Japanese Blitzkrieg (2)

"Prince of Wales" & "Repulse"

“Prince of Wales” & “Repulse”

After hearing President Roosevelt’s ‘Infamy’ speech, the British War Cabinet suggested to their Prime Minister to continue their same gentle approach in dealing with America.  Churchill replied, “Oh!  That is the way we talked to her while we were wooing her; now that she is in the harem, we talk to her quite differently.”

9 December, the Thai capital of Bangkok became occupied by the Japanese.  The Gilbert Islands, Tarawa atoll and Makin of the Central Pacific were now in the hands of the enemy.

Royal Engineers prepare to blow a bridge at Kuala Lampur

Royal Engineers prepare to blow a bridge at Kuala Lampur

In Burma, Betong fell on 10 December and Alor Setar, on the northwest coast, 3 days later, which secured all the airfields in the northern sector.  Britain had the 9th and 11th British/Indian divisions along with some Malayan and Australian units for defense.  Their 110 planes (only 50 remained after the initial attack) were up against Japan’s 530 aircraft of Force Z.

Wake Island location

Wake Island location

Adm. Kimmell, at Pearl Harbor, a midst the cleanup, had already made plans to send relief to Wake Island and deploy the 3 cruiser groups Japan had failed to locate: (1)- Adm. Wilson Brown’s to the Marshalls to keep the enemy busy in the south; (2)- Adm. Fletcher’s to Wake directly with a new fighter squadron, and; (3)- Adm. Halsey to guard Pearl Harbor and then follow behind Brown’s group.

Frank Mason's rendition of the "Prince of Wales" & "Repulse" destructions

Frank Mason’s rendition of the “Prince of Wales” & “Repulse” destructions

10 December, off Kuantan, in the South China Sea, the HMS Prince of Wales and the Repulse were by enemy submarine torpedoes and aircraft in a series of 4 attacks that lasted 2 hours; 840 seamen were KIA.

On Guam, the Government House in Agana was bombed.  The Japanese force of 8 destroyers, 2 gunboats, 6 sub-chasers, 2 minesweepers, 2 tenders and the 5th Defense Force had arrived.  The Guam Insular Force Guard (GIFG) and a small American garrison (about 400 men) were quickly defeated as over 5,000 troops of the Japanese South Seas Detached Force landed at Tumon Bay and Talafofo Bay.  The GIFG had 4 KIA and 22 WIS; the US forces lost 13 KIA and 13 WIA.

Clark Field shortly before attack

Clark Field shortly before attack

By this date about half of the Far East Air Force was destroyed on the ground at Clark, TBU and Nicholls airfields in the Philippines.  The Japanese 16th Division landed in southeast Luzon at Lamon Bay and cut across to Tiaong on their way to Manila.  By the 13th, Filipino and US forces were about to be surrounded.

Wake Island

Wake Island

11 December, on Wake Island, the defenses repulsed an attempted Japanese landing with the remaining maintenance crews still on the island all volunteering to act as soldiers.  Despite the 3 days of enemy bombardment, the US shore gunners sank 2 destroyers and damaged a cruiser.  The Japanese fleet they were up against included the 6th Destroyer Squadron under RAdm. Sadamichi Kajioka on his flagship Yubari, 2 medium transports, 2 submarines, 2 light cruisers Tenryu and Tatsuta, 2 destroyers under RAdm. Kuninori Marumo.  The aerial bombing would continue for 8 days.

Click on images to enlarge.

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For Family Service – 

courtesy of fellow blogger, Patty B.

courtesy of fellow blogger, Patty B.

To view an example – check out the Family History category for fellow blogger Jim Reillly – CLICK HERE!

To visit Patty B – CLICK HERE!

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Humor of the Day –

frieside

wwii

 

These humorous postcards are courtesy of Chris, who you can locate RIGHT HERE!

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Herman Boles – Mongomery, AL; US Army, WWII

Never Forget

Never Forget

Frank Butcher – Maryborough, AUS.; RA Navy # B4606, WWII, Stoker 1st Class

Marion “Bill” Cabble Jr. – Princeton, WV; US Army (Ret. 26 years), Vietnam

James Fleming – Richmond, CAN; RC Army, WWII, South Saskatchewan Regiment

Carl Hoberg – Ridgecrest, CA; US Army, Sgt., Combat Engineers, Vietnam

James Jolly – Fresno, CA; US Army, WWII, 69th Div., ETO, 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

William MacMcShane Jr. – Erie, PA; US Navy, SeaBee, Vietnam

Alice Payne – Kingsport, TM; WACS, Korea

Alex Woolston – Manunui, NZ; RNZ Navy # 16496

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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 September 15, 2014, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. No doubt the Japanese were inspired by the apparent collapse of the Soviet Union after Hitler’s sneak attack. They thought that one through then.

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  2. I used to have that postcard where the soldier is talking about winning the lottery. I wish I knew what happened to it.

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  3. I was moved to see the photo of the bridge in Kuala Lumpur being prepared for destruction. My father talked about this. he was scathing about some of the unsuitable troops defending Malaya, but had enormous respect for others. In his memoirs he wrote: ‘… the last British troops, the A[rgyll] and S[utherland] H[ighlanders] completed the retreat down the Peninsula and crossed the quarter mile causeway that joins the Island to the coast of Johore. They were, of course, piped over, their C.O., Colonel Ian Stewart, being the last man across, and the Royal Engineers blew a gap in the causeway.’
    He mentions the sinking ‘of those two ships’ in a letter written 14 December 1941. He says: ‘No war here just yet and I don’t think it will reach us. But it may. These Japs seem to do a lot of unexpected things.’ Indeed.

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    • Thanks, Hillary. We need more stories about the CBI Theater and your father’s memoirs provide first-hand insights! I am preparing a post about the Malayan campaign right now, an article written by Gen. Bennett, which I’m attempting to condense. I appreciate you taking the time to share with us.

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  4. Thanks for another history lesson, GP. Curt

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  5. WordPress is doing one of its little hiccups on me. It is not posting your posts on my reader and is suggesting I follow you but I still get emails for your posts and when I visit, your page says I am following you. Shaking my head. I will wait a while and see if it sorts itself out. I may have to refollow.

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  6. I nominate you for a Very Inspiring blog award. If you have no time for this, it is OK, no worries. I just want the other bloggers to know about your wonderful blog. Thank you for your great work! 🙂

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  7. Loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse, a shock? It shouldn’t have been. The fossils in charge have always been a long way behind the ball—would the permanent loss of the Falklands to the Argentineans have been a similar shock?
    Had those Argie bombs gone bang instead of bouncing off things might have been quite different.

    The Brits notoriously scrimp on weapons for their ships. Carrying the flag seems more important than carrying defensive guns/missiles; wearing medals more important than thinking ability—look up ‘Turbinia’ and the Spithead Review for an example (and those were the guys who thought submarines ‘damned unBritish’) (meaning unsporting). I believe it was Kitchener stated that ‘the machine-gun is a vastly overrated weapon … two per battalion is quite enough’.

    Hubris rules, never sense.

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    • Ah-ha, you see when you talk about politicians how things are confused, upside-down and mushed together!?! How do you think we get into wars in the first place? I didn’t realize that England scrimped on their weapons, that doesn’t say much for how they feel about their troops who are depending on them. As far as the 2 ships surprisingly sinking, they were supposed to be able to take an attack like that and remain stable – but that sounds an awful lot like the Titanic, doesn’t it?

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      • Any four modern aircraft simultaneously attacking aType 42 at the Falklands would be effectively guaranteed to score. (How would that fleet have stood against WW2 massed Japanese attacks using those same WW2 aircraft and iron bombs?)

        Interestingly, when Invincible visited NZ not long after, it had had extra weapons clagged on—close range automatics, would you believe? A sign of panic, perhaps?

        Hell, once it became obvious they even had marines on the upperdecks with infantry machine-guns tied to the guardrails …

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  8. Your “It Takes a Family to Defend a Nation” was very poignant yet so true. My next door neighbor is a military family and the mom tends to the child by herself quite often. Indeed, they make the sacrifices but in the shadows…

    An interesting and well summarized report, gpcox. You mention Kimmel. His grandson Tim is still trying to clear his name. According to the grandson, Kimmel did NOT know even what “MAGIC” was. Regardless, to place blame on Kimmel for Pearl – as an armchair historian – is like our current administration placing blame for Benghazi on an obcure videotape. BTW, the USN still would not clear Kimmel as of last year. What did Fonda say in “Harm’s Way”? “The Navy is never wrong but it was short on being right this time” talking about the admiral played by John Wayne?

    I like the map, too. Puts it all out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as I know, Kimmell and Short were both finally exonerated in about 1999. I’m planning a full couple of posts on it when we get to their (finally) being brought up on charges. I like to have maps and pictures to help the reader perceive what the heck I’m talking about. You’ve brought some great points here, Koji. I can always count on you!! I hope your neighbor is taken care of.

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  9. Another interesting peek into history. You do a great job presenting this information–a perfect mix of words and images. I’ve adopted that in several of my upcoming posts (none on history, but all with too much narrative for most people to get through).

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    • I find the pictures help to put the words into perspective for the reader. Today’s post is a good example – how many of my readers have been to Wake Island? This way, they can picture it.

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  10. How quickly those places fell and how long it took to pry them loose. Sobering thoughts.

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  11. I remember seeing a letter from the war. It had a black fringe around the envelope indicating a death notice was inside. Do I have it correct?

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  12. The loss of the “Prince of Wales” and “Repulse” was an absolute shock to Britain – and to New Zealand, whose defence had relied on the “main fleet to Singapore” strategy since the middle of the inter-war years. When the moment came, that fleet was reduced to Force Z, which came out against Admiralty advice. Not least that of Admiral Tovey, who felt the PoW’s air conditioning system was inadequate for tropical climates and, in any event, wanted the modern battleships kept back in European waters. Her loss, in particular, was keenly examined – modern battleships were supposed to be able to withstand this level of air attack. There is a fascinating technical analysis of what happened by leading US naval architects Garzke and Dulin, published online here: http://www.rina.org.uk/hres/Death%20of%20a%20Battleship%20-%202012%20update.pdf

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    • What a treasure trove of information!! I can not thank you enough for taking the to supply us with this link. Appendix B: Timeline of Events is enough to quicken the pulse rate of any who read it! Your research is incredibly detailed.
      I appreciate hearing of individual NZ units in the Pacific, as they were so often included in the records I see as “Commonwealth units.” I prefer to give the units and individuals the create.

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  13. After this initial joyride they probably knew they would lose after Coral Sea and Midway.

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