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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…December 16th

December 16, 2018 · in News · · 25 ≡

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.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

25 responses

  1. Nice pics David, especially like the Battle of the Bulge pic. My father would spend his Christmas there with the 101st Airborne Division which was sent into town to stop the German advance. No winter clothing and only weapons and ammunition they collected from retreating troops. Their weapons had been turned into ordnance for repair/replacement after Market Garden. Dad couldn't remember what he had for breakfast two days ago but could recall ever day he spent in Bastogne. He was evacuated to a Field Hospital in England after relief by Patton's 3rd Army with what was termed a severe case of trench foot. Today we call it frost bite or frozen feet. God bless all those boys that were there may they rest in peace.

  2. David, you managed to gather 2 of world’s ugliest planes in this selection and that’s something. That young nazi boy is a famous meme photo around the social platforms

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  3. Another great photo collection for today!

  4. On December 16th, 1978, Karen and I started our lives together. 40 years on and through thick and thin we are still going strong. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I found “the right one” the first time.

  5. Always great. Keep it up David.

    Happy anniversary Rick!

  6. You are100% right about the Wyvern, Pedro. ‘The face only a mother could love’. I hadn’t seen the German trooper’s photo before doing some research into today’s date. There’s a real haunted look about him that connects to the observer, even through all those years.

  7. Congratulations, Rick. Have a great evening whatever you do.

  8. David, having built the Trumpy 1/48 Wyvern, I rather like the ungainly yet aggressive and clean lines of the Wyvern. Great photos as usual. Whenever I look at photos depicting the faces of soldiers in battle, I often wonder what happened to them and if they survived the war.

  9. I 'am with Morne the Wyvern is ungainly and aggressive like a swan taking to the air but, looks cool in the air...from the photo's. We Yanks tried with the Douglas Skyshark similar idea's but, it never made it to the fleet. They couldn't get a transmission that would work properly for the props.

    Or something so ugly looks cool. Form follows function.

    The Skyshark is a brute too.

  10. The look in that Germans face could be ' why am I here?'

  11. One minor correction, that first flight of the Wyvern TF.1 was powered by a Rolls-Royce Eagle piston engine, the first turboprop (TF.2)didn't show up till 1949.

    The prototype W.34; the Wyvern TF.1, first flew at Boscombe Down on 16 December 1946 with Westland's test pilot Harald Penrose at the controls. This aircraft was lost on 15 October 1947 when the propeller bearings failed in flight. Westland's assistant test pilot Sqn. Ldr. Peter Garner was killed attempting to make an emergency landing. From prototype number three onwards, the aircraft were navalised and carried their intended armament.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

    • Perfect, Tom. Appreciate corrections and especially from such a trusted source.

    • Another side note.

      The sole surviving Wyvern TF.1 is at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton.
      It was unflown and a pre-production aircraft, the last to be fitted with the original Eagle piston engine, (serial number VR137) ...what a shame that no turbos survived the cutting torch. I've got it down for the bucket list.

  12. Hello David, @dirtylittlefokker

    and thank you for another fine posting !

    I'm not trying to hijack your thread, but this is another thing that "happened on this day" to one of our family members serving with the US Army in the ETO.

    He was one of the four Gardner brothers serving in Europe at the time. Two were KIA, the other two WIA and eventually returned home. All of this happened within a period of 108 days.

    This was taken from an article written about him in a local newspaper .

    Cpl. Ward F.Gardner Jr. (his nick name was Sunny)

    On the front lines near Strasbourg, France, on December 16, 1944 on the eve of the famous Ardennes Offensive, more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge, is wounded in both shoulders by sniper fire, pinned down in an open field he will wait eight hours until darkness sets in to return to safety. During his escape he is again wounded by shrapnel from mortar fire. Wounded now in his shoulders and leg he is sent to an Army hospital in England.

    Thanks again for taking the time to post these articles...

    and congratulations to you Rick @fuzzmann

    on your wedding anniversary. Here's wishing you and your wife many more healthy and happy years my friend.

  13. Fine post, Louis. Very fine. Deep thanks for supporting the articles.

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