Monthly Archives: June 2019

THE “BETTY”

Mitsubishi Type 1 Attack Bomber Model 22 ‘Betty’ by Shigeo Koike

The G4M was a Japanese high-speed bomber-torpedo carrier. During World War II, it was in service with the naval aviation. In the system of codes of allies, this aircraft had the designation “Betty”.  The Mitsubishi G4M combines high speed, long range, and excellent aerodynamic shape. Due to these qualities, it was a symbol of Japanese naval aviation.

In all 2,416 Bettys were produced by Mitsubishi and saw action in almost every engagement in the South Pacific. They also served as transports and special-attack aircraft. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was aboard a Betty when it was shot down in 1943. Late in the war Bettys were used as Kamikaze aircraft. Indeed the Betty, which was there at the very start of the conflict, was also there at its end, being used as special transport aircraft for the Japanese delegation who arranged Japan’s surrender to the Allies in August 1945.

Betty bombers

The basis for the aircraft was a monoplane scheme with a mid-mounted wing and a large fuselage. The large fuselage of the oval section allowed to accommodate large loads and created comfortable working conditions for the crew. The wings of the aircraft had a trapezoidal shape, and the average position of the wings allowed even at high load to keep the centering of the aircraft.

On the G4M, instead of hydraulic drives, electric drives were used. They seemed more reliable in conditions of low temperatures and high altitudes. The design was all metal with two spars and a retractable landing gear. The power plant consisted of two, star-shaped two-row 14-cylinder air-cooled “Kasey” 11 engines. The maximum power of the engine was about 1530 hp (take-off). The engines were additionally equipped with a single-stage supercharger. The maximum speed was about 428 km/h. The G4M was equipped with screws with three blades and a diameter of 3.4 meters. Fuel equipment included eight fuel tanks with a total capacity of 4780 liters. They were located between the wing spars, electric gasoline pumps, and fuel lines. The maximum range was 6034 km, and an altitude of 9220 m.

Small arms included four 7.69mm “Type 92” machine guns and one 20mm cannon. Machine guns were placed in the cockpit of the navigator, in two lateral and upper blisters.  Type 92 Machine-guns were a copy of the English Vickers machine gun. The ammunition was from six to seven disc stores for each shooting point. On the ceiling between the blisters could be attached one spare machine gun.

Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack planes (Mitsubishi G4M1 “Betty”) fly low through anti-aircraft gunfire during a torpedo attack on U.S. Navy ships maneuvering between Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the morning of 8 August 1942. The burning ship in the center distance is probably USS George F. Elliott (AP-13), which was hit by a crashing Japanese aircraft during this attack.

The G4M excellently showed itself at the initial stage of the Second World War. They bombed the territories of China and the Philippines, Port Moresby in New Guinea and Darwin in Australia. On December 10, 1941, near the coast of Malaysia, torpedoes of an G4M aircraft destroyed the British battleship Prince of Wales and the cruise liner Repulse.

In January 1942, 17 bombers (including GM4) took off from the Japanese military base in Rabaul and attempted to attack the US aircraft carrier Lexington. However, the American “Wildcat” fighters destroyed 15 of the Japanese bombers.

In the future, because of weak armor, G4M bombers became increasingly easy prey. They received the unofficial nickname “One-time lighter” or “Flying cigar“. During the war, the G4M was produced only at Mitsubishi plants, and 2,414 in all.

After the surrender of Japan, almost all Japanese aircraft were destroyed. The only surviving plane is a G4M1 located in the Museum of Aviation in Santa Monica, USA.

 

Guadalcanal-Tulagi Operation, 7-9 August 1942 Largely intact floating wreckage of a Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack plane (a type later code named “Betty”), which crashed during the aerial torpedo attack on the Allied invasion

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Aviation Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Moses Attaya – Picayune, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 waist gunner

Edward Corr – Lakeville, MA; USMC

Michael Ferazzi – Contoocook, NH; USMC / RI National Guard

Albert Mazza – Haverhill, NH; USMC

John Nock – St. Augustine, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/152nd Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Aaron Perry – Union, NH; USMC / NH Attorney General’s office

Daniel Pereira – Riverside, RI; USMC

Joseph Teriaca – Kansas, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Flight Engineer

Patsy Verrico – Brighten, PA; US Army WAC, WWII

Franco Zeffirelli – Florence, Italy; Italian partisan forces, WWII, POW / opera & film director

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Looking Back on the War – Humor

Pacific Paratrooper received a request for a humorous post, from Equipsblog, after all the tissues I caused her to use in the previous posts –  so here’s what I came up with on short notice – hope you all like the stories – I’m sure some of you have stories from your relatives too – feel free to add them!!!

