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First & Last Action

US Military History Throughout The Years

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

  • First Action: Thursday, April 10, 1941 – While providing reconnaissance for the US occupation of Iceland, prior to the US entry to WW2, the USS Niblack depth charges a German submarine. The submarine had possibly just torpedoed and sand a merchant ship, survivors of which the USS Niblack was picking up. After detecting the German submarine, U-52, she would attack with depth charges. This engagement, while without any casualties, would be the first action the between US and German forces during WW2.
  • Relieved of Command: Wednesday, April 11, 1951 – War hero of WW2 and commander of United Nations forces in Korea, General Douglas MacArthur is relieved of command by President Truman. The relief of command came after heated exchanges between the General and President over disagreement on how to best continue the war. Gen MacArthur has planned and executed in the amphibious assault at Inchon and lead the full scale invasion of North Korea following the victory at Inchon. After China entered the war and the US suffered a series of defeats that drove it out of the north, something Gen MacArthur had assured the President would most likely not occur. After this loss Gen MacArthur would ask permission to bomb, possibly with nukes, China and retake the north. This plan was refused by the President, leading to a heated and public debate between the two. President Truman’s intent to lead a limited war in Korea and constant disregard for the President by MacArthur would lead to his relief on this day. At first the general American public disagreed with the President, seeing the General as a war hero after his command both in WW2 and Korea. However after some time public opinion would sway to agree with the President’s decision and Gen MacArthur would do just as old Soldiers do, and fade away. President Truman’s actions would cement the role of the President as the Commander in Chief and civilian control of the US Military.
  • The CSS Shenandoah: Friday, April 14, 1865 – Unaware of the recent surrender and defeat of the Confederacy, the CSS Shenandoah departs the Caroline Islands near Australia and headed for the Bearing Sea. Throughout the preceding year she had been tasked with raiding Union ships and destroy Union commerce wherever possible, a task that led her to become one of the most feared commerce raiders in the Confederate Navy. It was not till June of 1865 that the crew of the Shenandoah would learn that the Confederacy was no more, but due to inconsistent newspaper reports Commander Waddell of the Shenandoah would continue raiding whaling ships in the Bearing Sea. In August Commander Waddell would receive word again about the Confederacy having lost, this time from a ship form England as she headed to attack San Francisco. Upon learning the news the ship was repainted with the guns being hidden and the Confederate flag lowered as well. Now disguised as an ordinary merchant ship she headed to Liverpool, crossing 10,000 miles of ocean to reach Britain while being pursued by Union ships. In November Commander Waddell would surrender his ships and crew to the British, marking the final lowering of a Confederate flag, and last surrender of Confederate forces. In her 12 months of service the Shenandoah would cross the globe and sink or capture 38 ships, almost all of them being American merchant vessels.

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