February 1944 (1)

93rd SeaBees on Nissan Island

93rd SeaBees on Nissan Island

1 February – Operation CATCHPOLE (operations against Eniwetok and Ujelang Atolls in the Marshall Islands) is begun to occupy and defend Eniwetok Atoll.  This will furnish a striking base for operations against the Marianas. During the operation, the 7th Air Force aircraft operating from newly acquired bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands neutralized airfields in the Marianas and continued to pound by-passed airfields in the Marshalls.

1-4 February in an effort to reinforce Nissan Island, in the Green Islands, enemy submarines I-185 and I-169 left Rabaul carrying troops.  Due to heavy seas, only 77 soldiers made it to shore and the boats returned to their base with the remainder of the reinforcements.

USMC-II-32 (473x640)

1-8 February – In the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll would cost 372 American casualties and the islands of Roi-Namaur totaled 737.  After 8 days of battles, the Japanese had 11, 612 casualties.

4-25 February – in Burma, the Japanese 55th Div., led by Gen. Hanaya Tadashi, counterattacked the British XV Corps, under LtGen. Christison, in Operation Ha-Go.  By going around the east flank on the 6th, they overran the 7th Indian Div. HQ.  Gen. Slim brought up the 26th Indian Div. and moved the British 36th Div. into support.  The West African 81st was in the Kaladan Valley parallel.

Gen. Wingate 3,000 re-formed and re-trained Long Range Penetration Unit – Chindits – crossed the northern Burma border.  The 7th Indian Div. encircled by the enemy received air drops of food and ammo and continued to fight the Japanese, who were dependent upon the whatever supplies arrived by land route.  By the 24th, the Allied troops finally dislodged from Ngakyedauk Pass.  The Japanese and one element of the 5th Div. were now cut off from the other two.

10 February – the US Marines landed on Arno Atoll.   USMC P-40s and Navy fighters made a dive-bomb attack on Vunakanau Airfield, B-25’s made a follow-up bombing.  P-39’s hit the buildings at Bonis and barges at Matchin Bay and near Green Island.

12 February – the Australian 8th Brigade on New Guinea met up with the US troops at Saidor.  At this point, only 60 miles of coastline in northern Huon Peninsula remained in Japanese control.

New Zealand troops on Nissan Island

New Zealand troops on Nissan Island

15 February – Operation Squarepeg began when the ships of the 3rd Amphibious Force put the 3rd New Zealand Infantry Division on Nissan and smaller islands in the Green Island sector.  Five NZ soldiers were KIA on Sirot Island.  This put them half-way between Bougainville and New Ireland, making it strategically possible to by-pass some enormous enemy garrisons.  Plans for the Philippines could now proceed without the previously expected loss of life.

SeaBees and equipment come ashore on Nissan Island.

SeaBees and equipment come ashore on Nissan Island.

The US Navy 93rd SeaBees would later land and battle for the muddy atoll to produce roads and essential airstrips on Nissan.  The Catalina “Black Cats” would move in and PT units set up on Barahun Island.  Within weeks a steady stream of supply ships, Cassiopeia, Harper, Talbot, Unicoi and others will rendezvous with smaller vessels to ship the matériels through the shallow channel.

To be continued….

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – a9

1940shumor-1

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Ahlemeyer – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Michael Herr – Syracuse, NY; Vietnam War Correspondent and authormohnblume-b-lis

Fritoso Lopez – Fayetteville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Henry Mezzack – Perkinsville, VT; US Army Air Corps/AF, WWII, KOrea, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 26 years)

Gladys Roche – Fitchburg, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

John Saini – Healdsburg, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, KIA (Tarawa)

Ron Sheppard – Manawatu, NZ; 6th Field Reg., gunner # 8000468, WWII/ RNZAF # 76980, Sgt.

