Somers III - History

Somers III - History


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Somers III

(Torpedo Boat No. 22: dp. 143; l. 156'; b. 17'6~; dr.
5'10~ (mean); s. 23 k.; cpl. 21; a. 4 1-pdrs., 2 18" tt.;
cl. Somers)

The third Somers, a steel torpedo boat built as a private speculation by Friedrich Sehiehau, Elbing, Germany, was launched in 1897 as yard No. 450, purehased for the United States Navy on 25 March 1898; commissioned on 28 March 1898, Lt. John J. Knapp in command; and named Somers the next day.

Purehased through Sehichau's London representative as the United States prepared for a possible war against Spain, Somers sailed for England on 30 March, manned by a German eontraet crew. On 5 April, she arrived at Weymouth, whence she was to be escorted across the Atlantic by the gunboat, Topeka. However, the British crew contracted for the voyage thought Somers unsafe and refused to put to sea. A second attempt to sail also failed, and the torpedo boat was ordered laid up at Falmouth until the conclusion of the Spanish-American War.

Somers arrived at New York, on board SS Manhattan, on 2 May 1899 and remained at the New York Navy Yard until 8 October 1900, when she got underway for League Island, Pa. Subsequently decommissioned there, she was reassigned to the Reserve Torpedo Flotilla at the Norfolk Navy Yard, where she was based from 1901 to 1909. On 26 June 1909, she was loaned to the Maryland Naval Militia and made periodic training cruises from Baltimore until returned to the Navy in 1914.

Scheduled for transfer to the Illinois Naval Militia, Somers was recommissioned on 17 August 1914 for the passage to Cairo, III., where she was decommissioned and transferred to the state of Illinois on 13 October. Later renamed and redesignated Coast Torpedo Boat No. 9 to allow the name Somers to be given to destroyer number 301, she served as a training ship until returned to Navy custody after the end of World War I. She was commissioned for the ~assage back to the east coast and returned to Philadelphia where she was decommissioned on 22 March 1919. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 7 October 1919, and her hulk was sold for scrapping on 19 July 1920 to the U.S. Rail and Salvage Corp., Newburgh, N.Y.


Profile on the Right: Three Percenters

The Three Percenters (aka 3%ers, III %ers, or “Threepers”) are a Patriot movement paramilitary group that pledges armed resistance against attempts to restrict private gun ownership. 1 Adherents and supporters have been associated with threats and acts of violence. Like other Patriot groups, they depict the federal government as tyrannical. Their name refers to the (disputed) percentage of American colonialists who took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War.

The Three Percenters have a loosely defined membership and a decentralized organizational structure. Seemingly anyone can use the label. There are overlapping Three Percenter organizations, including local, state, and regional leadership structures that coordinate actions and decision-making.

The Three Percenters were co-founded in late 2008 by Mike Vanderboegh, who was active in 1990s Alabama militia groups. Vanderboegh has said, “The Three Percent idea, the movement, the ideal, was designed to be a simple, powerful concept that could not be infiltrated or subjected to agents provocateurs like many organizations that I observed in the constitutional militia movement of the 90s.” 2 Along with the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters are part of a new wave of Patriot movement groups that are successors to the militia movement of the 1990s and have had a dramatic rebirth since the 2008 election of Barack Obama to the presidency. 3

Ideologically, the Three Percenters are similar to the better-known Oath Keepers, a Patriot movement group of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders. The Oath Keepers claim to “defend the Constitution,” and interpret this as a commitment to right-wing social and economic views of the kind usually associated with the John Birch Society. The Oath Keepers promote conspiracy theories that claim that the United States is a socialist government intent on disarming the population so that a foreign government can invade. They are committed to a libertarian view of private property that opposes most federal land ownership or restrictions on private use for environmental or other reasons. 4

Where the Oath Keepers are a formally incorporated group with a board of directors and membership roll, the Three Percenters are more like a loosely organized social movement. The Oath Keepers carefully cultivate a public image of bold but legal resistance against supposed government tyranny. Consistent with their media-ready image, they claim that they can deny membership to felons. 5

Those with felony convictions are welcome in the Three Percenters, who work closely with the Oath Keepers. There appears to be substantial membership overlap and their most prominent members appear in public together for example, Vanderboegh and Oath Keepers President and Founder Stewart Rhodes both spoke at a 2015 Salem, Oregon rally against a law requiring registration of gun sales between private individuals. This arrangement with the Three Percenters may afford the Oath Keepers a measure of insulation from public scrutiny of actions by Three Percenters.

Three Percenter co-founder Vanderboegh is well known for his violent rhetoric. In 2010, he called for breaking the windows of Democratic Party offices, and a slew of such attacks followed. He called for armed resistance to Obamacare and has published personal information about the families of legislators who voted for gun control measures. 6 At the 2015 Salem, Oregon rally against state gun control legislation, he threatened “civil war” (as he did at the Bundy Ranch) as a response to the new laws. He also called Oregon Governor Kate Brown and others in the state government “tyrants” and “domestic enemies of the Constitution,” before saying, “this country has long had a remedy for tyrants—a second amendment remedy. So be careful for what you wish for, Madam—you may get it.” 7

The Three Percenters have shown up at almost all of the major Patriot movement standoffs and armed camps in recent years, including the Bundy Ranch confrontation with Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) agents in Nevada in April 2014 a Josephine County, Oregon dispute between miners and the BLM in April 2015 and a Lincoln, Montana dispute between miners and the BLM and Forest Service in July 2015. In Idaho, they have mobilized religious hatred and xenophobic hostility, organizing public rallies against Syrian refugee resettlement. 8 The Idaho Three Percenters’ organizing has inspired similar actions in California. Supporters also tried to build a “citadel” in rural Benewah County in the Idaho panhandle. 9

Numerous arrests of Three Percenters and those who have shown affinity with them have been documented. Allen “Lance” Scarsella, who was arrested in connection with the shooting of five people at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Minneapolis in November 2015, showed an affinity for the Three Percenters. 10 So did Jerad Miller, who was at the Bundy Ranch before he and his wife, Amanda, were involved in a June 2014 ambush of police officers and subsequent shootout that left five dead, including the Millers. 11 Three Percenter Brad Bartelt threatened to detonate a homemade explosive on Arkansas State University’s campus in December 2015 12 . Bran­don D. Gibbs, who was heavily armed and armored when police arrested him in December 2014 for threatening a city official, also had shown an affinity for the Three Percenters. 13 And in 2011, Frederick Thomas was arrested in Georgia as a member of a militia group, which “planned to attack cities including Atlanta with deadly ricin, bomb federal buildings and murder law enforcement officials and others.” 14 Thomas was allegedly inspired by Vanderboegh’s online novel Absolved it describes a future confrontation where activists with Patriot movement views have a shootout with law enforcement and plan to murder government officials. 15


Just history.

Engraving of Will Sommers by Francis Delaram Photo Credit- Wikipedia

It takes a strong person to be able to speak truth to power. That was the unofficial job of the royal jester. William Sommers, sometimes spelled Somers, was the jester of King Henry VIII. He was known as the “King’s Fool”. Not exactly the most flattering title to modern ears, but apparently William was a good one. He was known at court for his discretion and integrity, a rare thing indeed anywhere but especially at a royal court. Using his wit and humorous asides, he was able to bring attention to extravagances and waste in the court that no one else could. In fact, it was reported that Thomas Cromwell often supplied him with situations he wanted to bring to the king’s notice. I can imagine William was a popular man around court with all of the courtiers clamoring for his ear to get their pet project project in front of the king.

One such suggestion pushed him to the edge of Henry’s notorious temper. In July 1535, Eustace Chapuys, the Imperial ambassador whose dispatches back to Spain are full of interesting details on court life, reports that one of William’s jokes had made Henry so angry he threatened to kill William himself. William had made a joke of calling Queen Anne Boleyn a “ribald” and the Princess Elizabeth a “bastard”. He took shelter from the royal ire with the Chief Esquire of the King, Sir Nicholas Carew. It has been suggested that Carew dared William to make these comments, but that is not known for sure. It is known, Carew was a strong supporter of the Seymour family and probably had a lot to do with putting a certain young Jane under the eye of the king. Hence, impugning the current Queen’s virtue could only make the innocent Jane shine brighter. This incident was only a month into William’s tenure with Henry, so we can hope that he learned to tread more lightly especially in the trickier matters of royal matrimony and the even trickier waters of court politics.

Despite this incident, Henry kept him close throughout his turbulent life, and in the later years when his leg ulcer was particularly painful William was the only one who could bring a smile to his face. William served Henry loyally until his death in January 28, 1547. He did serve both Edward and Mary, being the only man who could make the dour Mary smile. His last official appearance was at Elizabeth’s coronation in 1559.

William was such an important member of the royal court, he makes an appearance in the great family painting commissioned by Henry VIII, which is at Hampton Court Palace. The figure of under the far right archway is William.

So today, let us pause to remember a man who used his wit to shine a light on important matters as well as leavened tragedy with humor.

Henry the Eighth and His Family (1545). The man at the far right is the jester Will Sommers. Photo Credit- Wikipedia


We know that it took six tall yeomen to transport the clearly distressed Sexton to the court. A succession of 'keepers' or carers were paid to look after him and given money for his needs - his food, laundry, shoes and 'posset ale'. He didn't even have to buy his own clothes.

