May 1944 (1)

 

Japanese gun on Ponape Island

Japanese gun on Ponape Island

1 May – Ponape (Pohnpei) Island was bombarded by the battleships of the 5th Fleet and supported by carrier aircraft.  Numerous buildings, the seaplane base and the wharf were destroyed.  The Air Force TF-13 hit Woleai and Eauriprik Atolls, all in the Caroline Island group.

On New Guinea, 180 B-25s, A-20s and fighters of the 5th Air Force hit the Wewak and Hansa Bay areas.  Airfields, villages, antiaircraft gun positions, barges and offshore islands were bombed.

Location of Jaluit Island

Location of Jaluit Island

4-15 May – a US naval and air base were established on Majuro Atoll in the Marshalls.  Six days later, the naval base on Eniwetok island operational.  On the 12th, naval air bases were up and running at Ebeye and Roi-Namur, in the Kwajalein Atoll.  During 13-14 May, land-based bombers heavily attacked Jaluit in the Marshalls.

Today - an IMEJ-battleship rusts slowly in the Jaluit Lagoon.

Today – an IMEJ-battleship rusts slowly in the Jaluit Lagoon.

6 May –  the Gato-class submarine, USS Gurnard (SS-254), attacked an enemy convoy in the Celebes Sea.  She sank the troop-carrying army cargo ships, Aden Maru, Amatsuzan Maru, and Tajima Maru, en route to New Guinea.

13th May – the 13th Air Force was busy sending out over 50 aircraft to attack the coastal areas at Ratsua, Porton, Chabai and Tarlena.  Over 30 fighter-bombers hit supply areas, the Hahela Mission and villages along the Numa Numa Trail in Indonesia.  New Britain and New Ireland continued to be bombed.

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The following is a direct quote from the US Army Military History books.

By April of 1944, under the impact of General MacArthur’s two-pronged offensive against the Japanese forward line in the southeast area and the parallel enemy thrust into the outer defense rampart of the Central Pacific mandated islands, the operational center of gravity in the Pacific theater of war was moving relentlessly closer to the line which the Army-Navy Central Agreement of 30 September 1943 had defined as the boundary of Japan’s “absolute zone of national defense.”1

In drafting this agreement, Army and Navy strategists recognized that the continuous attenuation of Japan’s fighting potential made it unwise, if not impossible, to attempt a decisive defense of the existing Pacific front line under the increasing weight of Allied offensives. Therefore, the mission of the forces in Northeast New Guinea, the Bismarcks, Solomons, Marshall and Gilbert Islands was limited to one of strategic delay, and plans were laid to build a main line of resistance along a restricted perimeter from the Marianas and Carolines to Western New Guinea and the Banda and Flores Seas.  These were to be flanked by the Bonins and Kuriles to the north and the Sundas to the west.

To give an idea of size discussed - the U.S. map is superimposed over just the SW Pacific area.

To give an idea of size discussed – the U.S. map is superimposed over just the SW Pacific area.

The essential points of the Army-Navy Central Agreement embodying this vital revision of Central and South Pacific war strategy were as follows:3

1. Key points in the southeast area, extending from Eastern New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, will be held as long as possible by destroying enemy forces whenever they attack.4

2. With a view to the rapid completion of counteroffensive preparations, the following missions will be accomplished by the spring of 1944:

a. Defenses will be strengthened, and tactical bases developed, in the areas of the Marianas and Caroline Islands, Western New Guinea, and the Banda and Flores Seas.

b. Bases will be developed in the Philippines area for strategic and logistic support.

c. Ground, sea, and air strength will be built up in preparation for counteroffensive action.

3. In the event of an enemy approach toward the areas mentioned in paragraph 2a, powerful com-

 


ponents of all arms will be concentrated against his main attacking front, and every means will be employed to destroy his forces by counteroffensive action before the attack is launched.

4. After the middle of 1944, if conditions permit, offensive operations will be undertaken from the area including Western New Guinea and the Banda and Flores Seas. Separate study will be made to determine the front on which such operations should be launched, and necessary preparations will be carried out accordingly.

The deadline fixed by Imperial General Headquarters for the completion of preparations along the new defense perimeter was based upon the estimate that full-scale Allied offensive operations against either the Western New Guinea or Marianas-Carolines sectors of the line, or possibly against both sectors simultaneously, would develop by the spring and summer of 1944. Although a six months’ period was thus allowed for execution of the program, its actual start was somewhat delayed. Moreover, the scope of preparations envisaged was so vast that it was problematical whether the nation’s material and technical resources would be equal to the task.

Primary emphasis in these preparations was placed upon the development of air power. After the bitter lessons taught by the southeast area campaigns of 1942-43, Army and Navy strategists unanimously agreed that the air forces must be the pivotal factor in future operations, whether defensive or offensive. To successfully defend the new “absolute defense zone” against the steadily mounting enemy air strength, they believed it imperative to have 55,000 planes produced annually. At the same time a large number of air bases, echeloned in depth and mutually supporting, had to be built and equipped over the widely dispersed areas of the new defense zone.

Click on images to enlarge.

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To view my Air Force Birthday post – Please click – HERE!

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Military Humor – 

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Ooh - those pesky budget cuts!!

