May 1944 (3)

Burma 1944, treating the wounded.

Burma 1944, treating the wounded.

16 May – Merrill’s Marauders attacked the airfield near Myitkyina in Burma.  Stilwell became angry with the British, who had moved in antiaircraft guns before the glider-borne reinforcements.  This error allowed the Japanese to move in more troops before the Americans and monsoons hindered the sir supply.

Other Japanese commands in Burma were receiving pressure from Allied forces: the enemy U-Go operation ran short on supplies; by the end of May, Japanese Gen. Sato’s 31st Division had to withdraw from Kohima due to incurring 7,000 casualties and Gen. Slim’s XXXIII Corps broke the Japanese line of reinforcements at Imphal and the U-Go force finally went into retreat.

Garrison Hill, Kohima

Garrison Hill, Kohima

The Chinese Nationalist Army, that Chiang had sent to assist in Burma, failed to make an effective ground defense.  Stilwell sent a long critique to Gen. Marshall stating that they were in danger of losing the B-29 airfields and Washington should decide to either pull-out or put in the US Army.  As he saw the situation, “… ultimately the Japs must be fought on the mainland of Asia.”

This was completely counter to Washington’s policy and Marshall replied by telling the general, in no uncertain terms, “Japan had to defeated without undertaking a major campaign against her on the mainland of Asia.”  Stilwell’s job was only to protect the bases.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff, by the end of May, had finally and realistically written off the Chinese theater.  From here on out, the CBI would only play a peripheral role in the war against Japan.

Biak Island, Japanese base, site of first tank battle.

Biak Island, Japanese base, site of first tank battle.

Further south, after a week-long bombing of Biak Island, [Indonesia, nw of New Guinea], and the successful landing of the 41st Division, a dispute arose between Japanese Commanders Nakajima and Kusaka.  Nakajima felt the next target planned by the Americans would be Saipan, but Kasaka’s argument was to defend Biak and the Americans would not be so close to the Philippines.  Other factions in Japan felt the Caroline Islands were the next target.  The hastily devised plan of Operation Kon-1 was devised.  The 2nd Amphibious Brigade troops under RAdm Naomasa Sakonju would attempt to reach Biak  The IJN cover group were spotted by submarines, Cabrilla and Bluefish and then the 2nd Brigade troops were spotted by subs, Gurnard and Ray. [On into June there would also be Operations Kon-2 and Kon-3].

The enemy’s 43rd sailed from Japan to Saipan, but after submarine hits, only 5,500 arrived and many were wounded.  Only some of the troops had any weapons or equipment being as thousands of tons of building materials, (cement, barbed wire, lumber, etc.) had been sunk.  To add to the Japanese problems, an American armada of 535 ships were on the way with the US 2nd Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division and the US Army 27th Infantry Division.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

murphys-military-law-6-1

If at first you don’t succeed – call in an air strike!

Someone had WAY too much time on their hands!

Someone had WAY too much time on their hands!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes

Perry Boden – Huntsville, AL; US Army, Vietnam, Sgt.11986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n-jpgfrom-falling-with-hale

Nathan Bruckenthal – Stonybrook, NY; US Coast Guard, Iraq, Damage Controlman, KIA

George Craft – Vienna, VA; US Navy, WWII, PTO/US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Col. (Ret.)

Mary Chapman Foster – Cuero, TX; US Army (WASP), pilot

Evelyn Gotthart – Montvale, NJ; USMC, WWII

William Jacobs – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, Lancaster bombers

Paul Meli – Pompano, FL; US Army, WWII, Major (Ret.), antiaircraft

Frederick Pitts – Highlands Ranch, CO; US Army, 11th Airborne Division Medical Corps, neurosurgeon

Michael Scully – Douglas, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Lancaster bomber tail gunner

Mayford Williams – Lenoir, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Biloxi

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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 29, 2016, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. Hi again! Grace did find out some information. She sent this ‘Dad was glidered into Burma on 5 March 1944. He was chaplain with the 81st column of the 77th Indian Infantry brigade which was attached to a British unit (1st Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this reminded me of the film with Jeff Chandler, ‘Merrill’s Marauders’. I watched that when I was around ten years old, and have never forgotten it.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As always…great and informative post!! Thank you for what you do!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like the work of some one who had so much time.That was a cute plane.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The war sounded like a real guessing game. Who would be their next target? I can’t imagine that things would be so hard to figure out today with all the new technology.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It wasn’t as much a guessing game as it was rivalry between the Army and Navy ideas of how to win the war. They both came up with their own plans and a choice had to be made.

      Like

  6. Military Law #6 is actually not too far from the reality of fighting Isis. We can’t really identify the enemy, so air strikes are our main, and pretty much so far, only means of attack.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. GP, I made it here!!! Little Rock, Arkansas, from where you hail, right, from your “About” near the end. And here from Burma to Indonesia ending with the Japanese heading for Saipan, the war in the Pacific NEVER fails to fascinate me despite the great sacrifice & loss of life & materiale. Good job as always! Phil

    Liked by 2 people

    • GP, Thanks for your second comment telling me of your New York to Florida background…….On your “About” at the end I read about a vet group in Little Rock & wrongly concluded that was your hometown. Excuse that! You’re a local boy to my New Jersey! Phil

      Like

      • The Little Rock veterans are a special bunch, with great volunteers. They are friends of Sheri and Tom de Grom and between that group – they made a great program to join the vets with the community. Sheri gives me the credit, but she did the work and handled the details hands-on — so I say she’s the miracle worker!!

        Like

    • Nope, not Arkansas – Broad Channel, NY to Nassau County, NY and then 46 years ago moved here to south Florida. I’m very glad you enjoy the history, Phil.
      Now – get back to work on that house of yours!! I don’t want you in trouble with the Mrs.

      Like

  8. It’s very interesting to learn the background info
    Unfortunately when I was in school there was other things on my mind
    And history wasn’t it
    As always Sheldon

    Like

  9. Interesting post, Everett. Sounds like the submarine hits along with everything else really took it’s toll against the enemy. Smiling at the humor section again 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow – at the end of this segment, you talk about 535 ships – I cannot get over the sheer scale of the naval efforts. Our new “Zumwalt” destroyer is extremely impressive, but we’ll have…two.
    Like some of your other commentators, I had to pull up a map and find out where Biak was located! so your posts are being a good geography lesson, too. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I wonder if the decision by the Joint Chiefs assured the ultimate victory of the Communists in China? If so, imagine what a difference deciding to provide support might have meant today. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  12. One casualty of war not often written about, but apparent in some of the photos you post, is the landscape. The denuded trees and burnt out underbrush must have been devastating for wildlife.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. This one too, touches home. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Interesting that your post mentioned Burma. We lived there for several years in the 1980s. Just today we were speaking about a Burmese man we knew who was part of a group that went in by gliders to reclaim an airport from the Japanese.

    Liked by 2 people

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