JANUARY 02 - TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY
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2 JANUARY/ TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY:
◆366 The Allamanni invade the Roman Empire across the Rhine.
◆1492 Granada surrenders to Ferdinand & Isabella, completing the 781 year war to liberate Spain from the Moors.
◆1570 Tsar Ivan the Terrible begins the conquest of Great Novgorod.
◆1602 Spanish forces in Ireland surrender to the English at Kinsale.
◆1631 England & Spain ally against the Dutch Republic.
◆1762 During the course of the Seven Years War, England declares war on Spain, who is preparing to ally herself with the French and Austrians.
◆1777 Battle of Assunpink Creek.★
◆1861 The USS Brooklyn is readied at Norfolk to aid Fort Sumter.
◆1861 Colonel Charles Stone is put in charge of organizing the Washington D.C. militia.
◆1863 Battle of Stones River.★
◆1904 U.S. Marines are sent to Santo Domingo.★
◆1918 Russian Bolsheviks threaten to re-enter the war unless Germany returns occupied territory.
◆1932 Japanese forces in Manchuria set up a puppet government known as Manchukuo.
◆1933 US troops leave Nicaragua. They have been there since 1926 trying to keep peace between the Liberal government and the Conservative forces of Augusto Sandino (Sandinistas) elements, but in 1932, isolationist feeling in the Congress leads to continued funding of the mission to be withdrawn.
◆1941 The Andrews Sisters recorded "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."
◆1941 Roosevelt announces a plan to mass-produce 7500-ton freighters. 200 will be produced to a standard design and will be known as Liberty Ships.
◆1942 In the Philippines, the city of Manila and the U.S. Naval base at Cavite fall to Japanese forces. The American and Philippino Allies establish their defenses on the approaches to the Bataan Peninsula.
◆1942 Navy Airship Patrol Group 1 and Air Ship Squadron 12 are established at Lakehurst, N.J.★
◆1943 Japanese positions at Buna, New Guinea are stormed by troops from Eichelberger's US 1st Corps. Fighting continues around Sanananda.
◆1943 US troops on Guadalcanal launch another assault up Mount Austen. Some progress is made but the Gifu strongpoint remains in Japanese control.
◆1944 On New Britain, the American 7th Marine Regiment launches attacks to expand its beachhead near Cape Gloucester but fails to meet its objectives.
◆1944 US Task Force 38 (Admiral Barbey) lands 2400 troops of the 126th Regiment (General Martin) of the 32nd Division at Saidor. Both the airfield and the harbor are secured. An Allied cruiser and destroyer force, led by Admiral Crutchley, provides cover for the landing. To the east, Australian forces advance to Sialum.
◆1945 In the Ardennes, Third Army troops take Bonnerue, Hubertmont and Remagne. In Alsace Seventh Army withdraws under German pressure.
◆1945 About 1000 USAAF bombers nominally attack troop concentrations and communications in western Germany while about 1000 RAF bombers strike Nuremburg and Ludwigshafen.
◆1945 An American Sikorsky helicopter is used in convoy escort duties for the first time.
◆1945 In the Carolines, Fais Island is occupied by an American amphibious force.
◆1951 For the first time, a C-47 dropped flares to illuminate B-26 and F-82 night attacks on enemy forces. The flares also deterred enemy night attacks on U.S. troops. Fifth Air Force withdrew forward-based F-86s assigned to the 4th FIW from enemy-threatened Kimpo Airfield near Seoul to the wing's home station at Johnson AB, Japan.
◆1963 In Vietnam, the Viet Cong down five U.S. helicopters in the Mekong Delta. 30 Americans are reported dead.
◆1963 Battle of Ap Bac.★
◆1966 American G.I.s move into the Mekong Delta for the first time.
◆1967 Operation Bolo.★★
◆1969 Operation Barrier Reef, The fourth and last interdiction barrier in the Mekong Delta is established with naval patrols operating on the LaGrange-Ong Long Canal fro, Tuyen Nhon on the Vam Co Tay Rover to An Long on the Mekong began.
