March 1942 (2)

Pacific map after March 1942

Pacific map after March 1942

In Australia, the civilians learned that two of their ships went down in the Java Sea.

Trove archives

Trove archives

Crewmen of the HMAS Yarra, 1942

Crewmen of the HMAS Yarra, 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 March – before being flown out of the Philippine Islands, General Douglas MacArthur said his famous parting words, “I shall return,” and Lt.Gen. Jonathan Wainwright assumed command.  Pres. Roosevelt’s empty promises of, “mile-long” convoys of relief on their way – were never sent.

13 March – The submarine, USS Gar sank the Japanese cargo ship, Chichiubu Maru, off the coast of Honshu Province, Japan.

14 March – The first convoy of 30,000 American troops began to arrive in Australia.  (Since 2 March, all physically fit Australian men were considered eligible for war service.

16-18 March – in New Guinea, US and Australian air units attacked the Japanese shipping and shore installations around Lae and Salamura.  Two enemy heavy cruisers were sunk and 10 other vessels were either sunk or damaged.

Gen. Wainwright (L) & Gen. MacArthur (R), March, 1942

Gen. Wainwright (L) & Gen. MacArthur (R), March, 1942

On Corregidor, Gen. Wainwright told his men, “If the Japanese can take the’Rock’, they’ll find me here no matter what orders I receive.”  On Bataan, the front line along the Mariveles Mountains, the half-starved American and Filipino [who had been forced to kill and eat their mules and horses weeks before] suffered from malaria, which had reached epidemic proportions.  Simply lifting a rifle was a painful ordeal due to beriberi and dysentery, as well.

US trained Filipino soldiers prepare to blow a bridge before the enemy reaches them.

US trained Filipino soldiers prepare to blow a bridge before the enemy reaches them.

 

21-22 March – the forces trapped on the Bataan Peninsula began to move over to the fortified island, 2 miles off the coast of Luzon.  The strategic position of the Rock in Manila Bay was quite vital to the Japanese as even more US and Filipinos amassed on its levels. But as this was being done, Japanese General Homma was planning a new offensive for the start of April for his 15,000 troops, 140 artillery pieces and 80 bombers.

British & Chinese forces in Burma

British & Chinese forces in Burma

23 March – the Japanese captured the Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.  They were put under the authority of Subhas Chandia Bose, a Japanese sympathizer.

Chinese troops digging anti-tank ditches in Burma.

Chinese troops digging anti-tank ditches in Burma.

In Burma, the airfield at Magwe went into enemy hand.  After violent fighting, the Chinese 5th Army in the central area were defeated and the Japanese took over the airfield at Toungou.

During this month, Churchill succumbed to pressure and announced that post-war India would achieve semi-independent status as a dominion.  But, the Nationalist Indian Congress Party made demands for immediate independence.  In Ceylon, Admiral Sir James Somerville became commander of the Far East Fleet.  Admiral E.J. King was made US Chief of Naval Operations in addition to being the Commander-in-Chief of the US Fleet.

Adm. King, 1942

Adm. King, 1942

Meetings were held between the US and Britain to divide the operational responsibilities of WWII: The US took the Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand.  This was then split between 2 commands: Adm. Nimitz with the Pacific Ocean areas, North Central and South; Gen. MacArthur as commander of the Southwest Pacific.  The British took from Singapore westwards to the Mediterranean.

[Personal observation – I found it difficult to believe that these guidelines were decided upon when Churchill refused to send a fleet to Singapore for the CBI and the U.S. maintained a “Europe First” strategy.  Your opinion?]

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

SLANG2

19421

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Allen – Ola, TX; USMC, Vietnam (2 tours), E3 LCPL

George Barefoot – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, 1102 Engineerswwii-memorial-011me

Grandon Carmack – Chambersburg, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Terry Elworthy -Saanich, CAN; C. Merchant Marine, RC Navy (Ret.), WWII

Robert Fulenwider – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Army, WWII

Jack Karford – BowMar, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Stanley Lines – Glen Innes, NZ; RA Army # VX80596

Virginia Melvin – WPalm Bch, FL; US Army (Ret. 20 years), nurse

Chuck Randazzo – Jamestown, NY; US Army, Korea

Warren Sander – SoWindsor, CT & Palm City, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Engstrom

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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 December 1, 2014, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 80 Comments.

  1. One of the interesting aspects of your posts gp, is also reading other peoples comments.
    Your space is one of very few where interaction can be found with others comments.
    A great achievement.
    Ian

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    • I lucked-out with this program – the interaction with the readers is exactly what I wanted. My readers add information, links, personal stories, etc. – their comments are a major part of the post itself. I’m very happy you’re enjoying that interaction!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this gathering of complex threads. I’m afraid I can’t help on the Churchill question at the end.

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    • As I told Carl, it’s a good thing I just continue to follow the facts and not add my opinion because of constant contrary affiliations [i.e. love/hate relationship w/ Russia]. But, I do like to hear other people’s feelings on the events. Thanks for answering, Hillary.

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  3. [Personal observation – I found it difficult to believe that these guidelines were decided upon when Churchill refused to send a fleet to Singapore for the CBI and the U.S. maintained a “Europe First” strategy. Your opinion?]

    Perhaps stubborn and wanted ships for Adriatic campaign. Probably would have been another failure like Galipoli, WWI campaign that he supported. But naturally WWII effort sensible in trying to stop Russia from Eastern Europe by having some allied presence there. .

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    • Thank you for your opinion, Carl – I appreciate the feed back. Frankly, in some areas, I find the generals and politicians contrary from one conference to the next [i.e. love/hate relationship with Russia] – it’s a good thing I do my best to just follow the facts along, but I like to hear what the readers are making of all this.

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  4. Now as you know, I’m not familiar with all the details of the war as many of your followers. But I’m not very good at details about anything. What I do notice time after time is that Roosevelt and Churchill didn’t always follow through as might be expected. I have to say I have never been much interested in wars, but your blog has drawn me into learning more about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They were both friends and FDR did push the envelop quite often to help Churchill out – BUT, keep in mind, they both had their own agendas going on at home; their military was telling them one thing while home front necessities were a problem (a lot of FDR’s home front problems were solved by the war), and their own private egos…etc. [Too many egos in the pot spoiled the broth and the pot blew up – WWII]

      Liked by 1 person

  5. fascinating article, amazing photographs..love the quote by Admiral Nimitz.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another great post. Dare I ask what “Putting up a black” means? The rest are understandable but dated English slang phrases although people do still take a dim view of things, occasionally!

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    • Normally I would say that it meant putting up a smoke screen, making the sky black, but since this is naval humor – we may need a sailor to tell us for sure. I can definitely assure you that it had nothing to do with people and prejudice, John. Hope you liked the post otherwise.

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  7. I especially like that map you opened the post with. Very fascinating details.

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  8. I remember seeing pictures of General Wainwright after he was repatriated from his internment by the Japanese – he was a stick figure. And he was one of the luckier ones.

    My Dad, who was in Panama and the Philippines in 1945, was not very happy about the “Europe First” strategy!

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  9. Your map demonstrates the staggering distances from the U.S. to the South Pacific and Australia. In our world of jet transport aircraft and rapid communications, many fail to realize that a cargo ship coming from the San Francisco or from west side of the Panama Canal to Australia had before it at least a three to four week voyage. The distance/time to the Philippines was similar. Despite any talk of “miles long convoys”, MacArthur, Wainwright, Roosevelt and others would have known this was just to bolster the troops and those on the home front. To reach the Philippines, such a convoy would have had to move through the Japanese-controlled Caroline and Marshall Islands. The reality was that Wainwright’s mission was to delay the Japanese advance as long as possible. MacArthur’s job was to regroup in Australia. As for Churchill’s refusal to send a fleet to Singapore, you have to ask whether or not it would have gotten there in time to be of any use.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My father sure knew the distance between California and New Guinea – it shows in his letters home. I understand why FDR ordered MacArthur to Australia and what Wainwright’s job was (God help him), but Churchill was not taken by surprise – he had been at war since 1939. Even if Japanese entry to the war was unforeseeable, German subs were in the Indian Ocean – shouldn’t he had at least bolstered Singapore a tad?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Singapore may have been a bastion of British might in the East Indies, but it was surrounded by islands of the Netherlands East Indies. A fall of the Netherlands East Indies would result in the Japanese taking control of Java and Sumatra, unless the British could garrison and defend those islands. I believe the reality was that Britain could not defend Singapore and that any attempt to do so would only be to throw away men and material. As it was, they were only able to put up a delaying action and in the process lost ships they could ill afford to lose.

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        • Singapore was not the ‘fortress’ England was led to believe it was and the Netherlands could not defend their colonies since they already being swallowed by Hitler. If Britain felt it unworthy of defending, why would they try to insist the US should go in – our Navy was at the bottom of Pearl? When Singapore fell, that entire part of the world was fair game for Japan – including Australia.

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          • I don’t think that anyone thought that Singapore was “unworthy of defending”. Given the geography of the area, it was indefensible. Australia, though, was defensible and vital.

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            • Australia had sent it’s young soldiers to Europe and the Middle East and their air force was nil – it wasn’t left with much to defend itself. Churchill had made it clear that Singapore was third on his list and even scratched them off when he insisted the US do something.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Singapore was surrounded by the Netherlands East Indies — Sumatra immediately to the west, Java to the south, and Borneo to the east. To the north is Thailand which was an ally of Japan. To get to Singapore from the Indian Ocean, you have to go through the 500 mile long narrow Strait of Malacca, come from the south passing between Java and Borneo or come from the north passing through the South China Sea between Borneo and what was then Indochina. Perhaps British naval forces could have been sent from India, but they would have been exposed to Japanese attack by land-based bombers operating out of Sumatra and Malaya. Remember what happened to the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser HMS Repulse. They were sunk north of Singapore off the east coast of Malaya on December 10, 1941 by land-based Japanese bombers.

                In my opinion, much has been written about Churchill this or that, the guns at Singapore being pointed the wrong way, etc. Be that as it may, geography rules. As soon as the Japanese occupied the Netherlands East Indies, which were defended by weak Dutch forces supported by Australians and U.S. forces, Singapore was lost. All that could be done was fight a delaying action and hope to stop the Japanese momentum.

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                • If Singapore was a hopeless situation right from the start – why were all those soldiers there to fight for it? Are you saying England left them for the slaughter? Prince of Wales and Repulse were alone, just like the men – no support.

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                  • Slaughter was the result not the intent. The troops of Singapore, as with so many troops throughout the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines, New Guinea and places such as Wake Island, delayed and caused the Japanese to consume precious men and material that could have been used for additional conquest.

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  10. I have a few doubts about the picture of the ships company of the HMAS Yarra, it is the Yarra for sure, but I think the photograps was taken before 1943, in fact I believe it was taken before 1939, I enlarged the picture as much as possible to retain detail I noted that the seamens caps had the HMAS Yarra on the cap band. Also the Lifebouy though not complete has the HMAS showing and it obviously had the Yarra at the bottom.

    Once war was declared the seamans hat bands in all Royal Navies had just the letters therefore the Yarra’s ships company’s head band would have just the letters HMAS on.them. The RN had HMS, Canada HMCS and New Zealand HMNZS .

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  11. I really appreciate all the hard work you put into your blog. It honors those who have sacrificed for this nation. God Bless you and your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the way we cherish our warriors. Thanks, GP.

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  13. Great post, GP. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall during the meeting between Churchill and the U.S. to divvy up the responsibility of the planet to end the war. Your factual paragraph regarding events is missing the drama behind the door! 😉

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  14. Excellent post Everett! Once again you bring history alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thanks for yet another lesson, GP. I am thinking one more year and you will hit my birth date. 🙂 –Curt

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  16. gp, The entire Pacific campaign is staggering just in the immensity of area fought!!! It staggers the mind. You handle it well moving from place to place. As far as coordinating with the Brits, throw in the Soviets & you have WW THREE going on during WWII !!!! Well done as ALWAYS!!!! Phil

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  17. You always have a great and very balanced mix of excellent researched facts, lovely humor and tribute to the heroes, GP Cox. We’d like to give a virtual medal for your dedicated work!
    Big hug and lots of love from Norway, Germany and England,
    Dina, Klausbernd Siri & Selma ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As a footnote

    I have watched a lot of war movies… I could spot what was wrong when seeing planes wrongly portrayed.

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  19. From Wikipedia

    A Mitsubishi G4M1 Type 1 Model 11 bomber from the Imperial Japanese Navy’s 4th Air Group based at Rabaul, New Britain, approaches the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) during an attack on the carrier off Bougainville on February 20, 1942. The Type 1, missing its port engine after being damaged by an F4F Wildcat piloted by Butch O’Hare, is commanded by Hikotaicho (operations commander) Lieutenant Commander Takuzo Ito and may be attempting to crash into the carrier. The bomber crashed into the ocean about 1,400 meters from the carrier.

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      • Sorry for being too obvious…

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        • I was busy reading other people’s blogs and I kept seeing the notifications light up – I thought you were getting upset that I didn’t take down the photo originally – I would have gotten back to my site sooner or later.

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          • I was not upset.

            I think that the pictures you posted were perfect in a way.

            Nobody’s perfect.

            These books are part of history and this error is also part of history.

            There was more to it that just a Japanese bomber shot down on February 20th, 1942.
            There was a bomber crew who never came back. A now identified pilot who tried to crash his doomed plane on the Lexington.

            That’s the reason I got all excited in a way.
            You know me GP… I get excited all the time.

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  20. Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

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  21. I found the book in the Gutenberg project. Volume 2. All four pictures are from a series of pictures about the Lexington being attacked by Bettys. The third one is seen in the link I sent before.
    Sorry I just had to be sure.
    Great pictures .

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  22. The picture with the plane…

    I strongly believe it’s a G4M Betty Japanese bomber attacking Allied ships.

    http://ww2today.com/20th-february-1942-uss-lexington-fighters-hit-japanese-bombers

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    • The picture and information were taken directly from the “Pictorial History of the Second World War Vol. 2,” published by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1944. If the photo and info is wrong – I am not qualified to correct them.

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  23. I didn’t mention that the scarf was a survival map. Luckily he was never shot down.

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  24. I had one uncle (My father’s brother) on MacArthur’s staff in Brisbane and my mother’s brother in the RAAF in the Celebes. And another brother who died in Libya. The story is getting closer and closer to home. I am actually a bit apprehensive about reading each post.

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