Ooh – those pesky budget cuts!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lillard Brown – Ft. Thomas, KY; US Army, WWII, PTO, Americal unit, Bronze Star

Larry Chavez – Albuquerque, NM; US Army WWII, Purple Hearttributesarmy

Bill Edwards Jr. – Durham, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 top turret gunner

James Hayes – Ariton, AL; US Army

Irene Michak – Lexington, MA; USO, WWII

Hugh O’Brien – Rochester, NY; USMC; WWII, PTO, (beloved actor)

Charles Pranio – Edison, NJ; US Army, WWII

Brian Rix – Cottingham, UK; RAF, WWII, ETO, (beloved actor)

Louis Roth – St. Augustine, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/188th/11th Airborne Division

Joseph Stewart – Olathe, KS; US Navy, Korea, USS Boxer, Corsair “Bitter Bird” pilot

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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 September 19, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 69 Comments.

  1. Very informative post. A glimpse at another time and place.

    Thanks for sharing and do stay in touch.

    Eli

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My father was in the Solomon Islands at some point. I was told he managed to get a letter home by saying he found a seashell “like the one Uncle Sol had..” There was no Uncle Sol, but the letter was not backed out in that section and my grandmother stuck a pin in a map. They had their own code.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This helped me with a visual of what my father in law had been involved with….never talked about it much…as always…I learn from every post! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GP, another very interesting part of history. And I’m glad you put that map in. It showed the huge scale of this operation. I sure wish we had men like MacArthur and Patton still around.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From your map I noticed Bikini Atoll, testing site of an Atomic bomb.

    Like

  6. Pieces of rusting history, still in evidence throughout the Islands of the Micronesia, all individually rusting, but collectively painting a picture of a fading scene.
    Cheers gp.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I just noticed the cartoon about the Air Force weapons training. Today, that’s not so funny. My cousin’s son is a Navy pilot, and although I can’t remember his rank, he’s had several tours and is pretty high up the food chain. He’s in charge of training pilots now, and constantly is fussing about being unable to get a fueled-up carrier to use for his men. It really is a problem, and if priorities were better managed, it needn’t be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with your cousin, Linda. Many in the military use these cartoons to vent their frustrations about so much mismanagement. With a government that has less than 14% ever having served in the military – they have no idea what they’re budgeting for (or cutting).

      Like

  8. Excellent information .Thanks a lot

    Like

    • U bent correct waren, Mary Lou, je reactie was in de Spam-bestand. Mijn verontschuldigingen. Ik controleer meestal dat elke dag, maar de afgelopen week heb ik achter op schema geweest met zeer weinig computertijd. Het spijt me, je bent altijd zo trouw in het volgen van mijn site. Dank je.

      Like

  9. Amazing history, GP! Imagine all of that was going on when I was 5 years old, and only experienced black outs and food rationing! I’m interested in war history today while writing about my life back then! I’m even going further back in my grandfather’s day 1879-1933, and what he experienced while living in Germany, then his immigration to the US in 1903. A lot of intense research! 💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can just imagine. When I finish with Pacific Paratrooper (that’ll be a sad day for me), I plan on investigating my ancestry and my father’s maternal side was German. I think it was my great-grandmother that came over, but I’m not sure – these are the things I’ll have to find out.

      Liked by 2 people

      • GP, that will be exciting for you to investigate your ancestry, especially family from Germany. When you get to that point, let me know some of your resources, and I can share mine. Some internet links are free, some require payment for documents. It’s quite a time consuming process! 💛 Christine

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Good overlay map. I never would have guessed that size comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Really interesting, thank you for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks GP. The map was an excellent idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting post and could see the “Where am I? ” again. Smiling at the humor section and the propeller keeping the pilot cool…LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I have never properly studied the Pacific campaign. WW2 and it’s horrors does not seem to be a part of our schooling here in Canada. I don’t know why? and you’d think otherwise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’d think so. Your troops were in the American Theater (ATO, Alaska) and the CBI Theater. But then again, our school system isn’t all that keen on teaching the Pacific either except for the major USMC victories.

      Like

  15. That map of the superimposed US definitely helped define the magnitude of the task. You always manage to find the words or way to give the Pacific War perspective, one of the reasons I especially like your blog, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. I used to have trouble getting things correctly in my head because texts would say for example, 300 miles away to the next island. If you drove or sailed that far – how can a person visualize it? Plus, history books seem to bounce around around with the dates.
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Doug, always a pleasure to see you!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Seems the Japanese strategy reflected desperation more than reality. They were probably hoping for some sort of miracle.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I will be publishing a review very soon of an excellent documentary about the Australian SAS and their predecessors, the Independent Commando’s who fought in the South Pacific in WWII. The Timorese Guerilla War and Operation Jaywick are just a couple of examples of how awesomely effective these guys were!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I over these photos where nature has reclaimed the implements of war….good post my friend….chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The scale of that operation boggles the mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This never ceases to amaze me, GP. I had never heard of most of these islands, yet there was bitter fighting on so many of these tiny places which had such strategic importance.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. The story must be told of our wonderful men and women who served us. Always a pleasure to read your blog. My time was 1967 through 1971 a very brutal time for many american service personal.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Thank you for sharing the data on this era.

    Like

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