 

Zuit suit craze

I’VE GOT URGES FOR SERGES
I’ve gotta passion for fashion,
I’ve gotta run on fun,
‘Cause I’m Ten million new civilian
Ex-G.I.’s in one.
I’ve got urges for serges,
I’ve gotta need for tweed;
I’ll put the smile in a world of stylin’
No War Department decreed.
I’ll be the zoot-suit-suitor,
I’ll be the rainbow beau,
I’ll be the luminous,
Most voluminous,
Viva-Truman-ous-
Leader of the Freedom Show.
Long I’ve thirsted for worsted;
Ain’t I the plaid-glad lad?
Open the haberdash!
Here comes a color-flash!Here comes the post-war fad!
– Cpl. R. CHARLES

India

scrub brush business

They’re telling the story around New Delhi about a certain G.I. building supervisor who recently had a bit of trouble with his 19 Indian employees. Seems that one evening towards closing time, the G.I. bossman discovered that someone had made off with 12 of his good scrub brushes. He promptly called his staff together. “None of you guys leaves here ’til you bring back those brushes,” he ordered. The Indians thought it over for a moment, then scattered. A few minutes later, they reported back, each carrying a brush. Only 12 brushes lost. Nineteen returned. That’s good business.

______ September 1945, C.B.I. Roundup newspaper

Marine Raider Battalion, Makin Island
“One of the many BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) men we had, damn fool, was loading his weapon and cranked off about a three-round shot, and that woke every Jap up that was in the South Pacific, and from then on, all hell broke loose … Well, the whom damn command situation broke down the minute the firing started,” says Carson. “None of the people there outside of a couple of sergeants that had fought in the civil war in Spain, none of them had any war experience, and so it kind of turned out to be everybody for himself and the devil for the hindmost and it was an unorthodox battle. And it was my first battle, so I had nothing to compare it to, and I got to thinking if this is an organized war, we’re in a hell of a shape.”

U.S. Navy, off Attu Island
David Lake was in charge of Mount Two of the 5-inch guns on USS Pennsylvania. The ship was among those sent to the waters off Alaska to aid in re-capturing islands there that had been occupied by Japanese troops.

“It was pretty darn cold up there, too. I stood my watches on Mount Two all the time … And we bombarded Attu and it got cold up there, I kid you not. The ice inside them guns mounts, you’d fire them and that ice would fly everywhere. ”

The one who served in Africa

Gen. Patton

“I was a private, a tank driver. Anyways, I was sitting by the side of my tank, reading a newspaper and just relaxing. All of a sudden I felt a horrible itch when I breathed out…and the normal human reaction? I picked my nose. Half-way through the nose picking, a shadow fell over me. I looked up with my finger stuck full up my nose. General Patton…standing over me…with a bunch of Army planners and such. I slowly started to take my finger out of my nose. “Soldier, did I give you an order to take your finger from your nose?” He asked. I, of course, gave him a full blown no sir, which sounded very high pitch. “Carry on soldier, and hunt that booger down.” He then walked off, with the group of Army people staring at me.

Battle of the Bulge

LOOK OUT BELOW!

In horror I learned that if a man was away from his unit for more than 20 days, starting that day, he would be re-positioned into another unit. I escaped the hospital, and joined up with my unit on the way to the woods. They called me “the cook” for the entire time. I had acquired a blanket, and spread it over the top of a 155mm hole, perfect size of a foxhole to! I soon employed my cooking skills to try and feed the men. But unfortunately, even 30 seconds out in the cold made the food almost frozen. I had cooked white navy beans one night, and it produced the most astonishing gastronomical outbursts anyone has heard. We thought the Germans could zero in on us just because of the noise.

 

 

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More Military Humor –

Future War Stories

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Farewell Salutes – 

Henry Amey – Kalamazoo, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Carl Bengeton – Gary, IN; US Air Force, 8th Air Division

Pasquale Gugluzzi – Palm Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, USS Solomons

John Hall – Natick, MA; US Merchant Marines / US Navy, WWII, PTO, Midshipman, USS Clay

Robert Ketterer – Pahrump, NV; US Army, WWII, APO

Kelley LaBrash – Dana, CAN; RC Army, WWII

William Murphy Jr. – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

Lawrence Rohrwasser – Franklin, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. F/187th RCT (airborne)

Jack Shires – Freer, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. G/511/11th Airborne Division

George Weitner – Snellville, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO

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11th Airborne Division honored

11th A/B trooper Wiiliam Carlisle on the cover of “Yank”

On the cover of the 14 September 1945 issue of Yank magazine,(Vol. 4 No. 13) is S/Sgt. William Carlisle of Chalmers, Indiana

This poem was written by: Pvt. Bronnell York, Battery D, 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, 11th A/B; even if you are not a poetry enthusiast, it is worth reading.

