On this day in 1945, Heinrich Luitpold Himmler committed suicide, thereby avoiding war crimes prosecution following Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II. He had been arrested the previous day by British forces. He was one of the main leaders of Nazi Germany and oversaw many of the vile projects that the Nazis enforced throughout their conquered lands, including that of the Holocaust.
On this day in 1241, invading Mongol forces overwhelmed Polish forces in the Battle of Chmielnik. This battle took place during the wider Mongol invasion of Poland which had begun in 1240. As a result of the battle, the Polish city of Krakow was plundered.
On this day in 1525, the Battle of Pavia between Spanish and French forces was fought outside the walls of Pavia during what is known as the Italian War of 1521-26. The French suffered a massive defeat and Francis I was captured and forced to sign a treaty that ceded much ground to Charles V.
On this day in 1916, the Battle of Verdun began on the Western Front in World War I, between French and German forces. This battle waged in northeastern France killed close to 700 000 troops. Some 40 million artillery shells were fired before the battle concluded on the 18th December 1916 in a virtual stalemate, though regarded as a French win.
On this day in 1944, the siege of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) by German Army Group North in World War II, was brought to an end by Soviet forces. The siege had lasted for 872 days. There were heavy losses on both sides during the siege.
Scotland: Abdication of Edward Balliol from the Scottish Throne
The reign of Edward Balliol as Scottish monarch was assisted through the backing of Edward III of England, when he gained the crown in September 1332 through what was essentially a coup with English complicity. The reign was interrupted after just three months by forces loyal to the true King of Scotland (David II) at the end of 1332 and he retreated to England.
In 1333, through the Battle of Halidon Hill, Balliol was restored to the throne. He was dethroned again in 1334 and gained it once again in 1335. However, he essentially lost the throne for all time in 1336. More battles would follow, but he had little true support in Scotland.
On this day in 1356, Balliol surrendered all claims to the Scottish throne to Edward III in exchange for an English pension.
Fresh from victory over Greek forces at the Battle of Alamana, the Ottoman Army under Omer Vrioni was moving to attack the Peloponnese. However, they ran into the small force led by Androutsos at Gravia (Greece), who had fortified themselves within the inn.
A number of attacks on the inn took place with the Ottoman Army suffering heavy casualties and the Greeks very few (6 only). Vrioni odered up his artillery and during this time the Greeks managed to slip away through the Ottoman lines.
As a consequence of his heavy losses (some 300 dead and 800 more wounded), Vrioni retreated and withdrew. During this time the Greeks consolidated their position in the Peloponnese, including the capture of the Ottoman capital in the Peloponnese – Tripoli.
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