◆1980 Cold War jostling.★
◆2002 Troops of the 101st Airborne Division begin to replace Marines that have been in Kandahar, Afghanistan since November of 2001.
Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 5th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Clear Creek, Ariz., 2 January 1873. Entered service at: - - - . Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallantry in action.
*EDWARDS, JUNIOR D.
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Company E, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Changbong-ni, Korea, 2 January 1951. Entered service at: Indianola, Iowa. Born: 7 October 1926, Indianola, lowa. G.O. No.: 13, 1 February 1952. Citation: Sfc. Edwards, Company E, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When his platoon, while assisting in the defense of a strategic hill, was forced out of its position and came under vicious raking fire from an enemy machine gun set up on adjacent high ground, Sfc. Edwards individually charged the hostile emplacement, throwing grenades as he advanced. The enemy withdrew but returned to deliver devastating fire when he had expended his ammunition. Securing a fresh supply of grenades, he again charged the emplacement, neutralized the weapon and killed the crew, but was forced back by hostile small-arms fire. When the enemy emplaced another machine gun and resumed fire, Sfc. Edwards again renewed his supply of grenades, rushed a third time through a vicious hail of fire, silenced this second gun and annihilated its crew. In this third daring assault he was mortally wounded but his indomitable courage and successful action enabled his platoon to regain and hold the vital strongpoint. Sfc. Edwards' consummate valor and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the utmost glory upon himself and are in keeping with the esteemed traditions of the infantry and military service.
2 JANUARY 1777THE BATTLE OF ASSUNPINK CREEK, also known as the Second Battle of Trenton, was a battle between American and British troops that took place in and around Trenton, New Jersey during the American War of Independence, and resulted in an American victory. Following a surprise victory at the Battle of Trenton early in the morning of December 26, 1776, General George Washington of the Continental Army and his council of war expected a strong British counter-attack.
Washington and his council decided to meet this attack in Trenton, and established a defensive position south of the Assunpink Creek. Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis led the British forces southward in the aftermath of the December 26 battle. Leaving 1,400 men under Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood in Princeton, Cornwallis advanced on Trenton with about 5,000 men on January 2.
His advance was significantly slowed by defensive skirmishing by American riflemen under the command of Edward Hand, and the advance guard did not reach Trenton until twilight. After assaulting the American positions three times, and being repulsed each time, Cornwallis decided to wait and finish the battle the next day. Washington moved his army around Cornwallis’s camp that night and attacked Mawhood at Princeton the next day. That defeat prompted the British to withdraw from most of New Jersey for the winter.
2 JANUARY 1863THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER concludes when the Union troops of William Rosecrans defeat Confederates under Braxton Bragg at Murfeesboro, just south of Nashville. This battle was a crucial engagement in the contest for central Tennessee, and provided a Union victory during a very bleak period for the North.
The end of 1862 found Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland in Nashville, thirty miles north of Bragg's troops. Rosecrans assumed command of the army only in October, with the understanding that he would attack Bragg and drive the Confederates from central Tennessee. This move was delayed throughout the fall by John Morgan's cavalry, who harassed the federals and threatened their supply line.
Finally, the day after Christmas, Rosecrans moved his force south to meet Bragg. The armies collided along Stones River on New Year's Eve. Facing a larger Union force (42,000 Union soldiers to 35,000 Confederates), Bragg launched an attack in bitterly cold morning fog against the Yankees' right flank. The attack was initially successful in driving the Union back, but the Yankees did not break.
A day of heavy fighting brought frightful casualties, and the suffering was compounded by the frigid weather. The Confederates came close to winning, but were not quite able to turn the Union flank against Stones River. The new year dawned the next day with each army still in the field and ready for another fight.
