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Debts Paid & The Big Guns Arrive

US Military History Throughout The Years

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

  • The Kassel Mission: Wednesday, September 27, 1944 – The 8th Air Force, of the US Army Air Forces, suffers its largest loss in a single operation of the war. A group of 283 B-24 Liberator bombers, along with 198 P-51 Mustangs as escorts, were on a mission to attack and destroy factories producing tanks and other vehicles. The factories were located in Kassel and as the attacking bombers were en route a navigation error led the bombers off course. Deciding then to attack targets that they could find they bombed nearby railway facilities as they continued their mission. The bombers would miss their new targets and also lose their fighter escorts as they had flown outside their range. As the now unguarded bombers turned back, they were attacked by awaiting German fighters. The fighters that attacked them, Bf 109’s and Fw 190’s, were specially equipped to attack bombers and quickly started shooting down the bombers. In the few minutes the attack lasted 25 B-24’s were shot down over a small area. The arrival of another fighter escort group prevented a total loss of the bomber group and the group started back for base. On the way back six more B-24’s would crash. In total 31 B-24’s would be lost during the mission along with one P-51. 118 Americans would die, 11 of which were murdered after parachuting to safety when their planes were shot down. German losses would amount to 29 fighters and 18 killed.
  • USS New Jersey: Monday, September 30, 1968 – The USS New Jersey arrives in Vietnamese waters. The USS New Jersey was the only active battleship in the world at this time, with all of here sister ships sitting inactivated. She would arrive in Vietnam to supply Naval Gun Fire Support, to alleviate air losses from bombings and support missions. She would unleash her nine, 16 inch guns against Vietnamese positions near the 17th Parallel, firing 29 rounds. These rounds were the first time she had fired her guns in anger for over 16 years. During the USS New Jerseys several month deployment she would fire 5,688 rounds from her 16 inch guns and 14,891 from her 5 inch guns in support of operations around the coast of Vietnam. The USS New Jersey had three turrets, each with three 16 inch guns that were able to operate somewhat independently. It took a crew of 79 to operate each turret and the guns were able to fire rounds that could reach up to 24 miles in range.
  • The Berlin Airlift: Friday, September 30, 1949 – The Berlin Airlift officially ends. The Berlin Blockade was one of the first international crises of the Cold War. Due to conflicting relations with the Western Allies after WW2, the USSR cut off all supply routes to West Berlin from the Allies. With the population of West Berlin being cut off from all food, water and medical supplies from being brought in by ground, a plan was made to deliver all supplies by air. It was determined that daily some 1,534 tons of food would be needed to be flown in, to supply a daily calorie intake of 1,990 kilocalories per a person in West Germany. 3,475 tons of coal, diesel and gas would need to be flown in daily as well to power the city. Over 15 months the Allied air forces would deliver a total of 2,325,510 tons of supplies to the blockaded city. At the height of the airlift a plane was landing every 30 seconds. The planes would fly a combined total of over 92,000,000 miles, nearly the distance of the Earth to the Sun. A British RAF aircrew would make an astonishing 404 flights during the airlift.
  • War Debt: Sunday, October 3, 2010 – 92 years after the end of WW1, Germany completes their last reparation payment for damage caused over the four years of bloody war. In order to pay the reparations Germany had to take out foreign bonds, which quickly bankrupted the country. Germany would suspend its payments during the Great Depression and Nazi Germany would again decline payments. After WW2 West Germany would restart payments, and after reunification with East Germany continue to pay off loans taken out. The reparations that Germany paid used by Britain and France to payoff their own debt incurred by the loans they took out from the USA. The massive amounts of money that Germany was deemed responsible to pay had their part in the discontent that led to the rise of Nazi Germany and WW2. In total Germany would pay around $400 Billion in reparations to the Allies after WW1.

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