Today in History

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by limbkiller, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    U.S. flag raised on Iwo Jima

    During the bloody Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment of the 5th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag. Marine photographer Louis Lowery was with them and recorded the event. American soldiers fighting for control of Suribachi’s slopes cheered the raising of the flag, and several hours later more Marines headed up to the crest with a larger flag. Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, met them along the way and recorded the raising of the second flag along with a Marine still photographer and a motion-picture cameraman.

    Rosenthal took three photographs atop Suribachi. The first, which showed five Marines and one Navy corpsman struggling to hoist the heavy flag pole, became the most reproduced photograph in history and won him a Pulitzer Prize. The accompanying motion-picture footage attests to the fact that the picture was not posed. Of the other two photos, the second was similar to the first but less affecting, and the third was a group picture of 18 soldiers smiling and waving for the camera. Many of these men, including three of the six soldiers seen raising the flag in the famous Rosenthal photo, were killed before the conclusion of the Battle for Iwo Jima in late March.

    In early 1945, U.S. military command sought to gain control of the island of Iwo Jima in advance of the projected aerial campaign against the Japanese home islands. Iwo Jima, a tiny volcanic island located in the Pacific about 700 miles southeast of Japan, was to be a base for fighter aircraft and an emergency-landing site for bombers. On February 19, 1945, after three days of heavy naval and aerial bombardment, the first wave of U.S. Marines stormed onto Iwo Jima’s inhospitable shores.

    The Japanese garrison on the island numbered 22,000 heavily entrenched men. Their commander, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, had been expecting an Allied invasion for months and used the time wisely to construct an intricate and deadly system of underground tunnels, fortifications, and artillery that withstood the initial Allied bombardment. By the evening of the first day, despite incessant mortar fire, 30,000 U.S. Marines commanded by General Holland Smith managed to establish a solid beachhead.

    During the next few days, the Marines advanced inch by inch under heavy fire from Japanese artillery and suffered suicidal charges from the Japanese infantry. Many of the Japanese defenders were never seen and remained underground manning artillery until they were blown apart by a grenade or rocket, or incinerated by a flame thrower.

    While Japanese kamikaze flyers slammed into the Allied naval fleet around Iwo Jima, the Marines on the island continued their bloody advance across the island, responding to Kuribayashi’s lethal defenses with remarkable endurance. On February 23, the crest of 550-foot Mount Suribachi was taken, and the next day the slopes of the extinct volcano were secured.

    By March 3, U.S. forces controlled all three airfields on the island, and on March 26 the last Japanese defenders on Iwo Jima were wiped out. Only 200 of the original 22,000 Japanese defenders were captured alive. More than 6,000 Americans died taking Iwo Jima, and some 17,000 were wounded.


    1778
    Friedrich von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge

    Friedrich Wilhelm Rudolf Gerhard August, Freiherr von Steuben, a Prussian military officer, arrives at General George Washington’s encampment at Valley Forge on this day in 1778 and commences training soldiers in close-order drill, instilling new confidence and discipline in the demoralized Continental Army.

    Baron von Steuben, as he is better known, was the son of a military engineer and became a Prussian officer himself at the age of 17. He served with distinction and was quickly promoted from infantry to Frederick the Great’s General Staff. In 1763, at age 33 and with the rank of captain, he was discharged for unknown reasons. His title of freiherr, or baron, came with his subsequent post as chamberlain (or palace manager) to the petty court of Hohenzollern-Hechingen in Swabia, or the southwestern Holy Roman Empire, in what is now Baden-Wuerrtemberg. Employed by an indebted prince, von Steuben searched for more lucrative employment in foreign armies. The French minister of war recommended von Steuben to Benjamin Franklin as a resource to the Continental Army in 1777. Franklin in turn passed on word of Steuben’s availability to George Washington, and by February 23, 1778, he was among the desperate Continentals camped at Valley Forge.

    Von Steuben, who did not speak English, drafted a drill manual in French, which Alexander Hamilton and Nathanael Greene then translated into English. The Prussian drill techniques he shared were far more advanced than those of other European armies, let alone those of the ragtag Patriots. The ego-crushing methods of modern boot camp were practiced among the shoeless soldiers of Valley Forge with remarkable efficacy. Most important for 18th-century battle was an efficient method of firing and reloading weapons, which von Steuben forced the Patriots to practice until it became second nature.

    Before von Steuben’s arrival, colonial American soldiers were notorious for their slovenly camp conditions. Von Steuben insisted on reorganization to establish basic hygiene. He demanded that kitchens and latrines be put on opposite sides of the camp, with latrines facing a downhill slope. (Just having latrines was novelty to the Continental troops who were accustomed to living among their own filth.)

