Thursday, December 16, 2004

On this day in military 1944 and 1998

On this day in military 1944. The Battle of the Bulge begins. With Germany being squeezed from both sides by the Allies, Hitler orders one last counterattack to try to remove the Allies, or at least the British from the war. The idea was to attack the Allies thru the Ardennes forest and drive to the port of Antwerp. This would cut off all the British/Canadian forces a la "Dunkrik"and force the British out of the war. Since the Germans had attacked thru the Ardennes forest before in 1914 and 1940, they thought, "What the heck, let's try it again" and attacked the US forces that were occuping the dense forest. As before, they caught the US forces there with "their pants down" and drove far enough into the US lines to create a "bulge" about 60 miles deep and 50 miles wide thru Belgium and Luxembourg. Thanks to the 101st Airborne's heroic stand at Bastogne and General George Patton's timely arrival of the 3rd Army that the offensive was stopped. It wasn't until January 21st that they Germans were pushed back to their original lines. If you desire a Hollywood, sugar-coated 1960's version of the events featuring an all-star cast, watch the "Battle of the Bulge" on DVD otherwise watch the movie "Patton" and the HBO series "Band of Brothers" to get a more realistic sense of the battle.

On this day in military 1998. The US launches missile and bomber attacks against Iraqi military targets to punish them for failing to comply with UN weapons inspectors. With the Monica Lewinsky problem heating up, President Clinton needed to divert attention from his "zipper" problem to something else. He decided that the best thing to do would be to generate a national emergency and launch missile and bomber attacks against Iraqi military targets. This was to punish them for failing to comply with Inspector Clouseau and the Keystone Kops masquerading as United Nations weapons inspectors, although they had been doing just that for the last seven years since the Gulf War. The operation was codenamed "Desert Fox" (how original) but should have been named "Operation Zippergate".


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