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Old 06-13-2017, 10:44 AM   #331
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World War I
1914
Kaiser Wilhelm concludes meeting with Archduke Franz Ferdinand

On June 13, 1913, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany leaves Konopischt, Bohemia (today the Czech Republic), the hunting lodge and country estate of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, after a weekend visit.

Although Wilhelm had ostensibly come to admire the lavish gardens at Konopischt, the reality was that he and Franz Ferdinand wanted to discuss Austria-Hungary’s insecurities about the tenuous balance of power in the tumultuous Balkan region. In 1908, the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary had annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, formally still a province of the Ottoman Empire, and populated not only by Bosnians but also by Croats and Serbs. Serbia reacted angrily to the annexation, reasoning that if Bosnia were not under Turkish rule, it should be governed by Serbia. After two successful Balkan Wars—and enjoying support from the Russian empire, the other great European power in the region apart from Austria-Hungary—Serbia had emerged as a more powerful and ambitious nation than ever before, thus threatening the position of the Dual Monarchy, already in decline.

Historical evidence exists to suggest that Franz Ferdinand, at the behest of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, was intending to extract a promise from Wilhelm (similar to a pledge the kaiser had made in November 1912) that Germany would back Austria unconditionally in the case of a confrontation with Serbia. Wilhelm resisted making such a commitment at the time, however, as he disagreed as to the extent of the Serbian threat. Also at the meeting, the two leaders discussed which Balkan nation should be wooed as their main ally in the region.

Though the Austrian government preferred Bulgaria, Serbia’s opponent in the Second Balkan War of 1913, Franz Ferdinand, along with the Germans, favored Romania, despite the latter country’s clash with the Magyars (Hungary’s majority population) over their oppressive rule in Transylvania, ethnically Romanian but part of Hungary. Franz Ferdinand detested the Magyars, and resented the weakness that forced Austria to partner with Hungary in government of the empire. Wilhelm was more inclined to negotiate with the Hungarian prime minister, Istvan Tisza; at Konopischt, he and Franz Ferdinand discussed the possibility of persuading Tisza to look more favorably on an alliance with Romania.

The meeting of June 12-13, 1914, at Konopischt was not, by any means, a war council. Both Wilhelm and Franz Ferdinand—though anxious over the situation in the Balkans and fearful of Serbian and Russian aggression—had up to that point been voices of restraint among their more belligerent colleagues in the government and military of the two nations. Some historians have argued that if the two men had continued to work together to pursue their common aims, the Great War of 1914 might never have happened. Two weeks later, however, on June 28, Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were killed by a young Serbian nationalist during a diplomatic visit to Bosnia. Vienna, along with most of the world’s capitals, blamed Serbia. Kaiser Wilhelm was stunned, saddened and outraged. Barely a month later, Europe was at war.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:57 AM   #332
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World War II
1940
Germans enter Paris

On this day in 1940, Parisians awaken to the sound of a German-accented voice announcing via loudspeakers that a curfew was being imposed for 8 p.m. that evening-as German troops enter and occupy Paris.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had tried for days to convince the French government to hang on, not to sue for peace, that America would enter the war and come to its aid. French premier Paul Reynaud telegrammed President Franklin Roosevelt, asking for just such aid-a declaration of war, and if not that, any and all help possible. Roosevelt replied that the United States was prepared to send material aid—and was willing to have that promise published—but Secretary of State Cordell Hull opposed such a publication, knowing that Hitler, as well as the Allies, would take such a public declaration of help as but a prelude to a formal declaration of war. While the material aid would be forthcoming, no such commitment would be made formal and public.

By the time German tanks rolled into Paris, 2 million Parisians had already fled, with good reason. In short order, the German Gestapo went to work: arrests, interrogations, and spying were the order of the day, as a gigantic swastika flew beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

While Parisians who remained trapped in their capital despaired, French men and women in the west cheered-as Canadian troops rolled through their region, offering hope for a free France yet.

The United States did not remain completely idle, though. On this day, President Roosevelt froze the American assets of the Axis powers, Germany and Italy.
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:05 AM   #333
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World War II
1943
The “Blobel Commando” begins its cover-up of atrocities

On this day in 1943, Paul Blobel, an SS colonel, is given the assignment of coordinating the destruction of the evidence of the grossest of Nazi atrocities, the systematic extermination of European Jews.

