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Battles are won through the ability of men to express concrete ideas in clear and unmistakable language.-- Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall
Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
I write this right now in my journal several hundred miles inside of Iraq. At the crack of dawn this morning we left Kuwait to enter Iraq, where we will be doing combat operations for the next calendar year. This will be my first and hopefully last combat deployment. Crossing the Kuwaiti/Iraqi border this morning was an experience; it was like crossing the DMZ or something.
I will try and tell you a little about us taking Turkey. We landed all right, but got a warm reception and a good general salute from their shrapnel and machine guns. The 3rd brigade were the first to land, at 2 a.m. They landed under a splendid covering force from our warships; the Turks all the time pouring in shrapnel and machine-gun fire.
Writing from Malta, under date of 4th May, Private H. G. Clarke, of Footscray, a member of the Scottish Regiment at the front. 5236 Reads
I spent only a short time in Korea but my Korean service stands as an important part of my life. I well remember there were times near sunrise when my crew on the west coast and another crew from the 17th Bb Gp on the east coast were the northernmost Americans and stood symbolically alone between Communism and Democracy.
February the 15th, 1863
"Sir, In my hasty dispatch of the 22nd Instant I was unable to detail the operations of that dayŚ I now have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of His Excellency The Commander of The Forces, that, immediately on his departure from this post on that morning, I commenced my arrangement for the demonstration he had authorized me to make,
Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, Sharpsburg, MD, September 18, 1862. Mr. President: On the afternoon of the 16th instant the enemy, who, you were informed on that day, was in our front, opened a light fire of artillery upon our line. Early next morning it was renewed in earnest, and large masses of the Federal troops that had crossed the Antietam above our position assembled on our left and threatened to overwhelm us.
The Coast Guard manned and operated about seventy of these rather unusual ships during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - they were unusual in that they had two firerooms generating steam for two large triple-expansion steam engines with all machinery, such a force-draft blowers, anchor engines and steering engines, all of them being single cylinder steam engines - the only variation was the two turbine-driven generators furnishing electric power for ships utilities!! The ships were twin screw with twin rudders making them extremely easy to handle provided you allowed for the high bow, the low stern and the vagaries of the wind.
We are out today on the scout on the mountain, about thirty miles from Guantanamo, and probably will not see camp again for about ten days. I have eight men with me, and have made a report of our position and that of the enemy and have sent the same to our captain at Guantanamo.
At present I am under orders of the noted Cuban, General Garcia, and he will give me a guide of ten or twelve Cubans when I return to our camp.
September 16 I remember crossing the Siegfried line with it's dragon teeth. We had seen pictures of this defensive system for years and now we saw it first hand. With the return of our men from the Red Ball Express we are now back in business. I don't remember details of all the areas we were in when we arrived in Germany. I recall one position shortly after we were in on the outskirts of Aachen. We had an antiaircraft unit of two half-tracks with us. One vehicle had quad fifties in a cockpit like arrangement and the other was a thirty seven mm. with a pair of fifties.
One more time I realize there is that pesky flashlight in my face, and I hear the invitation for breakfast at five and briefing at six. I lay there dragging my eyes open and getting my thoughts together, little did I know how the reality of this fateful day would end. This will be mission number four. I wonder what hellish target is on that map in the Briefing Room? We've been to Cologne, Bremen, Kassel and flew as a Spare yesterday. If nothing else we are surely learning the geography of Germany.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Seventeenth Regiment in the action of Groveton, or Bull Run, on Saturday, August 30, 1862:
Note: This battle report of the Second Battle of Bull Run was filed by Major Grower from his sickbed as he was recovering from his wounds received during the charge. Many of the names mentioned in this report are from Rockland County, NY. 6603 Reads
It was November of 1968. We were in an area we called the Oregon Trail. Not sure where it was other than it was in II Corps. It was mountainous terrain -- not like the dimples sometimes called mountains in the Eastern U.S. Steep slopes, high cliffs, waterfalls, few valleys but many brush-filled ravines. More like the mountains of the Pacific Northwest -- different vegetation of course.
The battle of Bull Run or Manassas was the first, and in many respects the most remarkable, battle of our Civil War. It was a series of surprises—the unexpected happening at almost every moment of its progress. Planned by the Union chieftain with consummate skill, executed for the most part with unquestioned ability, and fought by the Union troops for a time with magnificent courage, it ended at last in their disastrous rout and the official decapitation of their able commander.
1815: USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart, captures HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant.
1861: The Confederacy Department of Navy is formed.
1864: In the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, a Confederate force under General Joseph Finegan decisively defeats an army commanded by General Truman Seymour. The victory kept the Confederates in control of Florida's interior for the rest of the war.
1865: Following the evacuation of Fort Anderson, Rear Admiral Porter's gunboats steamed seven miles up the Cape Fear River to the Big Island shallows and the piling obstructions and engaged Fort Strong's five guns.
1941: The U.S. sent war planes to the Pacific. General George C. Kenney pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the Pacific theater.
1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.
1942: Japanese drive off a carrier based task force led by the American aircraft carrier Lexington which attempts to attack Rabaul.
1943: British and American units hold the German attack on Sbiba.
1944: American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.
1944: A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water on the first stage of a journey from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to laboratories in Germany is sunk and her cargo lost in attack by Norwegian resistance fighters.