JANUARY 09 - TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY

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9 JANUARY/ TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY:
◆1570 Tsar Ivan the Terrible massacres 2000 in Novgorod.★
◆1760 The Battle of Barari Ghat: the Afghans defeat the Marathas.
◆1806 Dutch surrender Capetown.★
◆1812 Napoleon annexes Swedish Pomerania.
◆1847 Battle of La Mesa, California.★
◆1861 A Union merchant ship, the "Star of the West," is fired upon as it tries to bring supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.★
◆1861 Thirty Marines from Washington Navy Yard under First Lieutenant Andrew J. Hays, USMC, garrisoned Fort McHenry, Baltimore, until U.S. Army troops could relieve them.
◆1862 Farragut commands the Western Gulf Blocking Squadron.★
◆1924 Sun Yat-sen appealed to the U.S. to seek international pressure for peace in China.
◆1936 Garand M-1 semi-automatic rifle adopted by the US Army.★
◆1942 Japanese forces begin the assault on the Bataan Peninsula.
◆1943 The Americans capture the village of Tarakena, New Guinea but their attempts to advance further toward Sanananda are held by the Japanese defenders.
◆1944 On Bougainville, American engineers complete a second airfield at Piva.
◆1944 Two divisions of the US 2nd Corps (part of 5th Army) attack Cervaro and Monte Trochio, to the east of Cassino.
◆1945 Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the American 6th Army land on the Lingayen Gulf of Luzon.★
◆1945 The fleet carriers of Task Force 38 attack targets on Okinawa and Formosa in conjunction with US Army Air Force B-29 Superfortress bombers from bases in China. This is intended to give cover to the landings on Luzon. One Japanese destroyer is sunk along with seven other ships.
◆1945 The US 3rd Army renews its attacks northeast and southeast of Bastogne.
◆1945 An Anglo-American joint statement is issued that notes increased U-boat activity in December 1944 and higher shipping losses. Nonetheless, it states that all forces are continuing to be supplied regularly.
◆1951 General MacArthur indicated that he had little hope of defending Korea unless given reinforcements and authority to carry the war to the Chinese homeland. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, with President Truman's approval, informed MacArthur that the United States would continue to limit hostilities to Korea. MacArthur was expected to defend successive positions, inflicting as much damage on the enemy as possible.
◆1953 B-29 Superfortress bombers and Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers struck Pyongyang and the Sinanju complex.
◆1964 Martyr's Day in Panama.★
◆1974 Cambodian Government troops open a drive to avert insurgent attack on Phnom Penh.

 



 

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 Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

HANDRAN, JOHN
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1852, Massachusetts. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 206, 15 February 1876. Citation: For gallant conduct while serving on board the U.S.S. Franklin at Lisbon, Portugal, 9 January 1876. Jumping overboard, Handran rescued from drowning one of the crew of that vessel.

MADDIN, EDWARD
Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1852, Newfoundland. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 206, 15 February 1876. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Franklin at Lisbon, Portugal, 9 January 1876. Displaying gallant conduct, Maddin jumped overboard and rescued one of the crew of that vessel from drowning.

*CAREY, CHARLES F., JR.
No automatic alt text available.Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, 397th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division. Place and date: Rimling, France, 8-9 January 1945. Entered service at: Cheyenne, Wyo. Birth: Canadian, Okla. G.O. No.: 53, July 1945. Citation: He was in command of an antitank platoon when about 200 enemy infantrymen and 12 tanks attacked his battalion, overrunning part of its position. After losing his guns, T/Sgt. Carey, acting entirely on his own initiative, organized a patrol and rescued 2 of his squads from a threatened sector, evacuating those who had been wounded. He organized a second patrol and advanced against an enemy-held house from which vicious fire issued, preventing the free movement of our troops. Covered by fire from his patrol, he approached the house, killed 2 snipers with his rifle, and threw a grenade in the door. He entered alone and a few minutes later emerged with 16 prisoners. Acting on information he furnished, the American forces were able to capture an additional 41 Germans in adjacent houses. He assembled another patrol, and, under covering fire, moved to within a few yards of an enemy tank and damaged it with a rocket. As the crew attempted to leave their burning vehicle, he calmly shot them with his rifle, killing 3 and wounding a fourth. Early in the morning of 9 January, German infantry moved into the western part of the town and encircled a house in which T/Sgt. Carey had previously posted a squad. Four of the group escaped to the attic. By maneuvering an old staircase against the building, T/Sgt. Carey was able to rescue these men. Later that day, when attempting to reach an outpost, he was struck down by sniper fire. The fearless and aggressive leadership of T/Sgt. Carey, his courage in the face of heavy fire from superior enemy forces, provided an inspiring example for his comrades and materially helped his battalion to withstand the German onslaught.

