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This Day in Military History


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17 January 1991

 

At 2:38 AM, Operation Desert Storm is launched with the words "Party in ten", spoken by AH-64A Apache pilot 1st Lt Tom Drew.

 

This meant that in 10 seconds, AGM-114 Hellfire laser guided missiles would be impacting their targets - a pair of critical early warning radar sites (comprising a co-located 'Squat Eye' and 'Flat Face', and a 'Spoon Rest') - in southern Iraq.

 

The missiles (and subsequently, 2.75 inch rockets and 30mm Chain Gun ammo) were fired by Task Force Normandy, which all-helo force comprised eight Apaches (with a ninth as backup), a UH-60A Black Hawk, and two USAF MH-53J Enhanced Pave Low IIIs.

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21 January 1968

 

A B-52G (callsign 'Hobo 28', serial 58-0188), from the 380th Strategic Bomb Wing at Plattsburgh AFB, NY, suffers an onboard fire while flying a 'Chrome Dome' strategic alert mission near Thule, Greenland.

 

Unable to extinguish the fire, the crew bail out of the aircraft (with one fatality) and it crashes onto the frozen sea about 12 km west of Thule.

 

It is a 'Broken Arrow' incident, as the aircraft is carrying four 1.1 megaton B28FI Mod 1 nuclear bombs.

 

Project 'Crested Ice' is launched to remove debris and contain environmental damage, but some components are never recovered.

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23 January 1983

 

Having failed to boost into a high altitude 'storage' orbit, the Soviet nuclear powered radar ocean reconnaissance satellite (RORSAT) Kosmos 1402 tumbles into the Indian Ocean.

 

Most of the satellite is burned up, excepting the nuclear fuel core containing about 100 lbs of enriched uranium.

 

The core eventually plunges into the South Atlantic, about 1,000 miles east of Brazil, on 7 February.

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This time of year seems ripe for nuclear 'incidents'

 

24 January 1961

 

Suffering a massive fuel leak, a Boeing B-52G Stratofortress breaks up in mid air over Goldsboro, North Carolina, while flying an Operation Coverall nuclear alert mission. Two crew are killed, and the remainder successfully bail out.

 

The bomber's payload of two Mark 39 Mod 2 nuclear bombs are dropped in the process.

 

One bomb deploys its retarding parachute and falls to earth relatively intact. However, three of the four safety mechanisms which prevent the bomb from detonating are unlocked.

 

The second bomb plunges into the soft earth. Parts of the bomb, including portions of its thermonuclear assembly, are recovered but the bulk of the bomb remains buried some 180 feet underground in a North Carolina field.

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27 January 1943

 

The USAAF carries out its first bombing raid against Nazi Germany.

 

1st and 2nd Bombardment Wings of the Eighth Air Force launch 64 B-17s and 27 B-24s against the naval base at Wilhelmshaven.

 

53 B-17s conduct their strike between 1110 and 1113 hrs local time, dropping over 137 tons of bombs.

 

Two other B-27s attack the U-boat base at Emden at 1135.

 

The B-24s are unable to locate the target due to a combination of bad weather and navigational errors, and return to base.

 

One B-17 and two B-24s are lost, with 32 B-17s and 11 B-24s damaged.

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28 January 1932

 

Five years before the start of the devastating Second Sino-Japanese war, the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan clashed in a short conflict that commenced on this date.

 

It also marked the first major aircraft carrier action in the Far East, with Japanese carrier borne aircraft attacking Shanghai.

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29 January 1964

Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece (imho) film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is released.

 

<---- You might have noticed that we're fans of the film here at HarpGamer.

 

I also highly recommend the book upon which the movie is based, Red Alert.

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31 January 1915

 

At the Battle of Bolimow, fought between the German Ninth Army and the Russian Second Army, the Germans launch their first large scale use of poison gas.

 

They fire 18,000 six inch shells containing xylyl bromide, a rather nasty kind of tear gas, but most of it is blown back towards German lines and rendered ineffective by the cold weather.

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4 February 1899

 

Fighting erupts between the United States and Filipino revolutionary forces, marking the start of the Philippine-American war, though the First Philippine Republic would not officially declare war until June.

 

The conflict continues until June 1902, paving the way for Philippine independence.

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