August 1943 (2)

During WWII Unalaska had all its native Alaskans removed from the island and there was a great military buildup to protect its Ice free, deep water port. The island was bombed by the Japanese and had a plane crash on the island.

During WWII Unalaska had all its native Alaskans removed from the island and there was a great military buildup to protect its Ice free, deep water port. The island was bombed by the Japanese and had a plane crash on the island.

Jon Sund’s blog and further current pictures of the Alaskan WWII relics, CLICK HERE!

15 August – On the island of Kiska in the Aleutians Islands of Alaska, weeks of air and naval bombardment rained down on Japanese installations.  The 1st Special Service Force, the “Devil’s Brigade”, both American and Canadian troops, made an amphibious landing.  Neither landing site received resistance from the enemy, as the Japanese had left 28 July.  Kiska was deserted and only 2 wild dogs were found.

Vella Lavella, WWII

Vella Lavella, WWII

PT boat reconnaissance confirmed that there were few Japanese on Vella Lavella in the Solomons.  Operation Goodtime lived up to its name when the US 25th Army Division and the Fiji/New Zealand commanders (South Seas Scouts) landed.  They only found enemy survivors of the Tokyo Express convoy that had recently been in a naval battle.  So, the men proceeded to build a new airstrip.  About 390 more Japanese landed on the island, which together with the 200 stragglers would cause fighting, but this move isolated the heavily defended Kolombangara  Island, General Sasaki and his troops.

17 August – this was “Black Day” for Japan – ~ 200 US planes, from Gen. George Kenney’s command, raided the Japanese 4th Air Army base at Wewak on the northern coast of New Guinea.  The enemy was taken completely by surprise since they believed themselves to be out of range of any US aircraft.  However, the engineers had constructed an airfield west of Lae, which put them 400 miles (640 km) away.  Three-fourths of the enemy base was rendered unusable and only 38 planes operational. [another source states 24 planes remained].  MacArthur was thinking of his own aircraft in the Philippines at the start of the war when he made the remark, “Nothing so helpless as an airplane on the ground.”

19 August – 4 Australian divisions and one American division started a major offensive up through the northern coast of New Guinea.  Since the success of the air raid, enemy air attacks on the ground forces was greatly reduced.  Mount Tambu, the Japanese fortified stronghold,  was taken.

25 August – Operation Toenails was officially ended as all enemy resistance on New Georgia ceased.  The campaign had required approximately 3-times the men (~ 45,000) than first estimated to complete; 1,136 had been killed in action.

Nanumea airfield, 1943

Nanumea airfield, 1943

28 August – US forces landed on Nanumea in the Ellice Island group.  The campaign started by penetrating into the south-eastern corner of the enemy held island.

August 1943 saw a lot of action with the 5th Air Force hammering away from their new airstrip in the Trobriand Islands.  The US and Australian airmen scoured New Guinea’s Huon Peninsula, the Bismark Sea and the waters off New Britain.  They made signs of enemy reinforcements and/or supplies their major priority and over 150 barges were sunk.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

"Let us rise men and say Grace over this Thanksgiving dinner... after which, we will carve the turkey."

“Let us rise men and say Grace over this Thanksgiving dinner… after which, we will carve the turkey.”

"Did you walk in her without help? - Fine - You're  1-A.

“Did you walk in here without help? – Fine – You’re 1-A.

 

 

Actual envelopes sent home – from the Cpl. Regis Dinkel # 33421270 collection.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Trevor Andrews – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Army # 23358, WWII, Cpl., Ordnance Corps

Sidney Booth – Rockledge, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Iowawpid-20b396344abfbc2aaf8553562b9bb75a

Jason Lee Dunham – Scio, NY; USMC, Syria/Iraq; 7th Marines, Cpl., KIA, Medal of Honor

Leon Hughes – Florence, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical/11th Airborne

Harry Irish – Cleveland Hgts., OH; US Navy, WWII, USS Borum

Frank Johnson – Leominister, CA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Buddy Miccio – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII,

Wayne Rogers – Birmingham, AL; US Navy, [M*A*S*H* actor]

Oscar Sainz – Yuma, AZ; US Army, WWII

Herbert Young – Nashua, NH; US Army, WWII

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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 January 4, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. Found this very good video: The Forgotten Alaskan Aleutian Campaign

    Like

  2. Love the envelopes!

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  3. The Twentysomething Social Recluse

    Interesting operation names! I learn so much from your posts.

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  4. Things certainly started coming together, but obviously with such a determined enemy none of it was really easy.

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    • Good observation of the situation. At this point back home, new and adaptable weapons are being designed and produced [remember, the US never fought a war in the jungle before]. By depending on MacArthur’s knowledge of the Oriental culture, proper operation plans are being developed as well.

      Like

  5. Besides all the information and education I , like another reader, notice the Operation names. Goodtime? Toenails? I too wonder how/why Toenails came about. I would love to know about some other interesting names. Maybe there’s a list somewhere of the more colorful ones?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “The enemy was taken completely by surprise since they believed themselves to be out of range of any US aircraft” >>> When intel lets you down – you go down!

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  7. Thank you for continuing to educate us with your blog! Happy New Year

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  8. Your chronicling is fascinating. You make the reader believe they are living in the moment. If it wasn’t for people like you, these moments would easily be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person


  9. Wünsche dir einen schönen Dienstag Grüße und Küsse Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s aeroplane, or aircraft.

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  11. Always enjoy seeing those letters sent home. They were very special. I have quite a collection of post cards from my cousin when he was in the Navy. But I’m thinking that was probably in the 1950s..

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It must have been weird to be bombing our own territory.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I thought the caption stated wasn’t quite right for the cartoon … and on bringing in the larger image, what’s on the envelope does suit better—but I’ll bet they still enjoyed their turkey~!

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  14. Many thanks for your excellent detailed history of the war in the South Pacific. If I may suggest, the history would be more meaningful if you could include a map where the action described occurred.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I usually try to do that once in a while, but thought I was being too repetitive. I appreciate you bringing it up and will comply more often. Thank you, Martin.

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  15. Excellent post, Everett. They sure had some interesting names for the operations. Toenails ? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You’d sure think I would have known that another American location was bombed in WWII. And, I had no idea Alaska had an ice-free port. This is why I keep reading your blog, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am really thrilled to find out I’ve taught someone, Jacqui. I never even thought I might be doing that when I started all this! Turned out to be a terrific bonus!

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  17. Hi! Your blog continues to impress me. The artwork by Regis Dinkel on the envelopes… who was he? The art and humor is of a professional standard! All I found on-line was an obituary for him (I think) from a few years ago…
    Cheers
    Andrew

    Liked by 1 person

    • This week I found cartoons actually drawn by William Schmitt, and as far as I know his cartoon work was never published. They were part of the 488th Port Battalion, WWII, in the ETO. Note the T-5 patch on the guy’s shoulder, I think that might have been Mr. Schmitt’s way of signing the work. I have more of these that I’ll be posting as well!!

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  18. The action continues relentlessly, GP. So much going on, all the time. I still find it incredible how global that conflict was.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Excellent! By chance, do you plan to speak of what happened to the native Alaskans who were moved? Were they returned? Where were they taken? Etc. I’d love to hear more about that. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

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