Thursday, June 4, 2015

This Date In History

Ramparts of Osaka Castle in 1865
1615 - The fortress of Osaka, Japan, fell to shogun Ieyasu after a six month siege.

This siege was one of the final acts in consolidating the power of the Tokugawa Shogunate over Japan. This family would rule Japan until 1868.

The book Shogun by James Clavell (one of Sarge's favorites - the mini-series is very well done) presents a fictionalized version of how the Tokugawa seized power.

The movie The Last Samurai is a fictionalized depiction of the aftermath of the Shogunate's ending.

1647 - The British army seized King Charles I and held him as a hostage. 

King Charles I by Gerrit van Honthorst, 1628

The King would eventually be executed (1649), Oliver Cromwell would become Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Nearly 200,000 people would die as the result of the series of conflicts, known collectively as the English Civil War, which lasted from 1642 to 1651.

1805 - Tripoli was forced to conclude peace with U.S. after conflicts over tribute. 

ENTERPRISE Capturing the Tripolitan Corsair TRIPOLI, 1 August 1801.
From a drawing (circa 1878) by Captain William Bainbridge Hoff,
U.S. Navy, in the collection of the Navy department.

Are you humming The Marine Corps' Hymn yet?
From the Halls of Montezuma 
To the shores of Tripoli; 
We will fight our country's battles 
In the air, on land, and sea; 
First to fight for right and freedom 
And to keep our honor clean; 
We are proud to claim the title 
Of United States Marine.
1918 - French and American troops halted Germany's offensive at Château-Thierry, France. 

Postcard depicting the World War I Battle of Château-Thierry.

This was one of the first actions fought by the American Expeditionary Forces under General Pershing. In many ways it was the beginning of the end for the German Empire. (The Marines were there too!)

1940 - The British completed the evacuation of 300,000 troops at Dunkirk, France. 

British troops line up on the beach at Dunkirk to await evacuation.

While it was most certainly not a victory for the British, it was, at best, an incomplete victory for the Germans. Had Hitler allowed the panzers to drive for the Channel and not let that blowhard Goering convince him that air power alone could do the trick, who knows how the war would have ended?

Still and all, a remarkable accomplishment for the British people.

1942 - The Battle of Midway began. It was the first major victory for America over Japan during World War II. The battle ended on June 6 and ended Japanese expansion in the Pacific. 

IJNS Hiryū (飛竜), shortly before sinking.
This photo was taken by Special Service Ensign Kiyoshi Ōniwa from a Yokosuka B4Y off the carrier Hōshō.

Of the six Japanese aircraft carriers which attacked Pearl Harbor - Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku- four went to the bottom at Midway (underlined). For all intents and purposes, Japanese naval power had reached its zenith. The United States Navy would call the tune in the days to come.

1944 - The U-505 became the first enemy submarine captured by the U.S. Navy. 

U-505 shortly after being captured in 1944 by a task force headed by USS Guadalcanal off the coast of Africa.

You can visit her in Chicago. Seriously.

1944 - During World War II, the U.S. Fifth Army entered Rome, which began the liberation of the Italian capital.

Allied Forces in Rome, June 1944
View of the Vittoria Emmanuel memorial and the Piazza Venezia in Rome.

Rome would fall on the 6th of June. Not many would notice outside of Italy. Something else of greater import happened that day in France. Which would piss off the American GIs who served in Italy for a long time. For that was a long, hard fight.

I've been in that square. Which is kind of cool when you think about it.

Which I do...

Amazing all the history which happened on the 4th of June and that is but a taste.

Want to know more? This website is a great starting place. I got the italicized lines above from them. Cool stuff.


  1. A little over ten years ago we spent some time in Italy. We happened to be there on their "Independence Day." They explained it as the day they were freed from Germany - by the Americans. We actually got a few thank you's. Although I personally had nothing to do with their independence, I did have an uncle who fought his way across Italy and on in to Berlin. He and his men were known as Matney's Raiders. His men often referred to him as Coach rather than Captain, because he had been a football coach.

    1. I need to get back to Italy. A lovely country and the food...

      Ah, don't get me started on the food.

    2. Loved every bit of Italy when we visited a couple of years ago, except the train depot in Rome and the Airport. Suffice it to say that the vagrants at the train station and the trash collector strike at the airport were not the high points of the trip.

    3. Vagrants are no fun anywhere.

      Da Vinci surprised me when we were there, somehow I expected something a bit more, I dunno, modern? It seemed cramped and dingy.

    4. The trash was so deep, you had to shuffle your feet to create a path. I felt like I was a destroyer in heavy seas smashing my way through waves.

    5. In many ways Italy is a state of being more than a nation. That state, btw, includes perpetual garbage strike.

      But man do I love that place.

    6. I preferred Tuscany and Venice over Rome.

      But the historical sites in Rome are hard to beat.

  2. add to this, 1989
    Poland holds first free elections, a prelude to Berli Wall falling, and China crushes Tiananamen square protests

    1. Those are important events to remember for sure!

  3. I'm re-reading "Shattered Sword: The Untold Battle of Midway" by Parshall and Tully as kind of a remembrance of Midway. Great book!

    1. I don't think I've ever read that one.

      Another book to add to my lst of Must Reads.

    2. Exceptionally fine Japanese perspective in this one.

    3. Excellent. I always like to undertstand both sides of a battle!

  4. The U-505 now sits inside Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Previous to 2004 it had been outside in the back but due to wx damage was taken inside and refurbished (wiki) We took our son to see it in '89 (in a grand tour of Chicago's museums and art galleries) when it sat out back.. Interesting tour. There is also a Soviet Foxtrot Class diesel-electric sub in San Diego open for tours which we have also visited in 2009 (Do these tours mean I now qualify for my Dolphin Pin? :) )

    1. I need to get to Chicago and see that boat.

      Trivia time: what type of dolphin is depicted on a submariner's qual pin?

  5. Regarding the capture of U 505, the then Captain running the show was one of my favorite authors when I was in high school. Quite a man and quite a family.

    1. Wow, quite an impressive career. I see he was one of the admirals who stood up to that idiot Louis Johnson. Probably helped save the Navy!

      Damn, that IS an impressive family!

  6. AHHHH, Shogun. Don't dip me in that oil! Hai, domo, anjinsan.

    1. Gomen'nasai, Dave-sama! (ごめんなさい デイブ様)


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