    On the merit of his efforts at Valley Forge, Washington recommended that von Steuben be named inspector general of the Continental Army; Congress complied. In this capacity, von Steuben propagated his methods throughout the Patriot forces by circulating his Blue Book, entitled Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States.


    1861
    Lincoln arrives in Washington

    On this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives in Washington, D.C.,amid secrecy and tight security. With seven states having already seceded from the Union since Lincoln’s election, the threat of civil war hung in the air.

    Allen Pinkerton, head of a private detective agency, had uncovered a plot to assassinate Lincoln when he passed through Baltimore on his way to the capital. Lincoln and his advisors disagreed about how to respond to the threat. Some, including Pinkerton, wanted Lincoln to slip secretly into Washington, which would mean skipping an address to the Pennsylvania legislature in Harrisburg. Lincoln did not want to appear cowardly, butfelt the threats were serious.

    Lincoln agreed to the covert arrival. With Pinkerton and Ward Hill Lamon, his former law partner, Lincoln slipped out of the hotel in Harrisburg on the evening of February 22. He wore a soft felt hat instead of his customary stovepipe hat, anddraped an overcoat over his shoulders and hunched slightly to disguise his height. The group boarded a sleeper car and arrived in Baltimore in the middle of the night. They slipped undetected from the Calvert Street station to Camden station across town. There, they boarded another train and arrived without incident in Washington at6 a.m. On the platform, the party was surprised when a voice boomed, “Abe, you can’t play that on me.” It was Congressman Elihu B. Washburne, a friend of Lincoln’s from Illinois. Washburne escorted Lincoln to the Willard Hotel.

    A myth arose that Lincoln had dressed as a woman to avoid detection, but this was not the case. He did draw considerable criticism in the press for his unceremonious arrival. Northern diarist George Templeton Strong commented that if convincing evidence of a plot did not surface, “the surreptitious nocturnal dodging…will be used to damage his moral position and throw ridicule on his Administration.” Lincoln later regretted the caper and commented to a friend: “I did not then, nor do I now believe I should have been assassinated had I gone through Baltimore…” Regardless of how he had arrived, Lincoln was safely in Washington, ready to assume the difficult task ahead.
     
  2. Dallas Knight

    Dallas Knight Max Otto von Stierlitz

    Jun 22, 2015
    Thanks for the post Ed. Reminded me, I always wanted to look up about von Steuben’s life after Valley Forge. He’s one of those characters which occasionally pop up in history, does something significant and then disappears just as quickly as he arrived on the scene. I’ll spend some time today to read about his life after Valley Forge. Here’s to hoping he was rewarded appropriately - he certainly helped pull off a minor miracle with our army, in those dark days.

    [ETA: Apparently while he had his own issues to deal with, Congress did authorize him a pension and at least a couple state legislators granted him some real estate property for his service to the country.]
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019

  3. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
  4. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
  5. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Thanks for an especially great post today limbkiller! All of the topics are full of interesting facts about the history of our great country and the lives dedicated and lost for our freedoms. Thanks again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    limbkiller likes this.
  6. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    Ed, once again thank you so much for keeping history alive and we all owe a debt of gratitude to the USMC .
    During my career ,I was a member of the Baron Von Steuben
    Military Honor society,for my studies in Military science and tactics.
    Late in my service I proudly instructed many Marine officers
    (Among others) in my area of study .
    I was honored to be in their company .
     
  7. Raydog1911

    Raydog1911 Well-Known Member

    108
    Jan 19, 2019
    Gods speed to all of those brave men who paid the price for our freedom!
    Truly “the greatest generation”.
    :usa:
     
  8. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Thanks for everything you’ve done for this country tac. I mean that sincerely! I didn’t know. Hopefully I can still mess with you. If not just tell me to shut the f up!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    thank you isialk
    Mess away Sir .
     
    BennyAdeline and isialk like this.
  10. BennyAdeline

    BennyAdeline Official Hi-Point Brand Representative

    640
    Nov 26, 2018
    The beauty of American willpower and grit summed up in one photo.
     
  11. Colorado Sonny

    Colorado Sonny Deo Volente Supporting Addict

    Sep 25, 2015
    Great post today Edward! A momentous day through history!

    The father of one of my friends in elementary school had a poxmarked nose and I wondered about that for a while. The Sulphur found in the ground on Suribachi did this to many a man as they crawled and hugged the ground to avoid withering fire from the Japanese forces. Sulphur in the presence of moisture especially perspiration would turn into sulphuric acid.
     

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