Monthly Archives: February 2016

Eye Witness Account – Rabaul

USS Charles Ausburne, flagship at Battle of Cape St. George

USS Charles Ausburne, flagship at Battle of Cape St. George

An ideal night for a nice quiet torpedo attack.

by: Capt. Arleigh A. Burke

There may have been blacker nights than Thanksgiving Eve, 1943, [26 November 1943], in the South Pacific, but none could have been more completely blacked out with regard to information of the enemy.

Arleigh A. Burke

Arleigh A. Burke

The Solomon Islands campaign, one of the decisive battles of WWII in the Pacific, was at its height and the issue had not yet been resolved.  Our destroyers were streaming north in search of the Japanese, who were reported to be evacuating their forces from the islands of Buka and Rabaul.

Suddenly our ships made contact with an unidentified force – strength unknown – and closed to fight it out.  The battle continued throughout the night.  One after another, the breaks fell to us.  The pieces of the puzzle gradually slipped into their proper places as, one by one, the enemy warships were routed or sunk.

Battle of Cape St. George

Battle of Cape St. George

But as dawn came, a new battle loomed ahead.  Pursuit of the beaten Japs had put our formation deep in enemy waters, far beyond our own air cover.  The weather was clear.  Japanese airfields were close by and we knew they had many fighters and bombers on the four bases in the vicinity of Rabaul.

As we began our retirement southward, aerial attack seemed imminent.  We hadn’t suffered a single casualty during the night action, but now, perhaps, our luck had run out.

Battle of Cape St. George, by: Anton Otto Fischer

Battle of Cape St. George, by: Anton Otto Fischer

To our surprise, nothing happened – nothing at all.  The Japanese did not strike back!  As we continued to sail into friendlier waters, identical requests began coming to the flagship, (USS Charles Ausburne, DD 570), from every destroyer in the formation. [Destroyer Div. 44/Squadron 23]  Finally we passed them all along to Admiral Merrill, our commander back in Purvis Bay: “Please arrange Thanksgiving services for all hands on arrival.”

They were waiting for us when we returned to port – our Protestant, Catholic and Jewish chaplins.  An explanation was also waiting – a reconnaissance dispatch stating that 58 enemy bombers and 145 fighters had been observed on Japanese airfields near Rabaul.  They had not attacked up presumably because, through the grace of Divine Providence, they didn’t know our exact position and hence, couldn’t find us in time.

Gen. James Van Fleet w/ RAdm. Arleigh Burke aboard the USS Los Angeles, Korea 1951

Gen. James Van Fleet w/ RAdm. Arleigh Burke aboard the USS Los Angeles, Korea 1951

I’ll always remember that Thanksgiving Day in that beautiful, tropical harbor: battle-scarred ships nested together in a quiet anchorage, battle-weary crews giving thanks to God for their victory – and for their deliverance.

___ Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations

Article is from The Parade, 18 November 1956; Destroyer History.org

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Alcox – Middleburg Hts., OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 414 Fighter Grp/13th Jungle Air Force

Richard Betts – Woburn, MA; US Navy, WWII

The Lone Sailor

The Lone Sailor

Thomas Frosini – Finleyville, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 221st Medical/11th Airborne Division

Merle Hill – Waikato, NZ; WRNZS # 386, WWII

Ian Martin – Forest, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, pilot

Roy Shiosaki – Spokane, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 324th/44th Division

Robert Thompson – Argyle, WI; US Navy, WWII, squadron radioman

Martin Upmal – Montpelier, VT; US Army, Korea

William Van Dyke Sr. – Columbus, GA, US Army, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Sgt. Major (Ret.27 yrs), Silver Star, Bronze Star

John Keith Wells – No. TX; USMC, WWII, PTO, 28th Marines/5th Marine Div.; helped to raise 1st flag on Iwo Jima

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Surprise over Gusap

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The IHRA comes through for us with an eye-witness account of flying a mission over New Guinea.