However, as with the other 'natural fools' in Henry's court, Sexton did not wear the harlequin's motley and cap with bells familiar to us from images of court jesters at the time. He wore high quality cloth and silk doublets and coats, the clothes of a favoured retainer (servant).


Contents

Meteor III, designed by naval architect Archibald Cary Smith, was an improved and enlarged version of the yacht Yampa which was originally built by Smith for Chester W. Chapin, a United States Congressman from Massachusetts. [2] Yampa had several owners and was eventually purchased by the German emperor. It was renamed Iduna and participated in European regattas. The emperor was so pleased with the performance of Iduna that he placed an order with Smith for the construction of a larger and improved version. [3] [4] The new schooner yacht was named Meteor III following the scheme the emperor had of naming his pleasure craft, as she was the next sequenced Meteor. [5] [6]

Meteor III was built by Townsend-Downey Shipbuilding Company at Shooters Island in New York City and launched February 25, 1902. [7] It took four months to construct from Smith's architectural drawings. [8] Alice Roosevelt, US President Theodore Rooselvelt's 18 year old daughter, christened the yacht upon launch. [9] The emperor's younger brother, Prince Henry, traveled from Europe to New York City to attend as the German emperor's personal representative. [10] Two thousand spectators were at the 10:30 a.m. launching including President Roosevelt and Prince Henry. [11] [12]

Alice christened the schooner by breaking a bottle of champagne against the steel side of the yacht. She proclaimed in a loud clear voice, I christen thee Meteor. Up to that point the yacht was just labeled job No. 24 by the shipyard. [13] Alice then cut the holding cord to a key block of weights that held the yacht in place on the dock support cradle, using a silver-looking nickel hatchet. [14] [15] Cannons were fired, brass bands played and there was a twenty-one gun salute. [16] [17]

Alice struck the bow of the yacht with her palm as it started moving into the water leaving its supports. President Roosevelt and Prince Henry followed her example. Nearby German officers did the same, with some nearly being knocked off their feet as the yacht was picking up speed. Immediately after the yacht was launched into the water, a message was cabled to Berlin from Prince Henry to the emperor saying, Yacht just launched under brilliant auspices. Christened by Miss Roosevelt's hand. Beautiful craft. Great enthusiasm. I congratulate you – Heinrich. [18] [19] [20]

In 1909, Meteor III was put up for sale by the emperor. She eventually was sold to professor Carl Harries of the University of Kiel. [21] She was renamed Nordstern and took part in the Kiel Regatta. Harries put the yacht up for sale in 1921 in Barcelona, Spain. [22] It was bought by Maurice Bunau-Varilla, owner of the Paris newspaper Le Matin. [23] In 1924 Bunau-Varilla sold Meteor III to Italian baron Alberto Fassini. In 1932 Fassini sold the vessel to a Mr. Gillet, who turned her over to Camper and Nicholsons, British yacht brokers. After being on the market for awhile she was sold to the American Francis Lenn Taylor, father of Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor used her for several years as a pleasure craft. He then sold her to Sterling Hayden. It was later repossessed because Hayden defaulted on the financial arrangements. In 1940 Taylor then resold her to Gerald S. Foley who later sold her to a Mr. David Feinburg, who sold her to Nicholas Allen. The last owner gave the schooner yacht the name Aldebaran. The United States Navy requisitioned her during World War II for service and the craft became the property of the War Shipping Administration (WSA). [24]

The yacht had ultimately passed through twelve owners, some of who updated the yacht. The vessel during this time had received new engines, radio equipment and a third mast. The yacht at one time was used as a fishing vessel. In 1942 she was taken to Shooters Island by the WSA since they then owned her. Aldebaran, previously the German emperor's Meteor III, in 1945 was sold for $2,100 to John Witte, an iron salvager at Staten Island who did business a short distance from where Meteor III was originally constructed in 1902. Witte then took the craft apart for scrap iron. [1] [25] [26]

Meteor III had a overall length of 161 feet (49 m) with 120 feet (37 m) on the water line and a width of 27 feet (8.2 m). The draft was 15 feet (4.6 m) and the sail area was 11,612 square feet (1,078.8 m 2 ). [27] [28] Her cost was $150,000. [29] Meteor III was the largest yacht in the world when made for the emperor. [5] [7] [30] The overall boat layout design was left to Smith, but the emperor participated in the interior arrangements. [31] The interior rooms were paneled with mahogany and decorated in colonial Adam's style. [32] Meteor III, although mainly a pleasure craft with luxury accommodations, did participate in race events. [33] [34] [35]


Contents

The Settlers III is a real-time strategy game with city-building elements, [4] [5] [6] controlled via a point and click interface, in which the primary goal on most maps is to build a settlement with a functioning economy, producing sufficient military units so as to conquer rival territories, ultimately gaining control of either the entire map, or a certain predetermined section of it. [7] To achieve this end, the player must engage in economic micromanagement, construct buildings, and generate resources. [8]

Game modes Edit

The game can be played in one of three modes "Single Player: Scenario", "Multiplayer", or "Campaign". [9] In Campaign mode, the player must complete a series of missions, the goal of most of which is to defeat the computer controlled opponent or opponents by gaining possession of their territory. [10] In the original release of the game, there were three separate campaigns of eight missions each one campaign each for the Romans, Egyptians, and Asians. The Mission CD expansion added three additional campaigns of eight missions for each race, [11] and Quest of the Amazons added two campaigns of twelve missions each one in which the player controls the Amazons against the others, and one in which they control the others against the Amazons. [12]

In Scenario and Multiplayer modes, which can be played via a LAN or online, [13] the player can choose from either a randomly generated or pre-built map, and then refine the game in various ways, such as adjusting the amount of raw materials available to each player at the start of the game. [8] The player can also select the type of game to be played, choosing from "Map Defaults" (the game is played with predetermined settings, based on the specific map), "Teams" (the player can select any combination of teams and players allowing for up to twenty players) or "No Teams" (the player can choose from "League", in which players receive points at the end of the game for ranking on Blue Byte's online league table "Free-for-All", in which each player/race competes against one another "Free Alliance", in which players/races can ally with one another or "Play Alone", in which there is only one player/race). [14] [15] Introduced in the Quest of the Amazons expansion was "Economic Mode", in which the goal is to be the first player to complete an economic based objective. [14]

Settlers and transportation Edit

Whether playing Campaign, Scenario or Multiplayer mode, each game begins the same way the player has a small settlement, a set amount of raw materials and tools, and a predetermined number of settlers. [8] The basic gameplay revolves around serfs (the titular "settlers"), who transport materials, tools and produce, and who populate and perform the requisite task of each building. [9] In both The Settlers and The Settlers II, settlers automatically emerged from the player's headquarters as required. In The Settlers III, however, there are no headquarters, and new settlers can only be acquired by the construction of residences. [8] [16]

At no point does the player directly control any normal settler - instead, general orders are issued (such as ordering the construction of a building), with the AI handling the delegation of orders to specific settlers. [16] [17] However, the player can control specialist settlers, of which there are three types pioneers (extend the player's territory by digging at the border), thieves (scout enemy territory and steal resources) and geologists (test mountainous ground for raw materials). [18]

A major change to the mechanics in The Settlers III is that players do not have to construct a road network. Instead, settlers can walk freely around the player's territory, with the AI handling pathfinding. [8] [19] Like the previous games, however, The Settlers III has an adjustable goods priority system, which determines the order in which items are transported. [20] Players can also build marketplaces, which allow for the establishment of trade routes between areas on the same geographical region, [21] and shipyards, which allow for the manufacture of both transport ships (can transport specialist settlers and soldiers) and trade ships (can transport items from a landing dock to a different geographical region). [22]

Races and economy Edit

In the original game, the player could choose one of three races Romans, Egyptians and Asians. Quest of the Amazons added the Amazons as a fourth race. [12] Unlike in previous Settlers titles, each race has a slightly different economic model. [15] For example, the Romans' and Amazons' construction industries require roughly equal amounts of wood and stone, the Egyptians' requires more stone than wood, and the Asians' more wood than stone. [23] [24] Each race also has specific skills for example, only the Romans can turn wood into coal [10] only the Egyptians can build on desert terrain [10] only the Asians and Amazons can mine sulfur [25] and only the Amazons can build war machines which use mana rather than physical ammunition. [25]

The economy is under the player's control throughout the game, and is adjustable in multiple ways. For example, the player can control the distribution of goods by selecting which percentage of a given resource is transported to a given building. [20] In a similar manner, the player can select what tools are made when. [20] [26] Tool production is important insofar as all buildings require raw materials and a worker with the right tool. For example, if the player has built a fishery, and the building is still empty despite the presence of idle settlers, a fishing rod will need to be manufactured in the toolsmith. The game also uses a notification system that alerts the player if a building cannot be occupied either due to a lack of the right tool or the absence of available settlers. [27]

A new feature of The Settlers III is "Divine Intervention", whereby each race can call upon their deities for economic and/or military assistance. Once the player has both manna and priests, they have finite access to a number of spells, the nature of which depends on the race. [28] These spells include, but are not limited to, tuning iron to gold, turning enemy soldiers to allies (Romans), turning fish to meat, starting forest fires (Egyptians), turning stone to iron, temporarily giving soldiers extra strength (Asians), turning gold to stone, and temporarily freezing enemies (Amazons). [29] [30]

Military Edit

The player's territory can only be expanded by using pioneers or building a military complex near the territory border. [9] [16] Each complex must have at least one soldier garrisoned for the territory to expand. To recruit soldiers, the player must build a barracks, with each individual soldier requiring their requisite weapon to transition from settler to soldier. [31] The player can also build lookout towers, which are manned by regular settlers, and which can see for great distances, but don't grant new territory.