*PETERSEN, DANNY J.
Image may contain: one or more people and closeupRank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 4th Battalion, 23d Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 9 January 1970. Entered service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 11 March 1949, Horton, Kans. Citation: Sp4c. Petersen distinguished himself while serving as an armored personnel carrier commander with Company B during a combat operation against a North Vietnamese Army Force estimated to be of battalion size. During the initial contact with the enemy, an armored personnel carrier was disabled and the crewmen were pinned down by the heavy onslaught of enemy small arms, automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Sp4c. Petersen immediately maneuvered his armored personnel carrier to a position between the disabled vehicle and the enemy. He placed suppressive fire on the enemy's well-fortified position, thereby enabling the crewmembers of the disabled personnel carrier to repair their vehicle. He then maneuvered his vehicle, while still under heavy hostile fire to within 10 feet of the enemy's defensive emplacement. After a period of intense fighting, his vehicle received a direct hit and the driver was wounded. With extraordinary courage and selfless disregard for his own safety, Sp4c. Petersen carried his wounded comrade 45 meters across the bullet-swept field to a secure area. He then voluntarily returned to his disabled armored personnel carrier to provide covering fire for both the other vehicles and the dismounted personnel of his platoon as they withdrew. Despite heavy fire from 3 sides, he remained with his disabled vehicle, alone and completely exposed. Sp4c. Petersen was standing on top of his vehicle, firing his weapon, when he was mortally wounded. His heroic and selfless actions prevented further loss of life in his platoon. Sp4c. Petersen's conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism are in the highest traditions of the service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1570
THE MASSACRE OF NOVGOROD was an attack launched by Tsar Ivan IV’s oprichniki on the city of Novgorod, Russia in 1570. The sheer number of casualties combined with the extreme level of violent cruelty makes this campaign possibly the most vicious in the brutal legacy of the oprichnina.

The late 1560's under Ivan the Terrible were rife with conspiracies and violence. Ivan’s mental state was continually deteriorating and was exacerbated by his wars with Sweden, Lithuania, and Poland. Ivan’s deep distrust of the boyars, a sentiment held from childhood, coupled with his paranoia and need for control, led him to create the oprichnina in 1565.

The oprichniki were essentially a private army under Ivan’s personal control with the power to "pronounce official disgrace upon, execute and confiscate the property of disobedient boyars without the advice of the [boyar] council." Ivan proceeded to liberally exercise this right as he attempted to purge all those whom he deemed a threat.

One year before the infamous carnage of Novgorod, in 1569, the tsar evicted several thousands from Novgorod and the neighboring town of Pskov in an attempt to avoid a betrayal like the one in Izborsk. He also began to execute anyone he deemed a threat; for example, in 1568, over 150 boyar council members and noblemen (along with their households in some cases) in Moscow were killed in response to real or imagined conspiracies, as well as anyone who protested against the oprichnina.

The suspicious circumstances surrounding the loss of Izborsk (despite the fact that Ivan managed to recover the town), along with growing unrest among the aristocrats in Moscow, convinced Ivan that treason was widespread and expanding, prompting him to take murderous action against the things he viewed as the largest threats, his cousin, Prince Vladimir Andreyevich, and the city of Novgorod.

Shortly after the executions of Prince Vladimir and most of his family, Ivan launched an attack on Novgorod claiming treason and treachery. It is probably not a coincidence that Novgorod still housed a number of the late Vladimir’s supporters and retainers.

Though the reasoning behind the attack was generally kept secret, there is evidence to suggest the presence of a conspiracy between the boyars of the city, aided by the Archbishop of Novgorod, Bishop Pimen, to surrender the city to the king of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth.

There is much speculation about the authenticity of this evidence (a document of questionable origin) considering that relations between Pimen and Ivan were relatively amicable.
One theory was that Peter, the man who informed Ivan of the document’s existence and location, had been punished by the people of Novgorod and composed the document in revenge, forging the signatures of the archbishop and other important citizens.

