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Whipples Prize

US Military History Throughout The Years

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

  • Mounting Casualties: Thursday, July 17, 2003 – The Pentagon announced that US casualties from hostile fire in Iraq had reached 147. This number was a milestone as it was the same amount of casualties as the entirety of the first Gulf War. By the end of the war on 2011 nearly 4,000 American troops would be killed in action and with total casualties reaching over 36,000 in total.
  • Airship Down: Sunday, July 18, 1943 – During WW2 the US airship K-74 would become the only blimp to be shot down during the war. While on anti-submarine patrol on the east coast of the US, the crew would spot the German U-Boat U-134. Going against doctrine the pilot of U-74 would pursue the sub as it approached US ships ahead of it. During its approach to dissuade the sub from its actions, they would be engaged by U-134’s 20mm cannon, taking several hits. K-74 would return fire, shooting over 100 rounds at the sub with its M2 machine gun. The airship successfully dropped depth charges on the enemy sub as it flew over it, causing some damage. The airship would crash land from damage sustained from enemy fire, though all 10 crewmembers would escape without injury. Only one crewmember would die as a result of the engagement, a machinists mate would be attacked by a shark minutes before rescue and drowned.
  • A Two Ocean Navy: Friday, July 19, 1940 – The Two Ocean Navy Expansion Act is signed by President FDR. The bill increased the size of the Navy by 70% and cost $8.55 billion (after inflation it would be about 157 billion in 2020 dollars). 257 ships would be added to the US Navy with an added emphasis to naval aircraft, with 18 aircraft carriers to be built as a result of the bill. The increase in the size of the US Navy would expand the United States capabilities across the globe and in the dominant oceans it operated in, the Pacific and Atlantic.
  • Whipples Bag: Sunday, July 18, 1779 – Commodore Whipple, an American naval officer of the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War, takes the biggest prize of the war. Upon returning from a mission to France and back, carrying important dispatches to France and weapons back, he would take command of a small naval squadron. The three ships, Providence, Ranger and Queen of France, would encounter a large British convoy off the Newfoundland Banks. With dense fog in the area and after hiding his forces guns, they would come up onto the British convoy. After raising a British flag in further disguise, they would take 11 prizes (ships), 8 of which would contain enough spoils of war to equal nearly 17 million dollars in today’s money. These 1 million dollars, at the time, prize would be the largest capture of the war. In 1780 Whipple would encounter a overwhelming British force and spend the rest of the war as a prisoner.

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