There are three classes of soldier: swordsmen, bowmen, and spearmen. [32] Swordsmen are most effective against spearmen, bowmen against swordsmen, and spearmen against bowmen. [33] The strength of each recruited unit depends on the level of "Divine Promotion" which that class has reached, with each class requiring two promotions to reach the maximum level. Divine Promotion is contingent on how much manna the player has produced to promote a class, the level of manna must be at 100%. Once promoted, the level drops to 0%, and the player must wait for it to rise again before they can perform the next promotion. [34] Each race can also produce war machines catapults for the Romans, ballistae for the Egyptians, cannons for the Asians, and war gongs for the Amazons. [35]

In order for the player to attack an enemy building, they must click near that building with soldiers selected. If the player's units defeat all soldiers stationed in the building, they will occupy it, with the player's territory increasing according to the building's radius. [8] Defense of the player's military buildings is automatic as enemies attack, any soldiers stationed in the building defend. Any nearby soldiers will also defend the building, unless ordered not to. When soldiers are fighting within their own territory, their strength is always 100%. When they are fighting outside, their strength depends on how much gold the player has in their stockpile. [36]

The game takes place "in ages past, when the pantheon was still home to countless gods from all empires". However, it is a time when the gods have lost their purpose Jupiter is interested only in eating and drinking [37] Horus thinks of nothing except his pyramids [38] and Ch'ih-yu simply wants to eat livestock. [39] The story begins with HE, the "Unknown God", and creator of all gods, [40] summoning the lesser gods to HIM, and telling them "for eons, you think only of pleasure, and now even the lowliest men say, "these drunks don't do anything for us. Let's go over their heads to the boss"". HE is afraid this will lead to monotheism, which HE wants to avoid, as HE has neither the time nor inclination to govern all of humanity himself. As a result, HE commands each of them "to pick one who is the best of your people", and have him lead a war against the other two peoples. The two gods whose people lose will be punished by repainting the universe white. Jupiter picks Septimus Marius, a sea merchant Horus picks Ramadamses, a sculptor and Ch'ih-yu picks Tsu-Tang, a rice farmer.

Septimus Marius begins by putting down a rebellion amongst his own men. However, shortly thereafter, his highest ranking general, Remigius, betrays him and allies with Ramadamses. [41] Septimus attacks Remigius, defeating him and forcing Ramadamses to retreat. A powerful group of nearby pirates, led by Flavius, then ally with Septimus, and pursue Ramadamses to a small cluster of islands, several of which are controlled by Tsu-Tang. With Flavius's fleet, Septimus is able to capture many of the islands, but shortly thereafter, a volcano erupts, decimating the newly established settlements. Ramadamses reoccupies the islands and forms an alliance with Tsu-Tang. [42] After Septimus defeats Ramadamses, Tsu-Tang encloses him, but Septimus is able to fight his way out, defeating Tsu-Tang, and achieving victory for Jupiter.

As Jupiter celebrates, Horus and Ch'ih-yu begin the task of painting the universe white, complaining that the competition was unfair, as Jupiter cheated, and the punishment is unrealistic. However, when HE threatens to also make them clean up after Jupiter's celebration party, they reluctantly begin to paint. [43]

Ramadamses begins by defeating a tribe of his own countrymen. Thereafter, however, he is caught unprepared by Tsu-Tang, and must ally with a group of pirates. Together, they force Tsu-Tang to retreat, but he remains a threat. A thunderstorm then destroys several of Ramadamses's colonies, stalling his growth, and allowing Septimus to advance, and form an alliance with Tsu-Tang. Not yet strong enough to attack Tsu-Tang, Ramadamses instead disruptes their trade routes. [44] Eventually, Ramadamses attacks Septimus, weakening him to the point where Tsu-Tang feels confident enough to betray their alliance. [45] Ramadamses is then able to defeat Tsu-Tang, thus achieving victory for Horus.

As Horus celebrates, Jupiter and Ch'ih-yu begin the task of painting the universe white, complaining that the competition was unfair, as Horus cheated, and the punishment is unrealistic. However, when HE threatens to also make them clean up after Horus's celebration party, they reluctantly begin to paint. [46]

Tsu-Tang begins by defeating a group of pirates allied with Ramadamses, who subsequently negotiates a fragile truce. However, both intend to violate it at the earliest opportunity. [47] Septimus then forms an alliance with Ramadamses. [48] Tsu-Tang advances on them, but they encircle him. He rebukes their attacks, before defeating both, and achieving victory for Ch'ih-yu.

As Ch'ih-yu celebrates, Horus and Jupiter begin the task of painting the universe white, complaining that the competition was unfair, as Ch'ih-yu cheated, and the punishment is unrealistic. However, when HE threatens to also make them clean up after Ch'ih-yu's celebration party, they reluctantly begin to paint. [49]

Quest of the Amazons Edit

Quest of the Amazons takes place several hundred years prior to the main game. The story begins with Helios, Jupiter, Horus and Ch'ih-yu drinking in the 3 Gorgons tavern. At the encouragement of his friends, Helios is drowning his sorrows, after his son Phaethon died whilst attempting to use the sun-chariot to impress women, but was unable to control the horses. After becoming drunk, Helios is seduced by Medusa. Several years later, she is "killed in a bar fight with Perseus", and Helios learns he had fathered a daughter, Q'nqüra. Raising her himself, Helios introduces her to HE, whom she impresses with her irreverence, and when she is of age, HE makes her goddess of the Azzi. Choosing Penthesilea as their leader, she awaits as they build up their strength, ready to strike out at the male tribes.

The Amazons begin their offensive by destroying a colony of Egyptians, overrunning a Roman encampment, and desecrating a sacred Asian mountain, prompting Jupiter, Horus and Ch'ih-yu to ally. [50] After their initial attacks are repulsed, they are able to disrupt Penthesilea's iron production, hence her ability to create weaponry, forcing the Amazons to retreat to a more fortified position. [51] In the newly renamed 2 Gorgons, Jupiter, Horus and Ch'ih-yu meet to discuss strategy, unaware that the Gorgons, Q'nqüra's aunts, are spying on them, and feeding details of their plan to Q'nqüra. Meanwhile, Penthesilea joins forces with a Roman tribe whose governor has fallen in love with her, and whose iron ore she needs. [52] The Romans, Egyptians and Asians pool their remaining forces for one last offensive. However, Q'nqüra orders Penthesilea to surround and destroy them.

HE summons Q'nqüra to ask her what she wants from Jupiter, Horus and Ch'ih-yu. She tells HE: "Nothing. We don't want men rampaging around like naughty children just because they can't have their way. After all, it's your world they would destroy". Her plan is for the "Amazons to release the men and become their willing servants. Through servitude, we will gain complete control, and the men will be none-the-wiser". Impressed with this idea, HE decides to make Q'nqüra HIS private messenger, to which she replies, "I will be your humble servant", with Helios commenting "In that moment, Q'nqüra, too, had won".

The game begins with the Romans under attack by the Amazons, and on the brink of defeat. They barely survive, and the Amazons next attack the Asians and Egyptians in turn, prompting Jupiter, Horus and Ch'ih-yu to ally. In the newly renamed 2 Gorgons, they meet to discuss strategy, fully aware that the Gorgons, Q'nqüra's aunts, are spying on them, and feeding details of their plan to Q'nqüra. Meanwhile, the men launch an all-out offensive, although Helios is worried that Q'nqüra's response is too subdued, and she must have a plan. His concerns are ignored as the others assure him that because their enemy is a woman, there is nothing to worry about. [53] Confidant that the Amazons are nearly defeated, Jupiter leaves Horus to fight on, whilst he pillages both Egyptian and Amazonian lands. Disgusted, Horus withdraws from the fight, and Jupiter, in a temper, cuts off his own troops, leaving Ch'ih-yu to see out the conflict alone. [54]

HE summons Q'nqüra to ask how she was defeated, and she explains that she allowed the men to win. When HE asks why, she explains "for you. These gods and their peoples are just overgrown children. When they lose, their tantrums destroy, and it's your world they destroy". When HE asks her what her future plans are, she explains: "If my Amazons are to deny themselves comparable conquests, then they will embrace the men instead. In this embrace, control will soon be ours, and the men will never know they've lost". Impressed with Q'nqüra's cunning, HE speculates "you might be just the god I've been looking for".

