May 1942 (3)

Japanese Boys Festival

Japanese Boys Festival

5 May – In Japan, the towns and villages held parades of brightly colored carp banners and painted kites to celebrate the annual “Boys Festival” and the nations military victories. It was also the day then the Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo chose to issue Navy Order No. 18 which specified the details of Yamamoto’s complex Operation MI [Midway].  This directive would ultimately turn the tide of the Japanese Blitzkrieg.

Here’s a traditional song for Tango no Sekku called Koinoburi or Carp Windsocks…koinobori

Koinobori
(Japanese Transliteration)

Yane yori takai koinobori.
Okii magoi wa otoosan.
Chisai higoi wa kodomotachi.
Omoshiro soni oyideru.

Carp Windsocks
(English)

Carp windsocks are above the roof.
The biggest carp is the father,
The smaller carp are children,
They’re enjoying swimming in the sky.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

Dutch Harbor, Alaska was Yamamoto’s AL Operation [not to be confused with the AL Plan of 1941], for 2,000 Japanese troops to raid the American bases in the Aleutians on designated N-Day and the AF section to hold synchronized movements on Midway at the beginning of June.  Six separate forces to sail across the Pacific with the mission to separate the United States from Australia and draw the US Naval Fleet out of Pearl Harbor for a showdown.

Admirals Spruance, King, Nimitz & General Jarman

Admirals Spruance, King, Nimitz & General Jarman

18 May – When Admiral King was turned down for reinforcements to be sent to the Pacific, he humbled himself to go begging to the British in a cable that read: “WILL ADMIRALTY ENTERTAIN REQUEST FOR CARRIER FROM EASTERN FLEET TO JOIN UP WITH LEARY TEMPORARILY, IF SO, MOVE MUST BE MADE AT ONCE.”  This was a true measure of the dire Pacific crisis.  The fact that the Admiralty refused him was something he never forgave them for.  Churchill would later regret his mistake.

Since Adm. Nimitz’s visit to Midway in the beginning of the month, so many reinforcements and matériel had been flown to the Marine 6th Defense Battalion that they joked about the atoll sinking under the weight: 23 Navy PBY seaplanes; 27 Marine fighters; 16 dive bombers; 17 torpedo bombers.  From the Army: 4 B-26 Marauders and 17 B-17 Flying Superfortresses; as well as 17 submarines dispatched as Task Force 7 to patrol the coastline.

Admiral Theobald

Admiral Theobald

21 May – Admiral Robert Theobald and his 2 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers and 4 destroyers left Pearl for the Aleutian Islands to face the enemy and their Operation AL.  The admiral was well aware of the fact that his fleet was no match for the Japanese.  At the same time, CINCPAC arranged for the seaplane tender, Tangier, (used as a portable seaplane base), at Efate Island and the heavy cruiser USS Salt Lake City, in Australian waters northwest of New Zealand, to break their radio silence and release false transmissions – hoping to deceive the Japanese into believing Halseys’s force was still in the SW Pacific.

22 May – As US intelligence deciphered the specific details of the Japanese operations for Midway and Alaska, Adm. Nimitz divided his forces to confront Adm. Nagumo’s Japanese Carrier Striking Force.  Task Force 16 would have the carriers Hornet and Enterprise and Task Force 17 with the Yorktown.

Potrero del Llano

Potrero del Llano

Also on this date, the Mexican government declared war on the Axis powers after German vessels attacked their tankers, Potrero del Llano and the Faja de Oro, enroute to the US with crude oil.  Potrero del Llano was hit by the German submarine, U-564.

German submarine - U-564 resuppling in the Caribbean, 1942

German submarine – U-564 resuppling in the Caribbean, 1942

26 May – When Halsey returned to Pearl with the damaged Yorktown and reported to Nimitz, it was obvious that the “Bull” was suffering from exhaustion.  He recommended RAdmiral Raymond Spruance to be his replacement for the forthcoming operations.  The Yorktown took only 4 days to repair and on the 30th of May, her aircraft began boarding.

Commonwealth CA-12 Boomerang

Commonwealth CA-12 Boomerang

29 May – Australia’s first home-produced wartime aircraft, the Commonwealth CA-12 Boomerang, made its first flight.  Despite being designed in only 5 months, the plane would prove to be tough a maneuverable fighter.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Looks like the men were adjusting to their new surroundings?

booby (601x800)

Even if this is a booby trap, can you think of a better way to die?

