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Battle Index: I
Military History Encyclopedia on the Web
Idle, battle of the (Yorkshire), 616
Idomene, battle of, 426
I-Go/ Operation 'I', 7-16 April 1943
Igualada, combat of, 17-18 February 1809
Ile de Marans, siege of, 24-28 June 1588
Ilerda, battle of, May-2 July 49 BC
Illyrian War, First, 230-228 BC
Illyrian War, Second, 219
Imbrinium, battle of, 325
Impact Plain, Operation (11 April 1945)
Impact Royal, Operation, 14- April 1945
Indus, battle of the, 24 November 1221
Infatuate, Operation/ Battle of Walcheran, 1-8 November 1944
Inkerman, battle of: 5 November 1854
Inkovo, action at, 8 August 1812
Isfizar, siege of, 1383
Island No. 10, battle of, 7 April 1862
Isonzo, First battle of the, 23 June-7 July 1915
Isonzo, Second battle of, 18 July-3 August 1915
Isonzo, Third battle of the, 18 October-3 November 1915
Isonzo, Fourth battle of the, 10 November-2 December 1915
Isonzo, Fifth battle of the, 9-17 March 1916
Isonzo, Sixth battle of the, 4-17 August 1916
Isonzo, Seventh battle of the, 14-17 September 1916
Isonzo, Eighth battle of the, 9-12 October 1916
Isonzo, Ninth battle of the, 1-4 November 1916
Isonzo, Tenth battle of the, 12 May-8 June 1917
Isonzo, Eleventh battle of, 18 August-15 September 1917 (Italy/Austria)
Issoire, siege of, 20 May-12 June 1577
Italica Hispalis, battle of, 76 BC
Iuka, battle of, 19 September 1862
Ivan Island (Mellu), occupation of, 31 January 1944
Ivrea, combat of, 24 May 1800
Ivry, battle of, 14 March 1590
Iwo Jima, battle of (Operation Detachment),February - March 1945
|917–1014||Viking wars in Ireland|
|1169–75||Norman invasion of Ireland|
|1315–18||Bruce campaign in Ireland||Part of the First War of Scottish Independence|
|1333–38||Burke Civil War||A conflict among the House of Burke|
|1569–73||First Desmond Rebellion||Part of the Tudor conquest of Ireland|
|1579–83||Second Desmond Rebellion||Part of the Tudor conquest of Ireland|
|1594–1603||Nine Years' War||Part of the Tudor conquest of Ireland|
|1641–42||Irish Rebellion of 1641||Part of the Eleven Years' War|
|1642–49||Confederate War||Part of the Eleven Years' War|
|1649–53||Cromwellian conquest of Ireland||Part of the Eleven Years' War|
|1689–91||Williamite–Jacobite War||Part of the War of the Grand Alliance|
|1798||Irish Rebellion of 1798|
|1803||Irish Rebellion of 1803|
|1848||Young Irelander Rebellion|
|1916||Easter Rising||Part of the Irish revolutionary period|
|1919–22||Irish War of Independence||Part of the Irish revolutionary period|
|1922–23||Irish Civil War||Part of the Irish revolutionary period|
|1942–44||Northern Campaign||Irish republican campaign against the state of Northern Ireland|
|1956–62||Border Campaign||Irish republican campaign against the state of Northern Ireland|
|1998-present||Dissident Irish republican campaign|
Prehistoric era Edit
5th century Edit
- 459 – Ath Dara 
- 464 – First Battle of Dumha Aichir 
- 468 – Bri Ele 
- 470 – Second Battle of Dumha Aichir 
- 476 – First Battle of Granard 
- 478 – Ocha 
- 480 – Second Battle of Granard 
- 483 – Battle of Ochae 
- 489 – Tailtin 
- 491 – Cell Losnaid 
- 492 – Sleamhain, in Meath 
- 493 – Battle for the Body of St. Patrick 
- 494 – Ceann Ailbhe 
- 496 – Druim Lochmaighe 
- 497 – Inde Mor, in Crioch Ua nGabhla 
- 499 – Seaghais 
6th century Edit
- 500 – Lochmagh 
- 501 – Freamhain, in Meath 
- 506 – Luachair 
- 507 – Druim Deargaighe 
- 528 – Luachair 
- 531 – Claenloch 
- 537 – Sligeach 
- 544 – Cuil Conaire 
- 546 – Cuilne 
- 556 – Cuil Uinnsenn 
- 561 – Cul Dremne 
- 563 – Moin Dairi Lothar 
- 571 – Battle of Tola 
- 572 – Battle of Doete 
- 579 – Druim Mic Earca 
- 585 – Kalketh 
- 590 – Eadan Mor 
- 594 – Dun Bolg 
- 597 – Battle of Sleamhain 
- 598 – Eachros 
7th century Edit
- 600 – Loch Semhedidhe 
- 601 – Battle of Slaibhre 
- 622 – Carn Fearadhaigh 
- 622 – Lethed Midinn 
- 624 – Ard Corainn 
- 626 – Leathairbhe 
- 628 – Ath Goan 
- 634 – Magh Rath 
- 645 – Carn Conaill 
- 648 – Cuil Corra 
- 656 – Fleasach 
- 660 – Ogamhain 
- 666 – Battle of Aine 
- 681 – Bla Sléibe 
- 685 – Cenn Conn 
- 686 – Leach Phich 
- 688 – Imlech 
- 696 – Tulach Garraisg 
8th century Edit
- 701 – Corann 
- 702 – Claen Ath 
- 713 – Cam Feradaig 
- 718 – Battle of Almhain 
- 719 – Delgean 
- 721 – Druim Fornocht 
- 724 – Cenn Deilgden 
- 727 – Magh Itha 
- 730 – Bealach Ele 
- 732 – Fochart 
- 733 – Battle of Ath Seanaith 
- 738 – Ceanannus 
- 744 – Ard Cianachta 
- 749 – Ard Naescan 
- 751 – Bealach Cro 
- 759 – Dun Bile 
- 762 – Caill Tuidbig 
- 769 – Bolg Boinne 
- 781 – Ath Liacc Finn 
- 787 – Ard Mic Rime 
9th century Edit
- 800 – Ardrahan 
- 820 – Carn Conain 
- 845 – Dunamase 
- 848 – Battle of Skryne 
- 851 – Battle of Dundalk 
10th century Edit
- 908 – Battle of Bellaghmoon
- 917 – Battle of Confey
- 919 – Battle of Islandbridge
- 967/8 – Battle of Sulcoit
- 967/8 – Burning of Luimnech
- 977/8 – Battle of Cathair Cuan
- 978 – Battle of Belach Lechta
- 980 – Battle of Tara
- 994 – Sack of Domhnach Padraig 
- 994 – Sack of Aenach Thete 
- 999 – Battle of Glenmama
11th century Edit
- 1014 – Battle of Clontarf
- 1086 – Breach of Crinach 
- 1087 – Conachail, in Corann
- 1087 – Rath Edair 
- 1088 – Corcach 
- 1090 – Magh Lena, in Meath 
- 1094 – Bealach Gort an Iubhair 
- 1094 – Fidhnacha 
- 1095 – Ard Achad 
- 1098 – Fearsat-Suilighe 
- 1099 – Craebh Tulla 
12th century Edit
- 1101 – Battle of Grianan 
- 1103 – Battle of Magh Cobha 
- 1132 – Siege of Dún Béal Gallimhe
- 1149 – Siege of Dún Béal Gallimhe
- 1151 – Battle of Móin Mhór
- 1169/05 – Beginning of the Norman invasion of Ireland
- 1169/05 – Battle of Duncormac, County Wexford – Norman victory over a combined Irish-Norse force
- 1169/05 – Siege of Wexford – Norman victory over a combined Irish-Norse force
- 1169/05 – Battle of Gowran – Norman defeat
- 1170/05 – Battle of Dundonnell (aka Battle of Baginbun), County Wexford – Norman victory over a combined Irish-Norse force
- 1170/08 – Battle of Waterford – Norman victory over a combined Irish-Norse force
- 1170/09 – Sack of Dublin – Norman victory over a combined Irish-Norse force
- 1171 – Battle of Carrick – Norman defeat