Concept and design Edit

Work on The Settlers III began in January 1997, prior to the release of The Settlers II: Gold Edition. Initially, Blue Byte had no immediate plans to do a third title in the series, but due to the unexpected popularity of both The Settlers and its sequel, Volker Wertich (designer and programmer of the original) and Thomas Hertzler (Blue Byte CEO and the series producer) decided to begin development. [55] Wertich had not been involved in the making of the second game, because, as he describes it, "after two years programming The Settlers, I didn't really want to see those little men for a while". However, by 1997, he was ready to resume working on the series, eager to implement ideas which he felt would allow the game to compete with rival titles such as Warcraft II and Anno 1602. [56]

Wertich's core design principal was to preserve the most popular elements of the Settlers gameplay, but improve the graphics, and both expand and improve upon the game mechanics as much as possible. He began by going through feedback from fans of the first two games, and quickly saw two recurring suggestions to improve the unreliable shipping system from Settlers II, and to implement online multiplayer capabilities, something he began programming immediately. [55]

The first major design decision Wertich made related to the complexity of the game's economic system. Due to the innovations he planned to introduce to the mechanics, and because the supply and demand-based gameplay of Settlers III was going to be more intricate than in previous titles, he felt that forcing players to concentrate too much on logistics would serve as an unwelcome distraction, and so decided to remove the need for a road network. Instead, settlers would have the freedom to move anywhere within the player's settlement, with the AI handling pathfinding. [57] Another early decision was that the different races in Settlers III wouldn't just look different, they would have different abilities, different economic models and certain buildings unique to each one. [57] Wertich, in consultation with Hertzler, also decided to create the game in high color, a first for the series, which had used 8-bit color for previous titles. [57]

Programming and animation Edit

With the basic design concepts in place, Wertich, who had programmed the original game alone, decided that although Settlers III was a much bigger job, he didn't want to have a large programming team. Instead, he elected to have a two-man team work on the game. As his fellow programmer, he hired Dirk Ringe, who got the job after responding to an advert on a noticeboard in the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz looking for "a C++ programmer for a new strategy game". [57] Torsten Hess was then hired as the main graphics designer/artist. After making some pencil sketches outlining his basic ideas, Hess began to render the graphics in 3D Studio Max, as Wertich had decided to integrate the 2D isometric graphics of the first two games with certain 3D graphical elements. [58]

Wertich, Ringe and Hess then faced their biggest decision yet: deciding which races to include. After several "sprawling meetings", they settled on Romans, Egyptians and Asians, and Hess began the task of aesthetically differentiating the races. [58] In March, a discussion arose about the possibility of including female settlers. However, they decided against it because, as Hess explains, "We would have had to duplicate all the graphics (male and female), so that every settler could accept all professions". As they were unwilling to limit female settlers to certain professions, it was decided to have exclusively male populations, but the concept for having an all-female race remained a possibility for a potential expansion in the future. [58]

Meanwhile, Hess began work on the buildings for each race, creating textures in Adobe Photoshop, which he then "dirtied", so as to create a lived-in, real-world sense for example, he ensured the diagonal lines of the Egyptian pyramids were crooked, as he felt to have them perfectly straight and geometrical would be unrealistic. [58] The textures were then "hand painted", [59] and Gouraud shading was later added to complete the look. [17]

By July, Hess had begun working on the sketches for the individual settlers, paying particular attention to the differentiations between the same settler from different races (the specific differences between a Roman and an Egyptian baker, for example). It soon became apparent that the workload was too much for one person, and in August a second artist was hired Thorsten Wallner, who also worked as the game's 3D modeling artist and character animator. [60] Once on board, Wallner realised that Hess's designs were too detailed, and, as a result, were unrealisable given the current level of technology, so the pair decided to scrap them, and redesign the characters from scratch. Hess had failed to take into account that the designs of the settlers couldn't be too complex, since small details would be lost, given their size (32 pixels in height). At the same time, the designs had to be detailed enough so as to seem at least somewhat realistic, even at such a small size. To solve this problem, Wallner decided to exaggerate their proportions, "so that the subtleties could be recognised". He also decided to give them weapons and tools proportionally too big, as correctly sized implements would be far too small to be seen. After a week, Wallner presented his first 3D designs to Wertich and Hess (the standard Roman carriers, diggers and builders), [61] who decided to make some additional changes, such as making the settlers more rotund and enlarging the heads. [62]

Wallner then turned his attentions to the animations. As all the animations in the game had to be interchangeable for every settler (walking, bending etc.), he first needed to work on the skeletal animation. Unsatisfied with the results when he attempted to use 3D Studio Max, he chose instead to build an "extremely primitive skeletal settler which we could put under the visible structure of our figures". The drawback to this approach was that all actions had to animated separately, frame-by-frame. [62]

Plot and cutscenes Edit

In January 1998, Hess met with Blue Byte's head writer, Wolfgang Walk, to discuss the game's storyline. As it had already been decided that a new gameplay element would be "Divine Intervention", Hess suggested the plot have something to do with the gods of each culture, and the two worked out a rough draft in a single evening, based around a competition between Jupiter (Roman), Horus (Egyptian) and Chi-yu (Asian). Hertzler and Wertich approved the concept, but it quickly became apparent that the team currently working on the game would have no time to design or render any cutscenes. As a result, Hess suggested using a traditional animation studio with whom he had worked in the past, a Turkish company called Denge Animation. [63] Subsequently, based on designs created by Hess, one of Blue Byte's in-house artists, Tom Thiel, drew sketches of the three main characters, with different facial expressions and seen from different angles, from which Denge would ultimately produce the finished animation. [64]

Announcement and promotion Edit

The game was officially announced in February 1998, with a release slated for the fourth quarter of the same year. [65] [66] In March, German magazine GameStar broke the story that Settlers III would be the first game in the series to feature online multiplayer. [67] In a May press release, Torsten Hess explained that although the game would still be played from an isometric perspective, it would feature completely new graphics, with a mixture of both 2D and 3D elements. Explaining that the figures and buildings would be rendered in 3D, he stated the game would feature a mixture of realism and a more comic-based style, emphasising that "it is important to us that the cuddly character of Settlers II is not lost". [68] In the same month, Volker Wertich revealed the three races who would feature in the game, explaining the developers had made the decision to have three races who were very different from one another, rather than ten who were only slightly different. [69]

In July, Blue Byte began an online closed beta with 500 participants from Germany, 500 from England and 500 from the United States. [70] At the ECTS in September, a demo of the game was shown. [71] When asked about competition from Ensemble Studios's Age of Empires II, Blue Byte's PR manager, Marcus Beer, stated such competition was "the best possible support Settlers III could have had, as Age of Empires II is Settlers III without the humor". He also claimed that during the E3 event in May, the most frequent visitors to the Settlers III booth were the Age of Empires developers, who brought a video camera to record footage from The Settlers III demo. [72]

In October, the online beta expanded to 18,000 testers from ninety countries, concentrated in, but not confined to, Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland and France. Whilst the first phase of the beta had dealt primarily with gameplay issues related to online multiplayer mode, the second phase focused on detecting bugs and testing the online server architecture. [73]

Copy protection Edit

The Settlers III was notable for its method of copy protection. Using Blue Byte's own in-house copy protection system, Sysiphus, pirated copies of the game would seem to run perfectly at first. However, iron smelters would produce only pigs, residences wouldn't produce new settlers, newly planted trees wouldn't grow, goods placed at a harbour for transport would disappear, and manna couldn't be generated. [24] [74] [75] In a press release issued by Blue Byte in January 1999, by which time the game had sold 500,000 units, Thomas Hertzler stated:

I knew it would do well, but was totally surprised by the quantity sold so far. Aside from the quality of entertainment The Settlers III provides, I think we can attribute partial success of sales to our copy protection. As is the case of many publishers, our sales in the past were affected due to non-existent copy protection, but our latest strict copy protection, Sysiphus, has certainly paid off. The quantity of pirated versions has been significantly reduced. [76]

With the success of the game, and due to several other factors (for example, many pirated copies came with full artwork and instructions, and so appeared to be genuine copies, whilst even players with real copies of the game could encounter copy protection issues if they had certain viruses on their computers, or if they had older CD-ROMs), rumours began to circulate that the game was suffering from potentially game-breaking bugs, leading Blue Byte to issue a statement:

With such widespread distribution, the frequency of pirated software is increasing. Together with the large circulation of computer viruses, it has become apparent that there was a great need for information. We have expanded our ability to offer assistance. Our hotline has been extended and new technical equipment has been installed. We hope to offer the usual high level of service which Blue Byte has always maintained. We regret that the need for copy protection may lead to complications for our customers. The integration of high-quality copy protection costs energy, time and money effort we would rather invest in the development of our products. Unfortunately, the unavoidable economic impact of illegal software leaves us with no other choice if we want to continue to bring innovative and high-quality products to the market. [74]

Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings71% [77]
Review scores
PublicationScore
CGW [24]
GameRevolution6/10 [78]
GameSpot6.1/10 [4]
IGN6.9/10 [9]
Next Generation [79]
PC Gamer (UK)90% [16]
PC Gamer (US)85% [80]
PC Games88% [81]
PC Player85/100 [82]
Award
PublicationAward
Eltern"Giga-Maus" (2000) [83]