“Victory For the U.S.A.”

We’re the boys of the 457,
Earning our major pay,
Fighting Japs and jungle life,
For three sixty cents a day.

Back home we’re soon forgotten,
By girls and friends we knew,
Here in the South Seas Islands,
Ten thousand miles from you.

All night the rains keep falling,
It’s more than we can stand,
“NO” folks, we’re not convicts,
We’re defenders of our land.

We’re the boys of many,

Bronnell York’s original poem

Holding the upper hand,
Hitting the silk and hoping,
We’re living when we land.

We’re having it pretty tough now,
You can believe what I say,
Some day we hope to live again,
Back home in the USA.

Victory’s in the making,
Our future will be serene,
We’ve got the Navy backing us,
Along with the fighting Marines.

We’re in this all together,
Fellas like you and me,

We’ll be a united people,
And our Country will be free.

There’s no two ways about it,
We’ll either do or die,
For our Country with dictation,
Is not for you or I.

When the war is over,
And we have finished what they began,
We’ll raise Old Glory high above,
The Empire of Japan.

So, to all you 4F jokers,
Who thinks there’s something you missed,
Don’t let the draft board get you,
And for God’s sake don’t enlist.

It might be a long time yet,
Then it might be any day,
When smiling faces see the Golden Gate,
And sail in Frisco Bay.

When this conflict’s over,
The boys can proudly say,
We had to fight for what was ours,
Victory for the U.S.A.!

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11th Airborne Memorial

Some of my friends and readers who visit often might remember this cover of Yanks magazine with William Carlisle , of the 11th A/B on the cover.  Koji of http://p47koji.wordpress.com notified me that he found a William and Norma Carlisle in Chalmers, IN.

I sent a note to inquire about the photo.  I received this reply from his widow:

Hello! So nice of you to write, Bob would have been pleased. The picture on the cover of the Yank magazine is William Robert Carlisle, my husband. I’m sure he could have told you stories of the 11th Airborne.  I’m Mrs. Norma Carlisle, Bob’s wife. I’m sorry to tell you that Bob passed away on Dec. 12 – 1997. I miss him! Hope you and yours are enjoying the Golden Years! God Bless, Norma

I was so disappointed to discover that we had lost yet another trooper’s tales of the era and a little taken back to see that he passed on what would have been my father’s 83rd birthday.

With many thanks to Josh, we now have a link to the war memorial that honors the 11th Airborne using Mr. Carlisle’s photo as a model.

http://www.warmemorialhq.org/cpg/thumbnails.php?album=520

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

“I dropped out of parachute school.”

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stanley Abraham – Greenwood, NY; US Army, WWII, 299th Combat Engineers

Bobby ‘Pete’ Beckett – Logan, WV; US Army, WWII, Medic

Martha Groton – Washington D.C.; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Gordon Huff – CAN; RC Navy, WWII

William Jones – Tucker, GA; US Navy, WWII

James Myers – Rouseville, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/188/11th Airborne Division

Virgil Oyler – Barberton, OH; US Navy, WWII, aviation

Merle Smith – Clark County, WA; US Navy, Pearl Harbor, Electrician’s Mate 3rd Cl., USS Oklahoma, KIA

Randall Troop – Manchester, MA; US Navy, WWII, USS Colorado, radar

James Watson – Roanoke, VA; US Navy, WWII, ETO

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11th Airborne – Movin’ On

Smitty in Japan

This photograph was signed by two of my father’s buddies, John S. Lodero and Phil Martorano, both of Brooklyn, New York. Smitty (Everett Smith) is circled, but which two men are John and Phil is unknown.

When the SCAP Headquarters was set up in Tokyo, MacArthur was determined to create a “Peaceful and responsible government…” He also had to administer to a nation with nearly 70 million near-starving civilians and a constantly growing population of soldiers. The Japanese made the transition of being under one totalitarian rule to another quite easily and the general proceeded to supervise the writing and implementation of a new constitution. This was adopted in 1947, retaining the Emperor as a constitutional monarch and reestablished the primacy of the Diet. The zaibatu industrial combines were broken up and women were given rights.

