March 1944 (2)

Ki-61 Tony

Ki-61 Tony

1-2 March – 4 B-17 armed transports from the 54th Troop Carrier Wing/375th Squadron made supply runs to the US Army 1st Cavalry Div. on Los Negros.  They dropped weapons, ammo, barbed wire and blood plasma, then proceeded to strafe the enemy positions.  The next day, the same was done by 3 more B-17’s.  The B-17 “Cap’n & the Kids” piloted by Capt. A.J. Beck was intercepted by 4 enemy fighters, including a Ki-61 Tony.

4 March – the remaining Japanese forces launched a series of suicidal charges, but they did not succeed.  Lombrum, at Seiddler Harbor was made into a large naval base for future operations.  Mamote airfield on the eastern side of Los Negros started repairs and expansion .  It was in use by 16 March for the 13th Air Force, the US Navy and the RAAF.  A causeway was built to link the 2 islands of Manus and Los Negros.

RMI_map (640x286)

Kwajalein Atoll location

11 March – of the 302nd Cavalry Recon Troop, 3 patrols were sent out to find locales hat could aid in the struggles for Kwajalein Atoll.  Fighting immediately broke out on Hau wei.  A PT boat and HMAS Arunta were sent to rescue the men, but 8 were KIA and 15 were wounded.

12 March – The attack on Manus began with the destroyers Gillespie, Hobby, Kalk and Reid using 5″ guns, 2 rocket *LCVPs, an **LCM for flak and the combat ***LVT raking the shoreline with rockets.  Artillery from Hauwei and Buto Luo were aimed at the positions and 18 B-25’s of the 499th & 500th Bombardment squadrons bombed and strafed the island.  Twenty-two B-25s hit the Rabaul area, concentrating on Simpson Harbor.

B-25's hit Wewak/Boram Airfield area

B-25’s hit Wewak/Boram Airfield area

The 1/8th Cavalry landed and quickly overran the Japanese until they approached an enemy bunker complex at Lorengau airstrip.  An air strike by 5th Air Force B-25s and artillery fire were called in and the troops established a beachhead.  The 2/8th Calvary meanwhile arrived to aid in attacking the airfield.  After 2 attempts, progress was made, but the main enemy force on Manus had not been located.  The Wewak area and Boram Airfield were bombed.

On the 20th of March, the 7th Cavalry found them and 6 more days of fighting ensued.  This left a number of smaller islands to clear.

22 March – 130 or more fighters and bombers of the 5th Air Force attacked the Wewak area on New Guinea.  They hit the AA gun positions and storage areas, as well as the offshore shipping at Kairiru Island.  Japanese HQ and troops were hit by 25 other aircraft in the Aitape-Tadji zone; P-47s hit the barges at Alexishafen, while P-39s hit a HQ and supply dump along the Bogadjim Road.

B-25 lost while attacking ships in Hansa Bay, New Guinea

B-25 lost while attacking ships in Hansa Bay, New Guinea

31 March – aircraft from VAdm. Mitscher’s TF-58 damaged 16 Japanese vessels at Palau.  They sank assorted other ships, including 2 destroyers.30 March – the island of Pityilu was heavily bombarded before the 1/7th Cavalry sailed there.  Their initial landing was unopposed , but they encountered a strong Japanese defense position as they pushed inland.  With the support of artillery and tanks, 59 Japanese were KIA and the US lost 8 KIA, with 6 wounded.

* – LCVP = Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel

** – LCM = Landing Craft, Mechanized

*** – LVT = Landing Vehicle, Tracked

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political Cartoon Humor – March 1944

D_-66d-Pacific-batttles-New-Guinea

D_36a-Pacific-war-Maresidoats

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Alexander – Olalla, WA; USMC, WWII & Korea, Captain

Daniel Bacon Sr. – Glenville, GA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Bunker HillKXAC000A

Bob Cowper – Broken Hill, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, ETO, 456th Night Fighters, pilot

Trevor Dill – Kaipara Flats, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 42292, WWII, Flt. Lt., 75th NZ Squadron

Francis Majors – Grand Forks, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 457th Artillery/11th Airborne Div.

John Pobst – Georgetown, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO, Medical Corps

Edgar Rickel – Prarie Village, KS; Merchant Marines, WWII

Arthur Stone – Jamaica, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Major (Ret.)

Monroe Travis – Amite, LA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

John Umstatter – Seaford, NY; US Coast Guard, 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 July 25, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Dropping supplies of blood. That says it all doesn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Islands of the South Pacific, certainly were the scene of many bloodthirsty battles, Manus island is now home to refugees attempting to reach Australia, very Political here now.
    The Americans always had great names for their planes, love the name Cap’n & the Kids”.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it really is difficult to keep up with all that transpired on these small, but necessary islands; it’s interesting but sometimes sad to hear what they’re like now. Nose-art was very popular and a morale booster; the names and paintings were really quite imaginative.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And back to ‘mares eat oats’ 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hahaha! The cartoon showing a boat sinking with a “to the Philippines” sign made my day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have not seen or have forgotten this plane for a long time.

    Like

  6. Great humor in the cartoons.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree so many little islands to clear, Yes, slowly but surely. Love the military humor section too especially “little lambs eat ivy” song 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Note about the last picture: according to Pacific Wrecks, that B-25 crash happened in 1943. http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-25/41-30345.html

    That last comic is particularly funny!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a grand old plane.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cartoons didn’t have to be quite as politically correct in those days, did they?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the aerial combat photos.

    Like

  12. Clearing the islands. What a task. not knowing if there was a sniper in tree or worse. So thankful.

    Like

  13. Every time I read your posts, I find the salutes moving, GP. I can’t read the names without thinking about the lives behind them. The history becomes about human beings more so than the events, to me. 🙂

    Like

  14. It’s always amazing to see how many little battles were fought in between the big ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nice shot of the Jap Ki-61 Tony there GP!

    I am currently doing an extensive model project with my son on Japanese Warplanes of WW2, specifically the post ’43 fighter/interceptor models like the Ki-64, Ki-88 and, Ki-96.

    Great Article!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Steven. And you picked a great hobby. My father and I used to do models, including building the scenery and housing for trains. Hobbies are great for spending time with your children!! I’ll never forget it, I’m certain your son won’t either!!

      Like

  16. Another exhausting roundup, GP. So many small islands to clear, and every one doggedly defended.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

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