October 1944 (7)

Chiang Kai-shek and Gen. Stilwell

2 October – Lord Mountbatten, Commander of the SEAC, continued issuing pressure on the Japanese 15th Army in Burma.  The British IV and XXXIII Corps pursued the enemy even throughout the monsoon season.

6 October – FDR relieved Gen. Joseph Stilwell of his post as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek in an effort to appease the Nationalist leader.  [Chiang wanted to withdraw his Y Force, the Chinese Nationalist Revolutionary Army) from Burma, but when Stilwell notified FDR of his plans, he lost his patience.  FDR had tried to put Stilwell in charge of the Y Force so it could be reenforced, but Chiang became offended and the President made an about-face.

Gen. Stilwell in the field

Stilwell’s domain was split into two parts.  MGen. Albert C. Wedermeyer became Chiang’s new Chief of Staff and Chief of the China Theater.  Lt.Gen. Daniel Sultan, and engineer officer and Stilwell’s CBI deputy, now took over the India-Burma Theater.

10 October – The oil refineries at Balikpapen were devastated by a US raid using B-24 bombers in North Borneo.  Being as this area was producing 40% of Japan’s oil imports at this stage, the attack greatly affected the enemy’s resources.

As the British XV Corps prepared to advance down the Burma coastline, Gen. Sultan could now call on one British and 5 Chinese divisions, as well as a new long-range penetration group, the 532nd Brigade, known as the Mars Task Force.  This brigade-size unit consisted of the 475th infantry, containing survivors of Operation Galahad and the recently dismounted 124th Cavalry of the Texas National Guard.  A detailed account of their movements can be found HERE!

The Allies possessed nearly complete command of the air and an Allied victory in Burma was only a matter of time.  The CBI’s logistics apparatus was well established as their advance continued in 2 stages.

The suicide kamikaze attacks increased around Leyte.  The destroyer, the USS Abner Road, was sunk.  The US Vessels, Anderson, Claxton, Ammen and two other destroyers received damage.

“Burma Peacock” salvage boys shown in this photo are: W/O Herbert Carr, Capt. Charles A. Herzog, S/Sgt. Don Hall, M/Sgt. Irving C. Sallette, Pfc. Ernest Luzier, Sgts. Roland Wechsler and Clifford Baumgart.

CBI Roundup – October 26, 1944 –  “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” they’re beginning to call Chief W.O. Herbert W. Carr of this Air Service Group’s reclamation detachment. Carr makes a specialty of going into jungle or rice paddies or the mountain country in search of crashed airplanes; of bringing out those ships whole or in “complete pieces;” and recently he climaxed all his previous Frank-Buck exploits.
He took a crew behind Jap lines, and brought back a C-47 which had crashed into a crater hole – the location being behind the known perimeter of the Jap knees.
According to the commander of Carr’s outfit, the “Burma Peacock’s,” the opportunity to attempt reclamation came by merest chance, when a liaison airplane reported having seen a mired C-47 on the ground.
The party was flown into the area by Capt. Charles A. Herzog, on a UC-64 light cargo ship.  Equipment consisted of two five-gallon cans of drinking water, K-rations, 180 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of tea, and 20 pounds of sugar, in addition to kits of tools, a chain hoist, axe and other items for the job. The rice, tea and sugar were for such coolie helpers as they hoped to impress from neighboring jungle settlements.
For the next six days the men fumed and tussled in the hot sun; gradually jacked up and pulled the C-47 from the bottom of a bomb crater; repaired its gear and got its engines going.
At first, no coolies appeared, so a runner was dispatched to try to rent some elephants, when and if the pachyderms could be located. One elephant almost arrived on the job, but unfortunately Dumbo put his foot into a booby trap and plunged, screaming with hurt, through the grass, his body stinging with shrapnel. In a day, the coolies, ever sensing the need for their well-paid services, began to show up.
The extra workmen were sorely needed, according to Carr, who was forced to call off work on the first all-day shift, due to excessive heat and lack of salt to counteract the drain of energy. Eventually, the C-47 was removed from the crater by piece-meal hauling along a fresh-cut incline up the mud slopes.
When the airplane was on dry land again, engines were turned up, and the craft soon was lined up for take-off. However, an overnight wait came into the picture, the ship being absent one pilot. In the morning Combat Cargo Command dropped in with a pilot; the rejuvenated C-47 took off like a breeze, and another craft had been brought back “alive” under the ministrations of “Frank Buck” Carr.
No trouble was caused by Japs during the stay of the mechani-commandos. The Japs had learned from previous experience that Chindits and Chinese-American forces do not allow Nippons to intrude on workers without one hell of a fight.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Round-up style – 

“You Myitkyina boys should have seen the Carolina maneuvers!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack Albert – Charleston, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Medical Corps

Jack Bates – Presque Isle, ME; US Army, WWII, ETO

Ronald Cagle – Palm Beach, FL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division, communications

Dorothy Cook Eierman – Townsend, DE; civilian aircraft spotting station, WWII

painting “Take a Trip With Me” by SFC Peter G. Varisano

Gordon Fowler – Ottawa, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Vernon Galle – San Antonio, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Pres. Jackson

Leslie Langford – Battle Creek, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO

Eric Mexted – Waikato, NZ; RNZ Army # 242467, WWII, 22nd Battalion

Donald Peterson – Salt Lake City, UT; US Navy, WWII

Marge Tarnowski – Madison, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII, radio operator

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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 March 16, 2017, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 53 Comments.

