Home Front – Big Timber, Montana

Welcome to Big Timber

These two articles are from The Big Timber Pioneer newspaper, Thursday, August 30, 1945

Prisoners Hanged

Ft. Leavenworth Prison Cemetery; By Gorsedwa, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Aug. 25 – The Army Saturday hanged 7 German prisoners-of-war in the Fort Leavenworth disciplinary barracks for the murder of a fellow prisoner whom they had accused of being a traitor to the Reich.

All 7 went to the gallows after receiving last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.  They were executed for killing Werner Dreschler at the Papago Park, Arizona prisoner of war camp, March 13, 1944.

The hangings took less than three hours.  The executions brought to 14 the total number of Nazi POW’s executed at Ft. Leavenworth during the last few weeks.

The 7 went to the gallows without showing any signs of emotion.  They had signed statements admitting their guilt.  Their defense was that they had read in German newspapers that they should put to death any German who was a traitor.  At their trial they said Dreschler had admitted giving information of military value to their captures.

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Sgt. Nat Clark was on Pioneer Mining Mission

313th Wing B-29 Base, Tinian – One of the 6th Bomb Group fliers who participated in the pioneer mining mission to northern Korean waters on 11 July was SSgt. Nathaniel B. Clark, son of Mr. & Mrs. J.F. Clark, Big Timber, MT. it was revealed here today with the lifting of censorship rules.  He is a left blister gunner and by war’s end had flown 29 combat missions in the war against Japan.

On the longest mission of the war, to deny the use of the eastern Korean ports to the already partially blockaded Japanese, Sgt. Clark explained that the crews were briefed to fly 3,500 statute miles to their mine fields just south of Russia, and back to Iwo Jima where they would have to land for fuel.  Then it was still 725 miles back to the Tinian base.

The flight was planned to take 16½ hours which in itself was not out of the ordinary, but the length of time the full mine load would be carried was a record 10 hours and 35 minutes.

Loading an aerial mine layer

The job called for hair-splitting navigation, Midas-like use of the available gas, penetration of weather about which little is known and finally a precision radar mine-laying run over a port whose defenses and very contours were not too well known.

“We sweated that one out from our briefing one morning until we landed back on Tinian almost 24 hours later.” Sgt. Clark recalled.

radar mine

One crew was forced to return to Okinawa because of engine trouble, but the other 5 on the pioneer flight landed within a few minutes of the briefed time.  One landed at the exact briefed time.  The closest call on gas was reported by the crew which landed with only 24 gallons left, scarcely enough to circle the field.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Herman Brown – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 385/76th Division/ 3rd Army

Lester Burks – Willis, TX; US Army, Co. B/513/17th Airborne Division

Pedro ‘Pete’ Contreras – Breckenridge, OK; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

Paul Jarret – Phoenix, AZ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Medical Corps, Bronze Star / US Air Force

John ‘Nick’ Kindred – Scarsdale, NY; US Navy, Lt.

James Lemmons – Portland, TN; US Army; Korea, HQ/187th RCT

Charles McCarry – Plainfield, MA; CIA, Cold War, undercover agent

Howard Rein Jr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Morton Siegel – Rye, NY; US Navy, WWII

Eldon Weehler – Loup City, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret. 30 y.)

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RAF in the Pacific War

British Flight Training School No. 1, Terrell, TX

After the fall of the Dutch East Indies, the British RAF contributed six squadrons to the Pacific Air War.

March 1941 allowed for the training of Allied pilots on U.S. soil and the formation of British Flying Training Schools.  These unique establishments were owned by American operators, staffed with civilian instructors, but supervised by British flight officers. Each school, and there were seven located throughout the southern and southwestern United States, utilized RAF’s own training syllabus.

The aircraft were supplied by the U.S. Army Air Corps.  Campuses were located in Terrell, Texas; Lancaster, California; Miami, Oklahoma; Mesa, Arizona; Clewiston, Florida; Ponca City, Oklahoma; and Sweetwater, Texas.

AT-6 2A RAF Texan (aka Harvard)

During the period of greatest threat to Australia in 1942, Winston Churchill agreed to release three squadrons of Spitfires from service in England.  This included No. 54 squadron plus two RAAF expeditionary squadrons serving in Britain, Nos. 452 and 457.  The Spitfire was at the time the premier Allied air defense fighter.

