4 October 1942

4 October 1942

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4 October 1942

October 1942

> November

Occupied Europe

British commandoes raid the channel island of Sark

Goring announces that the effects of the Allied blockade will fall on occupied Europe and not on Germany

Important Events From This day in History October 4th

1954 : Marilyn Monroe has announced her intention to obtain a divorce from one of the worlds finest baseball players Joe DiMaggio on the grounds of mental cruelty. They have been married less than 9 months.

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1957 : The Space Race begins when the Soviet Union launches the first artificial satellite SPUTNIK. To put this in to context Sputnik weighed 184 lbs and measured 22 inches in diameter and circled the earth every 1 hr and 36 minutes.

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October 4th, 1970 : A presidential task force that looked into the Ohio National Guard's fatal shooting of four students and wounding of nine others at Kent State University last May 4th have said that the National Guard's 61 shots within a 13-second period was a serious error.

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1977 : Former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, was released after spending 16 hours in police custody for charges of political corruption.

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Germany conducts first successful V-2 rocket test

On October 3, 1942, German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun’s brainchild, the V-2 missile, is fired successfully from Peenemunde, as island off Germany’s Baltic coast. It traveled 118 miles. It proved extraordinarily deadly in the war and was the precursor to the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) of the postwar era.

German scientists, led by von Braun, had been working on the development of these long-range missiles since the 1930s. Three trial launches had already failed the fourth in the series, known as A-4, finally saw the V-2, a 12-ton rocket capable of carrying a one-ton warhead, successfully launched.

The V-2 was unique in several ways. First, it was virtually impossible to intercept. Upon launching, the missile rises six miles vertically it then proceeds on an arced course, cutting off its own fuel according to the range desired. The missile then tips over and falls on its target-at a speed of almost 4,000 mph. It hits with such force that the missile burrows itself into the ground several feet before exploding. It had the potential of flying a distance of 200 miles, and the launch pads were portable, making them impossible to detect before firing.

The first launches as part of an offensive did not occur until September 6, 1944 when two missiles were fired at Paris. On September 8, two more were fired at England, which would be followed by more than 1,100 more during the next six months. More than 2,700 Brits died because of the rocket attacks.

After the war, both the United States and the Soviet Union captured samples of the rockets for reproduction–they also captured the scientists responsible for their creation.


Because of the cap on aggregate aircraft carrier tonnage included in the Washington Naval Treaty and subsequent London treaties, the United States had intended to build two Yorktowns and use up the remaining allocated tonnage with a smaller, revised version of the same design, which eventually became Wasp. However, with war looming in Europe, and the repudiation of the naval limitation treaties by Japan and Italy, the Navy's General Board decided to lay down a third carrier to the Yorktown design immediately - followed by the first carrier of the follow-on CV-9 (Essex) class when that design was finalized authorization from Congress came in the Naval Expansion Act of 1938.

Hornet had a length of 770 feet (235 m) at the waterline and 824 feet 9 inches (251.38 m) overall. She had a beam of 83 feet 3 inches (25.37 m) at the waterline, 114 feet (35 m) overall, with a draft of 24 feet 4 inches (7.42 m) as designed and 28 feet (8.5 m) at full load. She displaced 20,000 long tons (20,000 t) at standard load and 25,500 long tons (25,900 t) at full load. She was designed for a ship's crew consisting of 86 officers and 1280 men and an air complement consisting of 141 officers and 710 men.

She was powered by nine Babcock & Wilcox boilers providing steam at 400 psi (2,800 kPa) and 648 °F (342 °C) to four Parsons Marine geared steam turbines each driving its own propeller. The turbines were designed to produce a total of 120,000 shaft horsepower [shp] (89,000 kW) giving her a range of 12,000 nautical miles (14,000 mi 22,000 km) at a speed of 15 knots (17 mph 28 km/h). She was designed to carry 4,280 long tons (4,350 t) of fuel oil and 178,000 US gallons (670,000 l) of Avgas. Her designed speed was 32.5 knots (60.2 km/h 37.4 mph). During sea trials, she produced 120,500 shp (89,900 kW) and reached 33.85 knots (62.69 km/h 38.95 mph).

Hornet was equipped with eight 5-inch (127 mm)/38 caliber dual purpose guns and 16 1.1-inch (28 mm)/75 caliber antiaircraft guns in quad mounts (four guns operating together). Originally, she had 24 M2 Browning .50-inch (12.7 mm) machine guns but these were replaced in January 1942 with 30 20-mm Oerlikon antiaircraft cannon. [3] [4] An additional 1.1-inch (28 mm) quad mount was later added at her bow and two more 20 mm antiaircraft guns were added for a total of 32 mounts. In addition, her athwartships hangar-deck aircraft catapult was removed. [5] In June 1942, following the battle of Midway, Hornet had a new CXAM radar installed atop her tripod mast, and her SC radar was relocated to her mainmast. Unlike her sisters, Hornet ' s tripod mast and its signal bridge were not enclosed when the CXAM was installed, making her unique among the three ships.

