On This Day…December 22nd
Polikarpov I-15 biplanes under repair in Moscow, 22 Dec 1941. The I-15 was nicknamed ‘Chaika’ (seagull) due to the gulled shape of the upper wing.
Always partial to a carrier. This is the USS Belleau Wood (CVL-24) as she enters Pearl Harbor, 22 Dec 1943. Originally laid down as the Cleveland-class light cruiser ‘New Haven’ (CL-76), she was finished as an aircraft carrier, reclassified and renamed Belleau Wood in honour of the Battle of Belleau Wood (1918) in France World War I.
This picture was taken in Vukovar in Dec22nd, 1992 and the kids in the photo are most likely ethnic Serbs. Vukovar came under the control of the Yugoslav People’s Army in November of 1991. At that point most ethnic Croats fled the city. The tank in the background also points to this fact since the JNA was far better armed than the budding Croatian army.
Keeping the carrier theme, this is battleship HMS Valliant as seen from the flight deck of HMS Illustrious, practice shooting during exercises in the Indian Ocean, 22nd December 1942. In the foreground are several Fairey Fulmars and I think the aircraft to the stern are Martlets?
Avro Lancaster GP-W (ED437) flying from RAF Winthorpe, Nottinghamshire, UK. December 22nd 1943. The crew; Tommy Graham, Jack Watson, Jimmy Horne, Bob Winfield, Don Chick, George Landridge, and Harry Goldberg were tragically lost on Operations just four months later, on 27th April 1944.
A man and his dog. Russian front, December 22nd, 1943. Don’t think much of either’s odds.
In Bastogne, 22nd of December, German General Luttwitz sent word to General McAuliffe, commander of the 101st. He was supremely confident that the Nazis would retake the city, telling McAuliffe that his only option was surrender. Infuriated, McAuliffe wrote a simple response. Famously, all it said was “Nuts!” Confused, the messenger asked for an explanation. He was told that it was the equivalent of “Go to Hell!” – I believe it was a little more…frank than that.
Soon after, some of American General Patton’s Third Army, primarily the 4th Armored Division’s 37th Armor Battalion, arrived to relieve them and aid them in punching through the line. McAuliffe went on the offensive, launching a significant counterattack that would force the German army to retreat. This choke point created would allow the Allies to send supplies throughout the area, signing the ultimate fate of the Third Reich. Merry Christmas, indeed.
The arrival of Santa Claus by V-bomber at Gaydon RAF station in 1964. He had called in at a party arranged for a Children’s Home, Warwick, UK, 22nd December 1964.