January 1944 (1)

The New Year in the Pacific started off with a bang! Literally.

New Britain

New Britain

1 January – US aircraft from the USS Monterey and Bunker Hill attacked Kavieng, New Ireland and destroyed 7 enemy planes.  RAdm. Sherman’s carrier task force bombed a Japanese convoy of transports and several cruisers in those waters.  Fifteen B-24 bombers escorted by 68 fighters hit Rabaul, New Britain.

After a strike on Rabaul.

After a strike on Rabaul.

In other areas, the USS Finback sank and enemy tanker in the East China Sea, hitting her with 5 of the 6 torpedoes fired.  The USS Puffer sank the freighter  Ryuyo Maru and damaged another ship south of the Philippine islands.  The USS Ray sank the converted gunboat IJN Okuyo Maru in the mouth of Ambon Bay, Java.

until-the-arrival-of-dedicated-units-like-the-us-army-air-corps-burma-bridge-busters-low-level-attacks-on-japanese-supply-lines-were-carried-out-by-royal- (800x600)

The 10th Air Force in Burma attacked a bridge on the Mu River.  Major Robert Erdin, in the lead B-25, pulled up to avoid a tree; as he did, he released his bombs and toppled 2 spans of the bridge.  Further testing of this method proved successful.  The 490th Bombardment Sq. became so proficient at it, they became known as the “Burma Bridge Busters.”

snooper02

The 13th Air Force, 868th Bombardment Sq. was activated to work directly under the XIII Bomber Command.  Their B-24’s were equipped with radar for night missions and would become known as the “Snooper Squadron.”

The 5th Air Force, with 120 aircraft (B-24’s, B-25’s and A-20’s) pounded the Saidor area on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, in preparation for an Allied invasion the following day.  The eventual objective was Hollandia, once the Dutch capital was now the Japanese center for shipments in the southwest Pacific.  Other B-25’s bombed Madang and Alexishafen.  Troop concentrations in the Cape Gloucester area were hit as well as positions at Borgen Bay.  P-39’s strafed enemy barges along New Britain’s coast.

The 7th Air Force used their P-39’s to strafe the harbor of Mille Atoll and attack the shipping north of the islands.  Two small vessels were heavily damaged.

Saidor, New Guinea

Saidor, New Guinea

2 January – Operation Dexterity was launched by the US 126th Regiment/32nd Division, who made a large scale-scale landing at Saidor, Papua New Guinea.  Although this was a harbor, with a nearby airstrip, it was poorly defended and the landing was covered by the guns of the 7th Fleet, making this an easy objective.

saidor3 (640x356)

This action put the enemy roughly midway between the west and east Allied advances and would sever the Japanese rearguard of the 20th and 52st divisions from the main enemy base at Madang, (about 55 mile [88 km] away).  Approximately 20,000 troops of the Japanese 18th Army escaped the trap of being caught between the Australians and Americans and were forced into the jungle interior of Huon Peninsula.

0da18e08574f7ddd47772f1c82a94d1b

When Saidor was taken, Gen. Hatazo Adachi decided to go to Sio to supervise operations personally.  His submarine was hit by one of the PT boats now patrolling the waters, but he managed to make it back to shore.  He ordered all troops to converge on Madang on foot while he waited for another submarine.

Gen. MacArthur would one day remark on the terrain of New Guinea as an enemy, “Few areas of the world present so formidable an obstacle to military operation.”

Click on images to enlarge.

###################################################################################

Military Humor – SNAFU

 

###################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Bruckner – Broad Channel, NY; US Air Force, Korea

David Bauders – Seattle, WA; US Army, Iraq, 176th Engineers, 1st Lt.228685_214560631902034_100000442955388_742352_2701778_n

Glenn Covert – Manteno, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Frederick Gervig – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII

Henry Luers – NJ; US Army, WWII, Vietnam, pilot (Ret.)

Francis McGrath – Winchester, MA; US Navy, WWII

John Panasik – Allentown, PA; US Air Force, 1st Lt.

George Spear Jr. – Stamford, CT; US Navy, WWII

Stan Tomkins – Ottawa, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Ian Wilson – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, Lt., pilot

############################################################################

 

Advertisements

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 June 9, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. Fascinating reading GP, malaria got so many. Glad your Dad had it easier than some but horrible disease in any event. Interesting to read about New Britain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You deserve an award for documenting this history and the amazing photos on your posts! And all the people I know you support … you have a very good heart and I’m glad we’ve met.

    Like

  3. In FAREWELL SALUTES I see “Henry Luers – NJ; US Army, WWII, Vietnam, pilot (Ret.)” That sounds like a story!

    Like

    • It sure does, but I’m afraid Vietnam and following wars hits too close to home for me to do the research. My father came home from WWII, which is probably why I became so interested. It makes me very glad to know that you read the Farewell Salutes. Thank you, Penny.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Did I tell you yesterday? I decided to try and research Mr. Luers anyway, but couldn’t learn very much. I can only suspect that the relatives were not up for sharing the information.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Unknown terrain must always have been one of the worst of enemies

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pacific and the Orient were all basically new territory for the Americans to fight in. It was great that my father entered the war and the 11th A/B. They not only received extensive training, but some ‘jungle’ training that he called guerrilla warfare.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is unbelievable that Papua New Guinea and its islands, suffered such horrific onslaughts during the war years, it must be one of the most fought over pieces of land that the war inflicted on a country.
    Excellent post gp.

    Like

  6. Wünsche dir lieber Freund ein schönes Weekend lieber Gruß Gislinde

    Like

  7. What a way to start of a new year and what a great cartoon. Reminded me of those we used to see at the movies on a Sunday afternoon.

    Like

  8. Good post GP. The cartoon was great and could hear Mel Blanc as SNAFU

    Like

  9. Great empathy on the cartoon, G. Having spent as much time as I have out in the backcountry of California, Alaska and other areas, where taking a bath involves disrobing and exposing yourself to nature. I know exactly what it means to become a target of mosquitos. It is like you are this large blinking neon sign that says come one, come all… there is plenty of blood for everyone. And boy do they come. There is nothing like 50 of them flying around you, all looking for a place to land. It’s called taking a bath in under a minute 🙂 –Curt

    Like

  10. Thank you, that was really interesting. I liked the photograph of the soldiers walking ashore from what looks like the bow doors of a giant’s ship!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I liked the cartoon. My dad had malaria and about 20 years later, he had what was described as a relapse. It was awful to watch. To this day, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone that sick.

    Like

  12. Phew! So much going on already, and it’s only January.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

    • You’re telling me – you should see just how much I filter out to keep these posts at a decent size. The ETO seems so small compared to the info I go through (and how much yet unlearned) !!

      Like

  13. Love the cartoon. And, love your posts. -Jennie-

    Like

  14. I too found it interesting about the bridge busters and how it came about. Excellent article, Everett!

    Like

  15. What a video! We were creative back then, weren’t we. I can’t believe I watched the entire thing!

    Like

    • You’re right, Jacqui. People don’t seem to have any imagination these days. I think because they have tv, computers, phones, etc all telling them what to like and what to watch…..

      Like

  16. The Bridge busting episode sounds like opportunity derived from improvisation, as is often the case.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Interesting article. I listened to an audio book “Return to Shangri-La” about a WWII plane crash in New Guinea, C-47, and Gen’l MacArthur wasn’t kidding, what an incredibly challenging jungle terrain.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Interesting about the bridge busters and how it started.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: