4 January: This Day in Military History

1847: The U.S. Government Ordnance Department orders 1,000 revolvers designed by Samuel Colt and Texas Ranger Capt. Samuel H. Walker. The powerful firearm features a revolving cylinder that can effectively fire its six .44 bullets up to 100 yards. Historians would later say that Colt’s invention altered the course of human history.

1910: USS Michigan (BB-27), America’s first dreadnought battleship, is commissioned. The massive ship features eight 12-inch guns mounted in twin turrets, which are capable of sending an 870-lb. projectile over 11 miles away and could penetrate over 16 inches of armor.

USS Michigan (BB-27), circa 1911

1943: Off the coast of Munda Island, USS Helena (CL-50) shoots down a Japanese Type 99 Val bomber, marking the first kill using Variable Timing (proximity-fused) anti-aircraft shells.

Japanese Type 99 Val bomber

1944: U.S. Army Air Force and Royal Air Force bombers begin dropping weapons and supplies to resistance fighters in France, Belgium, and Italy during Operation “Carpetbagger.”

1951: The South Korean capital of Seoul falls into enemy hands for a second time.

1989: Two Libyan MiG-23 “Flogger” fighters approach two F-14 “Tomcats” (Featured Image) from the carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) flying a combat air patrol mission over the Mediterranean Sea. The Tomcats engage and splash the MiGs in the first dogfight for the U.S. military since a 1981 engagement with Libya. Muammar Gaddafi claims that the U.S. Navy shot down unarmed reconnaissance planes, but gun camera footage shows the world that the fighters were armed with missiles.

An F-14A Tomcat aircraft equipped with Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM)
MiG-23 “Flogger”
A right underside view of a Libyan MiG-23MS (NATO – Flogger) aircraft.
Chris Carter

Chris Carter is the Director of the Victory Institute, and deputy regional director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. His work appears at The US Report, International Analyst Network, Human Events, Canada Free Press, Family Security Matters, Deutsche Welle, NavySEALs.com, Blackfive and other publications. Chris is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, non-commissioned officer in the South Carolina State Guard, and retired firefighter.

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