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Military Word Of The Day
sig
:
signaller


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Today in Military History

March 1



1596:

Following the failure to take the Panamanian Isthmus, and the deaths of Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake, the remnants of the previous year's expedition to the West Indies was headed home under the command of Sir Thomas Baskerville when it was caught by a Spanish fleet off the north-west coast of Cuba near the Isle of Pines. Thus occurred the only fleet engagement of the Anglo-Spanish war, other than the Armada battles of 1588. The English ships enjoyed the advantage of the wind, but had to fight through the Spanish in order to get away, past a headland. They succeeded in this, and after a desultory pursuit by the Spaniards, finally got clear and eventually reached England without further mishap in May.


1755:

Jean-Armand Dieskau 1701-1767 appointed commander of the French regular troops in Canada.


1815:

Disbanding of Lower Canada militia after War of 1812.


1858:

During the Indian Mutiny, Lieutenant Aikman, commanding a force of 100 infantry, was alerted to the presence of some 700 mutineers, including cavalry and artillery. Notwithstanding the odds, nor the fire coming from an enemy fort close by, Aikman led his men in an immediate attack, and comprehensively routed his opponents, capturing their artillery. In the process, Aikman received a severe sword wound to the face, but survived to receive the Victoria Cross.


1896:

80,000 Ethiopians defeat 20,000 Italians at the Battle of Adowa; end of Italian hopes of building an African empire.


1942:

The cruiser HMS Exeter, famed for her role in the defeat of the Graf Spee at the River Plate in 1939, and damaged two days earlier at the Battle of the Java Sea, attempted to escape through the Sunda Strait, escorted by the destroyers HMS Encounter and the USS John D Pope. Not far ahead of them, the Dutch destroyer Evertsen, also making a run for the Strait, was spotted at dawn by Japanese ships and sunk. Daylight allowed Japanese aircraft to spot Exeter and her consorts, and two Japanese heavy cruiser squadrons were tasked to deal with them. The already damaged Exeter fought back for over an hour in a most unequal fight, whilst her escorts did their best to protect he with a smoke-screen. Exeter finally went down at 1130, followed shortly afterwards by Encounter. John D Pope survived a little longer by hiding in a sudden squall, before she too was destroyed by the heavy cruisers.


1943:

302 aircraft of Bomber Command mounted a successful raid on Berlin, causing significant damage, including to twenty factories. Some 22 acres of the large railway repair workshops at Tempelhof were destroyed.


1943:

Dawson Creek BC - Work begins on the Alaska highway.


1943:

Founding of the Canadian Women's Army Corps as part of the Canadian forces; CWACs have full military titles and hold commissions.


1945:

In an infantry attack at Kervenheim in the Rhineland, soldiers from the King's Shropshire Light Infantry were pinned down by heavy machine-gun fire from a farmhouse. Private Stokes dashed forward alone and, despite being wounded, broke into the building, emerging shortly afterwards with twelve prisoners. He refused medical attention and attacked a second building, where he took five more prisoners. Although by now seriously weakened, he insisted on taking part in a third attack, but was killed twenty yards short of his objective. Private Stokes were awarded the Victoria Cross.


1945:

VC won by Maj Frederick Albert Tilston, The Essex Scottish Regiment, The Hochwald, Germany


1954:

Medical Company 63rd Infantry Regiment Fort Ord, California




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