January 1942 (2)

Top - blazing hangers at the airfield at Salamaua Bottom - Balikpapan oil wells set aflame by Dutch forces.

Top – blazing hangers at the airfield at Salamaua
Bottom – Balikpapan oil wells set aflame by Dutch forces.

6 January, the USS Yorktown, under RAdmiral Frank Fletcher, left San Diego, CA.  This was the flagship of the new Task Force 17 (TF-17) traveling with the supported protection of the Enterprise, flagship of TF-8.  Her mission was to unload a force of US Marines at Pago Pago to defend Samoa.  The two naval forces would then part company: TF-17 to the Marshalls and TF-8 to the Gilbert Islands.

USS Yorktown CV-5, North Island, San Diego, CA, WWII

USS Yorktown CV-5, North Island, San Diego, CA, WWII

7 January, Gen. Wavell made inspections of Singapore and reported back to Churchill that the “Fortress” defenses were far from adequate.  The entire north side was open to attack and all of the great guns faced the sea and could not be turned around.  Churchill responded that he was stunned, but his cable read: “NO SURRENDER MUST BE CONTEMPLATED.”

Retreat to Singapore by date.

Retreat to Singapore by date.

10-31 January, major Japanese landings occured throughout the Dutch East Indies.  Off the coast, on the 24th, US destroyers and Dutch bombers attacked an enemy convoy carrying additional troops.  Four ships were sunk, but the enemy managed to achieve a complete naval encirclement.

15-20 January, the Japanese 15th Army advanced into Burma and destroyed the 17th Indian Division and one Burmese division; both were being commanded by LtGeneral T.J. Hutton.

Japanese, some w/ cycles cross a temporary bridge in Burma.  Main structure destroyed by British.

Japanese, some w/ cycles cross a temporary bridge in Burma. Main structure destroyed by British.

16 January, British aircraft that remained on Singapore were flown to Sumatra.  From 20-31 January, British and Commonwealth troops transport to Singapore to aid in the defense of the island.  With all the planes absent, an appeal goes out to the RAF.

20 January, aircraft from 4 Japanese carriers began their bombing of New Britain at the port of Rabaul.  On the 23rd, 5000 enemy troops landed on New Britain,  New Ireland and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.  New Britain’s northern tip went under enemy control.  These attacks and the heavy raids on Lae,  New Guinea brought the war dangerously close to Australia.

22 January, for this date I have included a link from WW2today.com that contains an Australian War Diary – CLICK HERE!

Battle of Balikpapan

Battle of Balikpapan

The Battle of Balikpapan on 24 January was the first time the US Navy fought a surface action since Dewey in 1898.  Japanese Admiral Nishimura’s destroyers went on a futile search for a Dutch submarines and left 12 transports unprotected in the anchorage.  The destroyers, USS John D. Ford, Pop, Parrot and Paul Jones arrived at 0300 hours and fired their guns and torpedoes – no hits.  Commander Talbot regrouped and went back a second time and attacked until they were out of ammunition.  Four transports were sunk, the Kuretake Maru, Nana Maru, Sumanoura Maru and Taksuami Maru; but the enemy campaign on Borneo continued.

25 January, Thailand officially declared war on the US and Britain.  They believed that Japan would ultimately win the war.

Click on images to enlarge.

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HUMOR – 

unknown source

unknown source

from Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

from Chris @ Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth Ashley Sr. – Killeen, TX; US Army Sgt. (Ret. 20 yrs), Vietnam 2 tours, Purple Heart, 2 Bronze Stars

Frank Cardwell – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 422096, 617th Sqd. ‘Dam Busters’ 44 Sqd, WWIIBN91311

Hugh Dingsdale – (Born in Scotland), Burlington, CAN; RAF Military Transport, WWII, CBI, POW

Frank Eates Sr. – Portsmouth, VA; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

Theodore ‘Pete’ Enz – Appleton, WI; US Army, Sgt., WWII, ETO

Edmond Harjo – Seminole, OK; US Army, Pvt. Codetalker, 195th Field Artillery Batt., WWII

Myrtle Hoftiezer – Aurora, CO; WAC, WWII, nurse, ETO

Kenneth Isaak – Dickey County, ND; US Army, WWII, 70th Div., WWII

Marjorie McCall – Boca Raton, FL; civilian employee Vero Beach Naval Base, WWII

Glenn Plimpton – Orleans, MA; US Navy & civilian in advanced radar defenses

Howard Wagner – Weymouth, CAN; RC Army Medical Corps, WWII

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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 October 9, 2014, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. I wonder how Churchill slept at night knowing all the secrets and all the chances that England could lose the war. It must have been close. I can not imagine what would have happened if the United States had not entered the war. Would England be invaded? Would the Germans march on London? And where would the world be today if Germany had won?

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    • I have often thought those same questions myself, Barry. Being as I read into mostly the Pacific War, I would not even venture to guess. Perhaps Pierre Lagace would have some answers.

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  2. I think, No Surrender, was Churchills catch cry throughout the whole war.
    Makes me think of Hitler. who seemed to think the same in face of all adversity.
    I think that sort of mentality was also at the bottom of our disastrous Gallipoli landing and subsequent strategic withdrawal.
    Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are so right about the guns facing the wrong way, and Churchill’s reaction about “No surrender” He was to be appalled when it eventually came..

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  4. Merci … have a great week-end . . super Friend

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  5. I never realized that the King of Thailand declared war on the US during WW II. Again, I learned something new from your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi G – nice post – and
    I clicked on the link to see that old war diary – very cool

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  7. Pierre Lagacé

    Curious Pete again…

    Got curious about the caption WWII you wrote.

