On This Day…January 6th
On the 6th January, 1945 the USS Columbia (CL-56) was assisting in pre-invasion bombardments in Lingayen Gulf. Having narrowly missed being kit by a Japanese Zero just moments before (photo below; did that photographer have some guts…) her luck was about to run out.
At 17:29 a Mitsubishi Ki-51 (Allied codename ‘Sonia’) of the ‘special attack aircraft squadron’ dived and made a direct hit on Columbia. The plane and its bomb penetrated through two decks before exploding, killing 13 (including 3 survivors of the USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) who had been rescued two days earlier after their ship was sunk -also following a kamikaze attack) and wounding 44 men.
These last two photos were taken from the deck of the USS California (BB-44), who herself was hit by a kamikaze in the same attack, killing 44 men and wounding 155.
The bell of the USS California, on display at the California State Capitol Museum.
6th January, 1944 saw the first flight of the McDonnell XP-67 “Bat” or “Moonbat”. It was a prototype for a twin-engine, long-range, single-seat interceptor aircraft for the United States Army Air Force. Altough the design looked conceptually advanced, it was plagued by problems and never approached anywhere near the hoped for level of performance. The project was cancelled after the one prototype was destroyed by an engine Fire.
Captain Hans Langsdorff addressing his crew at the commissioning service for the Graf Spee, january 6th, 1936. Following the Battle of River Plate, Montevideo, Langsdorff wrapped himself in the colors of Imperial Germany, notably not the Nazi swastika, gave the order to scuttle the ship, then committed suicide. His suicide note read “for a captain with a sense of honor, it goes without saying that his personal fate cannot be separated from that of his ship”.
I.V.L. A.22 (Finnish liscence copy of the German W-33 Seaplane) in Sortavala, Russia, on 6th January 1927.
1928 (Nicaragua) — Pilot Lt. C. F. Schilt, USMC, lands a Vought O2U-1 “Corsair” in the street of a Nicaraguan village to rescue wounded officers. Eighteen servicemen are rescued and Lt. Schilt was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery.
British troops building a snowman by their bofors 40mm AA guns in Northern Italy, 6th Jan,
The German submarine U-12 departs Zeebrugge (Netherlands) with a Friedrichshafen FF.29 seaplane lashed to her deck in a failed experiment in using submarines to carry seaplanes.