For armor, she had an armor belt that was 2.5 to 4 inches (64–102 mm) thick on a backing of 30-pound (14 kg) special treatment steel (STS). The flight and hangar decks had no armor but the protective deck was 60-pound (27 kg) STS. Bulkheads had 4-inch (100 mm) armor while the conning tower had splinter protection only, in contrast with her sister's 4 inches (100 mm) armor on the sides with 2 inches (51 mm) on top. The steering gear had 4-inch (100 mm) protection on the sides with splinter protection on the deck. [6]

Her flight deck was 814 by 86 feet (248 m × 26 m) and her hangar deck was 546 by 63 feet (166 m × 19 m) and 17 feet 3 inches (5.26 m) high. She had three aircraft elevators each 48 by 44 feet (15 by 13 m) with a lifting capacity of 17,000 pounds (7,700 kg). She had two flight-deck and one hangar-deck hydraulic catapults and equipped with Mark IV Mod 3A arresting gear with a capability of 16,000 pounds (7,300 kg) and 85 miles per hour (137 km/h). [7] She was designed to host a Carrier Air Group of 18 fighters, 18 bombers, 37 scout planes, 18 torpedo bombers, and 6 utility aircraft. [3] [8]

Hornet was laid down on 25 September 1939 by Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia and was launched on 14 December 1940, sponsored by Annie Reid Knox, wife of Secretary of the Navy Frank M. Knox. She was commissioned at Naval Station Norfolk on 20 October 1941, with Captain Marc A. Mitscher in command. [9] [10]

During the period before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hornet trained out of Norfolk. A hint of a future mission occurred on 2 February 1942, when Hornet departed Norfolk with two Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchell medium bombers on deck. Once at sea, the planes were launched to the surprise and amazement of Hornet ' s crew. Her men were unaware of the meaning of this experiment, as Hornet returned to Norfolk, prepared to leave for combat, and on 4 March sailed for the West Coast via the Panama Canal. [11] [12]

Doolittle Raid, April 1942 Edit

Hornet arrived at Naval Air Station Alameda, California, on 20 March 1942. [13] With her own planes on the hangar deck, by midafternoon on 1 April, she loaded 16 B-25s on the flight deck. [14] Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, 70 United States Army Air Corps officers and 64 enlisted men reported aboard. In company of her escort, Hornet departed Alameda on 2 April [14] under sealed orders. That afternoon, Captain Mitscher informed his men of their mission: a bombing raid on Japan.

Eleven days later, Hornet joined the aircraft carrier Enterprise at Midway, and Task Force 16 turned toward Japan. [15] With Enterprise providing combat air patrol cover, Hornet was to steam deep into enemy waters. Originally, the task force intended to proceed to within 400 nmi (460 mi 740 km) of the Japanese coast however, on the morning of 18 April, a Japanese patrol boat, No. 23 Nitto Maru, sighted the American task force. Nashville sank the patrol boat. [16] Amid concerns that the Japanese had been made aware of their presence, Doolittle and his raiders launched prematurely from 600 nmi (690 mi 1,100 km) out, instead of the planned 400 nmi (460 mi 740 km). Because of this decision, none of the 16 planes made it to their designated landing strips in China. After the war, it was found that Tokyo received the Nitto Maru's message in a garbled form and that the Japanese ship was sunk before it could get a clear message through to the Japanese mainland. [17]

As Hornet came about and prepared to launch the bombers, which had been readied for take-off the previous day, a gale of more than 40 kn (46 mph 74 km/h) churned the sea with 30 ft (9.1 m) crests heavy swells, which caused the ship to pitch violently, shipped sea and spray over the bow, wet the flight deck, and drenched the deck crews. The lead plane, commanded by Colonel Doolittle, had only 467 ft (142 m) of flight deck, while the last B-25 hung its twin rudders far out over the fantail. Doolittle, timing himself against the rise and fall of the ship's bow, lumbered down the flight deck, circled Hornet after take-off, and set course for Japan. By 09:20, all 16 were airborne, heading for the first American air strike against the Japanese home islands. [16]

Hornet brought her own planes on deck as Task Force 16 steamed at full speed for Pearl Harbor. Intercepted broadcasts, both in Japanese and English, confirmed at 14:46 the success of the raids. Exactly one week to the hour after launching the B-25s, Hornet sailed into Pearl Harbor. [18] That the Tokyo raid was the Hornet ' s mission was kept an official secret for a year until then, President Roosevelt referred to the ship from which the bombers were launched only as "Shangri-La." Two years later, the Navy would give this name to an aircraft carrier.

Hornet steamed from Pearl Harbor on 30 April to aid Yorktown and Lexington [19] at the Battle of the Coral Sea, but the battle ended before she reached the scene. On 4 May Task Force 16 crossed the equator, the first time ever for Hornet. [20] After executing, with Enterprise, a feint towards Nauru and Banaba (Ocean) islands which caused the Japanese to cancel their operation to seize the two islands, she returned to Hawaii on 26 May, [21] and sailed two days later to help repulse an expected Japanese assault on Midway. [5] [12]

