This Month in Military History

NOV11904The new U.S. Army War College opens its doors to three majors and six captains, among them was CPT John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.
NOV11942On Guadalcanal, a machine gun section led by Marine CPL Anthony Casamento is hit so badly during the fourth (and final) battle at the Matanikau River that all but Casamento were grievously wounded or killed. Despite his own wounds (he was hit 14 times during the engagement), Casamento single-handedly held his position and repelled numerous enemy attacks. Casamento will be awarded the Medal of Honor in 1980 after surviving eyewitnesses to his actions are found.
NOV11943The 3rd Marine Division, led by Gen. Allen H. Turnage, hits the beaches on Japanese-held Bougainville.
NOV11944Japan launches the first of around 9,000 hydrogen-filled balloon bombs towards the U.S. and Canada.
NOV11944The Tokyo Rose, a B-29 "Superfortress" modified for photo reconnaissance, makes the first U.S. flight over Tokyo since the Doolittle Raid in 1942.
NOV11952The U.S. tests the world's first hydrogen bomb, codenamed "Ivy Mike", at Eniwetok Atoll. The thermonuclear device, with a yield 1000 times greater than previous bombs, gave the United States a temporary leg up on the Soviet Union in the arms race. The blast digs a mile-wide, 150-ft. crater and literally wipes the small island of Elugelab off the face of the Earth.
NOV11983During Operation URGENT FURY, 300 Marines from the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit conduct an air and amphibious landing on the Caribbean island of Carriacou, 15 miles northeast of Grenada, in search of Cuban military forces.
NOV21783GEN George Washington delivers his “Farewell Address to the Army” near Princeton, New Jersey, in which he refers to the Continental Army as “one patriotic band of brothers."
NOV21861President Abraham Lincoln removes Union GEN John C. Fremont as commander of the Western Department, following Fremont's unilateral decision to declare martial law in the border state of Missouri and thus freeing all slaves.
NOV21943The cruisers and destroyers of ADM Aaron S. "Tip" Merrill's Task Force 39 defeat Japanese naval forces attempting to attack the landing force in the Battle of Empress Bay. Two Japanese ships are sent to the bottom, with numerous enemy warships receiving heavy damage.
NOV21943In the skies over the nearby Japanese fortress of Rabaul, MAJ Raymond H. Wilkins, Commander of the Army Air Corps' 8th Bombing Squadron, led an attack against Japanese-held Rabaul. His bombs destroyed an enemy transport and destroyer, and although his plane was badly damaged and his bombs expended, Wilkins strafed a Japanese cruiser, sacrificing himself by drawing their fire so his fellow pilots could escape the deadly air defenses. The raid sinks 30 of the 38 Japanese vessels anchored at Rabaul, and Wilkins will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV21944Nearly 1,000 8th Air Force bombers conducts a massive strike against synthetic fuel facilities in Merseburg, Germany. The Americans shoot down 183 enemy fighters - including four jets - at the cost of 40 bombers and 28 fighters. By the war’s end, the 8th Air Force has severely crippled the synthetic fuel production necessary for Luftwaffe jets.
NOV21950During a fanatical nighttime assault by enemy forces near Sudong, North Korea, SSG Archie Van Winkle leads his outnumbered Marines through heavy fire and enables them to gain the upper hand. Despite a bullet rendering his arm useless and further wounds from an enemy grenade, Van Winkle rushes through hostile fire to rally his men, refusing evacuation and providing leadership until Van Winkle loses consciousness. Van Winkle will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Sudong and will be decorated for valor 18 years later during the Battle of Khe Sanh in the Vietnam War.
NOV21963Unpopular South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated following a U.S.-backed coup by the South Vietnamese army.
NOV21967Seeking to unite the country behind the war effort in Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson holds a secret meeting with a group of advisors referred to as "the Wise Men." The group, which includes GEN Omar Bradley, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and former Ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, determines that the military should issue more optimistic reports to influence more favorable press.
NOV31783The Continental Army disbanded following the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The role of the national defense force returns to state militias, save a regiment on the western frontier and an artillery battery at West Point. These few "regular army" soldiers will become the Legion of the United States in 1792, and the U.S. Army in 1796.
NOV31917German forces attack a vastly-outnumbered U.S. unit near Artois, France, killing three and capturing 11, marking the first U.S. ground combat casualties of World War I.
NOV31941The Combined Japanese Fleet receives Top-Secret Order No. 1 - ordering the fleet to attack the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor as well as Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines.
NOV31967Seeking to wipe out an American brigade-sized force, the North Vietnamese Army begins the Battle of Dak To. The engagement will last for three weeks and was among the heaviest fighting seen in the Central Highlands. Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade inflict massive casualties to the Communist forces.
