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Battle of Berlin Begins

Beginning April 16, 1945, Soviet forces commenced moving against Berlin.  Meeting intense resistance, they captured the city after two and a half weeks of fighting.  The victory effectively ended World War II on the Eastern Front.

World War II on the Eastern Front
Military History Spotlight10

American Revolution: The War Begins at Lexington

Friday April 18, 2014

April 19, 1775 - The American Revolution begins with fighting at Lexington (left) and Concord. Early on the morning of April 19, 1775, 700 British troops departed Boston with orders from Gen. Thomas Gage to search for and seize colonial munitions in the town of Concord. Alerted that the British were approaching by Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott, colonial militia and "Minutemen" were able to muster. Forming his men on Lexington Green, Captain John Parker gave them strict instructions not to fire unless fired upon. After the lead elements of the British column, led by Major John Pitcairn, arrived there was an exchange of words and then a shot rang out. While it is not known who fired it, it led to a brief battle in which eight colonists were killed. Moving on the British reached Concord and began their search for munitions. Near the North Bridge, colonial militia was able to defeat a British detachment. Having completed their mission, the British began marching back to Boston. As they moved, colonial forces repeatedly sniped at and ambushed them, ultimately inflicting 273 casualties. Colonial casualties for the day numbered 94. The fighting at Lexington and Concord became the opening battles of the American Revolution.

American Revolution - Boston Campaign:

Photograph Source: Public Domain

American Civil War: Third Battle of Winchester

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Fought September 19, 1864, the Third Battle of Winchester saw Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan advance south and attack Confederate forces led by Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.  Striking with VI and XIX Corps, his early efforts to penetrate Early's line east of Winchester failed to obtain a breakthrough despite heavy fighting.  Bringing up VIII Corps, Sheridan was able to drive back the Confederate left forcing Early to withdraw to a new position closer to the town.  Coming under coordinated assaults by Union infantry, he was nearly surrounded when Maj. Gen. Alfred Torbert appeared north of Winchester with two cavalry divisions.  This threat and the imminent danger of Sheridan shattering his line led Early to order a retreat south to Fisher's Hill.  Forming a new defensive line, he was beaten again by Sheridan two days later.

Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley:

Photograph Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration

Vietnam War: First B-52 Flies

Monday April 14, 2014

April 15, 1952 - The B-52 Stratofortress (right) flies for the first time. Introduced in 1955 , the B-52 Stratofortress became the backbone of the US Strategic Air Command. Designed for delivering nuclear weapons in the event of war with the Soviet Union, the B-52 saw service dropping and firing conventional munitions during the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. In addition, the aircraft has been used in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. At this time, the B-52H squadrons are stationed at Minot Air Force Base (North Dakota) and Barksdale Air Force Base (Louisiana). An economical aircraft, the US Air Force intends to retain the B-52 until at least 2040, bringing the service life of the design to a remarkable 85 years.

US Air Force Bombers:

Photograph Courtesy of the US Air Force

US Navy: USS Mississippi (BB-23)

Saturday April 12, 2014

Commissioned in 1908, USS Mississippi (BB-23) (right) was the lead ship of its class of battleship.  Designed as a smaller version of the earlier Connecticut-class, the Mississippi-class ultimately consisted of two ships.  Entering service, Mississippi operated in the Atlantic and in early 1909 met the Great White Fleet as it returned from its around-the-world cruise.  Continuing to sail with the Atlantic Fleet, the battleship visited Europe in 1910 before delivering Marines to Cuba two years later.  In early 1914, Mississippi assisted in building Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Embarking seaplanes, it carried them south to support the American occupation of Veracruz that spring.  This marked the first combat deployment of US naval aviators.  Remaining in the vicinity for a month, Mississippi returned to Hampton Roads in the summer of 1914.  Shortly thereafter, it, and its sister ship USS Idaho (BB-24), were sold to Greece.  Renamed Kilkis, the former Mississippi remained in the Royal Hellenic Navy until being sunk during World War II.

US Navy - Connecticut-class Battleships:

Photograph Courtesy of the US Naval History & Heritage Command

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