It is also possible that Polish agents planted the documents in an attempt to unseat or at least destabilize Ivan. There is little to no concrete evidence to suggest that Novgorod actually planned to defect to Poland-Lithuania. Novgorod's planned defection (as well as its alleged plan to convert en masse to the Roman Catholic Church) had been used as part of the justification of Ivan III of Russia for taking direct control of the city in 1478, and it seems that Ivan IV copied his paternal grandfather on this and several other occasions - fighting the same battle twice.

In the summer of 1569 Ivan and the oprichnina council decided to march on Novgorod that December to exact revenge for the alleged treasonous behavior. Ivan’s force started out from Alexandrov Village, where he resided and ruled from Dec 1564 to Feb 1565, when he had fled Moscow prior to the creation of the oprichnina. They moved from Klin, at the beginning of the Tver district, sweeping westward through Tver and other centers, then all the way to Novgorod, plundering and terrorizing each population, laying waste to everything in their path.

On 2 Jan 1570, the advance regiment of the Tsar’s armies arrived on the outskirts of the city, four days before the Tsar himself. They were to construct a barrier around the city, trapping the inhabitants. The regiment also attacked the monasteries surrounding the city, looting the treasuries and beating and/or imprisoning the clergy.

On January 6 the Tsar arrived with his son, Ivan, his court, and roughly fifteen hundred musketeers in tow. Ivan stopped just before entering the city, in the trading quarter of Gorodische, to set up his camp and royal court, issuing his initial orders from there. On the second day (January 7), the clergy members, the father superiors and monks, who had been arrested by the advance regiment, were to be beaten to death and their bodies returned to the monasteries to be buried.

On January 8 Ivan proceeded into Novgorod and was met on the bridge over the Volkhov River, as was customary, by the Archbishop Pimen. In line with tradition and ceremony, the Archbishop attempted to bless the Tsar, but Ivan refused, accusing Pimen (and with him, all of Novgorod) of treason and of conspiring to turn the city over to Poland-Lithuania. Ivan refused to approach the cross that came with the welcoming procession, stating to the archbishop:

“You reprobate! You are not holding the life-giving cross but a weapon, a weapon you would use to wound our heart. You and your accomplices, the people of this city, wish to turn over our patrimony, this great and blessed Novgorod, to a foreigner, to the Lithuanian King Sigmund Augustus. Henceforth you are not a pastor, not a teacher, but a wolf, a destroyer, a traitor, the torment of our purple mantle and our crown!”

Despite his reproof of the Archbishop, Ivan still demanded that he be taken to the Saint Sophia Cathedral for divine-liturgy. Ivan’s piety and the fact that he was not entirely mentally sound led him to demand that the clergy say liturgy amidst the general confusion and disorder caused by the entrance of the Tsar and his armed retinue. Afterwards, Ivan’s company dined with Pimen, though that too was interrupted by chaos.

Shortly after the meal began, Ivan shouted orders to his assembled guard to arrest Pimen and to plunder his residence, treasury, and court. The prelate was publicly insulted and mocked by the Tsar, who paraded him around the city on a mare while facing backwards and accompanied by skomorokhi (Russian folk minstrels, outlawed by the Russian Orthodox Church as a hold-over from paganism). He was then arrested and imprisoned while Ivan sacked the city.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1806
DUTCH SURRENDER CAPETOWN. Cape Colony became an important resupply depot for ships of the Dutch East India Company as they travelled to and from the Spice Islands with their valuable cargoes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Dutch East India Company allowed Protestants from Europe to augment the Dutch colony in order to promote the colony's growth. Consequently there was a large influx of French huguenots to supplement the Dutch Boer farmers.

Over the course of a century and a half, the Boers would slowly encroach upon the lands of tne Khoi and San. In some cases the settlers intermarried with these Khoi and San. The technological gulf was vast between these two civilisations and the Khoi and San were unable to resist the growth of the Cape Colony. Many of them were coerced into labouring for the Dutch. Many disappeared into the harsh deserts to avoid the Dutch. This in turn meant that the Dutch would import other slaves from elsewhere in their empire to fill the labour gap.

The colony spread out from Cape Town. The land immediately adjacent to Cape Town was rich and lush and could support many European agricultural crops. However, the further North and East the Boers travelled, the worse the land would become and the more infrequent the rainfall. In fact, the North would quickly descend into virtually uninhabitable desert.

For these reasons, the Boers moved eastwards. They also turned to livestock rather than crops as the marginal land was more suitable for grazing. These farms would need to be huge because of the poor quality land. This meant that the Boers would spread themselves thinly out over a huge area. It also mean that they would come into contact with the far more intimidating Xhosa.

The Xhosa would provide an altogether tougher challenge for the Boers than the Khoi and the San. They were more sophisticated and had stable and strong central authorities. They traded ivory and gold with Arabs and Europeans and so had access to money and wealth. Most importantly of all they had large populations with well defined military structures.

The Xhosa were also cattle breeders and so the two groups would compete for livestock and good grazing areas. The Boers created small defence units named Kommandoes to protect themselves whilst the Xhosa had warbands of their own which could raid isolated Boer farms with relative ease. After many skirmishes there was an uneasy frontier agreed along the Fish River.

The British were to enter the equation as a result of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. They occupied the strategically vital port of Cape Town from 1795 as the Netherlands fell to the French army under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte. Reacting to the weakness of the Dutch holdings, a British army under General Sir James Henry Craig set out for Cape Town in order to secure the colony.

The governor of Cape Town refused at first to cooperate, but after the British threatened to use force, he capitulated. He did so all the more readily due to the fact that the Khoi and San eagerly deserted their former masters and flocked to the British. They would leave it in 1803 as the result of the general truce negotiated back in Europe.

As that truce collapsed the British moved back into Cape Town in 1806. After a battle in January 1806 on the shores of Table Bay, the Dutch garrison of Cape Castle surrendered to the British under Sir David Baird. The Royal Navy was delighted with anchorage of the port and its strategically important staging route to India was obvious to all British statesmen. So at the end of the war, the British did not intend handing it back to the Dutch. Instead they paid them compensation of 6 million pounds for control of the colony.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1847
BATTLE OF LA MESA. Kearny's command was bloodied and in poor condition but pushed on until they had to establish a defensive position on "Mule" Hill near present-day Escondido.
The Californios besieged the dragoons for four days until Commodore Stockton's relief force arrived.

The resupplied, combined American force marched north from San Diego on December 29 and entered the Los Angeles area on January 8, 1847, linking up with Frémont's men there. American forces now totalling 607 soldiers and marines fought and defeated a Californio force of about 300 men under the command of Captain-general Flores in the decisive Battle of Rio San Gabriel.

The next day, January 9, 1847, the Americans fought and won the Battle of La Mesa. On January 12, the last significant body of Californios surrendered to U.S. forces. That marked the end of armed resistance in California, and the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed the next day, on January 13, 1847.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1861
STAR OF WEST FIRED UPON. A Union merchant ship, the “Star of the West,” is fired upon as it tries to bring supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. This incident was the first time shots were exchanged between North and South but it not trigger the Civil War.

When it seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, South Carolina demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. President James Buchanan refused to do so but was also careful not to make any provocative move. Inside the fort, Major Robert Anderson and his 80 soldiers needed supplies.

The Buchanan administration decided to dispatch a civilian ship, the “Star of the West,” instead of a military transport, in order to keep tensions from flaring. The ship left New York on January 5. After it was en route, Secretary of War Joseph Holt received a dispatch from Anderson saying that the garrison was safe and supplies were not needed immediately.

Anderson added that the secessionists were building gun emplacements overlooking the main shipping channel into Charleston Harbor. Holt realized that the ship was in great danger and that a war might erupt. He tried in vain to recall the “Star of the West,” and Anderson was not aware that the ship continued on its way.

In the morning on January 9, ship captain John McGowan steered the ship into the channel near the fort. Two cannon shots roared from a South Carolina battery on Morris Island. They came from gunner George E. Haynsworth, a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston. They were poor shots, but they represented the opening salvo of the war. More shots were fired, and the ship suffered a minor hit.

Anderson watched from Sumter but did not respond in support of the ship. If he had, the war may have started on that day. The incident resulted in strong talk on both sides, but they stopped short of war. The standoff at Fort Sumter continued until the Confederates attacked in April, triggering the Civil War.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1862
FARRAGUT COMMANDS WESTERN GULF SQUADRON. Orders from the Navy Department appointed Flag Officer David Glasgow Farragut to command Western Gulf Blockading Squadron, flagship U.S.S. Hartford, then at Philadelphia. The bounds of the command extended from West Florida to the Rio Grande, but a far larger purpose than even the important function of blockade lay behind Farragut’s appointment.