Battle of Midway, June 1942 Edit

On 28 May 1942, Hornet and Task Force 16 steamed out of Pearl Harbor heading for Point "Luck," an arbitrary spot in the ocean roughly 325 miles (523 km) northeast of Midway, where they would be in a flank position to ambush Japan's mobile strike force of four frontline aircraft carriers, the Kidō Butai. [22] Japanese carrier-based planes were reported headed for Midway in the early morning of 4 June. [23] Hornet, Yorktown, and Enterprise launched aircraft, just as the Japanese carriers struck their planes below to prepare for a second attack on Midway. [24] Hornet dive bombers followed an incorrect heading and did not find the enemy fleet. Several bombers and all of the escorting fighters were forced to ditch when they ran out of fuel attempting to return to the ship. 15 torpedo bombers of Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) found the Japanese ships and attacked. They were met by overwhelming fighter opposition about eight nautical miles (9 mi 15 km) out, and with no escorts to protect them, they were shot down one by one. Ensign George H. Gay, USNR, was the only survivor of 30 men. [25] [26]

Further attacks by Enterprise and Yorktown torpedo planes proved equally disastrous, but succeeded in forcing the Japanese carriers to keep their decks clear for combat air patrol operations, rather than launching a counter-attack against the Americans. Japanese fighters were shooting down the last of the torpedo planes over Hiryū when dive bombers of Enterprise and Yorktown attacked, causing enormous fires aboard the three other Japanese carriers, ultimately leading to their loss. Hiryu was hit late in the afternoon of 4 June by a strike from Enterprise and sank early the next morning. Hornet aircraft, launching late due to the necessity of recovering Yorktown scout planes and faulty communications, attacked a battleship and other escorts, but failed to score hits. Yorktown was lost to combined aerial and submarine attack. [27]

Hornet ' s warplanes attacked the fleeing Japanese fleet on 6 June and they assisted in sinking the heavy cruiser Mikuma, damaging a destroyer, and leaving the heavy cruiser Mogami, heavily damaged and on fire, to limp away from the battle zone. The attack by Hornet on the Mogami ended one of the great decisive battles of naval history. [27] Midway Atoll was saved as an important base for American operations into the Western Pacific Ocean. Of greatest importance was the crippling of the Japanese carrier strength, a severe blow from which the Imperial Japanese Navy never fully recovered. The four large carriers took with them to the bottom about 250 naval aircraft and a high percentage of the most highly trained and experienced Japanese aircraft maintenance personnel. The victory at Midway was a decisive turning point in the War in the Pacific. [12]

On 16 June 1942, Captain Charles P. Mason became commanding officer of Hornet upon her return to Pearl Harbor. [9] Hornet spent the next six weeks replenishing her stores, having minor repairs performed, and most importantly: Having additional light anti-aircraft guns and the new RCA CXAM air-search radar fitted. She did not sail in late July with the forces sent to re-capture Guadalcanal, but instead remained at Pearl Harbor in case she was needed elsewhere.

Solomons campaign, August–October, 1942 Edit

Hornet steamed out of harbor on 17 August 1942 to guard the sea approaches to the bitterly contested Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Bomb damage to Enterprise on 24 August, torpedo damage to Saratoga on 31 August, and the sinking of Wasp on 15 September left Hornet as the only operational U.S. carrier in the South Pacific. She was responsible for providing air cover over the Solomon Islands until 24 October 1942, when she was joined by Enterprise just northwest of the New Hebrides Islands. These two carriers and their escorts then steamed out to intercept a Japanese aircraft carrier/battleship/cruiser force closing in on Guadalcanal. [5] [12]

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands Edit

The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands took place on 26 October 1942 without contact between surface ships of the opposing forces. That morning, Enterprise ' s planes bombed the carrier Zuihō, while planes from Hornet severely damaged the carrier Shōkaku and the heavy cruiser Chikuma. Two other cruisers were also attacked by Hornet ' s warplanes. Meanwhile, Hornet was attacked by a coordinated dive bomber and torpedo plane attack. [12] In a 15-minute period, Hornet was hit by three bombs from Aichi D3A "Val" dive bombers. One "Val," after being heavily damaged by anti-aircraft fire while approaching Hornet, crashed into the carrier's island, killing seven men and spreading burning aviation gas (Avgas) over the deck. Meanwhile, a flight of Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo planes attacked Hornet and scored two hits, which seriously damaged the electrical systems and engines. As the carrier came to a halt, another damaged "Val" deliberately crashed into Hornet's port side near the bow. [5]

With power knocked out to her engines, Hornet was unable to launch or land aircraft, forcing its aviators to either land on Enterprise or ditch in the ocean. Rear Admiral George D. Murray ordered the heavy cruiser Northampton to tow Hornet clear of the action. Since the Japanese planes were attacking Enterprise, this allowed Northampton to tow Hornet at a speed of about five knots (9 km/h 6 mph). Repair crews were on the verge of restoring power when another flight of nine "Kate" torpedo planes attacked. Eight of these aircraft were either shot down or failed to score hits, but the ninth scored a fatal hit on the starboard side. The torpedo hit destroyed the repairs to the electrical system and caused a 14-degree list. After being informed that Japanese surface forces were approaching and that further towing efforts were futile, Vice Admiral William Halsey ordered Hornet sunk, and an order of "abandon ship" was issued. Captain Mason, the last man on board, climbed over the side, and the survivors were soon picked up by the escorting destroyers. [5] [12]

American warships next attempted to scuttle the stricken carrier, which absorbed nine torpedoes, many of which failed to explode, and more than 400 5-inch (130 mm) rounds from the destroyers Mustin and Anderson. The destroyers steamed away when a Japanese surface force entered the area. The Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo finally finished off Hornet with four 24-inch (610 mm) Long Lance torpedoes. At 01:35 on 27 October, Hornet was finally sunk with the loss of 140 of her 2,200 [28] sailors. [29]

Hornet was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 13 January 1943. [12] However, her name was revived less than a year later when the newly constructed Essex-class aircraft carrier Kearsarge was commissioned as USS Hornet (CV-12) . [30] CV-8 is honored aboard her namesake, which is now the USS Hornet Museum docked in Alameda, California.