NOV41979Iranian students loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini storm the U.S. embassy in Teheran, taking 90 hostages and holding them in captivity for 444 days.
NOV51862Realizing an army led by GEN George McClellan would never defeat Confederate forces, President Abraham Lincoln removes the cautious Army of the Potomac commander, choosing GEN Ambrose Burnside as his replacement.
NOV51915LCDR Henry Mustin catapults from the USS North Carolina in a Curtiss AB-2 flying boat, becoming the first American to make a catapult launch from a ship underway.
NOV51917U.S. Army MAJ Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his younger brother LT Archibald Roosevelt - both sons of former President Theodore Roosevelt - lead the first American patrol into "No Man’s Land" during World War I. "Archie" was wounded severely enough to merit retirement with full disability, only to rejoin the Army during World War II.
NOV51917A torpedo fired by a German U-boat sinks the yacht USS Alcedo, which had been escorting a convoy to France. 21 sailors perish when the yacht becomes the first U.S. warship sunk during World War I.
NOV51923The submarine USS SS-1 (SS-105) launches a Martin MS-1 seaplane, marking the first flight of a submarine-launched aircraft.
NOV51966When U.S. soldiers are pinned down by the Viet Cong (VC) near the Cambodian border, CPT Robert F. Foley's "A" Company rushes to the battle to relieve their sister company. PFC John F. Baker, Jr. and another soldier took out two enemy bunkers. When his comrade is mortally wounded, Baker spots four enemy snipers and eliminates all of them, then evacuates his fellow soldier. Returning to the front, he leads several attacks on the enemy, killing several VC and silencing additional bunkers. After charging through the jungle with his machine gun to wipe out another bunker, Baker covers his unit's evacuation. In total, he rescued eight soldiers. Baker was awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV51966The fire concentrated on CPT Robert F. Foley's location is so intense that he loses two of his radio operators. Grabbing a machinegun from a wounded soldier, Foley charges forward - alone - to maintain the momentum of the attack and keeps firing until the wounded can be extracted. Once his men rally, he leads attacks against several machine gun positions, personally eliminating three, despite being wounded by an enemy grenade. For his actions, Foley was awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV51950GEN Douglas MacArthur begins a heavy air campaign against North Korean targets, including bridges over the Yalu River, violating orders from the Joint Chiefs of Staff that restricted operations within five miles of North Korea's border with China.
NOV52009U.S. Army MAJ Nidal Malik Hassan kills 13 and wounds another 29 soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood (now Fort Cavazos), Texas in the deadliest shooting on a U.S. military installation.
NOV61915LCDR Henry C. Mustin's Curtiss Model AB-2 launches from the armored cruiser USS North Carolina, marking the world's first catapult launch from a ship.
NOV61941While searching for blockade runners in the Caribbean, the cruiser USS Omaha and destroyer USS Somers spot a cargo ship flying U.S. colors but behaving oddly and whose sailors looked "uniquely un-American." When Omaha attempts to make contact, the ship's crew attempt to sabotage the vessel and the boarding crew is sent over. The captured ship turns out to be the German Odenwald, transporting rubber and other supplies from Japan. The sailors from the boarding party are each awarded $3,000 as bounty from the seized cargo and everyone else involved receives two month's pay - the last time U.S. sailors will be awarded prize money.
NOV61942The 2d Raider Battalion sets out on a month-long patrol to cut off Japanese forces attempting to escape encirclement at Guadalcanal's Koli Point. Over the next four weeks, LTC Evans Carlson's Raiders marched 150 miles through dense jungles, using their trademark guerilla tactics to kill 500 enemy troops in several engagements. Only 16 Marines died during the operation, but virtually the entire battalion suffered from tropical diseases that were said to be worse than combat.
NOV61944CPT Charles Yeager becomes one of the first U.S. pilots to shoot down a Messerschmidt Me-262 jet fighter, scoring his victory as the warplane attempts to land on a German airfield.
NOV61944During a three-day battle at Kommerscheidt, Germany, U.S. Army 1LT Turney W. Leonard "repeatedly braved overwhelming enemy fire in advance of his platoon to direct the fire of his tank destroyer from exposed, dismounted positions. He went on lone reconnaissance missions to discover what opposition his men faced, and on 1 occasion, when fired upon by a hostile machinegun, advanced alone and eliminated the enemy emplacement with a hand grenade. When a strong German attack threatened to overrun friendly positions, he moved through withering artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, reorganized confused infantry units whose leaders had become casualties, and exhorted them to hold firm. Although wounded early in battle, he continued to direct fire from his advanced position until he was disabled by a high-explosive shell which shattered his arm, forcing him to withdraw. He was last seen at a medical aid station which was subsequently captured by the enemy." Leonard reportedly asked to be concealed in a foxhole with a weapon as he did not want to be taken prisoner. For his actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV61945ENS Jake West's FR-1 Fireball, a combination piston- and jet-powered aircraft, touches down aboard the USS Wake Island (CVE-65), making him the first pilot to land a jet on an aircraft carrier. The feat wasn't intentional, however: the fighter's piston engine failed on final approach and West had to start the jet engine to land - catching the third (and final) arrestor wire.
NOV61950After three attempts to dislodge well-fortified heavy enemy infantry through "a veritable hail of shattering hostile machine gun, grenade, and rifle fire," 2LT Robert D. Reem's rallied what was left of his platoon for a fourth assault up the hill. As he was issuing last-minute orders to his non-commissioned officers, Reem spotted an enemy grenade that landed amongst the Marines and unhesitatingly hurled himself on it, absorbing the deadly blast with his own body. For his heroic actions, Reem was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV61951Near Vladivostok, two Soviet Air Force fighters engage and shoot down a U.S. Navy P2V-3 "Neptune" patrol bomber 18 miles from the Russian coast. All ten crew members are lost.
NOV61967CMDR Joseph P. Smolinski and copilot CMDR George A. Surovik fly their SP-5B "Marlin" flying boat over Naval Air Station North Island and splash down in San Diego Bay on the last-ever operation of a U.S. Navy seaplane.
NOV71811At the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers, William Henry Harrison's 1,000-man force of militia and regular infantry soldiers clash with American Native warriors led by Tenskwatawa (known as "The Prophet"). Although outnumbered by the Americans, the Natives charge multiple times into Harrison's lines, inflicting serious casualties on the defenders, but withdraw once the sun rises and Tecumseh's confederacy abandons the area. Harrison will forever be known as "the hero of Tippecanoe."
NOV71861A Naval force under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont boldly steams into Port Royal Sound, and Union gunners pour heavy fire into Confederate-held Forts Walker and Beauregard. Marines and sailors land and occupy the forts, giving the Union a crucial supply base for their Naval blockade.
NOV71863Union forces under the command of MG John Sedgwick decisively defeat Confederate forces under MG Jubal Early in the Battle of Rappahannock Station. Though a "a complete and glorious victory" for the Union Army, Confederate COL Walter Taylor will refer to the battle as "the saddest chapter in the history of this army … miserable, miserable management."
NOV71917Eugene J. Bullard, an American flying for the French Air Service, becomes the first black pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft. The "Black Swallow of Death" would fly 20 combat missions for the French - claiming two aerial kills - before war's end.
NOV72007When a friendly unit operating in Afghanistan calls for air support, an Air Force MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) responds to the firefight. The Reaper's operators, remotely piloting the vehicle from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, drop 500-pound bombs on the enemy combatants, marking the first-time bombs are dropped by a UAV in combat.
NOV81862President Abraham Lincoln defeats former Army of the Potomac commander George McClellan.
NOV81950After completing a strafing run against enemy antiaircraft positions in his Lockheed P-80C "Shooting Star", Air Force 1LT Russel J. Brown spots a formation of Soviet MiG-15 fighters. Brown claims one of the enemy warplanes, marking the world's first jet-on-jet victory.
NOV91822During an anti-piracy cruise in the Caribbean, the brig USS Alligator intercepts a flotilla of American ships captured by pirates near Cuba. LT William H. Allen, Alligator's commanding officer, is mortally wounded when he and his sailors aboard the heavily armed schooner Revenge, but his crew retakes all but one of the eight ships.
NOV91906Theodore Roosevelt boards the battleship USS Louisiana (BB-19) and heads south to inspect construction on the Panama Canal - marking the first foreign trip by a sitting U.S. president.
NOV91942U.S. troops advance on Oran, capturing 2,000 French soldiers after some hard fighting. Off the coast, Allied warships sink three French destroyers.
NOV91942German paratroopers land in Tunisia.
NOV91942MG George Patton's soldiers begin to secure the beachhead at Casablanca.
NOV91944Boeing's new long distance transport prototype makes its first flight. The new cargo plane is essentially a B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber, but with a significantly larger fuselage. The Stratofreighter enters service in 1947, participating in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Most of the nearly 900 airframes are KC-97 aerial refuelers, but Strategic Air Command puts a few platforms into service as aerial command posts, while other C-97s serve with Aerospace Rescue and Recovery squadrons.
NOV91950As Task Force 77 aircraft make their attack on the Yalu River bridges connecting Korea and China, LCDR William T. Amen engages a Soviet jet formation attempting to intercept the Americans and shoots down a MiG-15 with his F9F-2B "Panther". Amen, the commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 111 (VF-111), becomes the first pilot to score a jet-on-jet kill in aviation history.