The strike came on January 2, and the Confederates lost the battle. Bragg attacked against the advice of his generals and lost the confidence of his army. The Union troops repelled the assault, and Bragg was forced back to Chattanooga. The North was in control of central Tennessee, and the Union victory provided a much-needed moral boost in the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg.
Stones River was a hard-fought and very bloody engagement, with some of the highest casualty rates of the war. The Confederates lost 33 percent of their force, while 31 percent of the Union force was either killed, wounded, or missing. Combined casualties totaled nearly 25,000 men. Lincoln later wrote to Rosecrans, "...you gave us a hard victory which, had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over."
2 JANUARY 1904
MARINES LAND IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. U.S. Marines are sent to Santo Domingo to aid the government against rebel forces backed by European interests opposed to the government of Carols F. Morales. Morales had stopped payment on all foreign debts to attempt to negotiate more favorable terms. In 1905 the US will arrange a customs receivership that will pay off the debts.
2 JANUARY 1942
LAKEHURST NAVY AIRSHIP BASE. Navy Airship Patrol Group 1 and Air Ship Squadron 12 are established at Lakehurst, N.J. The U.S. Navy was the only military service in the world to use airships—also known as blimps – during the war. The U.S. Navy was actually behind the times in the use of blimps; it didn’t get around to ordering its first until 1915, at which time even the U.S. Army was using them.
By the close of World War I, the Navy had recognized their value and was using several blimps for patrolling coastlines for enemy submarines. They proved extremely effective; in fact, no convoy supported by blimp surveillance ever lost a ship. Between the wars, it was agreed that the Army would use nonrigid airships to patrol the coasts of the United States, while the Navy would use rigid airships (which were aluminum-hulled and kept their shape whether or not they were filled with gas) for long-range scouting and fleet support.
The Navy ended its construction and employment of the rigid airships in the 1930s after two, the Akron and the Macon, crashed at sea. In 1937, the Army transferred all its remaining nonrigid blimps to the Navy. Meanwhile, in the civilian world, the Hindenburg, a commercial dirigible, burst into flames over Lakehurst on May 6, 1937.
Thirty-six of the 97 passengers aboard were killed. The explosion was caused by an electric discharge that ignited a hydrogen gas leak; the tragedy effectively ended the use of airships for commercial travel, but they were still used to great advantage in the U.S. military. At the outbreak of World War II, the Navy had 10 blimps in service; that number expanded to 167 by the end of the war.
The only U.S. blimp lost was the K-74, which, on July 18, 1943, spotted a German U-boat. The blimp opened fire on the submarine and damaged it, but only one of its two depth charges released. The submarine fired back and sent the blimp into the sea, but the crew was rescued. The only German blimp involved in the war was a passenger craft, Graf Zeppelin, which was used for electronic surveillance just before the outbreak of the war.
2 JANUARY 1963
THE BATTLE OF AP BAC was a small-scale battle early in the Vietnam War which resulted in the first major combat victory by the Viet Cong against regular South Vietnamese and American forces.
The battle took place on January 2, 1963, near the hamlet of Ap Bac, 65km (40 miles) southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta. Forces of the 7th Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), equipped with armored personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery and supported by American helicopters, confronted entrenched elements of the Viet Cong 261st and 514th battalions.
The Vietcong suffered 18 killed and 39 wounded. Though most later withdrew from the hamlet during the night, they had turned back a larger force equipped with armour, helicopters and airbone troops. ARVN losses were 80 dead and 100 wounded, with three U.S. advisers killed in action and another eight wounded. A battlefield monument lists that nine helicopters (an inflation from the clear battlefield total of five) and three M113 armored vehicles were destroyed.
Ap Bac represented a significant milestone in the war. The communist forces considered it to be their first big success, fully exploiting their victory for propaganda purposes. More importantly, they had successfully developed tactics to counter the technological advantage the U.S. provided the South Vietnamese, this was done by being so close to the ARVN and US forces that they could not use air attacks without killing their own men. With the success of Ap Bac, the North immediately began planning for a full-scale war in the south. Pham Xuan An, whose information helped prepare the Vietcong for the battle, received an NVA medal for his contribution to the Vietcong victory at Ap Bac.