Hornet was the last American fleet carrier CV ever sunk by enemy fire, albeit the light carrier Princeton and a number of much smaller escort carriers were sunk in combat in other battles.

Wreck discovered Edit

In late January 2019, the research vessel Petrel located the wreck at a depth of more than 17,500 feet (5,300 m) off the Solomon Islands. [31] The expedition team, largely funded by Paul Allen, aboard the Petrel used information from the archives of nine other U.S. warships that saw the carrier shortly before it was sunk. One of two robotic vehicles aboard the Petrel found the Hornet during its first dive mission. [28] The carrier lies upright on the ocean floor, with her signal bridge and a section of her stern that broke away coming to rest around her.

Hornet was awarded four battle stars during World War II.

Service stars awarded [32] [33]
Action No. Operation:Action Operation Period Period of CV-8 Participation Battle Stars Awarded Notes
(1) The Battle of Midway 3–6 June 1942 3 June 1942 – 6 June 1942 1 A Presidential Unit Citation was awarded for this battle to Torpedo Squadron 8 flying from USS Hornet CV-8
(2) The Buin-Faisi-Tonolai raid 5 October 1942 5 October 1942 1
(3) The capture and defense of Guadalcanal 10 August 1942 – 8 February 1943 16 October 1942 1
(4) The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands 26 October 1942 26 October 1942 1 USS Hornet CV-8 was sunk during this battle after being in service for a year and six days.
Total Battle Stars 4

In addition, Torpedo Squadron 8 flying from Hornet was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. [34] "for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service beyond the call of duty" during the Battle of Midway.

  1. ^"ThirteenCats - Ship Nicknames" . Retrieved 16 February 2019 .
  2. ^
  3. "The wreck of a WWII US Navy aircraft carrier, lost for 76 years, has been found in the South Pacific". CNN. 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ abFriedman 1983, p. 392.
  5. ^Hornet (CV-8) vii.
  6. ^ abcdeCampbell 2011, pp. 91–92.
  7. ^Friedman 1983, pp. 91, 392.
  8. ^Friedman 1983, p. 381.
  9. ^Navsource.org.
  10. ^ abNavsource.org Commanding Officers.
  11. ^Rose 1995, pp. 5–6, 10.
  12. ^Rose 1995, pp. 38–39, 41.
  13. ^ abcdefgHornet (CV-8) vii.
  14. ^Rose 1995, p. 42.
  15. ^ abRose 1995, p. 52.
  16. ^Rose 1995, p. 62.
  17. ^ abRose 1995, pp. 65–71.
  18. ^Rose 1995, p. 71.
  19. ^Rose 1995, p. 77.
  20. ^Rose 1995, pp. 81–82.
  21. ^Rose 1995, p. 90.
  22. ^Rose 1995, p. 97.
  23. ^Rose 1995, pp. 49, 110–111.
  24. ^Rose 1995, pp. 120–122.
  25. ^Rose 1995, p. 125.
  26. ^Rose 1995, pp. 128–132, 146–149.
  27. ^Mitscher & 13 June 1942.
  28. ^ abRose 1995, pp. 97–155.
  29. ^ ab
  30. Prio, Ryan. "The wreck of a WWII US Navy aircraft carrier, lost for 76 years, has been found in the South Pacific". CNN . Retrieved 13 February 2019 .
  31. ^Hammel 2005, p. 380.
  32. ^Hornet (CV-12) viii.
  33. ^
  34. "Wreckage of World War II aircraft carrier USS Hornet discovered". cbsnews.com. 12 February 2019 . Retrieved 12 February 2019 .
  35. ^Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual – Part III 1953. sfn error: no target: CITEREFNavy_and_Marine_Corps_Awards_Manual_–_Part_III1953 (help)
  36. ^Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual – Part IV 1953. sfn error: no target: CITEREFNavy_and_Marine_Corps_Awards_Manual_–_Part_IV1953 (help)
  37. ^Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual – Part II 1953. sfn error: no target: CITEREFNavy_and_Marine_Corps_Awards_Manual_–_Part_II1953 (help)
  • Campbell, Douglas E., PhD (2011). Volume I: U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard Aircraft Lost During World War II – Listed by Ship Attached. Lulu.com. ISBN1-257-82232-2 .
  • Friedman, Norman (1983). U.S. Aircraft Carriers: An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN978-0-8702-1739-5 .
  • Hammel, Eric M. (2005). Carrier Strike: The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942. Zenith Imprint. p. 380. ISBN0-7603-2128-0 .
  • "Hornet (CV-8) vii". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. 15 January 2015.
  • "Hornet (CV-12) viii". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. 15 January 2015.
  • Mitscher, M.A. (13 June 1942). "Battle of Midway: USS Hornet Action Report" . Retrieved 13 February 2019 . Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • "Part II. Unit Awards". Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual, NAVPERS 15,790. 1953.
  • "Part III. List of Authorized Operations and Engagements, Asiatic-Pacific Area". Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual, NAVPERS 15,790. 1953.
  • "Part IV. Campaign and Service Medals". Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual, NAVPERS 15,790. 1953.
  • Peña, Fabio (5 October 2008). "USS Hornet (CV-8): Commanding Officers". NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive . Retrieved 14 April 2015 .
  • Rose, Lisle A. (1995). The Ship That Held the Line: The U.S.S. Hornet and the First Year of the Pacific War. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN1-55750-008-8 .
  • Yarnall, Paul (15 March 2015). "USS Hornet (CV-8)". NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive . Retrieved 14 April 2015 .