NOV91950Over Sinuiju, North Korea, RB-50 Superfortress tail gunner CPL Harry J. LaVene becomes the first aerial gunner to shoot down a MiG-15.
NOV92001During the Battle of Mazar-e-Sharif U.S. Army and Air Force special operations forces ride into combat on horseback - the first cavalry charge by the United States military since 1943. Hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters are killed during the battle and another 1,500 are captured or defect. Although war planners figured it would take months to capture the strategic city and its airfield, the Taliban withdraw the following day.
NOV101775The Marine Corps is born. The Continental Congress decrees that two battalions of Marines be raised in Philadelphia, consisting of "good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the war with Great Britain and the Colonies." CPT Samuel Nicholas - commissioned just days before as the first Marine officer - sets up his recruiting headquarters at Tun Tavern.
NOV101944While anchored at Papua New Guinea, 3,800 tons of ammunition aboard the cargo ship USS Mount Hood explodes, obliterating the 350-man crew and destroying or damaging dozens of ships nearby. The destruction was so complete that apart from a 16-foot chunk of the hull found in a trench, no recognizable pieces of the 459-foot ship remained.
NOV101949The Sikorsky H-19 "Chickasaw" helicopter makes its first flight. The Army and Air Force will order dozens of helicopters and use them for medical evacuation and rescue operations during the Korean War.
NOV101959USS Triton (SSRN-586), the largest, most powerful, and most expensive submarine of its age is commissioned. On her shakedown cruise "The Big T" becomes the first submarine to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing. Shortly after entering service as a radar picket vessel, the advent of early warning aircraft makes Triton's role obsolete and in 1969 Triton will be the first nuclear submarine to be decommissioned.
NOV102001U.S.-led coalition forces defeat Taliban forces in Mazar-e-Sharif, scoring the first major victory of the war in Afghanistan.
NOV111918The armistice is signed, ending World War I.
NOV141965450 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry under the command of LTC Harold Moore are choppered in to assault the communist stronghold in the Ia Drang Valley. Upon landing, the unit is nearly overrun by three battalions (1,600 soldiers) of North Vietnamese regulars, resulting in hand-to-hand combat, but the soldiers hold out for two days before being relieved - inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley is the first major battle between U.S. and NVA forces and one of the only set-piece battles of the Vietnam War.
NOV151942Off Guadalcanal, the U.S. and Japanese fleets engage in one of only two battleship-on-battleship engagements of the Pacific War. While Kirishima hammers USS South Dakota in the early morning hours, USS Washington slips away undetected and maneuvers to near point-blank range, raking the Japanese battleship with devastating salvos. Japanese naval guns and torpedoes send three U.S. destroyers to the bottom of Ironbottom Sound, while U.S. warplanes destroy four troop transport ships carrying soldiers and badly needed supplies. The Allies have inflicted such heavy losses on the Japanese that they abandon the mission to retake Guadalcanal.
NOV151942Injured in the attack on South Dakota is 12-year-old Seaman 1st Class Calvin L. Graham, who lied about his age that summer to join the Navy. Graham earns the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Purple Heart during the battle. When the government learns his actual age, Graham is thrown in the brig for three months, dishonorably discharged, and his medals are stripped. He enlists in the Marine Corps when he turns 17.
NOV151950As a squad leader of the 3d Platoon PFC Mack A. Jordan was participating in a night attack on key terrain against a fanatical hostile force when the advance was halted by intense small-arms and automatic-weapons fire and a vicious barrage of hand grenades. Upon orders for the platoon to withdraw and reorganize, PFC Jordan voluntarily remained behind to provide covering fire. Crawling toward an enemy machine gun emplacement, he threw 3 grenades and neutralized the gun. He then rushed the position delivering a devastating hail of fire, killing several of the enemy and forcing the remainder to fall back to new positions. He courageously attempted to move forward to silence another machine gun but, before he could leave his position, the ruthless foe hurled explosives down the hill and in the ensuing blast both legs were severed. Despite mortal wounds, he continued to deliver deadly fire and held off the assailants until the platoon returned." PFC Jordan was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV151960The U.S. Navy's first ballistic missile submarine, USS George Washington (SSBN-598) departs Charleston Harbor for its first deterrent patrol. Aboard are 16 Polaris A-1 missiles, which carry a one megaton nuclear warhead (nearly 70 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima 15 years before) that can strike targets over 1,000 miles away.
