Today in History, January 7, 1945:
The Battle of the Bulge.
After the American 101st Airborne held out against overwhelming German forces for days, refusing to surrender (Gen. Anthony McAuliffe replied Nuts! to a surrender command, confusing the hell out of the Germans); after American Gen. George S. Patton turned his entire 3rd Army 90 degrees and ran full tilt through winter conditions to reach his comrades; after American air power helped save the day when the weather cleared,
British Gen. Bernard Law Montgomery held a press conference during which he took credit for the hard won victory.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill had to address Parliament to assert the truth that The Battle of the Bulge was solely an American victory after the political fall-out of Montgomery’s typically arrogant statements.
Today in History, December 3, 1586:
Sir Thomas Harriott introduces the potato, previously only found in Columbia in South America, to England and Ireland. Sir Walter Raleigh pursued farming of the new staple in Ireland and before you knew it, they were every where.
This would become very important to American development as well. The potato became a staple food for the impoverished Irish populace. In the 1840’s a potato blight ruined the crops of potatoes in Ireland, resulting in a devastating famine. The famine caused approximately a million deaths and also approximately one million emigrants to America. The burgeoning Irish population in America would have a long lasting effect on our country, in labor, the military services and police forces.
Potatoes! Baked, French Fried, Potato soup, Potato Chips, Sweet Potato Pie, Potato Cakes, Mashed Potatoes, Scalloped Potatoes, Potatoes au Gratin….
Today in History, May 17, 1943:
The Memphis Belle, a B-17 Flying Fortress of the 8th Air Force, completes it’s 25th mission and it’s crew has the opportunity to return to the states.
The event would be documented in an Army Air Force documentary, and later a blockbuster movie. What wasn’t documented in the original documentary was the fact that over 30,000 airmen lost their lives taking the skies over Europe, 8,000 bombers destroyed.
More airmen died in the skies over Europe than Marines in the Pacific.
Today (literally) the Belle was unveiled after years of restoration at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
Today in History, May 17: 1943 – The Memphis Belle returns from her 25th mission over Europe. The B-17 Flying Fortress, heavily armed with nearly a dozen .50 caliber machine guns and thousands of pounds of bombs, had survived what by all reckoning, could not be survived. Thousands upon thousands of airmen died over German territory, blown out of the sky or dropping thousands of feet to their deaths. More airmen died over Europe than Marines fighting across the Pacific. With ten men in each bomber that went down, casualties were so horrific that crews were only expected to fly 25 missions…if they survived that, they went home. The crew of the Memphis Belle were some of those survivors.