Friday, December 27, 2019

TheList 5177

The List 5177  
(yesterday should have been 5176)  

To All,

I hope that you all have a great weekend.



This day in Naval History

Dec. 27

1862—During the Civil War, the ironclad river gunboat Baron De Kalb returns after a five-day Yazoo River mission, where the gunboat burns trapped steamers, captures and destroys large quantities of enemy equipment while also taking several prisoners. For "distinguished actions during this mission," five men receive the Navy Medal of Honor.

1942—The minelayers, USS Keokuk (CM 8), USS Salem (CM 11), and USS Weehawken (CM 12) begin mining approaches to Casablanca, French Morocco, which lasts two days.

1943—USS Flying Fish (SS 229) sinks the Japanese fleet tanker Kyuei Maru in the South China Sea west of Luzon Strait. Also on this date, USS Ray (SS 271) sinks the Japanese fleet tanker Kyoko Maru (ex-Dutch Semiramis) west of the Celebes.

1944—Task Group 94.9, commanded by Rear Adm. Allan E. Smith, bombards Japanese installations on Iwo Jima. USS Dunlap (DD 384), USS Fanning (DD 385), and USS Cummings (DD 365) sink Japanese fast transport T.7 and landing ship T.132.

1990—Lt. Cmdr. Darlene Iskra, the first female commanding officer of a U.S. Navy warship, reports for duty on board USS Opportune (ARS 41), then at Naples, Italy, serving until 1993.

Dec. 28

§ 1905—The dry dock Dewey leaves Solomon's Island, MD, en route through the Suez Canal to the Philippines to serve as repair base. It is the longest towing job accomplished at the time, guided by the tug Potomac, a pair of colliers Brutus and Caesar, and the store ship Glacier, arriving at its destination nearly six months later, July 10, 1906.

§ 1941—Rear Adm. Ben Moreell, chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks, requests construction battalions be recruited.

§ 1944—USS Dace (SS 247) attacks a Japanese convoy off Cape Varella, French Indochina and sinks supply ship Nozaki and damages Chefoo Maru.

§ 1982—USS New Jersey (BB 62), the first of four Iowa-class battleships, is recommissioned for the third time after her original 1943 commissioning.

§ 1990—USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS America (CV 66) Carrier Battle Groups deploy from Norfolk, VA, for the Middle East to join Operation Desert Shield.

Dec. 29

§ 1798—Secretary of Navy Benjamin Stoddert sends in his first annual report to Congress, requesting naval forces be increased "to make the most powerful nation desire our friendship – the most unprincipled respect our neutrality."

§ 1812—The frigate Constitution, commanded by William Bainbridge, captures HMS Java off Brazil, the second British frigate captured by Constitution in six months, during the War of 1812.

§ 1942—USS Wasmuth (DMS 15) eventually sinks, 35 miles off Scotch Cape, the southwest point of Unimak Island, Aleutians, two days after a pair of her depth charges exploded during a gale. USS Ramapo (AO 12) comes alongside in the heavy seas and heroically rescues Wasmuth's crew.

§ 1943—USS Silversides (SS 236) sinks the Japanese transport Tenposan Maru, the army cargo ship Shichisei Maru, and the freighter Ryuto Maru while also damaging the army cargo ship Bichu Maru off Palau.

§ 1944—USS Fixity (AM 235) is commissioned. Decommissioned after the war, she is later sold for commercial service until she sinks in the Ohio River in the late 1990s. Also on this date, USS Murrelet (AM 372) is launched.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• Reuters reports that China's newest aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait ahead of Taiwan's Jan. 11 presidential election.

• The New York Times reported on video interviews and text messages of Navy SEALs who served with Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher.

• Multiple outlets report that Japan will deploy maritime self-defense forces to the Middle East to patrol regional shipping lanes early next year.

Today in History December 27


The laws of Burgos give New World natives legal protection against abuse and authorize Negro slavery.


HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin on board, departs from Plymouth. It will eventually visit the Galapagos Islands where Darwin will form his theories on evolution.


Union General William Rosecrans' army begins moving slowly toward Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from Nashville.


Charles Moyer, president of the Miners Union, is shot in the back and dragged through the streets of Chicago.


In Ohio, iron and steel workers go on strike for an eight-hour day and higher wages.


Radio City Music Hall opens.


Josef Stalin calls tensions with Japan a grave danger.


A series of vicious earthquakes take 11,000 lives in Turkey.


Japanese bombers attack Manila, despite its claim as an open city.


General George S. Patton's Third Army, spearheaded by the 4th Armored Division, relieves the surrounded city of Bastogne in Belgium.


The International Monetary Fund and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development are created.


The new Italian constitution is promulgated in Rome.


The United States and Spain resume relations for the first time since the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s.


Segregation on buses in Tallahassee, Florida, is outlawed.


The United States agrees to sell F-4 Phantom jets to Israel.


President Hafizullah Amin of Afghanistan is ousted and murdered in a coup backed by the Soviet Union, beginning a war that will last more than 10 years.


President Reagan takes all responsibility for the lack of security in Beirut that allowed a terrorist on a suicide mission to kill 241 Marines.


Four Polish officers are tried for the slaying of Reverend Jerzy Popieluszko.


Palestinian guerrillas kill 18 people at airports in Rome and Vienna.


Taliban forces retake strategic Bagram Airfield during Afghan civil war.


China receives permanent normal trade relations with the US.


Radiation reaches Earth from the brightest extrasolar event ever witnessed, an explosion of magnetar SGR 1806-20.


Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto assassinated.


After Mwai Kibaki is declared the winner of Kenya's presidential elections, rioting begins in Mombasa, precipitating an economic, humanitarian and political crisis.

1968 Apollo 8 returns to Earth »


Thanks to the Bear

With special thanks to Mighty Thunder =

2018 – Merry Christmas One and All! – Rolling Thunder and Commando Hunt Remembered

Go to the site above to see the entire poem

A Special Poem for Our Troops. The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,


I like these because it was the time when I grew up and I remember riding in those old Chevy's from 48 to '57. I took my driver's test in a 56 Chevy wagon with a stick shift on the column and had to parallel park for the test.

Once Upon a Long Time Ago

Thanks to Gary and Dutch-


Thanks to Carl
Lessons from the Capture of USS Pueblo and Shootdown of US Navy EC-121—1968 and 1969


Thanks to TR

Wal-Mart Senior Greeter

You just have to appreciate this one. Sometimes young people forget that we old people had a career before we retired.....

Charley, a new retiree-greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn't seem to get to work on time. Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late. But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their "Older Person Friendly" policies.

One day the boss called him into the office for a talk.
"Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you finally get here; but your being late so often is quite bothersome."

"Yes, I know boss, and I am sorry and am working on it."

"Well good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear."

"Yes sir, I understand your concern and I will try harder."

Seeming puzzled, the manager went on to comment,

"I know you're retired from the Armed Forces. What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning late so often?"

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled. He chuckled quietly, then said with a grin,

"They usually saluted and said, Good morning, Admiral, can I get your coffee, sir?"


Thanks to Andy

I should have sent this yesterday, for greater impact. I think any Cold War I warrior would be interested:

Question: Do you know what happened on Christmas Day 1991?

Answer: The West was gifted the greatest Christmas present imaginable: the collapse of the Soviet Union and concurrently, international communism! The Kremlin's hammer and sickle flag came down for the last time – and the flag of Czarist Russia went up.

That was the most momentous event – bar none – of the latter part of the 20th Century. The West – led by the USA - had won the world-wide struggle for political, ideological, military and economic pre-eminence. Unfortunately, we squandered this providential gift. What, how and why we did what we did is the subject of my article. Please do read it – carefully. – Andy


74 years ago American soldiers were involved in the largest and costliest battle of WWII. In the miserable cold of a European Winter.
Battle of the Bulge

In December 1944, Adolph Hitler attempted to split the Allied armies in northwest Europe by means of a surprise blitzkrieg thrust through the Ardennes to Antwerp. Caught off-guard, American units fought desperate battles to stem the German advance at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and Bastogne. As the Germans drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads, the Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, giving rise to the battle's name. Lieutenant General George S. Patton's successful maneuvering of the Third Army to Bastogne proved vital to the Allied defense, leading to the neutralization of the German counteroffensive despite heavy casualties.

Its objective was to split the Allied armies by means of a surprise blitzkrieg thrust through the Ardennes to Antwerp, marking a repeat of what the Germans had done three times previously–in September 1870, August 1914, and May 1940. Despite Germany's historical penchant for mounting counteroffensives when things looked darkest, the Allies' leadership miscalculated and left the Ardennes lightly defended by only two inexperienced and two battered American divisions.

On December 16, three German armies (more than a quarter-million troops) launched the deadliest and most desperate battle of the war in the west in the poorly roaded, rugged, heavily forested Ardennes. The once-quiet region became bedlam as American units were caught flat-footed and fought desperate battles to stem the German advance at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and, later, Bastogne, which was defended by the 101st Airborne Division. The inexperienced U.S. 106th Division was nearly annihilated, but even in defeat helped buy time for Brigadier General Bruce C. Clarke's brilliant defense of St.-Vith. As the German armies drove deeper into the Ardennes in an attempt to secure vital bridgeheads west of the River Meuse quickly, the line defining the Allied front took on the appearance of a large protrusion or bulge, the name by which the battle would forever be known.

A crucial German shortage of fuel and the gallantry of American troops fighting in the frozen forests of the Ardennes proved fatal to Hitler's ambition to snatch, if not victory, at least a draw with the Allies in the west. Lieutenant General George S. Patton's remarkable feat of turning the Third Army ninety degrees from Lorraine to relieve the besieged town of Bastogne was the key to thwarting the German counteroffensive. The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest action ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties.

The Reader's Companion to Military History. Edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker. Copyright © 1996 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


A bit more indepth version
Battle of The Bulge
Facts, information and articles about Battle Of The Bulge, a battle of World War II
Battle Of The Bulge Facts

16 December 1944 – 16 January 1945

The Ardennes, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany

Allied Victory
Troop Strength

80,000 Allies initially; ultimately 600,000+
200,000 Germany initially; ultimately 500,000

90,000 Allies
100,000 German
Battle Of The Bulge Articles

Explore articles from the History Net archives about Battle Of The Bulge

» See all Battle Of The Bulge Articles

Battle Of The Bulge summary: The Battle of the Bulge (December 16, 1944–January 16, 1945), also known as the Ardennes Offensive, was the largest battle fought on the Western Front in Europe during World War II; it is also the largest battle ever fought by the United States Army. It was a German offensive intended to drive a wedge between the American and British armies in France and the Low Countries and recapture the port of Antwerp in The Netherlands to deny the Allies use of the port facilities. The German codename for the buildup to the offensive was Watch on the Rhine (Wacht am Rhine). The actual offensive was codenamed Operation Autumn Mist (Unternehmen Herbstnebel). It fell far short of its goals but managed to create a bulge in the American lines 50 miles wide and 70 miles deep, which gave the struggle its alliterative name. The phrase "battle of the bulge" already existed in the American lexicon as a term for attempts to lose body weight.

The initial German attack force consisted of more than 200,000 men, around 1,000 tanks and assault guns (including the new 70-ton Tiger II tanks) and 1,900 artillery pieces, supported by 2,000 aircraft, the latter including some Messerschmitt Me 262 jets. In the opening phases of the battle, they would be facing only some 80,000 men, less than 250 pieces of armor and about 400 artillery guns. Many of the American troops were inexperienced; the German force included battle-hardened veterans of the tough fighting on the Eastern Front, but they, too, had green units filled with boys and with men who normally would have been considered too old for military service.

During the course of the month-long battle, some 500,000 German, 600,000 American and 55,000 British troops became involved. The Germans lost some 100,000 men killed, wounded and missing, 700 tanks and 1,600 aircraft, losses they could not replace. Allied losses—the majority of them incurred during the first week—included 90,000 men, 300 tanks and 300 aircraft, but they could make up these losses. In addition, an estimated 3,000 civilians died, some during the fighting and others executed by German combat and security forces. See "War Crimes in the Battle of the Bulge."

The Ardennes Offensive was a massive gamble on the part of German dictator Adolf Hitler, one that he lost badly.
Background to the Battle of the Bulge

By the winter of 1944, Nazi Germany's situation was grim. Soviet forces were coming ever closer to the Fatherland from the east, and in the west Allied forces had crossed the German border. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler intended to launch a surprise attack in the west that would divide and demoralize the Western Allies and, perhaps, convince them to join Germany in its war against the communists of the Soviet Union. In May 1940, he had gambled on a surprise attack through the dense Ardennes Forest into Belgium and France and had won a stunning victory. Now he planned for history to repeat itself: once more German armor would advance through the concealing woods of the Ardennes to strike his enemies by surprise.

The German army commander in the West, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, thought the plan too ambitious. Other commanders also objected to taking resources away from the Eastern Front for this operation, but Hitler overruled them all.

Map by Petho Cartography. Click to enlarge.

Field Marshal Walther Model's Army Group B would be responsible for the attack. His forces included Generaloberst Josef "Sepp" Dietrich's Sixth Panzer Army, the largest and best equipped of the three striking armies, which was to drive northward, quickly cross the Meuse River and capture Amsterdam before the surprised Allies could regroup. Directly to the south of this force General der Panzertruppen Hosso-Eccard von Manteufel's Fifth Panzer Army would push west in support of Dietrich's attack. General der Panzertruppen Erich Brandenburger's Seventh Army would protect the southern flank. The build-up was given the defensive-sounding codename Watch on the Rhine. Strict security measures included no radio communication to prevent Allied radio intercepts.

On the opposite side, Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower was planning major operations in the northern and southern sectors of the front. Accordingly, the center, where the German attack was to fall, was the weakest part of the line. The American VIII Corps, under Major General Troy Middleton, consisted of the 4th, 28th, and 106th infantry divisions, most of the 9th Armored Division, and the two-squadron 14th Cavalry group. The 106th Infantry and 9th Armored were green units, untested in combat. The 4th and 28th had suffered high numbers of casualties during operations in the Hurtgen Forest and were receiving thousands of inexperienced replacements. This small, largely untried force had been assigned an 80-mile-long front; normally, a corps would be defending an area only about one-third that length.
Elsenborn Ridge and St. Vith

The German attack achieved the desired surprise but often encountered unexpectedly tough resistance. Their timetable did not allow for delays, but time and again the Americans slowed the enemy advance.

The road network in the Ardennes was narrow and rough. A key road for Sixth Panzer Army's advance ran parallel to a stretch of high ground called Elsenborn Ridge. Along this ridge, ad-hoc groups of tanks, tank destroyers and dug-in infantry stubbornly resisted. General Eisenhower, immediately realizing his men were facing a major attack in the Ardennes rushed artillery to support the ridge. The firepower from their guns left the narrow roads choked with wrecked vehicles, in addition to those that broke down on their own from mechanical failure. After 10 days of intense fighting, Sixth Panzer Army abandoned its attempts to cross Elsenborn Ridge and sought other routes.

Panzerjager IV of the 1st SS Division advancing. National Archives.

Many villages saw intense fighting. Because of the road situation, towns where several roads converged were critically important; one such town south of Elsenborn Ridge was St. Vith, Belgium. At St. Vith and nearby towns, Fifth Panzer Army encountered stiff resistance; on the first day of the German offensive Eisenhower had ordered the 7th Armored Division to St. Vith to support 106th Infantry units. The narrow roads, ice, snow and mud prevented the Germans from massing their superior armor. The St. Vith pocket held until December 21 when, in danger of being encircled, the defenders withdrew. Their determined stand had thrown another monkey wrench into the German timetable. It bought time for the 82nd Airborne Division to set up strong defensive positions west of the town that blunted the enemy's advance and temporarily pushed the attackers back across the Ambleve River. During the course of their engagements some units of the 82nd Airborne suffered over 80% casualties—the 509th Battalion reportedly took over 90% casualties—with most losses coming during the Allied counteroffensive that began in January.

To the west and south of St. Vith another crossroads town became the focus of intense fighting. When Eisenhower ordered the 7th Armored to St. Vith he also ordered the 10th Armored Division to Bastogne. It joined the 9th Armored, several artillery battalions, and infantrymen defending Bastogne and the small towns around it. On the 18th, the 705 Tank Destroyer Battalion arrived, and on the 19th the 101st Airborne. By the 20th the town was encircled by the advancing enemy, and on the 22nd, four Germans arrived with an ultimatum: surrender or heavy artillery will begin firing on the town. Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe sent them back to their commander with a one-word reply: "Nuts." The artillery had already moved farther west, however, so the barrage was not forthcoming, though the Luftwaffe bombed the village by night.

On December 26, Bastogne's defenders received a belated Christmas present: Lieutenant Charles P. Boggess with a few M4 Sherman tanks fought his way into Bastogne from the south. They were the lead element of a relief force from Lieutenant General George S. Patton's Third Army. When Patton struck with three divisions the following day, the German ring around Bastogne was broken.
End of the Battle of the Bulge

By this time, the Nazi offensive was running out of fuel, literally and figuratively. The Germans had waited for bad winter weather to launch their attack, to diminish the ability of Allied aircraft to support the ground troops. The weather also slowed the German advance, however, and this, the narrow roads and stubborn resistance wrecked their timetable. Improving weather conditions allowed Allied planes to take to the skies again and support the counterattacks that began pushing back the Germans. Despite a Luftwaffe offensive in Holland and a second major ground offensive the Germans launched in Alsace on January 1, the Third Reich could not regain the initiative. The Battle of the Bulge is officially considered to have ended January 16, exactly one month after it began, although fighting continued for some time beyond that date. By early February, the front lines had returned to their positions of December 16


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