April 1943 (2)

US troops in Alaska, 1943

US troops in Alaska, 1943

13 April – 78 US aircraft of the 11th Air Force made 11 separate attacks at the Japanese airfield and military barracks at the Main Camp and strafed the beach on Kiska, Alaska.  Heavy AA fire downed 2 P-38s and one B-25

In New Guinea, the 5th Air Force’s heavy and medium bombers carried out widespread but unsuccessful attacks on individual enemy vessels. Japanese aircraft carried out a heavy attack on the Milne Bay area, severely damaging 1 vessel, beaching 1 vessel, and hitting 2 others, but doing very little damage to USAAF facilities in the area. The AA defenses and the 40+ P-40’s and P-38’s that intercepted the enemy strike claimed 14 airplanes shot down. Dick Bong became a Double Ace when he got his 10th kill, a Betty.

Port Moresby station hospital, 1943 LEAD Technologies Inc

Port Moresby station hospital, 1943
LEAD Technologies Inc

MacArthur and Halsey met for the first time.  Mac’s reaction, “I liked him [Halsey] from the moment we met.”  Halsey would later write, “Five minutes after I reported, I felt as if we were lifelong friends.  We had our arguments, but they always ended pleasantly.”  Three days later, they completed the blueprint for Operation Cartwheel.15 April – the Eleventh Air Force flew reconnaissance over Kiska, Attu, Semichis, and Agattu spoted no new enemy activities. Two bomber missions from Adak and eleven fighter missions from Amchitka, composed of 23 B-24’s, 20 B-25’s, 25 P-38’s, and 44 P-40’s, hit Kiska; 1 F-5A took photos while 85 tons of bombs are dropped. Fires resulted on North Head and Little Kiska. One B-24 is shot down in flames and four bombers receive battle damage.

Bomber crew on Adak - note pin-up girl collection courtesy of "Life"

Bomber crew on Adak – note pin-up girl collection
courtesy of “Life”

16 April – Alaska –   Seven B-24’s  bombed and scored 8 direct hits on the runway and gun emplacements at Attu. One B-24 and 2 F-5A’s needed to abort due to weather. [flying over the Aleutians was often near impossible]. Four B-25’s, thirty-one P-38’s, and fourteen P-40’s hit Kiska nine times, bombing installations and strafing gun emplacements and 3 parked airplanes.

17 April – Burma –  the 10th Air Force’s 7 B-25’s bombed the Myitnge bridge and scored 4 damaging hits. Ten others hit the Myitnge railroad works. Sixteen P-40’s damaged the bridge at Kamaing, attacked the town of Nanyaseik, and scored hits on the north approach to the bridge at Namti. Six B-24’s damage the south approach to the Pazundaung railroad bridge.

map_tarawa_atoll

20-21 April – US aircraft attacked the enemy base at Nauru.  The Japanese retaliated the next day by bombing US positions on the Ellice Islands.  In Washington, FDR declared that all war criminals will be tried after an Allied victory.

23-31 April – US bombers of the 7th Air Force attacked the Japanese airfield on Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands.  By the end of the month, the Japanese forces in the Aleutians were cut off from Japan and US invasion forces were sailing from San Francisco; 11,000 of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division and 29 ships.  This included the Idaho, Pennsylvania and Nevada.  The submarines Narwhal and Nautilus would lead them in on 4 May.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – Aleutian style – 

Painfull Schwin Dentist - Enter on Full Flaps

Painfull Schwin Dentist – Enter on Full Flaps

TREE - only one on Attu.

TREE – only one on Attu.

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Macon ‘Bud’ Ballantine – Jacksonville, Fl; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Intrepid

Kenneth Handford – Ballarat, AUS; RA Air Force # 145108, 39th Operational Base Unit, aircraftsman

Craig Karrer – Egg Harbor, NJ; US Navy, Korea, USS Antietam

Aleutians, 1943

Aleutians, 1943

Malcolm Mathias – Blue Mound, IL; US Army, WWII, 10th Mountain Division

Cresencio Romero – Santa Ana, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675th Artillery Reg.

Harold Ross – Stephenson, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO

Stanley Szwed – Port Read, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 711th Ordnance Reg.

Donald Tabers – Mayfield, KY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Kenneth Tate – Austin, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/511th Reg.

Herbert Winfiele – Houston, TX; US Army, Korea, Lt.

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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 October 22, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 57 Comments.

  1. You know, I always thought the admirals never saw MacArthur as a nice guy… But Halsey did? Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pacific War was one battle after another with Washington and each other for more materiel and troops; that caused personality conflicts and everything else to spill out. Mac had the powerful persona to push past a lot of the Brass. Halsey understood.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love all the stuff about WWII in Alaska. Great blog!

    Like

    • It is a shame that historians chose to overlook the affairs in Alaska back then, also, the news of the war in Europe sold more newspapers at the time. Just like today – we allow the media to choose what is important. Thank you for coming by and taking the time to read.

      Like

  3. Great post! I am looking forward to sharing some photos taken on the USS Midway in San Diego. They have a short movie that talks about the Battle of Midway and how the ship got its name. I think it actually used some clips from the old movie of the same name.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading your posts gp uncovers much history all over the South Pacific, the islands of the South Pacific are the home of many story’s, not only that, but how many pieces of history still remain on the oceans floors around the Pacific Islands. These story’s will probably come to light long after we are gone mate, but like I said, reading your posts opens up a great military archaeological Archive, and the oceans hold the key to many of these story’s.
    Cheers.

    Like

    • I wouldn’t want to try and guess, Ian. I continue to read new books and articles that keep coming out as people and organizations go looking for the remains with the improved technology of today, but on both sides of this war – much will go unknown.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the sign identifying the tree. It’s almost the joke you’d put in an animated cartoon about Life In The Army.

    Like

  6. Such a brutal month that was, GP — thanks for the overview, and the reminder of the brutal reality of war. Cool photo of the bomber with the pin-up photos.

    Like

    • I appreciate you taking the time to give me your opinion; I just wish power hunger people would get the same message.
      It seems that pilot picture w/ the pin-up girls is a hit!!

      Like

  7. Wünsche ein schönes glückliches week-kend Lieber Gruß Gislinde

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  8. May I honor my Father on October 22, 2015? If he were still alive he would be 101 years old. He fought in WWII but in Europe. He was a Sgt. with the Third Armored Division, Signal Corp. He was in five major battles in France and Germany. He rarely spoke about what he did. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Like the photo of the US troops in Alaska. It looks exactly like so many of the places I hiked and backpacked through Alaska. Our son, Tony, occasionally gets out to Adak as part of his Coastguard helicopter responsibilities out of Kodiak. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alaska is definitely on my bucket list and has been for many years. No matter how many people I meet who have been there – all the stories only make me more eager. Thanks, Curt and say hello to Tony for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, thank you for the info. very interesting. I really like the humor.

    Like

  11. Ahh, Adak. One of the loveliest places the Navy sent me in the 80’s. It was a beautiful island, even when the sun came out. Great Sitkin volcano marked wind direction by the way its plume blew; so many stars filled the night it looked like Van Gogh splashed a barrel of black paint speckled with white into the night – I felt I could reach out and run my fingers through the Milky Way; bald eagles maintained a constant presence over the garbage dump; salmon leapt each other in a frenzy to spawn in the many streams; the WWII submarine pens continued to decay in the harsh Arctic climate; and Mount Moffett stood silent watch over the graves of those lost in battle so many years before. The weather could be so awful our planes were grounded for days. But, we had enlisted and officer’s clubs, a Navy exchange, bowling alley, brick and mortar buildings, R&R flights to the mainland, and a lot of other things our WWII men did not. And female Sailors, Marines, and civilians. I don’t recall having a wall covered with Betty Grable pics 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well now, THAT was quite the first-hand look at Adak – most of which had me in stitches! I thank you for being so descriptive about the island and giving us your view – love it!! (pardon me while I go re-read this again!!)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I took a bunch of photos in Adak, but can find very few. There must be a box hiding somewhere. Three things struck me most about the island: the night sky; the cloud formations; and the breathlessly beautiful scenery of not just Adak, but the other islands and volcanos visible from Mount Moffett. Incredible. Beautiful days were so rare that the base CO authorized “sunshine liberty” so folks could get outside for some sun. Someday, I would love to go back.

        Like

  12. What a very peculiar tree! Still I suppose if you’re the only one, you have to be something very special!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Please excuse me for totally ignoring everything you wrote, I’m just so mesmerised by the photo from life magazine with all the pinup girls. I love the way people make even the most inhospitable of environments and in the most inauspicious circumstances, into places of interest and beauty. I wonder if the boys were aware of what they were doing?. While on the surface the wall could be seen as a display of a puerile fascination for the female form, missed and lusted after, it has been assembled in such a way as to transform their environment into an artistic haven. It is now a home not just a place to rest and sleep. I wonder how many times they took these images down only to put them up again in a different camp. It shows great spirit and hope in a situation of great difficulty and adversity. I have not completely forgotten the card game. that is also a fabulous part of the image. I just love that pic!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I read somewhere, years ago, in a book about General Patton, that the Japanese invasion of the Aleutians was a strategic mistake. Some expected they would invade southern California, via the Gulf of California, and when they invaded Alaska instead, it came as a big relief. Patton was training troops in southern California at the time, but had few resources at his disposal to repel a potential Japanese invasion.

    Like

    • Alaska would have been handy, had all their plans gone accordingly. I have never found anything to show as to the Japanese invading CA. They did want to instill enough damage to scare Washington and perhaps get them to buckle under and leave the Pacific. CA was too far away and the US too large for an invasion. Yes, Alaska was another drastic mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post. I’m not surprised that Halsey and MacArthur got along. Both of them enjoyed bucking the system. MacArthur was so aloof I can’t imagine anyone was really close to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Fascinating post. It is a shame that the greatest war to define mankind; is almost forgotten. I shouldn’t be shocked. 911 seems to be forgotten by so many. I am a New Yorker, so I can never forget. Great post. I enjoy following you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi GP. It was interesting to have that momentary look into the life of the bomber crew; what a small part of their day looked like — and the only tree on Attu. Have a thriving Thursday.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Houston’s air show was this past weekend. I live very close to Ellington, where the planes base for event, and from which they fly. The week before and the day after, the sky was filled with vintage aircraft, and there’s no mistaking the sound of the bomber. Which it is, I’m not sure, but what I am certain of is that, once you heard the sound of one of those planes out “there” you never would forget it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’ve got THAT right. No doubt – you heard a bomber. Now think how that would sound if you knew the bombs were for you. It gives me more than a Halloween scare! Good to see you and thanks for visiting!

      Like

  19. This certainly was a bleak and forbidding place in which to fight a war. Remote islands, poor weather, and long distances. It seems like dogged determination was the way things got done.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

  20. Considering the scope of the war in the Pacific as well as the war in Europe, the political and military leaders sure had their hands full.

    Liked by 2 people

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