As the summer of 1943 approached, Allied forces had begun making cracks in Axis strongholds, in the Pacific and in the Mediterranean specifically. Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, the elite corps of Nazi bodyguards that grew into a paramilitary terror force, began to consider the possibility of German defeat and worried that the mass murder of Jews and Soviet prisoners of war would be discovered. A plan was devised to dig up the buried dead and burn the corpses at each camp and extermination site. The man chosen to oversee this yearlong project was Paul Blobel.

Blobel certainly had some of that blood on his hands himself, as he was in charge of SS killing squads in German-occupied areas of Russia. He now drew together another kind of squad, “Special Commando Group 1,005,” dedicated to this destruction of human evidence. Blobel began with “death pits” near Lvov, in Poland, and forced hundreds of Jewish slave laborers from the nearby concentration camp to dig up the corpses and burn them–but not before extracting the gold from the teeth of the victims.
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:14 AM   #334
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World War II
1940
Marshal Petain becomes premier of occupied France

On this day in 1940, Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain, World War I hero, becomes prime minister of the Vichy government of France.

As Germany began to overrun more French territory, the French Cabinet became desperate for a solution to this crisis. Premier Paul Reynaud continued to hold out hope, refusing to ask for an armistice, especially now that France had received assurance from Britain that the two would fight as one, and that Britain would continue to fight the Germans even if France were completely overtaken. But others in the government were despondent and wanted to sue for peace. Reynaud resigned in protest. His vice premier, Henri Petain, formed a new government and asked the Germans for an armistice, in effect, surrendering.

This was an ironic position for Petain, to say the least. The man who had become a legendary war hero for successfully repelling a German attack on the French city of Verdun during the First World War was now surrendering to Hitler.

In the city of Vichy, the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies conferred on the 84-year-old general the title of “Chief of State,” making him a virtual dictator–although one controlled by Berlin. Petain believed that he could negotiate a better deal for his country–for example, obtaining the release of prisoners of war–by cooperating with, or as some would say, appeasing, the Germans.

But Petain proved to be too clever by half. While he fought against a close Franco-German military collaboration, and fired his vice premier, Pierre Laval, for advocating it, and secretly urged Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco to refuse passage of the German army to North Africa, his attempts to undermine the Axis while maintaining an official posture of neutrality did not go unnoticed by Hitler, who ordered that Laval be reinstated as vice premier. Petain acquiesced, but refused to resign in protest because of fear that France would come under direct German rule if he were not there to act as a buffer. But he soon became little more than a figurehead, despite efforts to manipulate events behind the scenes that would advance the Free French cause (then publicly denying, even denouncing, those events when they came to light).

When Paris was finally liberated by General Charles de Gaulle in 1944, Petain fled to Germany. He was brought back after the war to stand trial for his duplicity. He was sentenced to death, which was then commuted to life in solitary confinement. He died at 95 in prison. The man responsible for saving his life was de Gaulle. He and Petain had fought in the same unit in World War I and had not forgotten Petain’s bravery during that world war.
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:53 AM   #335
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WORLD WAR 2
1943
FDR’s secretary of war stifles Truman’s inquiry into suspicious defense plant

On this day in 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of war, Harry Stimson, phones then-Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman and politely asks him not to make inquiries about a defense plant in Pasco, Washington.

World War II was in full swing in 1943 and Truman was chairing a Senate committee on possible war profiteering committed by American defense plants. In the process of investigating war-production expenditures, Truman stumbled upon a suspicious plant in the state of Washington and asked the plant managers to testify in front of the committee. Unbeknownst to Truman, this particular plant was secretly connected with a program to develop an atomic bomb—”the Manhattan Project.” When Stimson, one of a handful of people who knew about the highly classified Manhattan Project, heard about Truman’s line of questioning, he immediately acted to prevent the Missouri senator from blowing the biggest military secret in world history.

On June 17, Truman received a phone call from Stimson, who told him that the Pasco plant was “part of a very important secret development.” Fortunately, Stimson did not need to explain further: Truman, a veteran and a patriot, understood immediately that he was treading on dangerous ground. Before Stimson could continue, Truman assured the secretary “you won t have to say another word to me. Whenever you say that [something is highly secret] to me that’s all I want to hear. If [the plant] is for a specific purpose and you think it’s all right, that’s all I need to know.” Stimson replied that the purpose was not only secret, but “unique.”

America’s secret development of the atomic bomb began in 1939, with then-President Franklin Roosevelt’s support. Even after Truman became Roosevelt’s fourth-term vice president in 1944, the project remained such a tightly controlled secret that Roosevelt did not even inform Truman that it existed. Only after Roosevelt died from a stroke, in early April 1945, did Stimson inform Truman of the nature of the Manhattan Project. The night Truman was sworn in as Roosevelt’s successor he noted in his diary that Stimson told him the U.S. was “perfecting an explosive great enough to destroy the whole world.”

