This Day in U.S. Military History…… June 10

10 June
1610 – The 1st Dutch settlers arrived from NJ to colonize Manhattan Island.
1639 – The 1st American log cabin at Fort Christina (Wilmington, Delaware).
1776 – The Continental Congress appointed a committee to write a Declaration of Independence.
1805 – Wearied of the blockade and raids, and now under threat of a continued advance on Tripoli proper and a scheme to restore his deposed older brother Hamet Karamanli as ruler, Yusuf Karamanli signed a treaty ending hostilities with the United States. Article 2 of the Treaty reads: The Bashaw of Tripoli shall deliver up to the American Squadron now off Tripoli, all the Americans in his possession; and all the Subjects of the Bashaw of Tripoli now in the power of the United States of America shall be delivered up to him; and as the number of Americans in possession of the Bashaw of Tripoli amounts to Three Hundred Persons, more or less; and the number of Tripolino Subjects in the power of the Americans to about, One Hundred more or less; The Bashaw of Tripoli shall receive from the United States of America, the sum of Sixty Thousand Dollars, as a payment for the difference between the Prisoners herein mentioned.
1848 – The 1st telegraph link between NYC & Chicago was established.
1854 – U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, holds first formal graduation exercises. Previous classes graduated without ceremony.
1861 – The Virginia village of Big Bethel became the site of the 1st major land battle of the Civil War. Private Henry L. Wyatt was the 1st Confederate soldier killed in a Civil War battle. 18 Union soldiers were killed.
1861 – Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, CSN. ordered to design ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (ex-U.S.S. Merrimack).
1862 – Norfolk Navy Yard set afire before being evacuated by Confederate forces in a general withdrawal up the peninsula to defend Richmond. Union troops under Major General Wool crossed Hampton Roads from Fort Monroe, landed at Ocean View, and captured Norfolk.
1862 – Pensacola reoccupied by Union Army and Navy forces. Military installations in the area, including the Navy Yard, Forts Barrancas and McRee, C.S.S. Fulton, and an ironclad building on the Escambia River, were destroyed by the Confederates the preceding day before withdrawing. Commander D. D. Porter reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles: “The rebels had done their work completely. The yard is a ruin. Abandonment of the important Pensacola coastal area had been in preparation by the Confederates for months after Flag Officer Foote’s stunning successes on the upper Mississippi made redeployment of guns and troops necessary. Flag Officer Farragut’s momentous victory at New Orleans precipitated the final evacuation. Colonel Thomas M. Jones, CSA, commanding at Pensacola, reported: “On receiving information that the enemy’s gunboats had succeeded in passing the forts below New Orleans with their powerful batteries and splendid equipments, I came to the conclusion that, with my limited means of defense, reduced, as I have been by the withdrawal of nearly all my heavy guns and ammunition, I could not hold them in check or make even a respectable show of resistance.”
1862 – Confederate River Defense Fleet C.S.S. General Bragg, General Sumter, General Sterling Price, General Earl Van Dorn, General M. Jeff Thompson, General Lovell, General Beauregard, and Little Rebel–made a spirited attack on Union gunboats and mortar flotilla at Plum Point Bend, Tennessee. The Confederate fleet, Captain James E. Montgomery, attacked Mortar Boat No. 16, stationed just above Fort Pillow and engaged in bombarding the works. U.S.S. Cincinnati, Commander Stembel, coming to the mortar boat’s defense, was rammed by Bragg and sank on a bar in eleven feet of water. Van Dorn rammed U.S.S. Mound City, Commander Kilty, forcing her to run aground to avoid sinking. The draft of the Confederate vessels would not permit them to press the attack into the shoal water in which the Union squadron steamed, and, having sustained various but minor injuries, Montgomery withdrew under the guns of Fort Pillow. Cincinnati and Mound City were quickly repaired and returned to service.
1862 – Ironclad steamer U.S.S. New Ironsides launched at Philadelphia.
1863 – Rear Admiral Du Pont ordered U.S.S. Weehawken, Captain J. Rodgers, and U.S.S. Nahant, Commander Downes, to Wassaw Sound, Georgia, where it was reported that the powerful ram C.S.S. Atlanta, Commander Webb, was preparing to attack the wooden blockader U.S.S. Cimarron. A week later Du Pont’s wise foresight would save the day for the Union blockade there.
1863 – Confederate officer prisoners of war being transported to Fort Delaware on board steamer Maple Leaf overpowered the guard, took possession of the steamer, and landed below Cape Henry, Virginia.
1864 – Nathan Bedford Forrest’s legend grows substantially when his Confederate cavalry routs a much larger Union force in Mississippi. When Union General William T. Sherman inched toward Atlanta, Georgia, in the summer of 1864, he left behind a vulnerable supply line through Tennessee. Of utmost concern to Sherman was the Rebel cavalry under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a daring leader who gave Union commanders in the west difficulty throughout the war. Sherman insisted that Forrest be neutralized and ordered a force from Memphis to hunt down Forrest’s command, which at that time was in northern Alabama. On June 1, some 5,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry troopers under the command of General Samuel D. Sturgis trudged out of Memphis in search of the elusive Forrest. But rain and poor roads slowed them, and a week’s travel found the Yankees only 50 miles from Memphis. Forrest had been preparing for an assault on central Tennessee, but Sturgis’s expedition forced him back to northern Mississippi. The Confederates spread out along a railroad between Tupelo and Corinth and awaited the Union advance. On June 8, Forrest learned that Sturgis was moving on Tupelo. He carefully selected Brice’s Crossroads for its muddy roads and dense woods to mitigate the Union’s numerical advantage and called for his men to attack the leading Yankee cavalry, which would force the trailing infantry to hurry to the battle and fight before recovering from the march. The plan worked to perfection. Around 10 a.m. on June 10, the cavalry forces began fighting, and the Union infantry made a five-mile dash in intense heat and humidity to aid their fellow soldiers. In the afternoon, Forrest orchestrated a series of attacks all along the Union front, which broke the Yankee lines and sent the Federals from the field in disarray with the Confederates in hot pursuit. The chase continued into the next day. Sturgis’s command suffered over 600 killed and wounded and over 1,600 captured—more than a quarter of the entire force. Forrest’s force suffered less than 600 killed and wounded, and the Confederates captured 16 cannons and 176 supply wagons. Forrest was never able to disrupt Sherman’s supply lines. However, the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads stands as his greatest military victory.
1871 – A landing force of 110 U.S. Marines came ashore on Korea’s Kangwha Island, a fortress island guarding the approaches to Seoul. The Korean Punitive Expedition was launched from an American fleet, which anchored in the Han River after the isolationist Korean government rejected U.S. diplomatic demands for an explanation of the fate of an American ship and her crew believed killed by the Koreans. In two days of fighting, the Marines and sailors captured the defensive forts on the Island, leaving 243 Koreans dead. Nevertheless, the expedition failed to open Korea to foreign trade.
1898 – The First Marine Battalion, commanded by LtCol Robert W. Huntington, landed on the eastern side of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The next day, Lt Herbert L. Draper hoisted the American flag on a flag pole at Camp McCalla where it flew during the next eleven days. LtCol Huntington later sent the flag with an accompanying letter to Colonel Commandant Charles Heywood noting that “when bullets were flying, …the sight of the flag upon the midnight sky has thrilled our hearts.”
1905 – Japan and Russia agreed to peace talks brokered by President Theodore Roosevelt.
1915 – Girl Scouts were founded.
1940 – As President Franklin D. Roosevelt prepares to deliver the commencement address at the University of Virginia where his son is graduating with a law degree, Italy declares war on France and Great Britain. Rather than deliver his prepared speech, Roosevelt instead expresses his opposition to Mussolini’s move and calls on America to end its isolationism. This becomes known as the “Stab in the back” speech.
1942 – The carrier USS Wasp and battleship USS North Carolina accompanied by cruisers and destroyers pass through the canal to join the US Pacific Fleet after service in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. There are now four American fleet aircraft carriers in the Pacific theater.
1943 – Operation Husky, Allied landing on Sicily. The landings took place in extremely strong wind conditions, which made the landings difficult but also ensured the element of surprise. Landings were made on the southern and eastern coasts of the island, with the British forces in the East and the Americans towards the West. Four airborne operations were carried out, landing during the night of the 9/10 July, as part of the invasion; two were British and two American. The American troops were the 82nd Airborne division, making their first combat parachute jump. The strong winds blew the dropping aircraft off course and scattered them widely; the result was that around half the US paratroops failed to make it to their rallying points. British glider-landed troops fared little better; only 12 out of 144 gliders landing on target, many landing in the sea. Nevertheless the scattered airborne troops maximised their opportunities, attacking patrols and creating confusion wherever possible. U.S. paratroopers jump into Australia on a military training exercise. …Gliders are un-powered heavier-than-air aircraft. …The sea landings, despite the weather, were carried out against little opposition, the Italian units stationed on the shoreline lacking equipment and transport. The British walked into the port of Syracuse virtually unopposed. Only in the American centre was a substantial counterattack made, in exactly the point where the US Airborne were supposed to have been. On the 11 July Patton ordered his reserve parachute regiments to drop and reinforce the centre. Unfortunately not every unit had been informed of the drop, and the transports, which arrived shortly after an Axis air raid, were fired on by their own side, losing 37 out of 144 planes by friendly fire. Map of central Mediterranean Sea, showing location of Syracuse on the island of Sicily. … The plans for the post-invasion battle had not been worked out in detail. Each Army was expected to advance towards its own objectives; boundaries between the two armies were fixed. In the first two days progress was excellent, capturing Vizzini in the west and Augusta in the east. Categories: Possible copyright violations … However resistance in the British sector then stiffened. Montgomery persuaded Alexander to shift the boundaries so that the British could by-pass the resistance and retain the key role of capturing Messina, while the Americans were given the role of protecting and supporting their flank. Patton sought a greater role for his army, and decided to try to capture the capital, Palermo. After dispatching a ‘reconnaissance’ toward the town of Agrigento which succeeded in capturing it, he persuaded Alexander to allow him to continue to advance. Alexander changed his mind and countermanded his orders, but Patton claimed the countermand was ‘garbled in transmission’, and by the time the position had been clarified Patton was at the gates of Palermo. Messina, Italy Strait of Messina, Italy. … (This article is about Palermo in Sicily. … Agrigento (formerly Girgenti) is the name of a town on the southern coast of Italy, capital of the province of Agrigento. …The fall of Palermo inspired a coup against Mussolini, and he was deposed from power. Although the removal of Italy from the war had been one of the long-term objectives of the Italian campaign, the suddenness of the move caught the Allies by surprise. Benito Mussolini created a fascist state through the use of propaganda, total control of the media and disassembly of the working democratic government. … After Patton’s capture of Palermo, with the British still bogged down south of Messina, Alexander ordered a two-pronged attack on the city. Patton became obsessed with the idea of reaching Messina before the British, writing “This is a horse race in which the prestige of the US Army is at stake.”. The Axis, now effectively under the command of German General Hans Hube, had prepared a strong defensive line, the ‘Etna Line’ around Messina, that would enable him to make a progressive retreat while evacuating large parts of his army to the mainland. Patton began his assault on the line at Troina, but it was a lynchpin of the defense and stubbornly held. Despite three ‘end run’ amphibious landings the Germans managed to keep the bulk of their forces beyond reach of capture, and maintain their evacuation plans. Elements of the US Third Infantry Division entered Messina just hours after the last axis troops boarded ship for Italy. However Patton had won his race to enter Messina first. The casualties on the Axis side totalled 29,000, with 140,000 captured. The capture of Biscari airfield also resulted in an atrocity when American troops killed seventy-three Prisoners of War, supposedly inspired by Patton. The US lost 2,237 killed and 6,544 wounded and captured; the British suffered 2,721 dead, and 10,122 wounded and captured. For many of the American forces this was their first time in combat. However the Axis successfully evacuated over 100,000 men and 10,000 vehicles from Sicily. No plan had been made by the Allies to prevent this. The Biscari massacre was a war crime committed by US American troops during World War II, where unarmed German and Italian prisoners of war were massacred at Biscari in 1943, as ordered by George S. Patton. … The invasion also had an impact on the Eastern front. One of the reasons why the Germans had to cancel their offensive near Kursk was that they decided to send units to Italy after they received news of the invasion. The Eastern Front was the theatre of combat between Nazi Germany and its allies against the Soviet Union during World War II. It was somewhat separate from the other theatres of the war, not only geographically, but also for its scale and ferocity. … Battle of Kursk Conflict World War II Date July 4, 1943 – July 22, 1943 Place Kursk, USSR Result Indecisive; generally considered a strategic German loss The Battle of Kursk was a significant battle on the Eastern Front of World War II. It remains the largest armored engagement of all time… Husky was the largest amphibious operation of World War II in terms of men landed on the beaches, and of frontage; it overshadowed even the later Normandy landings. Strategically, the Sicilian operation achieved the goals set out for it by Allied planners. Axis air and naval forces were driven from the island; the Mediterranean sea lanes were opened and Mussolini had been toppled from power. It opened the way to the invasion of Italy, which had not necessarily been seen as a follow-up to Operation Husky. The word amphibious or amphibian, when used alone, has several possible meanings in the English language. … Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. … The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between the German forces occupying Western Europe and the invading Allies. …
1943 – The Combined Chiefs of Staff issue the Pointblank Directive to British and American heavy bomber forces in Europe. The document sets out formal instructions for the priorities and aims of the bomber offensive up to D-Day. The instructions reflect American thought more so than British but the guidelines are vague enough that both the US Air Force and British Bomber Command can continue their independent operations.
1944 – The U.S. VII and V corps, advancing from Normandy’s Utah and Omaha beaches, respectively, linked-up and began moving inland. The Utah and Omaha beaches are linked up by an advance of the US 2nd Armored Division (part of 5th Corps). The US 101st Airborne Division continues to be engaged around Carentan.
1944 – In a diversionary action, British aircraft from Illustrious and Atheling raid Japanese positions on Sabang. The intent is to distract Japanese attention from American forces approaching the Mariana Islands.
1945 – On Okinawa, fighting continues on the Oroku Peninsula, where the forces of the US 6th Marine Division have reduced the Japanese pocket to about 2000 square yards. Heavy Japanese losses are recorded in nighttime counterattacks. Meanwhile, on the south of the island, the US 1st Marine Division suffers heavy losses in the successful capture of a hill west of the town of Yuza. The US 24th Corps forces, to the left, launches a major offensive against the last Japanese defensive line, the Yaeju-Dake Line. Japanese resistance is evidently weakening.
1945 – On Luzon, Japanese forces halt the advance of the US 37th Division near Orioung Pass.
1945 – In Frankfurt, Marshal Zhukov confers the Soviet Order of Victory on Field Marshal Montgomery and General Eisenhower. During the evening, in a message broadcast by Hamburg radio, Field Marshal Montgomery says that the German people must be taught that not only have they been defeated, but that they are guilty of beginning the war as they were guilty in 1914. He suggests parents read the message to their children and ensure that they understand it.
1948 – The news that the sound barrier has been broken is finally released to the public by the U.S. Air Force. Chuck Yeager, piloting the rocket airplane X-1, exceeded the speed of sound on October 14, 1947.
1953 – During the siege of Outpost Harry, the 15th Infantry Regiment and the 5th Regimental Combat Team, both of the 3rd Infantry Division, repelled an assault by the Chinese 74th Division. The Chinese suffered an estimated 4,200 casualties.
1953 – The Chinese opened an assault on ROK II Corps near Kumsong. By June 16, ROK II Corps had been pushed to a new main line of resistance.
1953 – U.S. Air Force Captain James Jabara, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing bagged his third double MiG kill and qualified as the seventh “double ace” of the war, with a total of 10 kills.
1953 – In a forceful speech, President Dwight D. Eisenhower strikes back at critics of his Cold War foreign policy. He insisted that the United States was committed to the worldwide battle against communism and that he would maintain a strong U.S. defense. Just a few months into his presidency, and with the Korean War still raging, Eisenhower staked out his basic approach to foreign policy with this speech. In the weeks prior to Eisenhower’s talk, Senator Robert Taft and Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg issued challenges to the president’s conduct of foreign policy. Taft argued that if efforts to reach a peace agreement in Korea failed, the United States should withdraw from the United Nations forces and make its own policy for dealing with North Korea. Vandenberg was upset over Eisenhower’s proposal to cut $5 billion from the Air Force budget. Without naming either man, Eisenhower responded to both during a speech at the National Junior Chamber of Commerce meeting in Minneapolis. He began by characterizing the Cold War as a battle “for the soul of man himself.” He rejected Taft’s idea that the United States should pursue a completely independent foreign policy, or what one “might call the ‘fortress’ theory of defense.” Instead, he insisted that all free nations had to stand together: “There is no such thing as partial unity.” To Vandenberg’s criticisms of the new Air Force budget, the president explained that vast numbers of aircraft were not needed in the new atomic age. Just a few planes armed with nuclear weapons could “visit on an enemy as much explosive violence as was hurled against Germany by our entire air effort throughout four years of World War II.” With this speech, Eisenhower thus enunciated two major points of what came to be known at the time as his “New Look” foreign policy. First was his advocacy of multi-nation responses to communist aggression in preference to unilateral action by the United States. Second was the idea that came to be known as the “bigger bang for the buck” defense strategy. This postulated that a cheaper and more efficient defense could be built around the nation’s nuclear arsenal rather than a massive increase in conventional land, air, and sea forces.
1963 – MACV Commander General Paul Harkins is reported to warn US military personnel to avoid duty with Vietnamese military units involved in the suppression of the Buddhists.
1964 – Embarrassed by the disclosure of US participation in air action sin Laos, Souvanna Phouma threatens to resign if the flights don’t stop. The US Ambassador to Los, Leonard Unger, persuades Souvanna to change his mind, and after a temporary suspension, the US State Department announces on the 11th that the reconnaissance flights will continue ‘as necessary’ but that ‘operational aspects would not be discussed.’ This results in describing all US air operations in Laos during the coming years as ‘reconnaissance flights.’
1965 – Amid rising criticism of the new combat role of US forces in Vietnam, Johnson’s Attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach, writes to assure the president that he has the authority to commit large-scale forces without going back to Congress.
1965 – Some 1,500 Viet Cong start a mortar attack on the district capital of Dong Xoai, about 60 miles northeast of Saigon, and then quickly overrun the town’s military headquarters and an adjoining militia compound. Other Viet Cong forces conducted a raid on a U.S. Special Forces camp about a mile away. U.S. helicopters flew in South Vietnamese reinforcements, but the Viet Cong isolated and cut down the troops. Heavy U.S. air strikes eventually helped to drive off the Viet Cong, but not before the South Vietnamese had suffered between 800 and 900 casualties and the United States had 7 killed, 12 missing and presumed dead, and 15 wounded. The Viet Cong were estimated to have lost 350 in the ground combat and perhaps several hundred more in air attacks.
1968 – At a Saigon news conference on the day he is to turn over command of U.S. forces in Vietnam to Gen. Creighton Abrams, Gen. William Westmoreland offers his assessment of past and current trends in the war. In defense of his attrition policy, Westmoreland declared that it would ultimately make continued fighting “intolerable to the enemy.” He also explained that, because it was impossible to “cut a surface line of communication with other than ground operations,” Washington’s ban on ground attacks to interdict communist infiltration through Laos precluded the achievement of military victory. Westmoreland denied, however, that the military situation was stalemated. Westmoreland’s approach to the war had all but been discredited by the communist Tet Offensive, which was launched in January 30, 1968. In the wake of the widespread Viet Cong and North Vietnamese attacks, there was a review of U.S. policy by the Johnson administration. When it was decided to de-escalate the war, halt the bombing of North Vietnam, and go to the negotiating table, Westmoreland was reassigned to become the Army Chief of Staff, a post he held until his retirement from the service in 1972.
1969 – President Nixon says the Midway meeting ahs ‘opened wide the door to peace’ and invites North Vietnam to ‘walk with us through that door.’ Nixon challenges North Vietnam to begin withdrawing forces or to begin serious negotiations, or both.
1970 – A fifteen-man group of special forces troops began training for Operation Kingpin, a POW rescue mission in North Vietnam. The daring rescue raid at the Son Tay prison camp deep within North Vietnam lacked only one essential ingredient–POWs.
1972 – US Phantom jets destroy Langchi hydroelectric power plant, using 2,000-pound, laser-guided bombs. Langchi supplied power to the Hanoi-Haiphong area.
1977 – The Apple II, one of the first personal computers, goes on sale.
1991 – For the second time in three days, the nation witnesses a “Victory Parade” to celebrate the quick defeat and expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm. Among the marching units is the New York Guard’s 719th Transportation Company, adescendent of the all-black 369th Infantry which gained fame as the “Harlem Hellfighters” in World War I.This parade is the first military “victory” parade held in Manhattan’s “Canyon of Heroes” since the end of World War II. While Gen. Douglas MacArthur was given a ticker-tape parade by the city in 1951 (after being relieved of his command in Korea by President Truman), no victory parade was offered by the city after the end of the Korean or Vietnam wars. So when the plans for the Desert Storm parade were made, special invitations were made to Korean and Vietnam veterans’ organizations to join in the march.
1994 – President Clinton intensified sanctions against Haiti’s military leaders, suspending U.S. commercial air travel and most financial transactions between the two countries.
1995 – US Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady, rescued after being shot down over Bosnia, described his six-day ordeal at a news conference at Aviano Air Base in Italy, saying he was no Rambo and no hero.
1996 – Intel released its 200 Mhz Pentium chip.
1997 – Former Black Panther Geronimo Pratt was released on bail after 27 years behind bars on what he says were trumped-up murder charges. Authorities decided against retrying him.
1999 – The UN Security Council authorized deployment of 50,000 NATO-led peacekeepers for Kosovo.
1999 – NATO suspended its bombing of Kosovo after Yugoslav troops began withdrawing following a 78-day air war. Serb forces begin their withdrawal from Kosovo after signing an agreement with the NATO powers. Rebuilding Kosovo was estimated at $5 billion. Rebuilding all of Yugoslavia was estimated at $20-100 billion.
2002 – US officials announced the breakup of a terrorist plot to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb.” Abdullah Al Mujahir, also known as Jose Padilla, was arrested on May 8 as he flew from Pakistan into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Padilla was said to be a US-born al-Qaeda associate scouting targets for the bomb.
2003 – NASA launched a Mars Exploration Rover named Spirit, the 1st of 2.
2003 – In Iraq US forces launched Operation Peninsula Strike aimed at rounding up Hussein loyalists around Thuluya, 45 miles north of Baghdad.
2004 – A G-8 summit at Sea Island Resort near Savannah, Georgia, ended without an agreement on Iraq. The group agreed to extend through 2006 the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
2007 – After success in pilot program in Anbar Province, US forces in Iraq begin supplying arms to Sunni groups who have turned against al Qaeda and agree to help fight insurgents. Part of this program is the development of leadership councils, Awakening Councils, to whom these fighters are responsible.

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