The Settlers III received mixed reviews, with an aggregate score of 71% on GameRankings, based on twenty-one reviews. [77]

Writing for PC Gamer (UK), James Flynn scored the game 90%, referring to it as "a much slicker, less fiddly and wonderfully deeper challenge" than the first two titles in the series. He especially praised the complexity of the economic system, which he lauded as "a perfectly designed, hugely detailed, interlinking chain which is utterly absorbing to construct". He was also impressed with the graphics, calling it "the best looking 2D strategy game ever". His only real criticism concerned combat, which he found difficult to control. [16]

PC Games ' Petra Maueröder scored it 88%, giving it a "PC Games Award" and naming it Game of the Month. She praised online multiplayer, the differentiation between the races, the implementation of manna, and combat, writing "the depth of the game is immense, and both the graphics and the multiplayer features set new standards". Her criticisms focused on the single-player campaign (which she called "streamlined [and] monotonous"), poor pathfinding for trade ships, weak AI, and occasionally misleading mission briefings. She felt that, cumulatively, these problems suggested the game may have been rushed through the final stages of development in time for the Christmas market. However, she concluded, "The Settlers III [is] beautifully presented, quickly learned, and fun for weeks". [81]

PC Player ' s Thomas Werner scored it 85 out of 100, giving it a "Gold Player" award. He criticised the interface, writing "not every icon is self-explanatory, and it takes time until you feel at home", and the occasional difficulty in locating where in the production chain there may be a problem. However, he praised the graphics, character animations, level design and the tactical aspects of combat, concluding "The Settlers 3 is the best game in the Settlers series, and the new benchmark in the city-building genre". [82]

Writing for PC Gamer (US), Joe Novicki scored it 85%, praising the removal of roads, the enhanced combat, and the addition of online multiplayer. Of the graphics, he wrote, "the attention to graphic and animation detail sets a new standard". Although he found the pace a little too slow, he concluded, "it strikes a nice balance between the action-oriented mainstream titles and more thoughtful fare like Caesar III". [80]

IGN ' s Tal Blevins scored it 6.9 out of 10, writing "Settlers III is a good game, but there's nothing really new or innovative here". Although he praised the differentiation between the races, the introduction of divine intervention, and the supply and demand-based gameplay, he cited "a slew of glaring problems which mar an otherwise brilliant game". Such problems include the inability to load a game without having to return to the main menu, the necessity for "quirky" disk swapping, the limited control of combat units, poor AI, and the inability to access the HTML manual from within an active game. He concluded "Settlers III is an entertaining and brain-heavy game that is unfortunately hampered by a number of problems". [9]

GameSpot ' s Ron Dulin scored it 6.1 out of 10, arguing that it plays almost identically to The Settlers II, and citing "surface changes [which] make only a moderate improvement". He was especially critical of the similarity of the missions, writing "each mission is almost exactly the same. You start off with some supplies and must expand until you encounter an enemy". Although he praised the decision to remove roads, and the addition of online multiplayer, overall he felt the game didn't improve on its predecessors, concluding that "those who love the Settlers formula will enjoy it, but those who are unfamiliar with it will likely find it to be a moderately fun multiplayer game and an immensely repetitive single-player game". [4]

Game Revolution ' s Mark Cooke scored it 6 out of 10. He praised the intricacies of the economic system, writing the "level of complexity sets Settlers III apart from other real-time strategy games". He also praised the graphics and animations, but was critical of online multiplayer mode, which he called "a disaster". He concluded by referring to the game as "interesting [and] fairly innovative". [78]

Computer Gaming World ' s Samuel Baker II scored it 2.5 out of 5. Although he praised the economic system, and the complex interrelations between the various buildings, he was critical of the lack of an in-depth tutorial, the necessity to return to the main menu so as to load a new game, and overly simplistic combat. He also cited numerous bugs with the copy-protection system. He concluded: "There is something compelling about Settlers III. Many times I played longer than intended, wanting to tweak just one more thing. But in the end, the feeling of playing a loser remains". [24]

Next Generation rated the game two stars out of five: "It's mildly entertaining to construct buildings, gather resources, and trade goods, but in the end, The Settlers III is a disappointment, lacking the creativity needed to compete in today's overcrowded RTS market". [79]

Sales and awards Edit

The Settlers III was a commercial success. It was the number one selling game in Germany in November 1998, and remained the number two game throughout December and January. [84] It ultimately became the German market's third-best-selling game of 1998, behind Tomb Raider III and Anno 1602. [85] By January 1999, global sales had surpassed 500,000 units. [86] That February, it was awarded the "Platinum Award" by the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland e.V. (VUD) an award given to titles costing DM55 or more, which sell over 200,000 units nationally within the first twelve months of their release. [87] By April 1999, worldwide sales had surpassed 600,000 units, of which nearly 400,000 were sold in the German market. [88] Blue Byte's Thomas Hertzler commented on the game's success: "I was sure The Settlers III had the potential to be a successful title. But the fact that the demand was so great completely surprised me". [84] The game proved so popular that PC Fun, a German video game retailer, reported occasionally having more customers than game units. [84] When the Gold Edition was released in June 2000, the original game had sold over 700,000 units worldwide. [89]

In November 1999, the game received Silver in "Der Pädi" (Pädagogischer Interaktiv-Preis) at the 1999 Munich Bücherschau. [90] In October 2000, it was awarded the "Giga-Maus" by Eltern magazine at the Frankfurt Book Fair. An award given to computer games, board games, interactive online features and educational programs suitable for children, The Settlers III received first place in the "PC Games for Young People Aged 13 and Over". [83]

Mission CD Edit

The game's first expansion was The Settlers III Mission CD, released in April 1999, and featuring three new eight-mission single-player campaigns, ten new maps for single-player mode, ten new maps for multiplayer mode, enhanced AI for computer controlled races, and a map editor. [91]

Quest of the Amazons Edit

In October, Blue Byte released a second expansion, The Settlers III: Quest of the Amazons, featuring ten new maps for single-player mode, ten new maps for multiplayer mode, an improved map editor, a new race (the Amazons), and two new twelve-mission single-player campaigns, one in which the player controls the Amazons against the other three races, and one in which they control the combined forces of the others against the Amazons. [92] The idea to include female settlers stretched back to the earliest conceptions of the game, and had always been seen as a potential idea for an expansion. [58] Blue Byte's development manager, Erik Simon, stated of Quest of the Amazons: "Fans of the series have been bombarding us for ages with requests to finally let female Settlers pit their skills against their male counterparts. The new Amazon race will no doubt introduce some turbulence into the previously male-dominated Settlers world". [91]

Gold Edition Edit

Released in June 2000, The Settlers III: Gold Edition contains the original game, the Mission CD and Quest of the Amazons. It also features fan-made maps for both single-player and multiplayer modes, HTML hints and tips, a new Easy difficulty level for single-player mode (including all campaign missions), and minor graphical enhancements. [89] The Gold Edition was released in North America under the title Ultimate Collection. [93] In 2013, it was released on GOG.com under the Ultimate Collection banner. [94]

History Edition Edit

In November 2018, Ubisoft re-released the Gold Edition as both a standalone History Edition and as part of The Settlers: History Collection. Optimised for Windows 10, the re-release contains the original game and both the Mission CD and Quest of the Amazons expansions, and features autosave, 4K monitor support, dual monitor support, adjustable resolutions and sound quality, adjustable cursors and scrolling options, adjustable notifications, and online multiplayer. [95] [96] Available only on Uplay, the History Collection also includes re-releases of The Settlers, The Settlers II, The Settlers IV, The Settlers: Heritage of Kings, The Settlers: Rise of an Empire, and The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom. [97]


System Requirements

OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows®7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
PROCESSOR: 64-bit CPU
RAM: 2 GB (4 GB recommended)
DIRECT® X: DirectX 11
SOUNDCARD: DirectX 11-compliant sound card
VIDEO CARD: 256 MB DirectX 11&ndashcompliant card with Shader Model 4.0 or higher
HARD DISK: 25 GB
PERIPHERAL SUPPORTED: Windows-compliant keyboard and mouse
MULTIPLAYER: NO LONGER AVAILABLE.


*SUPPORTED VIDEO CARDS AT TIIME OF RELEASE:

NVIDIA GeForce 8 / 9 / GT / GTS / GTX series (Recommended: NVIDIAGeForce GTX260)
ATI RADEON HD 2000 / HD 3000 / HD 4000 / HD 5000 series (Recommended: AMDRadeon HD4870


Contents

In the early stages of Operation Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht felt the need for a more mobile and more powerful anti-tank solution than the existing towed anti-tank guns, such as the 3.7 cm Pak 36, or self-propelled tank destroyers, such as the Panzerjäger I (mounted with the 4.7 cm PaK (t)). This need became urgent in 1942, when anti-tank shells fired from said anti-tank guns failed to penetrate the armor of new Soviet tanks, such as the T-34 and KV-1.

