Responding to increasing Soviet pressure on western Berlin, U.S. and British planes airlift a record amount of supplies into sections of the city under American and British control. The massive resupply effort, carried out in weather so bad that some pilots referred to it as “Black Friday,” signaled that the British and Americans would not give in to the Soviet blockade of western Berlin.
August 13, 1948, was a particularly nasty day, with terrible weather compounding the crowded airspace and exhaustion of the pilots and crews. Nevertheless, over 700 British and American planes landed in western Berlin, bringing in nearly 5,000 tons of supplies.
On this day in 1862, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith begins an invasion of Kentucky as part of a Confederate plan to draw the Yankee army of General Don Carlos Buell away from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to raise support for the Southern cause in Kentucky.
On this day in 1968, Heavy fighting intensifies in and around the DMZ, as South Vietnamese and U.S. troops engage a North Vietnamese battalion. In a seven and a half hour battle, 165 enemy troops were killed. At the same time, U.S. Marines attacked three strategic positions just south of the DMZ, killing 56 North Vietnamese soldiers.
On this day in 1780, American General Horatio Gates suffers a humiliating defeat at Camden, South Carolina.
On this day in 1943,U.S. General George S. Patton and his 7th Army arrive in Messina several hours before British Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery and his 8th Army, winning the unofficial “Race to Messina” and completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.
On this day in 1966, The First Australian Task Force (ATF) inflicts a major defeat on Viet Cong forces in Phuoc Tuy Province. Australia had first sent troops to Vietnam in 1962 and eventually expanded its commitment in response to President Lyndon Johnson’s call for “Free World Military Forces” to form an alliance of “Many Flags” in South Vietnam. By 1966, the First Australian Task Force included two infantry battalions and associated logistical support elements; it had also been joined by a New Zealand unit made up of two infantry companies and a Special Air Service troops. In the Battle of Long Tan, the ATF acquitted itself very well, inflicting a major defeat on the communist forces, killing 245 while sustaining 17 dead.