The Generals, Australians and Borneo (1)

USS Boise

From: General Kenney Reports

I joined Gen. MacArthur on board the USS Boise at Palawan on 8 June as I had promised.  The ship steamed south and the next afternoon joined the main convoy carrying the 9th Australian Division, commanded by Gen. Wooten.  We made the rendezvous between Palawan Island North Borneo.

The weather was perfect, the mountains on either side of the straits were beautiful, I had about 9 hour’s sleep the night before and there was no sign of a Jap airplane in the skies.  It was so peaceful, it didn’t seem as though there was a war on at all.

On the morning of the 10th, 6 o’clock a lone Jap bomber came over, dropped one bomb, which missed a landing craft, and then flew away under under a hail of antiaircraft fire.

We watched the Naval gunfire on the landing beach on the island of Labuan, our first objective, and after the RAAF and the 13th Air Force bombers got through a farewell blasting of the Jap positions, Generals MacArthur and Morehead, Adm. Royal and Naval commander, Bostock, and myself went ashore.

The Aussie first-wave troops had landed and pushed inland from the beach about ¼ mile.  They put out their patrols and then calmly started cooking their tea.  Nothing seemed to worry this fine-looking body of troops.  They were bronzed and healthy-looking, well equipped and there was no question about their morale.

Australian soldiers land at Labuan Island, North Borneo

The “brass-hat” party moved along the road paralleling the beach, to the accompaniment of an occasional sniper’s shot and a burst of machine-gun fire ahead of us and farther inland.  I began to feel all over again as I had at the Leyte landing,  Mac kept walking along, enjoying himself hugely, chatting with a patrol along the road every once in a while and asking the men what they were shooting at.

Moreshead and Bostock asked me where we were going, I shrugged my shoulders and pointed at MacArthur.  Just then a tank came lumbering along the road and we stood a side to let it pass.  As the tank reached the top of a little rise perhaps 50 yards ahead of us a burst of rifle and machine-gun fire broke out and then stopped.  The turret gunner looked out, said, “We got those two obscene, unmentionables so-and-so’s,” and the tank drove on.

Australian troops and tanks land at Labuan Island

Mac commented on the good clothes and well-kept equipment the two dead Japs had and remarked that they looked like first-class troops.  Just the, an Australian Army photographer came along to take pictures of the two dead lying there in the ditch.  His bulb flashed and he dropped to the ground with a sniper’s bullet in his shoulder.

I walked over to Gen. MacArthur and told him that all he had to do was to hang around that place long enough and he would collect one of those bullets too and spoil our whole trip.  It looked to me as though we had finally gotten into the Jap outpost position and if he wanted my vote, it was to allow the Australian infantry to do the job they came ashore for.

To be continued….

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

When the military has cut-backs….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eliza Blanchard – Lincoln, AL; US Army WAC, medic

Richard Devos – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jane (Sepko) Frink – Southington, CT; US Army

Dennis Hogg – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force # 1200664, Vietnam, A Squadron

Gordon Lewis – Thornlands, AUS; Australian Army # 434815, WWII

Patrick McCormick – Toronto, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Ronald W. Nutt – Ocean Grove, AUS; RA Air Force # 135995

Graham Rohrsheim – Port Pirie, AUS; RA Navy, Commander (Ret.)

Alfred Tuthill – Chesapeake, VA; US Coast Guard, Master Chief Radioman (Ret. 28 y.)

William Zobel Jr. – Hollywood, FL; US Air Force

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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 10, 2018, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 73 Comments.

  1. I love these first-hand accounts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mc Arthur was an amazing general. His place in time is well defined.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very good article/history lesson Sir. I will be following this article with your part #2. O, by the way, I am going to reblog both of them for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know much about the Aussie fighters. I’m figuring they were tough, resourceful and more than useful though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You got it!! That’s why Churchill keep insisting they make a quota for Europe rather than fight in the Pacific, despite the fact that it would be for protecting their own nation!!

      Like

  5. I look forward to the continuation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. From 1939 until January 1942 when the US really got into the war The ANZAC troops were more than happy to serve King and country by fighting in Europe and Africa, The Rats of Tobruk are our most revered soldiers. Indeed when I went into the Army in 1953 there were veterans from that unit still serving and teaching and training tyros like me.
    I wore my slouch hat with pride, serving with such men gives you that pride.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent, GP. Gives us a view which hasn’t been exposed before.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. War is trying to live with only a few thinks and looks for thing who can be dangerous.In war soldiers have a very dificult live in dangerous condition all they do is to keepi our freedom

    Liked by 1 person

  9. GP, some rituals, tea time, never die, even in war time. Another great post of the human side that makes the war even closer to home. Thank you! 📚 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another fearless general who was bold enough to be with the common soldier in a dangerous situation!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. There is so much in this post but what really got me was the picture of the soldier, prepared, ready to fight, while walking through waist-deep water. What an image.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great to read such a story that shows so much detail not in the history books I read, great read about our blokes doing their part too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is written using “I” – did you? Really was it you who was in this post? Labuan, Borneo…really close to lil red dot

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Unfortunately despite stopping and blunting the Japanese blade in New Guinea, Australians troops and the RAAF were soon enough relegated to mopping up duties, whilst the war moved further north. For many this role did not go down well – especially RAAF officers (see the Morotai Mutiny).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I was listening to an outdoor show yesterday when the discussion turned to deer hunting, then to weapons of choice, and then to what a former U.S. military sniper preferred when deer hunting. It really was fascinating. I know nothing about weapons or ammunition — casings and powder and size and all that — but all of the “if this distance, choose that” back and forth brought home exactly how complicated some of that is — and how accurate they can be.

    Perhaps, in the end, the photographer went down as a warning, rather than as a missed shot.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you GP! I always learning things never known before.In Germany teaching history is always around the own teapot. 😉 Knowledge about other wars in the world makes you an prof. ***lol*** Best wishes, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Generals – “move along, sir.” There are times when you need to hand things over to the people who know what they’re doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If you’re a tea drinker, a nice hot cup of tea is the first thing you’d want to have after that voyage.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Good to read about the Australians, and how well-respected they were. Britain used those brave troops badly during WW1, but in the war against the Japanese, (and in North Africa) they seemed to be in their element. We were lucky to have them, undoubtedly.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. What a great account. Loved the description of the Australians calmly cooking their tea.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I am thinking sniper probably wasn’t aiming for the photographer

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I appreciate you sharing so many of my posts – for the history should be learned, and remembered!

    Like

  1. Pingback: FEATURED BLOGGER: The Generals, Australians and Borneo (2) | //Pacific Paratrooper | ' Ace Worldwide History '

  2. Pingback: FEATURED BLOGGER: The Generals, Australians and Borneo (1) // Pacific Paratrooper | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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