On This Day…November 21st.
Three Avro 504’s in Belfort, France, preparing before a raid on the Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshaven, South Germany. This was the first strategic air raid in history. The three pilots took off carrying four 20lb bombs each, none of them having ever dropped a bomb before. No. 873 was flown by Flight Commander John Tremayne Babington; No. 874, was flown by Squadron Commander Edward Featherstone Briggs (shot down on raid and made a PoW); and No. 875, by Flight Lieutenant Sydney Vincent Sippe. They were all awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
And here we see a very unique Christmas card (sold in auction in 2012). It depicts naval airmen Briggs, Sippe & Babington raiding the Friedrichshafen Zeppelin sheds and contains the message`Sincere and hearty greetings for Christmas and the New Year from Mr & Mrs A.V. Roe, Xmas 1926. How Christmas cards have changed…
M8 Greyhound from 30th Infantry Division moves out from from Kinzweiler, Germany, November 21, 1944. I like this for several resons; the clarity of the image, the facial expressions of the GI’s, the detail of battle in the background.
A famous photo of the F6F-5N Hellcat flown by Ensign Cole of VF (N)-42 after crashing into the island of the light carrier USS Bataan CVL-29 on November 21, 1944.
The prototype XF9F-2 Panther, piloted by test pilot Corky Meyer, first flew on 21 November 1947.
Below, a photo taken on the second day of fighting in the Battle of Tarawa (see yesterday’s edition of OTD) of a marine trying to pick off Japanese soldiers ensconced in a pill box. The excerpt below the photograph comes from the journalist Robert Sherrod.
“0530: The coral flats in front of us present a sad sight at low tide. A half dozen Marines lie exposed, now that the water has receded. They are hunched over, rifles in hand, just as they fell. They are already one-quarter covered by sand that the high tide left. Further out on the flats and to the left I can see at least fifty other bodies. I had thought yesterday, however, that low tide would reveal many more than that. The smell of death, that sweetly sick odor of decaying human flesh, is already oppressive.
Now that it is light, the wounded go walking by, on the beach. Some are supported by corpsmen; others, like this one coming now, walk alone, limping badly, their faces contorted with pain. Some have bloodless faces, some bloody faces, others only pieces of faces. Two corpsmen pass, carrying a Marine on a stretcher who is lying face down. He has a great hole in his side, another smaller hole in his shoulder. This scene, set against the background of the dead on the coral flats, is horrible. It is war. I wish it could be seen by the silken-voiced, radio-announcing pollyannas back home who, by their very inflections, nightly lull the people into a false sense of all-is-well.”
Dismal as the above entry is on Robert’s journal, things could have been much worse. The photo below taken on the same day as the ‘sniper’ photo above, shows pilots pleased with their victory during the Marshall Islands attack, grinning over the tail of an F6F Hellcat on board the USS Lexington. They shot down no less than 17 out of 20 Japanese planes heading for Tarawa.