October 1943 (1)

Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, 5 Oct. 1943

Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, 5 Oct. 1943

2-4 October – on New Guinea, the Australians took control of Finschhafaen and the Allied troops were consolidated on the Huon Peninsula.  The Australians then reached Dumpu, only 30 miles (48 KM) from the northern coast.  This confined the enemy along that coastline.

4 October – the isolated Japanese post on Wake Island came under heavy naval and aerial bombardment from the US Navy Task Force 14, commanded by RAdm. Alfred Montgomery.  The B-24 Liberators dropped more than 320 tons (325 tonnes) of bombs.  Approximately 30 Japanese planes were destroyed on the ground and 31 counted downed by aerial combat.  The US lost 13.

solmap

4-6 October – the final Japanese forces were evacuated from New Georgia.  This left the enemy with no air base in the Solomons.  The final air battles cost the enemy 27 more aircraft.  The total cost for Vila airfield area: the US had 5,000 casualties, including 1,094 KIA and Japan had 2,500 KIA.  (expensive piece of property).

6 October – In Burma, Gen. Sir William Slim became the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Eastern Command and also led over the newly formed 14th Army.

12 October – at Rabaul, the crucial Japanese air and naval base was hit by a massive attack of 349 US bombers.  In all, a total of 20,540 tons (20,913 tonnes) were dropped on the heavily fortified post by the Allied strike.

 

1-22 October – final plans were made for Operation Galvanic landing on Bougainville for the next ‘hop’ through the Solomons (Operation Goodtime) meant orders for the Marines of US Task Force 311.  Aerial bombings of the island continued and the air base was severely damaged on the 18th.  The Japanese lost 123 aircraft during another air raid near Rabaul on the 22nd.

Bougainville, a 150 mile-long fiddle-shaped island is the largest of the Solomons.  It has jungle-covered mountains, 2 of which are volcanoes, and only narrow beaches to land on.  Adm. Halsey picked the code “Cherryblossom” for the 3rd Marines operation.  The 37th US Army Division to follow 1 November.  This force would be up against the 6th Imperial Division; 35,000 of the terrorists of Nanking.

Gen. Vandergrift

Gen. Vandergrift

The commander of the 3rd Marines mysteriously fell from his 3rd story window at his headquarters in Noumea.  Gen. Vandergrift was chosen to lead the men in for the initial landing.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

6a00d8341bfadb53ef00e54f2c2fcf8834-640wi

getting-to-know-your-fauna-1.pngYou've got to align your sights, private!!

You’ve got to align your sights, Private!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pierre Bouvet – Mauritius; South African Air Force, WWII, 31st Bomber Squadron

Daniel Elloitt – Youngsville, NC; US Army, Iraq, MP command, KIA

Marcel Gagnon – San Leandro, CA; US Army, WWII, Bronze Starsalutetop

Jean-Paul Dubreuil – Port Coquitlam, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Korea, Major (Ret. 22 yrs.)

Howard Guthrie, Jr. – Vero Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 58th Bomber Sq., radar

Alfred Hargreaves – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Navy # 9315, WWII

Wallace McTammany – Providence, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Peregory – Esmont, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 29th Division, Sgt.

Roy Rossiter – Abilene, TX; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Janet Sommerville – Payson, AZ; US State Dept. & French Underground, WWII

Gerald Walter – Owosso, MI; US Army, WWII, POW

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

  1. Had no idea the commander of the 3rd Marines met such a death! The Colonel (Fix Bayonets) wrote an excellent piece on Vandergrift.

    If only the young, entitled generation of today can spend just one week in those jungles or fly in combat, our nation would be much stronger and unified, I think. I wonder what your dad or Curt’s father-in-law would feel today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do know how Dad felt about Nam – he was worried about each and every one! He said it would be comparable to the Philippines, where you never knew who your friends were.
      Rumor had it that the Col. was going to be given bad news about his career and rather than face it…..

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  2. Fascinating as always! And forgive me in advance but I can’t help thinking you could also title that second military humor photo ‘Capuchin Windage.’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is an interesting article about the mysterious death of General Charles Barrett in Naval History Magazine, entitled “Halsey Knows the Straight Story.”