NOV151966After descending from a 266,000-foot climb, a North American X-15 rocket carrying U.S. Air Force MAJ Michael J. Adams enters a violent spin at Mach 5, killing the pilot. Having crossed the 50-mile threshold, qualifying his last flight as a space flight, Adams is posthumously awarded astronaut wings.
NOV15200682d Airborne soldiers begin what will be an intense 40-hour battle with heavily armed and well-disciplined insurgents in in Iraq's Diyala province. By the time the shooting stops, U.S. troops have destroyed an extensive network of trenches and capture a stockpile of ammunition and heavy weapons. 5th Squadron of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment earns the Presidential Unit Citation for their role in the Battle of Turki.
NOV161927The United States Navy commissions its second-ever aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga (CV-3).
NOV161944Over 4,000 Allied warplanes hammer Nazi Germany with one of the heaviest bombardments of World War II prior to an advance by the 1st and 9th U.S. Armies.
NOV162004During the Second Battle of Fallujah, U.S. Marines and soldiers (as well as a few British and Iraqi troops) begin the mopping-up phase of what has since been described as the most intense urban combat since the bloody battle for the Vietnamese city of Hué in 1968. It is during the battle for Fallujah, that a radio transmission is intercepted by U.S. forces in which a panicking al-Qaeda insurgent is heard exclaiming to his chief: “We are fighting, but the Marines keep coming! We are shooting, but the Marines won’t stop!”
NOV171917The destroyers USS Fanning and USS Nicholson attack the German U-boat U-58, becoming the first ships to sink a submarine in U.S. history.
NOV191863President Abraham Lincoln addresses an audience with a brief speech honoring the fallen: "...we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. … we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Lincoln's Gettysburg Address becomes one of the most famous speeches in American history.
NOV191950MG Oliver P. Smith's 1st Marine Division fights arctic temperatures dropping to -35 °F, moving slowly towards North Korea's Chosin Reservoir. Meanwhile, the Chinese 9th Corps Army closes in on the Americans from the north.
NOV191967During the Battle of Dak To, Chaplain Charles J. Watters, "with complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact. Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of the advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation, giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying. When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting forces, Chaplain Watters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders and carried him to safety. As the troopers battled to the first enemy entrenchment, Chaplain Watters ran through the intense enemy fire to the front of the entrenchment to aid a fallen comrade. A short time later, the paratroopers pulled back in preparation for a second assault. Chaplain Watters exposed himself to both friendly and enemy fire between the two forces to recover two wounded soldiers. Later, when the battalion was forced to pull back into a perimeter, Chaplain Watters noticed that several wounded soldiers were Lying outside the newly formed perimeter. Without hesitation and ignoring attempts to restrain him, Chaplain Watters left the perimeter three times in the face of small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire to carry and to assist the injured troopers to safety. Satisfied that all the wounded were inside the perimeter, he began aiding the medics–applying field bandages to open wounds, obtaining, and serving food and water, giving spiritual and mental strength and comfort. During his ministering, he moved out to the perimeter from position-to-position redistributing food and water and tending to the needs of his men. Chaplain Watters was giving aid to the wounded when he himself was mortally wounded." Chaplain Watters was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV191969Apollo 12 astronauts CMDR Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. and CMDR Alan L. Bean become the third and fourth humans to walk on the moon. Orbiting above in the command module is CMDR Richard F. Gordon Jr. The entire crew of Apollo 12 are former Naval aviators.
NOV201776Having defeated the American garrison at Fort Washington, 5,000 British soldiers land at The Palisades and begin their New Jersey invasion. GEN George Washington orders Fort Lee (directly across the Hudson River from Fort Washington) abandoned, and the Continental Army retreats across the Hackensack River.
NOV201918The 369th Infantry Regiment receives the honor of becoming the first American unit to enter German territory for occupation duty. The famed "Hell Fighters from Harlem" fought with distinction under French command during World War I, spending more time in combat and suffering more casualties than any other American regiment during the war.
NOV201943A flotilla of over 100 warships, including 17 aircraft carriers and 12 battleships, hammers the Tarawa Atoll as the first of 35,000 Marines and soldiers land in the face of stiff Japanese resistance. RADM Keiji Shibasaki, in command of the defenders, stated that "a million men could not take Tarawa in a hundred years." In fact, it will only take 76 hours to secure the islands. The fanatical defenders will fight almost to the last man in the first heavily opposed U.S. landing in the Pacific. Many of the American casualties were due to low tide conditions that forced Marines to wade hundreds of yards across jagged coral reefs - under withering fire - to reach the shore. The resulting losses inspired the creation of the Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams to provide critical hydrographic reconnaissance and destroy obstacles for amphibious landings - the birth of what will become today's SEAL Teams.
NOV201944The USS Mississinewa becomes the first victim of the Japanese Kaiten suicide submarine when the tanker is sunk in the Caroline Islands.
