September 1943 (3)

Australian troops with a 25-pounder

Australian troops with a 25-pounder

Picture by Roy Cecil Hodgkinson and courtesy of Rant Foundry.

19-26 September – American and Australian forces continued to close their ring around the port at Nadzab, New Guinea.  The Japanese command withdrew some troops to defend Lae, but this action was too late.  The enemy retreated towards Sio as the Allies advanced.  On the 22nd, Lae fell into Australian hands and the enemy was forced to take the only route out, over the mountains to the north coast. (See map below).

The Australian Infantry Battalion of the 9th Division made an amphibious landing north of Finschhafen.  They were met by a counterattack of 5,000 Japanese troops who failed.  Finschhafen would be captured 2 October.  US aircraft continued to hit the enemy airstrip at Wewak; more than 60 aircraft were destroyed on the ground, while offshore, 6 enemy ships were sunk.

14th NZ Brigade at Vella Lavella

14th NZ Brigade at Vella Lavella

 

20-24 September – New Zealand forces cleared the island of Vella Lavella of all Japanese oppositions.  This allowed operations to begin from the newly acquired airfield as air coverage for the North Solomon Island campaigns.

limpet mine, attached by magnets

limpet mine, attached by magnets

26-27 September – 6 Australian Special Force men, led by Major Ivan Lyon, used canoes under cover of darkness to penetrate the enemy shipping at Singapore harbour.  They placed limpet mines on select vessels; 2 enemy transports sunk and 5 others were damaged.

The swift and powerful momentum of the Allies in capturing the Huon Peninsula of New Guinea gave them a jumping-off base to invade New Britain.  This alarmed the Japanese command at Rabaul at the other end of the island.  The enemy garrison on Bougainville (300 miles to the southeast) was all that stood between the main Japanese base in the South Pacific and the other wing of Allied advance.

ngmap01

Japanese Imperial General Headquarters reversed their plans once more by ordering Imamura’s reserve troops to hold Bougainville and made it the Japanese priority.  The Japanese Combined Fleet was ordered to assist in this operation, but Admiral Koga was already planning to meet the Americans in the Central Pacific.  He moved to Eniwetok and ended up arriving too late to prevent the US landing on Bougainville. (This will be discussed in future posts).

Click on images to enlarge.

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Please Remember Them – image025

President Nixon ordered a cease-fire for midnight 27/28 January 1973 – and our men started coming home!!!!  Please remember those who did not…..

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Bold – Chaseley, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, navigator/Morse Code

Helen Castellano – Peekskill, NY; NY Military Academy, nurse (Ret. 22 years)Lonely_candle

Stan Emiec – Williamstown, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Div.

Albert Gutierrez – Miami Beach, FL; USMC, Kuwait, Major, KIA

William Hiatt – Denver, CO; US Army, Colonel, Surgeon

Christopher Buck Johnson – Alva, OK; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter pilot, Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Joseph Mazza – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, WWII, USS Wichita, medical

John Rowlands – W.AUST; British Army, WWII, 20th King’s Hussars

Edward Stapela – Waterloo, IA; US Army, WWII

James Whyte – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Army # 240826, 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 28, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.

  1. The ‘territory’ – as much sea as land – is so incredibly complex it is amazing that there were ever conclusive results in this kind of warfare.

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  2. Another great post and it is good to have a blog site that includes Australia and New Zealand as being involved. Because of Hollywood’s movies even a lot of young Aussies have no idea that we were involved in WWII and Vietnam.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know people here that thought the Army fought only in the ETO and the only Marines fought in the Pacific; Australia was used for R&R, New Zealand – they just didn’t know about before the movie Hobbit came out!!! What are the schools teaching these days?
      I am glad you found the post interesting, John. Maybe we can educate at least one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was very interesting teaching History in a school with 95% migrant children. Every war we talked about there was some kid from the other side. And if anyone decided yo get a bit annoyed I told them to wait for tomorrow and we’d talk about another war and see whose side you’re on now. That is a unique part of Australia – it doesn’t take too long and we all seem to get along well. Except lately. Lately the Extreme right anti Islam group are making a lot of trouble. It isn’t the Muslims (most of them ) it’s actually those screaming and shouting anti-Muslim hate. They turn up to demonstration in bikie gangs and wearing skintight T-shirts and shaved heads and screaming that we want “Our Country back.” I think I have a post developing to write.

