On This Day … 05 December


  • 1757: Seven Years’ War: Battle of Leuthen: Frederick II of Prussia leads Prussian forces to a decisive victory over Austrian forces under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine.
  • 1775: At Fort Ticonderoga, Henry Knox begins his historic transport of artillery to Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • 1865: Chincha Islands War: Peru allies with Chile against Spain.
  • 1934: Abyssinia Crisis: Italian troops attack Wal Wal in Abyssinia, taking four days to capture the city.
  • 1941: World War II: In the Battle of Moscow, Georgy Zhukov launches a massive Soviet counter-attack against the German army.
  • 1941: World War II: Great Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.
  • 1943: World War II: Allied air forces begin attacking Germany’s secret weapons bases in Operation Crossbow.
  • 1945: World War II: Flight 19, a group of TBF Avengers, disappears in the Bermuda Triangle, in one of the most famous aviation mysteries in history.
  • 1964: Vietnam War: For his heroism in battle earlier in the year, Captain Roger Donlon is awarded the first Medal of Honour of the war.
  • 1971: Battle of Gazipur: Pakistani forces stand defeated as India cedes Gazipur to Bangladesh.
  • 1983: Dissolution of the Military Junta in Argentina.
  • 1995: Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lanka’s government announces the conquest of the Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.
  • 2006: Commodore Frank Bainimarama overthrows the government in Fiji.
  • 2013: Militants attack a Defense Ministry compound in Sana’a, Yemen, killing at least 56 people and injuring 200 others.
  • Days of Military Honour (Russia):
    • The Days of Military Honour (Russian: Дни воинской славы, dni voinskoy slavy) are special memorable dates in the Russian Armed Forces dedicated to the most outstanding victories won by Russia.
    • Some of these dates are state holidays but the majority of them are celebrated purely in the armed forces, while 07 November is marked by parades in Moscow and Samara.
    • 05 December is the day of launching of the counter-offensive in the Battle of Moscow, 1941.

People (Births)

  • 1859: John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, English admiral and politician, 2nd Governor-General of New Zealand (d. 1935).
  • 1867: Józef Piłsudski, Polish field marshal and politician, 15th Prime Minister of Poland (d. 1935).
  • 1875: Arthur Currie, Canadian general (d. 1933).
  • 1902: Strom Thurmond, American educator, general, and politician, 103rd Governor of South Carolina (d. 2003).
  • 1905: Francisco Javier Arana, Guatemalan Army colonel and briefly Guatemalan head of state (d.1949).
  • 1907: Lin Biao, Chinese general and politician, 2nd Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China (d. 1971).
  • 1914: Hans Hellmut Kirst, German lieutenant and author (d. 1989).
  • 1918: Charity Adams Earley, Black American Army officer (d. 2002).

People (Deaths)

  • 1749: Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, Canadian commander and explorer (b. 1685).
  • 1918: Schalk Willem Burger, South African commander, lawyer, and politician, 6th President of the South African Republic (b. 1852).
  • 1942: Jock Delves Broughton, British captain (b. 1883).
  • 1953: William Sterling Parsons, American admiral (b. 1901).
  • 1977: Aleksandr Vasilevsky, Russian marshal and politician, Minister of Defence for the Soviet Union (b. 1895).
  • 2002: Ne Win, Burmese general and politician, 4th President of Burma (b. 1911).
  • 2009: William Lederer, American soldier and author (b. 1912).
  • 2014: Ernest C. Brace, American captain and pilot (b. 1931).
  • 2015: Tibor Rubin, Hungarian-American soldier, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1929).

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