JANUARY 05 - TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY
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5 JANUARY/ TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY:
◆62 BCE Battle of Pistoria: Defeat of Cataline's Conspiracy.
◆1477 Battle of Nancy: Swiss defeat Charles the Bold of Burgundy.
◆1608 Capt. John Smith is captured by the Indians.
◆1675 Battle of Durkheim: The French defeat the Imperialists.
◆1779 Stephen Decatur is born.★
◆1781 British force led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Va.★
◆1782 The British withdraw from Wilmington, North Carolina as part of their plan to evacuate from all the towns they have occupied during the War for Independence.
◆1795 France announces its awareness of Jay's treaty between the US and Britain.
◆1838 President Martin Van Buren issues a neutrality proclamation forbidding US citizens from taking part in the Canadian insurrection. The privately owned US steamship Caroline, leased by Canadian revolutionaries, has been destroyed by Canadian militiamen on 29 December. President Van Buren orders General Winfield Scott to post militamen along the Canadian frontier.
◆1846 Manifest Destiny.★
◆1855 USS Plymouth crew skirmish with Chinese troops.
◆1861 Star of the West departs to relieve Fort Sumter.★
◆1861 Alabama state troops take possession of Forts Morgan and Gaines at the entrance to Mobile Bay.
◆1862 Battle of Hancock.★
◆1904 American Marines arrive in Seoul, Korea, to guard the U.S. legation there.
◆1916 Austria-Hungary attempts another offensive against Montenegro.
◆1942 U.S. and Filipino troops complete their withdrawal to a new defensive line along the base of the Bataan peninsula.
◆1943 USS Helena (CL-50) fired first proximity fused projectile in combat and shot down Japanese dive bomber in southwest Pacific.
◆1943 General Clark's Fifth Army becomes operational in Tunisia.
◆1943 On Guadalcanal the Japanese begin their planned withdrawal. US forces fail to take note of the evacuation. Japanese resistance on Mount Austen is maintained despite growing American pressure.
◆1944 Elements of the US 32nd Division at Saidor encounter Japanese forces while patrolling westward from their positions. Australian forces advancing westward along the north coast of the Huon Peninsula capture Kelanoa.
◆1945 Admiral Smith leads a force of cruisers and destroyers to shell Iwo Jima, Haha Jima and Chichi Jima. There is a simultaneous attack by USAAF B-29 Superfortress bombers.
◆1945 Admiral McCrea leads three cruisers and nine destroyers to bombard Suribachi Wan in the Kuriles.
◆1945 In the Ardennes, the US 3rd Army reports reduced activity on its line while US 1st Army continues its attacks. There are German attacks just north of Strasbourg. Eisenhower's decision to divide command responsibility for the Allied defenses around the bulge between Montgomery in the north and Bradley in the south is made public.
◆1951 Fifty-nine B-29s dropped 672 tons of incendiary bombs on Pyongyang. The 18 FBG staged its final missions from Suwon. U.S. ground troops burned the buildings at Suwon's airfield before withdrawing.
◆1953 Twelve B-29s of the 307th BW bombed the Huichon supply areas and railroad bridge.
◆1957 Eisenhower Doctrine.★
◆1967 Operation Deckhouse V.★
◆1968 U.S. forces in Vietnam launch Operation Niagara I to locate enemy units around the Marine base at Khe Sanh.
◆1971 Battle of Snoul.★
◆1979 Vietnamese troops occupy Phnom Penh and the Cambodian ruler Pol Pot is ousted from power.
Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
*WALKER, KENNETH N. (Air Mission)
Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Army Air Corps, Commander of V Bomber Command. Place and date: Rabaul, New Britain, 5 January 1943. Entered service at. Colorado. Birth: Cerrillos, N. Mex. G.O. No.: 13, 11 March 1943.
Citation: For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. As commander of the 5th Bomber Command during the period from 5 September 1942, to 5 January 1943, Brig. Gen. Walker repeatedly accompanied his units on bombing missions deep into enemy-held territory.
From the lessons personally gained under combat conditions, he developed a highly efficient technique for bombing when opposed by enemy fighter airplanes and by antiaircraft fire. On 5 January 1943, in the face of extremely heavy antiaircraft fire and determined opposition by enemy fighters, he led an effective daylight bombing attack against shipping in the harbor at Rabaul, New Britain, which resulted in direct hits on 9 enemy vessels. During this action his airplane was disabled and forced down by the attack of an overwhelming number of enemy fighters.
Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
MILLER, FRANKLIN D.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces. place and date: Kontum province, Republic of Vietnam, 5 January 1970. Entered service at: Albuquerque, N. Mex. Born: 27 January 1945, Elizabeth City, N.C.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Miller, 5th Special Forces Group, distinguished himself while serving as team leader of an American-Vietnamese long-range reconnaissance patrol operating deep within enemy controlled territory. Leaving the helicopter insertion point, the patrol moved forward on its mission.
Suddenly, 1 of the team members tripped a hostile booby trap which wounded 4 soldiers. S/Sgt. Miller, knowing that the explosion would alert the enemy, quickly administered first aid to the wounded and directed the team into positions across a small stream bed at the base of a steep hill. Within a few minutes, S/Sgt. Miller saw the lead element of what he estimated to be a platoon-size enemy force moving toward his location.
Concerned for the safety of his men, he directed the small team to move up the hill to a more secure position. He remained alone, separated from the patrol, to meet the attack. S/Sgt. Miller single-handedly repulsed 2 determined attacks by the numerically superior enemy force and caused them to withdraw in disorder. He rejoined his team, established contact with a forward air controller and arranged the evacuation of his patrol.
However, the only suitable extraction location in the heavy jungle was a bomb crater some 150 meters from the team location. S/Sgt. Miller reconnoitered the route to the crater and led his men through the enemy controlled jungle to the extraction site.
As the evacuation helicopter hovered over the crater to pick up the patrol, the enemy launched a savage automatic weapon and rocket-propelled grenade attack against the beleaguered team, driving off the rescue helicopter. S/Sgt. Miller led the team in a valiant defense which drove back the enemy in its attempt to overrun the small patrol. Although seriously wounded and with every man in his patrol a casualty, S/Sgt. Miller moved forward to again single-handedly meet the hostile attackers.
From his forward exposed position, S/Sgt. Miller gallantly repelled 2 attacks by the enemy before a friendly relief force reached the patrol location. S/Sgt. Miller's gallantry, intrepidity in action, and selfless devotion to the welfare of his comrades are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
5 JANUARY 1779
STEPHEN DECATUR, JR. IS BORN. Stephen Decatur, Jr. (d. March 22, 1820) was a United States naval officer and commodore notable for his naval victories in the early 19th century.
He was born on the eastern shore of Maryland, in Worcester County, the son of a U.S. naval officer who served during the American Revolution.
Decatur's father, Stephen Decatur, Sr., was a commodore in the U.S. Navy, and brought the younger Stephen into the world of ships and sailing early on. Shortly after attending college, Decatur followed in his father's footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy at the age of nineteen as a midshipman.
Decatur supervised the construction of several U.S. naval vessels, one of which he would later command. He is the youngest man to reach the rank of captain in the history of the United States Navy. He served under three presidents, and played a major role in the early development of the American navy. In almost every theater of operation, Decatur's service was characterized with acts of heroism and exceptional performance.
His service in the Navy took him through both Barbary Wars in North Africa, the Quasi-War with France, and the War of 1812 with Britain. He was renowned for his natural ability to lead and for his genuine concern for the seamen under his command. His numerous naval victories against Britain, France and the Barbary states established the United States as a rising power.
During this period he served aboard and commanded many naval vessels and ultimately became a member of the Board of Navy Commissioners. He built a large home in Washington, known as Decatur House, on Lafayette Square, and was the center of Washington society in the early 19th century. He became an affluent member of Washington society and counted James Monroe and other Washington dignitaries among his personal friends.
Decatur's distinguished career came to an early end when he lost his life in a duel with a rival officer. Decatur emerged as a national hero in his own lifetime, becoming the first post-Revolutionary War hero. His name and legacy, like that of John Paul Jones, became identified with the United States Navy.
5 JANUARY 1781
ARNOLD BURNS RICHMOND. A British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Va., causing Governor Thomas Jefferson to flee as the Virginia militia, led by Sampson Mathews, defended the city. It was Arnold’s greatest success as a British commander.
Arnold’s 1,600 largely Loyalist troops sailed up the James River at the beginning of January, eventually landing in Westover, Virginia. Leaving Westover on the afternoon of January 4, Arnold and his men arrived at the virtually undefended capital city of Richmond the next afternoon.