Kenneth Troutman – Independence, MO; US Navy, WWII

Basil Williams – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 412776, WWII, POW

Keith Williams – Visalia, CA US Army, Afghanistan, 4th Infantry Div., Pfc, KIA

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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 June 27, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. It was interesting to read about New Zealand troops in the latter part of the Pacific War. Most common knowledge for ANZACs during the latter part of the war revolve around the Australians at Balikapan where arguably so many did not have to die in vain whereas the New Zealanders under General Freyburg were taking part in the Italian campaign. As always GP, you shone a light on a lesser known part of the war. I’m shocked to see what was happening in the region only a handful of months before my Grandpop was in New Britain during a less intense stage of fighting. I thought most of this occurred in 1943.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were many different units fighting, but it is difficult to distinguish them as they are often simply grouped as Commonwealth forces in the records. Another great reason we need individuals to recalled their own stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Informative and educational as always GP. I never knew of the existence of Nissan Islands. Hmm maybe that is what Nissan cars are named after?!

    Like

  3. Hadn’t heard of The Green Islands before now, but can see, that like so many Pacific islands,they became strategic points in the war.
    Good historical report as usual gp.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ian. This is another reason the Pacific went almost unnoticed in the media of that time. People could recognize the areas of Europe, but of a mile-long island somewhere in a huge ocean – huh? Thanks for your interest and support!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Re beetleypete:
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/messages-home-lost-films-of-the-british-army
    HAs episodes of mentioned film. Go there while they are viewable.

    Like

    • P.S. Could not get video to play, had to contact them about this. Hope they respond soon.

      Like

      • Their reply –
        Thank you for your email regarding All 4.

        We appreciate the time you have taken to write to us with your interest in viewing Messages Home: Lost Films Of The British Army via All 4, unfortunately, All 4 is not available in the USA.

        All 4 on Channel4.com uses geo-blocking software that detects where your computer is located when it connects to the internet.

        As Channel 4 is a UK broadcaster, the programme rights we hold are limited to the UK and Ireland and we are prohibited from allowing them to be viewed elsewhere.

        Even if you are from the UK or Ireland but aren’t actually in the country when you access All 4, the licence we hold for our programmes prohibits us from allowing you to view programmes.

        There are no current plans to extend the service to other countries.

        We are sorry for any disappointment this might cause.

        Thank you for taking the time to contact All 4.

        Kind regards,

        Emily Rogers

        All 4 Support

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The net is closing in. Gradually they are being squeezed. There’s a lot of good men’s lives to be lost yet though, sadly.

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  6. Do you know the makeup of the The West African 81st, G? –Curt

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    • Not too much detail, Curt. They saw some action in Africa against the Italians and then were requested for the CBI. I am led to believe the same situation applies to the 82nd Division. When I read records of the CBI, they are often [like other British colonies] simply wrapped up as being ‘Commonwealth’.

      Like

  7. Another busy month. My uncle was already a POW by this time, and after the failure of the Chindits, remained a captive. The ‘Forgotten War’, indeed. I don’t know if you can get this programme in the US, but it was marvellous, and heartbreaking, in equal measure.
    http://www.channel4.com/info/press/programme-information/messages-home-lost-films-of-the-british-army
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Very interesting and was noticing the amount of casualties on both sides. Great post, Everett!

    Like

  9. https://ptboatred.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/pt-359-in-action-off-green-island/ GP, Here’s the link to the Green Island post from my blog PT Boat Red. Thanks for your continued great work. I appreciate all the effort and time that goes into it. Hope that your summer is going well. S

    Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:15:57 +0000 To: stephenstahley@hotmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The death count in some of these battles is heart-breaking. It’s amazing humanity survives.

    Like

    • For some it’s hard to fathom when I just put in statistics, that’s why I interrupt the war now and then with the eye-witness accounts and tributes. I think it brings everything into perspective, reality can set in. I know I don’t have to tell you about that, being a service mom – you live with it. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. War is from all time but i hope one day there will be peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I appreciate your attention to these stories.

    Like

  13. Your attention here is appreciated.

    Like

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