Pacific Theater continues

The men needed some humor.

The men needed some humor.

amusement park, Conn.

amusement park, Conn.

movie poster

movie poster

600full-first-yank-into-tokyo-photo

While families at home went to the latest movie (either glorifying the war with romance or as an escape from the constant reminders of war), carnivals or to work, the Sixth Australian Division attacked and occupied Wewak, New Guinea. This is relevant because it housed the headquarters of the Japanese Eighteenth Army. A major boon for the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations).

23 May, at least 65 square miles of Tokyo had been incinerated by bombs and napalm. Later, the same action was taken over Yokohama, Osaka and Kobe. This left over 100 square miles of the principle Japanese cities devastated and one-third of the country’s construction destroyed. Japan’s factories were demolished.

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Japanese balloon bomb

Japanese balloon bomb

Young Japanese girls wore headbands that designated them as Special Attack Force members. Daily they would recite the Imperial Precepts for Soldiers and Sailors before they began a twelve-hour shift in a makeshift factory in Kokura, Japan. Here they were producing 40 foot balloons to carry a bomb package across the ocean as they were released to drift on the Pacific jet stream. A total of approximately 9,300 of these weapons were made and about 342 reached land, some as far east as Ontario, Michigan and Nebraska. Some were shot down or caused minor injuries and one hit a powerline of the nuclear weapons plant at Hanford, Washington. But – 5 May 1945 – near Klamath Falls, Oregon, a pregnant woman, Elyse Mitchell and five students were killed on their way to a picnic. These were the only casualties of the war in the 48 states.
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Going thru Manila.

Going thru Manila.

The 11th Airborne continued their patrols, moping up details and training at Lipa. General Swing had another jump school built that created 1,000 newly qualified paratroopers. The new glider school concentrated on the “snatch pickup” method, whereby a CG-4A Glider on the ground with a towrope and a C-47 with a hook. As the plane goes overhead at an altitude of 15 feet, it snatches up the glider and brings it to 120 mph in a matter of a few seconds. (The noise from the plane, shock and whiplash must have been overwhelming.) With May drawing to a close and the Japanese Army being pushed to the northeast corner of Luzon, the men of the division began to realize something was up.

Infantry in Manila

Infantry in Manila

Research derived from The Mail Tribune (Oregon newspaper), Film Links 4U. com, the U.S. Army & The Last Great Victory by: Stanely Weintraub.

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on February 21, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. gpcox,

    Thanks to your “Pacific Theater continues” posting I was able to write a follow up piece “WWII Hits Home” back in Feb 2013 and now once again have added to the story with two new pieces which I thought you would like to see.

    http://newspaperproject2012.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/the-mitchell-and-patzke-families/

    http://newspaperproject2012.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/the-story-of-tsgt-jack-d-patzke-usaaf/

    Thank You.
    Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

    Like

  2. Gosh! You have so many great post! I can see I am going to be very busy checking them all out!

    Like

  3. You became my favorite person in the world when you liked my Blurbs page. I see we both use pop trivia to help illustrate history. I use more shock, but I am like you – history comes first. Some people want to be writers, but I think we both care more for our subject than we care for our own glory.

    Like

    • Yes, I do. And yes, I use whatever it takes to get the point across. Thank you for following.

      Like

      • Thank you. I often feel bad about my method. I never even used curse words before entering the Navy; boot camp put things in I often want to get out. I just think some people need another way to learn history. I enjoy your style, Those who appreciate history, will, Some need shock to read history.

        Like

  4. As usual, I learned something new – but this time I learned A BUNCH OF NEW… the balloon bombs, casualties in the states, went to both links. I compliment you on your research. Always a great read.

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  5. Wonderful to see all of these comments! I had never heard about the air balloon bombs before, Very interesting!

    Like

    • Thank you on all counts. Makes me feel good to see my research found something few people knew about. I think there was a lot our schools didn’t bother to mention.

      Like

  6. I just love reading your posts! I’ve only been following you for a little while so I may have missed this but are you going to write a book or have you already published a book? You’re full of great stories/information and you’re an excellent writer!

    Like

    • My goodness, what compliments! Thanks so much. No, I have not published anything and since I am not a professional writer, I doubt any agent or editor is going to take a chance on me. BUT, it sincerely makes my day to hear that you like the posts!!

      Like

  7. EmilyAnn Frances

    I like the way you combine various elements of 1940s Popular Culture, such as the film posters, into your blog postngs. Have you covered anything about the Japanese propagandists like Tokyo Rose? My parents remembered her in great detail and often spoke about how seductive and insidious the effects of her broadcasts could be since my Dad had friends who wrote home about them.

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  8. I just posted an item about this piece on my blog showing the actual newspaper item screen print and putting a link back here. I hope this will get more people coming to your very interesting blog site.
    Take Care.
    Jose
    http://newspaperproject2012.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/wwii-hits-home/

    Like

  9. I am wondering if you or anyone you know was involved with the battle for Leyte Gulf? My uncle was killed in that battle on a landing craft and I wanted to learn more about it.

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  10. I thought you’d like the actual newspaper item about Mitchell death.

    The Bulletin – May 7, 1945
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Qh9PAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lB8EAAAAIBAJ&pg=3021%2C5349298
    Thank You for the post.
    Take Care.
    Jose

    Like

  11. Lots of good stuff once again, gpcox. As mentioned above, I loved the old posters. I had no idea Keye Luke had been around that early (he played the master in Kung Fu). Richard Loo had the honor of working alongside Spencer Tracy and James Stewart in a war movie as well.

    It was tragic about the balloon bomb that had exploded. I understand there were four other bombs littered about. The Japanese meteorologist who pushed for these balloon bombs came to the site decades later and prayed for their souls and forgiveness. A plaque stands there today.

    http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=148D9401-9F23-2285-AB2059A24134757B

    Like

    • I have seen a pix of the monument, but I never knew about the meteorologist coming here. I always like Keye Luke, always so calm and collected, but didn’t know about Richard Loo. I can always count on you to add some knowledge. Thanks for the link.

      Like

  12. I’ve never heard of those balloon bombs before or that there were any war casualties here. Fascinating…

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  13. Learned something new with regards to the balloon bombs. Don’t remember ever reading before that there were any casualties from them.

    Great post.

    Like

  14. Oh my gosh, reading this just jogged my memory, and now gives me a bit of research to do…My Uncle Joe always spoke of serving in the Philippines, but, as I was reading this, I remembered that he referred to the Philippines as “NEW GUINEA PHILIPPINES” all as one name. I had totally forgotten that. Now I wonder where he really was driving over all those terrible snakes!

    Like

  15. Great post using the movie posters and the life of people at home.

    I can relate to this story with this one… It’s about the CG-4A Glider.

    http://steanne.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/a-time-to-remember-william-ritchie/

    William was from Connecticut. So the picture with the two women was taken at Lake Compounce. William Ritchie died on September 22, 1944 in Veghel, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.

    A bridge too far.

    Like

  16. A reblogué ceci sur Lest We Forget and commented:
    Good reading as always

    Like

  17. Thank you for the boost. At first I thought you just happened to be writing about the same subject, then realized it was me! Red faced over here.

    Like

  1. Pingback: WWII hits home! « Enhanced News Archive

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