November 1942 (3)

Australian servicemen raise their flag after capturing Kokoda from the enemy

Australian servicemen raise their flag after capturing Kokoda from the enemy

 

2 November – this date marks the point where the Australian forces on New Guinea retook Kokoda as they pushed the Japanese approximately half-way back across the Track.

8-13 November – MacArthur moved his advance headquarters to Port Moresby, [far from any evidence of the harsh conditions under which the men were fighting], and he became impatient with the lack of speed in succeeding against the enemy.  MGen. “Bloody George” Vassey was sent to the 7th Australian Division.  Two days later, Vassey used the enemy’s favorite tactic against them – a flanking movement on the town of Oivi.  This forced 1,200 battered Japanese to cross the raging Kumusi River.  The safety of Port Moresby was now secured.

Impressive and dramatic actual films of the Kokoda Track caught the realties of war….

Gen. Horii, the Japanese commander drowned as his makeshift boat overturned while attempting to cross the river.  A Japanese newsman reported, “The soldiers had eaten anything to appease hunger – young shoots of trees, roots of grass, even cakes of earth… they could no longer digest food.  Many vomited and died.”

14 November – to speed up the Papuan operation, MacArthur flew in the 126th and 128th regiments of the US 32nd Infantry Div., under Gen. E.F. Harding, to assist at Buna.  The Australians concentrated on Gona and the 5th Air Force controlled the skies along the coast for supplies to enter Cape Nelson.  Imperial Gen. Hitoshi Imamura [conqueror of the Dutch East Indies], sent 2,000 troops to Buna to support the 5,000 at the New Guinea ports.

Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey & LtGen. Robert Eichelberger in front of a captured enemy bunker in New Guinea

Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey & LtGen. Robert Eichelberger in front of a captured enemy bunker in New Guinea

General Harding would later regret ever stating that Buna would be “easy pickings.”  Neither the Australians or the Americans had the artillery necessary to break through the enemy fortifications.  For their bunkers and tunnels, the enemy used tree trunks, steel and concrete to reinforce their positions.

The 3rd New Zealand Division was on Fiji and the 2nd Div. remained fighting in the Middle East.  The Royal New Zealand Air Force did however send a squadron of Hudsons to Guadalcanal during this month.

Through the periscope, the USS Wahoo views their Japanese target submerge.

Through the periscope, the USS Wahoo views their Japanese target submerge.

17-19 November – the Japanese on the Kokoda Track were forced back to the Buna/Gona area and received reinforcements.  The American attack on Buna was not successful.

24-30 November –  the enemy landed troops at Munda Point, New Georgia.  These 5 islands were originally by-passed by the Japanese in favor of Guadalcanal, 100 miles south.  US Intelligence was aware of the enemy convoy on the 28th, but thought little of the landing.

Col. Edward V. Rickenbacker rescued after being lost at sea since 2 Oct.

Col. Edward V. Rickenbacker rescued after being lost at sea since 2 Oct.

Despite any failures on the part of the Japanese during this month, the expertise of the enemy night-flying groups was expertly demonstrated.  This started the US into a serious look into furthering their own techniques and technology.

28 November – the US Army 22nd Construction Battalion reached Sitka, Alaska to begin work on over 155 projects.  They would remain there until 1 May 1943.

Click on images to enlarge.

#################################################################################

Military Humor – 

001 (620x800)002 (615x800)

 

 

 

 

 

#################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Shelva Abbott – Highland Hts., KY; US Army, WWII

Joseph Buzbee – WPalm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWIIBFC at sunset (800x543)

Patrick Kelliher – Whangaparaoa, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 452487, WWII, gunner

John Jones – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

Ernest Legge – Jamaica, VT; US Navy, Korea, SeaBee

Richard Murphy Jr. – Washington DC; USMC, WWII, CBI, SSgt.

Walter Oetting – Fort Wayne, IN; US Army, WWII, Korea, Sgt., chief mechanic

Robert Satterthwaite – Lake Worth, FL; USMC, Vietnam, Cpl E-3

John Vicary – AUS; 26 AIF, WWII, Merauke Force, Pvt.

George Williams Jr. – Wilmington, NC; US Navy, Vietnam, sub USS Skipjack

##################################################################################

Advertisements

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 May 28, 2015, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 78 Comments.

  1. My uncle served on the USS Wahoo and was on board when it was lost. He was underage when he joined the Navy. My dad signed up for the Army and lied about his brother’s age to get him in. It wasn’t until 2006 that the sub was found and families were notified.