- 1173 – Battle of Kilkenny – Norman defeat
- 1174 – Battle of Thurles – Norman defeat
- 1175 – Battle of Meath – Norman victory
- 1175 – Battle of Athlone – Norman victory
- 1175 – Battle of Drogheda – Norman victory
- 1176 – Battle of Meath – Norman defeat
- 1176 – Battle of Armagh – Norman defeat
- 1192 – Aughera – Norman defeat 
13th century Edit
- 1224 – Sack of Ard Abla 
- 1225 – Sack of Loch Nen 
- 1225 – Sack of Ardrahan 
- 1230 – Siege of Dún Béal Gallimhe
- 1230 – Findcairn 
- 1232 – Siege of Dún Béal Gallimhe
- 1234 – Battle of the Curragh
- 1235 – Siege of Dún Béal Gallimhe
- 1247 – Siege of Dún Béal Gallimhe
- 1249 – First Battle of Athenry
- 1257 – Battle of Creadran Cille
- 1257 – Sack of Sligo 
- 1260 – Battle of Druim Dearg
- 1261 – Battle of Callann
- 1270 – Battle of Áth-an-Chip
14th century Edit
Bruce Campaign Edit
- 1315 – Battle of Carrickfergus 
- 1315 – Battle of Moiry Pass (June) 
- 1315 – First battle of Dundalk (June) 
- 1315 – Battle of Connor (September) 
- 1315 – Second battle of Dundalk (November) 
- 1315 – Battle of Kells (December)
- 1316 – Battle of Skerries (January)
- 1316 – Second Battle of Athenry (August)
- 1317 – Battle of Lough Raska (August)
- 1318 – Battle of Dysert O'Dea (May)
- 1318 – Battle of Faughart (October)
- 1328 – Battle of Thomond
- 1329 – Battle of Ardnocher
- 1330 – Battle of Fiodh-an-Átha
- 1333–1338 – Burke Civil War
- 1336 – Castlemore-Costello besieged and demolished by the King of Connacht 
- 1340 – Battle of the O Cellaig's 
- 1341 – Battle of the Clan Maurice 
- 1342 – Battle of Beal-atha-Slisen – King of Connacht defeats the King of Moylurg 
- 1343 – Battle of Hy-Many – MacFeorais and Clanricarde soundly defeat the Uí Maine. Achadhmona battle between the O'Donnells, in Tirhugh
- 1345 – Battle of Lough Neagh – naval battle between Hugh O'Neill and the Clann Hugh Buidhe 
- 1346 – Calry-Lough-Gill – O Rourke soundly defeated by the O Connors. Brian Mag Mathgamna defeats and kills 300 English somewhere in Thomond 
- 1348 – Ballymote besieged and burned by MacDermot, O Connor defeated 
- 1349 – O Melaghlin of Meath defeated in battle by the English 
- 1355 – The English of West Connaught defeated Mac William Burke, and killed many of his people Clanricarde defeats the Mayo Bourkes and the Siol Anmchadha 
- 1356 – Baile-Locha-Deacair 
- 1358 – Hugh O Neill defeats the Fer Managh and Orial. O More defeats the English of Dublin in battle 
- 1359 – Ballyshannon 
- 1366 – Srath-Fear-Luirg 
- 1368 – Oriel 
- 1369 – Blencupa 
- 1369 – Lough Erne – English of Munster and Desmond soundly defeated by O Brian, possibly at Limerick 
- 1373 – Annaly 
- 1374 – Niall O Neill defeats the English 
- 1375 – Downpatrick – Niall O Neill defeats the English 
- 1377 – Clann-Cuilein – Clanricarde and his allies defeated 
- 1377 – Roscommon – Ruaidri O Conchobhair defeats the Mayo Burkes and the Uí Maine 
- 1379 – Dreach – O Neill Mor defeats Maguire 
- 1380 – Atha-leathann – Clanricarde defeated by Bourke of Mayo 
- 1381 – Athlone 
- 1383 – Trian Chongail – Hugh O Neill and Robin Savage kill each other in a cavalry charge 
- 1384 – Carrickfergus "burned by Niall O'Neill, who thereupon acquired great power over the English" 
- 1385 – Battle of Tochar Cruachain-Bri-Ele – O Conchobhair, King of Uí Falighe, soundly defeats the English of Meath
- 1389 – Caislen an Uabhair 
- 1391 – Bealach-an-Chrionaigh 
- 1392 – Ceann-Maghair 
- 1394 – Battle of Ros-Mhic-Thriúin
- 1395 – Cruachain – the King of Uí Failghe defeats an English expedition. O Donnell defeats and captures the sons of Henry O Neill 
- 1396 – Creag – O Conchobhair Roe defeats O Conchobhair Donn. O Tuathail of Lenister inflicts a severe defeat on the Anglo-Irish 
- 1396 – Sligo – O Donnell and O Connor besiege and burn the town 
- 1397 – Machaire Chonnacht 
- 1397 – Bun-Brenoige 
- 1398 – Eachdruim Mac n-Aodha – the O Tooles and O Byrnes defeat the Anglo-Irish, killing the Earl of March 
- 1398 – Magh-Tuiredh – O Conchobair Roe and allies defeated by McDonagh 
- 1399 – Battle of Tragh-Bhaile – the Anglo-Irish defeat the sons of Henry O Neill 
15th century Edit
- 1400 – Dunamon. 
- 1406 – Battle of Cluain Immorrais
- 1444 – Duibhthrian Sligo burned by the O Donnells, Maguires and O Connors. 
- 1446 – Cuil Ua bh-Fionntain 
- 1449 – Muintir-Maelmora 
- 1452 – Cloch-an-bhodaigh Coirrshliabh na Seaghsa 
- 1453 – Ardglass (naval battle) 
- 1454 – Inis 
- 1455 – Athlone: The castle of Athlone was taken from the English, having been betrayed by a woman who was in it.
- 1456 – Cuil Mic an Treoin (Friday 18 May) 
- 1457 – Druim da Ethiar 
- 1460 – Corca Bhaiscinn (naval battle) 
- 1461 – Ceann Maghair 
- 1462 – Waterford taken by the Butlers in a war with the FitzGeralds. 
- 1462 – Lancastrian Butlers defeated by Yorkist FitzGeralds at Battle of Piltown in Wars of the Roses.
- 1464 – Sliabh Lugha 
- 1465 – Carn Fraoich 
- 1466 – Offaly Anglo-Irish army defeated by O Connor 
- 1467 – CrosMoighe-Croin 
- 1468 – Beann-uamha Scormor, in Clann Chathail mic Murray 
- 1469 – Baile-an-Duibh The Defeat of Glanog 
- 1473 – Doire-Bhaile-na-Cairrge 
- 1475 – Baile-Locha-Luatha 
- 1476 – Beal Feirste (Belfast) 
- 1478 – Sligo, and the siege of Carrig Lough Ce 
- 1482 – Ath-na-gCeannaigheadh 
- 1483 – Traghbhaile of Dundalk 
- 1484 – Moin-Ladhraighe 
- 1486 – Tirawley 
- 1488 – two sieges of Carraig Lough Ce 
- 1489 – Belfast castle demolished by O Donnell Ballytober Bride sacked by O Connor Roe 
- 1490 – Maigh Croghan 
- 1493 – Glasdromainn Beanna Boirche 
- 1494 – O Donnell besieges Sligo for several months in the summer, but is unsuccessful 
- 1495 – O Donnell besieges Sligo again battle of Beal an Droichit siege of Ballyshannon battle of Termon-Daveog 
- 1497 – Bealach-Buidhe Beal Ath Daire. 
- 1498 – Cros-Caibhdeanaigh. Dungannon. 
- 1499 – Tulsk. First recorded death in Ireland from a bullet. 
16th century Edit
- 1504 – Battle of Knockdoe – Fitzgeralds of Kildare defeat the Clanricarde Burkes
- 1522 – Battle of Knockavoe – Clash between O'Donnells and O'Neills
- 1534 – Battle of Salcock Wood- A force from Dublin is defeated by a coalition of the O'Tooles and Fitzgerald supporters. 
