Sunday, November 14, 2004

On this day in military 1940 and others

On this day in military 1940. The Luftwaffe fire bombs the city of Coventry in retaliation for the bombing of Berlin. In 1945, the British get their revenge when they fire bomb Dresden.

On this day in militay 1942. The US Navy defeats the Japanese at the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Since neither side were able to claim victory during the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal a few days previously, the Japanese decided to sail back to Guadalcanal with a force of one battleship, two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and eight destroyers during the night of 14-15 November and attempt yet again to land troops and bombard the arifield. After the first battle, the US Navy sent two battleships, Washington and South Dakota, and four destroyers to stop any Japanese fleets. During the ensuing battle, the South Dakota was damaged and all four US destroyers were either sunk or damaged, but the Washington came thru unscathed. The Japanese lost the battleship Kirishima (it had survived the first Naval Battle of Guadalcanal) and a destroyer and also all hope of dislodging the Americans from Guadalcanal.

On this day in military 1965. Elements of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavarly Divison (Airmobile) attack North Vietnamese forces in the Ia Drang valley. The ensuing battle was immortalized in the book and movie "We Were Soldiers Once" by Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore. A must-see movie on DVD if not for one of the deleted scenes where Mel Gibson's character (Lt. Col. Hal Moore) is talking to Westmoreland and McNamara after the engagement. McNamara and Westmoreland were congradulating Lt. Col. Moore about his unit's performance during the battle. Lt. Col. Moore reads to them a letter taken off the body of a fallen NVA soldier to his sweetheart back home. The letter states that they were there, fighting and suffering, to protect their country from the invading forces. Lt. Col. Moore tells McNamara and Westmoreland that if the North Vietnamese are motivated enough to leave their families and loved ones behind to suffer and fight the US forces in South Vietnam, they will never be able to defeat the North Vietnamese. More prophetic words were never spoken.


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