Smitty’s brochures

The 11th Airborne was amazed by the change of attitude of the populace; without ever having actually been invaded, the Americans were being accepted. It made their future missions so much easier to accomplish. The Americal Division relieved the 11th Airborne on 14 September at their present locations and the following day, they began moving out by truck and railroad to their newly assigned zones in northern Honshu. Gen. Swing requested Gen. Dorn, who had served with Gen. Stilwell in China, to head the convoy.

In the Sendai area and billeted at the Japanese arsenal [name to be changed to Camp Schimmelpfennig, [named after the chief of staff who was killed in combat] were the – Division Headquarters, 127th Engineers, 408th Quartermaster, 711th Ordnance, 511th Signal, 221st Medical, Parachute Maintenance and the 187th and 188th regiments. The 511th went to Morioka [ name would be changed to Camp Haugen, for their leader killed in combat], the 457th and the 152d moved to Akita, the 472d went to Yamagata, the 674th was divided and sent to Jimmachi and Camp Younghans and the 675th went to Yonezawa.

In the Sendai area, Japanese authorities turned over hotels in the Matsushima area for officer’s quarters and their staff, which explains how Smitty came home with these beautiful brochures you will see pictured here. If you click on and enlarge the photo, you can see where Smitty pointed to the sort of room he was given.

Smitty’s room (bottom-right)

At one point while moving supplies, Eli Bernheim (S-4 Section of the 187th reg.), remembered the convoy of 40 Japanese charcoal burning trucks always breaking down and they became lost. The interpreter and Eli took out their map and became surrounded by curious townspeople. Eli slung his rifle over his shoulder and they scattered. The interpreter suggested laying the weapon down, the civilians regrouped and began touching his hair – turns out they had never seen an American before.

I suppose the word must have spread, because after that incident, the convoy was warmly greeted in every town they passed through. Once in their respective areas, the first priority was living conditions and the Japanese barracks were primitive with ancient plumbing and sewage deposited in reservoirs to be picked up later by farmers and used as fertilizer. The division historian recorded that of all the traffic accidents within the 11th A/B’s zone, NO trooper was ever guilty of hitting one of those “honey carts.”

General Swing made General Pierson commander of the 187th and 188th joint group which became known as the Miyagi Task Force. They set up their headquarters in an insurance company building in Sendai. The principle responsibility of the Miyagi Task Force was to collect and destroy all arms, munitions and armament factories. They were also charged with seeing that General MacArthur’s edicts were all carried out. Many of the military installations had underground tunnels filled with drill presses and machine tools of all types. The entire zone needed to be demilitarized and equipment destroyed. Colonel Tipton discovered a submarine base for the two-man subs and a small group of men still guarding them. They told the colonel that they just wanted to go home.

Smitty’s next move

Inside this brochure my father wrote, “No liquor here so didn’t have to go behind the bar, we drank our own. This is where I had my first real hot bath since coming overseas.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Vernon Bly – Beaver Creek, MN; US Navy, WWII, / USNR, Lt. Comdr. (Ret.)

Charles Byers – Santa Barbara, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., 385/551 Bomb Squadron, Purple Heart

Francis Cooney – Providence, RI; US Army, WWII, PTO, SSgt.

Nick Frank – Canton, OH; US Army, 11th Airborne Division, Armed Forces Press

John Hall – Natick, MA; US Merchant Marines / US Navy, WWII, Pto, Midshipman, USS Brill

Gregory Kristof – ID; US Navy, USS Rankin

Byron Otto – Bradenton, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Michael Stickley – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

James Thornberry – TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Elmer Upton – Port St. Lucie, MD; US Navy, WWII

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U.S. Army 244th Birthday / Flag Day

 

244 Years Strong

THE U.S. ARMY

AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL INSTITUTION

 

Since its official establishment, June 14, 1775 — more than a year before the Declaration of Independence — the U.S. Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of the American nation. Drawing on both long-standing militia traditions and recently introduced professional standards, it won the new republic’s independence in an arduous eight-year struggle against Great Britain. At times, the Army provided the lone symbol of nationhood around which patriots rallied.

 

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO VIEW THESE TWO (2) VERY SHORT VIDEOS.  THANK YOU

 

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Tomorrow is also Flag Day, an annual observance of the Second Continental Congress’ official adoption of the stars and stripes in 1777. At the time, they “resolved that the flag of the 13 United States” be represented by 13 alternating red and white stripes and the union by 13 white stars in a blue field, “representing a new constellation.” Now, more than 200 years later and with an updated design, the flag is an American icon.  Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is the only state to recognize it as a legal holiday.

As national treasures go, it was a bargain: $405.90 was paid to Mary Pickersgill of Baltimore, who fashioned it from red, blue and undyed wool, plus cotton for the 15 stars to fly at the fortress guarding the city’s harbor. An enormous flag, 30 by 42 feet, it was intended as a bold statement to the British warships that were certain to come.  And, when in September 1814, the young United States turned back the invaders in a spectacular battle witnessed by Francis Scott Key, he put his joy into a verse published first as “Defense of Fort M’Henry,” and then, set to the tune of a British drinking song – immortalized as “The Star Spangled Banner.”

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Harold Amstutz – Deerfield, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8/4th Infantry Division

Donald Buckley – Herkimer, NY; US Army, Korea, HQ Co./187th RCT

Thurman Childress – Stamford, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

Valentine Ellis – Bothell, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Clyde Holcomb – Mobile, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 566th Anti-Aircraft Division, 3 Bronze Stars

Robert Mackey – North Bennington, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.)

Sam Ostrow – Cincinnati, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Milton Persin – Oak Brook, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Harold Sanders – Hayesville, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Walter Shamp – NY; US National Guard / US Army, WWII, 109/28th Division

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September 1945 in Japan

Dai Ichi Building in Tokyo flying both the American and United Nations flags

Soon after the official surrender of Japan, General MacArthur moved his headquarters into the Dai Ichi building in Tokyo. At noon, 8 September 1945, on the terrace of the U.S. Embassy, he met an honor guard from the 1st Calvary Division; they held the Stars and Stripes that had flown over the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on 7 December 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day. As the red, white and blue began to rise… MacArthur said, “General Eichelberger, have our country’s flag unfurled and in Tokyo’s sun let it wave its full glory as a symbol of hope for the oppressed and as a harbinger of victory for the right.”

 

Hideki Tojo

Immediately after the ceremony, Major Paul Kraus and his MPs and a throng of reporters, (including George Jones of the New York Times) surrounded the home of Hideki Tojo. The general shot himself in the chest before anyone could enter his office. The bullet missed his heart. At the 48th Evacuation Hospital, he told Gen. Eichelberger, “I am sorry to have given General Eichelberger so much trouble.” The general asked, “Do you mean tonight or the last few years?” The answer was, “Tonight. I want General Eichelberger to have my new saber.”

Prince Konoye – 3 times Premier of Japan lies dead

The night before Prince Konoye was to be sent to Sugamo Prison, he drank poison and died. (I personally feel that the prince might have been acquitted of war criminal charges at the trials. He had tried for years to bring peace, his mistake being, his having chosen the Soviets as mediators and Stalin blocked him at every step.)

In reply of Allied and liberated Japanese press opinions of the Emperor, MacArthur was determined not to humiliate him: “To do so,” the general said, “would be to outrage the feelings of the Japanese people and make a martyr of the Emperor in their eyes.” As a student of Asian cultures, he proved to be correct. It would take two weeks, but the Emperor requested an interview with the general himself.

MacArthur and Hirohito meeting

His Majesty arrived in his ancient limousine with Grand Chamberlain Fujita and was met with a salute from General Bonner F. Fellers. When Fellers’ hand dropped, the Emperor grabbed it. An interpreter quickly explained that the Emperor was happy to see him. Fellers replied, “I am honored to meet you. Come in and meet General MacArthur.” Nervously, Hirohito allowed himself to be escorted up the staircase to the general’s office.

Trying to ease the tension, MacArthur told him he had been presented to his father, Emperor Taisho, after the Russian-Japanese War and offered Hirohito an American cigarette. The Emperor’s hand shook as it was lit and the general then dismissed everyone except the interpreter. The conversation before an open fire was observed, unknowingly, by Mrs. MacArthur and their son, Arthur who hid behind the long red drapes.

Emperor Hirohito rides at the imperial palace in 1940 wearing the uniform of commander in chief of Japanese forces. Associated Press

The emperor had been forewarned not to assume any responsibility for the war, but he did just that.”I come to you, General MacArthur, to offer myself to the judgment of the powers you represent as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of this war.”

MacArthur freely admitted being moved “to the marrow of my bones. He was an Emperor by inherent birth, but in that instant I knew I faced the First Gentleman of Japan in his own right.”

The Japanese acknowledged, without reservations, the temporal power of the current shogun, but revered what was eternal. (The Imperial Palace)

Resources: U.S. Signal Corps; “The Rising Sun” by John Toland; Gene Slover’s US Navy Papers; historyinanhour.com

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

“Cover me Johnson… I’ve got to Tweet this.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elton Barber – Buckley, WA; US Navy, WWII, ETO, USS Chester

Robert “Sam” Carlson – MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

THANKS Veterans for walking the walk!

Eugene Duffy – Beach Grove, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Willard Dykes – Meridian, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Albert Green – Sandy, OR; US Army, Korea, Co. G/187th RCT

James Heflin – Memphis, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO

Alice Jefferson – Stoneham, MA; US Coast Guard SPAR, WWII, Commander (Ret. 25 y.)

David Kesler – Berthoud, CO; US Navy, WWII, Baker 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA, (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Spence – Montreal, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Benjamin Starr – Montgomery, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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D-Day from a different view

German POWs

On 6 June 1944, Milton Roger Sosin, a seasoned reporter, took a ride up the south shore of Lake Okeechobee, Florida.  Overnight, the long anticipated invasion of Europe had begun.

The Miami Daily News was in search of local reactions from people in Florida – Sosin was assigned to talk to Germans.  Not German-Americans, and some weren’t too far away.

Milton Sosin, Miami Herald reporter

In May of 1943, Allied forces had begun to ship German POWs to the United States, more than 9,000 were sent to Florida’s 22 prisoner of war camps.  Near Clewiston, FL, was Liberty Point and Sosin was on his way.

On that warm day, he drove up U,S. 27, past pastures and farm land.  When he got to Liberty Point, prisoners were marching in from the fields, in formation, their shovels slung over their shoulders like rifles.

The draft had decimated the American labor force and disrupted the usual flow of Caribbean workers, so the Germans were put to work planting and harvesting sugar cane.

The Germans were happy to talk.  Yes, they had heard of the invasion, on radios the camp commander had bought them from what they earned running a canteen at the camp.  Enough of the POWs spoke English to translate the broadcasts to the rest.

June 1944 Headlines

The POWs told Sosin the reports were propaganda.  Germany, they said, surely would prevail.  Sosin’s story headline read, “Arrogant Nazis still laud Hitler.  Der Fuehrer’s Forces Think Germany Will Win The War.”

Sosin described the prisoners as “jaunty, confident and arrogant members of Der Fuerhrer’s forces – not cowed and beaten soldiers of a nation being pushed into a tighter and tighter circle.”

But their Glade home was no picnic for the fair-skinned men.  When the American Red Cross showed up, the temperature was 103°F and it had not rained for 6 months.  Prisoners worked long, hard hours, but the Americans could feel no sympathy for them – they knew what U.S. POWs in Germany were going through.

German prisoner buys candy at the canteen

The prisoners were paid 80 cents a day in coupons which they traded for cigarettes and beer.  Barracks held 6-men each and had mosquito netting.  They were served the same meals as their American camp guards.  Nearly 300 POWs fished in the local canals, saw films twice a week and assembled a band using instruments bought with their canteen money.

German POWs play chess

Prisoners had newspapers, took educational courses, played soccer and volley ball at a nearby school and competed against a local softball team.  But when the POWs went on strike whining over a cigarette ration cut – the army handed down a “No Work – NO Eat.” policy.

The prisoner’s had a social structure loosely split among the elite Afrika Korps captured in 1942; troops in Italy ’43-’44; and those captured after D-Day.  The Afrika Korps officers refused to believe what the new arrivals reported about the Normandy beaches and believed they were spies trying to demoralize them.  The korps prisoners would lord over the other POWs, doling out discipline and punishments.

