Shipping Them Home at the End of WWII

Here is a superb article on getting our troops home after the war.

e-Quips

Like to dream, yes, yes
Right between the sound machine
On a cloud of sound, I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near
To the stars away from here
Well, you don’t know what
We can find
Why don’t you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf

From a forwarded email:

Can you imagine the logistical and administrative challenges involved in this operation?!! And, all before any computers! Staggering! AND, once they were in the US, getting them to out-processing stations and eventually home!

Remember what Eisenhower said at the end of the war, “Take pictures of the dead Holocaust Jewish people, a generation or two will never believe it happened”!!!

 Returning the troops home after WWII was a daunting task….

The Magic Carpet that brought everyone home.

 In 1939, there were 334,000 servicemen…

View original post 911 more words

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 8, 2020, in Home Front, Post WWII, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 117 Comments.

  1. Eisenhower was right to insist on pictures of the Holocaust camps.

    Sad to say, despite the photos, many people 2 generations later, deny the Holocaust happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    • People seem to feel better if they can rewrite history the way they like. I think we need to educate better, both at home and in our schools.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well said indeed Sir. It’s been sometime since I was on your lovely site forgive me. Your Country & mine are going through some terrible times right now. I fear for UK whats the saying “the lunatics have finally left the asylum”, we have Police guarding Buckingham Palace being chased away by blm/Antifa Anarchists Terrorists, Churchill’s Statue being defaced & wanted to be pulled down/The Cenotaph climbed and defaced our Union Flag burned, oh dear so many Brave Men including my Husband fought & gave their lives for the Freedom we have for the air these Anarchists breathe, here Race Relations have been set back 50 years, Anarchists want our History wiped out, you learn from History not destroy, Please Pray for old UK she’s in such danger.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sharing this one out. I knew it was an undertaking, but didn’t realize it was that much of one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Operation Magic Carpet. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post, both the narrative and great pictures depicting a tumultuous yet joyful homecoming.
    Great repost gp.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article, GP!
    (((HUGS)))
    PS…I was AWOL, but like The Terminator, ” I’ll be bach!” and now, I am back. I explained in a blog I just now blogged. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great share… Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, come home! Lovely article… 🇺🇸

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for an amazing blog. But I have a query for you. A few years ago on a Facebook group dedicated to Japanese Military swords, a poster showed a sword with an English note tucked into the saya (sheath). The sword evidently had been surrendered by a Japanese Lt. as a result of a naval battle between a junk crewed by the Japanese, and a raft crewed by US Navy and Army personnel won and took the surviving Japanese crew prisoner. It was described as the Navy’s last battle under sail. Have you heard of this engagement? I am searching for some detail on it. Evidently, it did take place but I can’t locate the annals for it. such an interesting engagement shouldn’t be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome share, GP. I enjoy Pat’s blog. Clicking over. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Another comment , GP. As if you don’t have enough to read already . Anyway: An uncle of mine flew a B-17 and went over to England on the Queen Mary . He and I visited that ship when they were first docking it in Long Beach as a hotel/ musuem . The workers let us wander around a bit . He related his memories of a stripped down wartime ship making constant evasive turns every eight minutes and every few hours to avoid submarines with the decks packed with soldiers . Another story that came to mind reading your post was when my father’s Navy ship was scheduled to come home after VJ day the captain decided to visit some Pacific island that he had apparently always wanted to see and so he re-routed adding a couple of extra days to the journey home . The ship was crowed with GIs, Marines , and sailors from island battles ready to return home ASAP who complained and evidently almost mutinied until the captain changed his plan . Thanks for your post to sparking my memory .

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan, you know I love first-hand stories. I thank you for taking the time to bring us your father’s and your uncle’s stories!! hahah, I sure wouldn’t blame those guys for holding a mutiny!!

      Like

  11. This is a very interesting article. Logistics has always been important in any warfare.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very interesting article with great illustrative photos. Most of my work career was in supply chain and logistics – this would have been one giant jigsaw puzzle. It was similar for Australian repatriations. You could argue less people, but correspondingly, less transport. And a nightmare for establishing who was where in the Japanese POW camps.
    I often think (critically) about our (Australian) WWI repatriation. It took over a year to get them all back. What they did NOT bring back were all the horses that men had taken over. What they DID bring back was Spanish Flu.
    The Matson Line luxury ocean liner SS Mariposa keeps making its way across my desk lately. My recent research pre-dated WWII, but in October 1945 it repatriated troops, and more famously, in 1946 it made four “BRIDE” trips, three from Brisbane and one from Sydney.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting, Gwendoline. Is your research into the Mariposa for a post or a book? The logistics for the military boggles my mind, no matter what instance!! (but I like jigsaws!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Neither. But it’s funny how it keeps cropping up. A fellow author wrote a book in which one of her characters sails in it as a war bride (The Passengers, Eleanor Limprecht, 2018). Then when I was in the States two years ago I met a distant relative who had also been an Australian war bride (not sure which vessel, but probably that). Then, in doing some family history for fellow blogger Derrick J Knight it cropped up again. One of his (Australian) relatives married a steward from the Mariposa, and arrived in San Francisco just as war was breaking out for Australia (1939).

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Some superb photographs and some superb generosity from ordinary, local people towards the end of the post. Thank you for re-blogging this interesting piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Those ships were so crowded but I bet there were few complaints because the men knew they were headed home. It boggles my mind to figure out how they found transportation home after they got off the ship in the U.S.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Logistics … I reckon! Talk about packed in like sardines! Great post!

    Also, great song, by the way. I always enjoyed Danny Kay and Steppenwolf.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Some of them had to worry about getting stationed from Europe to the Pacific , too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True. I’ve heard different stories about that. I’ve read that the best were sent over and other tales of the officers in Europe getting rid of trouble-makers and lackeys but shipping them to the PTO.

      Like

  17. What an incredible piece of this story. I’ve seen, in history books, crowded ships, but never realised the crowded conditions and massive work involved in this homecoming journey. I wonder if our soldiers today could do this???

    Like

  18. Nicholas M. Azzarone

    My father was in the 11th Airborne Division. Thanks Dad for my Freedom!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’ll never forget Peggy’s father’s stories about making his way home form India. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I just wonder if we would be capable of the logistic effort today…I know we have AI, but one slip in supplying details and there could be a mighty mess…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What an amazing feat to bring them home! Thanks for reblogging and thanks to equipsblog for posting. It’s claustrophobic looking at how many people were in one ship. Sending them to battle is one thing because they staggered them but bringing them home all at the same time could be a nightmare!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I didn’t think of that! food storage… good heavens.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Great article GP! Thanks for pointing it out. My grandfather came to America in 1906 on the SS Prinzess Irene, a German ship sailing from Naples. It was seized during WW1 and the name was changed to “Pocahontas.” It became a troop ship carrying troops to Europe and later returning the home. Stay well.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. The US became an exemplar of logistics, Napoleon less so. Great piece. Wow, to think Eisenhower thought that.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. GP, thank you for a wonderful post and insight on our troops coming home. I love the photos and one can only imagine their thoughts – joy for returning to loved ones and sorrow for experiences, but great patriotism for their willing service, and pride for a completed mission. Not to mention what families back home were feeling for those returning and those who never would. I certainly hope the lives of all on board were enriched following the war and that we have ensured their memories and history pass on. Their contribution was immeasurable.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Those are amazing numbers. And as you said, before computers! I don’t know how they did it.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. how amazing, and what a process

    Liked by 2 people

  28. What amazing photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. An amazing undertaking that puts Dunkirk into perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. As history gets rewritten this is such an important story. You have taught so many so much about the military and how vital it is to maintaining our Democracy. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Whether it’s supplying troops in the field or bringing them home, logistics is critical. Our civilian population learned a little about supply lines and the complexities of moving people from here to there when the pandemic first began. Things have eased considerably, but I do wonder whether we could handle a situation like troop repatriation in such a (relatively) efficient way today.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. It’s great that the government and our citizens went to such efforts to bring our service men and women home after the war. God bless America!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The mind of the logistics experts always amaze me. Did you see how many were on one boat? Now try to imagine feeding them 3-times a day!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • i have a hunch for anything other than a troop ship, they relied heavily on C-Rations or similar. The galley on a Navy ship is probably designed for their standard complement, more or less, so it would have to run 24 hrs/day to provide 2 meals a day.

        Somebody must know. I’ll ask my vet friend how they fed him when returning.

        Okay, he says because of a death in the family, he was flown on a C-54, island hopping to Hawaii. He was there about an hour before getting another plane back to the States.

        I found the Ile de France daily troop menu. Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, toast, jam, gruel, prunes, coffee/tea. An apple or an orange to eat for lunch. For dinner: meat, potatoes, 1 canned veg., soup, crackers, tea/coffee, US-style dessert (cake or cookies or similar). Most of the food was fresh, but prepared by British cooks. The consensus was that it was terrible.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for bringing us this information.
          I love the way the readers here help make this their own blog! By contributing family info, their research, etc. it becomes a chronicle for their own experiences and that of their families. Thank you once again, it is greatly appreciated.

          Like

  33. Thanks for sharing GP…intense…always mattering to understand more…peace Hedy ☺️✌️

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank you for another piece of useful information, GP! We should remember Eisenhower’s advice.Now we are in the time of the last survivors. Have a good week. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Who can look at those pictures and read the stories, and not feel a swell of emotion. Thanks for sharing the post. And thanks to equipsblog.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I was telling my mom about your blog – I mentioned all of them that I have read so far but we were talking mostly about the one where you mentioned the home construction (more industrial approach – factory builds). She asked it that was a response to the number of troops that came home all at once when the war ended. Now here is a post that illustrates the volume/numbers they had to deal with! I had no idea. Incredible! Gma would remember this – I’m going to ask her about it next time i see her (hopefully this afternoon) – Thanks for sharing this. That image of the POW’s broke my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was certainly a massive logistics workout!! We were trying to straighten out what citizen belonged where (because Russia kept sending people back, they didn’t want to feed them), clothe and house everyone in Europe, Rebuild the different countries, do the same for Japan – on top of all that, get these men home. Take one look at the troops on that one ship going home and try to imagine feeding each one 3 times a day!!

      Liked by 1 person

  37. GP, