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Today in Military History (May)
MWH
MWH
Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
Post what you know happened on This Day in Military History during the month of May.

5/1/2009 6:00:01 PM | Edit


5/1/2009 6:00:58 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 1, 1960

Francis Gary Powers was shot down by the Soviets on this day. After 4 years of successful espionage flights over the Soviet Union, the U2’s spy plane’s technology was finally matched. The Russians developed a missile which causes Power’s plane to crash from which he bailed out successfully. The Soviets then sentenced him for espionage but after nearly two years he was released for a KGB prisoner exchange.

5/2/2009 5:08:49 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 2, 1918

Abbeville, France, the United States involvement in World War 2 is discussed. The US did not want to be a full Allie at this time and wanted to take more of a cooperation role. The British and French needed the US in the war so were pretty much at the mercy of Pershing and the Americans. The agreement came that a build of up troops would continue, each month US troops would join the fight until the American’s were fully trained a full out commitment would be made. The war ended in November before the US was fully involved.

5/3/2009 10:18:22 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 3, 1942

The first major battle of World War II for the United States starts in the Pacific against the Japanese Navy. The Japanese intended on invading the Solomon Islands but found US carriers in the area which changed their objective to destroying Allied Naval force. An epic Naval 360 degree battle would ensue. The Japanese had won because they sunk more ships but the Allies made a major strategic victory because for the first time the Japanese invasion forces had been stopped in the Pacific. The slow island hopping campaign of the United States would soon begin.

5/4/2009 6:17:32 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 4, 1970

Four students died and 9 others were wounded due to the incident at Kent State. The Ohio National Guard opened fire (67 bullets) on a group of protesters protesting the Vietnam War. The National Guard had tried to break up the protest but when they could not they took offensive action. After the incident hundreds of Universities shutdown due to the outcry of the situation. The Kent State shooting epitomizes American sentiment at the time against the war in Vietnam.

5/5/2009 5:40:14 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 5, 1955

The Occupation of West Germany by the United States, Great Britain and France ends after 10 years. In the fear of communism the Allies rearm West Germany so that it can fight for Democracy as the Soviet Union maintained East Germany. In 1990 the wall came down and Germany was once again reunited for the first time since World War II.

5/6/2009 3:29:54 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 6, 1962

USS (SSBN 608) Ethan Allen a nuclear powered submarine fires first and only nuclear weapon from a submerged submarine. With the ban on nuclear testing no further tests have been completed. USS Ethan Allen was decommissioned on March 31, 1983 and later recycled.

5/7/2009 3:11:40 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 7, 1915

A German U-boat sinks Lusitania off the cost of Ireland. The British warned the captain of attacks in the area but the captain ignored them. The Lusitania sunk within 20 minutes leading to wide speculation that munitions were stored on board. Lusitania was a passenger ship but more than likely also carried arms. Over 100 American’s died during the attack leading to an outcry against Germany for America to enter World War 1. Germany did issue an apology and changed its policy on attack until 1917, the same day the United States entered the war.

5/8/2009 4:05:09 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 8, 1945

Victory in Europe (V-E Day) occurred on this day when Germany accepted unconditional surrender in Berlin, Germany by Hitler’s replacement.

5/10/2009 3:56:59 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 9, 1671

Colonel Thomas Blood tries to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Blood created a relationship with the custodians who live closely to the jewels. Blood ended up breaking many of the jewels while taking them. Blood was soon captured and for unknown reasons the King pardoned him.

5/10/2009 3:57:05 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 10, 1940

German Luftwaffe HE 111 bombers on route to France lost their bearings due bad weather. Instead the bombers dropped the bombs on their own Country. German propoganda claimed France did it and used it to justify civilian bombing of French cities.

5/11/2009 5:32:29 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 11, 1960

Adolf Eichmann a Nazi who helped architect the Holocaust was captured in Buenos Aires by Israeli agents. He was tried, convicted and hanged in 1962.

5/12/2009 5:45:51 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 12, 1975

U.S. freighter Mayaguez was seized by Cambodia which started an international incident. President Ford still inflamed from the loss in Vietnam acted swiftly and strongly against the so called act of piracy. During the attack to get the prisoners back more American’s died than were captured. The incident did show that the United States was a force to be reckoned with.

5/13/2009 5:10:34 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 13, 1865

John J. Williams died on this day during the American Civil War. Williams is recognized as the last person to die in Civil War. Williams was in the 34th Indiana Infantry Regiment for the Union.

5/14/2009 4:52:17 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 14, 1942

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was formed and within a year became full status in 1943 with the name of WAC. The WAAC started as a few thousand women and their success and the lack of men, enlisted 150,000 women into the Army. Each service branch had their own female corps. The WAC was eliminated in 1978 and everyone was integrated thereinafter. Even with the hesitation of putting women in the service, the country called and women played a vital role during World War II.

5/15/2009 2:45:12 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 15, 1988

The Soviet Union begins withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly a decade of wasteful fighting in order to bolster communism. The United States supplies arms to the Soviet’s enemies including Osama Bin Laden in order to make it difficult for the Soviets, in order to support non-communism rule in Afghanistan.

5/16/2009 9:18:16 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 16, 1918

Congress passes Sedition Act that forbade anyone interfering with war, military, flag, and constitution. Its intent was to force support of the war eliminating negative opinions therefore going against the Constitution of the United States. The Act would later be repealed.

