March 9: Scenario Tidbits
March 9th scenarios.
632: The Last Sermon of Muhammad, in which he spoke against the taking of interest and other forms of economic exploitation, and forbade tribal revenge killing.
1009: The Lithuanians' cover is finally blown. First known mention of Lithuania, in the annals of the monastery at Quedlinburg (no, I am not making up that monastery, it's on the same road as St. Servatius' and St. Wigbert's, which I am also not making up).
1847: The first large-scale amphibious assault in U.S. military history: the Siege of Veracruz in the Mexican-American War. (Ambrose Bierce: "War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.")
1862: Day Two of the Battle of Hampton Roads, as promised yesterday. At dawn, the CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) moves out to finish the destruction of the wooden Union fleet, specifically the USS MInnesota, which it had been unable to destroy due to the lateness of the hour and the difference in the ships' drafts (22 feet in the case of the Virginia). Overnight, however, the Union's own ironclad, the USS Monitor, has entered the roads after being rushed down from Brooklyn Navy Yard (almost foundering twice on the open ocean on the way down). The Virginia found the Monitor blocking its way to the Minnesota, and the first battle between ironclad ships began. After several hours of fruitlessly blasting away at each other to little effect, a chance shell from the Virginia exploded near the pilot house of the Monitor, blinding its commanding officer. The executive officer, taking over, drew off a bit; the Virginia, thinking the Monitor was leaving, and needing repairs itself, sailed back to its dock. (The tide had fallen to the point where the Virginia's ultimate target, the Minnesota, was aground, making it impossible for the deep-drafted Virginia to approach.) The Monitor returned after a bit to its former position, but by that time the Virginia was gone; so both ships assumed that they had won the engagement. Neither ship would ever fight again, and neither survived the year. The Virginia, in danger of capture, was scuttled and burned by its commander on May 11; the Monitor sank off North Carolina on New Year's Eve. The Federal blockade of Southern ports remained in place; the Union built many more "river monitors" for inland battle, but the low-deck flat design of the ship made it impractical for use at sea. Its swiveling gun turret did become a major feature of future warships. The Virginia seems to have inspired less in the way of obvious imitation.
1916: The cavalry raider Pancho Villa leads an attack on Columbus, New Mexico. General Pershing is sent down to chase Pancho's horse around the desert to get in shape for World War I. Villa evades "Black Jack," and eventually retires to a 25,000 acre hacienda in Canutillo. The "Centaur of the North" is assassinated, ironically, while driving a Dodge through town.
1925: "Pink's War," the first military action of an air force independent of other Army or Navy, begins. The RAF under Wing Commander Richard Pink bombs sites in Mahsud, South Waziristan, Northwest Frontier Province, strafing tribal mountain strongholds of militant tribesmen. Amazingly, it works. On May 1, the tribesmen sue for peace. (Perhaps the U.S. can trade in some of its drones for Bristol Fighters and DeHavilland DH.9As.)
1959: The Barbie doll makes its debut, pre-sabotaging the modern feminist movement several years before it is launched.