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

Columbus reaches the "New World"

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

WATCH: Columbus: The Lost Voyage on HISTORY Vault

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. 

Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus’ day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his 𠇎nterprise of the Indies,” as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pintaਊnd the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indian” captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the "New World," exploring various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal𠅊 western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.


The Nuremberg trials were controversial even among those who wanted the major criminals punished. Harlan Stone (1872-1946), chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court at the time, described the proceedings as a “sanctimonious fraud” and a “high-grade lynching party.” William O. Douglas (1898-1980), then an associate U.S. Supreme Court justice, said the Allies “substituted power for principle” at Nuremberg.

Nonetheless, most observers considered the trials a step forward for the establishment of international law. The findings at Nuremberg led directly to the United Nations Genocide Convention (1948) and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), as well as the Geneva Convention on the Laws and Customs of War (1949). In addition, the International Military Tribunal supplied a useful precedent for the trials of Japanese war criminals in Tokyo (1946-48) the 1961 trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann (1906-62) and the establishment of tribunals for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia (1993) and in Rwanda (1994).

October 7, 1942 – Yitskhok Rudashevski

Yitskhok Rudashevski was 14 years old in October 1942. He lived in the Vilna Ghetto under the German occupation of his country during World War II. As a Jewish young man, he was subjected to discriminatory laws and brutally harsh living conditions. He was also aware by this time that the Nazis had killed Jews by the thousands and were continuing to do so, but he was probably not aware of the full scope of the murder. Under conditions such as these, it is a wonder that he was able to maintain any sense of hope or desire to live. Nevertheless he, like most of his fellow sufferers, continued to struggle to survive and even to thrive. They did so in a way that has come to be described as spiritual resistance.

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Spiritual resistance refers to attempts by individuals to maintain their humanity, personal integrity, dignity, and sense of civilization in the face of Nazi attempts to dehumanize and degrade them.” Often, this attempt to maintain dignity came through the pursuit of educational and cultural activities in the ghetto, even at times when these were forbidden by the Nazis. On October 5th, Yitskhok wrote, “Finally I have lived to see the day. Today we go to school. The day passed quite differently. […] We waste less time, the day is divided and flies by very quickly… Yes, that is how it should be in the ghetto, the day should fly by and we should not waste time.” Two days later, on the October 7th, he added, “Life has become a little more interesting. The club work has begun. We have groups for literature, the natural sciences. After leaving class at seven-thirty I go immediately to the club. …we have a good time and return home in the evenings in a large crowd.”

“Yes, that is how it should be in the ghetto, the day should fly by and we should not waste time.”

Yitskhok’s diary entries on the October 5th and October 7th revealed a startling change of attitude from what he had written just a few days before. The difference did not come from a change in the overall situation facing the Jews of Vilna, but rather from Yitskhok’s opportunity to engage in spiritual resistance. The chance to study and learn together with his friends gave his life a renewed sense of purpose and endowed him with additional strength to carry on.

Read excerpts from Yitskhok Rudashevski’s diary in Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder.

4 October 1942 - History



History of the 80th Division
(80th Division History Synopsis)


The 80th Division was first organized August 5, 1917 in the National Army and headquartered at Camp Lee (now known as Fort Lee), Virginia. The Division originally consisted of men mostly from Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia and was nicknamed the "Blue Ridge Division." The unit's distinctive insignia was adopted in 1918 and consists of three blue mountain peaks representing the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The Division also adopted the Latin Motto, "Vis Montium" or "Strength of the Mountains."

In World War I, the 80th Division reached full strength with 23,000 soldiers and sailed to France, landing on June 8, 1918. The 80th Division trained with the British Third Army and joined forces on the front lines near the Artois sector with heavy action in the Somme Offensive of 1918 and in the Meuse-Argonne. The 80th returned to the States in May 1919 and was inactivated at Camp Lee on June 26, 1919.

The Division of Unique Distinction - never failed to gain its objective. It was the only A.E.F. Division called upon three times in the great Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The 80th was ranked first of all National Army Divisions by the War Department. It always led and captured two Huns for every man wounded. The 80th accomplished these results of vast importance to the success of the general operations with a far smaller percentage of casualties than any other division engaged.