As an interim solution, it was decided to use captured French vehicles, such as the Lorraine (Marder I), obsolete tanks in surplus, such as the German Panzer II (Marder II), and Czech-supplied Panzer 38(t) (Marder III) as the base for the production of makeshift tank destroyers. The result was the Marder series, which were armed with either captured Soviet 76.2mm F-22 Model 1936 divisional field guns, or German 7.5 cm PaK 40 anti-tank guns mounted in later versions. Due to weight, space, and time constraints, the Marder series had relatively thin armor when compared to other armored vehicles of the era. This thin upper armor formed a gunshield, only protecting the crew from shrapnel and small arms fire on the front and sides. All Marder series had open tops—although some were issued with canvas tops to protect the crew from the elements. In this regard, the Marder was more of a gun carriage than a proper Panzerjäger that could exchange fire with enemy tanks.

Marder III, Sd.Kfz. 139 Edit

While the Panzer 38(t) had largely become obsolete as a tank in early 1942, it was still an excellent and plentiful platform for adaptation into a tank destroyer, among other roles. Since the Soviet 76.2 mm field gun was captured in large quantities, the decision was made to mate this gun to the Panzer 38(t).

To do so, the mass production of the Panzer 38(t) Ausf. G was halted, and a modified superstructure was bolted onto the standard tank chassis in lieu of a gun turret. This upper structure mounted the gun and an extended Gun shield, giving only limited protection for the commander, gunner, and the loader. Armor protection overall ranged from 10 to 50 mm, with no armor at all above and behind the gun compartment, which the crew occupied. It had a higher silhouette than the original Panzer 38 (t), which made it more vulnerable to enemy fire.

In German service, the Soviet gun was redesignated 7.62 cm PaK 36(r), and rechambered for the more powerful German PaK 40 cartridge. [ citation needed ] Thirty rounds of ammunition were stored inside the vehicle. Apart from the main gun, there was a 7.92 mm machine gun mounted in the hull.

This tank destroyer was put into production as the Panzerjäger 38(t) für 7.62 cm PaK 36(r), Sd.Kfz. 139. A total of 344 vehicles were built in three series from April to November 1942. Chassis numbers were 1360–1479, 1527–1600, and 1601–1750. [1]

Marder III Ausf. H, Sd.Kfz. 138 Edit

This next variant of the Marder III fielded the standard 7.5 cm PaK 40 German anti-tank gun on a slightly modified Panzer 38(t) Ausf. H chassis. This chassis still had the engine in the rear of the vehicle, but, unlike the previous model, this vehicle utilized the fighting compartment of the Panzer 38 in the center. This allowed the crew to stay low in the center of the vehicle, lowering their exposure to small arms fire and shell fragments. However, because of the rear-mounted engine, there was only enough room for two men to stand in the center. Large side armor gave additional protection for the crew. Despite this, the thin horseshoe-shaped armor only protected the front and sides the rear and the top were exposed. Thirty-eight rounds of ammunition for the gun were carried. As with the Sd.Kfz.139, this vehicle also carried a Czech-manufactured 7.92 mm machine gun in the hull.

The full name of the Ausf. H was the 7.5 cm PaK 40/3 auf Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. H, Sd.Kfz. 138. A total of 275 vehicles were built in two series from November 1942 to April 1943. An additional 175 vehicles were converted from Panzer 38(t)'s in 1943. Chassis numbers of new vehicles were 1751–2075 and 2121–2147 (overlapping with simultaneous Grille production). [1]

Marder III Ausf. M, Sd.Kfz. 138 Edit

The last Marder III variant was based on the Geschützwagen 38(t) Ausf. M, a purpose-designed vehicle for self-propelled gun use, again armed with the 75 mm PaK 40 anti-tank gun. Ausf. M was the final variant of the Marder series, and was a significant improvement over previous models, with its lower silhouette, sloped armor, and much more functional fighting compartment. In this variant, the engine was moved from the rear to the middle between driver and the rest of the crew. Because there was no engine in the rear, the gun and the crew did not have to sit on top of the engine deck as in previous models. The fighting compartment could be lowered down to the bottom floor level where the engine used to be, which decreased crew exposure and visibility. Unlike the previous two Marder III variants, the fighting compartment was closed at the rear, protecting the crew up to their midsection. It stayed open-topped. The machine gun port at the front was eliminated in the Ausf. M in favor of an MG 34 or MG 42 carried by the crew. In the previous two models, the commander served as a gunner. However, in the Ausf. M, the radio man moved to the rear, with the commander and gunner, to serve as a loader. Only 27 rounds of 7.5 cm ammunition were carried, but combat effectiveness increased because the vehicle commander was freed from manning the gun.


SOMERS v. DIGITAL REALTY TRUST INC

Paul SOMERS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DIGITAL REALTY TRUST INC., a Maryland corporation Ellen Jacobs, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 15-17352

Decided: March 08, 2017

The panel affirmed the district court's denial of the defendant's motion to dismiss a whistleblower claim brought under the Dodd-Frank Act's anti-retaliation provision.

Following the approach of the Second Circuit, rather than the Fifth Circuit, the panel held that, in using the term “whistleblower,” Congress did not intend to limit protections to those who disclose information to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rather, the anti-retaliation provision also protects those who were fired after making internal disclosures of alleged unlawful activity under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other laws, rules, and regulations. The panel agreed with the Second Circuit that, even if the use of the word “whistleblower” in a last-minute addition to the anti-retaliation provision created uncertainty, an SEC regulation resolved any ambiguity, and was entitled to deference.

Dissenting, Judge Owens agreed with the Fifth Circuit. He wrote that King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480 (2015) (holding that terms can have different operative consequences in different contexts), on which the majority and the Second Circuit relied in part, should be quarantined to the specific facts of that case.

This appeal presents an issue of securities law that has divided the federal district and circuit courts. It results from a last-minute addition to the anti-retaliation protections of the Dodd-Frank Act (“DFA”) to extend protection to those who make disclosures under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other laws, rules, and regulations. 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(1)(A)(iii). The underlying issue is whether, in using the term “whistleblower,” Congress intended to limit protections to those who come within DFA's formal definition, which would include only those who disclose information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). See 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(a)(6). If so, it would exclude those, like the plaintiff in this case, who were fired after making internal disclosures of alleged unlawful activity.

The Fifth Circuit was the first to weigh in on the question and strictly applied DFA's definition of “whistleblower” to the later anti-retaliation provision, so as to require dismissal of the plaintiff's action in that case because he did not make his disclosures to the SEC. Asadi v. G.E. Energy (USA), L.L.C., 720 F.3d 620, 621 (5th Cir. 2013). It therefore rejected the SEC's regulation adopting a contrary interpretation. Id. at 630.

The Second Circuit, viewing the statute itself as ambiguous, applied Chevron deference to the SEC's regulation. Berman v. [email protected] LLC, 801 F.3d 145, 155 (2d Cir. 2015). That regulation, in effect, interprets the provision to extend protections to all those who make disclosures of suspected violations, whether the disclosures are made internally or to the SEC. 17 C.F.R. § 240.21F-2.

The district court in this case followed the Second Circuit's approach, denied Defendant's motion to dismiss, and certified an interlocutory appeal. We agree with the district court that the regulation is consistent with Congress's overall purpose to protect those who report violations internally as well as those who report to the government. This intent is reflected in the language of the specific statutory subdivision in question, which explicitly references internal reporting provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). In view of that language, and the overall operation of the statute, we conclude that the SEC regulation correctly reflects congressional intent to provide protection for those who make internal disclosures as well as to those who make disclosures to the SEC. We therefore affirm.

Plaintiff-Appellee, Paul Somers, was employed as a Vice President by Defendant-Appellant, Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (“Digital Realty”), from 2010 to 2014. According to Somers's complaint in district court, he made several reports to senior management regarding possible securities law violations by the company, soon after which the company fired him. Somers was not able to report his concerns to the SEC before Digital Realty terminated his employment.

Somers subsequently sued Digital Realty, alleging violations of various state and federal laws, including Section 21F of the Exchange Act. That section, entitled “Securities Whistleblower Incentives and Protection,” includes the anti-retaliation protections created by DFA. Digital Realty sought to dismiss the DFA claim on the ground that, because Somers only reported the possible violations internally and not to the SEC, he was not a “whistleblower” entitled to DFA's protections.

The district court, in a published opinion, denied Digital Realty's motion to dismiss the DFA claim. The court conducted an extensive analysis of the statutory text, DFA's legislative history, and the procedural and practical implications of harmonizing the narrow definition of “whistleblower” with the broad protections of the anti-retaliation provision. Somers v. Dig. Realty Tr. Inc., 119 F. Supp. 3d 1088, 1100–05 (N.D. Cal. 2015). The court observed that “[a]t bottom, it is difficult to find a clear and simple way to read the statutory provisions of Section 21F in perfect harmony with one another.” Id. at 1104. Having analyzed the tension between the definition and anti-retaliation provisions, the district court deferred to the SEC's interpretation that individuals who report internally only are nonetheless protected from retaliation under DFA. Id. at 1106. The district court certified the DFA question for interlocutory appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), id. at 1108, and we subsequently granted Digital Realty's Petition for Permission to Appeal.