IHRA

Today’s post comes from the diary of Capt. Albert L. Behrens, a pilot in the 822nd Bomb Squadron.

November 15, 1943

Strike! Wewak. About 85 B-25’s were to participate in this raid. We left at 8 AM to pick up fighter escort over Gusap and then to Wewak. I was flying #3 position in the last element. We arrived at Gusap and started circling at 9000 feet. I heard a terrific explosion in the navigation compartment and smelled odors of cordite and gasoline. I turned around and thru the smoke Pete came up holding his hands in front of him – he had been hit bad. Both wrists were cut to the bone and blood was gushing out. Norb called Brownie to come forward and then he got out of the co-pilot’s seat to give first aid to Pete. I now had fallen out of formation and with the gas…

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“The Big J” – USS New Jersey

Admiral Spruance’s 5th Fleet flagship has a remarkable history. Outstanding photographs!!

Deano In America

In my endless quest to see everything I have ever been interested in since I was a kid, I recently walked across the Ben Franklin Bridge over the Delaware River from Philadelphia, PA to Camden, NJ to see the mighty Iowa Class Battleship the USS New Jersey (BB-62) known as “The Big J“. She served from 1942 to 1991 and today this former US Navy Battleship continues on as a floating museum.

USS New Jersey (BB-62) Camden NJ USA USS New Jersey (BB-62)

You can take a very informative tour to get a great understanding of the sheer size and firepower of this giant Battleship. She has a displacement of 45,000 tonnes, is 887 feet / 270.54 metres in length, with a beam (width) of 108.2 feet /33.0 metres, a draft (ships hull below the water’s surface) of 28.9 feet / 8.8 m and a crew of 1,921 (this would have been much larger in World War Two).

USS New Jersey BB-62 The view from the Ben…

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November 1943 (2)

 

Red Beach Two - 105th Field Artillery landing

Red Beach Two – 105th Field Artillery landing

13-20 November – troops, ships and aircraft had amassed in Hawaii, Fiji Islands and New Hebrides for the Gilbert/Marshall operations.  This included more than 100,000 troops and 8 aircraft carriers of the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.  The first actions were under VAdm. Spruance, Commander of the Central Pacific Force.

15 November –  Thirty-one B-24s from the 90th BG took off on a strike against Wewak, New Guinea, but failed to meet escorting fighters. Instead, they bombed Alexishafen Airfield No. 1, with excellent results and 95% of bombs on target, causing two explosions, and fires started on Danip plantation. No enemy fighters were seen over the target.

Eighty-eight B-25’s from all four squadrons of the 345th BG and two squadrons of the 38th BG took off on a strike against Wewak and Boram. While waiting for escorting P-47s at the rendezvous point at Mount Yonkie, the B-25s were intercepted by fifteen Ki-43 Oscars that made 15 firing passes.

Troops on Red Beach One - a 193rd Tank Batt. light tank in background.

Troops on Red Beach One – a 193rd Tank Batt. light tank in background.

20-24 November – the US 27th Infantry Division Task Force, a National Guard unit out of New York, landed on Butaritari Island, south of Makin Island.  (This was coordinated with the USMC landing at Tarawa Atoll to be discussed in a following post.)  The Japanese did not defend the beach but remained inland.  The cost of capturing Makin in casualties among Army personnel was not great; 58 killed in action, 8 died of wounds, 150 wounded in action, and 35 injured, but not in combat.

 

Stringing wire on Main Island Road, Makin.

Stringing wire on Main Island Road, Makin.

Stringing wire on Main Island Road, Makin.

On the 24th, the US escort carrier Liscombe Bay was torpedoes and sunk by enemy sub I-175, under Lt.Cmdr. Sunao Tabata, in the waters off Makin Atoll.

22 November – Buka Airfield and Bonis Airfield were hit by forty plus B-24’s, thirty plus B-25’s, and thirty plus fighter aircraft of the 13th Air Force.  A few RNZAF Venturas attacked Green Island, causing heavy damage in the bivouac and supply area and sinking a barge.  A single B-25 bombed Ballale Airfield.

