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A certain grasp of military affairs is vital for those in charge of general policy.

-- Karl von Clausewitz

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This Day in History
1635: Cardinal Richelieu of France intervenes in the great conflict in Europe by declaring war on the Hapsburgs in Spain.

1643: The French army defeats a Spanish army at Rocroi, France.

1863: Union General Ulysses S. Grants first attack on Vicksburg is repulsed.

1864: A dozen days of fighting around Spotsylvania ends with a Confederate attack against the Union forces. The Army of the Potomac moved, leaving behind 18,000 casualties at Spotsylvania to the Confederates 12,000. In less than three weeks Grant had lost 33,000 men, with some of the worst fighting yet to come.

1943: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt set a date for the cross-Channel landing that would become D-Day-May 1, 1944.

1964: The United States initiates low-altitude target reconnaissance flights over southern Laos by U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft.

1967: U.S. planes bomb Hanoi for the first time.

1972: Units of South Vietnams 9th and 21st Divisions, along with several South Vietnamese airborne battalions, open new stretches of road south of An Loc and come within two miles of the besieged city.