On April 24, 1945, Stimson and the Army general in charge of the project, Leslie Groves, gave President Truman a full briefing on the development status of the atomic bomb. Before the year was out, the new president would be faced with a decision: whether or not to use the most powerful weapon then known to man.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:05 AM   #336
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Napoleonic Wars
1815
Napoleon defeated at Waterloo

At Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte suffers defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history.

The Corsica-born Napoleon, one of the greatest military strategists in history, rapidly rose in the ranks of the French Revolutionary Army during the late 1790s. By 1799, France was at war with most of Europe, and Napoleon returned home from his Egyptian campaign to take over the reigns of the French government and save his nation from collapse. After becoming first consul in February 1800, he reorganized his armies and defeated Austria. In 1802, he established the Napoleonic Code, a new system of French law, and in 1804 was crowned emperor of France in Notre Dame Cathedral. By 1807, Napoleon controlled an empire that stretched from the River Elbe in the north, down through Italy in the south, and from the Pyrenees to the Dalmatian coast.

Beginning in 1812, Napoleon began to encounter the first significant defeats of his military career, suffering through a disastrous invasion of Russia, losing Spain to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War, and enduring total defeat against an allied force by 1814. Exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean, he escaped to France in early 1815 and set up a new regime. As allied troops mustered on the French frontiers, he raised a new Grand Army and marched into Belgium. He intended to defeat the allied armies one by one before they could launch a united attack.

On June 16, 1815, he defeated the Prussians under Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher at Ligny, and sent 33,000 men, or about one-third of his total force, in pursuit of the retreating Prussians. On June 18, Napoleon led his remaining 72,000 troops against the Duke of Wellington’s 68,000-man allied army, which had taken up a strong position 12 miles south of Brussels near the village of Waterloo. In a fatal blunder, Napoleon waited until mid-day to give the command to attack in order to let the ground dry. The delay in fighting gave Blucher’s troops, who had eluded their pursuers, time to march to Waterloo and join the battle by the late afternoon.

In repeated attacks, Napoleon failed to break the center of the allied center. Meanwhile, the Prussians gradually arrived and put pressure on Napoleon’s eastern flank. At 6 p.m., the French under Marshal Michel Ney managed to capture a farmhouse in the allied center and began decimating Wellington’s troops with artillery. Napoleon, however, was preoccupied with the 30,000 Prussians attacking his flank and did not release troops to aid Ney’s attack until after 7 p.m. By that time, Wellington had reorganized his defenses, and the French attack was repulsed. Fifteen minutes later, the allied army launched a general advance, and the Prussians attacked in the east, throwing the French troops into panic and then a disorganized retreat. The Prussians pursued the remnants of the French army, and Napoleon left the field. French casualties in the Battle of Waterloo were 25,000 men killed and wounded and 9,000 captured, while the allies lost about 23,000.

Napoleon returned to Paris and on June 22 abdicated in favor of his son. He decided to leave France before counterrevolutionary forces could rally against him, and on July 15 he surrendered to British protection at the port of Rochefort. He hoped to travel to the United States, but the British instead sent him to Saint Helena, a remote island in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Napoleon protested but had no choice but to accept the exile. With a group of followers, he lived quietly on St. Helena for six years. In May 1821, he died, most likely of stomach cancer. He was only 51 years old. In 1840, his body was returned to Paris, and a magnificent funeral was held. Napoleon’s body was conveyed through the Arc de Triomphe and entombed under the dome of the Invalides.

One Corporal, visiting another.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:28 AM   #337
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World War II
1944
United States scores major victory against Japanese in Battle of the Philippine Sea

On this day in 1944, in what would become known as the “Marianas Turkey Shoot,” U.S. carrier-based fighters decimate the Japanese Fleet with only a minimum of losses in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

The security of the Marianas Islands, in the western Pacific, were vital to Japan, which had air bases on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. U.S. troops were already battling the Japanese on Saipan, having landed there on the 15th. Any further intrusion would leave the Philippine Islands, and Japan itself, vulnerable to U.S. attack. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, commanded by Admiral Raymond Spruance, was on its way west from the Marshall Islands as backup for the invasion of Saipan and the rest of the Marianas. But Japanese Admiral Ozawa Jisaburo decided to challenge the American fleet, ordering 430 of his planes, launched from aircraft carriers, to attack. In what became the greatest carrier battle of the war, the United States, having already picked up the Japanese craft on radar, proceeded to shoot down more than 300 aircraft and sink two Japanese aircraft carriers, losing only 29 of their own planes in the process. It was described in the aftermath as a “turkey shoot.”