Virginia’s governor, Thomas Jefferson, had frantically attempted to prepare the city for attack by moving all arms & other Military Stores and records from the city to a foundry five miles outside Richmond. As news of Arnold’s unexpectedly rapid approach reached him, Jefferson then tried to orchestrate their removal to Westham, seven miles further north.
He was too late–Arnold’s men quickly reached and burned the foundry and then proceeded towards Westham, which Jefferson had asked the formidable Prussian military advisor Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben to guard. Finding von Steuben, Arnold chose to return to Richmond, burning much of the city the following morning.
Only 200 militiamen responded to Governor Jefferson’s call to defend the capital–most Virginians had already served and therefore thought they were under no further obligation to answer such calls. Despite this untenable military position, the author of the Declaration of Independence was criticized by some for fleeing Richmond during the crisis.
Later, two months after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, he was cleared of any wrongdoing during his term as governor. Jefferson went on to become the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, and his presidential victory over the Federalists is remembered as The Revolution of 1800.
After the war, Benedict Arnold attempted and failed to establish businesses in Canada and London. He died a pauper on June 14, 1801, and lays buried in his Continental Army uniform at St. Mary’s Church, Middlesex, London. To this day, his name remains synonymous with the word “traitor” in the United States.
5 JANUARY 1846
MANIFEST DESTINY. Boldly reversing its long-standing policy of “free and open” occupation in the disputed Oregon Territory, the U.S. House of Representatives passes a resolution calling for an end to British-American sharing of the region. The United States, one congressman asserted, had “the right of our manifest destiny to spread over our whole continent.”
In different circumstances, such aggressive posturing might have led to war. The British, through their Hudson Bay Company at the mouth of the Columbia River, had a reasonable claim to the disputed territory of modern-day Washington. In contrast, the only part of the Oregon Territory the U.S. could legitimately claim by settlement was the area below the Columbia River.
Above the river, there were only eight recently arrived Americans in 1845. Nonetheless, the aggressively expansionistic President James Polk coveted Oregon Territory up to the 49th parallel (the modern-day border with Canada). Yet Polk was also on the verge of war with Mexico in his drive to take that nation’s northern provinces, and he had no desire to fight the British and Mexicans at the same time.
Consequently, Polk had to move cautiously. Some of his fellow Democrats in the Congress pushed him to be even more aggressive, demanding that Americans control the territory all the way up to the 54th parallel, approximately where Edmonton, Alberta, is today. For five months, debate raged in Congress over the “Oregon controversy,” but the House resolution in January made it clear that the U.S. was determined to end the joint occupation with Great Britain.
Luckily, the British agreed to abandon their claim to the area north of the Columbia and accept the 49th parallel as a border. The Hudson Bay Company already had decided to relocate its principal trading post from the Columbia River area to Vancouver Island, leaving the British with little interest in maintaining their claim to area.
Despite the cries of betrayal from the advocates of the 54th parallel, Polk wisely accepted the British offer to place the border on the 49th parallel. The new boundary not only gave the U.S. more territory than it had any legitimate claim to, but it also left Polk free to pursue his next objective: a war with Mexico for control of the Southwest.
5 JANUARY 1861
STAR OF THE WEST. The “Star of the West,” a Union merchant vessel, leaves New York with supplies and 250 troops to relieve the beleaguered Fort Sumter at Charleston, South Carolina. This incident came during the sensitive days following the secession of South Carolina on December 20, 1860.
The primary cause for secession was the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln to the presidency the month before, but it was President James Buchanan, a Democrat, who had to deal with the first crisis after South Carolina’s departure.
Inside of Fort Sumter were Major Robert Anderson and 80 Federal soldiers who were surrounded by hostile South Carolinians, who were demanding evacuation by the Yankees. Anderson informed officials in Washington that he needed supplies within a few weeks.
Buchanan was reluctant to make any provocative moves but felt that some attempt to save Sumter should be made. The “Star of the West” was chosen because a civilian vessel was less likely to agitate South Carolinians. It left New York on January 5, but it did not complete its mission.
Arriving on January 9, the “Star of the West” encountered an alert South Carolina militia. Word of the mission had leaked to everyone, it seemed, except Anderson. He had received no notification of the mission and was surprised when cannon from the shore opened fire on the approaching ship.
One shot hit the “Star of the West,” and the ship turned around before taking any more damage. Anderson withheld his fire on the hostile shore batteries, and the standoff in Charleston Harbor continued until April. Then, the South Carolinians opened the massive bombardment that started the Civil War.