- 1534 – Siege of Dublin Castle by 'Silken' Thomas Fitzgerald in Kildare
- 1535 – Siege of Maynooth Castle, the chief residence of Fitzgerald, by English forces 
- 1539 – Battle of Bellahoe Ford – A force led by Leonard Grey routs an O'Donnell/O'Neill force 
- 1559 – Battle of Spancel Hill, a conflict over the O'Brien succession
- 1565 – Battle of Glentasie – Shane O'Neill defeats the MacDonnells of Clan Iain Mor
- 1565 – Battle of Affane – Fitzgeralds of Desmond defeated by Butlers of Ormond
- 1567 – Battle of Farsetmore – Shane O'Neill defeated by O'Donnell clan
- 1570 – Battle of Shrule 
- 1586 – Battle of Ardnaree – Mercenary Scots entering Connacht are surprised and destroyed by Bingham's army 
- 1590 – Battle of Doire Leathan – part of the O'Donnell Succession dispute
Mac an Iarla War Edit
- 1572 – First Sack of Athenry 
- 1573 – Beal an Chip 
- 1577 – Second Sack of Athenry 
- 1577 – Siege of Loughrea 
- 1579 – Lisdalon 
- 1580 – Sack of Loughrea 
- 1580 – Cill Tuathail 
Desmond Rebellions Edit
First Desmond Rebellion (1569–1573)
- 1569 – Siege of Kilkenny 
- 1569 – First Battle of Killamock 
- 1571 – Second Battle of Kilmallock 
- 1579 – Aenachbeg 
- 1579 – Sack of Youghal 
- 1579 – Sack of Kinsale 
- 1580 – Battle of Glenmalure
- 1580 – Siege of Carrigafoyle Castle
- 1580 – Siege of Smerwick
- 1582 – Allhallowtide 
Spanish Armada Edit
Nine Years' War Edit
- 1594 – Siege of Enniskillen
- 1594 – Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits
- 1595 – Battle of Clontibret
- 1596 – Third Sack of Athenry
- 1596 – Siege of Galway, Sack of Bohermore
- 1597 – Battle of Casan-na-gCuradh
- 1597 – Battle of Carrickfergus
- 1598 – Battle of the Yellow Ford
- 1599 – Siege of Cahir Castle
- 1599 – Battle of Deputy's Pass
- 1599 – Battle of Curlew Pass
- 1600 – Battle of Moyry Pass
- 1601- Battle of Castlehaven
- 1601 – Siege of Donegal
- 1601 – Battle of Kinsale
- 1602 – Siege of Dunboy
- 1602 – Burning of Dungannon
17th century Edit
O'Doherty's Rebellion Edit
Irish Confederate Wars Edit
- 1641 – Battle of Julianstown
- 1642 – Battle of Swords 
- 1642 – Battle of Liscarroll
- 1642 – Battle of Kilrush
- 1642 – Battle of Glenmaquin
- 1642 – Sack of the Claddagh
- 1642 – Siege of Limerick 1642
- 1643 – Battle of New Ross (1643)
- 1643 – Battle of Cloughleagh
- 1643 – Battle of Portlester
- 1643 – Siege of Forthill
- 1645 – Siege of Duncannon
- 1646 – Battle of Benburb
- 1646 – Siege of Bunratty
- 1647 – Battle of Dungans Hill
- 1647 – Sack of Cashel
- 1647 – Battle of Knocknanauss
- 1649 - Siege of Dublin
- 1649 – Battle of Rathmines
- 1649 – Siege of Drogheda
- 1649 – Sack of Wexford
- 1649 – Siege of Waterford
- 1649 – Battle of Arklow/Glascarrick
- 1649 – Battle of Lisnagarvey
- 1649 – Siege of Derry (1649) 
- 1650 – Siege of Kilkenny
- 1650 – Siege of Clonmel
- 1650 – Battle of Tecroghan
- 1650 – Battle of Scarrifholis
- 1650 – Siege of Charlemont
- 1650 – Battle of Macroom
- 1650 – Battle of Meelick Island
- 1651 – Siege of Limerick (1650–1651)
- 1651 – Battle of Knocknaclashy
- 1652 – Siege of Galway
Williamite War Edit
- 1689 – Break of Dromore
- 1689 – Siege of Derry
- 1689 – Battle of Newtownbutler
- 1689 – Siege of Carrickfergus
- 1689 – Raid on Newry
- 1690 – Battle of Cavan
- 1690 – Capture of Sligo 
- 1690 – Battle of the Boyne
- 1690 – Siege of Limerick (1690)
- 1690 – Siege of Cork
- 1690 – Siege of Kinsale (1690) 
- 1691 – Siege of Athlone
- 1691 – Capture of Athenry 
- 1691 – Siege of Galway
- 1691 – Siege of Limerick (1691)
- 1691 – Battle of Aughrim
18th century Edit
- 1760 – Battle of Carrickfergus – Carrickfergus seized by the French for five days.
- 1795 – Battle of the Diamond – a sectarian faction fight in County Armagh, that led to the founding of the Orange Order
United Irishmen Rebellion Edit
- 24 May – Ballymore-Eustace, Naas, Prosperous, Kilcullen
- 25 May – Carlow
- 26 May – Tara Hill
- 27 May – Oulart Hill
- 28 May – Enniscorthy
- 30 May – Three Rocks
- 1 June – Bunclody
- 4 June – Tuberneering
- 5 June – New Ross
- 7 June – Antrim
- 9 June – Saintfield
- 9 June – Arklow
- 13 June – Ballinahinch
- 19 June – Ovidstown
- 20 June – Foulksmills
- 21 June – Vinegar Hill
- 30 June – Ballyellis
- 27 August – Castlebar
- 5 September – Collooney
- 7 September – Ballinamuck
Several fragments of the rebel armies of the Summer of 1798 survived to fight on both in the hope of the rebellion breaking out again and of French aid. The main guerrilla groupings were:
World War II: Soviet and Japanese Forces Battle at Khalkhin Gol
By Sherwood S. Cordier, originally published in the July 2003 issue of World War II magazine.
From May through September 1939, the Soviet Union and Japan waged hard-fought battles on the wind-swept deserts along the border of eastern Mongolia. Antagonism ran deep. The decline of the Chinese empire had whetted the territorial appetites of its neighbors, and the expanding empires of Russia and Japan collided in Korea and Manchuria. Their conflicting ambitions sparked the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, which ended in a stunning victory for Japan in 1905.
In 1918, following the disintegration of the tsarist empire, the Japanese army occupied Russia’s far eastern provinces and parts of Siberia. The consolidation of the Communist regime, however, compelled a reluctant Japan to withdraw from those territories in 1922. Japan resumed its imperial march in 1931 with the occupation of Manchuria and the establishment of the puppet state of Manchukuo. In 1937, the Japanese invaded China, seizing Shanghai and Nanking.
That, along with the Anti-Comintern Pact signed in 1936 between Germany and Japan, alarmed the Soviet Union. A treaty concluded between Josef Stalin and Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang government in 1937 furnished Soviet financial and military aid to the Chinese. About 450 Soviet pilots and technicians and 225 Soviet warplanes were soon sent to China.
Incidents along the 3,000 miles of ill-defined border between Manchukuo and the Soviet Union numbered in the hundreds from 1932 on. In the summer of 1938, a major clash erupted at Lake Khasan, 70 miles southwest of Vladivostok at the intersection of the Manchukuoan, Korean and Soviet borders, leaving the Soviets in possession of the ground.
The lifeline of the Soviet position in the Far East and Siberia was the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which served as the only link between those regions and European Russia. Outer Mongolia was the key to strategic control of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. To ensure the protection of that vital artery, the Soviets had established the puppet Mongolian People’s Republic (MPR) in Outer Mongolia. A treaty of mutual assistance between the Soviet Union and the MPR had been signed in 1936.
Part of the reason for the escalating tensions in the area was due to the ‘Strike North’ faction in the Japanese high command — a faction found predominantly among the staff officers of the Kwantung Army stationed in Manchukuo. Once it had severed the Trans-Siberian lifeline, the Strike North officers argued, the Japanese empire could then be expanded to include all of Mongolia, the Soviet maritime provinces and parts of Siberia. Shielded by those buffer territories, the natural resources and heavy industries of Manchukuo could then be fully developed by the Japanese. Bereft of outside support, Chinese resistance would collapse.
A minor border dispute in a remote area provided the Strike North faction with the opportunity needed to pursue its ambitious plan. The Japanese claimed the Halha River as the western border of Manchukuo. However, the Soviets argued that the frontier was 15 miles east of the Halha, close to the village of Nomonhan.
The Kwantung Army’s staff was convinced that they enjoyed a decisive logistical advantage in that remote area. Japanese railheads were located 100 miles east of Nomonhan. Two dirt roads had been cleared to the village. In sharp contrast, the nearest Russian railhead was 434 miles away at Borzya. The Japanese were sure that the Russians could not commit more than two infantry divisions to operations in that area. The Japanese were also convinced that Stalin’s Great Purge of 1935 to 1937 had effectively crippled the Soviet officer corps.
The Halha River, often referred to as the Khalkhin Gol, flowed north–south, parallel with the battle front. At the center of the front, the Holsten River bisected the Halha. Terrain was hilly east of the Halha, but west of the river stretched a vast and barren desert plateau. During July and August, temperatures ranged as high as 104 degrees. Available water in the area was brackish, and water purification was a major problem for both armies. Hordes of voracious mosquitoes from the marshes tormented the soldiers of both sides.
In May 1939, a series of Kwantung Army–instigated skirmishes between Mongolian and Manchukuoan forces escalated into what the Soviets would term the Khalkhin Gol and the Japanese would call the Nomonhan Incident. Elements of the Japanese 23rd Division were committed to action on May 14, as were Japanese warplanes. The first major encounter between Japanese and Soviet forces took place between May 28 and 29. Both sides fought to a draw. Having committed themselves, the Japanese were then reinforced and organized under the command of Lt. Gen. Michitaro Komatsubara into an army of 20,000 men and 112 field artillery pieces.
Earlier, in an interview with American journalist Roy Howard on March 1, 1936, Stalin had warned the Japanese that any attack on the MPR would elicit prompt Soviet aid to its client state. That warning was renewed in a speech Stalin made to the 18th Communist Party Congress on March 10, 1939.
On June 2, General Georgi Zhukov, one of the few general officers to survive Stalin’s purges, was entrusted with the command of Soviet and Mongolian troops at Khalkhin Gol. Reflecting the conflict’s importance to the Soviet premier, Zhukov was instructed to report directly to Stalin. Upon his arrival, Zhukov thoroughly organized his command facilities and communications networks. Another hallmark of his leadership, discipline, was ruthlessly enforced among the men of his remote army.
