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Attrition

US Military History Throughout The Years

Short bits of history you know and some you may not!

  • Battle of the Wilderness: Thursday, May 5, 1864 – The Union Army under General Grant would meet Confederate General Lee in the forests of Virginia. They would fight a grueling battle that would foreshadow the battles of attrition that became the namesake of the final years of the Civil War. Near 5,000 men would be killed in this battle that was tactically inconclusive, as General Grant would continue moving his forces south in the Confederate land.
  • Massing Carriers: Thursday, May 4, 1972 – USS Saratoga is ordered to Vietnam, bringing the number of carriers off the coast to six.
  • Attrition: Thursday, May 5, 1864 – From the start of the Civil War a large part of the armies from both the North and South were made up with uniform volunteers that formed professional units, similar to the modern day National Guard. By this point, years into the war, the majority of the men that had formed those units at the start were either dead, wounded, sick or missing for one reason or another. In the North, the effects were seen by the new units formed as numbers fell in the preceding one. For example, New York would start the war with its own “1st Volunteer Infantry” and by the end of the war unit designation would reach as high as the “194th Volunteer Infantry”. This renaming and reformation of units is a grim reminder of the significant casualties those units faced during the war. In the South the effects were less noticeable in terms of unit designation, but unit strength would suffer just the same. Unlike the North the South would reinforce existing units, keeping them manned. Generally, units were formed from men from the same town, city or general area. Those units would then be reinforced with men from the same place, helping to maintain a cohesiveness and esprit de corps.
  • The War Heats Up: Monday, May 3, 1965 – Lead elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade depart for Vietnam. They would be the largest to date deployment of ground combat troops to the conflict, preceded by smaller forces of Marines and US Special Operations Forces members. The Sky Soldiers would finally be withdrawn from combat in August 1971 after 1,606 were killed and 8,435 were wounded. 12 paratroopers would earn the Medal of Honor for actions during the war.

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