Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to be alive during the second world war? Soon, you can live vicariously through your grandparents and great-grandparents, reading the newspapers that kept Americans informed as our young men fought their way across Europe and the Pacific.
Beginning this Sunday, Unto the Breach will publish daily pieces transporting readers 78 years back in time to America’s involvement in World War II. On Dec. 8, 2019, you will be able to read the paper from Dec. 8, 1941, continuing each day until V-J Day on Sept. 2, 2023. Rather than looking back through the lens of history, reading summaries of the Battle of the Bulge or the Great Turkey Shoot, you will be tracking the progress and setbacks of the Allies as your grandparents and great-grandparents did. One day at a time.
On this date, Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo’s First Air Fleet is steaming southeast, some 800 nautical miles north of Oahu. The armada encounters a Norwegian freighter, and to keep the lid on their operation, sailors board the vessel and destroy its radio. Japanese submarines now surround Hawaii as Rear Adm. John A. Newton’s Task Force 12 departs Pearl Harbor for Midway, with USS Lexington ferrying SB2U-3 Vindicators from Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 231 (VMSB-231) to Midway Island.
Having delivered the Marine fighter aircraft to Wake the day before and due to return to Hawaii on 6 December, USS Enterprise runs into bad weather, causing a delay.
The aircraft carriers deployed warplanes in response to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Harold R. Stark’s 27 November “war warning,” which stated “This dispatch is to be considered a war warning. Negotiations with Japan looking toward stabilization of conditions in the Pacific have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days. The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of naval task forces indicates an amphibious expedition against either the Philippines, Thai or Kra Peninsula or possibly Borneo. Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL 46 [Navy Basic War Plan-Rainbow 5]. Inform district and Army authorities.”
Today’s post is in honor of Sgt. John J. Savage, who on this day in 2008, died of wounds from an improvised explosive device attack on his vehicle in Mosul, Iraq. The 26-year-old from Weatherford, Texas was assigned to the 103rd Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion and was serving his second Iraq deployment.
1783: Nine days after the British evacuate New York City, Gen. George Washington bids farewell to his fellow Continental Army officers over a turtle feast at Fraunces Tavern. Washington tells them: “With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.”
1861: Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederate States of America. Previously, Davis served as a junior officer in the U.S. Army following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy. During the Mexican-American War, he raised a volunteer infantry regiment and became its colonel. President James Polk will offer Davis a federal commission as brigadier general, which he will turn down. Continue reading “4 December: Today in U.S. military history”
On this date in 1941 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met with congressional leaders regarding the “Far Eastern situation” (see image below the fold), while Japanese fleets haul anchor and secretly sail for the invasions of Guam, Malaya, and Thailand.
Meanwhile, the Japanese submarine fleet received the attack schedule for Pearl Harbor. Off the coast of Hawaii, the battleship USS Arizona conducted nighttime gunnery training, and the complement of Marine Corps F4F Wildcats launched from the deck of USS Enterprise and headed for Wake Island. Enterprise should return to Pearl by 6 December.