NOV201945The Nuremberg Trials begin when 24 high-ranking Nazi officials face charges in Nuremberg, Germany for atrocities committed during World War II.
NOV201962With assurances that the Soviet Union would remove their ballistic missiles from the island, President Kennedy lifts the naval blockade against Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
NOV211817The First Seminole War begins when GEN Andrew Jackson leads forces into Spanish-held Florida to reclaim escaped slaves from Seminole tribal areas.
NOV211943USS Nautilus (SS-168) surfaces and disembarks CPT James L. Jones and his Marine Amphibious Reconnaissance Company off the beaches of Abemama Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. The raiders board rubber rafts and paddle ashore under cover of darkness, spending the next several days wiping out the defenders and capturing the islands along with fire support from the sub. The Marine Corps' modern-day Force Reconnaissance companies trace their roots to Jones' team.
NOV211947Grumman's first jet fighter, the F9F "Panther" makes its first flight.
NOV211967GEN William Westmoreland, the commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, tells the American press that "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing."
NOV211970COL Arthur D. "Bull" Simons leads a 56-man rescue operation on the Son Tay POW camp, just 23 miles from Hanoi, North Vietnam. Although the prisoners had been relocated to another camp prior to the operation, the raid - involving over 100 aircraft from multiple services - was a tactical success. Dozens of enemy guards are killed during the brief engagement and the assault would serve in part as a model for the formation of Special Operations Command.
NOV221718The Royal Navy locates Edward Teach, the notorious pirate known as "Blackbeard", off the coast of North Carolina. After two devastating broadsides from Blackbeard's ship Adventure, a boarding party led by LT Robert Maynard of HMS Ranger boards the pirate sloop and kills Blackbeard.
NOV221942After crushing the Romanians, the Soviet 4th Mechanized Corps and 4th Tank Corps meet at Kalach-na-Donu, surrounding the 250,000 men of Gen. Friedrich Paulus' 6th Army. The trapped Germans eventually surrender in what becomes perhaps the bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, with some two million casualties over the five-month engagement.
NOV221963President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by former Marine radar operator Lee Harvey Oswald while the presidential motorcade travels through Dallas, Texas. Oswald also seriously wounded Texas Governor John Connally in the attack.
NOV221972Although North Vietnam claimed that they had already shot down 19 B-52 bombers, this date marks the first time a "Stratofortress" falls victim to enemy surface-to-air missiles. Following their raid on Vinh, the crew bails out of the stricken bird over Thailand. 30 more B-52s will be destroyed by hostile fire during the remainder of the war.
NOV221988Northrop's B-2 "Spirit" stealth bomber is unveiled to an audience of government officials and press at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale.
NOV231863The battles of the Chattanooga campaign begin between newly appointed commander of the Western armies, Union MG Ulysses S. Grant, and Confederate GEN Braxton Bragg.
NOV231943Japanese-held Tarawa falls to American forces despite the boast of its defending commander, RADM Keiji Shibasaki, that “a million men could not take Tarawa in a hundred years.” It takes several thousand Marines and about 76 hours to seize Tarawa.
NOV231943Makin Atoll, 100 miles north of Tarawa, is declared secure.
NOV231944The Seventh Army, commanded by GEN Alexander Patch, captures Strasbourg, France.
NOV231944Near Moyenmoutier, France, 1LT Edward A. Silk single-handedly silenced a German machine-gun position that had halted his battalion.
NOV231972Peace talks between the US and North Vietnam secretly resume in Paris, but quickly reach an impasse.
NOV241863Union forces scale the slopes of Lookout Mountain under cover of fog, capturing high ground and breaking the Confederate siege of Chattanooga. Meanwhile, MG Ulysses S. Grant's Military Division of the Mississippi defeats GEN Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee in the Battle of Lookout Mountain. Three Union soldiers were awarded the Medal for actions in the engagement: PVT Peter Kappesser and 1SG Norman F. Potter (for capturing Confederate GEN Braxton Bragg’s flag) and SGT John Kiggins (for waving colors to save the lives of troops being fired at by friendly artillery batteries – drawing concentrated enemy fire).
NOV241943The Japanese submarine I-75 torpedoes the escort carrier USS Liscome Bay during the Battle of Makin Island, detonating the aircraft bomb magazine and engulfing the ship in flames. 23 minutes later, the carrier sinks, taking over 700 sailors and officers with her to the bottom.
NOV241944111 U.S. B-29 bombers of the 73rd Bombardment Wing, flying out of Saipan, attack the Nakajima Aircraft engine plant near Tokyo in the first attack on the Japanese mainland since Doolittle’s 1942 raid.
