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 – 

funny-pictures-mariens-on-the-beach

military-humor-famous-last-words-hook-down-carrier

 

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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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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 18, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Famous Last Words…”Hook? What Hook?” On your page? Just curious – what’s the check list you mention? (no result in a search.)

    Like

  2. Found IHRA courtesy of you; another good page. This prelude to the carnage at Tarawa, (my post Bloody Resolve) where bad judgment cost many lives… as noted by another commenter, a chess game indeed.

    Like

  3. The coordination efforts in this one were fantastic, even if some were flawed. I really like the emphasis on helping the Seebees get their job done, an often overlooked group of soldiers without whom, many battles would have been lost.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi GP! Huge apologies for using the comment section to ask you an unrelated question! I wondered if by any chance you know of anyone (or relatives, info., etc.) that sailed aboard the Queen Mary when she was refitted as a troop ship during WWII. If you could possibly help point me in that direction, I’d be truly grateful! Thank you, GP! Cher xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Intersting post of a long battle on the ocean.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wünsche dir ein glückliches schönes wee-kend lieber Gruß Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  7. November 2, 1943…big day for Fifth Air Force. “Bloody Tuesday.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post. The long slow battle of the Pacific was an amazing chess game which was won by the boldest players.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. As always, the extent of operations over such a short period of time leaves me almost breathless after reading. So many men involved, so far away. It’s such a logistical nightmare, I really do wonder how they managed it.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Growing up, I used to wonder why they had so many generals, admirals, etc. – one step into researching the Pacific and I learned real quick!! It certainly does seem impossible.
      Have a great day, GP.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s always so hard to try to think “in that time” when we live in a world of GPS and satellite imagery. They didn’t have any of that. The intelligence they had was so precious and they had to make pretty significant judgement calls.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. What a interesting story and having to hold them off for weeks. Such bravery. Also loved the Military Humor especially the beach 🙂 Excellent post, Everett!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Famous Last Words…”Hook? What Hook?” made me laugh out loud. I’ve had many instances like that in day-to-day life…fortunately none ever that critical!

    Liked by 1 person

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