As befitted a battlefield with little or no ground cover, much of the early fighting between Zhukov and Komatsubara’s forces was focused on securing the air. Initially, the Japanese enjoyed an advantage in these encounters. Japanese pilots were experienced veterans of the air war over China. In the spring of 1939, the new Nakajima Ki.27 monoplane fighter — fast and highly maneuverable — entered service with the Japanese army air force. (The formidable Mitsubishi A6M1 Zero did not come into service until September 1940 with the Japanese navy.) Ninety Nakajima fighters and pilots were deployed to contest the skies over Mongolia.
The Japanese pilots soon made their presence felt. Four Soviet aircraft were shot down for every single loss inflicted on their foe. To reverse that situation, in June the Soviets committed six squadrons of improved model Polikarpov I-152 biplanes and three squadrons of Polikarpov I-16 Type 10 monoplanes, totaling more than 100 fighters. The stubby I-152 proved well-suited to operate from hot and windy desert airstrips. It featured a short takeoff run and was very stable, even in crosswinds. The world’s first production monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear, the I-16 was very demanding to fly and unforgiving to inexperienced pilots. The high landing speed of the I-16 required long airstrips. But the ‘flying barrel,’ as the I-16 was dubbed, was fast, climbed rapidly and possessed an outstanding rate of roll.
Although the I-16 could not match the Ki.27’s maneuverability, it could easily dive onto the tail of its adversary and then climb away. Both Soviet fighters packed double the firepower of their antagonist, being armed with four 7.62mm machine guns versus two 7.7mm guns in the Nakajima. Soviet pilots also enjoyed the protection of armor plate incorporated into the seat of the I-152 and the headrest of the I-16 — a feature that the Japanese, in their obsession with saving weight, had left out of their nimble fighters. Operating in close cooperation, the two Russian fighters proved a match for their Japanese challenger.
Among the Soviet fliers dispatched to Mongolia were veterans of the Spanish Civil War. With experienced leadership and new fighters, the Russians turned the air war to their advantage as the summer wore on. Japanese statistics on casualties suffered by their army air force reveal that of those airmen lost in battle, 10.1 percent were killed and wounded in May and June, 26.5 percent in July, 50 percent in August and the rest in the first half of September. Japanese aces rang up fantastic scores during that period — including 58, a Japanese army record, by Hiromichi Shinohara before he was killed in action on August 27. More recent analysis by Japanese aviation historians, however, revealed that while Soviet pilots claimed four times as many victories as they really achieved, their own pilots had over-claimed by a factor of 6-to-1.
Even as its pilots were scoring victories, a growing rift between the Kwantung Army and the army general staff in Tokyo was intensified by the air war. Without prior knowledge or approval of the high command in Tokyo, the Kwantung Army unleashed major bombing raids on June 27 against Tamsag and Bain Tumen air bases, deep in the Soviet rear. Infuriated by such rank insubordination, the officers in Tokyo delivered a blistering rebuke. Orders were issued forbidding attacks upon airfields in Soviet rear areas. The incident illuminated the deep division within Japanese army leadership at the highest levels. Deeply concerned about commitment of Japanese forces in China, the army general staff in Tokyo was beginning to view the escalating conflict in Mongolia with growing alarm.
While Japanese leaders squabbled over their commitment of forces in Mongolia, Zhukov and others began to focus on overcoming the daunting logistical challenges of maintaining a sizable defensive force in the region. In an impressive effort that would provide valuable lessons for future operations, Russian truck convoys drove day and night over desert tracks, a grueling round trip of 868 miles. The Soviets employed 3,800 trucks and 1,375 fuel tankers in their supply organization. Those trucks transported 18,000 tons of artillery shells, 6,500 tons of bombs and 15,000 tons of liquid fuel, as well as troops and weapons. Much of the credit for that remarkable feat of logistics must go to a veteran Soviet general, Grigori M. Shtern, commander of the Trans-Baikal military district.
Unwilling to back down, the Japanese unleashed a major two-pronged ground offensive at the beginning of July. On the left, an attack spearheaded by a mechanized brigade would drive the Soviets back to the Halha. Meanwhile, an attack on the right would cross the river to the north and then sweep south, cutting off the subsequent Soviet retreat.
The mechanized brigade stationed with the Japanese army in Manchukuo was in the process of organization. Only one of three planned medium tank regiments had been fully formed. Production of new Type 97 medium tanks was just underway. The brigade had not yet incorporated integral infantry and artillery components. Three infantry battalions were now hastily withdrawn from other formations and assigned to the brigade for the forthcoming operation.
Only four of the new Type 97 tanks had come into the hands of the 3rd Medium Tank Regiment. That unit was therefore compelled to rely upon 26 of the older Type 89B machines. Weighing 13 tons, the Type 89B was powered by a 120-hp engine and could only make 15.5 mph. Main armament was a low-velocity 57mm gun with limited range and penetration capability. The 4th Light Tank Regiment comprised 35 Type 95 light tanks and eight Type 89A mediums. The Type 95 attained a speed of nearly 28 mph, but its 37mm gun had an effective range of only 700 meters.
In comparison, the main Soviet tank, the 13.8-ton BT-7, featured a powerful 450-hp engine and Christie suspension, giving the machine a speed of 33 mph. Its main armament was an excellent 45mm high-velocity gun, with a range of 2,000 meters. Tanks on both sides were highly vulnerable to anti-tank guns, of which the Soviets possessed an overwhelming majority. A Soviet tank brigade at full strength possessed 128 tanks and 24 self-propelled 76mm howitzers. An armored brigade in the Red Army was a team of tanks, truck mounted infantry and self-propelled artillery. The self-propelled 76mm cannons were mounted on turntables in heavy trucks, and protected with armored shields.
On July 2, 7 1/2 Japanese infantry battalions crossed the Halha and seized the Bain Tsagan Heights. They quickly encountered the 11th Soviet Tank Brigade, which, along with the 7th Armored Brigade, was hurled by Zhukov into a quickly organized counterattack. Possessing few anti-tank guns, the Japanese were compelled to rely on Molotov cocktails and other inadequate explosive charges flung against the Soviet armor. After fierce fighting the Japanese were dislodged from the ridge and forced to withdraw across the Halha. In the subsequent Japanese counterattacks, the infantry failed to work effectively with their armor. Forty-four Japanese tanks were destroyed or damaged. The brigade was withdrawn from the theater on July 10.
Undaunted by previous failures, the Japanese tried again between July 23 and 25. After a preliminary barrage, Japanese infantry would infiltrate Russian positions at night. To give the barrage increased punch, the Japanese brought up six long-barreled, 150mm Type 89 guns and, from the Home Islands, 16 105mm Type 92 guns.
But the Japanese found themselves outranged and outweighed by long-barreled Soviet artillery. The 12 Soviet 150mm guns hit targets accurately at a range beyond the ability of the Japanese to reply. The 16 122mm Soviet model 1931 guns reached up to 20,870 meters, while the Japanese 105mm guns fell short at 18,300 meters. In the ensuing duel, the Japanese failed to silence the heavy Russian artillery.
With their artillery’s lack of effectiveness, the subsequent night attacks by the Japanese infantry units were stopped by formidable Russian defenses. In addition to working to improve his logistical position, Zhukov had worked diligently to prepare an organized defense in depth. Even when Japanese units were able to seize positions, when morning came, Soviet artillery, tanks and infantry recaptured the lost ground.
By the end of July, the Japanese were compelled, with great reluctance, to go on the defensive. Their energies were then devoted to building a system of field fortifications and bunkers. On August 10, Japanese forces fighting along Khalkhin Gol were organized as the Sixth Army. The army included 38,000 soldiers, 318 guns, 130 tanks and 225 warplanes. While the Japanese entrenched themselves, General Zhukov, now commanding the First Army Group, planned to launch an offensive of his own. He would use the 57,000 men, 542 artillery pieces, 498 tanks and 515 aircraft of his army group in a double envelopment of the Japanese.
Even while fending off Japanese attacks earlier in the summer, the Soviet commander had studied his opponents’ dispositions, discovering several fatal flaws. The Japanese flanks were covered by unreliable Manchukuoan cavalry and were vulnerable to encirclement. Nor did the Japanese possess a tactical mobile reserve. To cope with flank attacks, they would be compelled to focus on one flank at a time, and disengage forces from action in the center or the other flank. To secure operational surprise, Zhukov employed many varied deceptive measures. Radios broadcast false information and transmitted soundtracks of construction noise. Trucks and aircraft operated day and night to muffle the sound of unit deployment. Such measures convinced the Japanese that the Soviets were also digging in for the winter.