25 November – 5 US destroyers, under [then] Captain Arleigh Burke, intercepted 5 Japanese destroyers near Cape St. George off New Ireland.  The enemy was returning from a supply drop at Buka.  The Onami, Makinami and Yugiri were sunk and another was damaged.  The US ships came away clean and basically put an end to the “Tokyo Express.” [Capt. Burke’s story will follow in the next post.]

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23 November – the Sextant Meeting began at Mena House in Cairo, Egypt.  Churchill was upset that FDR had invited Chiang and stressed the he wanted the US to land in the balkans.  At this, Gen. Marshall exploded, “God forbid I should dictate, but not one soldier is going to die on that beach.”  And, FDR wanted the British to assist in Burma.

Tehran conference

Tehran conference

27 November – Churchill and FDR flew to Tehran, Iran for a separate meeting with Stalin.  The president avoided the Prime Minister on most of the issues and Stalin only sided with the statement concerning the insignificance of Chiang’s contributions to the war.  The 2 Western Leaders would return to Cairo to resume the talks into December.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political Humor of November 1943 – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin Adkins – Mackson, MI; US Army, Korea, C Company/ 187th RCT

Eric Brown – Leith, SCOT; RAF, WWII, ETO, Captain, pilot, D.S.C.ftd_S30-3179_lg

Miguel Encinias – Las Vegas, NM; US Arm Air Corps, WWII, ETO, POW/ Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Col. (Ret. 30 Yrs.)

Mitchell Higginbotham – Amherst, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee airman

Mervyn Jones – Pukekohe, NZ; RNZ Expeditionary Force # 62058, WWII, 21st Battalion

John Nester, Hunt’s Point, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 pilot, 9th Bombardment Group

Melvin Patterson – Batesville, AR; US Army, WWII

H.J. Ross – Tampa, FL; US navy, WWII

Vernon Saur – Paradise Hill, SK, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Peter Unwin – WaggaWagga, AUS; RA Navy # 1313337, Petty Officer

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Eye Witness Account – Bougainville

Steve Cibik

Steve Cibik

Lt. Steve Cibik, 21st Marines

“We were a veteran company with Guadalcanal behind us and we thought we knew the jungle.  But here on Bougainville we were battling a jungle such as we had never dreamed of.  For 19 days we struggled in miasmal swamps, fought vines that wrapped themselves bout our neck like whips, birds that dived at us like screaming Stukas, bats whose wings whirred like falling artillery shells, snakes, lizards and insects without name or number.  For 19 days we attacked this natural enemy with our machetes and knives, hacking our way through almost solid barricades of vegetation run riot.

Stuka

Stuka

“It rained daily from noon to dusk – fierce sounding tropical rains.  If we had been lucky to hit fairly dry ground, we slept in foxholes, 6 or 8 inches deep.  During the night, water seeped through the earth.  We invariably woke drenched.”

[On the 19th day in the jungle, Cibik’s company stumbled on a ridge that rose almost invisibly concealed in the dense undergrowth.  Crawling up vines for ladders, they came upon a Japanese observation position:]

200px-21st_Marines

“I walked the edge of the ridge and almost gasped.  What a view of Bougainville!  We were on a thumb of earth 500 feet high, an oasis in a sea of mist-covered jungle, the only high ground for miles around.  From here we could spot Japanese positions and direct our artillery fire; from here, we could drive down into the valley, engaging the enemy while our main forces fought their way across the river.  On the other hand, were the Japanese in control of the ridge, the tables would be turned.  This ridge could be the key to success or failure in this phase of the Battle of Bougainville.”

[With determination, Cibik and his 51-man patrol held the ridge against every enemy attempt to gain it.  They lived on K rations and with only 11 belts of machine-gun ammo and 3 hand grenades apiece, they fought off the Japanese until 23 November.  The rest of the troops got safely across the river and the company was relieved.

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Steve Cibik passed away in 2007, 87 years of age, a Colonel who went on to serve in the Korean War and Vietnam.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Aguayo – Gilbert, AZ; US Army, WWII

William Cox – Rockford, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Col. (Ret. 30 yrs.), D.F.C.

Alfred Drew – Manawatu, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 46992, WWII, 14th Squadron, Aircraftsman 1st Class0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Nick Farina – Utica, NY; US Army, Korea, 187th Regiment

Harold King – Low Head, AUS; RA Navy # 22975, WWII

F. David Labshere – Rutland, VT; US Army, Korea

Ross Mowry – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star

Wallace Spitt – Eau Claire, WI; US Navy, WWII, Korea, pilot, Lt.Commander

Dorothy Taylor – brn: Surrey, ENG/Red Deer, CAN; Royal Air Force, WWII, Barrage Balloon Operator

Wallace Wydra – PeEll, WA; US Navy, WWII, Korea

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Bloody Tuesday

 

Here are more thoughts on 2 November 1943.

IHRA

Weather, another constant foe of aircrews, once again put a damper on Fifth Air Force’s plans to attack Simpson Harbor on October 26, 1943 and then again on the 29th. Everyone was on edge. The Third Marine Division was slated to invade the beaches of Bougainville on November 1st, covered by a strike from the air. With the weather still not letting up, the Marines’ plan went on as scheduled without the strike. After days of waiting, the weather finally cleared up on November 2nd.

This raid would target the shipping in the harbor instead of Rabaul itself. 57 P-38s and 75 B-25s (covered by other P-38s) were sent out to take out the harbor’s shoreline defenses and drop “Kenney’s Cocktails” (phosphorus bombs) to hinder the enemy’s view of the attack, then hit all the shipping possible. There were hundreds of guns on the shore to protect the harbor. When…

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November 1943 (1)

troops ready to invade bouganville 1943

Troops ready for landing at Empress Augusta Bay, Bougainville.

1 November – RAdm. “Tip” Merrill brought 4 light cruisers and 8 destroyers to shell Buka and Bonin.  (See map).  They then sped around Bougainville to Shortland Island.  The Saratoga and Princeton hit airstrips in the north, while aircraft from as far away as Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, hit Buin.

1112-Map-of-Bougainville

The 3rd Marine Division of I Marine Amphibious Corps, under Lt. Gen. Vandergrift, landed smoothly at Cape Torokina on the west coast of Bougainville.  Most of the Japanese 60,000-strong garrison was concentrated on the south of the island.  Gen. Myakutake made the mistake of delaying an offensive and the Marines held off enemy patrols for weeks.  Operation Galvanic commenced.  The Japanese Combined Fleet of 10 ships, escorting over 1,000 troops, left Truk in response.

2 November – US Task Force 39 engaged in the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay against the Japanese Cruiser Div. 5 and 6 destroyers.  Adm. Omori was badly let down by his reconnaissance forces giving inaccurate intelligence.  At 0246 hours, the light cruiser Sendai was hit several times.  The destroyers Samidare and Shiratsuyu collided and were forced to retreat.

bougainville_marines_land

Marines hit the beach.

Adm. Merrill ordered a change in course, which is probably the reason why the Hatsukaze collided with a cruiser in an attempt to maneuver.  The Destroyer Div. 46 was scattered.  The Foote was hit by a torpedo intended for the cruisers.  The Spence was hit and the result lowered her speed.  By 0500, the US fleet was back together in time to repel the enemy 18 Vals and 80 Zeros.  A mixed force of 8 Hellcats, 1 Marine Corsair, 3 Army Lightnings and 4 RNZ Air Force Warhawks downed 8 enemy aircraft and the antiaircraft guns claimed 17.  The victory cost the Japanese 1 light cruiser and 1 destroyer, with damage to 2 heavy cruisers and 2 destroyers.  The US had damage to 5 vessels.