The case must be seen against the background of twenty-first century statutes to curb securities abuses. Congress enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, following a major financial scandal. Its purpose was “[t]o safeguard investors in public companies and restore trust in the financial markets following the collapse of Enron Corporation.” Lawson v. FMR LLC, 134 S. Ct. 1158, 1161 (2014). As a key part of its safeguards, Sarbanes-Oxley requires internal reporting by lawyers working for public companies. See 15 U.S.C. § 7245. This is in addition to internal reporting by auditors, which was already mandated by the Exchange Act. See 15 U.S.C. § 78j-1(b). Further, Sarbanes-Oxley requires that companies maintain internal compliance systems that include procedures for employees to anonymously report concerns about accounting or auditing matters. See 15 U.S.C. § 78-j-1(m)(4), 7262. It also provides protections to these and other “whistleblower” employees in the event that companies retaliate against them. 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(a). Sarbanes-Oxley expressly protects those who lawfully provide information to federal agencies, Congress, or “a person with supervisory authority over the employee.” Id.

Like Sarbanes-Oxley, DFA was passed in the wake of a financial scandal—the subprime mortgage bubble and subsequent market collapse of 2008. See Samuel C. Leifer, Note, Protecting Whistleblower Protections in the Dodd-Frank Act, 113 MICH. L. REV. 121, 129–30 (2014) (discussing the mortgage crisis and Congress's response). In enacting DFA, Congress said the main purposes included “promot[ing] the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system” and “protect[ing] consumers from abusive financial services practices.” Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, 1376 (2010). DFA provided new incentives and employment protections for whistleblowers by adding Section 21F to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Section 21F defines a whistleblower as, “any individual who provides, or 2 or more individuals acting jointly who provide, information relating to a violation of the securities laws to the Commission, in a manner established, by rule or regulation, by the Commission.” 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(a)(6). This definition thus describes only those who report information to the SEC.

The anti-retaliation provision in question in this case is found in a later subsection of Section 21F. It provides broad protections and states:

No employer may discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass, directly or indirectly, or in any other manner discriminate against, a whistleblower in the terms and conditions of employment because of any lawful act done by the whistleblower—

(i) in providing information to the Commission in accordance with this section

(ii) in initiating, testifying in, or assisting in any investigation or judicial or administrative action of the Commission based upon or related to such information or

(iii) in making disclosures that are required or protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.), this chapter, including section 78j-1(m) of this title, section 1513(e) of Title 18, and any other law, rule, or regulation subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.

15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(1)(A). The issue in this case concerns subdivision (iii), which gives whistleblower protection to all those who make any required or protected disclosure under Sarbanes-Oxley and all other relevant laws.

Subdivision (iii) was added after the bill went through Committee. There is no legislative history explaining its purpose, but its language illuminates congressional intent. By broadly incorporating, through subdivision (iii), Sarbanes-Oxley's disclosure requirements and protections, DFA necessarily bars retaliation against an employee of a public company who reports violations to the boss, i.e., one who “provide[s] information” regarding a securities law violation to “a person with supervisory authority over the employee.” 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(a). Provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley and the Exchange Act mandate internal reporting before external reporting. Auditors, for example, must “as soon as practicable, inform the appropriate level of management” of illegal acts, and only after such internal reporting may auditors bring their concerns to the SEC. 15 U.S.C. § 78j-1(b). Leaving employees without protection for that required preliminary step would result in early retaliation before the information could reach the regulators. As the Second Circuit noted, “[I]f subdivision (iii) requires reporting to the [SEC], its express cross-reference to the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley would afford an auditor almost no Dodd-Frank protection for retaliation because the auditor must await a company response to internal reporting before reporting to the Commission, and any retaliation would almost always precede Commission reporting.” Berman, 801 F.3d at 151. Sarbanes-Oxley likewise requires lawyers to report internally, 15 U.S.C. § 7245, and the SEC's Standards of Professional Conduct set forth only limited instances in which an attorney may reveal client confidences to the SEC, 17 C.F.R. § 205.3(d)(2). The attorney would be left with little DFA protection.

That DFA's definitional provision describes “whistleblowers” as employees who report “to the Commission” thus should not be dispositive of the scope of DFA's later anti-retaliation provision. Terms can have different operative consequences in different contexts. See King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480, 2489 (2015). The use of a term in one part of a statute “may mean [a] different thing[ ]” in a different part, depending on context. See id. at 2493 n.3. This is true even where, as here, the statute includes a definitional provision: “[Statutory d]efinitions are, after all, just one indication of meaning—a very strong indication, to be sure, but nonetheless one that can be contradicted by other indications.” Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 228 (2012). DFA's anti-retaliation provision unambiguously and expressly protects from retaliation all those who report to the SEC and who report internally. See King, 135 S. Ct. at 2493 n.3. Its terms should be enforced.

Reading the use of the word “whistleblower” in the anti-retaliation provision to incorporate the earlier, narrow definition would make little practical sense and undercut congressional intent. As the Second Circuit pointed out, subdivision (iii) would be narrowed to the point of absurdity the only class of employees protected would be those who had reported possible securities violations both internally and to the SEC, when the employer—unaware of the report to the SEC—fires the employee solely on the basis of the employee's internal report. See Berman, 801 F.3d at 151–52. This reading is illogical. Employees are not likely to report in both ways, but are far more likely to choose reporting either to the SEC or reporting internally. See id. Reporting to the SEC brings a higher likelihood of a problem being addressed, along with an increased risk of employer retaliation, whereas internal reporting may be less efficient but safer. Id. As we have seen, Sarbanes-Oxley and the Exchange Act prohibit potential whistleblowers—auditors and lawyers—from reporting to the SEC until after they have reported internally. Id. at 152–53. The anti-retaliation provision would do nothing to protect these employees from immediate retaliation in response to their initial internal report. A strict application of DFA's definition of whistleblower would, in effect, all but read subdivision (iii) out of the statute. We should try to give effect to all statutory language. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 174 (2001) (rejecting a statutory construction that would render a term “insignificant, if not wholly superfluous”) see also Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc. v. Pritzker, 828 F.3d 1125, 1133 (9th Cir. 2016).

We recognize there is intercircuit disagreement. The Second Circuit in Berman disagreed with the Fifth Circuit, which had earlier applied the formal definition of whistleblower to limit the scope of the anti-retaliation provision. Asadi, 720 F.3d at 630. The Asadi decision reasoned that if DFA protected the same conduct that Sarbanes-Oxley did, then the Sarbanes-Oxley enforcement scheme would be rendered moot or superfluous, on the theory that no one would use it. See id. at 628–29. The Fifth Circuit pointed out that Sarbanes-Oxley lacks DFA's double damage provision, has a shorter statute of limitations, and has more extensive administrative requirements. Id. But as the SEC has pointed out in its amicus brief in this case, DFA's enforcement scheme is not more protective in all situations and would not swallow Sarbanes-Oxley because Sarbanes-Oxley offers a different process from DFA. Sarbanes-Oxley may be more attractive to the whistleblowing employee in at least two important ways. First, Sarbanes-Oxley provides for adjudication through administrative review, with the Department of Labor taking responsibility for asserting the claim on the whistleblower's behalf. 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(b)(2). This procedure would likely be significantly less costly and stressful for whistleblowers than having to file an action in federal court, pursuant to DFA's enforcement scheme. See 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(1)(B). Second, while DFA provides for awards of double back pay, 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(h)(1)(C), Sarbanes-Oxley allows employees to recover “all relief necessary to make the employee whole,” including compensation for special damages, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(c). An employee who has suffered more substantial emotional injury than financial harm would likely be better off with Sarbanes-Oxley's allowance for special damages. See Jones v. SouthPeak Interactive Corp., 777 F.3d 658, 672 (4th Cir. 2015) (joining the Fifth and Tenth Circuits in concluding that emotional distress damages are available under Sarbanes-Oxley as “special damages”). DFA's protection for internal reporting therefore does not render Sarbanes-Oxley's enforcement scheme superfluous. The statutes provide alternative enforcement mechanisms.

For all these reasons, we conclude that subdivision (iii) of section 21F should be read to provide protections to those who report internally as well as to those who report to the SEC. We also agree with the Second Circuit that, even if the use of the word “whistleblower” in the anti-retaliation provision creates uncertainty because of the earlier narrow definition of the term, the agency responsible for enforcing the securities laws has resolved any ambiguity and its regulation is entitled to deference. In 2011, the SEC issued Exchange Act Rule 21F-2, 17 C.F.R. § 240.21F-2, pursuant to its rule-making authority under 15 U.S.C. § 78u-6(j). The SEC's rule in our view accurately reflects Congress's intent to provide broad whistleblower protections under DFA. The Rule says that anyone who does any of the things described in subdivisions (i), (ii), and (iii) of the anti-retaliation provision is entitled to protection, including those who make internal disclosures under Sarbanes-Oxley. They are all whistleblowers. The Rule is quite direct: “For purposes of the anti-retaliation protections afforded by Section 21F(h)(1) of the Exchange Act (15 U.S.C. 78u-6(h)(1)), you are a whistleblower if: ․ [y]ou provide that information in a manner described in [the anti-retaliation provision] of the Exchange Act (15 U.S.C. 78u-6(h)(1)(A)).” 17 C.F.R. § 240.21F-2.

The regulation accurately reflects congressional intent that DFA protect employees whether they blow the whistle internally, as in many instances, or they report directly to the SEC. The district court correctly so recognized.

