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Burning Washington & Bombing Pyongyang

This Week in Army History – 8/23 – 8/29

25 August 1814 – During the War of 1812, British forces would attack and set fire to Washington City, present day Washington D.C. The attack and subsequent burning of Washington was in retaliation of American attacks, and burning, on the Canadian cities of York and Niagara. The US Capitol, White House and The Library of Congress, along with much more of the city were damaged and burned. The next day British forces left Washington. The fires were put out only days later when a powerful storm, possibly a hurricane, swept through the city. Some 3,000 volumes were burned in the Library of Congress. One surviving book was taken by a British officer and kept by his family. It wasn’t until 1940 that was returned to the US.

27 August 1945 – Following the surrender of Japan during WW2 a massive Allied Naval Fleet would assemble in Tokyo Bay. The American Third Fleet, under command of Admiral Bull Halsey, along with the British Pacific Fleet would anchor over 300 ships in the bay to await the formal surrender of Japan. Among those ships would be 10 battleships, including the USS Missouri and USS Iowa. 5 aircraft carriers, 15 cruisers, 59 destroyers and destroyer escorts, and a dozen submarines would accompany those battleships along with a massive assortment of other naval support ships.

29 August 1952 – As part of a concentrated aerial bombing effort during the Korean War, the Far East Air Force would bomb Pyongyang, North Korea. Over 1,400 bombers and other planes would take part in this bombing, under the operation name All United Nations Air Effort. Just a month before an operation consisting of over 1,200 aircraft had bombed the city. Before some bombings flyers would be dropped into the city, warning civilians to leave the area. By the end of the war an estimated 75% of Pyongyang would be destroyed. A total of 635,000 tons of bombs, including 32,557 tons of napalm, would be dropped over the course of the war by the US.

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