The American flag was flown in battle for the first time on this day in 1777, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware. Patriot General William Maxwell ordered the “Stars and Stripes” banner raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops. The rebels were defeated and forced to retreat to Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania, where they joined General George Washington’s main force.
On this day in 1780, Patriot Francis Marion’s Carolina militia routs Loyalists at Blue Savannah, South Carolina, and in the process Marion wins new recruits to the Patriot cause.
On the evening of September 5, 1914, General Joseph Joffre, commander in chief of the French army during World War I, readies his troops for a renewed offensive against the advancing Germans at the Marne River in northeastern France, set to begin the following morning.
On this day in 1915, a prototype tank nicknamed Little Willie rolls off the assembly line in England. Little Willie was far from an overnight success. It weighed 14 tons, got stuck in trenches and crawled over rough terrain at only two miles per hour. However, improvements were made to the original prototype and tanks eventually transformed military battlefields.
On this day in 1940, 300 German bombers raid London, in the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing. This bombing “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) would continue until May 1941.
On this day in 1943, Operation Avalanche, the Allied land invasion of Salerno, and Operation Slapstick, the British airborne invasion of Taranto, both in southern Italy, are launched.