Pilots of RAF No. 54 Squadron

The squadrons arrived in Australia in October 1942 and were grouped as No. 1 Wing.  They were assigned the defense of the Darwin area in January of 1943.  The Wing remained in that role for the remainder of the war.  In late 1943 two additional RAF Squadrons were formed in Australia, Nos. 548 and 549.  These relieved the RAAF Spitfire squadrons for eventual duty with the 1st RAAF Tactical Air Force.

RAF C-47 Dakota over Burma

No. 618 Squadron, a Mosquito squadron armed with the Wallis bomb for anti-shipping missions was sent to the Pacific in late 1944 but never saw active service and was disbanded in June 1945.

In 1945 two Dakota squadrons, Nos. 238 and 243, were sent to the Pacific to provide support for the British Pacific Fleet.

The RAF’s No. 205 squadron, which was stationed in Ceylon, was responsible for air services between Ceylon and Australia during the war.

Raf ground crew & Singhalese lowering a Catalina of the 240th Squadron into the water, Red Hills Lake, Ceylon, 4 August 1945

Should the war have continued beyond VJ day, the RAF planned to send the “Tiger Force” to Okinawa to support operations against the Japanese home islands.  As of 10 July 1945, the “Tiger Force” was planned to be composed of No. 5 (RAF) Group and No. 6 (RCAF) Group with 9 British, 8 Canadian, 2 Australian, and 1 New Zealand heavy bomber squadrons.  The Force was to be supported by Pathfinder Squadron and a Photo/Weather Recon squadron from the RAF and 3 Transport and one air/sea rescue Squadrons from the RCAF.

Click on images to enlarge.

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British Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eileen Brown – London, ENG; WRAF, WWII, ETO

Irving Fenster – Tulsa, OK; US Navy, WWII

Tedd Holeman – Sugar City, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQS/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Stanley Jones – Shrewsbury, ENG; RAF, Chaplain

Daniel Lynn Jr. – Krupp, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO / Korea

Stanley Mellot – Grand John, CAN; RAF, WWII, navigator

James Raymond – Katanning, AUS, RAF, WWII

Paul Seifert Sr. – Bethlehem, PA; US Army, Korea, 82nd Airborne Division

David ‘Ken’ Thomas – Brown’s Bay, NZ; RAF # 1669434, WWII

Arthur Wan – Milwaukee, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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The Forgotten Fleet

Five British aircraft carriers at anchor at war’s end: HMS Indefatigable, Unicorn, Illustrious, Victorious, and Formidable

The Royal Navy was struggling to overcome its failure earlier in the Pacific, but during 1945, this forgotten fleet fought back dramatically to stand with the U.S. Navy against a storm of kamikaze attacks.

British naval operations in the Far East in World War II started badly and went downhill from there. Years of underfunding in defense meant that Britain simply did not have the means to defend its huge empire, and for 18 months prior to the Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, it had stood alone against Nazi Germany.

Barracks at Tokishuma airfield, Shikoku Province, in the Japanese home islands, under attack by British naval aircraft, July 24, 1945. The planes were launched by HMS Victorious, Formidable, Indefatigable, and Implacable.

The Royal Navy was primarily committed to the Battle of the Atlantic, keeping open the all important sea lanes upon which the island nation’s survival depended. In the Far East, there were only token naval forces available to meet the Japanese attack, and in that part of the world Britannia’s claim to rule the ocean waves was immediately exposed for the empty rhetoric it had become.

The Pacific Ocean had never been a main operating area for the Royal Navy, so it was not geared or experienced for that sea’s vast distances in the way the U.S. Navy was; its vessels did not have the same cruising ranges and could not remain on station as long as the Yanks. So Task Force 57 started its operational life at a distinct disadvantage. This was compounded by having an inadequate supply fleet.

An auxiliary ship of Task Force 57 (center) refuels a British destroyer at sea. The Royal Navy struggled with logistics and resupply over the vast distances of the Pacific.

Because of the nature of the war it had been fighting in the Atlantic, the Royal Navy also had relatively little experience in large-scale carrier operations against land targets, which were the bread and butter of the U.S. Navy. For that reason, Task Force 57 practiced against targets in Sumatra when en route to the Pacific to gain experience and at the same time wreck some Japanese oil refineries.

Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the senior American naval officer in the Pacific, gave Task Force 57 a gracious welcome, signaling, “The British Carrier Task Force and attached units will increase our striking power and demonstrate our unity of purpose against Japan. The U.S. Pacific Fleet welcomes you.”

A British-marked Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm, returning from an attack on Sakishima Gunto, flies above the HMS Indomitable in March 1945.

It was certainly not a token contribution. The combat elements of Task Force 57 at that time comprised four fleet carriers embarking 207 combat aircraft, two battleships, five cruisers, and 11 destroyers. There were also six escort aircraft carriers guarding the fleet train and ferrying replacement aircraft.

Commanding this formidable naval armament was Vice Admiral Sir Henry B.H. Rawlings. He and Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, at the helm of the American Fifth Fleet and directly in charge of all naval forces at Okinawa, worked well together.

By the end of April, the verdict on Task Force 57’s actions so far was generally considered “not bad.” The British were on a steep learning curve, getting used to a type of operation for which they were not properly equipped or trained. It had to refuel and resupply more frequently than the U.S. Navy and were still having serious problems with replenishment at sea.

An obsolescent Fairy Swordfish torpedo bomber approaches the HMS Victorious during operations. The ship was hit by three kamikazes during the Okinawa operation but survived.

In late May 1945, Task Force 57 broke off after 62 days at sea, returning to base to refit, resupply, and repair battle damage. Its first major missions of the Pacific War were over.

There would be more action to come, including Operation Inmate (June 14-16), involving air attacks on the main Japanese naval bastion at Truk in the western Caroline Islands, as well as raids on Japan itself in the run up to the planned invasion.

The British raids—both by air and shore bombardment—continued right up to August 15, 1945, and the Japanese surrender to the Allies; the second British task force, built around another four fleet carriers and one battleship squadron, arrived too late to take part in the fighting. By VJ Day, the Royal Navy Pacific Fleet had 80 principal warships (including nine large and nine escort aircraft carriers), 30 smaller combat vessels, and 29 submarines.

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British Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gerald Ballard, Scranton, IA; US Coast Guard, WWII / USNR (Ret.)

Philip Corfman – Bowie, MD; US Navy, WWII, PTO / World Health Org. & FDA

Paul Gifford – Troy, NY; US Navy, WWII & Korea, corpsman, USS Shangri-La & Tranquility

Joe Jackson – Kent, WA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Medal of Honor

Charles Kettles – Ypsilanti, MI; US Army, Vietnam, Medal of Honor

Fernand Martin – Debden, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII, ETO

Gabriel Nasti – St. Augustine, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO, 20th Infantry/6th Division

Svend Nielsen – Copenhagen, DEN; Civilian, Danish Resistance, WWII, ETO

Jan-Michael Vincent – Hanford, CA; Army National Guard / beloved actor

Allen Wright (102) – Red Willow City, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, MSgt., Chemical Corps / USAR, Major (Ret. 31 y.)

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OSS in Kunming, China

Julia Child with OSS colleagues

The OSS group that included Julia Child and her future husband Paul found themselves in a flood in mid-August 1945.  But what they were encountering was nothing compared to the civilians.  Chinese villages of mud huts were “melting like chocolate.”  Farmers drowned in their own fields.  As the flooding began to subside, Japan was hit with the second atomic bomb.

The incoming Russian soldiers only added to the Pandora’s box that was already opened in China.  The OSS HQ in Kunming went into overdrive.  Eight mercy missions were launched to protect the 20,000 American and Allied POW’s and about 15,000 civilian internees.

Elizabeth McIntosh w/ colleagues during Kunming flood

All the frantic preparations – for rescue operations, food and medical drops and evacuation – had to undertaken despite the weather conditions.  Adding to the drama was the uncertain fate of the 6-man OSS team dispatched to Mukden in Manchuria to rescue General “Skinny” Wainwright, who endured capture along with his men since Corregidor in May 1942.

There was also evidence that other high-ranking Allied officials were held in the camp, such as General Arthur E. Percival, the former commander of Singapore.

On August 28, 1945, General Jonathan Wainwright steps down from a C-47 transport in Chunking, China, after three arduous years in a Japanese prison camp.

The OSS mercy missions were treated very badly.  Officers were held up by Chinese soldiers and robbed of the arms and valuables.  The mood in China was changing very quickly.  Even in Chungking, the Chinese troops were becoming anti-foreign and uncooperative.

