On This Day…December 16th
SOC-3A ‘Seagull’ floatplane of US Navy Scouting Squadron 201 (VS-201) photographed today in 1941 on the deck of escort carrier USS Long Island (CVE-1, the first US escort carrier).
LST (Landing Ship,Tank) -66 landing troops during the invasion of New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago, Dec 16th, 1943.
A heavily armed German soldier during the Ardennes Offensive, Dec 16th, 1944 (see ‘Battle of the Bulge’, below).
Handley Page Hampdens in flight, here seen from the ventral gondola gun position of one of the aircraft, Dec 16, 1940. Part of ‘Operation Abigail Rachel’, in the bombing of Mannheim.
‘Battle of the Bulge’ started today. The German forces launched one last offensive push against the Allies with a surprise attack that began on December 16th 1944, via the Ardennes forest. Allied forces were expecting a counteroffensive but the timing and location came as a complete surprise. The Germans were hoping to reach the port of Antwerp but encountered heavier then expected allied resistance. Famously, the German Army were stopped at the town of Bastogne, where American soldiers held the Germans until the weather began to clear, giving the Allies an overwhelming advantage in the air. 610,000 US soldiers fought in the battle, with 89,000 casualties and almost 20,000 killed.
December 16th, 1946 – First flight of the Westland Wyvern.
The twin 7.7mm Lewis machine guns mounted in rear cockpit of a French Breguet 14 A2 at Villeneuve Aerodrome, December 16th, 1917.
1 additional image. Click to enlarge.