March 1943

2-4 March – a Japanese convoy was headed for the Lae-Salamaua area of New Guinea.  The Allied ULTRA intelligence knew their course and that they were carrying nearly 7,000 men of the 51st Division.  Australian Capt. W.H. Garing convinced US Gen. Kenney to use a massive co-ordinated attack against them.   From the US 5th Air Force Mitchells, Bostons, and Liberators, with the Royal Australian Air Force adding 11 Catalinas, 22 Bostons, 30 Beaufighters and 100 Beauforts,(totaling 355 aircraft), including US torpedo boats, devastated the convoy in constant waves of attack.  This would become known as the Battle of the Bismark Sea.

W.H. Garing

W.H. Garing

__________ALLIES____________JAPANESE

Battle of the Bismark Sea

Battle of the Bismark Sea

Strength
39 heavy bombers;
41 medium bombers;
34 light bombers;
54 fighters
10 torpedo boats
8 destroyers,
8 troop transports,
100 aircraft
Casualties and losses
2 bombers,
4 fighters destroyed
13 killed[1]
8 transports,
5 destroyers sunk
20 fighters destroyed,
2,890+ dead

The enemy was subjected to repeated dive-bombing, skip-bombing, torpedo runs and strafing attacks with true accuracy not only on the convoy, but shipping and Lae airfield.  Only approximately 950 to 1,200 Japanese made it to shore at Lae and about 2,700 Japanese soldiers were picked up and returned to Rabaul.  As another 1,000 of the enemy were adrift, the PT boats attacked.  IJN rescue vessels, including I-17 and I-26 picked up about another 170 survivors.

RAAF Bostons, No. 22 Squadron

RAAF Bostons, No. 22 Squadron

3-6 March – the Chindits in Burma were continuing to advance and successfully blow up enemy railroad lines and bridges.  But, each column was receiving heavy resistance and high casualties.  Four and Two Column became dispersed after one particularly bloody battle.

6 March, the Munda and Vila airfields in the Solomons were given heavy fire from the US Navy.  During this action, 2 Japanese destroyers were sunk.

8-13 March – the Japanese in China renewed their offensive against the weak Nationalist forces, but their advance was halted at the Yangste River.  On the 10th, to expand air cover for the Burma campaign and eastern Pacific, the US 14th Army Air Force was created under MGen. Claire Chennault, and based in China.

Washington D.C., March 1943

Washington D.C., March 1943

12 March – representatives of MacArthur and Nimitz met in Washington DC for the ‘Pacific Military Conference’.  The Army and Navy immediately became locked in a stalemate.  FDR ordered Gen. Marshall to have MacArthur prepare for the “ultimate seizure of the Bismark Archipelago.”  This left Halsey restricted to advancing up the Solomons. [Being as more and more ships were being lost in the ETO, that meant even fewer replacement ships would be sent to the Pacific.]  This also meant that it would be nearly 3 months before an Allied offensive plan could begin to move forward again in the PTO.

Some of the Australian data was acquired through the assistance of Robert Kingsley @ Java Gold Blog

Following video is from IHRA’s comment

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News – 

Highest ranking officer still listed as MIA to receive honors in NM

 By RUSSELL CONTRERAS

Associated Press
Published: September 18, 2015
BGen. Kenneth Walker

BGen. Kenneth Walker

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 70 years after a mysterious World War II disappearance, the nation’s highest ranking military officer listed as missing in action is receiving honors in his birth state of New Mexico as the search continues for his body.

Brig. Gen. Kenneth Walker, a Medal of Honor recipient who helped create an air plan to defeat Hitler in World War II, will be celebrated starting Friday in the city of Roswell where a now-closed based once carried his name. The city will have a Walker Air Force Base Historic Marker thanks to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Story excerpt from Stars & Stripes.

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Military Humor – Bridge

island-400x348

“I feel like an important island in the Pacific”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence ‘Yogi’ Berra – The Hill, MO; US Navy, WWII, ETO, USS Bayfield, gunners mate [MLB catcher]

Bob Egan – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, Sgt. 1st Class

Charles Goodson – WPalm Beach, FL, US Air ForceWWII Memorial poem at Arlington Cemetery

Samuel Hairston – Houston, TX; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.

Michael Incognito  – Wood Ridge, NJ; US Navy

James Mandell – Darien, CT & FL; US Air Force (Ret. 21 yrs), pilot

Dickie Moore – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII [child actor]

Robert Phillips – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 436394, WWII

Albert Pregont – Weston, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO,

Peter Veltmeijer – Caloundra, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

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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 September 23, 2015, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. So, GP, you’ve arrived at my birthday, 3/3/43. I read your tale with interest. Thanks. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “And now they sleep side by side.” War makes many victims. I hope that are at peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For general info gp.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, the Pathe video was absolutely riveting! Terrible to think of all those enemy lives lost, but what a resounding victory for the Americans in cooperation with their Australian counterparts.

    Like

  5. Very interesting post!

    Like

  6. “You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise, they won’t come to yours.” — Yogi Berra (1925 – 2015).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, 355 aircraft. I had never heard of this battle before. Thanks for the detailed information. We have a village here on Guam called Nimitz Hill in recognition of Admiral Nimitz. I’m glad I had visited here once again today because I didn’t see that flag-folding widget before. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for another great post. And thank you for including the info about BGen Kenneth Walker. Its important our heroes aren’t forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, here we are. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Here’s some newsreel footage from British Pathe:

    Hope it’s ok to include our post on the subject 🙂 https://airwarworldwar2.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/tragedy-above-the-bismarck-sea/

    Like

  10. I have heard of the ” Battle of the Bismark Sea.” but the details that you provided.Also glad to see that Kenneth Walker is receiving recognition for all that he did. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice post. And I notice you’ve included Yogi Berra in your farewell salutes. What a great ballplayer he was.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. All this was happening just nine years before I was born into a world free of global war. Sobering to consider that, at least for me.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Another fascinating post. I always learn something new,reading your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for mentioning one of my favorite sports figures–Yogi Berra. You hit the important highlights. He came from the same Italian, St. Louis neighborhood, as Joe Garagiola and Harry Caray.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad I got it right, Adam. I knew Yogi was in the Navy and D-Day but I had to go looking for his hometown. No one will ever forget his iconic leap after the perfect game!!

      Like

  15. A wonderful remark by the pretty young lady in the cartoon!

    Liked by 1 person

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