2 JANUARY 1967
OPERATION BOLO: 30 US Air Force F-4 Phantom jets, operating from Ubon in Thailand, shoot down a third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s, loosing only one Phantom. Over the previous two years of Air Force and Navy air strikes, only 10 planes had been lost to enemy MiGs. American pilots were forbidden from attacking Hanoi’s airfields fearing that killing Soviet or Chinese advisers that could be there would draw those nations more directly into the war.
Knowing this, the Vietnamese People’s Air Force would simply fly their MiGs through the American bombing formations and loiter just long enough to get the crews to drop their bombs and extra fuel early, preventing the strategic strikes without firing a shot. US 7th Air Force selected Colonel Robin Olds to lead an ambush to stop the harassment.
To lure out the North Vietnamese, American F-4s would fly the same routes into the country as the heavyset F-105 bombers—and at the same altitudes and speeds while using the same radio call signs. Meanwhile, signal-snooping aircraft would keep track of the MiGs. Special C-130B-IIs would listen in on enemy radio chatter and feed information straight to American pilots throughout the mission.
These specialized aircraft and personnel not only made sure the Vietnamese were responding as expected, but also kept watch in case Chinese jets decided to join the battle. Olds wanted to know if Russian or North Korean advisers were actually in the cockpits when the fighting started. Hanoi’s pilots were caught completely off guard.
When Olds’ strike team started its attack, the C-130s picked up enemy pilots shocked to find that “the sky is full of F-4s,” according to the declassified report. “Where are the F-105s? You briefed us to expect F-105s!” Seven MiGs were shot down. After a series of additional aerial ambushes, the Vietnamese People’s Air Force grounded its MiGs and completely revised its procedures.
At the end of the year, Washington approved strikes on Hanoi’s air bases. During this operation, Col. Robin Olds shot down one of the MiGs, becoming the first and only U.S. Air Force ace with victories in both World War II and Vietnam.
2 JANUARY 1967
AIR WAR OVER VIETNAM. In what is described as the biggest air battle of the war to date, U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets down seven communist MiG-21s over North Vietnam. The Phantoms were flying cover for F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bombers, which were attacking surface-to-air missile sites in the Red River Delta. During this operation, Col. Robin Olds shot down one of the MiGs, becoming the first and only U.S. Air Force ace with victories in both World War II and Vietnam.
2 JANUARY 1980COLD WAR JOSTLING. In reaction to the December 1979 Soviet military intervention into Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter requests that the Senate postpone action on the SALT-II nuclear weapons treaty and recalls the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. These actions indicated that the U.S.-Soviet relationship had been severely damaged by the Russian action in Afghanistan and that the age of détente had ended.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the establishment by the Soviets of a puppet government in that nation, brought U.S. relations with the Soviet Union to the breaking point. Carter’s press secretary, Jodie Powell, called the Russian action “a serious threat to peace.”
On January 2, he announced that the Carter administration had asked the Senate to postpone deliberations on SALT-II, the complicated treaty dealing with nuclear arms. Carter also recalled U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. home, ostensibly for “consultation.”
As Carter administration officials made clear, however, this action was intended to send a very strong message to the Soviets that military intervention in Afghanistan was unacceptable. In addition, the Carter administration was thinking about new trade restrictions against the Soviets and a boycott of the 1980 summer Olympics, which were to be held in Moscow.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan marked a critical turning point in U.S.-Soviet relations. With the action, the age of détente and the closer diplomatic and economic relations that were established during the presidency of Richard Nixon came to an end. Carter lost the election of 1980 to Ronald Reagan, who promised-and delivered-an even more vigorous anticommunist foreign policy.
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