Word from Hanoi was that the OSS was beset with problems there as well.  Thousands of still-armed Japanese were attempting to keep order in French Indochina.  Paul Child told his brother he well expected a civil war to start there very soon.  The French refused to recognize the Republic of Vietnam and worked with the British to push for “restoration of white supremacy in the Orient”.

OSS in Ho Chi Minh, Indochina

The French were becoming more and more anti-American.  They were using agents with stolen US uniforms to provoke brawls and cause disturbances.  The British were dropping arms to French guerrilla  forces to be used to put down the independence movement.

In Kunming, the streets were littered with red paper victory signs and exploded fireworks.  Some of the signs were written in English and bore inscriptions reading, “Thank you, President Roosevelt and President Chiang!” and “Hooray for Final Glorious Victory!”  Paper dragons 60-feet long whirled through alleyways, followed by civilians with flutes, gongs and drums.

The weeks that followed would be a letdown.  Most of them were unprepared for the abrupt end to the war.  Peace had brought a sudden vacuum.  One day there was purpose and then – nothing had any meaning.  The OSS would go back to their drab civilian lives.

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“Secret ?”  Military Humor – 

CIA, ‘It’s Ferguson, our ‘Master of Disguise,’ sir — he’s having an identity crisis.’

‘I don’t have any formal training, but I do own the complet boxed set of ‘Get Smart’ DVD’s.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Dalton Jr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Clinton Daniel – Anderson, SC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Richard Farden – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 95th Bomber Group/8th Air Force

Murphy Jones Sr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Colonel, ‘Hanoi Hilton’ POW

Robert Haas – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co C/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Dorothy Holmes – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Chief Master Sgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Arnold ‘Pete’ Petersen – Centerville, UT; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart

Alfred Rodrigues Sr. (99)  – HI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

Tito Squeo – Molfetta, ITA; US Merchant Marines, WWII, diesel engineer

Joseph Wait – Atlanta, GA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot

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Soviet Invasion – August 1945

Manchurian operation map

Stalin’s simple purpose for declaring war against Japan was for territorial gain, for which he was prepared to pay heavily.  Before launching their assault in Manchuria, the Soviets made provision for 540,000 casualties, including 160,000 dead.  This was a forecast almost certainly founded upon an assessment of Japanese strength, similar to what the US estimated for a landing at Kyushu.

Since 1941, Stalin had maintained larger forces on the Manchurian border than the Western Allies ever knew about.  In the summer of 1945, he reinforced strongly, to create a mass sufficient to bury the Japanese.  Three thousand locomotives labored along the thin Trans-Siberian railway.  Men, tanks and matérial made a month-long trek from eastern Europe.

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
A Soviet marine waving the ensign of the Soviet navy as Soviet airplanes fly overhead after the victory over the Japanese occupation troops in Port Arthur, South Manchuria. Picture taken August 1945 by Yevgeni Khaldei.

Moscow was determined to disguise this migration.  Soldiers were ordered to remove their medals and paint their guns with “On To Berlin” slogans.  But train stations were often lined with locals, yelling support for them to fight the Japanese.  So much for secrecy.

Some of the men thought they were returning home.  After 4 years of war, they were dismayed to be continuing on.  “Myself, I couldn’t help thinking what a pity it would be to die in a little war after surviving a big one,” said Oleg Smirnov.

After traveling 6,000 miles from Europe, some units marched the last 200 miles through the treeless Mongolian desert.  “I’d taken part in plenty of offenses, but I’d never seen a build-up like this one,” said one soldier.  “Trains arriving one after another…  Even the sky was crowded: there were always bombers, sturmoviks, transports overhead.”

MANCHURIA, AUGUST 1945. Japanese cavalry troops along the Amur River in Manchukuo.

Machine-gunner Anatoly Silov found himself at a wayside station where he was presented with 5 mechanics, 130 raw recruits and crates containing 260 Studebaker, Chevrolet and Dodge trucks he was ordered to assemble.  “As the infantry marched, the earth smelt not of sagebrush but of petrol.”  Most of the men lost their appetites for food and cigarettes, caring only about thirst.”

By early August, 136,000 railway cars had transferred eastwards of a million men, 100,000 trucks, 410 million rounds of small-arms ammo, and 3.2 million shells.  Even firewood had to be cut in forests and shipped 400 miles.  “Many of the guys rubbished the Americans for wanting other people to do their fighting,” said Oleg Smirnov.

As troops approached the frontier, their camouflage and deception schemes were used to mask their movements.  Generals traveled under false names.  These veterans of the Eastern front were up against 713,724 of the so-called Manchukuo Army of which 170,000 were local Chinese collaborators.  The Japanese weapons were totally outclassed by the Soviets’.  Many mortars were homemade, some bayonets were forged from the springs of discarded vehicles.

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
Soviet troops in Harbin in Manchuria, after their victory over the Japanese occupation troops, 1945.

On 8 August 1945, the Soviet troops were told, “The time has come to erase the black stain of history from out homeland….”  To achieve surprise, the Soviets denied themselves air reconnaissance.  The 15th Army crossed the Amur River with the aid of a makeshift flotilla of commercial steamships, barges and pontoons.  Gunboats dueled with the shore batteries.  One Soviet armored brigade made it 62 miles into Manchuria before the rear units made it ashore.

The Japanese Guandong Army had suffered a tactical surprise by overwhelming forces.  On the morning of 9 August, the Japanese commander, Otozo Yamada, called the Manchukuo Emperor, Pu Yi.  Yamada’s assertions of confidence in victory were somewhat discredited by the sudden scream of air raid sirens and the concussions of Russian bombs.  Pu Yi, a hypochondriac prey to superstition and prone to tears, an immature creature at 39, heartless in ruling his people, now was extremely paranoid and terrified of being killed.

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(Russian ?) Military Humor – 

 

YOU get the CAR where IT needs to be!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Mason Ashby – Floyds Knoles, IN, US Army, WWII, PTO

Donald Catron – Logan, UT; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Arthur Dappolonio – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William Gutmann – KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Siboney, medic

Henry James – Rolla, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

James Knight – Longview, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Lundberg – Erie, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII,ETO, P-47 mechanic

James Petrie – Rangiora, NZ; 2NZEF # 19483, WWII, ETO, Pvt.

Roy Theodore – Lestock, CAN; Crash Rescue Firefighter, WWII, ETO

Eugene Williams – Washington D.C.; US Navy, WWII, ETO, LST, Purple Heart

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PT Boats – August 1945

PT boat operating at Guadalcanal

In mid August, 30 squadrons of PT’s were in commission.  Nineteen were in the 7th Fleet.

Admiral Kinkaid could not foresee a need for patrol boats around Japan and Korea, so The 7th Fleet boats became the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Philippine Sea Frontier.  The shooting was over but there were still jobs where they could be useful.

25-26 August – at Morotai, 16 PT’s under Lt.Comdr. T.R. Stansbury and Gen. Johnson got underway for a rendezvous with the commanders of the Japanese forces on Halmahera.  The Japanese commanding general was not there. That was unacceptable.

PT boat w/ native scouts aboard
(possibly PT-171)

The following day, BGen. Warren McNaught went with 6 PT boats and this time Lt.Gen. Ishii and Capt. Fujita, IJN commander were waiting.  The boats carried them to the 93rd Div. headquarters on Morotai.  It was here that they surrendered 37,000 troops, 4,000 Japanese civilians and a very large quantity of equipment.  This was the force that the PT boats had held at bay for almost a year.  The garrison commander, Col. Ouchi, reported that since 12 May, when 3 barges brought sorely needed supplies from Halmahera, not a single barge had crossed the 12-mile strait between the 2 islands.  Two of those barges were destroyed by PT boats when they attempted to return.

PT-174 at Rendova, Solomons, Jan. 1944

In the central Philippines, Pt 489 and 492 of Squadron 33 carried U.S. Army personnel and members of the Japanese surrender commission to isolated enemy outposts on Samar, Masbate and Romblon to accept the surrender of more than 500 enemy troops.

The Navy Depart. properly got rid of most of the PT’s; their job was done.  Because of their light wooden construction they could not be stored away for future use as the steel-hulled ships were.

All the boats in the western Pacific were carefully surveyed.  It was found that 118 hulls were defective due to broken frames, worms and dry rot, broken keels, cracked longitudinals * or battle damage.  These boats were stripped of all salvageable material and the bare hulls were burned on the beach at Samar.

Squadrons 4, 41 and 42 were being saved for training purposes and experimental work.

