December 1944 (4)

British troops rest with their mules after crossing the Chindwin River near Sittaung, Burma, 1944

4 December – in Burma, the British 14th Army established 3 beachheads on the Chindwin River as part of Operation Extended Capital.  From here, XXXIII Corps drove southeast towards Schewbo and Mandalay in a 2-prong attack: in the south, IV Corps would push down Kabbaw Valley about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Mandalay; in the north, the 19th Indian Division would start a decoy offensive from Sittaung towards Indaw.

6 December – in the Mariana Islands, one US B-29 Superfortress was destroyed and 2 more damaged during an early morning raid by 10 Japanese Betty bombers.  Six of the enemy aircraft were downed by antiaircraft fire.

8 December – the US Army Air Corps began one of the the most extensive aerial campaigns of WWII.  A 72-day bombardment of Iwo Jima by B-24 and B-25 bombers.  Despite the island having already sustained previous attacks, this was the preparation for a mid-February 1945 US invasion.

With the defeats of the Japanese Operation Inchi-Go in China, Stilwell saw this as an opportunity to command all the armies to remove the enemy.  Chiang insisted to FDR that Stilwell be removed – and he was.  New York Times correspondent Atkinson, stationed in the CBI theater, wrote:

The decision to relieve General Stilwell represents the political triumph of a moribund, anti-democratic regime that is more concerned with maintaining its political supremacy than in driving the Japanese out of China. The Chinese Communists… have good armies that they are claiming to be fighting guerrilla warfare against the Japanese in North China—actually they are covertly or even overtly building themselves up to fight Generalissimo’s government forces… The Generalissimo [Chiang Kai-shek] naturally regards these armies as the chief threat to the country and his supremacy… has seen no need to make sincere attempt to arrange at least a truce with them for the duration of the war… No diplomatic genius could have overcome the Generalissimo’s basic unwillingness to risk his armies in battle with the Japanese.

Burma 

15 December – in Burma, the British troops in the north met up with the Chinese and American forces at Banmauk.  The combined troops set off to focus in on Schwebo and Mandalay.  They started by way of the Myitkyina-Mandalay railway and the Irrawaddy River.

16 December – British carrier aircraft in the Dutch East Indies bombed the Japanese oil installations at Belawan-Deli on Sumatra.

19 December – in the East China Sea, the American submarine USS Redfish attacked and sank the Japanese carrier IJN Unryu.

23 December – in Burma, the 74th Brigade/25th Indian Div. took Donbaik.  The 81st and 82nd W.African Div. advanced southeast to Muohaung and isolated the enemy in Akyab from the main Japanese 28th  Army.  By the end of 1944, the 36th Div. was across the Irrawaddy River.

Soldiers of the E.African Army crossing the Chindwin River by ferry, Burma, Dec. 1944

27 December – US submarines reported sinking 27 Japanese vessels throughout the Pacific and Far Eastern waters; including a carrier, destroyer, cruiser and the remainder a list of cargo and escort ships.

29 December – Gen. Groves, Commander of the Manhattan Project, sent a top-secret report to the desk of Gen. Marshall, “The first bomb, without previous full scale test, which we do not believe is necessary, should be ready about 1 August 1945.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – STRICTLY G.I.  by EHRET, from CBI Roundup

“WHAT’S THIS RUMOR ABOUT GOING OVERSEAS?”

“LET’S PICK UP THIS FOX HOLE AND PUT IT OVER THERE.”

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Farewell Salutes –   

George Aylmore – W.AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, ETO

Douglad Baptiste – Manitoba, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Carl Eckman – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, WWII

Ward Goessling Jr. – Norman, OK; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT, Lt.Colonel (Ret.)

Anthony Read – King’s Lynn, ENG; British Army, WWII, Captain

James Smith – Dallas, TX; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Colonel (Ret.)

Herbert Thorpe Sr. – Marlboro, MA; US Army, WWII

Lawrence Ulrey – Columbus, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radarman, USS Mobjack (AVP-27)

William Vassar – Cromwell, CT; US Army, WWII, PTO / Korea Lt.Colonel (Ret.)

Calvin Young – Lancaster, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 134th 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 June 5, 2017, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 71 Comments.

  1. It is interesting how FDR allowed Chiang to dictate “Vinegar Joe’s” removal. Stillwell is one of the unsung and rarely remembered heroes of WWII. FDR’s removal of Stillwell had the unintended consequence of helping pave the way for China becoming Red …

    After a very shaky start at the beginning of U.S. efforts to roll back Japan in the Pacific, our submarine service in the Pacific did a tremendous job of destroying anything Japan had that floated. Admiral Charles Lockwood, who commanded the subs under Admiral Nimitz did a superb job, beginning with his heroic fight against “City Hall” (the Navy Ordnance Department) with the defective torpedoes the Navy had at the beginning of the war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still can not fathom what FDR was thinking always backing Chiang! Even Mrs. Chiang told the pres. that her husband was spending the money on himself, his friends and NOT fighting Japan. So I don’t even have a guess as to why he fired Stilwell.
      Our submarine service was spectacular in the Pacific. Once they got going – there was no stopping them!!

