November 1944 (2)

1 November –  Young Japanese girls wore headbands that designated them as Special Attack Force members. Daily they would recite the Imperial Precepts for Soldiers and Sailors before they began a twelve-hour shift in a makeshift factory in Kokura, Japan. Here they were producing 40 foot balloons to carry a bomb package across the ocean as they were released to drift on the Pacific jet stream.

A total of approximately 9,300 of these weapons were made and about 342 reached land, some as far east as Ontario, Michigan and Nebraska. Some were shot down or caused minor injuries and one hit a powerline of the nuclear weapons plant at Hanford, Washington. But – 5 May 1945 – near Klamath Falls, Oregon, a pregnant woman, Elyse Mitchell and five students were killed on their way to a picnic. These were the only casualties of the war in the 48 states.

2 November – On Peleliu, the Japanese troops were still holding out on Mount Umurbrogol and causing heavy American casualties.

7→8 November – approximately 200 enemy troops landed on the deserted Ngeregong Island near Peleliu.  American forces immediately created a blockade in the Denges Passage and bombarded the island by sea and air.

11 November – the Japanese launched a new aircraft carrier, the IJN Shinano, a 68,059-ton (69,148-tonne) vessel of steel and purported to be bomb-proof.  However, she proved not to be torpedo-proof and was sunk by the US submarine Archerfish 18 days later as she sailed between shipyards to receive her finishing touches.

12 November –  carrier aircraft attacked enemy shipping in Manila Bay.  This resulted in 1 enemy cruiser, 4 destroyers, 11 cargo ships  and oilers being sunk.  Twenty-eight Japanese aircraft were downed and approximately 130 were strafed and damaged on the ground.

The Japanese cruiser, Kiso was sunk and five destroyers were damaged in Manila Harbor off Luzon, P.I. as US aircraft continued their raids.

Bloody Nose Ridge

13 November – on Peleliu, the last of the Japanese holdouts on Bloody Nose Ridge were wiped out.  The following day, the 81st Infantry Division re-occupied Ngeregong and found no enemy resistance.

17 November – the US submarine,USS  Spadefish, the Japanese escort carrier IJN Shinyō (Divine hawk), in the Yellow Sea as she attempted to reach Singapore.  It was possibly 4 torpedoes that struck and  ignited her fuel tanks.  Only 70 of her crew survived as she went under quickly.

21 November – The enemy battleship IJN Kongō (Indestructable), was attacked by the American sub, USS Sealion and sank in the Formosa Strait.  There were 237 survivors.

24 November – the US Army Air Corps used 11 B-29 Superfortresses for their first long-range bombing mission on Tokyo.  However, only 24 aircraft actually hit their assigned targets.

USS Intrepid

25 November – the increasing use of kamikaze pilots by the Japanese resulted in damage to 4 aircraft carriers near Luzon: Intrepid, Hancock, Essex and Cabot.  The Japanese had the cruiser, Kumano sunk by USS Ticonderoga.

27 November – organized enemy resistance on Peleliu seemed to no longer be present and the battle for the island is considered complete.

29→30 November – US B-24 Liberators and B-25 Mitchell bombers were kept busy hitting the Japanese airfields on Iwo Jima.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –  

Gilbert Baker – Chanute, KS; US Army

Richard Burkett – Greencastle, IN; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea, Signal Corps, 7th Infantry Division

Jean Cozzens – Bradley Beach, NJ; USO, WWII, singer

Foster Hablin – Millers Creek, KY; USMC, WWII, PTO & Korea

Burial at Sea – USS Intrepid, 26 November 1944

William James Jr. – Las Cruces, NM; US Army, WWII, ETO, 99th Inf. Div., Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Robert Nugent – Chester, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, C/13/17th Airborne Division

Joseph Pelletier – Coos, NH; US Army, Korea, HQ/15/2nd Infantry Div., Cpl., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

Donald Rickles – Jackson Heights, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Cyrene (AGP-13)

Mary Schnader – brn: ENG, W,Lawn, PA; British Royal Air Force

Thomas C. Thomas – Bullhead City, AZ; US Army, WWII, APO/ETO, 74th Engineer Corps

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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 April 10, 2017, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 103 Comments.

