February 1944 (3)

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The quick and massive defeats in the Marshall Islands brought alarm in Tokyo and a renewed rise in the rivalry between the Imperial Army and Navy.  Prime Minister Tojo used the loss of Truk as an excuse to oust Adm. Nagumo as Navy Chief of Staff and install the pliant Adm. Shigetaro Shimada.  He then fired Gen. Sugiyama as the Army Cmdr-in-Chief and took the position for himself.  He decided the Philippine Islands and Formosa would be the next “last line of defense.”

23 February – for Operation Forager in the Marianas, the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Rota and Guam were bombarded by the aircraft of RAdm. Mitschell’s Fast Carrier Task Force.  Saipan would be a vital necessity for the bombers who were to hit the Japanese mainland.

Admiralty islands location

Admiralty islands location

24-29 February – after eaves-dropping on Japanese radio traffic operating between their garrisons, it was confirmed that Los Negros Island, in the Admiralty island chain, was weakly defended.  Preparations for the landing were rushed to move in 4 days ahead of schedule; what MacArthur described as a “reconnaissance in force.”  The crew of the USS Phoenix were rounded up in Brisbane and given 2 hours to report.

The first wave of 4 LCPR’s (Landing Craft, Personnel, Ramped), with 37 men each went ashore without casualties.  But after the naval bombardment ceased, the enemy appeared and the scouts reported from the island, “Los Negros is lousy with Japs.”

The second wave in received so much crossfire from the dugout’s rifles, machine-guns and shore batteries that they were forced to change course until destroyer fire suppressed the enemy.

First wave in on Los Negros

First wave in on Los Negros

The third and fourth waves also came under fire as the amphibious landing proceeded.   MacArthur went ashore with the men and while disregarding his own safety, walked among the troops  congratulating the.   The fighting here would continue through March.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

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http://www.stripes.com/military-life/military-history/diving-for-history-1.379190?utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Military+History&utm_medium=email

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Farewell Salutes – 

Norman Anderson – Tauranga, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 33623, WWII

Charles Besser Jr. (100) – Sun City, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot (Ret.)

Edward Clee – Trenton, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWIIs-l1000

Robert Fenholt – Charles City, IA; US Navy, WWII, USS Libra (AKA-12)

William Hamilton – Rockhampton, AUS; RA Air Force

Ross Landesman – Plainview, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical Corps

John Mulholland – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, Korea, 187th Regiment

Jack Taylor – St Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII PTO, USS Enterprise

Frank Towers – VT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 120th/30th Infantry Division

Theodore Winters – Brule, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO, Americal Division (Ret. 29 years)

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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 July 6, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Seems Los Negros Island was grossly underestimated in reconnaissance reports at the time.
    Enjoyed the humour gp, seen a few camps like that out in the bush during my Army days.
    Cheers.

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  2. It amazes me every time. No matter where it was, the Japanese would fight to the death to retain it, and it would have to be recaptured inch by inch, usually at great cost in lives.

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    • It was drilled into them that their cause was justified and they would, in the long run, succeed over the ‘paid’ soldiers of the Allied invaders. (my father told me that a few times, and I have since seen in many historical accounts since.) It did indeed cause drastically high casualties.

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  3. Excellent post and agree it’s great to learn bits of history. Smiling at Beetle Bailey. Always read that every week 🙂

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  4. Thanks for these little bits of history. I’m not sure when my dad was in the Philippines, but I don’t think there was ever a good time to be there.

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