but he experimented with large luxury cars while Chevrolet Motor Company’s Little brand sold lower-priced cars against Ford. The first “production” Chevrolet was the big, $2500 Classic Six of 1912, but the first Chevys, as we know them, were the 1914 Royal Mail roadster and Baby Grand touring car. Louis Chevrolet left his namesake company to return to racing.

The 1916 Chevrolet Four-Ninety was Durant’s direct shot at the Ford Model T. By now, Chevy was thriving with factories in places like Flint and New York City. Its success gave Durant the footing to buy up GM stock, with help from the DuPont family and a New York bank president, Louis J. Kaufman. Durant staged a coup d’etat, and on September 16, 1915, GM’s seventh anniversary, took control of GM again.

On December 23, 1915, Chevrolet stockholders increased capitalization from $20 million to $80 million, Gustin writes, and used the $60 million to buy up GM stock. Chevrolet bought GM. It wasn’t the other way around.

3 November 1812

Napoleon’s army is defeated at the Battle of Vyazma.

Battle_vyazma

The Battle of Vyazma, occurred at the beginning of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. In this encounter, the rear guard of the Grande Armée was defeated by the Russians commanded by General Mikhail Andreyevich Miloradovich. Although the French repelled Miloradovich’s attempt to encircle and destroy the corps of Louis Nicolas Davout, they withdrew in a partial state of disorder after suffering heavy casualties from continued Russian attacks.

The French reversal at Vyazma was not decisive, but it was noteworthy because of its disruptive impact on the Grande Armée’s retreat.

Miloradovich’s cavalry attacked the disorganized French column holding the length of road which separated the I Corps from the IV and V Corps. Miloradovich also ordered his artillery, positioned on nearby heights, to begin a cannonade. The attack was a complete success, as it captured the French IV Corps baggage train and sent the French troops fleeing in disarray. Miloradovich then placed infantrymen and horse batteries astraddle the road, thereby severing Davout’s connection with the rest of the French army.

Simultaneous to Miloradovich’s attack to the west of Davout, Platov’s Cossacks attacked Davout from the east, supported by Paskevich’s troops. Davout’s infantrymen formed squares to meet the attack from Platov and Paskevich, and his artillerymen set up their pieces to return Miloradovich’s fire. The 14,000 exhausted, hunger-weakened soldiers of Davout’s Corps were now at risk of being overwhelmed and destroyed by the Russians.

3 November 1954

800px-gojira_1954_japanese_poster

The first Godzilla movie is released.

Godzilla is a 1954 Japanese science fiction kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced and distributed by Toho. It is the first film in the Godzilla franchise and the first film in the Showa series. The film is directed by Ishir? Honda, with a screenplay by Honda, Takeo Murata, and Shigeru Kayama and stars Akira Takarada, Momoko K?chi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as the performers for Godzilla. Nakajima would go on to portray the character until his retirement in 1972.

In 1956, TransWorld Releasing Corporation and Embassy Pictures released Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, a heavily re-edited “Americanized” version of the original film with additional footage featuring Raymond Burr. In 2004 Rialto Pictures gave the 1954 film a limited theatrical release in the United States to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary.