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On This Day…December 19th

Destroyed TBM Avenger on the hangar deck of the USS Monterey (CVL-27) on December 19, 1944. The Monterey was named after the Battle of Monterey in California, during the Mexican–American War in 1846. The damage was caused by the typhoon ‘Cobra’ mentioned in yesterday’s edition of this series. Monterey fought a fire on the hangar deck throughout the night of 18/19 December after taking a roll in the typhoon that threw airplanes into the bulkheads and smashing gas tanks, to be lit off by sparking electrical wires. Her navigator was climbing an external ladder to the bridge when a wave came over the bow, caught him and washed him across the deck, where he fell into a 40mm gun tub, thereby saving the life of Lt. Gerald R. Ford, 38th president of the United States (Edited text thanks to Tom Cleaver…see below).

Never knowingly missing an opportunity to post a photo of the Enterprise, here she is just off Guadalcanal, December 19th 1942. USS Saratoga in the background with SBD Dauntless flying overhead.

Tiger II ‘223’ examined by US troops after being abandoned just outside of La Gleize on December 19th, 1944.

Members of the US 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion in Belgium, December 19 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.


On December 19th 1944, US submarine Redfish (SS-395), despite the presence of escorting destoyers, torpedoed and sank the Japanese carrier Unryu, 200 nautical miles southeast of Shanghai, China. This was the Unryu’s first war voyage, only six months after commission.


December 19, 1930; Amelia Earhart added another “first” to her astonishing career on this day by becoming the first woman to fly an autogyro carrying a passenger. It was only five days before that she needed just 15 minutes to learn how to pilot the machine, becoming the first woman to take one up for a solo flight.

C-47 Skytrain (DC-3) crashes onto a house shortly after takeoff in London, December 19th 1946.

2 additional images. Click to enlarge.


15 responses to On This Day…December 19th

  1. Great set of photos as usual. One of my highlights on Imodeler!!

  2. I really like this group of photos, David! The picture of the Enterprise with the SBD is a fine photo and one that’s a classic.

    The pic of those dirty, oily, tired, and determined tankers reminds me of some of my photos. All in all, not much has changed – the equipment is different, the uniforms, while similar, are a bit different, but the character showing in the men is the same. That would probably apply to ALL of those types, no matter which Army & soldiers !

  3. Bonita foto de Amelia. Siempre la primera…

  4. That DC-3 Seems to have landed squarely on the load bearing wall, luckily!

  5. ” The New Yorker” what a nice touch…the greatest generation …the one with the real hero’s who sacrificed it all, could also write. WWII produce a great crop of writers. Heck the illustration is time less and could still be published today.

  6. Monterey fought a fire on the hangar deck throughout the night of 18/19 December after taking a roll in the typhoon that threw airplanes into the bulkheads and smashing gas tanks, to be lit off by sparking electrical wires. Her navigator was climbing an external ladder to the bridge when a wave came over the bow, caught him and washed him across the deck, where he fell into a 40mm gun tub, thereby saving the life of Lt. Gerald R. Ford, 38th president of the United States.

  7. Great pix again…thanks. I think that the caption regarding the USS Monterey may need revisiting, however. During the Mexican War, the US invaded Mexico at the Mexican city of Monterrey, not the city located in California.

    Thank again for your continuing, and very interesting series of historical pix.

    Merry Christmas.

  8. Done. Thanks, Marvin. Appreciate the history revision lesson – a limey error!

    • Actually, David, you have it right. The ship is the USS Monterey (one “r”) not the USS Monterrey (two “r”s). The “one ‘r’ Monterey” city is indeed in California, or better known then as Alta California, while the “two ‘r’ Monterrey” is in the state of Nuevo Leon, southwest of Laredo, Texas.

      Marvin is correct that the U.S. invaded Mexico and overran Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The confusion, however, is that the U.S. also conquered Mexican troops in Monterey, California. So there were actually two conflicts in that war in cities with similar, but not identical names. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Monterrey for the former, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Monterey for the latter. (As a Spanish speaker in the English-speaking world, you would also know that while English speakers will pronounce these names the same, Spanish speakers and hearers could never confuse them phonetically, as the “Monterrey” uses the trilled/rolled “r,” while “Monterey” does not.)

      Ford’s aircraft carrier was indeed named after the Battle of Monterey in Monterey, California.

      So, limey, you had it right after all…along with the folks that named the ship and spelled it that way during WW2. 🙂

    • On a side note, my wife and I invade the Monterey in California as often as we can. It’s one of our favorite places to visit. (And maybe retire to someday.)
      Great set again David. Thanks for posting these.

      • Oops. Changed back again. Not as stupid as I thought!

        • Uh yup.

          The key to understanding this is that USN aircraft carriers (CVs) are often named after battles in which the United States emerged victorious, typically (but not exclusively) on her own soil. Ticonderoga, Bunker Hill, Lexington, and Yorktown are the obvious examples of this (slips my mind that power from which the United States wrested victory, but it will come to me here any minute…). The Monterey stands in this tradition, and is a bit of a sleeper because it is from the Mexican-American War and not the Revolution, but to put it in perspective the USN would no more name a ship Monterrey than they would name one Mexico City.

          Wartime naming of ships like Tarawa and St. Lo are victory cries over the present enemy in that conflict, so stand apart in another subset of this same tradition.

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