    This picture you posted.

    Taken in June 1940

    At Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California, in June 1940, embarking aircraft and vehicles prior to sailing for Hawaii. Aircraft types on her flight deck include TBD-1, BT-1, SBC-3, F3F-2, F3F-3, SB2U, JRF, J2F and JRS-1. Some of these planes were on board for transportation, while others were members of the ship’s air group. Three Torpedo Squadron Five (VT-5) TBDs at the after end of the flight deck are painted in experimental camouflage schemes tested during Fleet Problem XXI.

    Some antiquated planes out there… BT-1, SBC-3, F3F-2, F3F-3, SB2U would not have stand a chance against the Japanese at the start of WWII.

    As for the TBD-1s they were mauled at Midway!

    Great picture anyway,

    Here’s a close up…

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    • Pierre Lagacé

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_TBD_Devastator

      Slow. They did not stand a chance…

      At Midway, a total of 41 Devastators, the majority of the type still operational, were launched from Hornet, Enterprise and Yorktown to attack the Japanese fleet.[15] The sorties were not well coordinated, in part because Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance ordered a strike on the enemy carriers immediately after they were discovered, rather than spending time assembling a well-coordinated attack involving the different types of aircraft – fighters, bombers, torpedo planes – reasoning that attacking the Japanese would prevent a counterstrike against the US carriers. The TBDs from Hornet and Enterprise lost contact with their escort and started their attacks without fighter protection.[16][17]

      The Devastator proved to be a death trap for its crews: slow and hardly maneuverable, with light defensive weaponry and poor armor relative to the weapons of the time; its speed on a glide-bombing approach was a mere 200 mph (320 km/h), making it easy prey for fighters and defensive guns alike. The aerial torpedo could not even be released at speeds above 115 mph (185 km/h).[18] Torpedo delivery requires a long, straight-line attack run, making the aircraft vulnerable, and the slow speed of the aircraft made them easy targets for the Mitsubishi A6M Zeros. Only four TBDs made it back to Enterprise, none to Hornet and two to Yorktown, without scoring a torpedo hit.[19]

      Nonetheless, their sacrifice was not completely in vain, as several TBDs managed to get within a few ship-lengths range of their targets before dropping their torpedoes, being close enough to be able to strafe the enemy ships and force the Japanese carriers to take sharp evasive maneuvers.[20] By obliging the Japanese to keep their flight decks clear and to continually cycle and reinforce their combat air patrols, they prevented any Japanese counter-attacks against the American carriers, just as Spruance had anticipated. This window of opportunity was exploited by the late-arriving Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers led by Lieutenant Commander C. Wade McClusky and Max Leslie, which dive-bombed and fatally damaged three of the four Japanese carriers about one hour after the first TBD torpedo attacks had developed.[21]

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    • Good close-up, Pierre, and list of aircraft on the ship. I see you answer your own question following – so I’ll just leave it at that. We haven’t hit Midway yet, this makes a prologue for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Read the journal and was once more reminded of the horrors of war and how important it is to have agreed upon and followed standards regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. –Curt

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  9. The cartoon (guy getting his butt nipped) (!) says it all …

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  10. Interesting and I also didn’t know that Thailand declared war also. Agree that with old equipment it had to be hard. Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As I posted on WW2today.com, there is no acceptable reason for the widespread diabolical treatment of prisoners, both military and civilian, by the Japanese during World War II. The word “horrific” fails as an adjective when trying to describe it. It might be understood if it were limited to an isolated event, but such treatment was systematic and condoned. The was not then nor is there today any acceptable explanation nor excuse for it. Such behavior was shameful then and should never be forgotten or expunged from history.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for you comments. You are very well informed on the war and I appreciate hearing your opinions.

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    • I agree it should never be forgotten. On the other hand, jihadists don’t seem to be interested otherwise, e.g., beheadings. I don’t think civility is in their dictionary either. The Allied victors took care of the war criminals through military courts throughout the main battle areas. (Dad served as a US 8TH Army translator during the trials in Tokyo.)

      One other observation: war began in 1937 for Japan. Hardcore military lived by the Bushido code indeed. However, by around late 1943, many of these hardcore military had been killed off with many new soldiers merely being conscripted from farms and fishing families – like we did with our own draft. They, for the most part, were not inherently brutal. Yes, brutal officers and non-coms remained but dwindling in proportion; they would have to beat or threaten their own troops with death to get them to follow orders.

      I am in no way condoning their actions, by the way. War is ugly beyond description.

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      • I understand what you’re saying. Let me ask you this, for your opinion: Do you believe it would be possible, if the terrorists could be caught alive, for a fair world court to try them? And where would it be held that haven’t harassed yet?

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is a darn good question! I assume you are asking if they are not tried by “their own people”… I guess that will depend on where the trials are held. Frankly, in today’s PC American society, they would likely receive the most lenient viewpoints. Japan – I think they would be one of the most quickest to find them guilty. 🙂 Lastly, by fair, if all evidence was collected and presented, a fair trial can, of course, lead to the death penalty.

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  12. I didn’t know that Thailand declared war on the U.S.

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  13. Churchill. Humph. I liked the shot of the carrier, loaded and almost toppling. Quite menacing.

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  14. It must have been so frustrating for the people fighting (trying to fight) in the early days of the war in the Pacific.

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  15. The diary entry for the day is traumatic. You will appreciate this recent event in New Zealand to commemorate the coastal watchers of WW2 in the Pacific. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10587923/WWII-coast-watchers-honoured A long overdue tribute.

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