May 1943 (2)

4th Infantry, Massacre Bay

4th Infantry, Massacre Bay

11 May – the 11th Air Force flew missions to support US forces landing on Attu: 1 air-ground liaison sortie by 1 B-24; a B-24 supply sortie dropping supplies to ground forces; and 5 attack missions, flown by 11 B-24’s and 12 B-25’s. The first attack mission could not find the target and instrument-bombed targets which include the runway, radar, submarine base, and camp area. Because of the poor visibility the next two missions hit Kiska, where the runway and Main Camp were attacked. Two B-24’s then bombed the Chichagof Harbor area through fog while another dropped leaflets on Attu.

12-30 May – The submarines, Nautilius  and Narwhol, led  RAdm. Francis W, Rockwell’s 29-vessel fleet, including the battleship Idaho and the reconstructed Pennsylvania and Nevada, under concealment of a heavy mist.  Col. Yamazaki’s 2,400 men were well dug-in at their positions as the US 11,000 man 7th Infantry Division made an amphibious landing with the 17th Infantry Regiment spearheading.

5 Castner Cutthroats

5 Castner Cutthroats

The US also employed Alaskans to act as scouts; they were called Castner’s Cutthroats, after their commander.  An in-depth article on these commandos can be found here at History.net.

Poor beach equipment for the tundra territory, frostbite and some having been trained in the Mohave Desert for African combat all went to aide the enemy.  Both sides received heavy casualties and it would take 2 weeks to contain the resistance around Massacre Bay.

Attu, May 1943

Attu, May 1943

The US forces took the high ground overlooking Holtz Bay on the 17th.  Despite the Arctic weather, P-38 Lightening fighter-bombers supported the ground attack through the Sarana Pass and approached Chicagof Harbor where the remaining enemy was held up.  Attu Village was then wiped out and the P-38s shot down Japanese bombers.  On the 24th, after hand-to-hand combat, Chicagof Valley was cleared.

The last 1,000 enemy troops made a final banzai charge and initially overran 2 US command posts.  On their last charge, screaming, “Japanese drink blood wine!” the fire power proved to be too much for them.  What Japanese forces were not killed, committed suicide.  Only 28 surrendered.

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Current News – 

Remains of US soldier returned from North Korea.

Cpl. Robert V. Witt

Cpl. Robert V. Witt

BELLFLOWER, Calif. — The remains of a formerly missing U.S. soldier have been returned to California nearly 65 years after he is thought to have died, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.  Army Cpl. Robert V. Witt, a 20-year-old Bellflower man missing since the Korean War, was returned earlier this week to his sister Laverne Minnick, 82.  Witt will be buried with full military honors at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier on Friday.

 In late November 1950, Witt was assigned to 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 31st Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency said in a statement.  They were attacked by Chinese forces at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On Dec. 1, 1950, remnants of the 31st Regimental Combat Team tried moving to a position south of the reservoir, but the next day, Witt was reported missing in action, the statement said.

In 1953, during prisoner of war exchanges, repatriated U.S. soldiers told officials that Witt had been captured during the battle and died from malnutrition. It’s believed he died on Jan. 31, 1951.  This article was retrieved from the Stars & Stripes.

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COLD Humor – 36fac507dcd06672a6b3077f8e3ec4aa

 

winter-humor

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clarence Amos – Columbus, MT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/11th A/B

Maynard Dawson – Terre Haute, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical

Aleutians, 1943

Aleutians, 1943

Leroy Ewing – Urice, MO; US Army, Korea, F Co/187th RCT

John France – Denver, CO; US Air Force, Vietnam, MajGen. (Ret.), 239 combat missions

Cecil ‘Gene’ Judy – Kansas City, KS; USMC, WWII

Richard Karrer – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Edward McGowan – Jupiter, FL; US Army

Victor Oros – Aurora, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Seminole

Bryan Rousseau – Woodsocket, RI; US Army

Taj Sareen – San Francisco, CA; USMC, Middle East, Major, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

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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 29, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. As to be expected gp, an informative look back into history, interesting to read of the training that was undertaken, and then applied under the opposite requirements, weather wise.
    Always great to read of the return of a Hero after 65 years as in the case of Cpl. Robert V. Witt.
    Another piece of history that closes.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More remarkable information; thank you for presenting it.
    That last resistance makes one speculate on the differences between bravery and utter fanaticism – one would assume that even the bravest are at some disadvantage when faced with an enemy fully committed to winning or death.

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    • In this case it may have been desperation, they were basically being abandoned by their country. But I know what you’re saying.

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      • Indeed; but in similar situations most of their opposition would have opted for living to fight another day – although I think the word did get around eventually that it was probably better to die in battle than to be subjected to the tender mercies given to their prisoners as evidenced by that MIA..

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  3. FDR was under some pressure by the west coast senators to clear the Japanese from Attu and Kiska. I wonder if it would have worked to have allowed the Japanese to stay and waste resources in trying to resupply the islands. They were at the limit of their supply line at the time and trying to bring food and ammo there would tie up some destroyers and isolate a portion of the Japanese forces.

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    • There were a number of pressures about getting the Japanese-Americans out of CA; I know of no pressure concerning Alaska, other than it was American soil. Could you be more specific?

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      • I’m refering only to the Japanese soldiers on Attu and Kiska, not civilians. There was a theory that the Japanese could use the base on Attu to invade Alaska. So some western senators were trying to get FDR to authorize a landing to prevent that from happening. Attu could also be used as an airfield to supply Russia with arms if needed. I see the logic in invading, but just speculate about the possibility of leap-frogging those islands instead.

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  4. I second Curt’s comment–lots more good info there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely post Brad, I recently visited the U505 Submarine at The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago,IL. It was a remarkable experience. Thanks again for the Farewell Salutes. Holly

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I went to the article on Castner Cutthroats, GP, definitely worth reading. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Cold Humor” tickled my fancy! Love that nose art and I think I need the sled dog sign for my backyard! Excellent post all the way around.

    Like

  8. What a interesting story and the pictures are amazing with such detail. Massacre Bay was aptly named. The weather conditions were unbelievable. Great post!

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  9. What a thrilling story about Cutthroats, on that history.net link. Although it seems criminal to have sent our troops to Alaska without winter gear and in short-sleeved uniforms. Any student of war history knows that bad weather can inflict far more casualties than the enemy. Nonetheless, the fighting was intense, and there was much bravery and heroism to go around.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thany you lieber Freund schöne Fotos wünsche dir ein gutes week-end Grüße und Umarmung Gislinde

    Like

  11. Those photographs are superb. Absolutely pin sharp and a man behind the camera, not a computer!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The fighting on Attu seems bleak and brutal. That area of the war gets such rare coverage, GP, it has been good to read about it here.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

  13. Such loss for a piece of ground. I always wondered what the Japanese thought about holding parts of Alaska after Midway failed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Such an alien attitude to life and death

    Like

  15. It must be bittersweet for the Witt family. Whenever I see the young ages of these you men and women who died I always wonder what they would have accomplished and what their lives would be like now.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (10-30-2015) | My Daily Musing

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