Escaped German POW

Some tried to escape, but Florida was not the easiest place to go on the lam.  Most did not go very far.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ralph Brown – Maori Hill, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 424421, WWII

Paul ‘Bud’ Erlacher Jr. – Milford, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt. Medical Corps

Lee Holstein – Laguna Woods, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/187/11th Airborne Division

Durwood Johnson – Cravens, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 tail-gunner

John Knaur – Des Moines, IA; US Navy, WWII, steamfitter, USS Amycus

Jack Maddox (100) – GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, crew chief, 62 FS/56FG/8th Air Force

Newton Nelson – River Falls, WI; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Harry Siria – Thompson Falls, MT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, fire ship

Otho ‘Coke’ Wiseman – NM; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Elvin Zipf – Pompton Plains, NJ; US Navy, WWII, air corps

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Additional Surrenders

Lubang Island surrender

The extraordinary reluctance of Japanese soldiers to surrender was regarded by the Allies at the time as an indication of fanatical devotion to the Emperor.  While that was doubtless a factor, particularly among the officer corps, other elements may have been at play. Inoue Hayashi, a junior Japanese Army officer, claimed that the iron rule against surrender was necessary to  prevent a total collapse of morale. (Hastings 2007):

“If we were told to defend this position or that one, we did it. To fall back without orders was a crime. It was as simple as that. We were trained to fight to the end, and nobody ever discussed doing anything else. Looking back later, we could see that the military code was unreasonable. But at that time, we regarded dying for our country as our duty. If men had been allowed to surrender honorably, everybody would have been doing it.”

“Those who know shame are weak. Always think of [preserving] the honor of your community and be a credit to yourself and your family. Redouble your efforts and respond to their expectations. Never live to experience shame as a prisoner. By dying you will avoid leaving behind the crime of a stain on your honor.”

Prince Konoye – 3 times Premier of Japan lies dead

The logical demands of the surrender were formidable. So many different ceremonies took place across Asia and the entire Pacific. Here we will look into some that proceeded peacefully and others that refused the peace. In actuality, the state of war between the U.S. and Japan did not officially end until the Treaty of San Francisco took effect 28 April, 1952.

One mass surrender did occur at Noemfoor in September 1944 when 265 Japanese enlisted men, angry at their superiors for stealing their food for their own use. And, in August 1945, another starving Japanese military unit surrendered to a lieutenant in New Guinea. On 1 December 1945, Captain Oba and 46 members of his unit were the last Japanese on Guam to surrender.

In 1946, on Lubang Island, Philippines, intense fighting developed on 22 February when American and Filipino troops met 30 Japanese soldiers. Eight of the Allied troops were killed. Then in April, 41 members of a Japanese garrison came out of the jungle, unaware that the war was over.

Ei Yamaguchi entering his old tunnel.

At the end of March 1947, a band of Japanese led by Ei Yamaguchi of 33 men renewed the fighting on Peleliu Island. There were only 150 Marines stationed on the island by that time and reinforcements were called in to assist. A Japanese Admiral also went to convince the troops that the war was indeed over. The holdouts came out of the jungle in two different groups in late April. Yamaguchi returned to his old tunnel in 1994 and Eric Mailander and Col. Joe Alexander interviewed him. To see the interview go to – http://www.pacificwrecks.com/people/visitors/mailander/ (If this link was not done correctly, please go to Pacific Wrecks. com)

In that same month, on Palawan Island, 7 Japanese troops armed with a mortar launcher emerged from the jungle and surrendered. On 27 October 1947, the last Japanese soldier surrendered carrying a water bottle, a broken Australian bayonet and a Japanese entrenching tool.

USMC base during Operation Beleaquer

Not until late 1948, did 200 well organized troops give themselves up on Mindinao, P.I.  And, in China, 10-20,000 well equipped Japanese troops who were trapped in the mountains of Manchuria between the warring Nationalist and Communist forces, finally found a chance to surrender thanks to the efforts of the USMC Operation Beleaguer.

In 1949, there was one report of two men living in the shadow of American troops finally turning themselves in.

Teruo Nakamura was one of the last known holdouts of WWII when he emerged from the jungle retreat that housed him in Indonesia, December 1974. There were rumors of men claiming to be holdouts in the 1980’s, but none were officially confirmed.

Probably the most memorable of the holdouts was Hiroo Onoda, whose story we will see in the next post.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Personal Note – 

Those expecting a D-Day post, simply type, ‘D-Day’, into the Search bar at the top-right of this post and you are bound to find one of interest.  A rather different view of D-Day will be forthcoming.

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Military Humor – 

This comic strip was found on the opposite page of the Japanese surrender article, N.Y. Daily News, 3 Sept. 1945, by Smitty’s mother.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eli Blumenberg – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII

William Tully Brown – Winslow, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker

Dorothy “Red” Churchill (104) – Wallingford, CT; Civilian photographer for US military

Frank DeGennaro – Canonsburg, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. A/188/11th Airborne Division

Edwin Glatzhofer – Pinehurst, NC; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

H.W. Hanks – Memphis, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, 103rd Infantry Division

John Knauer – Des Moines, IA; US Navy, WWII, steamfitter, USS Amycus

Louis Levi Oakes – Akwesasane, NY; US Army, WWII, Co. B/442nd Signal Battalion

Louis Smith – Carlisle, AR; US Navy, WWII

Burton Walrath – Cedar Key, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Sgt., Combat Engineers

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Japanese Holdouts on Saipan

Anatahan Island surrender

 

On September 2, 1945, representatives from the Allied and Japanese governments signed the peace treaty that ended World War II.