NOV241950GEN Douglas MacArthur launches the "Home by Christmas" offensive against Chinese and North Korean forces. The attack meets heavy resistance, and a Chinese counterattack would drive UN forces from North Korea by December.
NOV241951Near Kowang-San, Korea, PFC Noah O. Knight spots enemy soldiers entering a friendly position. Having previously exhausted his ammunition while stemming an enemy advance and causing heavy enemy casualties, Knight rushed the soldiers, neutralizing two with his rifle butt, but was mortally wounded when the third enemy soldier detonated his explosives. For his actions, he is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV241963Former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald is himself shot and killed by Jack Ruby - formerly a mechanic in the Army Air Forces, who served during World War II.
NOV251783The last British soldiers withdraw from New York City. After its liberation, New York would become the first national capital under the Constitution.
NOV251863Union forces under GEN Ulysses S. Grant rout GEN Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee on Missionary Ridge, breaking the Confederate siege of Chattanooga.
NOV2518631LT Arthur MacArthur Jr. seizes “the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planted them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge.” For his actions he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
NOV251864The Confederate plot to burn New York City fails. Agents did manage to burn several hotels, but most of the fires either were contained quickly or failed to ignite.
NOV251876In Wyoming Territory, Army cavalry soldiers defeat Cheyenne warriors under chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf, effectively ending the Cheyenne's ability to wage war.
NOV251941ADM Harold R. Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, warns ADM Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, that both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull think a Japanese surprise attack is a distinct possibility.
NOV251943Five US destroyers under the command of CPT Arleigh Burke sink three Japanese destroyers while receiving no damage themselves in the Battle of Cape St. George in the Solomon Islands, marking the end of Japan's "Tokyo Express" resupply route in the South Pacific.
NOV251943Bombers from the US 14th Air Force, based in China, strike the Japanese-held island of Formosa for the first time.
NOV251944Four US carriers are damaged in a mass kamikaze assault by Japanese aircraft as US warplanes sink two Japanese cruisers off Luzon.
NOV251961The world's first nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is commissioned.
NOV252001US Marines of the 15th and 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit land near Kandahar, becoming the first major combat force in Afghanistan.
NOV252001CIA operative and former Marine Johnny Michael Spann becomes the first US combat death in Afghanistan when hundreds of Taliban prisoners in the makeshift prison near Mazar-I-Sharif revolt.
NOV261789President George Washington issues a proclamation declaring 26 NOV "to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be." This marks the first designated Thanksgiving Day by the United States government.
NOV261862MAJ William H. Powell leads twenty troopers on a cavalry charge against a 500-man encampment at Sinking Creek Valley. The Union men capture 114 Confederates and 200 guns without losing a single man. Powell is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
NOV261941After receiving an ultimatum from the US ordering Japan to vacate China or face further sanctions, the Japanese First Air Fleet, commanded by ADM Chuichi Nagumo, departs for their attack on Pearl Harbor.
NOV261943Off the Algerian coast, a Luftwaffe Heinkel He 177A heavy bomber releases its Hs 293 radio-controlled glide bomb, which heads for the British transport ship HMT Rohna. The bomb impacts the side of the ship, knocking out electricity and setting Rohna ablaze. When the transport slips under the waves, she takes with her over 1,000 American troops. The sinking of the Rohna remains the greatest loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.
NOV261950Chinese forces launch a massive counterattack against U.S. and South Korean forces, driving them south and putting an end to any hopes of a quick conclusion to the Korean War.
NOV261970When a six-man reconnaissance patrol of Green Berets under heavy enemy fire radios for extraction, U.S. Air Force 1LT James P. Fleming lands his UH-1 helicopter - which was low on fuel - in the middle of the firefight so that the Special Forces soldiers can be rescued. On their way to the chopper, the team shot three Viet Cong just ten feet from Fleming's helicopter, which was running low on fuel. Fleming is awarded the Medal of Honor for his dramatic rescue.
NOV271817MG Edmund P. Gaines dispatched soldiers to attack the Seminole camp at Fowltown, formally beginning the First Seminole War.
NOV271868LTC George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry attacks a peaceful Cheyenne encampment near present-day Cheyenne, Oklahoma. The Battle of Washita River – more of a massacre – would be the first substantial “victory” in the Indian Wars.
NOV271909Following the execution of two American mercenaries in Nicaragua, U.S. forces land in Bluefields to prepare for an invasion.
NOV271942ADM Jean de Laborde orders the destruction of the French fleet anchored at Toulon, to avoid falling into German hands. Three battleships, six cruisers, 1 aircraft transport, 30 destroyers, and 16 submarines are sunk. Three submarines sail for Allied-controlled Algiers, and only one falls into German hands.