Behind the decision to cut the PT force so drastically, besides the obvious reason of economy, there was a realization that in the end of the old boats was the beginning of a new PT boat.  There were no major changes in design in the 80-foot Elco and the 78-foot Higgins, but with the war’s end, they could afford to take their time to redesign in light of 4-years worth of experience.

In 1951, the Navy accepted the first post-war PT’s.  They were all aluminum hulls and powered by 4 Packard engines of considerable higher horsepower than the original.  The first one built, PT-809 was built by the Electric Boat Co.  The overall length of the boat was 98 feet and the max beam was 26 feet.  PT-810 by Bath Iron Works; PT-811 by John Trumpy & Sons and the last experimental one, PT-812 was built by Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and equipped with gas turbines.  These boats operated as Motor Torpedo Squadron-1 from 1954-59.

* Longitudinals – (a system for framing vessels in which light, closely spaced, longitudinal frames are connected by heavy, widely spaced transverse frames with deep webs.)

Information derived from: “At Close Quarters, PT Boats in the United States Navy”  by Robert J. Bulkley

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anthony Bosico – Haverstraw, NY; US Navy, WWII, submarine service, USS Grouper & tender Proteus

Jerry Cruce – Grayson, GA; US Merchant Marine, WWII

William Duncan – Tofield, CAN; RC Army, WWII, 5th BC Coat Brigade/25th General Pioneers

Frank Greco – Hendersonville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 30 y.)

Charles Heath  Gauley Bridge, WV, US Navy, WWII, USS Wyoming

George Johnson – Terre Haute, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, artillery

William Lewis – McGuffey, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS New Orleans

Jack Meyers – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-29 mechanic

Stanley Szuba – Linden, NJ; USMC, WWII

John Widelski – New Bedford, MA; US Navy, gunner’s mate, USS Wingfield & Bronstein

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Poems

I think we are all in need of a more light-hearted post by now …..

 

A FRIEND, YOUR AMERICAN M.P.

 

 When soldiers go out and have some fun,

 They always forget about some other one.

 That someone’s on duty every day,

 To see that these soldiers are safe at play.

 They call him names that we can’t print,

 But they should sit down and try to think.

 These men are detailed for this tough job,

 So why go around and call him a snob?

 When a guy’s in trouble, and things look bad,

 They call on this fellow, and then he’s not bad.

 At the end they will say, “this fellow took up for me.”

 And the fellow that did it was your American M.P.

 One thing to remember fellows when you’re down and out,

 There’s a fellow that will help you if he hears you shout.

 He will stand beside you and fight like hell.

 So do the right thing, and treat him well.

 Just remember fellows on your holiday,

 One of your buddies can’t go out and play.

 You call him an outcast, and other names,

 But he’s your buddy, just the same.

 We envy no one, try never to do harm.

 We’re here to keep you safe, in every form.

 So if you see us on duty, please don’t get mad.

 Remember we’re here for you, and that M.P.’s aren’t bad.

     – S/Sgt. GODFREY J. DARBY

 

WAR AND HELL

 

 When reception is poor and the signal stinks

  And you think of bed and your forty winks

  And the PE coughs and pulls high jinks

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When your grease is cold and your rear guns fails

  With a Zero riding each of your tails

  And you curse your luck and bite your nails

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When you’ve hiked all night and your feet are sore

  And your throat’s all parched and your clothes are tore

  And the C.O. says just ten miles more

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When you’re climbing a hill and the motor’s hot

  And the left read blows like a pistol shot

  You hope its a back fire but you know it’s not

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When the whistle blows for the day’s mail call

  And you’re sweating a letter from your butter-ball

  And Jones gets a card and they say that’s all

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 When the chow bell rings and you hope for ham

  But the guy who cooks don’t give a damn

  So all you get is a slab of Spam

  That ain’t war, that’s hell.

 But when the war’s been won by your nation

  And you dream of home with anticipation

  But the order says Army of Occupation

  Brother that will be hell.

     – Sgt. CARL BROOKMAN

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More Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Bennie Adams Jr. – Barnwell, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, SM Sgt., Bronze Star

H. Carl Boone – Atlantic City, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO, LST, Purple Heart

Andrew Curtis Jr. – Yakima, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII,B-24 pilot, 15th Air Force

John Eilerman – Fort Laramie, OH; US Navy, WWII

George Fuchs – Pinehurst, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 152nd Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Allan Goodwin – Houston, TX; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Michael Hession III – Harwich, MA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO

Eileen “Gertie” Joyner – NYC, NY; US Army WAC; WWII, nurse

Ernest Reid – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Flight Sgt.