Admiral Ozawa, believing his missing planes had landed at their Guam air base, maintained his position in the Philippine Sea, allowing for a second attack of U.S. carrier-based fighter planes, this time commanded by Admiral Mitscher, to shoot down an additional 65 Japanese planes and sink another carrier. In total, the Japanese lost 480 aircraft, three-quarters of its total, not to mention most of its crews. American domination of the Marianas was now a foregone conclusion.

Not long after this battle at sea, U.S. Marine divisions penetrated farther into the island of Saipan. Two Japanese commanders on the island, Admiral Nagumo and General Saito, both committed suicide in an attempt to rally the remaining Japanese forces. It succeeded: Those forces also committed a virtual suicide as they attacked the Americans’ lines, losing 26,000 men compared with 3,500 lost by the United States. Within another month, the islands of Tinian and Guam were also captured by the United States.

The Japanese government of Premier Hideki Tojo resigned in disgrace at this stunning defeat, in what many have described as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
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Old 06-20-2017, 10:50 AM   #338
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1900
Boxer Rebellion begins in China

In response to widespread foreign encroachment upon China’s national affairs, Chinese nationalists launch the so-called Boxer Rebellion in Peking. Calling themselves I Ho Ch’uan, or “the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,” the nationalists occupied Peking, killed several Westerners, including German ambassador Baron von Ketteler, and besieged the foreign legations in the diplomatic quarter of the city.

By the end of the 19th century, the Western powers and Japan had forced China’s ruling Qing dynasty to accept wide foreign control over the country’s economic affairs. In the Opium Wars, popular rebellions, and the Sino-Japanese War, China had fought to resist the foreigners, but it lacked a modernized military and suffered millions of casualties. In 1898, Tzu’u Hzi, the dowager empress and an anti-imperialist, began supporting the I Ho Ch’uan, who were known as the “Boxers” by the British because of their martial arts fighting style. The Boxers soon grew powerful, and in late 1899 regular attacks on foreigners and Chinese Christians began.

On June 20, 1900, the Boxers, now more than 100,000 strong and led by the court of Tzu’u Hzi, besieged the foreigners in Peking’s diplomatic quarter, burned Christian churches in the city, and destroyed the Peking-Tientsin railway line. As the Western powers and Japan organized a multinational force to crush the rebellion, the siege of the Peking legations stretched into weeks, and the diplomats, their families, and guards suffered through hunger and degrading conditions as they fought to keep the Boxers at bay. On August 14, the international force, featuring British, Russian, American, Japanese, French, and German troops, relieved Peking after fighting its way through much of northern China.

Due to mutual jealousies between the powers, it was agreed that China would not be partitioned further, and in September 1901, the Peking Protocol was signed, formally ending the Boxer Rebellion. By the terms of agreement, the foreign nations received extremely favorable commercial treaties with China, foreign troops were permanently stationed in Peking, and China was forced to pay $333 million dollars as penalty for its rebellion. China was effectively a subject nation.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:18 AM   #339
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World War II
1942
Allies surrender at Tobruk, Libya

On this day in 1942, General Erwin Rommel turns his assault on the British-Allied garrison at Tobruk, Libya, into victory, as his panzer division occupies the North African port.

Britain had established control of Tobruk after routing the Italians in 1940. But the Germans attempted to win it back by reinforcing Italian troops with the Afrika Korps of Erwin Rommel, who continually charged the British Eighth Army in battles around Tobruk, finally forcing the Brits to retreat into Egypt. All that was left to take back the port was the garrison now manned by the South African Division, which also included the Eleventh Indian Brigade. With the use of artillery, dive-bombers, and his panzer forces, Rommel pushed past the Allies. Unable to resist any longer, South African General Henrik Klopper ordered his officers to surrender early on the morning of the 21st. Rommel took more than 30,000 prisoners, 2,000 vehicles, 2,000 tons of fuel, and 5,000 tons of rations. Adolf Hitler awarded Rommel the field marshal’s baton as reward for his victory. “I am going on to Suez,” was Rommel’s promise.
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Old 06-22-2017, 10:26 AM   #340
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World War 2
1941
Germany launches Operation Barbarossa

On this day in 1941, over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.