The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

I agree with the Fifth Circuit in Asadi v. G.E. Energy (USA), L.L.C., 720 F.3d 620, 621 (5th Cir. 2013), and Judge Jacobs' dissent in Berman v. Neo @Ogilvy LLC, 801 F.3d 145, 155–60 (2d Cir. 2015), and therefore respectfully dissent. Both the majority here and the Second Circuit in Berman rely in part on King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480 (2015), to read the relevant statutes in favor of the government's position. In my view, we should quarantine King and its potentially dangerous shapeshifting nature to the specific facts of that case to avoid jurisprudential disruption on a cellular level. Cf. John Carpenter's The Thing (Universal Pictures 1982).

FOOTNOTE. This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.


16 Regal Facts About Three's Company

Based on the British sitcom Man About the House, Three's Company starred physical comedy champion John Ritter in his breakout role as Jack Tripper, a culinary student who crashes a party and wakes up in Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Chrissy Snow’s (Suzanne Somers) bathtub. Janet and Chrissy and Jack end up becoming roommates, with Jack posing as a gay man in order to keep the coed living situation going. Here are some facts about the classic ABC sitcom that will impress your friends over at the Regal Beagle.

1. TWO OTHER PILOTS WERE MADE BEFORE THEY GOT IT RIGHT.

On the first attempt, M*A*S*H writer/producer Larry Gelbart wrote a Three's Company pilot script resembling Man About the House. John Ritter's character was named David Bell and was an aspiring filmmaker. The two female roommates were actresses named Jenny (played by Valerie Curtin) and Samantha (Susanne Zenor). A second unaired pilot was requested by ABC programming head Fred Silverman, written by All in the Family and The Jeffersons writer/producers Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, and Bernard West, and featured Joyce DeWitt and Suze Lanier-Bramlett as Chrissy. The third pilot filmed was the charm deemed worthy for broadcast it premiered on March 15, 1977.

2. BILLY CRYSTAL AUDITIONED TO PLAY JACK TRIPPER.

Barry Van Dyke (Ritter hero Dick Van Dyke's son) and Michael Lembeck (later a director of sitcoms including Friends) also attempted to win the role. Crystal found employment on another ABC comedy a short time later, as Jodie Dallas in Soap (1977-1981).

3. LONI ANDERSON AUDITIONED FOR CHRISSY.

Anderson (later Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP in Cincinnati) didn't get the part. Ritter, who claimed she had a great audition, theorized that Anderson wasn't selected because no one would believe she couldn't live in her own apartment.

4. SUZANNE SOMERS WAS DISCOVERED BY ACCIDENT.

Desperately searching for the right Chrissy the day before production began, Silverman put in all of the audition tapes they had received and fast-forwarded through them. When he spotted Somers, he stopped the tape and liked what he saw. After never getting a clear answer on why she was passed on in the first place, Somers was summoned to the studio. "We got her in that day and she was on the set tomorrow and she was terrific in that part," the ABC programming chief remembered. "And that was an accident because she never should have gotten the part."

5. THE THEME SONG WAS COMPOSED BY THE SAME MAN WHO WROTE THE THEME SONGS FOR SESAME STREET AND THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.

Joe Raposo wrote it, but the producers of Three's Company flirted with the idea of having the stars of the show sing the theme. Despite their protests, Ritter, DeWitt, and Somers attempted it. "They didn't even come close," associate producer Mimi Seawell said. Ray Charles (not that one) and Julia Rinker provided the vocals instead.

6. THE BRUNETTE JACK LOOKS AT BEFORE FALLING IN THE OPENING CREDITS IS SUZANNE SOMERS IN A WIG.

"That brunette is Suzanne with a wig. You can tell by her little Suzanne buns," Ritter said. The bike Jack rode belonged to production associate Carol Summers.

7. NORMAN FELL BASED STANLEY ROPER ON A REAL GUY.

Norman Fell (who also played a landlord in The Graduate) based the character of landlord Stanley Roper on a man he knew back in his hometown of Philadelphia. "I was thinking of a guy I really know in Philadelphia,” Fell said. “The clothes are all wrong . He was innocent and a guy who just can't do things right, whether it's being with a woman or fixing something. And yet he thought he was the cat's meow. He thought he was attractive, he liked his clothes. He thought people were looking at him because of how well-preserved he looked. He thought he was all things he's not.”

8. FELL WAS PROMISED HE COULD RETURN TO THREE’S COMPANY IF THE ROPERS DIDN'T LAST FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR.

Fell wasn’t interested in leaving the very popular Three's Company, but Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper) was game for a spin-off towards the end of the third season. To appease Fell, ABC promised him that if The Ropers was cancelled after one year, Fell and Lindley could return to Three’s Company. After The Ropers drew the second highest ratings for a series debut in television history at the time in March of 1979, it moved to Saturdays for the second season and viewership dropped enough for it to get cancelled. Fell wanted to return to Three's Company, but producers noted that The Ropers had technically lasted for one and a half years. Besides, the Ropers had already been replaced by Don Knotts as Ralph Furley.

9. JEFFREY TAMBOR PLAYED THREE DIFFERENT CHARACTERS.

After he starred as snobby neighbor Jeffrey P. Brookes III in The Ropers, Tambor found employment again and again and again in late-season episodes of Three’s Company. He was a rich man, Winston Cromwell III, who was after Chrissy in "Father of the Bride" in “Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” he played Dr. Tom Miller, a psychiatrist who Jack and Janet confuse for a mental patient he was also dentist Dr. Phillip Greene, a crazy dentist who was recently dumped by Terri.

10. WHEN JOHN LARROQUETTE GUEST STARRED AS A COP, HE CHANGED THE SCRIPT SO THAT THE AUDIENCE WOULD SEE HIS FACE.

In the third season episode "Jack Moves Out" (spoiler: it doesn't last), Larroquette figured that because he was supposed to keep his cop cap on, nobody would get to see his visage. He rationalized it for The A.V. Club as such: "So I had to figure out a way to get my hat off. And this is all completely selfish and premeditated. So inside my hat, I've written the Miranda rights. So I take my hat off and tell him, 'You have the right to remain silent.' So my hat is off for the remainder of the scene, which allows you to see my face and my confidence, as it were. Had I not thought of that, it would have just been this hated cop figure for 30 seconds or whatever, and no one would have really known who he was." The producers clearly didn’t mind the change they left the scene intact.

11. SOMERS LEFT THE SHOW BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO BE PAID AS MUCH AS RITTER.

Somers asked for an increase from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode, Ritter's salary at the time, as well as 10 percent of the show's profits. ABC was offering a $5000 pay raise. For the fourth season, after Ritter and DeWitt stopped speaking to Somers when she feigned a broken rib injury and the contract negotiations became a distraction, Somers was effectively written off the show. Chrissy was stuck in Fresno caring for her sick mother, calling back home to fill the last minute of episodes. (Jenilee Harrison played Chrissy's cousin, Cindy, that year.) After her contract expired at the end of that season, Somers was not asked to return.

12. HEATHER LOCKLEAR WAS LAUGHED AT DURING HER AUDITION TO REPLACE SOMERS.

Sweating in her peach silk blouse on her way to her audition, Locklear resorted to putting Kleenex under her arms. Despite performing a funny scene, nobody laughed at her audition. After hearing laughter as soon as she closed the door, the actress noticed the Kleenex had come out of her blouse. “So I guess they thought I stuffed my bra,” Locklear recalled.

13. PRISCILLA BARNES WAS CONSIDERED “TOO BLOND” SOMETIMES.

Barnes portrayed nurse Terri Alden, a replacement for Cindy (who was a replacement for Chrissy) for the final three seasons of the show. "Our bosses were very, very controlling,” Barnes told CNN in 2002. “If my hair was too blond, I'd get called up in the office.”

14. RITTER'S ONE-YEAR-OLD SON, JASON, WAS THE KID WHO RAN UP TO JANET AT THE ZOO.

The younger Ritter (later Dipper Pines in Gravity Falls and Mark Cyr on Parenthood) didn't remember the incident that was immortalized in the opening credits for seasons six through eight. "But the story is they were shooting a bunch of things at the zoo and I got away from my mom," Jason told The Huffington Post. “I just walked into the shot and it made Joyce DeWitt laugh so they kept it in the opening credits."

15. SOMEONE SAW MORE OF JACK TRIPPER THAN SHE WANTED.

In March 2001, a viewer claimed that a certain part of John Ritter's anatomy was briefly visible in the episode titled "The Charming Stranger.” The complaint was taken seriously enough that Nickelodeon edited the short scene out soon thereafter. In response to the controversy, Ritter infamously said, “I’ve requested that [Nickelodeon] air both versions, edited and unedited, because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.”

16. THERE WAS ANOTHER SPIN-OFF, CALLED THREE'S A CROWD.

After the events of the 1984 series finale to Three's Company, Jack moved in with his new girlfriend, Vicky (Mary Cadorette). The person who made his new digs a "crowd" on the show was Vicky’s father, who was also Jack's new landlord (Robert Mandan). The show lasted for one season.


Watch the video: London Districts: Somers Town Documentary


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