October 19: Beginning of the Battle of Leyte, “Operation Nimble Archer,” and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events took place on October 19 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1864 – Civil War: St. Albans Raid
The raid was more a robbery attempt than a military operation conducted by the Confederates. Yet, it’s considered to be the northernmost land action of the Civil War, as it happened in the town of St. Albans, Vermont, not far from Canadian territory.
Kentuckian Bennett H. Young, who had command over the St. Albans raid, had led the Confederate army forces earlier in the war and was captured after the Battle of Salineville in Ohio ended Morgan's Raid the year before. Young managed to escape to Canada, which was a part of the British Empire at that time, and thus “friendly” towards the Confederates. There, in Canada, Young met with Confederate agents, then he returned back to the South and proposed to organize the raids on the Union from the side of the U.S.-Canada border. These raids, according to Young’s plot, would avert the wide-scale Union invasion of the losing South and also raise money by robbing rich banks located in the region.
During the raid, the Confederates managed to take no less than $208,000, while holding the local inhabitants nearby at gunpoint. The raiders managed to escape to Canada, yet, they were arrested there on the request of the U.S., recovering $88,000. But, the good thing for Young and his “colleagues” was that Canada recognized them as militants and let them all go free. However, this decision turned Canadian society against the Confederates, so the Southern agents had to end their activities there.
1944 –Second World War: Pacific Theater: Beginning of the Battle of Leyte
This operation is also known as the Invasion of the Island of Leyte (the Japanese-occupied Philippines) and also marked the beginning of the liberation of the Philippines, which had been under Japanese occupation since December 8, 1941. Interestingly, the Japanese invasion and following occupation of the Philippines started just ten hours after the Pearl Harbor attack.
The Philippines suffered much from the Japanese occupation: Up to a million Filipinos were killed by brutal actions, war crimes, and “anti-guerilla” raids conducted by the Japanese army in a little less than three years; the liberation of the islands was long-awaited by local inhabitants. The Americans (under the overall command of General Douglas MacArthur) liberated the Philippines along with Filipino guerilla forces. The Sixth American Army, in the terms of the order of battle, also liberated the Philippines with the help of the Fifth Air Force and Seventh Fleet.
The Battle of Leyte turned out to be a real disaster and catastrophe for Japanese forces, as they lost 49,000 soldiers, with several thousands more wounded and captured by December 26, 1944, while the Americans suffered 3,504 killed, 11,991 wounded, and 89 missing in action.
1987 – Operation “Nimble Archer”
If the liberation of the Philippines back in WWII had been long-awaited by the local population, Iranians certainly didn’t want to see the American Navy in the Persian Gulf near their shores in the middle of the 1980’s. However (unfortunately), the Americans never ask permission to conduct military operations against those whom they considered their enemies, and Iran is certainly on that list.
During this operation, two Iranian oil platforms were brutally destroyed by the U.S. Navy. According to Washington’s official version, it was due to the Iranian attack on MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait. Moreover, American mainstream propaganda reported that these platforms were used for “military purposes,” and thus were legitimate war targets.
To sum up, we all know who we call when it comes to oil, and this case was no exception, as the U.S. interfered in the interior relations of two countries with military force.
Also on this date:
1960 – The U.S. Government imposes an almost total embargo on Cuba in order to “combat communism” on the Island of Freedom.
1973 – As part of the continuing Watergate scandal, U.S. President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court decision that he turn over the Watergate tapes.
2005 – Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein goes on trial in American-occupied Baghdad for “crimes against humanity”
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on October 19, at least in our view.