Poised to strike on August 20 were three major Soviet forces arrayed along a 45-mile front. On the Soviet left wing, facing east, were the 6th Mongolian Cavalry Division, the 7th Armored Brigade, the 601st Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Rifle Division and two battalions of the 11th Tank Brigade. In the center, entrusted with pinning the Japanese in place by a frontal assault, were the 36th Motorized Rifle Division, the 5th Machine Gun Brigade and the 82nd Rifle Division minus the 601st Infantry Regiment. On the right wing, facing north, were the 57th Rifle Division, two battalions of the 11th Tank Brigade, three battalions of the 6th Brigade and the 8th Mongolian Cavalry Division. Held in reserve was a powerful mobile force made up of the 9th Armored Brigade, one battalion of the 6th Tank Brigade and the 212th Airborne Brigade.
At 5:45 on the morning of August 20, Russian aircraft unleashed a hail of bombs on Japanese positions. A heavy barrage thundered from Soviet guns. At 9 a.m., Russian troops moved forward. The climactic battle of Khalkhin Gol was underway. The Japanese were stunned by the ferocity of Zhukov’s attack. The southern Russian force, with the shortest distance to go to reach the Japanese rear, and buttressed with the largest tank strength, made the most progress in the initial onslaught. The central force, however, became entangled in furious fighting. In the north, Soviet troops encountered stubborn and skillful resistance.
Komatsubara was keenly aware of the Soviet threat to his southern flank. He wanted to shift elements of his 23rd Division south to meet it, but Soviet pressure on his beleaguered soldiers in the north compelled the Japanese commander to reinforce that endangered flank instead. Met by Japanese resistance in the north, Zhukov committed the 9th Armored Brigade and the paratroopers of the 212th Brigade to his northern force. As a result, Japanese attention remained focused on the northern flank.
By August 23, the southern Soviet force had driven to the Manchukuoan border and cut off any Japanese retreat from the area below the Holsten River. The encirclement was completed on August 24, when the 9th Armored Brigade linked up with the 8th Armored Brigade from the south.
Japanese forces drawn from Manchukuo made efforts to rescue their trapped comrades from August 24 to 26. Soviet air attacks made any road movement very difficult, however, and a hammer blow by the 6th Tank Brigade finally forced the Japanese to abandon their efforts to break the iron grip of the Soviet vise. Divided into pockets, the Japanese were crushed by August 31.
In the midst of the fighting, the Japanese were shocked and infuriated to learn that their German ally had negotiated and signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union on August 23. Japanese feelings were bitterly summarized by the newspaper Asahi Shimbun: ‘The spirit of the Anti-Comintern Pact has been reduced to a scrap of paper and Germany has betrayed an ally.’ In light of that development and their failure to secure victory on the ground, the Japanese government and army high command in Tokyo concluded that the conflict in Mongolia must be brought to a close.
In September, to discourage any Soviet move into Manchukuo and to prepare for renewed ground action if needed, the Japanese mounted an intense air campaign. For that purpose, six fighter squadrons were transferred from China. By September 13, the Japanese army air force had arrayed 255 warplanes, including 158 fighters along the front. Air battles swirled in Mongolian skies in the first and second weeks of September and climaxed on the 15th, as 200 Japanese warplanes struck Soviet air bases in Mongolia. Fierce aerial combat ensued as 120 Japanese fighters fought 207 Russian adversaries. All combat came to an end, however, when a cease-fire agreement was signed on September 16.
The Japanese conceded the loss of 8,717 soldiers and airmen killed and missing, and 10,997 wounded and ill during their incursion into Mongolia. Soviet sources report 8,931 killed and missing, and 15,952 wounded and sick. But both sides’ losses may well have exceeded those figures.
The scope and results of this conflict were not widely known at the time. Mortified by defeat in battle, the Japanese sought to conceal their disgrace. For its part, the Soviet Union was preoccupied with seizing defensive positions in the West with the division of Poland and the occupation of the Baltic States, and did little to trumpet its victories.
In addition, having killed most of his military leaders in his purges, Stalin was unwilling to promote Zhukov’s victory and see the general emerge as a popular hero. Even so, later actions during the war would ensure that Zhukov would become justly famous as the leading Soviet commander of World War II. Many of the characteristic features of the Russian way of war can be seen in his leadership at Khalkhin Gol: massive firepower tight integration of infantry, artillery, tanks and warplanes elaborate deception measures and ruthless sacrifice of lives.
When Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, the Japanese were tempted to join the assault, but the shadow of Khalkhin Gol haunted them. With the influence of the Strike North group at an end, Japanese military planners began to look at British, French and Dutch colonial possessions in Southeast Asia as offering greater prospects for expansion.
Stalin remembered the fierce fighting in Mongolia as well. Even as he summoned 1,000 tanks and 1,200 warplanes from Soviet Far Eastern forces to battle the German invaders who were making spectacular gains, 19 reserve divisions, 1,200 tanks and some 1,000 aircraft remained in Mongolia to confront the Japanese. Although small by the standards of later World War II battles, the fighting between Soviet and Japanese forces at Khalkhin Gol cast a long shadow over subsequent events in the Pacific theater and on the Russian Front.
Battle of Kursk
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Battle of Kursk, (July 5–August 23, 1943), unsuccessful German assault on the Soviet salient around the city of Kursk, in western Russia, during World War II. The salient was a bulge in the Soviet lines that stretched 150 miles (240 km) from north to south and protruded 100 miles (160 km) westward into the German lines. In an attempt to recover the offensive on the Eastern Front, the Germans planned a surprise attack on the salient from both north and south, hoping to surround and destroy the Soviet forces within the bulge. The German assault forces consisted of almost 50 divisions containing 900,000 troops, including 17 motorized or armoured divisions having 2,700 tanks and mobile assault guns. But the Soviets had surmised the German attack beforehand and had withdrawn their main forces from the obviously threatened positions within the salient. The Germans launched their attack on July 5, but they soon encountered deep antitank defenses and minefields, which the Soviets had emplaced in anticipation of the attack. The Germans advanced only 10 miles (16 km) into the salient in the north and 30 miles (48 km) in the south, losing many of their tanks in the process. At the height of the battle on July 12, the Soviets began to counterattack, having built up by then a marked preponderance of both troops and tanks. Their subsequent successes encouraged them to develop a broad offensive that recovered the nearby city of Orel (now Oryol) on August 5 and that of Kharkov (now Kharkiv, Ukraine) on August 23. The Battle of Kursk was the largest tank battle in history, involving some 6,000 tanks, 2,000,000 troops, and 4,000 aircraft. It marked the decisive end of the German offensive capability on the Eastern Front and cleared the way for the great Soviet offensives of 1944–45.
Seven Days Battle
Seven Days Battle Summary: The Seven Days Battle or Seven Days Campaign took place from June 25 to July 1, 1862 and featured six different battles along the Virginia Peninsula east of Richmond. The Union Army of the Potomac, led by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, was over 100,000 men strong yet was steadily driven away from the ultimate goal of Richmond and back to the James River by Confederates led by a new field commander—Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Lee had been serving as military adviser to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, but when Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was wounded May 31 during the Battle of Seven Pines (Battle of Fair Oaks), Davis asked Lee to take command of the army in the field. Lee immediately set the men to work building defensive positions around Richmond, leading his grumbling soldiers to dub him “the Prince of Spades.” But Lee knew he could not protect the Confederate capital for long against such overwhelming odds. After Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson arrived with troops from the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Lee prepared to strike McClellan’s Army.
McClellan struck first, sending two divisions of the III Corps to secure the Richmond & York River Railroad. The fighting on June 25 in the swamps around Oak Grove proved indecisive.
Lee took the initiative the next day, assaulting Federal positions along Beaver Dam Creek, north of the Chickahominy River. The plan depended on a rapid movement by Jackson’s tired men, who arrived too late. Major General A. P. Hill’s Confederate troops attacked as planned but were beaten back. However, the Federals, with Jackson on their right flank and Hill and Lt. Gen. James Longstreet to their front and left, fell back behind Boatswain Creek east of Gaines Mill.
On June 27, the Confederates attacked those positions in a series of costly charges. On the south side of the Chicahominy, a Confederate force from Maj. Gen. “Prince John” Magruder’s command attacked Federals at Garnett’s Farm but were repulsed. The savage attacks convinced the cautious McClellan that he needed to give up his plan to capture Richmond and fall back along his line of supply.
The 28th saw little fighting except for a failed Confederate reconnaissance attempt at Golding’s Farm. On June 29, Magruder struck the Union rear guard at Savage’s Station but with little effect.
On the 30th, three Confederate divisions hit Union positions in a battle known as Glendale or Frayser’s Farm. The Union division of Brig. Gen. George A. McCall routed, and their commander was captured, but counterattacks stopped the Rebel advance. Farther north, an assault by Jackson stalled in White Oak Swamp, and to the south, a half-hearted attempt by Maj. Gen. T. H. Holmes was turned back by Federal gunboats.
McClellan took up a strong defensive position on Malvern Hill a little north of the James River. Lee hammered the defenders with repeated assaults that cost the Confederate army 5,600 men but failed to carry the position. Strategically, however, Lee had won. McClellan retreated down the peninsula. Richmond was saved. Lee, whose reputation had previously suffered as a result of campaigns in Western Virginia over which he had little control, emerged as the Savior of the South. By August, he will have carried the fight back to Northern Virginia and, the following month, he and McClellan will clash again, this time along Antietam Creek outside Sharpsburg, Maryland.
Banner image Battle of Friday on the Chickahominy, created by Alfred Waud, Library of Congress.
Heritage Classical Curriculum
Overview—Each Heritage Study Program focuses on a particular nation-state or empire and includes a selection of books and study aids. Programs are subdivided into about eight historical periods and reading assignments are suggested for each division. Study aids and review questeions are also organized by historical divions so students working in a supervised study environment can progress through the material in a timely manner.
Books—The most important part of each Study Program is the selection of books associated with it. The 'core' reading suggestions are generally assigned from a few introductory level histories, but there are dozens of other books in each collection as well. These additional volumes include biographies, folklore, adapted literature, military history, historical fiction, and other genres. Some are short and written in a manner that is appealing to elementary students, while others are intended for high schoolers and young adults.
It is this broad range of engaging history stories that allow motivated students to fully explore the subject matter and gain historical perspective. Students who complete only core reading assignments will have a good working knowledge of the essentials but those that go beyond the basics will be the historians and great thinkers of tomorrow.
Historical Divisions—Each Study Program is divided into approximately eight units. These divisions are usually chronological but sometimes they are dedicated to special topics. For example, six units of the British Middle Ages program are chronological, but two units are dedicated specifically to Scottish and Irish history.
Specific chapters are assigned for each unit, as are timelines, character lists and other study aids. The organization of the History Quest Quiz game matches that of the Heritage Curriculum Study Programs and most review questions are based on the 'core' reading assignments. Students using History Quest can earn 'Knowledge Medals' for each division they have completed and the entire quiz game was designed to make reviewing history facts easy and enjoyable.
Study Aids—Most of the Study Aids associated with the Heritage Classical Curriulum are also organized along the same lines as the Study Programs. Timelines, character lists, era summaries, maps, study questions, and battle dictionaries have been created for most programs. These resources were develped to help students recall important details after they have completed their reading assignments. Narrative histories are are often written in a way that engages student interest, but it can be difficult to remember details over long periods or in the context of complicated conflicts. Study aids such as timelines and character lists are therefore intended as a review of, rather than a replacement for the assigned reading.
Other study aids were provided to enhance learning in other ways. Historical and outline maps help students visualize the regions in which historical incidents occurred. The Wars and Battles summaries provided by Heritage History are based on a well known Battle Dictionary published in the early 20th century. It provides information of particular interest to young men interested in military history. Finally, the selection of study questions associated with each historical division are intended to help students review for knowledge based multiple choice quizzes, such as those offered by the History Quest quiz program.
Battle Index: I - History
The Battle of Tassafaronga
New Orleans at Tulagi after Battle of Tassafaronga.
Bow is missing forward of Turret II
IntroductionIn the mid-November Battle of Guadalcanal, 1 the Japanese failed in their greatest effort to recapture the southern Solomons. Nevertheless, their troops fought on doggedly. The enemy air force frequently attacked Henderson Field, and hostile light surface craft and submarines continued to infest the waters bounded by Guadalcanal, Savo, and Florida Islands. Gradually, however, the increasing American land force on Guadalcanal began to thrust the Japanese back, maintaining a pressure which proved more and more effective.
COMSOPAC's War Diary for the latter part of November contains numerous reports from the Commanding General on Guadalcanal of minor encounters with Japanese troops. Day after day witnessed the dislodging of small enemy units from positions threatening Henderson Field. Toward the end of the month, the reports assumed a larger significance. East of the Tenaru River our forces dispersed the Japanese troops. The Marines crossed the Matanikau River (scene of much bloody fighting, 20-26 October) in force, and drove relentlessly westward under cover of naval bombardments until, as December approached, they passed well beyond Point Cruz.
Plans were formulated for a general attack to eliminate all Japanese resistance on the island. The final offensive was postponed, however, pending the Army's relief of the First Marine Division. During the change-over, which continued through December and most of January, active shore operations on Guadalcanal were confined to patrol probings of enemy lines.
For some time after the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Japanese appeared
to have abandoned their troops to slow but inevitable extinction. The unfailing indicator of their intentions--the amount of shipping in the Buin-Faisi area--fell rapidly after the middle of November, and remained low for a week or 10 days.
On the 24th, however, Japanese shipping concentrations began to grow. Three days later the number of vessels in Buin and Shortland harbors was reported to have mounted from a mere dozen the previous week to 25-30, in addition to small craft. An enemy move in force to supply and reinforce his southern Solomons positions seemed imminent. If American troops were to continue their successes, this attempt had to be balked.
Our victory at the Battle of Guadalcanal, though overwhelming, had cost us 18 ships sunk or so badly damaged that extensive repairs were required. With the exception of destroyers, COMSOPAC's only available surface units were the carrier Enterprise, the battleship Washington, and the light cruiser San Diego at Noumea and the heavy cruisers Northampton and Pensacola at Espiritu Santo.
Several other ships were, however, en route to the South Pacific. By 25 November, as the enemy's aggressive plans became evident, we had assembled a force adequate to counter the expected offensive. At Nandi in the Fijis lay the carrier Saratoga, the battleships North Carolina, Colorado, and Maryland, and the light cruiser San Juan. The heavy cruisers New Orleans, Northampton, and Pensacola, and the light cruiser Honolulu were stationed at Espiritu Santo. These last two, together with the heavy cruiser Minneapolis which arrived on the 27th, had come from Pearl Harbor. Here also on the 27th were the destroyers Drayton (which had accompanied the Minneapolis), Fletcher 2 Maury, and Perkins.
On 27 November, these 5 cruisers and 4 destroyers at Espiritu Santo were grouped in to a separate task force, under the command of Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, with general instructions from COMSOPAC to intercept any Japanese surface forces approaching Guadalcanal. Admiral Kinkaid prepared a detailed set of operational orders for the Force, but, before he could go over them with his captains, he was ordered to other duty. He was replaced by Rear Admiral Carleton H. Wright, who had just made port in the Minneapolis.
Four heavy cruisers:
Minneapolis (FF), Capt. Charles K. Rosendahl
New Orleans, Capt. Clifford H. Roper
Northampton, Capt. Willard A. Kitts, 111
Pensacola, Capt. Frank L. Lowe
Honolulu (F), Rear Admiral Mahlon S. Tisdale), Capt. Robert W. Hayler
Drayton, Lt. Comdr. James E. Cooper
Fletcher (F), Comdr. William M. Cole
Maury, Lt. Comdr. Gelzer L. Sims
Perkins, Lt. Comdr. Walter C. Ford
The Operation PlanThe plan divided the Task Force into one destroyer and two cruiser units. Each unit included at least one ship equipped with SG radar and one ship with CXAM or SC-1 radar. 4 The Minneapolis, New Orleans and Pensacola formed one unit under Admiral Wright. Admiral Tisdale led the second cruise unit composed of the Honolulu and Northampton. The four destroyers comprised the third unit under the command of the Senior Officer Present, Comdr. Cole, in the Fletcher.
Much of the plan was general in nature, and not relevant to this Narrative. It contained, however, six Annexes, two of which are of particular
interest: the communications plan (which included instructions for the use of radar) and the course of action prescribed for a night engagement.
Unit commanders were to assign radar guardships for continuous all-around search, and for surface search with SG equipment as practicable during the hours of darkness. Unidentified objects detected at night were to be reported by TBS 5 to the unit commander, who was instructed to acknowledge the report. Three conditions of radar operation were set: (1) unrestricted radar use (2) search equipment to be used only by the flagship or the radar guardship--a restriction designed to lessen the likelihood of the enemy picking up emissions from CXAM and SC radars, but not affecting the free use of SG and FC 6 radars (3) all CXAM, SC, and SG-1 radars to remain silent, responsibility for search falling to the SG's.
The tactical plan governing the movements of Task Force W ILLIAM in a night engagement were set forth at length in Annex "F". 7 Its most important provisions were: (1) the cruisers were to form a line of bearing normal to the general bearing line and 4,000 yards astern of the destroyers, which were to stand 30° on the engaged bow of the cruiser line. (2) First contacts were expected to be made by radar. (3) The engagement was to open with a torpedo attack by the destroyers. Once their blow had been delivered, the smaller ships were to follow the cruisers in engaging enemy cruisers or destroyers, and to provide starshell illumination if so ordered. (4) It was hoped to keep the range greater than 12,000 yards until after the torpedo attack, when shellfire would commence at a range of from 10,000 to 12,000 yards. Fire was to be opened under radar control and to be maintained, if possible. 8 If not, individual ships were authorized to illuminate by starshells. Use of searchlights was specifically forbidden. (5) Fighting lights were to be employed only if our ships were fired upon by friendly vessels.
Departure from Espiritu Santo
meager. COMSOPAC could only anticipate another expedition to supply Guadalcanal, not when it might be made or in what force.
At 1940 Admiral Wright received orders to prepare to depart with his force at the earliest possible moment, and to proceed at the best possible speed to intercept an enemy group of 6 destroyers and 6 transports which was expected to arrive off Guadalcanal the next night. He directed Task Force W ILLIAM to make all preparations necessary to get under way immediately, and advised COMSOPAC that his ships would be ready to sortie at midnight.
Three hours later COMSOPAC ordered Admiral Wright to proceed with all available units, pass through Lengo Channel (between Guadalcanal and Florida Islands), and intercept the Japanese off Tassafaronga on the northwestern shore of Guadalcanal. Later, Admiral Wright received information that enemy combatant ships might be substituted for the transports, or that the Japanese force might consist wholly of destroyers, and that a hostile landing might be attempted off Tassafaronga earlier than 2300, 30 November. He received no further advices respecting the size or composition of the opposing units. 9
Admiral Wright promptly put into effect, with minor modifications, Admiral Kinkaid's operation plan, and set midnight as the zero hour for his ships to sortie. Actually the destroyers got under way at 2310, the cruisers at 2335. The whole Force cleared the well-mined, unlighted harbor of Espiritu Santo without incident and shaped its course to pass northeast of San Cristobal Island.
with parachute flares. Their pilots had instructions to search between Lunga Point and Cape Esperance, starting at 2200, to report all enemy ships sighted to Admiral Wright, but not to release flares unless so directed by him. 10
During the morning of 30 November, Admiral Wright informed the Task Force of the reported composition of the enemy force. He also issued additional instructions for the anticipated night operations. These included the burning of screened wake lights, and the use of green and white for fighting lights. As communicated, the plan directed the destroyers to concentrate 2 miles ahead of the guide ship Minneapolis before entering Lengo Channel. In the interim between clearing the Channel and encountering the enemy, the destroyers were to steam on a bearing of 300° T. from the guide, maintaining the same 2-mile distance. The cruisers were to form on a line of bearing of 140°, and to maneuver by turn movements so as to pass about 6 miles from the Guadalcanal coast. The Admiral added that he expected gunfire to commence at a range of about 12,000 yards, and that the situation would probably permit withholding fire until the completion of a torpedo attack. He authorized any vessel having a known enemy target within 6,000 yards to open fire.
As the ships approached Lengo Channel, their order was: Fletcher, Perkins, Maury, Drayton, followed by the cruiser column, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pensacola, Honolulu, and Northampton.
Just before Task Force W ILLIAM entered the Channel, it encountered a friendly east-bound force consisting of 3 transports and 5 destroyers, including the destroyers Lamson and Lardner. Admiral Wright had known that these vessels were in the general area, but became aware of their actual location only at the time of meeting. "Collisions were narrowly avoided," and Task Force W ILLIAM reduced speed, first to 20 knots, then to 15. At 1850 the Lamson and Lardner had received orders from COMSOPAC to join the Task Force at the entrance to Lengo Channel. The junction took place at about 2100. Comdr. Abercrombie, in the Lamson, now became Senior Destroyer Officer Present. As it was too late to communicate the details of the operation to him, and therefore impossible for him to assume command of all the destroyers,
Admiral Wright directed the Lamson and Lardner to take up a position astern of the cruiser column. 11
Task Force W ILLIAM cleared Lengo Channel at 2225 at a speed of 20 knots. Its average speed made good from midnight, 29 November, until it entered the Channel at 2140, 30 November, was 28.2 knots. The cruisers steamed in column, 1,000 yards apart, while the destroyers in the van bore 300° T., 4,000 yards from the Minneapolis. The night was very dark, the sky completely overcast. Maximum surface visibility was not over 2 miles.
The Action: First Phase
|2223||Cruisers change course to 320° T., destroyers taking parallel courses.|
|2239||All ships turn to 280° T.|
|2306||Minneapolis' SG radar picks up two objects off Cape Esperance.|
|2308||Simultaneous turn made to place cruisers and destroyers in columns.|
|2314||Course changed to 300° T. by head of column movement.|
|2316||Comdr. Cole asks permission to launch torpedo attack on enemy formation of 5 ships, distant 7,000 yards.|
|2320||Van destroyers deliver torpedo attack, followed by gunfire and starshells.|
|2321||Minneapolis opens fire and is joined by other cruisers as they locate targets.|
|2325||Van destroyers retire westward around Savo Island.|
perceptible. They were proceeding at 15 knots on a southeasterly course. 12
Shortly after learning of the Minneapolis' contact, the Fletcher picked up two enemy vessels, bearing 285° T., 14,000 yards off her port bow. Tracking immediately commenced, revealing five ships, four about one mile and a quarter off Guadalcanal, the fifth half a mile outside and abreast of the second ship. A solution of 15 knots on a course of 140° T. was obtained. At 2316, as the enemy formation bore 243° T. at a range of 7,000 yards, Comdr. Cole in the Fletcher requested permission to launch torpedoes. Admiral Wright inquired if the targets were within range, and, upon receiving an affirmative answer, authorized the torpedo attack.
Two other van destroyers noted the presence of the enemy. The Drayton's SG picked up five ships after the Fletcher reported contact, but for some reason the plot was erratic, giving a target speed of zero. No Japanese ships were visible from the Perkins until 2315, when the SC equipment revealed five vessels bearing 284° T., approximately 3,000 yards from Tassafaronga Point and 14,480 yards from the destroyer. Radar plot determined the course of this target as 125° T. and the speed 15 knots. Although the number of ships appearing on the Perkins' screen was the same as that on the Fletcher's, the discrepancy in bearings was so great (Perkins 284° Fletcher, 243°) that if the bearings were accurate the two groups of ships must have been widely separated. The Maury had no SG equipment and could not locate the enemy at this time.
Steaming 1,000 yards astern of the flagship was the New Orleans. Her SG also failed to discover the Japanese ships for several minutes after their appearance on the Minneapolis' screen at 2306. Eight minutes later, however, what appeared on the SG screen to be a reef close to Guadalcanal was identified as a column of ships, with a single vessel on the flank. This Japanese formation stood 14,000 yards from the New Orleans, and although the bearing was not recorded, it was doubtless the same formation as that observed by the Fletcher.
The experiences of the other cruisers in the column varied. The Pensacola, third in line, lacked SG equipment, and made no radar contacts until well after the Minneapolis had opened fire. Next came the Honolulu, which, despite constant SG search on the bearings and ranges reported by
the Minneapolis and Fletcher, observed no enemy ships for several minutes. 13 Last in the column was the Northampton, which had no SG radar, and had to depend on the reports of the other ships. Neither of the two rear destroyers, also lacking SG equipment, was able to locate the Japanese.
At approximately 2320, having received authority to launch a torpedo attack, the Fletcher fired 10 torpedoes in two half salvos by SG control. The center of the Japanese line bore 267° T., at a distance of 7,300 yards--a torpedo range of 9,600 yards from our leading destroyer and 8,200 yards from the Drayton in the rear. Simultaneously the Perkins launched eight torpedoes, recording the range as 5,000 yards. Because she still could not obtain a target speed of more than zero, the Drayton only fired two. The Maury had no positive contacts and did not fire at all.
Barely a minute after the torpedoes were launched, Admiral Wright ordered all ships to open gun fire, and the van destroyers began firing 5-inch shells and starshells. The Fletcher selected the selected the rear enemy ship as her target. It was 7,500 yards distant on a bearing of 188° T. After firing about 60 rounds in two minutes, the Fletcher lost her target from the FD radar. She therefore ceased firing and retired to the northwest around Savo Island, followed by the other three destroyers astern. 14
At the time Comdr. Cole reported the target range from the Fletcher as satisfactory for a torpedo attack, seven enemy ships could be seen on the Minneapolis' radar screen, and their range had decreased to about 10,000 yards. The flagship selected a target 9,200 yards off her port bow on a bearing of 260° T. This vessel stood farthest right in the Japanese formation the ship farthest left bore 239° T.
Assisted by starshells from the port 5-inch battery, the main battery of the Minneapolis fired four salvos at what was finally identified as a transport. The first salvo was somewhat over, but the next three were directly on. After the fourth salvo, the transport "violently disintegrated," and the flagship momentarily checked fire.
One minute after the Minneapolis opened, the New Orleans began firing her main battery, directed entirely by radar, at an enemy destroyer 8,700 yards distant on a bearing of 220° T. Personnel in the New Orleans
noticed that this target, moderately illuminated by starshells from the van destroyers, was receiving fire from others of our cruisers. The destroyer apparently blew up after the New Orleans' fourth salvo.
