December 1943 (2)

Cape Gloucester

Cape Gloucester

15-31 December – the US Army’s 112th Cavalry tried to surprise the enemy at Arawe, south-central New Britain in rubber boats, but the flimsy vessels were shot to pieces.  The main force did get ashore by conventional means, however.  After suffering numerous air raids, they repulsed a Japanese counterattack.  This landing was intended as a diversion for the following attack.

At Cape Gloucester, on the north side of New Britain, the 1st Marine Division, with the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment, under Gen. William Rubertus, found the same situation of mud, swamp and unbroken jungle as the 112th did, making advance to Rabaul impossible.  In retaliation, the Japanese sank the destroyer, USS Brownson and damaged 3 other vessels including a landing boat.

Cape Gloucester airdrome during pre-invasion bombing

Cape Gloucester airdrome during pre-invasion bombing

The main operation for this began 26 December with a naval barrage from both the US Navy and RAN warships.  This was followed by air attacks from the US Army Air Corps and RAAF aircraft, who also created a smoke screen for the ground troops.  The enemy they faced were the Japanese 17th Div. under MGen. Matsuda, augmented by the “Matsuda Force” consisting of the 65th Infantry Brigade and elements of the 51st Div.  (The remainder of the 51st were on New Guinea.).

soldiers moving sacks in the Ramu Valley, New Guinea, 1943

soldiers moving sacks in the Ramu Valley, New Guinea, 1943

On New Guinea, the Australian 7th Div., under Gen. Vassey, were ahead of schedule going through the Ramu Valley on the south side of the Finschhafen Mt. Range.  They took the 6,000-foot pass nicknamed “Shaggy Peak” on the 26th.  The 6th Army received orders to take Saidor, thereby cutting off the Japanese retreat.

Australian troops (center of pix) scale 'Shaggy Peak"

Australian troops (center of pix) scale ‘Shaggy Peak”

During December, Britain’s XV Corps were building up their forces to face the Japanese 15th Army on Burma, as they planned an offensive operation into eatern India.  The enemy increased their bombing of Indian Allied air bases and coastal positions.  Calcutta was hit, killing 350 people.  The airfield at Tinsukia alone was hit by 70 Japanese aircraft.

Troops of the Japanese 15th Army in Burma

Troops of the Japanese 15th Army in Burma

Air Chief Marshall, Sir Richard Peirse, became the overall commander of the Allied air unites, including the USAAF, within the South East Asia Command (SEAC).  The RAF 3rd Tactical Air Force was formed; and the SEAC’s name was changed to the Eastern Air Command.

Gen. Stilwell took command of all the Chinese troops operating in the India/Burma area on the 15th.  On the 24th, this force pushed forward into the Hukawng Valley in an offensive operation aimed for Myitkyina and the vital airfield situated nearby.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

Naval Base Guam – treatment chamber for decompression sickness is good to go!  Divers, read HERE!

Eielson AFB – airmen build an ice bridge in Alaska.  Read HERE!

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Envelope Art during Christmas – 

envelope art

envelope art

1942_0159

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ken Adam – brn: Berlin, GER, London, ENG; RAF, WWII,pilot

Charles Brady – Lake Park, FL; US Navy, Koreadogtagslg

Robert Dyson – Stubenville, OH; US Army, WWII, ETO, 11th Armored Division

Walter Edwards – Deland, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Fallriver/Korea, USS Newport News

Martin T. Feeney – Broad Channel, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Albert Friedman – Spokane, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Victor Giusti – Memphis, TN; US Navy, WWII, Norden Bombsight

Robert Hoasley – York, UK; RAF, WWII, ETO, 617th Squadron, gunner & radioman

Robert Prout – Barrington, RI; US Army, WWII

Elwin Schott – Plantation, FL; 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 March 28, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Excellent article! What a climb that was.

    Like

  2. Stories to forget never.

    Like

  3. tilakbhattacharyathewritingcontinuous

    War/conflicts brings suffering to both sides.. I have also put one story on civilian’s riot on my blog,please check you might like it.. “India vs Bangladesh”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GP. Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. Somehow I haven’t been getting notifications and I thought you were having a holiday. As a major coincidence I just wrote a story that included a reference to Major General Alan Vasey http://wp.me/p6LpSr-a2 but more about his wife. Unfortunately Vasey died in a plane crash near the end of the war. but his wife went on to establish the War Widows Guild. I wove it into a fictional story but the facts are all true.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went to your site and noticed my lack of interaction as well, so I re-clicked the Follow button. These things do happen around Blogsville. The story is very good, John. Thank you for the link.

      Like

  5. Have read a few story’s on the Australian soldiers and Shaggy Peak, was a monumental effort .
    Great post as usual gp, you bring the story’s to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like envelop arts. They are so cool. Unfortunately, the snail mail could be come of the old past.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful post as always, and tribute to the lost! Thank you Brad.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Shaggy peak looks a great place for a war. And I bet it wasn’t terrain unique in New Guinea either!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The troops sure thought it was unique, John! Although New Guinea has a central chain of continuous mountains and many un-surveyed to date, this peak was unusual for the men to be on.

      Like

  9. That’s a hell of a way to take a hill, by going straight up a cliff. Dangerous in so many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The farewell salutes always make me feel a little sad. I was reading about Ken Adam. What an amazing life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes me sad to collect the Farewell Salutes too, so I understand. That generation is leaving us too quickly! When I read up on Adams, I was amazed at his imagination and creativity! Thanks for stopping in, Chris.

      Like

  11. Wünsche dir einen schönen Ostermontag und gute Woche eine Umarmung Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As you say, it’s often considered “inconsequential” by historians. My father was slogging his way through that mess. I appreciate learning more about these battles.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It seems like the fighting intensified, as the year drew to its close. 1943 was a tough year indeed, both in the Pacific, and all over Europe.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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