    Like

  2. Grateful for the war photographers.

    Like

  3. GP…I will dump this in here as I thought you might find it interesting, a resource etc. Delete if you need to..http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/05/31/unbelievable-video-lays-out-the-stark-statistics-about-world-war-ii/

    Liked by 1 person

    • No I definitely will NOT delete this. In fact I’ve copied down the site’s address to use one day. Thank you very much for taking the time to bring this to my attention!

      Like

  4. Thanks again and again.

    Like

  5. Great piece of history all round gp, there has to be more to the story on Col. Edward V. Rickenbacker, than just the news print, I end up doing more research out of your posts than any others mate.
    Cheers.

    Like

  6. “For their bunkers and tunnels, the enemy used tree trunks, steel and concrete to reinforce their positions.” From what I remember of my history, the Japanese were very good at digging in and very difficult to get out of their tunnels. –Curt

    Like

  7. Briliant video clip.

    Like

  8. This post and the comments reminded me of the contribution made by Fiji to WW2 in the Solomons.” In WWII given Fiji’s strategic location, the country came under the military responsibility of NZ and in effect this gave birth to the FMF, who with the assistance of NZDF increased its military capabilities that resulted in the operational deployment with US Forces in the Solomon Islands. This included the First and Second Commando Guerrilla Companies and the First and Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiments.” http://www.rfmf.mil.fj/news/history.html More about the Fijians ability as guerilla soldiers can be read here http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Paci-_N87992.html The article also mentions the invaluable soldiering of the Tongans and Solomon Islanders as well as the New Zealanders.

    Like

    • I should call you my NZ confidential informant!! I have been looking just such info for quite awhile! I knew very well that with a world war right outside your shores, there was no possible way you didn’t contribute more to her defense. This is just what I’ve been looking for, Ann. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ISIS today is every bit as dangerous to a free society as Japan back then. So many today seem unaware.

    Like

    • I don’t think it is so much being unaware as it is HOW. ISIS could be your next door neighbor or the person you work beside. This is a whole new war and for that, [I hate to say it, but…] we need the government agencies to be sneaking into everyone’s business – there are NO front lines any more. The enemy is already here, so the US is NOT exactly friendly, safe territory – who do you trust and who do you suspect? That will be the never-ending question from now on……

      Like

  10. So grueling…also it appears excellent support from the locals…thanks for finding that.

    Like

  11. Amazing video. He delivered it with passion and without a teleprompter.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It does sound like hell from both sides and the conditions horrible. Once again learned something new. Thanks, Everett.

    Like

  13. The Aussies fought a viscious enemy along Kokoda, in an eqully viscious environment…and prevailed. The Aussies in my opinion had some of the best infantry that no one, at least in the US knows about…

    Like

    • Being as the US had supplied a majority of the men, materiel and supplies, very little is taught here in the States about the other countries – certainly not in any detail. You will find soldiers wherever they fought alongside Aussies though, in any war, give those men praise.

      Like

  14. Staggering, gripping video gp.

    Like

  15. That cine clip gives quite a picture of the conditions! The propaganda content is quite understandable. One easily gets the idea that the Japanese took to the jungle like ducks to water, but their newsman quote shows how tough they also had it there

    Like

    • As has been mentioned in other comments, the enemy soldiers were in bad shape due to lack of supplies, yet they continued to fight. The better known battles of Guadalcanal [not to downplay them] were not as difficult or bloody as the Kokoda Track. Thank you for taking in the entire post!

      Like

  16. The Australian footage was very good. Unlike the Hollywood versions enhanced by adding sound and such, the footage was a relief to watch without the sounds of added bullets being fired. I was watching “In Harm’s Way” this last weekend but the script had been modified; they conveniently removed discriminatory phrases like “yellow bastards”. That’s taking PC to its ugly extreme. It’s like covering up a woman’s nipple on a public statue because some folks think it sexist… I’m glad the Australian newsreel was left unedited.

    You report that many Japanese died from starvation and illness. According to some Japanese estimates, more than half of the Japanese dead were from starvation or disease and not from direct combat. I have also read that the Japanese forces were weakened from their overland crossings. Perhaps the outcome would have been different if their initials plans to invade Port Moresby hadn’t been intercepted by Allied code breakers.

    Loved the Bill Mauldin cartoon as always.

    Like

    • I agree with the Australian film, which received an Academy Award, by the way. I am in the middle of reading “Five Came Back” and saw it mentioned – so I HAD to look it up on You-Tube [where else?]. 😆

      Perhaps you have a better answer for Alan [a gray] than I did for the poor Japanese soldiers that died such unbearable deaths of starvation?

      And – How can anyone DISLIKE Bill Mauldin cartoons? [a guaranteed hit!!] Thanks for coming, Koji. I enjoy our discussions.

      Like

  17. “A Japanese newsman reported, The soldiers had eaten anything to appease hunger – ,” This seems to be a recurring theme when discussing the Japanese in the South Pacific in World War II. This leads me to wonder: (1) Were Allied efforts to interdict Japanese supplies more successful than is usually recognized? (2) Did the Japanese anticipate that they could supply the needs of their troops through local resources? (3) Did the Japanese have a poorly quartermaster corps? Something seems to be going on here that no one has investigated. It is not as exciting to the casual reader as combat, but it determined the outcome of combat. Does anyone have any comments about Japanese supply operations, especially with regard to food stuffs.

    Like

    • The Allies did an exceptional job of destroying convoy supply vessels on top of the poor planning for long operations. The Japanese had underestimated the US capability to bounce back after Pearl on top of handling Africa and the ETO. As far as their quartermaster corps – I have not researched that and not qualified to answer.

      If any reader out there can better reply to this question – please answer Alan here so that everyone can read it and learn, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I feel it is a combination of three of your thoughts, sir. As you certainly know, we had already broken the Japanese codes but the effects of their success would not be largely apparent until 1943, i.e., sinking of convoys and supply ships of all kinds especially by 1945. As for feeding their own troops, rice was their staple, of course, but Japan wasn’t able to produce enough to feed their own people until about the time of the 1964 Olympics. My dad’s surviving Hiroshima family and my mother’s family always, always said there wasn’t enough food – and certainly nearly zero white rice. I clearly remember my grandmother picked up every kernel of rice that fell through her fingers while rinsing them; this was in 1974-5 in Tokyo.

      In one of the photos I saw in my grandmother’s photo album, there was a picture of my uncle’s IJA buddies eating rice balls but that was in 1943 during a training exercise in Shikoku. The military did get fed first before the populace but they were not well fed.

      Lastly, while our own troops were short on food on a number of occasions, they had the luxury of C-rats. As poor tasting as they were, they could get it. The Japanese soldier or sailor on land carried a light pack and once food was depleted, it was depleted. They had to live off the land. They also forced locals to give up their food stocks, of course.

      All in all, 60% of Japanese war deaths were from a combination of disease and starvation. I do have a translated document somewhere that lays out how a Japanese combat force was supplied with food. I have to look for it.

      Like

      • What you have written, Koji, is very interesting to me. I would very much like to read your document on about the feeding of Japanese troops.

        As for C and K rations, I rather suspect it was the monotony of them rather than their taste that was the basis of the complaint. There was a time, after the war, when C and K rations could be purchased at “army surplus” stores. We ate them on Boy Scout camping trips. They weren’t bad — be we weren’t allowed to smoke the cigarettes that came with them.

        Like

    • ps The Japanese were also expecting to be victorious. As such, they would capture the loser’s food supplies. Otherwise, they were simply at the losing end of combat. I believe you prefer references so here is one such document which slightly captures the plight of a Japanese officer or at least a sergeant: http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2013/summer/diary.html

      Like

  18. ‘Kokoda-Front Line’ is a great document for its time. Also Australia’s first academy award!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This was the month my father received his draft notice. In mid 43, he was living in some of those projects the 22nd Construction Battalion built.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The only american general I know in world war 2 was Gen. MacArthur who liberated the Philippines from the Japanese with his famous lines “I shall return…!” I didn’t know that he had a headquarter in Port Moresby and was involved in the Papuan operation. Thanks for sharing… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Nasty area for fighting. Couldn’t digest food anymore. Horrible way to go! Kokoda — had to be hell on earth.

    Like

  22. An excellent post, as always. The jungle must have been a huge challenge, probably to both sides, given the geography of Japan I dimly remember from school.

    Like

  23. Bitter fighting indeed GP. The short film was very interesting too, showing the difficult conditions. Good to remember these lesser-publicised theatres of the war.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is indeed!! This was less publicized, but more difficult and bloodier than Guadalcanal. Thanks for reading and especially watching the movie short, Pete!!!

      Like

  24. Lieber Gruß von mir Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Father Paul Lemmen

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: