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This Day in History


October 9

Western Front, Belgium, , 1944.
Although the Allies captured Antwerp on September 4, they have not been able to use the great port because there are German units on both sides of the Scheldt Estuary. Therefore, the Canadian First Army commences operations to eradicate the enemy presence in this area.

Pacific, Iwo Jima
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander of all Allied forces in the Central Pacific, informs Lieutenant General Holland M. “Howling Mad” Smith, one of the leading exponents of amphibious warfare and commander of all US Marines in the Pacific, that the island of Iwo Jima will be his next target and that Smith will lead the invasion with three US Marine divisions. The island is within bombing range of the Japanese mainland.

The Third Reich, 1940

Sea War, Atlantic: The start of one of the most important and critical convoy battles: 21 ships are sunk from convoy SC7 and another 12 from convoy HX79, making this also one of the most successful U-boat “wolf pack” attacks.


October 8

South Vietnam, US AID, , 1966
The 4th Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade, arrives at Da Nang.Civil War, 1862

Kentucky, Land War:  The Battle of Perryville. As part of the South’s fight for Kentucky, in September Generals Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith launched an invasion from Tennessee. By October 4 Bragg secured the state capital of Frankfort and set up a new Confederate state government. It was short-lived, though. Today, the Union Army of the Ohio leg by Don Carlos Buell meets Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi. After a morning assault by divisions hits the Union left flank and forces it back. More Rebel divisions join the battle, eventually forcing back the Union line. Union troops on the left flank, reinforced by two brigades stabilize the line. A Confederate attack against a Union division on the Springfield Puke is repulsed, the attackers retreating back to Perryville. Union troops pursue into the town. With his left flank threatened, Bragg withdraws and retreats into East Tennessee. Union losses are 4,211; Confederate 3,196.

October 7

1940, WW11, Balkans, Romania

German forces enter Romania on the pretext of helping to train the army of the fascist
Iron guard government. Germany's principal motive is to occupy the Ploesti oil fields.

October 6

The Civil War, 1863
Kansas, Land War
The Battle of Baxter Springs. Lieutenant Colonel William Quantrill massacres 103 Union troops around the Union post of Baxter Springs.


October 5

The Civil War, 1863

South Carolina, Naval War
The CSS David, a confederate torpedo boat, explodes a spar torpedo against the side of the USS New Ironsides in Charleston harbor, causing significant damage to the union vessel.


October 4

Mediterranean, Greece, 1944
Determined to prevent a communist takeover in Greece, Winston Churchill launches Operation Manna. British troops land at Patrai in the Peloponnese as German forces pull back.

Civil War, 1862

Texas, Naval War.  The Battle of Galveston. The port of Galveston is forced to surrender by U.S. gunboats and tough Union diplomacy after a lengthy period of blockade.


October 2

South Vietnam, Ground War, October 2-24, 1966
Operation Irving, lasting 23 days, is carried out by the sky soldiers on the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), ARVN, and Republic of Korea troops against the NVA 610th Division in Binh Dinh Province with 681 enemy casualties.

South Vietnam, US Ground Forces, 1966
Equipped with 175mm guns, Battery C, 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, comes under control Task Force Delta in I Corps Tactical Zone.

Eastern Front, Poland, 1944
After  a bitter two-month battle, the last poles in Warsaw surrender. The Germans evacuate the entire remaining population and begin the systematic destruction of anything left standing. Polish deaths number 150,000 while the German commander, SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, claims he lost 26,000 men.


October 1
The Third Reich, 1941

Eastern Front, Soviet Union
The German Army begins Operation Typhoon, the offensive against Moscow. Meanwhile, Hitler in Berlin speaks to the German public and describes the extent of his victory: 2.5 million prisoners, 22,000 guns captured, 18,000 tanks destroyed and 145,000 Russian aircraft eliminated. After such losses he may wonder why the Red Army is still in existence.

The Vietnam War, 1970

South Vietnam, US Armed Forces
In a ceremony which is attended by Lieutenant-General Keith B. McCutcheon, Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, Lieutenant-General Sutherland of XXIV Corps, Lieutenant-General Lam of I Corps, and Major-General Widdecke, Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division, the regimental colors of the 7th Marines are “troops” for the very last time in Vietnam. On the same day, the regimental command group leaves Vietnam and heads for its home base, located at Camp Pendleton in California.


September 30
WWII, 1944
Warsaw Uprising

The Polish Resistance Home Army timed the Warsaw uprising to coincide with the Soviet’s Red Army approach, so combined forces could drive the German Army out of Warsaw. The Soviets advanced feel short and the Polish were left to fight the Germans on their own.  At first the Polish were able to gain control over most of central Warsaw however intense fighting between the Polish and Germans continued.  Without the Red Armies air support, nor the bulk of the Red Army aid the Germans were able to gain back control and demolish the city in 63 days.

The Warsaw uprising was the single largest military effort by a resistance movement from Europe in WWII.  An estimated 16,000 Polish Resistance were killed, as high as 200,000 Polish civilians were killed and 8000 German soldiers.


September 29
The Civil War, 1863

Louisiana, Land War
The Battle of Stirling’s Plantation/Fordoche Bridge. Confederate troops act against a Union thrust toward Texas, defeating a 1,000-strong force at Stirling’s Plantation/Fordoche Bridge. Total battle casualties are 575.


September 26
WWII, 1944, Japan

Operation Jaywick

An attack by Australian Special forces with the Allied Z Special Unit and comprised of  14 commandos and sailors paddling into the Japanese waters to raid the Singapore Harbour.  They successfully sunk or incapacitated 7 ships using limpet mines.  Only after the ensuing commotion subsided did the commandos return to the Krait, a captured Japanese fishing boat.  The Japanese were taken completely by surprise.


September 25
WWII, 1942
Gestapo Headquarters Oslo

Once British officials learnt of the Nazi Gestapo meeting at its Headquarters at the Victoria Terrasse building in Oslo the planned a raid. 

Four de Havilland Mosquito aircraft from the RAF 105 Squadron crossed the North Sea armed with 4 500 lb bombs of which 3 crashed into a back wall before exploding and one failed to detonate altogether the building was not destroyed.


September 23
WWII, 1944

Air War, Germany
The RAF makes a night precision raid on the Dortmund to Ems Canal, the inland waterway that links the Ruhr with other industrial centers. A total of 141 aircraft are involved, the canal is breached, and a section drained. The RAF loses 14 bombers.

WWII, September 23-30, 1944

Western Front, France
The Canadian 3rd Division invests the port of Calais, which is defended by 7500 men. Following heavy artillery and bomber attacks, and the use of specialized armor, Calais surrenders on the 30th.

September 22
WWII, 1944

Western Front, France
Boulogne surrenders to the Canadian II Corps; its garrison of 20,000 men is taken into captivity.

WWII, September 22-25, 1944

Western Front, Holland
Outside Arnhem, the British XXX Corps Advance is slowed by German resistance. The Polish Brigade drops south of the Neder Rijn near Driel. On the 23rd, attempts by the Poles and advance troops of XXX Corps to cross the river are driven back, and so the evacuation of the surviving paratroopers begins two days later, leaving 2500 of their dead comrades behind.

The Civil War, 1863

Tennessee, Land War
The Battle of Blountsville. During Burnside’s moves into Tennessee, Union forces overcome the 1st Tennessee Cavalry Regiment at Blountsville.


September 21
WWII, 1944

Italy, Adriatic Sector
The Eighth Army takes Rimini after a week of heavy fighting. Since the beginning of its offensive against the Gothic Line, it has lost 14,000 men killed, wounded, and missing, plus 200 tanks. The Italian campaign has not lived up to being the “soft underbelly of Europe” a more accurate description would be “tough old gut.”

Politics, Yugoslavia
The Partisan Chief Marshal Tito meets the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. They reach agreement on the “temporary entry of the Red Army into Yugoslavia”

The Vietnam War, 1969

South Vietnam, US Troop Withdrawals
Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announces the deactivation of the 5th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. The 25th Marines, still in Vietnam, would not be deactivated with the remained of the division.


September 20
The Civil War, 1863

Tennessee, Land War
The Battle of Chickamauga. Initial Rebel attacks begin four hours late due to poor staff work and make little headway against Thomas’ well-situated defensive line on the Union left. At 11:00 hours, Rosecrans pulls Thomas Wood’s division out of the right of his line to plug what he thinks is a gap farther north. Fortunately for the Confederates, three of their divisions under Longstreet launch an attack into the gap left by Wood at precisely the same time.

The Union’s defensive position is shattered as Longstreet’s men come close to cutting his line of communication with Chattanooga, Rosecrans orders a retreat.
Not all Union forces are through fighting. Troops under George H. Thomas make a stand on Snodgrass Hill, A wooded ridge on the northern end of the Union line. Thomas and his force succeed in holding Bragg at bay as Rosecrans and the bulk of the Union army withdraw into Chattanooga. For his efforts Thomas earns the Medal of Honor and is thereafter known as the “Rock of Chickamauga.” In stark contrast to Thomas, Rosecrans is inconsolable as he is carried along into Chattanooga by the wreckage of his army,

Chickamauga is a hollow victory for the Confederates: Bragg is unable to follow is up with the final defeat of the Army of the of the Cumberland. At a cost of over 18,000 casualties, Bragg can only push Rosecrans back to Chattanooga – he is unable to destroy him or force the surrender of his army by siege.

September 19
WWII, September 19-21, 1944

Western Front, Holland
Forward elements of the British XXX Corps reach US paratroopers at Eindhoven, but at Arnhem all attempts to break through to the troops fail. On the 20th, the bridge at Nijmegen is captured by a combined force drawn from the US 82nd Airborne Division and the British XXX Corps. The next day, the British troops at Arnhem are overwhelmed. The remainder form a defensive perimeter on the northern bank of the Neder Rijn, around the village of Oosterbeek.

The Third Reich, 1941

Eastern Front, Ukraine
German troops take Kiev, having already occupied most of the Ukraine and begin siege of Leningrad. The Shah of Iran is forced to abdicate and two zones of control, Soviet and British, are established in Iran. The specially equipped and trained 90th Light Division reinforces the Afrika Korps. U-boats experienced difficulties in finding and attacking enemy convoys.


September 18
WWII, 1963

Tennessee, Land War
The Battle of Chickamauga. General Rosecrans, Commander of the Union Army of the Cumberland (62,000 men), orders George H. Thomas to position his corps north of Thomas L. Crittenden’s corps to prevent Confederate General Braxton Bragg and his 65,000 men from cutting off the Union army from Chattanooga, a key rail junction on the main Confederate east-west railroad. Not realizing that Thomas now forms the left flank of the Union army, Bragg crosses his forces over Chickamauga Creek and makes camp after some skirmishing with two Union cavalry brigades. The opposing battle lines are set, but due to the thickly wooded terrain along the creek, neither side is aware of it.


September 17
WWII, 1944

Western Front, Holland
Operation Market Garden, General Bernard Montgomery’s plan for an armored and airborne thrust across Holland to outflank the German defenses, begins. The British 1st Airborne Division lands near Arnhem, the US 101st Airborne Division near Eindhoven, the US 82nd Airborne Division near Grave and Nijmegen, while the British XXX Corps advances from the Dutch border. The 82nd lands without difficulty and takes the Maas and Maas-Waal Canal bridges, but then encounters heavy resistance at Nijmegen. The 101st Division also takes its bridges, but British paratroopers discover their way to Arnhem is blocked by German units. Only one battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel John Frost, manages to reach the bridge, where it is quickly cut off.


September 16

The Vietnam War, 1969

South Vietnam, US Troop Withdrawals.  President Nixon announces another troop withdrawal. Of a total reduction of 40,500, more that 18,400 would be US Marines, most of whom will come from the 3rd Marine Division.


September 15

WWII, 1944

Air War, Norway
Lancaster’s from 9 and 617 Squadrons of the RAF attack Germany’s only remaining battleship – the Tirpitz – in Altenfiord. However, little damage is done, chiefly due to the effectiveness of the German smokescreens.

Eastern Front, Poland
Units of the Soviet-raised First Polish Army cross the Vistula River and seize bridgeheads in Warsaw.




Prisoner of War Camps

Prisoners from Russia began to be moved to Austria after thousands of them died in German Prisoner of War camps.   Some of these prisoners went to POW camps but others were sent to concentration camps.  Russians were treated separate from other POW’s.  Russians were treated horribly and continued to have a high death rate

September 12

WW11 Naval
The Laconia Order

When the German U boat U-156 torpedoed a passenger ship, RMS Laconia, off the coast of Africa, they did not know that it carried Italian Prisoners of War.   The commander of the U-boat, Hartenstein, Hartenstein, immediately commenced rescue operations, broadcasting their humanitarian intent on open radio channels to all Allied forces in the area, broadcast that rescue operations had begun however the Allies’ believed it to be a false signal.  Even though the U-Boat now displayed a Red Cross, a U.S. Liberator bomber attacked and the U-156 was force to submerge to avoid being sunk.  Eventually a French ship arrived to save over 1500 men.

This caused the Germans to order that U-Boats were no longer allowed to rescue survivors – The Laconia Order.


September 10

WWII, September 10-14, 1944

Eastern Front, Poland
Despite Stalin’s refusal to aid the hard-pressed Warsaw insurgents, units of Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky’s 1st Belorussian Front attack Praga, the east bank quarter of the city. Fighting is savage, and it is not until the 14th that the area is freed from German control.

The Civil War, 1863

Arkansas, Land War
The Battle of Bayou Fourche/Little Rock. Union troops take Bayou Fourche and Little Rock, consolidating Union control in the Trans-Mississippi area.


September 8

WWII, 1944

Air War, Manchuria
China-based B-29 Superfortress bombers make their first daylight raid against Japanese industrial targets at Anshan.

Politics, Bulgaria
Bulgaria declares war on Germany

WWII, September 8-13, 1944

Western Front, Belgium/Holland
The British 50th Division crosses the Albert Canal at Gheel. On the 10th, the British Guards Armored Divisions advances to De Groot. Three days later, the British 15th Division crosses the Meuse-Escaut Canal.

WWII, September 8-25, 1944

Eastern Front, Slovakia
The Soviet 1st and 4th Ukrainian Fronts begin their attacks on the Dukla Pass, the key to the Carpathian Mountain barrier separating the Red Army from eastern Slovakia. It will take the Soviets until the end of November to clear the Carpathians.

The Civil War, 1863

Texas, Land War
The Battle of Sabine Pass/Fort Griffin. A Union flotilla of four gunboats and 18 troop transports, carrying 6,000 troops, steams into Sabine Pass and up the Sabine River with the intention of reducing Fort Griffin and landing troops to begin occupying Texas. However, the Davis Guards (49 men and six cannon in Fort Griffin) sinks two of the gunboats, kill or wound more than 100 Union troops, and take 300 prisoners, successfully turning back the invasion. The Confederates suffer no losses.


September 6

The Civil War, September 6-8, 1863

South Caroline, Coastal War
The Battle of Charleston Harbor. Confederate forces around Charleston lose for Wagner and Battery Gregg to Union forces, but manage to fend off a combined marine/infantry assault against Fort Sumter.


September 5

WWII, 1944

Western Front, France
US Third Army spearheads cross the Meuse River. General Karl von Rundstedt is made Commander-in-Chief West by Hitler with orders to counterattack the Allies and split their armies apart. However, his resources for such an undertaking are scant.

Eastern Front, Bulgaria
After declaring war on the country, Red Army units invade rapidly and reach Turnu Severin. The Soviet Union’s leadership is planning to occupy the entire Balkans.


September 4

WWII, 1944

Italy, Adriatic Sector
The British Eighth Army fails to breach the Gemmano-Coriano Ridge on the Gothic line. The ridge is the pivot point of the German Tenth Army’s second line of defense, and as such it is strongly held, particularly by anti-tank weapons. An attack by the British 2nd Armored Brigade, for example, is defeated easily, with the British losing over half their tanks.

Western Front, Belgium
The British Second Army liberates the port of Antwerp.


September 3

WWII,  1944

Western Front, France/Belgium
The US First army takes Tournai and three German corps are crushed. The British Second Army liberates Brussels.

The Third Reich, 1941

Nazi Party, Personalities
Heydrich, perhaps in reward for his efforts, certainly in recognition of his considerable talents, is appointed to succeed Neurath as Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. His administration of the territory is masterful. It begins in Brutality, but within months adroitly combines stick and carrot.
Czech industrial production began to rise. Fuelled with this, Heydrich issued additional ration cards on productivity basis. The message was unequivocal: collaborate and prosper, or resist and perish. Heydrich was shown the crown Jewels of Czechoslovakia by President Hacha, who told him of an intriguing legend that surrounded them. It is said that any person not the true heir who put the crown on his head is sure to die. It is said that he laughed and tried it on.

The Vietnam War, 1969

North Vietnam, Politics
The President of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, dies having inspired thousands of insurgents.


September 2

WWII, 1944

Eastern Front, Bulgaria
The Red Army reaches the Bulgarian border.

Politics, Finland
Finland accepts the preliminary conditions for a peace treaty with the Soviet Union and breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany. The Soviet Union then agrees to an armistice.


September 1

WW11, September 1-3, 1944

Western Front, France/Belgium
The British Guards and 11th Armored Divisions, both part of the British XXX Corps, reach Arras and Aubigny.  The Canadian II Corps, part of the Canadian first Army, liberates Dieppe.
On the 2nd, XXX Corps is instructed to slow its advance and await a projected paratroop drop. With the cancellation of the drop, the advance resumes again. The 32nd and 5th Brigades of the Guards Armored Division begin a race for Brussels, which is won by the 32nd Brigade on the 3rd. On the same day, the British XXI Corps is bogged down in fighting around the town of Bethune.

The Third Reich, 1941

Germany, Legal
Yellow star becomes compulsory attire for Jews living in Germany. The general deportation of German Jews to concentration camps starts.

The Civil War, 1963

Arkansas, Land War
The Battle of Devil’s Backbone/Backbone Mountain. Confederate forces temporarily check a Union pursuit of Rebels from Fort Smith, but are eventually forced to retreat in disorder to Waldron.

The Vietnam War, 1969

USA, Race Riots
Racial tensions again flare in the United States and in Vietnam as the African American Marines protest over what they perceive as excessive force by guards at the Camp Pendleton brig. Tensions are also evident in Vietnam as well, though are not present in any of the frontline companies.

August 31

WWII, 1944

Western Front, France
The US Third Army spearheads an advance toward the Meuse River as the British XXX Corps secures all the main bridges over the Somme near Amiens.


August 30

WWII, 1944

Eastern Front, Slovakia
Elements of the armed forces and partisans in the Nazi puppet state stages an uprising against their German over-lords as the Red Army approaches the country’s eastern border.

The Vietnam War, 1970

South Vietnam, Politics
In elections held throughout South Vietnam, 30 South Vietnamese senators are elected in voting that is characterized by terrorist attacks by Viet Congsappers and charges of fraud. Forty-two civilians are killed.


August 28

WWII, 1944

Eastern Front, Poland
The Polish Home Army continues to fight in Warsaw, but German air attacks and artillery fire are so heavy that the Poles have been forced into the sewers. Soviet leader Stalin has refused to help the freedom fighters, and so the Red Army awaits the outcome on the far side of the Vistula River.

The Third Reich, 1941

Sea War, Atlantic
British forces capture the U-571 which later becomes HMS Graph.


August 27

WWII, 1944

Far East, Burma
The last of the Chindits are evacuated to India. Chidits were a special forces, that were developed to operate deep behind Japanese enemy lines using guerilla warfare and long-range penetration.  They operated in Burma and India in 1943-44.


August 25

WWII, 1944

Italy, Adriatic Sector
The Allied assault on the Gothic Line begins. The German defense line is 200 miles (320 km) long and runs from the valley of the Magra River, south of La Spezia on the west coast, through the Apuan Mountains and the Apennines, ending in the valley of the Foglia River, and reaching the east coast between Pesaro and Cattolica. The assault is conducted by three corps – the British V, Canadian 1, and Polish – of the Eighth Army. The plan is to seize the Gemman-Coriano Ridge complex, thereby unlocking the coastal “gate” and allowing Allied armor to break out to the plains of the Po Valley. However, German resistance is fierce.

Western Front, France
The British XII and XXX Corps cross the Seine River.

The Civil War, 1863

Missouri, Home Front
General Order No. 11 is issued by Union Brigadier General Thomas Ewing, forcing the evacuation of people from four counties in western Missouri.


August 24

WWII, 1940, Air War, Britain:

The Luftwaffe inflicts
serious losses on the RAF during attacks on its main air bases in southeast
England, straining the resources of Fighter Command to breaking point in a few
days. London has also been Bombed.


August 21

The Civil War, 1863

Tennessee, Land War
The Battle of Chattanooga. Union forces conduct a bombardment of Chattanooga, causing much damage and diverting attention from major Union crossings of the Tennessee River.

Kansas, Land War
The Battle of Lawrence/Lawrence  Massacre. Quantrill,  attack Lawrence, well known as a hotbed of antislavery sentiment. On Quantrill’s order they burn the town and murder every adult male they encounter, as well as a small garrison of Union soldiers. In all, over 150 people are killed and 200 dwellings destroyed.
Quantrill has been declared an outlaw by the Union but holds a captaincy in the Confederate army. Among those who fight in his band are Frank and Jesse James “Bloody Bill” Anderson. Quantrill and his men have a policy of “no quarter” with regard to Jayhawkers and Union soldiers.


August 20

The Vietnam War, 1970

South Vietnam, US Armed Forces
A US Department of Defense study reports on the use of illegal drugs by US servicemen during the Vietnam war, and concludes that about three out of every ten US servicemen who are interviewed have either smoked marijuana or taken other illegal drugs during their time in Vietnam.


August 19

1944, WW11

Western Front, France
Allied units have closed the Falaise pocket two weeks after the Canadian First Army launched Operation Totalize to cut off the encircled German troops. Some 30,000 German soldiers escape from the pocket across the Seine River, but an estimated 50,000 are captured and another 10,000 killed. In the pocket, which has been continually strafed and bombed by Allied aircraft, are hundreds of destroyed and abandoned German vehicles. Canadian, British and Polish forces coming from the north link up with the US First Army driving from Argentan.

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