NOV271950Near Ipsok, Korea, Army CPT Reginald B. Desiderio charges into the enemy, inflicting heavy casualties before being killed himself by enemy fire. Prior to his one-man assault, which ultimately repelled the fanatical enemy attack, Desiderio had been wounded twice and refused evacuation. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
NOV271951A "Nike" anti-aircraft missile shoots down a QB-17 "Flying Fortress" target drone over White Sands Missile Range, becoming the first successful surface-to-air missile test. The Army will begin putting Nike systems in the field in 1953.
NOV271965The Pentagon tells President Lyndon B. Johnson that to have success in his military objectives, the troop commitment in Vietnam would have to be increased nearly four times - from 120,000 troops to 400,000.
NOV281864LTG James Longstreet's forces assault Union-held Fort Sanders. The defenders are well prepared: telegraph wire is strung up around the position - one of the first times in military history that wire is used as a defensive tool. Many Confederates break their ankles on the wires during the assault and are picked off as they attempt to disentangle themselves. Those that don't become casualties from the wire are unable to climb over the frozen and near-vertical wall surrounding the fort. As a result of the disaster at Fort Sanders, Longstreet is forced to abandon his campaign to capture Knoxville.
NOV281941The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) departs Pearl Harbor to ferry F4F Wildcat fighters from Marine Fighter Squadron 211 (VMF-211) to Wake Island, thus saving the carrier from the coming Japanese attack.
NOV281941Adolf Hitler meets with Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the two determine that Jews in the Middle East must be exterminated.
NOV281942The first Ford production B-24 Liberator rolls off the new production line in Ypsilanti, Mich. By war’s end, the plant would turn out some 8,500 Liberators – and by June of 1944, at the incredible rate of one per hour.
NOV281943In Teheran, Iran, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin meet for the first time to plan a strategy to defeat Nazi Germany.
NOV281950GEN Walton Walker, Commander of the Eighth Army, declares that his offensive is over. GEN Douglas MacArthur informs the Joint Chiefs that “We face an entirely new war.” Nearly half a million Chinese soldiers drive US forces before them.
NOV281950The Chinese launch a massive offensive intending to wipe out the First Marine Division. Three Marines from the 2d Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division - one in E Company (SSG Robert S. Kennemore) and two in F Company (CPT William E. Barber and PVT Hector A. Cafferata Jr.) - will earn the Medal of Honor.
NOV291760Rogers’ Rangers under the command of Massachusetts-born MAJ Robert Rogers capture Fort Detroit from the French. U.S. Army Rangers in the 20th and 21st centuries will trace their lineage to Rogers and his British Colonial irregulars.
NOV291804Marine Corps 1LTs Presley O'Bannon, William Eaton, Navy Midshipman George Mann, and seven Marines land at Alexandria, Egypt with the intention of overthrowing the ruler of Tripoli. Five months - and 600 miles - later, the men would arrive in the port city of Derne and defeat the Bashaw's forces.
NOV291890At West Point, the visiting U.S. Naval Academy beats the U.S. Military Academy, 24-0, in the first-ever Army – Navy football game.
NOV291929U.S. Navy CMDR Richard E. Byrd Jr. makes the first-ever flight over the South Pole. Byrd serves as navigator for the South Pole flight. His companions include pilot Bernt Balchen, radio operator Harold June, and photographer Ashley McKinley. The team crosses the Pole in a modified Ford tri-motor airplane.
NOV291941The Japanese decide that the terms issued by the United States are unacceptable and that Japan must go to war. The passenger ship Lurline sends a radio signal that they have spotted Japanese fleet in the North Pacific, heading East.
NOV291944The submarine USS Archerfish sinks the Japanese carrier Shinano, the largest warship sunk by a submarine during World War II, off Honshu.
NOV291944The battleship USS Maryland and two destroyers are heavily damaged by kamikaze attacks in the Philippines.
NOV291944In France, for nearly two weeks SSG Andrew Miller engages in a "series of heroic events," to include single-handedly silencing multiple machinegun positions; killing or wounding dozens of German soldiers, and capturing scores more. SSG Miller's platoon was pinned down by German fire. He led a charge that smothered the Germans, but the attack cost Miller his life.
NOV291952Newly elected president Dwight Eisenhower fulfills his campaign promise of visiting Korea in hopes of ending the conflict. Upon taking office, President Eisenhower informs the Chinese that he would unleash Nationalist Chinese forces in Taiwan against Communist China unless peace negotiations progressed. An armistice was signed in July of 1953.
NOV291968Viet Cong High Command issues a directive to its forces to wage a new assault to "utterly destroy" U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, specifically targeting the highly effective Phoenix counterinsurgency program.