Late in 1861 the administration had made a decision that would have fateful results on the war. The full list of senior officers in the Navy was reviewed for a commander for an enterprise of first importance—the capture of New Orleans, the South’s “richest and most populous city,” and the beginning of the drive of sea-based power up the Father of Waters to meet General Grant, who would soon move south behind the spearhead of the armored gunboats.

On 21 December 1861, in Washington, Farragut had written his wife; ”Keep your lips closed, and burn my letters; for perfect silence is to be observed- the first injunction of the Secretary. I am to have a flag in the Gulf and the rest depends upon myself. Keep calm and silent. I shall sail in three weeks.” Meanwhile, the tight blockade was causing grave concern in New Orleans.

The Commercial Bulletin reported: ”The situation of this port makes it a matter of vast moment to the whole Confederate State that it should be opened to the commerce of the world within the least possible period … We believe the blockading vessels of the enemy might have been driven away and kept away months ago, if the requisite energy had been put forth . . . The blockade has remained and the great port of New Orleans has been hermetically sealed. . .”

[PICTURED: Flag Officer David G. Farragut]

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1936
M-1 GARAND ADOPTED BY U.S. ARMY. The M1 Garand is a .30 caliber semi-automatic rifle that was the standard U.S. service rifle during World War II and the Korean War (it also saw limited service during the Vietnam War). Most M1 rifles were issued to U.S. forces, though many hundreds of thousands were also provided as foreign aid to American allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely used by civilians for hunting, target shooting, and as a military collectible.

The M1 rifle was named after its Canadian designer, John Garand. It was the first standard-issue semi-automatic military rifle. By all accounts the M1 rifle served with distinction. General George S. Patton called it "the greatest battle implement ever devised". The M1 replaced the bolt action M1903 Springfield as the standard U.S. service rifle in the mid 1930s, and was itself replaced by the select fire M14 rifle in the early 1960s.

Although the name "Garand" is frequently pronounced /ɡəˈrænd/, according to experts and people who knew John Garand, the weapon's designer, /ˈɡærənd/ (to rhyme with errand) is preferred.

French Canadian-born Garand went to work at the United States Army's Springfield Armory and began working on a .30 caliber primer actuated blowback Model 1919 prototype. In 1924, twenty-four rifles, identified as "M1922s", were built at Springfield. At Fort Benning during 1925, they were tested against models by Berthier, Hatcher-Bang, Thompson, and Pedersen, the latter two being delayed blowback types.

This led to a further trial of an improved "M1924" Garand against the Thompson, ultimately producing an inconclusive report. As a result, the Ordnance Board ordered a .30-06 Garand variant. In March 1927, the cavalry board reported trials among the Thompson, Garand, and 03 Springfield had not led to a clear winner. This led to a gas-operated .276 (7 mm) model (patented by Garand on 12 April 1930).

In early 1928, both the infantry and cavalry boards ran trials with the .276 Pedersen T1 rifle, calling it "highly promising" (despite its use of waxed ammunition, shared by the Thompson). On 13 August 1928, a semiautomatic rifle board (SRB) carried out joint Army, Navy, and Marine Corps trials between the .30 Thompson, both cavalry and infantry versions of the T1 Pedersen, "M1924" Garand, and .256 Bang, and on 21 September, the board reported no clear winner. The .30 Garand, however, was dropped in favor of the .276.

Further tests by the SRB in July 1929, which included rifle designs by Browning, Colt–Browning, Garand, Holek, Pedersen, Rheinmetall, Thompson, and an incomplete one by White,[nb 2] led to a recommendation that work on the (dropped) .30 gas-operated Garand be resumed, and a T1E1 was ordered 14 November 1929.
Twenty gas-operated .276 T3E2 Garands were made and competed with T1 Pedersen rifles in early 1931.

The .276 Garand was the clear winner of these trials. The .30 caliber Garand was also tested, in the form of a single T1E1, but was withdrawn with a cracked bolt on 9 October 1931. A 4 January 1932 meeting recommended adoption of the .276 caliber and production of approximately 125 T3E2s. Meanwhile, Garand redesigned his bolt and his improved T1E2 rifle was retested.

The day after the successful conclusion of this test, Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur personally disapproved any caliber change, in part because there were extensive existing stocks of .30 M1 ball ammunition. On 25 February 1932, Adjutant General John B. Shuman, speaking for the secretary of war, ordered work on the rifles and ammunition in .276 caliber cease immediately and completely and all resources be directed toward identification and correction of deficiencies in the Garand .30 caliber.

On 3 August 1933, the T1E2 became the "semi-automatic rifle, caliber 30, M1". In May 1934, 75 M1s went to field trials; 50 were to infantry, 25 to cavalry units. Numerous problems were reported, forcing the rifle to be modified, yet again, before it could be recommended for service and cleared for procurement on 7 November 1935, then standardized 9 January 1936. The first production model was successfully proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937.

Production difficulties delayed deliveries to the army until September 1937. Machine production began at Springfield Armory that month at a rate of ten rifles per day, and reached an output of 100 per day within two years. Despite going into production status, design issues were not at an end. The barrel, gas cylinder, and front sight assembly were redesigned and entered production in early 1940.

Existing "gas-trap" rifles were recalled and retrofitted, mirroring problems with the earlier M1903 Springfield rifle that also had to be recalled and reworked approximately three years into production and foreshadowing rework of the M16 rifle at a similar point in its development.

Production of the Garand increased in 1940 despite these difficulties, reaching 600 a day by 10 January 1941, and the army was fully equipped by the end of 1941. Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Winchester was awarded an "educational" production contract for 65,000 rifles, with deliveries beginning in 1943.

The M1 Garand was made in large numbers during World War II, approximately 5.5 million were made. They were used by every branch of the United States military. By all accounts the M1 rifle served with distinction. General George S. Patton called it "the greatest implement of battle ever devised."

The impact of faster-firing infantry small arms in general soon stimulated both Allied and Axis forces to greatly increase their issue of semi- and fully automatic firearms then in production, as well as to develop new types of infantry firearms.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1945
"I SHALL RETURN;" Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the American 6th Army land on the Lingayen Gulf of Luzon, another step in the capture of the Philippine Islands from the Japanese. The Japanese controlled the Philippines from May 1942, when the defeat of American forces led to General MacArthur's departure and Gen. Jonathan Wainwright's capture. But in October 1944, more than 100,000 American soldiers landed on Leyte Island to launch one of one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war-and herald the beginning of the end for Japan.

Newsreels captured the event as MacArthur waded ashore at Leyte on October 20, returning to the Philippines as he had famously promised he would after the original defeat of American forces there. What the newsreels didn't capture were the 67 days it took to subdue the island, with the loss of more than 55,000 Japanese soldiers during the two months of battle and approximately 25,000 more soldiers killed in smaller-scale engagements necessary to fully clear the area of enemy troops.

The U.S. forces lost about 3,500. The sea battle of Leyte Gulf was the same story. The loss of ships and sailors was horrendous for both sides. That battle also saw the introduction of the Japanese kamikaze suicide bombers. More than 5,000 kamikaze pilots died in this gulf battle, taking down 34 ships. But the Japanese were not able to prevent the loss of their biggest and best warships, which meant the virtual end of the Japanese Imperial Fleet.

These American victories on land and sea at Leyte opened the door for the landing of more than 60,000 American troops on Luzon on January 9. Once again, cameras recorded MacArthur walking ashore, this time to greet cheering Filipinos. Although the American troops met little opposition when they landed, American warships were in for a new surprise: kamikaze boats.

Japanese boats loaded with explosives and piloted by kamikaze personnel rammed the light cruiser Columbia and the battleship Mississippi, killing a total of 49 American crewmen. The initial ease of the American fighters' first week on land was explained when they discovered the intricate defensive network of caves and tunnels that the Japanese created on Luzon.

The intention of the caves and tunnels was to draw the Americans inland, while allowing the Japanese to avoid the initial devastating bombardment of an invasion force. Once Americans reached them, the Japanese fought vigorously, convinced they were directing American strength away from the Japanese homeland. Despite their best efforts, the Japanese lost the battle for Luzon and eventually, the battle for control over all of the Philippines.

 



 

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 9 JANUARY 1964
MARTYR'S DAY. Anti-U.S. rioting broke out in the Panama Canal Zone, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and three U.S. soldiers. U.S. forces killed six Panamanian students protesting in the canal zone. Violent clashes between Panamanians and American soldiers, which resulted in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and four American soldiers, began when U.S. students’ attempted to raise the American flag at the Canal Zone high school. An order banning the flying of any flags in front of Canal Zone schools had been issued on December 30, 1963, because of Panamanian sensitivity to U.S. control of the Zone. These events led to attempts to renegotiate the Canal Zone’s status.

 




 

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