  1. I’ve heard about the balloon bomb in Klamath, Oregon. Were all the bombs launched accounted for or could some still be out there, like land mines waiting to go off?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The latest I located states that only a few hundred have been accounted for, leaving most of them – anywhere… and that info was from 2015. Perhaps they’re in the ocean, but no one seems to know at this point. You being in Oregon yourself does prompt your concern?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. From an article I read a few months ago, some girls would resort to eating the rice glue that was used to join the skin of the balloon because food was scarce.

    Also the main role of this weapon was a psychological one (similar to the terrorist bombings of today). But this was mitigated by not reporting on these balloon blasts. Without any information, the Japanese could not determine the effectiveness of their weapons which was the main reason they halted balloon bombings.

    Really enjoyed reading some of your articles and I would like to thank you for following my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fascinating major enterprise by these young Japanese Girls, these balloons show the diversity of the thinking of the Japanese Military leaders, a very interesting reading that calls for more information, I had never heard of these Bomb Balloons.
    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m joining the list of others amazed about the balloon bombs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That Donald Rickles in PT Boats in The Philippines? I think he went on to big things?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Those balloons were both scary yet fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Killing balloons may be the first dagerous simple things but what if drones go to bring the bombs to us?

    Liked by 1 person

    • In this day and age, MaryLou, I’m afraid that is quite possible. Which is why I try to help people see what war is all about and to avoid it, if at all possible.

      Like

  8. Great post! Love the cartoon!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had never heard of the balloon bombs before, let alone that some actually landed in North America and killed someone. What the human mind can devise in the cause of killing others is just horrifying.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I read the lists of ships deployed, sunk, or attacking other ships that were sunk and my heart hurts for the *many* lives lost aboard those ships – on both sides of the war. I think it is far too easy to think in terms of video game scoring: “Yay! One for ‘our side’ ” etc..

    Starting off the post with a photo of young girls innocently crafting weapons of destruction was a touching and bittersweet way to presence the greater point of the cost of war – and that we must never forget that human beings gave their lives for any freedoms we enjoy today.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow! I remember either reading about those “ballon bombs” or seeing reference to them on TV.
    It’s very easy for events like these to get lost in time.
    Thanks for reminding us of the losses. It’s important to remember…even when it is unpleasant to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I wonder if the young Japanese girls described at the start of the post knew exactly what they were making or the ramifications of it…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Reblogged this on PenneyVanderbilt and commented:
    Fantastic Story

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I hadn’t known about the balloon bombs

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Never knew about those balloons. That’s a real hit or miss tactic. Seems like more a Terror weapon than anything?

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I’m wondering if the war effort was the first time these young Japanese girls were put to work in factories, or if this was just a change in what they were making. Seems in the United States, a lot of women began working for the first time for the war effort.Just curious!

    Liked by 3 people

    • As far as I know, especially in the textile business, Japan had mostly female factory workers before WWII. The Japanese rise in industry is quite the success story for the 20th Century. Thank you for bringing up that topic; a bit of homefront info on the Japanese side.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. enjoyed the timeline – and the why are we out here joke.. ha haha

    Liked by 3 people

  18. In Europe, nobody seems to have thought of setting fire to the Black Forest or the German harvest. I suppose the USA had too much desert and too many mountains for the Japanese scheme to work.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Your posts are so insightful and interesting. I learn something new with each one.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Since you are such a great WW II historian, I thought I would run a question by you. I once owned a book (when I was a teenager) which I believe was titled “The GI War.” It was in two sections … the War in Europe and the War in the Pacific. The author (I can’t remember his name) interviewed the common soldiers and wrote the book as a collection of stories, complaints, comments and observations of the common soldier in the foxholes. It feature a lot of Bill Mauldin cartoons and also photographs. Does this ring a bell? Do I have the title right? I loaned the book out years ago and it was never returned. I really would like to read it again if I can find a copy but I am having trouble finding it. It makes me think I might have the title wrong or something.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Don Rickles was a funny man! May he rest in peace.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. The balloons carrying bombs were highly ineffective. Their use was perhaps based on the misconception that the US and Canada had population densities as those found in Japan.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Actually, besides wanting to hit the cities, they were hoping to destroy farmland — hence a lack of food for the soldiers. Ya gotta give the inventor an “A” for effort, eh? 🙂 Thanks for stopping in, Peter!

      Liked by 2 people

  23. It’s a good thing the western US wasn’t suffering the type of severe drought we have just come out of (at least temporarily), or the Japanese balloon bombs might have done much more damage. Really liked the ‘why are we here’ cartoon, G. –Curt

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Wow, the things I am learning. Thank you. The things that were never taught and to think they and many other things are buried from we the people.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Wow! What a story. Never knew this and I will be telling my children who studied about the world wars with me. And photos too!

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Thanks for the fascinating insights! I’ve been reading (in Linda Hervieux’s Forgotton: The Untold Story about D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War) about the Allied Barrage Balloon Battalion operated by black American soldiers to try and prevent enemy aircraft attacks during D-Day, and most of my research around WWII is based in the European Theatre. It’s interesting to learn about how things were being done in the Pacific, as well as seeing how similar technologies of the day were being used to different effect.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Despite the Pacific being larger and lasting longer than the ETO, I believe most people do tend read up on that part of the war. The government felt it was more important and most of the equipment went there. I think the newspapers made most of their headlines out of Europe because of so many in the US being from there and many still with relatives there. So many of the islands in the Pacific, no one ever heard of before.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Makes sense. I suppose it was more “tasteful” reporting, as well. Germans tended to take Americans as POWs, which often (although not always) ended in happier endings than their Pacific counterparts. I guess the enlistment lines wouldn’t have been quite as long if reports were getting home of POWs being executed instead of captured, not to mention the plethora of tropical diseases plaguing the troops…

        Liked by 3 people

  27. I had no idea they used balloons to carry bombs across the sea.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. I am glad it never entered active service and never cause any casualties, but it’s kind of sad to read about the new carrier being sunk on its way to a second shipyard. I was surprised to read that they were still able to build ships of that size, that late in the war.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Despite being an enemy ship, I know what you mean, she starts to come alive and immediately gets snuffed out. They had started to build her back in 1940 as a destroyer, but after so many ships going under, they converted her into a carrier. Thanks for dropping by, Dan.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. I watched a very interesting documentary about those Japanese balloons some time back. It was obvious that they were getting pretty desperate by then.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. It is amazing the difference in industrial make up between Japan and the US. Unless I am mistaken, young girls in the US would have never found themselves in such factorylike environments. Great post. Here are my posts from roughly the same period:
    https://afatherswarstorynevertold.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/uss-hornet-cv-12-a-fathers-untold-war-story-november-december-1944/
    https://afatherswarstorynevertold.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/uss-hornet-cv-12-a-fathers-untold-war-story-battle-of-ormoc-bay-november-december-1944/

    Liked by 3 people

  31. God bless the Archerfish. That torpedo saved a lot of lives.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. Nice mention of Don Rickles. I liked his short-lived TV show, “CPO Sharkey.” Didn’t know that many explosive balloons made it to North America.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. One tends to forget about those balloons. That many? Ye gods …

    Liked by 4 people

  34. A remarkable story about the balloon bombs. Never heard it before. Thanks.

    Liked by 5 people

  35. Thank you for the ping back.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Balloons in WWII | New Mexicans in WWII and Korea

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