January 1943 (3)

New Guinea

New Guinea

16-18 January – the Indian 14th Division in Burma suffered heavy casualties during their offensive action into the Arakan peninsula.  A strong Japanese resistance beat off the Allied attacks at Rathedaung and Donbaik.

This site contains an animated map to show the defeat and progress in India and Burma from 1941 through 1945 – Click Here!

21-30 January – the Allies advanced toward Salamaua and Lae in the Huon Gulf on New Guinea.  This drove the enemy towards the west coast.  When the troops continued and captured Sanananda, this completed the Papua operation.  The southern portion of the island had cost Australia and America more than 7,000 casualties and the Japanese approximately 13,00 KIA.

Vessels enroute to the Battle of Rennell Island

Vessels enroute to the Battle of Rennell Island

In northern New Guinea, 3,000 Japanese troops attacked Wau airfield in a 3-prong attack.  The 700 Australians were forced to retreat, but heavy rains and airlifting of reinforcements halted the enemy advance 400 yards from the end of the runway.  Gen. Imamura at Rabaul Headquarters saw this defeat as a serious threat and ordered another 6,000 men and 8 transports with 8 destroyers to Lae and Salamaua.

24 January – the other Japanese airfield on New Georgia was Vila Field on the southern tip of Kolombangara.  Adm. Ainsworth brought his bombardment force in and sent 3,500 shells into the area.  The enemy’s return fire was ineffective.  At dawn, 59 aircraft left Henderson Field and dropped 23 tons of bombs on Vila.  But just as the construction crews did on Guadalcanal, the enemy repaired the damage quickly.

RAdm. Robert C. Giffen

RAdm. Robert C. Giffen

23-27 January – on Guadalacanal, US forces took the Japanese base at Kokumbona after 3 days of naval bombardment and an assault as the enemy moved northwest to be evacuated.  Four days later, the American troops went westward and captured a command post; 37 Japanese were KIA and 3 taken prisoner.  A large stash of arms, ammunition and supplies were also taken.

USS Chicago sitting low in the water.

USS Chicago sitting low in the water.

29-30 January – 50 miles (80 km) north of Rennell Island in the Solomons, RAdm. Giffen’s Task Force-18 came under attack in waves.  The destroyer, USS DeHaven, was sunk and the heavy cruiser, Chicago was crippled by the aerial torpedoes of the 31 Japanese G4M bombers.  With a course change and under the cover of darkness, the enemy lost sight of the Task Force.  The Japanese lost 12 pilots KIA; at least one bomber was downed by the newly equipped Mark-32 antiaircraft shells.  Adm. Giffen, who had only transferred from Casablanca days before, was blamed for the loss due to his inexperience by Adm. Halsey in his post-battle report.

As the tugboat Navajo towed the Chicago at a speed of 4 knots, 12 “Betty-type torpedo bombers attacked.  Capt. Ralph Davis ordered an ‘abandon ship’ [accomplished in 20 minutes] and as the last of the 1,049 survivors left her, the Chicago sank stern first.

Click on images to enlarge

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Military Humor – S.N.A.F.U. style –    

viewer discretion advised!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Atkins – Attala, AL; US Navy, WWII

Christos Condos – So.Burlington, VT; US Navy, WWII,

Cesar ‘Tony’ Lazo – Baltimore, MD, US Navy, Vietnam, USS Plymouth Rocklone-sailor-aug-18-2-8005450

David Hall – Arkandelphia, AR; US Navy, WWII, USS Lake Champlain, gunners mate

Grace Handy – Longmeadow, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

John Lovell – AUS; RA Navy, Captain (Ret.)

Frederick ‘Fritz’ Payne – Rancho Mirage, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, BGeneral (Ret.), Pilot, Silver Star

Virgil Shelton – Clinton, TN, US Army, 7th Calvary Armored Division

James Wilgis Sr. – Smith’s Station, AL; US Army, CW3 (ret. 25 years)

William Wright – Mangere Bridge, NZ; RNZA # 629020, WWII, SSgt., Signals J Force

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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 August 24, 2015, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 53 Comments.

  1. Thank you for all this research. The animation of the Burma campaign was very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting reading gp, the animated link helps to put the names to specific places as the story unfolds. SNAFU reminds me of the old training cartoons I used to show back in my Medical Corp instructor days.
    Always a great post mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The carton was hilarious. I’m so exhausted now. 🙂

    Like

  4. Hello GP (wantok). We are from Salamaua originally. My family moved to coastal Lae and settled there. My uncle Katham Newton (mum’s brother) was born in this period (1942) and my grandparents carried him in a string bag while they were running in between the bombings. It was my grandma’s brother that got killed accidently. The rest survived. I wrote a short story about this incident, but I have to develop more passages for my book about this period. How fascinating. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Joyce, I appreciate you bringing us your family’s story. The residents of New Guinea were very helpful to the troops, but I doubt they were officially thanked for their assistance. I am sorry to hear that your great-uncle was killed during this horrendous time. But I thank you very much for telling us about it. Will you be publishing your short story?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love those old SNAFU cartoons. 🙂

    Like

  6. I learn so much reading your posts! I love the cartoon you posted. It was funny, but was also a reminder of how serious a threat gas was in WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Especially enjoyed the interactive map.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This whole site is very interesting. I do hope young people read these blogs. It is important for them to realize you can ignore what is going on in the world, and WWII is an example of the consequences. OH, my husband says that the Japanese actually got into Alaska during the War. Have you done, or could you do a blog on that?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very informative as always. I do like the BBC sites too, we use them a lot for history. It’s odd that many of these films are ‘children’s cartoons’ are they aimed at adults?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not necessarily. I have been struggling with the details of an article about the atrocities of both sides of the Pacific War. The specifics are horrendous (which is why I haven’t written it yet) but so many people are having trouble with not only understanding the cultural differences, but the personal outlook of both sides. I tried to gloss over the American view of the Japanese being small, near-sighted, buck-toothed sub-humans verses the Japanese thoughts of the US being made up mongrels who breed with anything, have no cultural history and fight for money. But it might have to be written.
      The cartoons also helped keep the interest of some of the troops who weren’t really in the mood to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dealing with stereo types is often difficult particularly these days with political correctness etc. it has to be included I guess as its history and features greatly as such. Sensitivity is probably the key word which I’m sure you’ll do well at.

        Like

  10. Like most women (I presume) I am not interested in reading about war and battles but your negative head counts touched me. The fallen. I think of the aftermath and shattered lives.

    Time, it seems, heals all. We (Australians) are now contracting the Japanese to build our submarines.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a ‘like’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankfully many of the wounds have healed over and I appreciate you trudging through the war details, but you come up with an excellent point. Just as Sammy D. says the death toll is hard to comprehend, and just what would this world have been like if the KIA had come home….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It just wasn’t Chicago’s day!
    That gas mask cartoon was cleverly done.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The death tolls in the thousands are something I struggle to comprehend. We needed these men to do what they did, but ‘cost’ is such an insufficient term. We’ll never know how our lives would be impacted had they lived.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve often wondered about that. Many had already graduated college or developed a trade and were killed, what of those that put school on hold to help defend their country? And this goes for all sides of this war, in the 3 theaters of combat!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Seems like the Japanese usually got the short end, losing most of their battles. Amazing they kept fighting on, even while knowing how out-manned and out-gunned they were.

    Like

  14. Thanks very much for the history and the account of an underpublicized campaign. I really loved the statue too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting, John; much appreciated. The Lone Sailor statue is quite impressive. Created by Stanley Bleifeld, it stands in watch over the USS Wisconsin in Washington D.C.; but there are 12 replicas around the U.S.

      Like

  15. Pierre Lagacé

    I got caught up with your link…about the Burma campaign, and then looked around…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/

    Very interesting!

    Like

  16. Always interested to read about these Pacific battles. It reminds me just how many ships and sailors were lost by the US during the war.
    The 14th Army is known over here as ‘The Forgotten 14th’, and its members always felt sidelined by events in Europe.
    Best wishes from England. Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (8-25-2015) | My Daily Musing

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