    While the contemporary court of inquiry officially ruled Barrett’s death as accidental, it was strangely incurious about the details of the event and its proceedings remained confidential and immune from review for years. A 1996 memoir entitled “No Bended Knee,” by General Merrill Twining, and two previously unknown letters written by General Alexander Vandegrift and separately by Brigadier General David Brewster two days after Barrett’s death, contend that Barrett committed suicide after Halsey informed him that he was being relieved from command of IMAC and being replaced by Halsey’s old friend, Vandegrift.

    According to Brewster’s letter, sometime after learning of his relief, a distraught Barrett drew up a chair to the window, stepped from the chair to the windowsill while grasping the sides of the window frame high up, and threw himself to the street, some 25 feet below. This reconstruction, about which Vandegrift and Brewster essentially agreed, was possible from footprints on the chair and windowsill and fingerprints on the window frame.

    Only those present that night knew these details, but many must have been parties to the conspiracy of silence that ensued. The silence served partly to ease the family’s pain and preserve Barrett’s good name. More critically, though, the silence prevented Halsey from being branded as having hounded a Marine general to his death. Halsey already had an irascible reputation, and had the facts came to light, they could have poisoned his relations with Nimitz, who would later ostracize Holland Smith for relieving an Army general on Saipan.

    http://www.usni.org/magazines/navalhistory/2008-08/halsey-knows-straight-story

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that insight, John. I had no idea an article had been written about it – we learn something new everyday! Although, I do find it hard to believe Halsey could drive a Marine officer to suicide, unless he was unstable somewhat to begin with. Halsey’s reputation did get a smear later – when he left the landing army at Leyte and fell for a Japanese ruse. Thank you for contributing!

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  4. Time after time, reading war material, I come across the factor of experience. Battle-hardened means exactly what it says.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is always so much I learn about war history from your posts! It’s mind-boggling to know so many men lost their lives in service! Wish my family had kept a journal of their thoughts and ways to cope during WWII. It would have been a sobering read. Thank you for providing story after story! Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 20,000 tons of bombs. It staggers the mind and speaks to the incredible war output of America. There is an interesting site in Nevada in the small town of Hawthorne where there are hundreds of acres of bunkers where they stored munitions during WW II so the Japanese couldn’t reach it easily. Today, they are destroying the old munitions. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I wonder, based on a mile for mile comparison, what the military casualty figures are comparing the ETO with the Pacific theatre. For such a small area, there were huge casualties, partly due I guess, to the close quarters combat and determination of the Japanese.

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    • Remember, they were 2 opposite wars. Units couldn’t assist another as they did in Europe too. It was difficult to get tanks into the jungles, etc. Quite a few differences. There are many sites that list the casualties, but none with that info. (Of course, I could be wrong!) It would be difficult to accumulate the square mileage of every island!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That would certainly be a problem and I doubt there are any realistically accurate figures about. But there does seem this divide (sadly) between the two and I’ve always wondered which suffered the most. Of course your right in that they are totally different and a comparison would be unequal. Not wanting to dehumanise it, but the severe suffering in the Pacific was very different to the suffering in Europe. A shocking war indeed.

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  8. What a story and I too was picturing the skies as they landed. So many lives lost, Everett! I learn so much from your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fare the well and R.I.P. fellow-serviceman Pierre…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. we are still pulling our boy out of the ground on all these islands. Did you know that on each of these islands there is a monument to the men that fought and died on it? all of them are now falling into ruin. The Japanese also have monuments on these island for their men and they are kept in immaculate condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We. as Americans, feel a sense of entitlement to freedom because we have only known this way. We don’t realize the tragic loss of life that has handed us this special gift. Stories like yours need to be read on a regular basis to remind us how precious our way of life is and the sacrifices our armed forces continue to make to keep it this way.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. This war had to be fought, and we all know who the guilty parties were, but what a cost in young lives. Probably more than 3,594 just for the Vila airfield area. And what a financial cost, to a nation who has been finding out the hard way what dustbowls and depression are. Where would we be without war?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks for the heads-up and Farewell Salute on Pierre Bouvet (Mauritian in SAAF). I did not know the chap or family. I will try to get the obituary and put it up on my website.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 349 bombers in one attack. Hard to imagine that now, how the skies would have looked.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The cost in lives of taking that airfield is staggering to read in the 21st century. More than 3,500 killed on both sides, and the wounded too. And that in one small part of a global war that was killing millions. Sobering stuff indeed, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I was lucky to come upon this gentleman’s obituary, but it is a shame I didn’t know about him when he was alive.

    Like

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