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This Day in WWII 16 May 1940 - 1945

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Buick-May1943.jpgBuick Ad - May 1943

 

1940: Germans try to enlarge Sedan pocket. British withdraw from Louvain, west of Brussels as troops of the German 6th Army break through the Allied Dyle line in Belgium. Belgian government leaves Brussels for Ostend.

 

1940: The Red Army occupies Latvia and Estonia. Tens of thousands of "hostile' natives and their families are rounded up and deported to NKVD prison camps around the Soviet Union.

 

1940: Churchill urges Mussolini not to become involved in the war.

 

VeraMiles1.jpg *Vera Miles

 

1941: With a raid by 111 German aircraft on Birmingham, the Night Blitz campaign against England comes to an end. Most Luftwaffe bomber formations in France and Belgium are being transferred to airfields in eastern Germany and occupied Poland. The RAF launch a night raid on Cologne.

 

1941: The Afrika Korps counter-attack against the British and retake Sollum and Capuzzo, although the Halfaya Pass remains in British hands. Berlin orders Rommel to leave Tobruk to the Italians and to concentrate the Afrika Korps near the Egyptian border. The Italian forces under the Duke of Aosta surrender to British forces at Amba Alagi in Abyssinia.

 

1941: Last British reinforcements arrive in Crete.

 

VeraMiles2.jpg Vera Miles

 

1942: Kerch is captured by German troops, forcing the Russians to evacuate their troops across the straits in extremely difficult conditions and under heavy fire. For five days, Russian ships shuttle back and forth, finally pulling out 86,000 men, including 23,000 wounded.

 

Kelloggs-RiceKrispies-May1943.jpg Kellogg's Rice Krispies Ad - May 1943

 

1943: The Warsaw ghetto is finally cleared of Jews by the German police and security units.

 

1943: Wing Commander Guy Gibson leads the 'Dambusters' night attack by 19 aircraft against the Ruhr dams, during which 'bouncing bombs' breach the Mohne and Eder Dams causing severe flooding and loss of civilian life in the Ruhr valley below them, but doing little damage to the industrial installations. Gibson is later awarded the Victoria Cross.

 

VeraMiles3.jpg Vera Miles

 

1944: Aircraft of RAF Coastal Command sink 5 U-boats off the Norwegian coast.

 

1944: The first Jews from Hungary arrive at Auschwitz. Eichmann arrives to personally oversee and speed up the extermination process.

 

1944: The 17th Indian Division counter-attacks South of Imphal.

 

VeraMiles4.jpg Vera Miles

 

1945: British troops land on Alderney, taking 3,200 Germans prisoner.

 

1945: U-234 surrenders at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. On 16th April 1945 she had departed Norway and was enroute to Japan with an extremely important cargo, which included technical drawings, an Me-262 jet fighter in crates, 550 kg of U-238 uranium ore for atom bomb development, several high ranking German technological experts, and 2 Japanese officers. When Kptlt. Fehler heard of the cease-fire orders on 4 May 1945, he decides to surrender to the Americans, rather than the Canadians, being in a relatively equal position to do either. Still at war with the US, the Japanese officers take their own lives rather than surrender.

 

1945: Heavy fighting continues on Okinawa, as the U.S. 77th Division takes 'Chocolate Drop Hill'.

 

VeraMiles5.jpg Vera Miles

 

*Born Vera June Ralston on August 23, 1929 in Boise City, Oklahoma, Vera Miles attended school in Pratt, Kansas and Wichita, Kansas. The patrician beauty of Miss Miles won her the title of "Miss Kansas" in 1948, leading soon to small roles in Hollywood films and television shows. Fame came to the forthright, spirited Miles when she attracted the attention of two master directors, Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford. Ford cast her in the classic western "The Searchers" (1956) and Hitchcock, who put her under personal contract and hailed her as his "new Grace Kelly," paired her with the great Henry Fonda in "The Wrong Man." (1956). Hitchcock had Miles in mind to star in a dual role opposite James Stewart in "Vertigo" (1958), but what was envisioned as the actress' star-making vehicle instead became a triumph for Kim Novak when Miles' pregnancy and Hitchcock's subsequent production delays cost her the plum assignment. Hitchcock gave Miles a supporting role in another masterpiece "Psycho" (1960), as did Ford when he cast her opposite James Stewart and John Wayne in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962), She also starred in such films as "Beau James" (1957) opposite Bob Hope, "The FBI Story" (1959) opposite James Stewart, "Back Street" (1961) opposite Susan Hayward and John Gavin and "Sergeant Ryker" (1968) opposite Lee Marvin, as well as showing her consistently remarkable and versatile talent on dozens of popular television movies and series including "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Twilight Zone,". "The Outer Limits," "The Fugitive," "My Three Sons," "Bonanza," "Columbo," and "Murder She Wrote." In 1983, she reprised her role as Lila Crane in the film sequel "Psycho II", starring Anthony Perkins. Although too often, the stunningly beautiful Miles' gifts were underutilized, before her retirement in 1995, hers was a most intriguing and enduring Hollywood career.

 

VeraMiles6.jpg Vera Miles

 

TRIVIA:

Height

5' 3 3/4" (1.62 m)

Placed third in the Miss America contest in 1948.

By sheer coincidence, all three of Vera's handsome, strapping ex-husbands died within a short time span. Her third husband, Keith Larsen died on December 13, 2006; first husband/stuntman and small part actor Bob Miles died on April 12, 2007; and bodybuilder second husband actor Gordon Scott, who played Tarzan in films, died on April 30, 2007.

In "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962), John Wayne pursued Miss Miles, but lost her to James Stewart. Six years later, his luck improved. Miles played Wayne's wife in "Hellfighters" (1968) and "The Green Berets" (1968), though her scenes in the latter were left on the cutting room floor.

Daughters with Bob Miles: Debra Miles born in 1950 and Kelley Miles born in 1952. Son with Gordon Scott: Michael Scott born 1957. Son with Keith Larsen: Eric Larsen born April 30, 1961 in Burbank, California.

 

Miles lives in Palm Desert, California and does not grant interviews or make public appearances, although she is well known for corresponding with her fanbase.

 

USRubberCompanyAd-May1944.jpg United States Rubber Company Ad - May 1944

 

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