Despite the fact that Germany and Russia had signed a “pact” in 1939, each guaranteeing the other a specific region of influence without interference from the other, suspicion remained high. When the Soviet Union invaded Rumania in 1940, Hitler saw a threat to his Balkan oil supply. He immediately responded by moving two armored and 10 infantry divisions into Poland, posing a counterthreat to Russia. But what began as a defensive move turned into a plan for a German first-strike. Despite warnings from his advisers that Germany could not fight the war on two fronts (as Germany’s experience in World War I proved), Hitler became convinced that England was holding out against German assaults, refusing to surrender, because it had struck a secret deal with Russia. Fearing he would be “strangled” from the East and the West, he created, in December 1940, “Directive No. 21: Case Barbarossa”–the plan to invade and occupy the very nation he had actually asked to join the Axis only a month before!

On June 22, 1941, having postponed the invasion of Russia after Italy’s attack on Greece forced Hitler to bail out his struggling ally in order to keep the Allies from gaining a foothold in the Balkans, three German army groups struck Russia hard by surprise. The Russian army was larger than German intelligence had anticipated, but they were demobilized. Stalin had shrugged off warnings from his own advisers, even Winston Churchill himself, that a German attack was imminent. (Although Hitler had telegraphed his territorial designs on Russia as early as 1925–in his autobiography, Mein Kampf.) By the end of the first day of the invasion, the German air force had destroyed more than 1,000 Soviet aircraft. And despite the toughness of the Russian troops, and the number of tanks and other armaments at their disposal, the Red Army was disorganized, enabling the Germans to penetrate up to 300 miles into Russian territory within the next few days.

Exactly 129 years and one day before Operation Barbarossa, another “dictator” foreign to the country he controlled, invaded Russia–making it all the way to the capital. But despite this early success, Napoleon would be escorted back to France–by Russian troops.
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Old 06-23-2017, 10:29 AM   #341
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World War II
1940
Hitler takes a tour of Paris

On this day in 1940, Adolf Hitler surveys notable sites in the French capital, now German-occupied territory.

In his first and only visit to Paris, Hitler made Napoleon’s tomb among the sites to see. “That was the greatest and finest moment of my life,” he said upon leaving. Comparisons between the Fuhrer and Napoleon have been made many times: They were both foreigners to the countries they ruled (Napoleon was Italian, Hitler was Austrian); both planned invasions of Russia while preparing invasions of England; both captured the Russian city of Vilna on June 24; both had photographic memories; both were under 5 feet 9 inches tall, among other coincidences.

As a tribute to the French emperor, Hitler ordered that the remains of Napoleon’s son be moved from Vienna to lie beside his father.

But Hitler being Hitler, he came to do more than gawk at the tourist attractions. He ordered the destruction of two World War I monuments: one to General Charles Mangin, a French war hero, and one to Edith Cavell, a British nurse who was executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape German-occupied Brussels. The last thing Hitler wanted were such visible reminders of past German defeat.

Hitler would gush about Paris for months afterward. He was so impressed, he ordered architect and friend Albert Speer to revive plans for a massive construction program of new public buildings in Berlin, an attempt to destroy Paris, not with bombs, but with superior architecture. “Wasn’t Paris beautiful?” Hitler asked Speer. “But Berlin must be far more beautiful. [W]hen we are finished in Berlin, Paris will only be a shadow.”
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:27 PM   #342
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World War II
1945
Russians enjoy a victory parade

On this day in 1945, Soviet troops parade past Red Square in celebration of their victory over Germany. As drums rolled, 200 soldiers performed a familiar ritual: They threw 200 German military banners at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum. A little over 130 years earlier, victorious Russian troops threw Napoleon’s banners at the feet of Czar Alexander I.
This event occurs 4 years and two days after Hitler had invaded Russia in OPERATION BARBAROSSA.
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Old 06-25-2017, 10:30 AM   #343
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Today is my favorite day in history.
On 25 June, 1876, we have the Battle of the Little Bighorn take place, also known as Custer's Last Stand. It isn't an strategically day as far as history goes, other then that it adds to the mythos of the old American West and adds, no, makes the legend of General George Armstrong Custer what it is in today' s mindset.
The other event that happens on this date is the beginning of the "police Action" in Korea. The North Koreans attack South Korea and blame all of it on the South. In that the North says that the South Koreans initiated things, it needs to be seen that they declared that an isolated command, on a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water and by North Korean territory on the fourth, began hostilities. More on that as we follow events by date, but hardly the most propitious place to start a war!