  1. Thanks for liking my post and your visit… jc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There was a rather amazing D Day documentary tonight on History Channel with some footage that I hadn’t seen before. One chap told of an incident where they got ambushed at night by the Germans after they landed behind enemy lines. He and a fellow American soldier had a machine gun they were trying to set up in response, but it only fired a few rounds before it jammed. They were frantically trying to get it working when 2 German soldiers came toward them. Incredibly the Germans didn’t shoot them, though they both had automatic weapons. Instead the they grabbed the machine gun and ran off with it! – leaving the 2 American lying there in amazement. The War is full of such incredible incidents/anecdotes that defy any form of rational inspection.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. War was there always but on this moment problems with Turkey,,Korea,Mexico and Ameria,,Syrië ,les russes and Japan,enz makes me a little scary. lI think there will be a new world in future

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Balikapan is one of the last Australian offensive of the war and a controversial one. With the Yanks island hopping to Japan, the deaths at Balikapan including that of Victoria Cross Winner Lt. Tom Derrick left a bitter taste in the mouth for many.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Those Peacocks are something else, going into enemy infested jungle is bad enough. Recovering an aircraft and flying it out is sheer lunacy. Doing it several times! What an outfit! And I’ve never heard of them. Thanks as usual GP for the history lesson.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The efforts to salvage the aircraft s amazing. The mindset that would drive men to work under jungle conditions, for hours/days on end is also amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Ancien Hippie and commented:
    Wow! An involved story. FDR involved!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s amazing how men from the north with all its snow and ice learned to fight in steamy jungles and beat the Japanese at their own game.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another missing piece to my education – and another reason to pray for peace and cooler heads in American leadership. Thanks again, GP.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • The more I research, the more I learn myself, Madelyn. The library here at home continues to grow as well as my amazement at that generation!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most must have been “strong silent types” or I believe we’d know more already. The newsreels focused on the bravery and the victories, but the human stories and the battle details were covered less often, it seems to me.

        Perhaps we would be a less warlike country today if more personal stories had been shared. It seems that too few people immediately thing “human beings” when they hear “casualties” – they seem to need to be led to empathy.

        And then there are those who won’t be led, no matter what. Unfortunately, they seem to be in charge right now. Sad and scary.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Chiang did his best not to fight the Japanese, as Barbara Tuchman’s great book STILLWELL AND THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE OF CHINA details. Chiang managed to bamboozle other anti-communist Americans by purportedly being a Christian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, he played everyone while he and his co-horts lived a life of luxury. The only fighting he was interested in was against the Red Army so he could keep his lifestyle.

      Like

  11. Somewhat ironically, the story of rescuing and restoring the aircraft reminds me of the old joke about how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. I’m sorry for the elephant, but amazed by the competence and dedication of the men. It’s quite a tale — I’m never sure what’s going to show up here, and that’s part of the fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When I read about suicide attacks, I must think of the Taliban sending their followers unto a suicide mission to kill innocent people. The Japanese suicide missions were to defend their country and while they were unsuccessful in turning the tide, these were nevertheless heroic acts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree. The circumstances are different as are the motives. Isis and groups like them are misinformed and/or simply power-hunger people looking for their 15 minutes of fame. A sad excuse for suicide.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Enjoyed the CBI story. Thanks, GP

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Herbert Carr was a very brave and heroic man. Thanks for sharing his story.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Julia C. Tobey

    Interested to read about the Asian Theater of the war, which receives short shrift in the US.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I barely remember being taught anything about the CBI except that they were part of WWII and that’s about the size of it. I’ve had to go in search for info on the subject. Thanks for reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Have you read Tuchman’s “Stilwell and the American Experience in China,” G? It’s been a long time since I read it, but I remember it as excellent.
    I really liked the story of Chief Carr. Amazing. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  17. You handle this topic and the posts so well, GP. Another success. Have a thriving Thursday. Mega hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. What a great story about the recovery of the C-47! It’s a testament both to the people who pulled this off and the rugged nature of the C-47.

    General “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell is an under appreciated hero of World War II.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. This may sound silly. I have always been very glad to be a girl until I received the paratroopers the blog now I can experience the war through your eyes and photographs and I love standing up and saying everyone’s name out loud thank you. I honor each one of you who then and now fight for my safety and freedom. 💕Sheila

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Another great CBI salvage story–albeit unfamiliar. Those in the CBI theatre were good at making due with little help.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Just read and learned about the jungle salvage of downed aircraft. Quite an amazing achievement in a war theatre. They must have been an experienced crew of technicians to carry-out salvaging of transport aircraft.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. So informative of an article. It leaves me with so many thoughts of what cost war extols.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. There is something chillingly efficient about the Kamikaze attacks, reminiscent of the modern-day suicide bomber. One person determined to die to carry out their mission is a fearful weapon indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. What a great story about Chief W.O. Herbert W. Carr. I had not heard of him or this effort before!

    Liked by 2 people

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