Or did it?

In June 1944 American warships sank several Japanese troop transports. Survivors from the vessels swam to safety and reached the island of Anatahan, located approximately 75 miles north of Saipan. The island was uninhabited, and possessed steep slopes, deep ravines, and high grass.

In January 1945 a B-29 bomber from the 498th Bomber Group, returning from an air raid over Japan, developed engine trouble and slammed into a grassy field. The crash killed the entire crew.

The small group of Japanese who had survived the sinking of their transports quickly cannibalized the aircraft. They utilized metal from the wreckage to manufacture makeshift knives, pots, and roofing for their huts. The plane’s oxygen tanks held their potable water, clothing was fashioned from the silk parachutes, and cords were used to make fishing lines. The aircraft’s weapons were confiscated as well.

Surrender at Anatahan Island

Later in 1945, the Japanese were discovered by Chamorros who had gone to Anatahan to recover the remains of the missing bomber crew. The natives returned and testified to authorities that they had seen the Japanese soldiers and also one Okinawan woman.

Upon hearing this news, U.S. planes dropped leaflets on the island asking the soldiers to surrender. Fearing execution, the holdouts refused the request. With the small band of Japanese virtually isolated from the outside world, they were soon forgotten.

Then, after six years of this Spartan existence, Kazuko Higa, the Okinawan woman, got the attention of an American ship as she walked on the beach. When approached by a landing party, she asked to be taken from the island.

Upon her arrival on Saipan, Higa told U.S. officials that the Japanese did not trust the Americans. It was also learned that the woman had a busy love life while imprisoned there and her flirtations had caused some jealousy. It seems she would “transfer her affections between at least four of the men after each mysteriously disappeared as a result of being swallowed by the waves while fishing.”

Finally, the Japanese government intervened and contacted the families of the survivors, asking them to write letters telling their loved ones that Japan had surrendered.

In addition, a letter from the governor of Kanagawa Prefecture was sent to convince the “Robinson Crusoes” to give themselves up. It read in part: “Previously, in our country, a prisoner of war lost face. That is not so now. The Emperor ordered all our people, wherever they were, to surrender peacefully. I believe you have read letters from your family which said not to worry which will give you confidence to give yourself up to the Americans. In the box of new letters sent to you we are enclosing a piece of white cloth with which you can signal the Navy boat. You do not have to worry. The Americans will give you their best attention and kindness until you are returned to our country.”

This message was dropped on June 26, 1951. Several days later, the Japanese waved the white flag of surrender.

On June 30, 1951, the USS Cocopa, a U.S. Navy tug, appeared offshore. Lieutenant Commander James B. Johnson, the ship’s commanding officer, and Mr. Ken Akatani, an interpreter, made their way to the beach in a rubber boat.

Once ashore, Johnson and Akatani met with the Japanese to accept their formal surrender, now dubbed Operation Removal by the U.S. Navy. With their meager belongings wrapped in cloth, the survivors were brought aboard the tug and sent to Guam. Once there, they boarded a Navy plane and were flown to Japan to be reunited with their families.

Other stories of Japanese military personnel holding out in South Pacific locales continued for years.  We will discuss more in the following post on Thursday.

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Military Humor – 

This B-29 crew on Guam wasted no time in starting an enterprising venture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Beford Brown – Miami, FL; US Navy, WWII, Boatswain’s mate 2nd Class, USS Intrepid

John Cheesman – New Haven, CT; US Army, WWII, PTO

Sherman Douglass – Gloucester, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Bruce Dowd – Howick, NZ; RNZEF #637275, WWII, Pte.

E.W. “Tony” Gehringer – St. Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII & Korea, (Ret. 21 y.)

Richard Haviland – Harvey, IL; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Milligan Jr. – Savannah, GA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Michael Ryan – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, Higgins boat duty

Erma Scott – Huntington, WV; US Army WAC; WWII, Corps of Engineers / Pentagon

John Walker Jr. – Weaver’s Ford, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Cpl., 84th Infantry Division

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