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Order of the day issued to columns as they crossed the Chindwin, February 13th, 1943.

Today we stand on the threshold of battle. The time of preparation is over, and we are moving on the enemy to prove ourselves and our methods. At this moment we stand beside the soldiers of the United Nations in the front line trenches throughout the world. It is always a minority that occupies the front line. It is still a smaller minority that accepts with a good heart tasks like this that we have chosen to carry out. We need not, therefore, as we go forward into the conflict, suspect ourselves of selfish or interested motives. We have all had opportunity of withdrawing and we are here because we have chosen to be here; that is, we have chosen to bear the burden and heat of the day. Men who make this choice are above the average in courage. We need therefore have no fear for the staunchness and guts of our comrades.

The motive which had led each and all of us to devote ourselves to what lies ahead cannot conceivably have been a bad motive. Comfort and security are not sacrificed voluntarily for the sake of others by ill-disposed people. Our motive, therefore, may be taken to be the desire to serve our day and generation in the way that seems nearest to our hand. The battle is not always to the strong nor the race to the swift. Victory in war cannot be counted upon, but what can be counted upon is that we shall go forward determined to do what we can to bring this war to the end which we believe best for our friends and comrades in arms, without boastfulness or forgetting our duty, resolved to do the right so far as we can see the right.

Our aim is to make possible a government of the world in which all men can live at peace and with equal opportunity of service.

Finally, knowing the vanity of man's effort and the confusion of his purpose, let us pray that God may accept our services and direct our endeavours, so that when we shall have done all we shall see the fruit of our labours and be satisfied.

- O.C. Wingate, Commander, 77th Indian Infantry Brigade.

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FEZ
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Fighter Engagement Zone


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Today in Military History

August 23



1305:

William Wallace (Braveheart) is executed.


1798:

Napoleon leaves Egypt for France en route to seize power as Emperor of France.


1813:

The Prussian army under Von Bulow repulses French attack at the Battle of Grossbeeren.


1833:

Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire.


1839:

The UK captures Hong Kong.


1864:

The Union Navy captures Fort Morgan, Alabama, thus breaking Confederate dominance of all ports on the Gulf of Mexico.


1866:

The Austro-Prussian War ends with the Treaty of Prague.


1889:

The first ship to the shore wireless message is received.


1914:

Japan declares war on Germany and bombs Qingdao (Tsingtao), China.


1914:

The Battle of Mons


1939:

The Soviet-German agreement signed


1939:

World War II: Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret addition to the pact, Baltic states, Finland and Poland are divided between the two nations.


1940:

World War II: The German Luftwaffe begins aerial bombardment of London.


1942:

Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.


1943:

Kharkov is liberated by the Soviet Army.


1944:

World War II: King Michael of Romania dismisses the pro-Nazi government of General Antonescu. Romania switches sides from the Axis to the Allies.


1958:

Chinese Civil War: The Second Taiwan Strait crisis begins with the People's Liberation Army's bombardment of Quemoy.


1990:

Armenia declares its independence from the Soviet Union.


1990:

Saddam Hussein appears on Iraqi state television with a number of Western "guests" (actually hostages to try to prevent the Gulf War).




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