New Guinea ~ situation while Smitty was there

New Guinea, WWII

New Guinea, WWII

Smitty always made mention of how hard the soldiers before him had to struggle.  He noticed that no matter how hard people or nature tried to disguise their surroundings, the scars of war were everywhere.  In New Guinea, my father had a clear view of the battle remnants of General Robert Eichelberger’s Australian and American troops from when they fought on a similar terrain and in battles as fiercely intense as Guadalcanal – on each island the territories had to be taken inch by inch.

Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, Chief of Allied Air Forces, in the southwest Pacific sent his complaints to the War Dept.  and Gen. “Hap” Arnold, head of the U.S. Army Air Forces to explain just that in 1942:

General Kenney

General Kenney

“… The Japanese is still being underrated.  There is no question of our being able to defeat him, but the time, effort, blood and money required to do the job may run to proportions beyond all conception, particularly if the devil is allowed to develop the resources he is now holding.

“Look at us in Buna.  There are hundreds of Buna ahead for us.  The Japanese there has been in a hopeless position for months.  He has been outnumbered heavily throughout the show.  His garrison has been whittled down to a handful by bombing and strafing.  He has no air support and his own Navy has not been able to get passed our air blockade to help him.  He has seen lots of Japs sunk off shore a few miles away.  He has been short on rations and has had to conserve his ammunition, as his replenishment from submarines and small boats working down from Lae at night and once by parachute from airplanes has been precarious, to say the least.  The Emperor told them to hold, and believe me, they have held!  As to their morale — they still yell out to our troops, “What’s the matter, Yanks?  Are you yellow?  Why don’t you come in and fight?”  A few snipers, asked to surrender after being surrounded, called back, “If you bastards think you are good enough, come and get us!”

“…I’m afraid that a lot of people, who think this Jap is a “pushover” as soon as Germany falls, are due for a rude awakening.  We will have to call on all our patriotism, stamina, guts and maybe some crusading spirit or religious fervor thrown in to beat him.  No amateur team will take this boy out.  We have got to turn professional.  Another thing: there are no quiet sectors in which troops get started off gradually, as in the last war.  There are no breathers on this schedule.  You take on Notre Dame every time you play!”

According to Gen. Kenney’s reports, the last 2 weeks of June saw the last of the enemy air force, at least as far as New Guinea was concerned, and ports for re-supplying their troops were being repeatedly hit.  Babo, Manokwari and Sorong saw 10,000 tons of shipping go to the the bottom in these series of attacks.  By the end of the month, airdromes were mere burned out shells of buildings and cratered runways.

Here is where the specialized training for the 11th A/B began and the War Dept. also saw the need for improved weapons for this “new type of war.”   Under the direction of Colonel William Borden this effort resulted in: 105-mm and 155-mm mortars, flamethrowers, ground rockets, colored smoke grenades and the skidpans for towing heavy artillery in muddy terrains.

General Eichelberger

But – still at this point – only about 15% of the Allied resources were going to the Pacific.

(These two photographs are courtesy of the World War II Database. ww2db.com)

damaged Zero planes near Lae, New Guinea

damaged Zero planes near Lae, New Guinea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military Humor –

 

"Ya might haveta catch a boat.  One of them kids you chased off the field was the pilot."

“Ya might hafta catch a boat. One of them kids you chased off the field was the pilot.”

11667455_588463991293206_8125453280066097637_n-640x427

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

fort_rosecrans_cemetery-640x420-jpgsan-diego

Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, San Diego, CA

John Chrenka – Berwyn, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Silver Star

Dominic DeSorbo – Hartford, CT; US Navy, WWII, 6th Fleet, USS Lake Champlain

Kenneth Ernst – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, Korea

Ike Farrar – Bedford County, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C-46 pilot

Richard Jennings – Flint, MI; US Navy, WWII

Dick Leabo – Walcott, IA, US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, ‘Flying Tigers’

Charles McCready – Montreal, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, pilot

Charles Mitchell – Richmond, CA & Ontario, CAN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., Pvt. /US Air Force (Ret. 30 yrs), Chaplin, Col.

Harold Rothbard – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 tail gunner

Donald Wachter – St. Louis, MO; US Army, WWII, 7th Infantry Division

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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 October 31, 2016, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 84 Comments.