4-5 November – Adm. Halsey received word about the Japanese Combined Fleet responding and that they had stopped at Rabaul to re-fuel.  He ordered RAdm. Frederick Sherman to move his carriers of TF-38 to within range of the heavily fortified port and send out all 97 aircraft.  These were joined by aircraft from Barakoma and Vella Lavella and they were ordered to create as much damage as possible.

5-11 November – The dawn Naval air bombing was followed by 27 B-24 Liberators of the 5th Air Force and 58 P-38s.  The enemy’s Atago, Maya, Mogami, Takao, Chikuma and Agano received damage and crew deaths; 3 destroyers were slightly damaged.  RAdm. A. Montgomery’s TF-50.3 reached Halsey and joined in the 6-day attacks with the Bunker Hill, Essex and Independence.  The Agano was eventually sunk and the Japanese counterattack of 120 aircraft resulted in their loss of 35.  [other resources state: the Saratoga and Princeton were involved and that 2 Japanese warships were sunk, 11 others damaged and 55 enemy aircraft downed].

USMC tribute to the Seebees at Marine Hwy.

USMC tribute to the Seebees at Marine Hwy.

By the 15th of November, the troops on Bougainville reached 34,000, but advancement into the jungle was slow.  For the moment, the main objective was protecting the Seabees as they created an airfield out of the swamp at Torokina for air defense of this island and future operations.

Click on images to enlarge,

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Damon Alberty – Rockingham County, NC; US Army, WWII, POW, Bataan Death March survivor

William Bird – George, UT; US Army, WWII, PTOMay they soar w/ their fellow pilots forever....

Geoffrey Fenwick – Alberta, CAN; British Army, WWII, Africa

Philip Garippa – Hornell, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Murray Hale – Forest Lake, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne

George Levasseur – Sydney, AUS; RA Army (19 years), WWII

Pete Matteucci – brn: Lucca, Italy, Wichita, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 830th Bomb. Squadron

Leonard Orrell Jr. – Montezuma, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Donald Renehan – W.Lebabob, NH; US Army, WWII, ETO, 112th Antiaircraft Battery

Selmar Woldstad – Shelby, MT; US Army, WWII

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The Harrowing Job of Mapping Bougainville

Before the Marines would land on Bougainville, the mapping of the island needed to be accomplished.  The B-17, “Old 666” was assigned the mission – one that proved far more dangerous than first expected….

Short video.

 

Contributed by The Old Mainer.

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Presidents Day – Back in the Day – can be seen HERE!  washington

Have a great celebration!!

Click on images to enlarge.

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 Canadian National Flag Day – Animated-gif-Canada-flag-waving-on-pole-in-front-of-water-picture-moving

The Royal Union Flag, which is also the flag of the United Kingdom, was used as the official flag of Canada until 1965. Various designs of the Canadian Red Ensign were used between 1868 and 1965 but Canada’s Parliament never officially adopted them. The National Flag of Canada’s current design results from a period of discussion, debate and political maneuvering in the early 1960s.

George F.G. Stanley designed the current flag, which is inspired by the Royal Military College of Canada’s flag. The multi-party parliamentary committee formed to select a new flag unanimously chose the design on October 29, 1964. The House of Commons passed the design on December 15, 1964. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed the new flag on January 28, 1965, and it was inaugurated on February 15 in the same year.

Celebrate!!!

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Military Humor – us-navy-navy-air-force-military-demotivational-poster-1266120498

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gerald Bliss – Great Falls, MT; US Air Force, Vietnam, P-61 Black Widow pilot, Bronze Star

Ann Caracristi – Bronxville, NY; US Gov’t cryptologist, WWII, Japanese codebook, NSA Chief

Donal Douglas – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWIItribute

Agapito Gonzales – Sante Fe, NM; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Mary King – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Don Lovetinsky – W.Liberty, IA; US Army WWII, ETO

Stuart Moore – Hot Springs, AR; US Army, WWII

Sylvia Schachne – brn: Notts, ENG/Tom’s River, NJ; British Women’s Land Army, WWII

Edward Swiski – Halboro, PA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Colin Thomson – Hawkes Bay; RNZ Army # 205205, Hawkes Bay Regiment/22nd Battalion

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PT Crewmen of Ron 27 in the Treasury Islands

… and the PT boats were on the scene too.
The post that follows this on, “Hatches – the PT 373 Mascot”, is also a good one!

PT Boat Red

Three sailors of PT 373 hold the flag of Squadron (Ron) 27 at a location in the Treasury Islands, probably in 1943.  The names of the crewmen are:  A.J. Cotten, L.H. France, and W. Matherly.  The photo was taken by Cookee Swanson.

An invasion of the Treasury Islands (part of the Solomon Islands) took place in the late fall of 1943.  The lead role in the invasion was taken by New Zealand troops.  American PTs played a supporting role in the action.

This photo was included in a print edition of the PT publication “All Hands” which was graciously sent to me by fellow splinter, Mike Nixon, whose father served with my father on PT 373 later in the war.

Whenever I come across a reference to PT 373, I carefully study the faces of the sailors, wondering if any of them crossed paths with Red Stahley or perhaps served…

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CBI News

roundup

VOL. II        NO. 7        REG NO. L5015        DELHI,  FRIDAY                                             OCTOBER  29,  1943.

 

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MONUMENT TO FOLLY – This lone airplane wing represents a monument to the folly of Japanese aerial raiders who braved the wrath of U.S. P-38’s and P-40’s in a recent raid on a 14th Air Force airbase.  Forlornly it points to the China sky from which it and 16 other Nip planes, 15 of them bombers, were shot down in the battle.  Seven other bombers and two more fighters were probably destroyed.  All American planes and crew members returned safely.

14th Hits Indo-China; Gives Aerial Support To Chinese Infantry
HEADQUARTERS 14TH USAAF – Continued bombing of Japanese installations at Cobi, in French Indo-China and on the Salween front have been the missions of the 14th Air Force, according to the only communiqué issued from 14th Headquarters this week. Although some anti-aircraft fire was encountered, all of the planes returned safely to their base.    On Oct. 24, Liberators, with fighter escort, attacked Jap installations and barracks at Cobi. Twenty-five tons of bombs were dropped with successful results.    On another flight, B-24’s carried out a successful mission in support of the Chinese troops on the Salween Front when they dropped many bombs on Japanese installations at Htawgaw.
10TH AF HOLDS MERRY PACE GIVING JAPS HELL IN BURMA
Jap installations in Burma got another healthy going-over this week as bombers and fighters of the 10th Air Force continued to work out steadily on airfields, supply centers and communications. Results of virtually all missions were judged excellent, and operations for the entire seven days cost only one plane.    The Myitkyina area took the worst beating, good weather helping the boys to blast away at the runways, dispersal areas and railway centers. The enemy put up little opposition except after one mission at Heho, on Oct. 18, when a Liberator group sparred with seven Zeros for forty minutes, knocking off one definitely, probably disposing of another and damaging several more.    Mitchells started off the week by pounding away at the Myitkyina landing ground with excellent results. All of the bombs were in the target area and at least a third of the runway was destroyed.

 

by: Bob Bryant, INP photographer

by: Bob Bryant, INP photographer

INVOLUNTARY  CAMERA  HERO  GETS  GREAT  SHOT  OF  RAID         This photo by Bob Bryant, INP photographer in China, shows what you see from a worm’s-eye position when you’re caught in the middle of an airfield during a bombing raid. The Japanese radio, after the raid, claimed that the field had been “rendered unusable for weeks to come” and many of our planes had been destroyed on the ground. This picture gives them the lie. The arrows point to Jap bomb bursts, plainly well off the airfield, and inside the circle are the leaping flames from the only U.S. plane hit. For full details of how this remarkable photograph was taken, we print below the letter to the Roundup which accompanied the picture.
By BOB BRYANT   INP Photographer
CHINA AIR BASE – Well, finally, here is a bombing pix out of China.    After chasing from airbase to airbase trying to catch some action films the Japs came to me back here at headquarters – and damn near literally dumped it into my lap.    The Army was talking about putting me before a medical board for a Section Eight when they found I was strolling down the runway when the bombs fell. For your information, China hasn’t got me quite that bad, mentally, yet. My being there by my lonesome then was just the result of taking somebody’s word that the ching pao was over.    I left my tin hat and hillside position to go down to the field to get pix of our fighters landing, after “that somebody” said they were on the way in, and I got to the center of the field just as a second wave of Jap bombers struck. Thanks to the way our fighters jumped the bombers, it worked out fine – but that’s sure the worst feeling I ever had. To hear the droning of approaching planes and then suddenly recognize that it’s that peculiar, throbbing drone of Jap engines and not ours, when you’re in the center of the runway of a flat, level airfield. Even the closest ditch 300 yards away and nothing but parked airplanes – their target – to hide behind.    I did some fancy running for about 60 seconds, until the first bomb burst and then hit the ground, stretching out on my belly, hiding behind blades of grass 30 feet from the runway strip. Col. Eugene Beebe, commanding the American bombers here, says it was a good thing it wasn’t his boys up there bombing or there wouldn’t have been enough left of the camera and negatives for anyone to ever gather anything up to develop – to say nothing of me. Anyway, I got the picture.    The payoff was that after the last stick of bombs hit and I was running again in case they made a second and more accurate run, a burst of more slugs from the fight above the clouds came pecking down into the ground 100 feet away. That would have done it – missed by the Jap bombs and then hit my the machine gun slugs of your own fighters.    Everybody rubs me on the head for luck around here now. Several weeks ago I started to go on two different bombing missions with the B-25’s. Both times, after I was assigned to a ship and ready to go, something happened to make me stay behind. On the first mission, the plane I would have been riding in was shot down over Hankow. On the second trip, the plane I would have been in was hit and blew up over the target.    This hunk of war out here is beginning to get awfully personal. Bob.

FIRST  MASS  HELD  ON  LEDO  ROAD

PICTURE AND STORY BY PFC. JIMMY McCoy

r1204.jpgPicture & story by Pfc. Jimmy McCoy
Coincidental with the recent announcement of the “Ledo Road” project, is this picture of the first Catholic Sunday Mass ever held out in the mountains, along the torturous, winding highway, Oct. 10.    Men from several units of this jungle neighborhood gathered to hear Father Edmund Fleming, Army Chaplain, of Worcester, Mass., say a late afternoon mass, as the lengthening shadows indicate.    Eddie Pepper, of Cleveland, Ohio, played a portable field organ which was loaned for the occasion by a Protestant Chaplain “down the road.” Jimmy McCoy, also of Cleveland, served the priest at mass.    Heretofore, out in the hills, the only Catholic services were those held, twice a month, on weekdays, on visits from Father Louis J. Meyer, of Philadelphia, who would travel out along the road as far as weather and conditions would permit.

This has been condensed from the actual CBI Roundup, the entire issue can be read HERE.

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CBI Roundup Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Irwin Allred – Salt Lake City, UT; USMC, WWII, CBI & Korea

Bernard Berg – Bronx, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., Purple Heart260637844_god_bless_them_all_xlarge

Thomas Crabtree – Calumet, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Lt. (Ret.)

David Jesser – Albuquerque, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

George Levasseur – Sydney, AUS; RA Army 19 years, WWII

Alfred Mendenhall – Aurora, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th/11th Airborne

James Miller Jr. – Bayonne, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, pilot/Korea, Colonel

Stephanie Rader – Poughkeepsie, NY; US Army WAC, WWII, OSS field agent, ETO

Ira Weinstein – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 445th Bomb Group, B-24 bombardier, POW

Ernest Yazhe – Naschitti, NM; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

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