5 JANUARY 1862
THE BATTLE OF HANCOCK, a battle fought during the Romney Expedition in Washington County, Maryland, and Morgan County, West Virginia, as part of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's operations against the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad during the American Civil War.
On January 1, 1862, Jackson marched north in bitter cold from Winchester to Bath with the objective of disrupting traffic on the B&O Railroad and C&O Canal. On January 5, after skirmishing with the retiring Federals, Jackson’s force reached the Potomac River opposite the garrisoned town of Hancock, Maryland.
His artillery fired on the town from Orrick’s Hill but did little damage. Union garrison commander Brig. Gen. Frederick W. Lander refused Jackson’s demands for surrender. Jackson continued the bombardment for two days while unsuccessfully searching for a safe river crossing. The Confederates withdrew and marched on Romney, in western Virginia, on January 7.
5 JANUARY 1957
EISENHOWER DOCTRINE. In response to the increasingly tense situation in the Middle East, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a proposal to Congress that calls for a new and more proactive U.S. policy in the region. The “Eisenhower Doctrine,” as the proposal soon came to be known, established the Middle East as a Cold War battlefield.
The United States believed that the situation in the Middle East degenerated badly during 1956, and Egypt leader Gamal Nasser was deemed largely responsible. The U.S. used Nasser’s anti-western nationalism and his increasingly close relations with the Soviet Union as justification for withdrawing U.S. support for the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River in July 1956.
Less than a month later, Nasser seized control of the Suez Canal. This action prompted, in late October, a coordinated attack by French, British, and Israeli military on Egypt. Suddenly, it appeared that the Middle East might be the site of World War III.
In response to these disturbing developments, President Eisenhower called for “joint action by the Congress and the Executive” in meeting the “increased danger from International Communism” in the Middle East. Specifically, he asked for authorization to begin new programs of economic and military cooperation with friendly nations in the region.
He also requested authorization to use U.S. troops “to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations.” Eisenhower did not ask for a specific appropriation of funds at the time; nevertheless, he indicated that he would seek $200 million for economic and military aid in each of the years 1958 and 1959.
Only such action, he warned, would dissuade “power-hungry Communists” from interfering in the Middle East. While some newspapers and critics were uneasy with the open-ended policy for U.S. action in the Middle East (the Chicago Tribune called the doctrine “goofy”), the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate responded with overwhelming votes in favor of Eisenhower’s proposal.
The “Eisenhower Doctrine” received its first call to action in the summer of 1958, when civil strife in Lebanon led that nation’s president to request U.S. assistance. Nearly 15,000 U.S. troops were sent to help quell the disturbances. With the Eisenhower Doctrine and the first action taken in its name, the United States demonstrated its interest in Middle East developments.
5 JANUARY 1967
OPERATION DECKHOUSE V. 1st Battalion, 9th U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese Marine Brigade Force Bravo conduct amphibious operations in the Kien Hoa Province in the Mekong Delta, located 62 miles south of Saigon. This action, part of Operation Deckhouse V, marked the first time that U.S. combat troops were used in the Mekong Delta.
The target area, called the Thanh Phu Secret Zone by the Viet Cong guerrillas, was believed to contain communist ammunition dumps, ordinance and engineering workshops, hospitals, and indoctrination centers. During the course of the operation, which lasted until January 15, seven U.S. Marines and 21 Viet Cong were killed.
THE BATTLE OF SNUOL. The Battle of Snuol was a major battle of the Vietnam War, conducted by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam as part of Operation Toàn Thắng TT02.
The battle lasted from January 5 to May 30, 1971.
In 1970 the joint South Vietnamese and U.S Cambodian Incursion was viewed as an overall success after allied troops successfully captured a huge enemy cache consisting of food and weapon supplies. Although relatively little contact was made during the operation, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops were forced to move deeper into Cambodian territory.
One year following the incursion, General Nguyen Van Hieu and General Do Cao Tri made a plan to go back inside Cambodian territory to find and destroy the Viet Cong. According to General Hieu's plan, instead of searching for the enemy the ARVN would use one regiment and try luring out and trap the Viet Cong once they come out to attack. South Vietnamese commanders called this the "luring the tiger down the mountain tactic".
In order to carry out their mission, South Vietnam was ready to commit the ARVN 5th Division, as well as the 18th and 25th Divisions just in case if the Viet Cong would come out in force.
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