Added to 20 August

1778The Siege of Pondicherry was the first military action on the Indian subcontinent following the declaration of war between Great Britain and France in the American War of Independence. A British force besieged the French-controlled port of Puducherry in August 1778, which capitulated after ten weeks of siege. Following the American victory at Saratoga in October 1777, France decided to enter the American War of Independence as an ally to the United States. Word first reached the French Indian colony of Pondicherry in July 1778 that France and Britain had recalled their ambassadors, a sign that war was imminent. The British colonies had already received orders to seize the French possessions in India and begun military preparations. The siege would last almost 2 months. Between 6 and 13 October the British siege operations continued, but heavy rains hampered them. The British succeeded in draining the northern ditch, which the French unsuccessfully attempted again to flood. On 14 October the walls of the two bastions the British had targeted lay in ruins, and preparations began for an assault. Bellecombe was also running out of ammunition. After holding a war council on 15 October, he sent a truce flag to Munro the next day. He signed the terms of capitulation on 18 October.

1945Haroutune (Harry) Krikor Daghlian, Jr. (May 4, 1921 – September 15, 1945), an Armenian American physicist with the Manhattan Project, accidentally irradiated himself during a critical mass experiment at the remote Omega Site facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, resulting in his death 25 days later. Daghlian was irradiated as a result of a criticality accident that occurred when he accidentally dropped a tungsten carbide brick onto a 6.2 kg delta phase plutonium bomb core. This core, available at the close of World War II and later nicknamed the “Demon core”, also resulted in the death of Louis Slotin in a similar accident, and was used in the Able detonation, during the Crossroads series of nuclear weapon testing.

1968 – James Anderson, Jr. posthumously receives the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine.

1976Operation Paul Bunyan begins. In response to the “axe murder incident”, the UN Command determined that instead of trimming the branches that obscured visibility, they would cut down the tree with the aid of overwhelming force. The parameters of the operation were decided in the White House, where President Gerald Ford had held crisis talks. Ford and his advisors were concerned about making a show of strength to chasten North Korea, but without causing further escalation. The operation, named after mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan, was conceived as a US/South Korean show of force, but was also carefully managed to prevent further escalation. It was planned over two days by General Richard G. Stilwell and his staff at the UNC headquarters in Seoul.

2001 – NATO decides to send a peace-keeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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