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  3. I like the picture of that busy crew in action. As a very young artilleryman the 25 pounder (with that awful, sharktoothed ring mounting under it) was my first encounter with the artillery world…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hopefully you will not be annoyed at my silly nomination! Yes, I have nominated you for The Liebster Award, one of several community awards fluttering around WordPress. The rules can be found on my entry here:

    https://intrepidmuses.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/liebter-award/

    I hope you will enjoy this challenge!

    Caleb

    P.S. If you feel that an “award post” will break continuity with your post feel free to just respond to the questions…have some fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whew, what a battle, GP. Hard to imagine canoeing, usually such a relaxed activity, in the midst of all this. Thanks for always reminding us of the terrors of war and the brave soldiers who experience it every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t really understand how the men who came home from Vietnam could be treated badly. They had no say in where they were sent to, did they?

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    • No say at all. JFK kept lying to the public about what was going on, the war was dragged out as Johnson carried through with his programs – as though the men weren’t even allowed to win it. Being politically correct was coming on strong and starting the protests. The troops came home to taunts of “War Mongers”, “Baby-killers”, etc. The VA had no cure for the problems that the weapons had caused, so they claimed no disease was a direct response to being in Nam. To put it easy – that era was a mess

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  7. It continues to amaze me all that was going on in that sector of the war. I suppose it is natural that I would have heard more about platforms where SA and British troops were engaged.

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    • Well, even Australian papers reported on the European Theater more than the Pacific. Perhaps because of the colonial affiliation or, like in the US, more people could relate to those countries and more soldiers were in that area. I also find that historians sort of overlooked 1943 as a whole!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps, too, the perception of Germany as the main enemy, having effectively started it all. Strange, nevertheless.

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        • IMO, we had 2 separate wars. Hitler’s in Europe for power, (he had no intention of declaring war on the US and believe me – FDR gave him every chance). And the second war was fought for greed, everyone wanted the resources available in the Pacific and tried to either colonize it or take it over.

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  8. You may recall gp that I did a post about Major Lyons and his exploits sometime ago; it was a truly heroic adventure.

    http://lordbeariofbow.com/2015/03/10/the-mv-krait-a-voyage-to-remember/

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sounds like a intensive battle! I was in high school when Nixon announced that. Also remember reading Beetle Bailey 🙂 Excellent Everett.

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  10. I liked the painting of the gun crew. My dad operated 25 pounders in the Royal Artillery, and found them to be a very effective weapon, at all ranges.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Then you understand what power these men had. Any stories you recall from your dad that you’d like to share, Pete?

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      • When my dad was serving in India during the Partition Riots, he was ordered to fire on the rioters, using a 25 pounder. The Sikh gunners complied, and they fired phosphorous shells into the crowds, causing terrible injuries to the casualties.

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        • Separating the Muslims and non-Muslims into Pakistan and India brought on untold violence, such as men killing their own female family members. Frankly I don’t really know enough about that Partition to comment, but I do know your father was in a rather tough position!! Thank you for sharing that story, Pete.

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  11. Many, many folks today not from that era have little or no knowledge of how many skirmishes, remote battles on small islands or huge campaigns there were – let alone the number of casualties. It was a terrible time. Think about just the canoe infiltration… Can you see any of the brats protesting at Missouri doing that?

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I’ve been a way for a while, but I’m back now, and love seeing one of my favorite blogs again!

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  13. Picturing the men rowing in with canoes alongside massive battleships in the dark, knowing that the slightest sound would give them away… that’s courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for another great article. Thanks also for reminding us of this date in 1973. I had just turned 18, and I was about 35-40 points away in the draft lottery. Several of my friends in college had already been called up (they ended up serving in Germany). I had voted for Nixon because of his promise to end the war, and I was very grateful that he did.

    Over the years since then, I have known many men who returned from Viet Nam with problems and some with problems that weren’t acknowledged by the VA until the 1990s. I only knew (of) a couple who didn’t make it home. I always felt bad for the way those soldiers were treated. They served their country, they deserved to be treated better – some of them still deserve better treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true, all the way around, Dan!! I don’t even like to think of that place, I’m glad you didn’t lose too many friends, but are able to recognize how the ones who came home really got an awful deal!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I first heard about Bougainville when I was very young. My father would spin fanciful tales about it while we were out fishing. It seemed like such an exotic and beautiful place, it was only decades later that he told me what a hell hole it was. In his last years, I asked him why he changed his impression of the place and he told me that he didn’t change anything, it was both beautiful and hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would suppose it meant whether or not the shells were flying and the bullets darting at you, eh? Thanks for sharing your father’s story; always happy to hear them!!

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  1. Pingback: My Article Read (1-29-2016) – My Daily Musing

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