Shirley Zumstag – Bradenton, FL; US Navy WAVE, WWII

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Kamikaze Pilot Took His Wife On Fatal Flight

Tetsuo Tanifuji and wife, Asako

Even though World War Two had come to an end, the story of a Japanese couple who met their death in a deliberate kamikaze suicide flight against Soviet troops has come to light and has been turned into a television program.

Tetsuo Tanifuji was a trained kamikaze pilot for the Japanese Imperial Navy, however, for his very last flight, he decided to take his wife, Asako with him.

Even though the bombs had been dropped and Japan was on the verge of surrender, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and was trying to take large areas of Japanese-controlled land in North China and the Northern Territory islands off Japan. Thousands of Japanese troops and civilians were making their way back to the Japanese mainland in defeat, so the invasion by Soviet troops was causing more chaos, attacking any military or civilians they came across.

Japanese Emperor Hirohito surrendered to Allied forces and four days later ten pilots from the Japanese Imperial Navy’s First Kyoiku Unit decided to launch an aerial attack on the incoming Soviet troops, to help other Japanese military and civilians in their retreat to the mainland.

Tetsuo was a Second Lieutenant and just 22 years old. He collected his wife, and together they climbed inside the Type 97 fighter plane. It is reported that another woman also joined another of the unit’s pilots in another aircraft.

Kamikaze memorial

They took off from their airbase and were never to be seen again. None of the aircraft that took part in the attack returned, and no records of the mission existed or survived. It wasn’t until 1957 that the Japanese military declared Tetsuo was killed in action and not until 1970 that Asako’s family received her death certificate.

The story has been turned into a television drama in Japan. However, the families of the couple are concerned about the story being dramatized. One family member said that no war stories are ‘heart-warming’ since they are shrouded in the misery of war. Another family member said that she would have done the same thing as Asako if she had made the decision to die with her husband.

Overall the family hopes that it will educate the younger generation about the devastation of war, and to oppose any attempts by politicians to get involved in armed conflict.

This author agrees.

From War History on line.

For a more personal look at this situation click HERE…..

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gordon Banks – Elgin IL; USMC, WWII & Korea, Captain

Alexander Disanto – Mantua, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 507/11th Airborne Division

Phillip Goddard – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO, Corps of Engineers

John Horrall – Spokane, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 10th Mountain Division

Henning Knudson – Havre, MT; US Navy, WWII

Richard Luchsinger (102) – Moline, IL; US Army, WWII

Hugo Meyer – ID; US Army, WWII, PTO

Howard Nelson – Kathryn, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Stanley Raynham – Eltham, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII

John Widelski – New Bedford, MA; US Navy, gunner’s mate, USS Wingfield & Bronstein

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M-5 Stuart, Satan Flamethrower Tank

The light M5 Stuart remained in use as a main battle tank for much longer in the Pacific than in other theaters. It was better than the Japanese Type 95 Ha-go light tank. The Type 97 Chi-ha medium tank had a more powerful 47mm gun, but much thinner armor (only 25mm at its thickest), so the M5 and M5A1 could fight it on at least equal terms.

Being outfitted with a Ronson flamethrower which replaced the main gun. 20 tanks were converted for US Marine Corps in 1943. They were used to great effect on Japanese strong points and caves that proved a tough nut to crack for the advancing Marines.

In Europe, Allied light tanks had to be given cavalry and infantry fire support roles since their main cannon armament could not compete with heavier enemy armored fighting vehicles.  However, the Stuart was still effective in combat in the Pacific, as Japanese tanks were both relatively rare and were lighter in armor than even Allied light tanks.  Japanese infantrymen were not well equipped with ant-tank weapons, and as such had to use close assault tactics.  In this environment, the Stuart was only moderately more vulnerable than medium tanks.

Crews of ‘flame’ tanks were not necessarily more vulnerable than those crews in the regular, standard version of the tank, but the crews of flamethrowing tanks were often treated differently should they be captured alive by enemy troops.

Due to the perceived inhumanity of the weapon itself, captured crews of such tanks were often treated much less humanely than crews of regular tanks. Instances of ‘flame tankers’ being executed by the opposite troops upon capture were not uncommon.

Flame tanks also suffered from the fact, along with flamethrower-armed troops, that all enemy within range would usually open up on them due to the fear of the weapon. (Wikipedia)

This tank is a super rare recreation of the infamous Satan Tank which now tours the show circuit in America.

 

 

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Military Tank Humor –

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Melton Brockman – Bainbridge Island, WA; USMC, WWII, PTO, 7th Service Regiment, mechanic

Robert Burke – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, WWII, CBI

Cornelius Duffy – Olean, NY; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, 2nd Lt.

Sol Grossman – Boyle Heights, CA; US Navy, WWII

William Harvey – McKees Rock, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/188th/11th Airborne Division

Nathan Keen Jr. – Lake City, FL; USMC, WWII, PTO / US Air Force, CMSgt. (Ret, 25 y.)

Albert Masserini – Trenton, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-7 gunner, Lt. Col. (Ret.)

Dean Smith – Bussey, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO, medic

Therese Thackray (100) – Yorkshire, ENG; Royal Navy WRNS, WWII, Code & Cypher Officer

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General Yamashita – conclusion

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General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he led his staff officers of the 14th Area Army to surrender, 2 Sept. 1945. He did not believe in hara-kiri. He said, “If I kill myself, someone else will have to take the blame.”

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He had joined the Japanese Army in 1906 and fought the Germans in China in 1914, graduated Staff College in 1916 and began a military attaché in Switzerland as an expert on Germany, where he was to meet Tojo Hideki.

Tojo soon became very envious of the success and advancements Yamashita was achieving. This was especially true after the campaign in Malaya and bluffing the British into surrendering to his inferior forces in Singapore. Tojo used his influence to have Yamashita transferred to Manchuria before he could even announce his win to the Emperor. The general was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1944. A man who believed in the Samurai traditions and was highly devoted to the Emperor.

Many times, my friend Mustang Koji has given me information on this war, his site,  http://p47koji.wordpress.com and he supplied much of the data included here in today’s post. A visit to Koji’s website will give you stories about having relatives on both sides of the Pacific too.  Very interesting!

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

30 August – negotiations with the general were drawing to a close, but he remained in his mountain headquarters sending word with thanks to the American Commanders for their “sincere efforts and concerns,” and his regrets that he was unable to contact his forces in Cagayan Valley, Balete Pass and the Clark Field areas.

Small groups were beginning to turn themselves in and Major General Yuguchi, of the 103d Division in the Cagayan Valley had already agreed to the surrender terms, but was awaiting word from Yamashita. The 37th Infantry Division was expecting 3,000 to surrender on 2 September. Throughout the Philippine Islands, capitulations were being delivered from Japanese officers.

Some Japanese soldiers refused to believe that the Emperor had aired a demand for peace and skirmishes were reported on various islands. No American troops were listed as casualties. Those killed during that action with unfriendly combatants were Japanese, Filipino, Korean.  General Yamashita arrived for his surrender and behaved as a gentleman officer would, then was led away to Baguio City for confinement, surrender and trial.

Yamashita testifies

In Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals.

Yamashita trial

Gen. Yamashita at defense table. His longtime translator, Masakatsu Hamamoto accompanied him.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

correspondents

The American Military Court in Manila sentenced Gen. Yamashita on 7 December 1945 and he was hanged on 23 February 1946.

The above is a modern photo of the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School where General Yamashita was first contacted. Later, he was sent to Baguio City for the formal surrender.
Photo is credited to, Dr. Walter Johnson

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – May we all say a prayer for Derrick and Jackie Knight, who lost their son, Michael, yesterday.

One I Never Thought I Would Need To Write

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edna Barnett – Telford, ENG; British Aux. Air Force; WWII

Victor Barnett (101) – Telford, ENG; RAF, WWII, radar

Robert Coccari – Monesson, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical/188/11th Airborne Division

Arthur Gould – Killara, AUS; RA Navy, Commander

Marcelite Harris – Houston, TX; US Air Force, MGeneral (Ret. 32 y.)

Richard Isawa – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, Signal Corps, instructor

Yukio Kawamoto (99) – Springfield, VA; US Army, WWII, PTO, combat intelligence

Albert Levy – Brookline, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic

John ‘Fred’ Martin – Watertown, NY; US Army, WWII, Major (Ret. 22 y.)

Joseph Slater – TN; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Master Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 30 y.)

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