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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…January 4th

January 4, 2019 · in News · · 26 · 2.2K

I’ve posted several photos of soldiers and airmen with their pets and mascots, but this one seems somehow special. This photo of a GI (535th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, 99th Infantry Division) waking up to be greeted by his pal captures the man/dog relationship perfectly. Taken just outside Bastogne, January 4th, 1945.

A soldier of the British Expeditionary Force shows the cramped conditions in a Mk1 Matilda in Northern France, Jan 4th, 1940. Interestingly, the word, ‘Deoch’ seen on the tank’s hull means ‘drunk’ in Scots Gaelic. Coincidence, I’m sure.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a 54-inch, 800-pound globe which was installed near his White House office desk in Washington on January 4, 1943. Presented by the Army, it brings this global war into focus for the commander-in-chief of U.S. forces. Might have been a good thing to have kept it in that office in perpetuity.

Flight Officer Melvin Hoffman of the 82nd Fighter Squadron (8th AF) made a hard landing in his Mustang at RAF Duxford, Cambridgeshire, England, UK; Jan 4 1945. Given the oil covering the windscreen, I’d say he did pretty well. The Pony was the personal aircraft of Lt Edwin B Anderson, listed as Failed to Return from bomber escort to Hannover just weeks after this photo was taken.

BL 9.2 inch Mk X coastal defense gun at Gibraltar, 4th January, 1942. Maximum firing range of 26 miles.

A German B109 shot down by French pilots is being placed for public show in the Exhibition Hall on the avenue Des Champs Elysees, Paris (January 4, 1940). For a small fee the public could examine the aircraft, the proceeds going toward the French Airmens’ Welfare Fund.

On 4th January 1989, two United States Navy F-14 Tomcats from the USS John F. Kennedy shot down two Soviet manufactured Libyan MiG-23 ‘Floggers’ which the Americans believed were attempting to engage them over the Mediterranean Sea about 40 miles (64 km) north of Tobruk, Libya. The dogfight caused some controversy, not least because of the (temporary) old school painting of the downed Flogger on Gypsy 202’s fuselage (below).

This last photo, of the Flogger ‘kill’ on the fuselage, was taken by our very own Robert Royes (@roofrat) serving on the USS Kennedy immediately after the ‘Tobruk Incident’. Thanks, Robert!

Y ¡Feliz cumpleaños! S. Cubas! Esperoque tengas un buen día!


Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

26 responses

  1. Every now and then I meet someone who says "I don't like dogs" ,I treat them with immediate mistrust and would probably not talk to them again unless I had to...
    For my money the Matilda 11 is just about the nicest looking tank of the era especially in North African campaign camo so I was surprised to see what ungainly, ugly duckling its predecessor was .
    Great set of pictures Dave , I wonder what happened to that globe.

  2. Hello David,
    The picture with the GI and dog was very special.
    It made my day. printed and sealed.
    Regards, Dirk

  3. Hallo, Dirk, glad you dropped by. It’s a great image and I think it is important in terms of finding other aspects of war. It’s interesting how many veterans you can talk to (not so much now, but certainly earlier in my career) who talk about the closeness, fraternity, and support they found in service. We tend to think of it all as horror. Many men found a brotherhood (including animals) they struggled to find in civilian life. Of course, only the survivors had that problem.

    These posts are incredible and I look forward to going through them when i see them almost more than the model posts, as I am very keen on the history behind my modelling.
    Dogs are awesome.

    • Thank you, straight back at you, Dan. I know you have a couple of dogs, so not surprised the photo ‘got’ you. Ah, Bermuda...sitting here in London it’s exactly freezing o’clock, grey, concrete everywhere.

  5. Man oh man David... what another excellent posting. The dog picture is the best one I have seen in a long time... it just reaches out to you.

    Man's best friend indeed.

    Thanks for making our Friday. These postings are the best...

  6. Very generous, Louis...thanks.

  7. David, thanks again for posting these. The photo with the dog was a great lead-in, and does capture the essence of companionship with a pet. The dog can’t understand war, but could very likely detect any stresses that GI was under. I agree, man’s best friend.

  8. What I love is the look of sheer joy on the soldier’s face. Given where he is, what he’d have been through to get there, and where he was going - that moment is worth something.

  9. More photos of the Libyan incident. and a stray mutt on the flight line.

    5 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  10. Robert, were you on the Kennedy at that time? These photos look the genuine articles.

  11. And I was born just today, 47 years ago 🙂

  12. I'm added to this post... Oooooohhhhhhh!

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