The Pensacola had difficulty in locating a target without an SG radar. She searched with her FC on the bearing and at the range reported by the van destroyers and soon picked up an unidentified object. Tracking began just as Admiral Wright gave the order to fire. With the aid of FC, and starshell illumination from either the Honolulu or Northampton, the Pensacola opened fire on what her officers believed to be a light cruiser steaming at 17 knots 10,000 yards off the port bow. The target lay to the left of the ships under fire from the two forward cruisers. Because the first three salvos proved only near-hits, the Pensacola resorted to her own starshells for better illumination. Ships astern also fired at the same target which was seen to sink when the Pensacola's fourth or fifth salvos landed. Shots from other ships and smoke in the target area made identification difficult, but no one in the Pensacola doubted that the Japanese ship was a cruiser. Fire ceased temporarily when the vessel sank.
The Honolulu could find no target until at least two minutes after the Minneapolis and New Orleans had begun to fire. At about 2224, starshells from our heavy cruisers lighted up a Japanese destroyer. The FC radar shortly picked it up and the Honolulu commenced firing on this target, which bore 250° T. at a mean radar range of 9,600 yards. Half a minute of rapid fire produced several hits, but fading illumination left the target scarcely visible through the smoke and splashes. Accordingly the port 5-inch battery fired several starshell spreads. Reports from the rangekeeper indicated a steady decrease in the vessel's speed. By 2327 it had ceased moving. After one more minute of concentrated fire, observers in the Honolulu saw the enemy destroyer break up and sink, and immediately checked their fire.
Without an SG radar, our fifth and last cruiser, the Northampton, experienced great difficulties in locating the enemy. The land background of Guadalcanal balked all efforts to pick up with the CXAM the contacts developed by the other ships. Finally the main and AA batteries were trained toward the fall of shot from the other cruisers, and the FC promptly located a destroyer target. Shortly thereafter, Plot reported a satisfactory solution on the rangekeeper and the main battery opened fire, using radar train. The target, on a relative bearing of 325°
The Battle of Gaugamela (Arbela)
This battle was Alexander's third great battle and this one ended Darius's rule over Persia. In this battle, terrain conditions were equal for both sides so no-one can claim that there were any coincidences in Alexander's victory.
On the basis of this battle we can assume that before a battle, there was a very detailed planning process, which unfortunately no source has described. But all the recorded deeds and bold decisions can be considered as proof that before the battle, a very professional reconnaissance was performed, which Alexander utilized throughout all of his campaign. It had an extremely important meaning before and during the battle. He knew exactly the terrain and capabilities of his opponent. Despite that he only knew some elements of Persian tactics (such as the use of chariots) from Xenophon's book, he planned and foresaw most of the main factors and he was completely unsurprised by any of the ruses prepared by Darius. Alexander didn't attack right from the march, as he had done until this moment. He didn't use any orthodox schemes of activity and because of that he became unpredictable to the enemy. When the Persian army was in view, he ordered his army to stop and they camped there.
The basic positions of both armies were similar to those shown in the picture no 1 except that Alexander's army was half the length of the Persian army (according to Arrian). At the beginning, Alexander saw that the terrain was leveled and the chariots would easily attack and break phalanx formation. Darius thought that Alexander would start in the same way as in both the earlier battles and would launch a direct attack on the opposite wing. Alexander again organized his forces in oblique order with the right wing stronger. Again Parmenion had "only" to stop the enemy's forces and the main attack had to be under Alexander's command. The Persian forces were so much superior to Alexander's that he decided to change the tactic. Instead of a fast attack he advanced forward-right. Also in other sources that I read about, there were obstacles prepared by the Persians that would damage Alexander's rapidly-attacking army. I have shown them on the map in the front of Persian line.
Moorish Conquest of Hispania
In 711 A.D. a wave of Berber Moors crossed the straight of Gibralter and swept into Hispania. The Visigoth kingdom, which had held sway on the Iberian Peninsula for almost 300 years, was divided by a recent civil war, and had neither the leadership, nor unity to resist the invasion. Stories of treachery by disgruntled Jews and exiled enemies of Roderic, the Visigoth king, abounded. It was even said that Count Julian, a fierce rival of the Visigoth king, had invited the Moors to help overthrow the hated Roderic, and that several important towns, including Toledo, had turned in favor of the conquerors. In any case, the Visigoth resistance was utterly inadequate, and after making a desperate stand at the Guadalete River, the national government collapsed. Several towns resisted the invaders and were besieged, but there was no further organized resistance from the Visigoths, and within a few years the Moors had swept over most of the Iberian Peninsula.
|T ARIK LAYING HIS CONQUESTS AT THE FEET OF M USA|
Although the Moors met with no significant Visigoth resistance, when they ventured into territory north of the Pyrenees they encountered the more formidable Franks. Their first defeat at the hands of the Franks was delivered by Odo, the Duke of Aquitaine, who rescued the city of Toulouse from a desperate seige in 721. The Moors were so severely defeated in this action that they did not make another attempt to invade Gaul for ten years. When a new Moorish governor came to power in 730 however, he raised another army and prepared for a new invasion of Gaul, with the obvious ambition of conquering all of civilized Europe for the Mohammedans. The Moslem army invaded Gaul in 732, took the city of Bordeaux by storm, and obliterated Odo's army of Franks at the battle of Garonne River. Odo escaped and sought the help of Charles Martel, the hero of the battle of Tours. This battle, which is considered on of the most significant in western history, was very hard fought and was reputed to have lasted for several days, but ended in a complete victory for the Christians and the death of the Moorish commander.
The Battle of Tours effectively ended the Moslem incursions into Gaul. The following decade saw the fall of the Umayyad dynasty altogether, and the establishment of a Moorish dynasty in Cordova independent of the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad. During the following fifty years, the tables turned, when a large army of Franks under Charlemagne crossed the Pyrenees into Hispania and attacked Moslem kingdoms in the region. The depredations of the Franks against the Moors ended only in 778 when a rebellion in Saxony caused Charlemagne to recall his army, but by that time, the impulse of the Moors in Spain to carry their conquests into the Frankish dominions of Gauls was permanently checked.
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These brave pilots came from all walks of life their average age being 20 years old, they came from many countries to join the fight. Many were trained and experienced pilots but most had come from ordinary civilian life to become fighter pilots with RAF Fighter Command. During the Battle which lasted almost four months 544 of them would lose their lives, many were killed in action, aircraft accidents, while others were never to be heard of again, these were officially listed as missing in action. The Battle of Britain was a prelude to the German invasion of Great Britain, which after just four months had to be abandoned because of the dedication, courage and tenacity of those known as 'the Few', not forgetting the ground crews without them the victory would not have been possible. All fought the formidable and experienced foe against all odds their ultimate goal was to be successful and win the battle at all costs.
The great victory that they fought for MUST NEVER BE FORGOTTEN
We honour those pilots, and their names appear on this website on our "Roll of Honour".
Germany planned to make the invasion of Great Britain, to do this the Luftwaffe had to destroy RAF Fighter Command and win control of the skies over the English Channel and beyond before the German invasion forces could make the Channel crossing what was to follow was to become known in history as 'the Battle of Britain'.
As the years have passed we should not lose sight of the fact that the Battle of Britain took place over three quarters of a century ago, those Battle of Britain, men and women of air and ground crews who survived not only the great battle itself but the Second World War have over the years many passed from our midst.
In 2015 fewer than 20 of 'the Few' have survived the years and live in the United Kingdom and various parts of the word. They have been able to see the great changes taking place the world over, the Second World War like the Great War was not the war to end all wars. Many managed to see the great victory they fought for but at such a young age they often watched as the enemy fell to the power of their guns, they saw man kill man and many of their colleagues which they had known for a short period often left another empty chair at the mess table. What they have seen post war was the evolution of the fighter aircraft from the 1930’s design, Hurricane and Spitfire to the high technology which goes in the fighter aircraft of today.
Whatever the reasons for arriving at our website, it would be because you have an interest in the Battle of Britain. We invite you to browse through our website to learn about our aims, our current and future programs. This is the part that we, as a Society, play in keeping that memory of the Battle of Britain, the pilots, the aircrew and ground crew who participated in the Battle alive.
The Battle of Britain was so important to the future of the world that it must never be forgotten, as you browse through these pages you will be informed how our Society has been achieving this, by looking after the known final resting places of the ‘Few’, honouring them by presenting plaques in their places of education as young men, answering historical matters and much more.
We hope we have presented our aims to you well enough that you consider becoming a member of our Society by completing the application form on our website and receiving a regular ‘Scramble 1940’ 24 page member’s newsletter. Naturally the majority of our members reside in the United Kingdom the Society also has members all over the world. It is the support of all our members worldwide which gives us strength, the contributions which they make ensure the memory of the Battle of Britain is alive and we continue to honour all those who took part.
"We do not want to be remembered as heroes, we only ask to be remembered for what we did. that's all"
W/C Robert "Bob" Doe British 234 & 238 Squadrons Fighter Command
"I regard it as a privilege to fight for all those things that make life worth living - freedom, honour and fair play"
Pilot Officer William "Bill" Millington Australian 79 & 249 Squadrons Fighter Command
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