      Like

  2. Another interesting post, and incidentally, my late father was in the RAF Servicing Commando Unit 3207, which were part of the D-Day landings, and went on to serve in Burma later that year….

    ‘No 3207 SCU was to see activity at the sharp end when it was sent to Meiktila where, having lost the town, the Japanese were counter attacking fiercely. Here they were to occupy the airstrip and were grateful that the RAF Regiment took most of the defence of their hands leaving them free to service Spitfires, Hurricanes and Thunderbolts together with Dakota and Commando transport aircraft that had flown The Hump to China.’

    Keep up the good work of remembering those who sacrificed so much for our too-much-taken-for-granted freedoms 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is the very least I can do to try and thank the brave and sacrificing generation, such as your father. I often wonder what they would think now of the situation of the world they fought and died for; what I disappointment.
      Thank you for contributing your father’s story! That is what this site is all about, each and everyone of them!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I had to go research your father’s unit further [actually still into it]. You must be very proud!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Again an excellent post gp, you always supply great original pictures.
    Ian

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The main photo reminded me of my uncle, serving in Burma. They had small artillery pieces broken down into parts, and carried on mules. Almost at the end of 1944, and still so much happening in the Pacific theatre.
    (I didn’t get this post notification, GP. Apologies for arriving late…)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Continue to learn so much with this post and all your excellent entries. Thank you for what our are providing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Until today, I didn’t know that the Battleship Texas, which is just south of me, was present just off Normandy on D-Day. That’s so representative of the larger problem we have. Even someone like me, who’s generally educated about WWII, has large gaps in my knowledge. That’s one reason I appreciate your blog as I do. I know far more about the European theater than the Pacific, but it’s never too late to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I in the reverse, Linda. Despite having read a number of ETO books, I was just saying that very thing yesterday to Pierre Lagace about a Canadian unit’s involvement at the Battle of Ortona. One of my comments to him:
      Check this out when you get a chance. I was never taught anything about this battle, yet I confirmed it in the Canadian encyclopedia and the Canadian Soldier sites….. When I finish up 1945, I really must read y ETO books again!
      https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/battle-ortona-m.html

      Like

  7. Love the military humor a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As a four-year-old little girl I remember World War II as hiding in the garage and turning all the lights off in Southern California. Now in my 77th year I’m standing as I salute the farewell to the soldiers who fought for my freedom and the freedom of all of us. I don’t know why they don’t teach it in school but maybe we can do it in our own homes more often.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Today in history is a very important day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Vinegar Joe was one heck of a man

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The top photograph is just wonderful. I enjoyed too your mention of the Indians and the West Africans. In both WW1 and WW2 the British Army had lots of non-white combat troops, chiefly from India/Pakistan, Nepal and East and West Africa. I have had boys from Asian families in class who did not realise this. These soldiers could actually be the most forgotten warriors of those two wars as not even their own communities pay them much heed nowadays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is sometimes very difficult for me to locate their records, as many of them have been ‘included’ as Commonwealth nations. I find even some of their own historical sites are fairly generalizations. I try to include everyone – I know we didn’t win this on our own. In fact I just finished reading ‘The Airmen and the Headhunters’ about US air crews crashed in Borneo and finally located and taken out by the Australian Special Z units. Excellent book.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. 27 Japanese vessels sunk. The tolls of war for all are costly. The price of freedom for which we need to always give thanks to our fighting men and women.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chiang Kai-shek was a major pain to the allies. Too bad Stilwell was the whipping boy.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Looking at the soldiers and their mules made me want to take a nap, GP. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My Uncle John was declared dead (MIA) on October 22, 1944, in Burma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very sorry to hear that. If would care to have him in the Farewell Salutes, please supply what information you have and he will appear in the post after I receive it [unless you prefer a specific date].

      Like

  16. Amazing message. Six months ahead of time. I have so many thoughts about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. And now I’ve made a comment, the button comes up. Okayyyyyyyy …

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Couldn’t find a ‘Like’ button …

    Like

  19. This was a bonus post. I had never heard (or don’t remember hearing, you know, at this age…) the term ‘Japanese Betty bombers’ So, I looked that up for an enjoyable read.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. If one didn’t know the circumstances that first picture might look inviting

    Liked by 2 people

  21. The use of horses and mules in 20th Century wars seemed to be an anachronism – and largely was – yet do you remember how the special forces who were the first in in Afghanistan before the start of that endless war used horses to do their duties and to blend in more effectively with locals?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. And another Thank You!!

    Like

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