Browsing: December 12

A Brief History On December 12, 1937, the USS Panay, a gunboat afloat on the Yangtze River near the city of Nanking (now called Nanjing) was attacked by Japanese military aircraft and sunk, with the loss of 3 American lives.  The United States and Japan were not at war and the incident was claimed by the Japanese to be due to mistaken identity of the American ship, despite clear American flags painted on the decks.  The Panay was not the first, nor the last, American vessel to be attacked by forces of another country not at war with the United…

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A Brief History On December 12, 1939, an all too familiar scenario developed when 2 British warships collided, resulting in the sinking of the smaller vessel including considerable loss of life.  While escorting the battleship HMS Barnham from the Mediterranean Sea back to Britain, the destroyer HMS Duchess was accidentally rammed by the huge warship in a dense fog off the Southwest coast of Scotland, knocking the destroyer upside down (capsized) which triggered the depth charges the destroyer carried to explode, destroying the smaller ship and sinking her in short order, taking many of her crew with her.  Ship collisions…

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A Brief History On December 12, 1862, the United States ship, USS Cairo, an iron-clad gunboat of the City Class, was sunk in the Yazoo River by a remotely detonated Confederate “torpedo,” what naval mines were called back then.  The Cairo became the first ship ever sunk by a remote control mine.  (The Cairo was named after the city of Cairo, Illinois.) Digging Deeper Commissioned on January 25, 1862, Cairo was at first an Army gunboat, 175 feet long and 51 feet wide, protected by 2 ½ inches of plate armor, with a maximum thickness of 3 ½ inches of…

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A Brief History On December 12, 1967, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, an American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, and written by William Rose, was released in the United States of America.  The film stars Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn, and features Hepburn’s niece Katharine Houghton. The film was one of the few films of the time to depict an interracial marriage in a positive light, as interracial marriage historically had been illegal in most states of the United States, and still was illegal in 17 states—mostly Southern states—until 12 June 1967, six months before the film was released, roughly two weeks after Tracy filmed his…

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A Brief History On December 12, 884, the King of West Francia, Carloman II, son of Louis the Stammerer (Louis II), died in a hunting accident.  Carloman was only 18 years old at the time, which goes to show you being King is no guarantee of a long happy life. Digging Deeper In the convoluted manner of the time (no convenient DNA tests back then) the succession to the throne was contested in 879 when the Stammering old King died.  Carloman and his brother, Louis III, ended up both being elected King despite disputed paternity, and split the throne of…

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