 

 

 

ohboy.jpgMuscleheaded

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postcards are courtesy of Chris, over at – Musclehead  a great place to visit!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Darlynn ‘Andy’ Andrews – Ocala, FL; US Army, Vietnam, Bronze Star

Ernie Banks – Chicago, IL; US Army, MLB playerdogtagslg

Joseph Darr, MD – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, Lt.Col. (Ret.), T-28 “Wings of Gold” 3rd Army Special Service Medical Corps, surgeon, 101st A/B Div.

Leland Fuller – Brooklyn, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII, Petty Officer 2nd Class, carpenter’s mate/ USCG Band

Loren Harbert – Canon City, CO; US Army (Ret.), Vietnam, Bronze Star

William Jones – Oklahoma City, OK; US Navy, Korea

Lawrence McManua – Moosejaw, CAN; RC Navy, HMCS Magnificent

Leonard Quintin – St.Alban’s, VT; US Army, WWII & Korea

Robert Rogers – Seattle, WA; US Army, Medical Corps (Ret. 24 years), Korea

G. Ellen Taylor – Midland, MI; US Army WACS, WWII

Anthony Yorio – Corning, NY; US Army, 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 January 26, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 114 Comments.

  1. GPCox…I thank you ever so much for re-discovering my site. Your site is phenomenal and I am grateful you found me! Thank you!

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  2. Awesome Blog I appreciate you checking Mine out 😛

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  3. Interesting to read that the Mexican government declaring war on the Axis powers.
    I have to admit I had never heard of the ca-12 plane called the Boomerang.
    Now to do some google homework and see if any are still in existence.
    Cheers

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  4. Thanks for the chuckle with those cartoons.

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    • My pleasure. I try to give a realistic view of how everyone got through the war – and humor was one – have to have something for everybody to enjoy! Thanks for stopping in!

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  5. I remember those kites. They are amazing. On another note, I have just started to read “Unbroken” about Olympian Louis Zamperini who fights in the Pacific war. I believe Angeline Joli produced the movie. Have you read or seen it?

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    • I haven’t seen the movie because I continue to hear that it is not as good as the book. (what a surprise, eh?) 😉 I’ll be sticking with the book version. (Besides, Joli doesn’t impress me as a non-bias interpreter of WWII, or anything else for that matter). Did you know that Mr. Zamperini was honored as the Grand Marshall for the Rose Bowl Parade along with a float for the Nisei fighters!?!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Adding the detail of the traditional song caught my eye!

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  7. I checked up on the Commonwealth CA-12 Boomerang and as far as I could see, it didn’t seem ever to have shot down a Japanese aircraft. Very strange, but apparently they were far more effective as ground attack aircraft. Another really interesting post!

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  8. Remarkable people, the Japanese.

    I might suggest that Churchill’s refusal wrt that carrier was a decision not taken lightly. It’s entirely possible that his refusal wasn’t a ‘mistake’—? I don’t see King’s request as humbling, or begging—it made excellent sense.

    If The Bull admitted that he wasn’t in top form, then more kudos him—sick men don’t always make the best decisions; and sometimes not merely a few hundred disposable lives and a few dozen tatty ships rest on their shoulders—sometimes the fate of nations.
    It takes a strong man to admit when he is weak; even if that means passing the baton (and with it potential laurels).

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    • If nothing else, he picked the perfect man to replace him, Spruance was outstanding in his stead. Churchill I’m afraid was too caught up in taking care of England to be concerned with anyone else – leave it to the States to handle it. Sorry, but after all I’ve read, I don’t see what all the fuss about Churchill is for. They even credit him with winning the war. [HOW?]

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      • I think and do believe that there is something much more and underlying in Churchill”s attitude to which we were and are still not privy. I agree that there is a prima facia case for his callousness and neglect of the Pacific theatre of war during the years 42-45. I am in the throes of writing an essay as to why this was (IMHO of course) and my thoughts may throw a different light on the matter, as it stands it is as everybody assumes but I hope to provide some food for thought; it may well upset some but might also give us some food for thought and exploration.

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        • Honestly, I believe I am in the minority by my attitude towards the PM and being as I refuse to put my feelings into the posts – I sometimes explode in the comments. I’ve read his memoirs and don’t think his “memory” corresponds with the reality of what transpired…. I’ll leave it there – I just had to erase my full thoughts on Churchill out of here. I just do NOT understand how the Commonwealth nations remained loyal to him – period.

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      • An interesting discussion. Churchill was deified by propaganda at the time, and since; in my own opinion he was a psychopath and a war-monger — but he was also in the right place with the right qualities at the right time.

        True, Britain didn’t ‘win’ the war. But neither did America, nor Russia. Three legs of a tripod stool, take away any one and the sitter falls. (When I read some of the casualty figures from the Russian campaigns (both sides) and the concomitant losses in materiel my mind is staggered. How the Nazis managed to continue for so long I have no idea.)

        And even today there’s a lot we don’t know. My (possibly cynical?) comment about “tatty ships & disposable men” was meant to highlight how the often vainglorious (Churchill, anyone?) at the top see things. The Bull obviously saw differently, and the lives of men and ships were more important than his own rep. I could gladly follow someone like that.

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        • Very interesting comments and I’m pleased to see you carrying the discussion and giving us your opinions! The Bull – many did follow him – he comes back shortly and he’s just as strong! 😉

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  9. I am not sure if I read about this film because of one of your earlier posts but somehow I came across it, and it is very interesting. It is worth adding a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNPG6-EeCeA

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    • I’ve only gotten 10 minutes into it, but well worth going back to later when I have more time. [the trailer for the movie looked pretty good too!] Thank you very much, Ann. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends here!

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    • You didn’t get this from me, Anne, but it is definitely here NOW! Although lengthy, the video is well worth the time. John Houston shows the terrain, the men and the labor involved; the risks, the awful weather and men in tribute for their service. Nearing the end, I was frozen to the screen – the ack-ack is exploding, the turrets have their guns blasting and you hear, “Bomb doors are open! Bomb doors are open!” and the expectation grips the viewer. “Nine bombers left and nine bombers are coming home,” and you swell with pride!!
      ******THANK YOU!!********

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  10. Thanks for including the picture of the Japanese Boys Festival and its relationship to WWII. You seem to find a way to interest everyone.

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  11. How did I miss that Mexico declared war? Yikes!

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  12. For some reasons, I always like Japanese WWII war planes.

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  13. Pacific Island Girls, what a burden…. lol burden me now.

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  14. Regarding Halsey : I think that he was ordered down and his rest was not voluntary . He came back not only exhausted , but sick .

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  15. A side note on the Aleutian Campaign. I’ve been up and down the Alaska Highway several times. It was built to counter Japanese efforts in Alaska and was probably one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. A number of displays and museums along the highway reflect the building process. –Curt

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  16. What never ceases to amaze me about Winston Churchill he could never really seem to grasp the real value of aircraft carriers, He did make some terrible blunders in the first WW with the invasion of Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915 and in the Pacific with the unbelievable loss of those 2 battleships for want of air cover.

    And the part that really gets me, in both th world wars I and II he started out as First Lord of the Admiralty, He was a briliant leader ( that’s me speaking as an Englishman and Londoner during WWII) but when it came to th RN he should have left it to the experts.

    WE have a farewell Salute here in Australia today, Yesterday 26th January 2015 Tom Uren an ordinary soldier captured by the Japs in 42 spending the next 3 years n POWcamps, the last one actually in Japan not too far from Hiroshima when the bomb went off that he forever lived with the sight of the sky lit up from the explosion; Tom went on to become a leading member of the ALP and did great work for the enviroment and heritage of Australia. He was 93.

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    • I am sorry for Australia’s loss of Tom Uren and only right that he be honored on Australia Day!! Churchill, on the other hand, had the fiasco in Norway too in 1940, it was his catastrophe, but Chamberlain paid the political price. What gets me – everyone agrees – yes, Churchill botched up here and maybe there but he was a great leader. When you add up all those mistakes “here and there” it amounts to a lot of mistakes and NOT a great leader – right?

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      • Tom actually died yesterday Australia Day, sorry looks like I forgot to mention that detail.

        Churchill was a great orator, he knew how to put the words together that we needed to hear, I recall we listened to him just about every evening after the 6 oclock news I think it was and he would keep our spirits up.he made mistakes but he was the right man for England at that time,

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  17. Sorry, another comment. re the boomerang , there is a good you tube on the plane. (The smoke was for the air show) It’s worth a look. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80sAPEF0awM

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  18. Reference to Churchill not releasing a carrier. When the Japanese started to push South towards Australia the Aust Govt wanted to bring troops back from Europe and Nth Africa to defend Aust. Churchill kicked up a fuss but the Aust Govt pulled them out anyway. Churchill was furious and actually called the Aust Army ‘cowards’. I think that has been forgotten by most.

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    • That subject is thoroughly described in “The Great Betrayal” by David Day. Churchill wanted everything he could get from Australia, but refused to let them in on the fact that they were No. 3, the last of his priorities. The PM even stated at one point, to just leave it to the Americans – they won’t let anything happen to them. What defense left in Australia were controlled by the Empire and merely trainees for Europe and the Middle East.

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  19. Great snippets – I always find something I hadn’t thought about when I visit here. What a convoluted time that was for so many countries and citizens of many nations.

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  20. Nice catch on honoring Ernie Banks, one of my all time favorites. While I knew the Mexicans helped us out by sending us farm workers to replace our people in the war, I never realized they actually declared war against the Axis.

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    • Well, I guess it was inevitable since their oil ships were in the Gulf of Mexico where the German subs were playing havoc with our shipping. That’s a lot of money going to the bottom of the Gulf. Thanks for coming by, Don.

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  21. Interesting and also didn’t know about Mexico being involved even if it was just a little bit. Great article, Everett!

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  22. yet, still wanting to know

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  23. I find these hard to read; not wanting to know what happened, to the people.

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  24. Thank you for your informative posts and for including my father in the farewell salutes.

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  25. I had never heard of the Boomerang! It looks like a kin of our Brewster Buffalo… Ah, yes. The koi nobori’s. It’s still a big thing in Japan – as is girl’s day. 😃 These complex battle plans by the Japanese was a contributor to their downfall against the Allies. They never learned battle never goes according to plan. The simplest ones are the best from this arm-chair – like for the Marines: that way.

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  26. GP – Fascinating – As usual, great research. I love how you find the small details that make the situation so real. If your readers are interested in getting an idea of what was happening on the home front, they can check out my blog, http://greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com, to read letters written by my grandfather to his two sons in training and a third son in Alaska at the very same time.

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    • Great Judy, I’m glad you’re one step ahead of me. I will be adding a link to my site with the short lived Alaskan invasion and also with the first hand accounts that will follow. We will still need to co-ordinate later on too, because the Canadians go north and action starts over again!

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  27. I heard of many stories bordering on crazy. The mind shift of these people during the war was morphed by the culture and their misconceptions of the war lord mentality. Today I wonder if they could buy into that thought process?

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    • I don’t believe their minds were as much morphed as they were kept naive. By the time the war started with the US, the military had control and hid whatever they wanted from the civilians.

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    • Just my opinion…and I surely am no historian…

      The Meiji Era brought an end to the samurai in three stages. Most importantly, the doctrines eventually prohibited sword carrying in public unless you were military (and other silly reasons). This wrestled the military power from the by-then peace and art loving samurai. Its my opinion again that if the samurai were left in power, WWII as we now know it would not have occurred. In short, Meiji allowed the military and unscrupulous businessmen to take over.

      Today, the people as a whole detest war… But it has to change. The lawmakers – after 70 years – have granted their self-defense force offensive power in light of North Korea and China. But its only a gesture. They have near zero war production capability. They can’t even mass produce their own bullets, for example. They are in worse a position for war the we were under FDR.

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  28. I never knew that Mexico had declared war. I’m gaining a little something every time I read your blog – I love it.

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  29. Its quite impressive how you collect details from all the different viewpoints in the war…including the Japanese, which makes this blog a unique one.

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  30. Thanks for writing. I know so little about Japan.

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  31. Some very interesting info here as always. Have never thought about the Mexican role in WW2 and imagine Admiral Halsey being brave enough to admit he was exhausted instead of being too macho like the others.

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    • Well, I’d declare war on someone ruining my oil profits too, but I have to admit I know very little about their contributions. Frankly, I can not recall hearing of any in the Pacific. Quite right about Halsey.

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  32. Thank you lieber Freund guter Witz wünsche dir eine guten Monday love you Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

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