  1. would you mind re-blogging one of my posts :3 it’ll be much appreciated

    Like

  2. hello gp cox its dennis the vizsla dog hay my pippier and my grayt auntie wer littel kids dooring the war but my auntie reemembers listening to noozcasts of wot wuz going on and she reemembers beeing verry fritened by wot wuz going on in the pacific!!! it sownds like a skarry time indeed i do not think i wood hav ben aybel to kope with it!!! oh hay that is sum gud wifi sekyoority in that wun pikcher nobuddy is kracking that passwurd i think!!! ok bye

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for another history lesson, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We can not understand those braaf men had such a hard life there in horrible conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful words that changed the course of battle…a great leader who tells it like it is and prepares for what must be done to overcome the enemy. We could learn a lesson from this as so many soldiers are sent to wars unprepared for the reality of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How much we have to be grateful for, back here at home. It hits me every time I read another list of names.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing the history…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A very defining analysis of the situation and of the opponent gp
    Every objective was a monumental effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hahaha! The “defending the wifi hotspot” got me laughing…! Nice one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Never known the soldiers have fighting there so hard in bad conditions.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. silviadeangelis40d

    Sempre speciali,i tuoi articoli
    Un saluto,silvia

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Even today the Pacific region is not given the resources it needs with the result that it is still at the mercy of power play. https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/great-power-politics-south-china-sea

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It should be made compulsory for the Head Honcho of the Supply chain to go to the front and serve there, for the duration. If several current fronts, rotate the bugger on a weekly basis between them, and billet him with the troops—not in some luxurious hotel waaaaay out of touch.

    Can’t be done?
    With modern communications? Ya kiddin’ me?

    Just haul those guys out of that cartoon, they’ll guarantee it can be done … and I’ll guarantee a huge difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. As you know GP I try to follow your “Fairwell Salutes” and wonder at these men and where and what they did and went through; this time you tell of a man who served aboard a ship that is named, a rarity, and I like to Google these ships if named. Here is a great shot of the USS Champlain taken in 1945 and I wonder the whereabouts aboard this ship at that time was the late Dominic DeSorbo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That picture is from August 1945 and she would have been transporting servicemen from Europe back to the states here. After remaining in Norfolk, VA for a while, she would head out for the Korean War. I appreciate all your interest Beari!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I just had the thought of how hard it is to fight an enemy who finds glory in dying. – Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Unfortunately, school books and movies do not tell the whole truth about any part of history and especially that of war. Thank you for bringing to us the truth of what a horror this war must have been. Hard for me to read, but I did. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent post and what horrible conditions. I agree that movies tend to glamorize it and pick and choose what they want to highlight!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I imagine that if you have a different attitude towards death you fight even harder

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Interesting to read of the respect that a high-ranking commander had for the fighting spirit of his Japanese enemy. It must have been like trying to fight a German army comprised of only Waffen SS units, every day, on every front. Gritty stuff indeed, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. As I have mentioned before, my father lost much of his lungs, sight in one eye, his sense of taste and smell due to diseases he contracted in New Guinea. He never talked about it for years then during his last few months as he met other vets at the VA, he opened up. Mostly telling jokes about his experiences.

    When I asked him why he was reluctant to talk about it, he told me he didn’t want to come off as a whiner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That generation was certainly tough, Greg!! People today don’t have a clue what going through a Great Depression would be like and then into a war that affected just about every soul alive. If you recall any stories he shared, we’d love to hear them!!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. The Japanese were certainly no pushover after the end of the European War. I sometimes think that if the atomic bomb hadn’t been available, we’d have been fighting them well into the 1950s and conceivably beyond that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They were quite the formidable enemy, but eventually so much of Japan had been destroyed by our various assortment of bombs, that I doubt it would have taken quite that long. That is also what still adds coal to the fire about whether the decision to drop the A-bomb was the correct one.

      Like

  22. Thank you for sharing Smitty’s thoughts and words. My dad would have agreed, and he landed on D-Day, lost many friends and his brother in France, and was severely wounded. But he always said the Pacifice Theater was even more horrific. He found it hard to talk about the war until fifty years afterwards. Glad your dad shared with you. It is so important to tell the history of conflicts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dad didn’t approve of giving me too much on the actual combat. In that respect he was pretty much like the other veterans. If you care to share anything your father did eventually tell you – we are ALL ears!!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. The Pacific theater was underrepresented in the textbooks and in docs and films. I appreciate learning from you and Smitty. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I had never thought about it before but you are so right! Books, movies, etc. are all about the war in Europe but there were soldiers giving it their all in other places like the Pacific.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I wonder if a strategy of waiting them out was ever tried. By that I mean, just cut off their supplies and let them either starve to death or surrender.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That would be that those troops would be stuck in New Guinea to defend their positions. Japanese would repeatedly attack or infiltrate to acquire supplies, the power of a human to survive is quite strong. That would be my point (if it were up to me, that is.) I thank you for continuing the discussion and being so interested!!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Maybe the reason my father never talked much about this place is that he didn’t think anyone would believe how bad it was. The soldiers in the Pacific were getting the leftovers, but they did amazing work with what they had.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Thank you, as always. You are quite the loyal friend.

    Like

  28. Thank you very much!!

    Like

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