The Indian Wars
1876
Battle of Little Bighorn

On this day in 1876, Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, leaders of the Sioux tribe on the Great Plains, strongly resisted the mid-19th-century efforts of the U.S. government to confine their people to reservations. In 1875, after gold was discovered in South Dakota’s Black Hills, the U.S. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. This betrayal led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribesmen to leave their reservations and join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. By the late spring of 1876, more than 10,000 Native Americans had gathered in a camp along the Little Bighorn River–which they called the Greasy Grass–in defiance of a U.S. War Department order to return to their reservations or risk being attacked.

In mid-June, three columns of U.S. soldiers lined up against the camp and prepared to march. A force of 1,200 Native Americans turned back the first column on June 17. Five days later, General Alfred Terry ordered Custer’s 7th Cavalry to scout ahead for enemy troops. On the morning of June 25, Custer drew near the camp and decided to press on ahead rather than wait for reinforcements.

At mid-day, Custer’s 600 men entered the Little Bighorn Valley. Among the Native Americans, word quickly spread of the impending attack. The older Sitting Bull rallied the warriors and saw to the safety of the women and children, while Crazy Horse set off with a large force to meet the attackers head on. Despite Custer’s desperate attempts to regroup his men, they were quickly overwhelmed. Custer and some 200 men in his battalion were attacked by as many as 3,000 Native Americans; within an hour, Custer and every last one of his soldier were dead.

The Battle of Little Bighorn–also called Custer’s Last Stand–marked the most decisive Native American victory and the worst U.S. Army defeat in the long Plains Indian War. The gruesome fate of Custer and his men outraged many white Americans and confirmed their image of the Indians as wild and bloodthirsty. Meanwhile, the U.S. government increased its efforts to subdue the tribes. Within five years, almost all of the Sioux and Cheyenne would be confined to reservations.

Cold War
1950
Korean War begins

Armed forces from communist North Korea smash into South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly sprang to the defense of South Korea and fought a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years.

Korea, a former Japanese possession, had been divided into zones of occupation following World War II. U.S. forces accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in southern Korea, while Soviet forces did the same in northern Korea. Like in Germany, however, the “temporary” division soon became permanent. The Soviets assisted in the establishment of a communist regime in North Korea, while the United States became the main source of financial and military support for South Korea.

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces surprised the South Korean army (and the small U.S. force stationed in the country), and quickly headed toward the capital city of Seoul. The United States responded by pushing a resolution through the U.N.’s Security Council calling for military assistance to South Korea. (Russia was not present to veto the action as it was boycotting the Security Council at the time.) With this resolution in hand, President Harry S. Truman rapidly dispatched U.S. land, air, and sea forces to Korea to engage in what he termed a “police action.” The American intervention turned the tide, and U.S. and South Korean forces marched into North Korea. This action, however, prompted the massive intervention of communist Chinese forces in late 1950. The war in Korea subsequently bogged down into a bloody stalemate. In 1953, the United States and North Korea signed a cease-fire that ended the conflict. The cease-fire agreement also resulted in the continued division of North and South Korea at just about the same geographical point as before the conflict.

The Korean War was the first “hot” war of the Cold War. Over 33,000 American troops were killed in the conflict. Korea was the first “limited war,” one in which the U.S. aim was not the complete and total defeat of the enemy, but rather the “limited” goal of protecting South Korea. For the U.S. government, such an approach was the only rational option in order to avoid a third world war and to keep from stretching finite American resources too thinly around the globe. It proved to be a frustrating experience for the American people, who were used to the kind of total victory that had been achieved in World War II. The public found the concept of limited war difficult to understand or support and the Korean War never really gained popular support.

THE BATTLE OF ONGJIN PENINSULA

The Battle of Ongjin was a part of the Operation Pokpoong that marked the beginning of the Korean War. The ROK 17th Infantry Regiment fought against the DPRK 14th Infantry Regiment and the 3rd Guard Brigade supported by a tank company at Ongjin.

Ongjin Peninsula is located at the westernmost of the 38th parallel. In other words, the South Korean units stationed there could only reach Allied units by sea or by entering North Korea to go to South Korea. It is surrounded by the sea, and its only land route was blocked by the 38th parallel. There are strategic mountains at the center of the peninsula that can observe the entire peninsula easily. Prior to the Battle of Ongjin, the two opposing forces already had three clashes near these mountains in 1949.

The DPRK had built supply bases nearby, and supplies could be transported by railroad. On the other hand, ROK forces received support from Port Bupho located at the southeast of the peninsula. Due to the wide range between tidelines, large vessels were only able to come up alongside the Port Bupho pier twice per day.


From 20 June 1950, ROK 17th Infantry Regiment began witnessing suspicious and unusual movements on North Korea side of the 38th parallel. The regiment spotted many high-ranking North Korean officers in North Korean bases and on the hills, but no North Korean civilians were seen. When the regiment received an order to call off its alert, regimental commander Paik In-yup ignored the order and kept his regiment on high alert for any possible attacks from North Korea. Eventually, Paik lowered the alert except on the front lines. However, when United Nations personnel visited the regiment they urged Paik to cancel the alert saying that the it would cause the very issue it was in place to prevent. However, the day before the battle Paik ordered every troop to be stationed in their defense positions, giving the regiment a fortunate battle-ready stance for the upcoming attack.

Ongjin Peninsula is an isolated area where only ground access was to go through North Korean soil. Therefore, 17th Infantry Regiment had to defend a 45 km line with limited troops. The 1st Infantry Battalion covered the west and the 3rd Infantry Battalion covered the east while the 2nd Infantry Battalion was stationed at the rear to act as relief. The regiment focused its strength at the Kangry'ŏng, protected by the 3rd Infantry Battalion, because it was most likely to be the primary object for North Korea. If Kangry'ŏng was taken, the regiment would lose its combat strength by half along with its path of retreat.

At 04:00 of 25 June a red flare was shot in the air and DPRK forces began shelling ROK defenses for 30 minutes. After the artillery attack, a battalion-sized force of DPRK soldiers thrust into the ROK 1st Battalion. Two companies of the battalion fought hand-to-hand, but were forced to retreat due to DPRK reinforcement.

With the destruction of both wire and wireless communications, 1st Battalion commander Major Kim learned of the situation from retreating forces. He sent a reserve company forward as backup but this effort failed. Major Kim was later killed by DPRK artillery.

Meantime, the DPRK 14th Regiment continued shelling on the ROK 3rd Battalion until 05:30. However, ROK forces was not allowed to return artillery fire until hours later because the U.S. advisors had full control over the battalion's 105mm artillery.

When DPRK forces rushed over the ROK defenses with tanks and armored vehicles, ROK forces employed M18 recoilless rifle in defense. These failed to destroy any tanks. The ROK 3rd Battalion then retreated and set up new defensive lines at Chimasan and Seokgyeri which left Kangryong and Yangwon vulnerable to DPRK attack. Nevertheless, Colonel Paik ordered the 2nd Battalion to aid the 1st Battalion to maintain defense line on the left.

The 2nd Battalion ambushed and annihilated a DPRK battalion then recovered the left of the line in a counterattack. The battalion was given orders to retreat but refused and maintained the defensive line until the battalion learned the regiment had withdrawn to Kangryong. The battalion commander Major Song led both the 1st and 2nd Battalions to Buldangsan. When the troops arrived at Buldangsan, the DPRK forces had already taken over Yangwon and Kangryong. Major Song abandon plans to move to Port Bupho. Instead, he moved his forces to Sagot and retreated from there.

After retreating from Kangryong, the 3rd Battalion made its final defensive line and engineers blasted bridges to halt DPRK tanks. However, the DPRK forces did not chase down the ROK troops. Later it was learned that the DPRK 14th Regiment transferred the operation to the DPRK 3rd Guard Brigade after taking over Kangryong and moved to a different area to join larger battles.

LST-801 came to Port Bupho at 23:30 and most of the 3rd Battalion boarded. Heavy equipment and supplies except one M101 howitzer were either burnt or thrown into the sea.

Colonel Paik ordered LST-801 to set sail. He remained with the 7th Artillery Battalion, where he worked with its commander, Major Park, and other officers till the last round was fired. They successfully fled the zone in a small wooden boat.

About 90% of the South Korean forces and equipment in Ongjin Peninsula returned to the mainland. The 17th Infantry Regiment moved to Daejeon and recovered all losses. The regiment returned to the front line at Osan and participated in later battles including the Battle of Inchon.

The important lesson here is that even though the North attacked the South at the behest of the USSR, Stalin made a strategic error in boycotting the United Nations assembly. As a permanent member of the Security Council, the Russians could have changed the initial pattern of the war by giving a "NO" vote when the Security Council met.
The subsequent meetings of the United Nations did give a platform to the Communists in that they insisted that they had been attacked by the South Korean Army, from the peninsula of Ongjin, a statement that they never retracted.
The peculiarity here is that the North Korean Army was poised, all supplies in place, all units at their 'Jump Off' points, ready to go at the given signal.
So much for Communist propaganda. The only ones that ever believed that are the Communists and even that boggles the mind!

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Note: gives Dead as 33,746 and Wounded as 103, 284 and MIA as 8,177. The POW/MIA gives the figures listed here: for example: The total "Battle Dead" of 33,686 is broken down into 23,637 KIA; 2,484 DOW: 4,759 MIA; 2,806 {POWS}. 2,830 are given as non-battle deaths; wounded 103,284 is given as the Number of incidences of wounded-including individual personnel wounded multiple times ;likewise 17,730 are listed separately as having died elsewhere Worldwide during Korean War. The American Battle Monuments Commission database for the Korean War reports that "The Department of Defense reports that 54,246 American service men and women lost their lives during the Korean War. This includes all losses worldwide. Since the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. honors all U.S. Military who lost their lives during the War, we have tried to obtain the names of those who died in other areas besides Korea during the period June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1954, one year after the Korean Armistice...". {For a breakdown of Worldwide casualties of 54,246 see The Korean War educator at gives figures as In-theatre/non theater} After their retreat in 1950, dead Marines and soldiers were buried at a temporary gravesite near Hungnam, North Korea. During "Operation Glory" which occurred from July to November 1954 the dead of each side were exchanged; remains of 4,167 US soldiers/Marines were exchanged for 13,528 North Korean/Chinese dead. After "Operation Glory" 416 Korean War "unknowns" were buried in the Punchbowl Cemetery. According to a DPMO white paper, 1,394 names were also transmitted during "Operation Glory" from the Chinese and North Koreans {of whom 858 names proved to be correct}; of the 4,167 returned remains were found to be 4,219 individuals of whom 2,944 were found to be Americans of whom all but 416 were identified by name. Of 239 Korean War unaccounted for: 186 not associated with Punchbowl unknowns {176 were identified and of the remaining 10 cases 4 were non-Americans of Asiatic descent; one was British; 3 were identified and 2 cases unconfirmed}; Of 10 Korean War "Punchbowl Unknowns" 6 were identified. The W.A. Johnson listing of 496 POWs-including 25 Civilians -who died in North Korea.

According to report of June 24, 2008
Number of remains total unaccounted for: 8,055
Number of remains repatriated are: 489 of whom 100 are identified
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:23 AM   #344
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World War I
1917
First U.S. troops arrive in France

During World War I, the first 14,000 U.S. infantry troops land in France at the port of Saint Nazaire. The landing site had been kept secret because of the menace of German submarines, but by the time the Americans had lined up to take their first salute on French soil, an enthusiastic crowd had gathered to welcome them. However, the “Doughboys,” as the British referred to the green American troops, were untrained, ill-equipped, and far from ready for the difficulties of fighting along the Western Front.

One of U.S. General John J. Pershing’s first duties as commander of the American Expeditionary Force was to set up training camps in France and establish communication and supply networks. Four months later, on October 21, the first Americans entered combat when units from the U.S. Army’s First Division were assigned to Allied trenches in the Luneville sector near Nancy, France. Each American unit was attached to a corresponding French unit. Two days later, Corporal Robert Bralet of the Sixth Artillery became the first U.S. soldier to fire a shot in the war when he discharged a French 75mm gun into a German trench a half mile away. On November 2, Corporal James Gresham and privates Thomas Enright and Merle Hay of the 16th Infantry became the first American soldiers to die when Germans raided their trenches near Bathelemont, France.

After four years of bloody stalemate along the Western Front, the entrance of America’s well-supplied forces into the conflict was a major turning point in the war. When the war finally ended on November 11, 1918, more than two million American soldiers had served on the battlefields of Western Europe, and more than 50,000 of these men had lost their lives.
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June 27 1940
Old 06-27-2017, 11:20 AM   #345
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Default June 27 1940

JUNE 27 1940
WW2

On this day in 1940, the Germans set up two-way radio communication in their newly occupied French territory, employing their most sophisticated coding machine, Enigma,
to transmit information.

The Germans set up radio stations in Brest and the port town of Cherbourg. Signals would be transmitted to German bombers so as to direct them to targets in Britain. The Enigma coding machine, invented in 1919 by Hugo Koch, a Dutchman, looked like a typewriter and was originally employed for business purposes. The German army adapted the machine for wartime use and considered its encoding system unbreakable. They were wrong. The Brits had broken the code as early as the German invasion of Poland and had intercepted virtually every message sent through the system. Britain nicknamed the intercepted messages Ultra.
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