MG Cronkhite, General Order No. 19, 11 November 1918.
General Order congratulating the soldiers of the 80th Infantry Division at the end of World War I.


Twenty three years later, on July 15, 1942, the 80th Division was again ordered into active service. Major General Joseph Dorch Patch, the Division Commander, issued General Order No. 1 to reactivate the 80th Division. Initially, soldiers reported to Camp Forrest, Tennessee, named for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a famous Confederate calvary commander in the Civil War. The Division later moved for training at Camp Phillips, near Salina, Kansas and in the California-Arizona Desert Training Center (known today as Fort Irwin).

    - General Order activating 80th Division at Camp Forrest, TN
  • General Joseph D. Patch, Commanding Officer, 80th Infantry Division (upon activation)
    - General Order assigning Brigadier General Horace L. McBride as Division Commander, 80th Division

The 80th Division set sail aboard the SS Queen Mary on July 4, 1944, landing a few days later on July 7 at Greenock, Firth of Clyde, Scotland. The arrival of the 80th Division in England brought the European Theater of Operations total of U.S. Divisions to 22: 14 infantry, 6 armored, and 2 airborne. By the end of the campaign, there would be a total of 46 Infantry Divisions and 15 Armored Divisions in Europe.

The Division proceeded south to Northwich, England via trains for additional training. Training included learning how to waterproof equipment for the upcoming channel crossing. The Division crossed the English Channel in LSTs and Liberty Ships landing in Normandy on Utah Beach shortly after noon on August 2, 1944, D-Day + 57 and assembled near St. Jores, France. A few days later on August 8, 1944, the 80th was initiated into battle when it took over the LeMans bridgehead in the XX Corps area.

By the end of the war, May 7, 1945, the 80th Division had seen 277 days of combat. It had captured 212,295 enemy soldiers. The 80th Division returned to the United States in January 1946, after spending time in Europe helping to restore and keep peace after the war. The 80th Division had been one of the stalwarts of Patton's Third Army, but it cost them dearly. During their 277 days of combat, the 80th Infantry Division had 17,087 casualties:

Killed in Action: 3,038
Wounded: 12,484
Missing: 488
Captured: 1,077
Total Casualties: 17,087

According to reports, the 80th Division's "bloodiest day" was 8 October 1944, where approximately 115 Men lost their lives. The "bloodiest month" was September, 1944.

Many officers and enlisted men of the 80th Infantry Division received battle honors, including 4 who received the Medal of Honor:

  • Sgt Day G. Turner, Company B, 319th Inf Reg
    Dahl Luxembourg 8 JAN 45
    • Sgt Day Turner & the Defence of Am Aastert Farm | Medal of Honor | January 1945
      YouTube video (7m, 38s) by "Liveth for Evermore" of the events in Dahl, Luxembourg surrounding Sgt Day Turner's MOH.

    Other honors awarded offices and enlisted men of the 80th Infantry Division include:

    • 317th Infantry Regiment
    • 318th Infantry Regiment
    • 319th Infantry Regiment
    • 80th Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized)
    • 305th Engineer Combat Battalion
    • 305th Medical Battalion
    • 80th Division Artillery
    • 313th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
    • 314th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
    • 315th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm Howitzer)
    • 905th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm Howitzer)
    • Special Troops
    • 780th Ordnance Light Maintenance Company
    • 80th Quartermaster Company
    • 80th Signal Company
    • Military Police Platoon
    • Headquarters Company
    • Band


    Commanding General
    7 Jul 44 - Maj. Gen. Horace L. McBride

    Assistant Division Commander
    7 Jul 44 - Brig. Gen. Owen Summers
    7 Mar 45 - Col. George W. Smythe
    1 May 45 - Brig. Gen. George W. Smythe

    Artillery Commander
    7 Jul 44 - Brig. Gen. Edmund W. Searby
    19 Sep 44 - Brig. Gen. Jay W. MacKelvie

    Chief of Staff
    7 Jul 44 - Col. Max S. Johnson
    10 Jan 45 - Col. Samuel P. Walker

    Assistant Chief of Staff G-1
    7 Jul 44 - Lt. Col. Leon O. Clayton

    Assistant Chief of Staff G-2
    7 Jul 44 - Maj. Richard R. Fleisher
    15 Sep 44 - Lt. Col. Richard R. Fleisher

    Assistant Chief of Staff G-3
    7 Jul 44 - Lt. Col. Augustus G. Elegar

    Assistant Chief of Staff G-4
    7 Jul 44 - Lt. Col. Erland L. Sandberg

    Assistant Chief of Staff G-5
    7 Jul 44 - Maj. Edmund A. Ball
    16 Nov 44 - Lt. Col. Edmund A. Ball

    Adjutant General
    7 Jul 44 - Lt. Col. John W. Trone

    Commanding Officer, 317th Infantry
    7 Jul 44 - Col. A. Donald Cameron
    3 Oct 44 - Col. Warfield M. Lewis
    4 Dec 44 - Lt. Col. Henry G. Fisher