5/17/2009 5:00:43 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 17, 2006

USS Oriskany was sunk purposefully in order to create a coral reef and reachable for scuba divers. Essex class carrier CV-34 was a end World War II aircraft carrier launched just a month after World War II ended. When the war did end the carrier was redesigned to better fit future wars. The Oriskany served 25 years with battle stars in the Korean War and Vietnam.

5/18/2009 2:51:01 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 18, 1775

USS Enterprise, the first to bare the name was captured from the British by Benedict Arnold. Arnold sailed up the river off of Lake Champlain during the American Revolutionary War in order to capture shipyards. Arnold captured the recently launched vessel George and sailed it back to the American side where it would be renamed to the USS Enterprise.

5/20/2009 9:18:24 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 19, 1943

Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt set the date for the liberation of France to become 5/1/1944 which ends up being premature due to weather. D-Day would actually happen on 6/6/1944 after numerous delays due to bad weather in the English Channel.

5/20/2009 9:20:07 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 20, 1940

On this day Germany broke through to the English Channel at Abbeville, France. Great Britain faced a possibly invasion and make preparations for retreat and defense. However the German invasion of the island of Great Britain would never come to fruition.

5/21/2009 2:58:48 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 21, 1944

West Loch Explosion occurs in Pearl Harbor which cascades in 6 LSTs being sunk. An LST tank land ship was being loaded with ammunitions when it exploded creating a chain reaction. The LSTs were used by invasion forces to quickly get very large trucks, weapons and supplies onto beaches so that landing forces could advance. Hundreds of casualties were taken from the explosion. LST’s were crammed full of supplies and declared later as unsafe, if regulations would have been enforce the scope of the disaster could have been averted. The West Loch Explosion was made top secret and it was not until recently did information surface. The LST’s were part of Operation Forager to take the Mariana Islands, the island campaign continued on unabated.

5/22/2009 11:27:21 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 22, 1985

Michael L Walker is arrested as a spy days after his father John Walker was caught for being the most damaging spy in United States history. John Walker had been selling the Soviets top secret US Navy documents for decades without any the wiser. Soviets claimed to have a seat in the Pentagon because of the information they were receiving.

5/23/2009 10:54:44 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 23, 1945

Heinrich Himmler committed suicide on this day; he was the Nazi leader of the SS and one of the most evil people in the Third Reich. Himmler was the overseer of camps that killed millions of people and not just Jews. Himmler tried to avoid capture from the British but his documents for his alias were so well prepared that it rose suspicious and he was arrested. Soon it was discovered who he was and Himmler committed suicide via cyanide before he could be interrogated.

5/24/2009 8:44:34 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 24, 1941

HMS Hood is sunk by the German Battleship Bismarck. Winston Churchill then issued the order “sink the Bismarck” to the entire British Navy. The Hood was the ship of the line for the British and the Bismarck was the ship of the line of Germany. The Hood only lasted a few minutes before being sunk. Although the Hood was outclassed it was sunk because the Hood was out captained. The Hood was pursuing the Bismarck then lost contact when contact was regained all tactical advantages were lost ending up in a slaughter for the Germans.

5/25/2009 10:44:36 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 25, 1889

Igor Sikorsky a Russian born aviation engineer was born on this day. After Europe was ravaged by World War I, Sikorsky emigrated to the United States to start an aviation company. Sikorsky created one of the first multi-engine plans, flying boats and was a pioneer in helicopter design. The name Sikorsky is synonymous with helicopters.

5/26/2009 4:46:12 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 26, 1960

In order to deflect the shooting down of the Gary Powers U2 spy plane, the United States charge the Soviet Union with espionage within its embassy in Moscow. Proving that everyone is always trying to get the upper hand.

5/28/2009 4:04:22 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 27, 1941

After the German battleship Bismarck sinks the British flagship Hood, the British began a personal endeavor to take sink the Bismarck. After many days of pursuit and a long battle the Bismarck finally sinks

5/28/2009 4:04:29 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 28, 1980

Women for the first time graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. An intuitive of the integration of women in the military started in 1976.

5/29/2009 4:51:15 PM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 29, 1917

John F. Kennedy was born on this day. Lieutenant Kennedy served in the Navy on PT boat 109 in the South Pacific during World War II. Kennedy tried to enlist in the Army but was denied due to his bad back before Pearl Harbor but was later accepted with some family help to the Navy. Kennedy was distinguished when a Japanese Destroyer rammed his boat thus sinking it and Kennedy pulled a sailor to shore saving his life.

5/30/2009 9:37:29 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 30, 1912

Wilbur Wright died on this day from typhoid fever. With his brother Orville, the Wrights were the first in flight in 1903 and by 1909 became celebrities throughout the world demonstrating their amazing flying machine. Wilbur was the executive of the two brothers and once Wilbur died Orville no longer had the drive and passion for flying, after a few years he sold the company and never flew again. Neither brother ever married.

5/31/2009 9:47:37 AM
MWH
MWH

Joined: 02/12/2008
Posts: 346 Ohio
May 31, 1916

On this day the greatest naval battle of World War I occurred, the Battle of Jutland. It was a British naval force against a German naval force. The German navy had been avoiding the far superior British force but the British cracked the German code and knew their position. There were more than two hundred ships engaged with the British having a huge number advantage. Even though Germany won the engagement, it lost in the end of because the British had a superior fleet by numbers and Germans could not sustain the losses.