    Commanding Officer, 318th Infantry
    7 Jul 44 - Col. Harry D. McHugh
    13 Sep 44 - Col. Milton C. Shattuck
    26 Sep 44 - Col. Lansing McVickar
    15 Jan 45 - Col. James S. Luckett

    Commanding Officer, 319th Infantry
    7 Jul 44 - Col. Orion L. Davidson
    22 Nov 44 - Col. William N. Taylor
    13 Feb 45 - Col. Normando A. Costello

    The Boy Who Became a World War II Veteran at 13 Years Old

    With powerful engines, extensive firepower and heavy armor, the newly christened battleship USS South Dakota steamed out of Philadelphia in August of 1942 spoiling for a fight. The crew was made up of “green boys”—new recruits who enlisted after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor—who had no qualms about either their destination or the action they were likely to see. Brash and confident, the crew couldn’t get through the Panama Canal fast enough, and their captain, Thomas Gatch, made no secret of the grudge he bore against the Japanese. “No ship more eager to fight ever entered the Pacific,” one naval historian wrote.

    From This Story

    Video: Archival Footage of D-Day

    In less than four months, the South Dakota would limp back to port in New York for repairs to extensive damage suffered in some of World War II’s most ferocious battles at sea. The ship would become one of the most decorated warships in U.S. Navy history and acquire a new moniker to reflect the secrets it carried. The Japanese, it turned out, were convinced the vessel had been destroyed at sea, and the Navy was only too happy to keep the mystery alive—stripping the South Dakota of identifying markings and avoiding any mention of it in communications and even sailors’ diaries. When newspapers later reported on the ship’s remarkable accomplishments in the Pacific Theater, they referred to it simply as “Battleship X.”

    Calvin Graham, the USS South Dakota‘s 12-year-old gunner, in 1942. Photo: Wikipedia

    That the vessel was not resting at the bottom of the Pacific was just one of the secrets Battleship X carried through day after day of hellish war at sea. Aboard was a gunner from Texas who would soon become the nation’s youngest decorated war hero. Calvin Graham, the fresh-faced seaman who had set off for battle from the Philadelphia Navy Yard in the summer of 1942, was only 12 years old.

    Graham was just 11 and in the sixth grade in Crockett, Texas, when he hatched his plan to lie about his age and join the Navy. One of seven children living at home with an abusive stepfather, he and an older brother moved into a cheap rooming house, and Calvin supported himself by selling newspapers and delivering telegrams on weekends and after school. Even though he moved out, his mother would occasionally visit—sometimes to simply sign his report cards at the end of a semester.  The country was at war, however, and being around newspapers afforded the boy the opportunity to keep up on events overseas.

    “I didn’t like Hitler to start with,” Graham later told a reporter. When he learned that some of his cousins had died in battles, he knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to fight. “In those days, you could join up at 16 with your parents’ consent, but they preferred 17,” Graham later said. But he had no intention of waiting five more years. He began to shave at age 11, hoping it would somehow make him look older when he met with military recruiters.  Then he lined up with some buddies (who forged his mother’s signature and stole a notary stamp from a local hotel) and waited to enlist.

    At 5-foot-2 and just 125 pounds, Graham dressed in an older brother’s clothes and fedora and practiced “talking deep.” What worried him most was not that an enlistment officer would spot the forged signature. It was the dentist who would peer into the mouths of potential recruits. “I knew he’d know how young I was by my teeth,” Graham recalled. He lined up behind a couple of guys he knew who were already 14 or 15, and “when the dentist kept saying I was 12, I said I was 17.”  At last, Graham played his ace, telling the dentist that he knew for a fact that the boys in front of him weren’t 17 yet, and the dentist had let them through. “Finally,” Graham recalled, “he said he didn’t have time to mess with me and he let me go.” Graham maintained that the Navy knew he and the others on line that day were underage, “but we were losing the war then, so they took six of us.”

    It wasn’t uncommon for boys to lie about their age in order to serve. Ray Jackson, who joined the Marines at 16 during World War II, founded the group Veterans of Underage Military Service in 1991, and it listed more than 1,200 active members, including 26 women.  “Some of these guys came from large families and there wasn’t enough food to go around, and this was a way out,” Jackson told a reporter. “Others just had family problems and wanted to get away.”

    Calvin Graham told his mother he was going to visit relatives. Instead, he dropped out of the seventh grade and shipped off to San Diego for basic training.  There, he said, the drill instructors were aware of the underage recruits and often made them run extra miles and lug heavier packs.

    Just months after her christening in 1942, the USS South Dakota was attacked relentlessly in the Pacific. Photo: Wikipedia

    By the time the USS South Dakota made it to the Pacific, it had become part of a task force alongside the legendary carrier USS Enterprise (the “Big E”). By early October 1942, the two ships, along with their escorting cruisers and destroyers, raced to the South Pacific to engage in the fierce fighting in the battle for Guadalcanal. After they reached the Santa Cruz Islands on October 26, the Japanese quickly set their sights on the carrier and launched an air attack that easily penetrated the Enterprise’s own air patrol. The carrier USS Hornet was repeatedly torpedoed and sank off Santa Cruz, but the South Dakota managed to protect Enterprise, destroying 26 enemy planes with a barrage from its antiaircraft guns.

    Standing on the bridge, Captain Gatch watched as a 500-pound bomb struck the South Dakota’s main gun turret. The explosion injured 50 men, including the skipper, and killed one. The ship’s armor was so thick, many of the crew were unaware they’d been hit.  But word quickly spread that Gatch had been knocked unconscious. Quick-thinking quartermasters managed to save the captain’s life—his jugular vein had been severed, and the ligaments in his arms suffered permanent damage—but some onboard were aghast that he didn’t hit the deck when he saw the bomb coming. “I consider it beneath the dignity of a captain of an American battleship to flop for a Japanese bomb,” Gatch later said.

    The ship’s young crew continued to fire at anything in the air, including American bombers that were low on fuel and trying to land on the Enterprise. The South Dakota was quickly getting a reputation for being wild-eyed and quick to shoot, and Navy pilots were warned not to fly anywhere near it. The South Dakota was fully repaired at Pearl Harbor, and Captain Gatch returned to his ship, wearing a sling and bandages. Seaman Graham quietly became a teenager, turning 13 on November 6, just as Japanese naval forces began shelling an American airfield on Guadalcanal Island. Steaming south with the Enterprise, Task Force 64, with the South Dakota and another battleship, the USS Washington, took four American destroyers on a night search for the enemy near Savo Island. There, on November 14, Japanese ships opened fire, sinking or heavily damaging the American destroyers in a four day engagement that became known as the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

    Later that evening the South Dakota encountered eight Japanese destroyers with deadly accurate 16-inch guns, the South Dakota set fire to three of them. “They never knew what sank ‘em,” Gatch would recall. One Japanese ship set its searchlights on the South Dakota, and the ship took 42 enemy hits, temporarily losing power. Graham was manning his gun when shrapnel tore through his jaw and mouth another hit knocked him down, and he fell through three stories of superstructure. Still, the 13 year-old made it to his feet, dazed and bleeding, and helped pull other crew members to safety while others were thrown by the force of the explosions, their bodies aflame, into the Pacific.

    “I took belts off the dead and made tourniquets for the living and gave them cigarettes and encouraged them all night,” Graham later said.  ”It was a long night. It aged me.” The shrapnel had knocked out his front teeth, and he had flash burns from the hot guns, but he was “fixed up with salve and a coupla stitches,” he recalled. “I didn’t do any complaining because half the ship was dead.  It was a while before they worked on my mouth.” In fact, the ship had casualties of 38 men killed and 60 wounded.

    Regaining power, and after afflicting heavy damage to the Japanese ships, the South Dakota rapidly disappeared in the smoke. Captain Gatch would later remark of his “green” men, “Not one of the ship’s company flinched from his post or showed the least disaffection.” With the Japanese Imperial Navy under the impression that it had sunk the South Dakota, the legend of Battleship X was born.

    After the Japanese Imperial Navy falsely believed it had sunk the South Dakota in November, 1942, the American vessel became known as “Battleship X.” Photo: Wikimedia

    In mid-December, the damaged ship returned to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for major repairs, where Gatch and his crew were profiled for their heroic deeds in the Pacific. Calvin Graham received a Bronze Star for distinguishing himself in combat, as well as a Purple Heart for his injuries. But he couldn’t bask in glory with his fellow crewmen while their ship was being repaired. Graham’s mother, reportedly having recognized her son in newsreel footage, wrote the Navy, revealing the gunner’s true age.

    Graham returned to Texas and was thrown in a brig at Corpus Christi, Texas, for almost three months.

    Battleship X returned to the Pacific and continued to shoot Japanese planes out of the sky. Graham, meanwhile, managed to get a message out to his sister Pearl, who complained to the newspapers that the Navy was mistreating the “Baby Vet.” The Navy eventually ordered Graham’s release, but not before stripping him of his medals for lying about his age and revoking his disability benefits. He was simply tossed from jail with a suit and a few dollars in his pocket—and no honorable discharge.

    Back in Houston, though, he was treated as a celebrity. Reporters were eager to write his story, and when the war film Bombadier premiered at a local theater, the film’s star, Pat O’Brien, invited Graham to the stage to be saluted by the audience. The attention quickly faded. At age 13, Graham tried to return to school, but he couldn’t keep pace with students his age and quickly dropped out. He married at age 14, became a father the following year, and found work as a welder in a Houston shipyard. Neither his job nor his marriage lasted long. At 17 years old and divorced, and with no service record, Graham was about to be drafted when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He soon broke his back in a fall, for which he received a 20 percent service-connected disability. The only work he could find after that was selling magazine subscriptions.

    When President Jimmy Carter was elected, in 1976, Graham began writing letters, hoping that Carter, “an old Navy man,” might be sympathetic. All Graham had wanted was an honorable discharge so he could get help with his medical and dental expenses. “I had already given up fighting” for the discharge, Graham said at the time. “But then they came along with this discharge program for deserters. I know they had their reasons for doing what they did, but I figure I damn sure deserved more than they did.”

    In 1977, Texas Senators Lloyd Bentsen and John Tower introduced a bill to give Graham his discharge, and in 1978, Carter announced that it had been approved and that Graham’s medals would be restored, with the exception of the Purple Heart.  Ten years later, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation approving disability benefits for Graham.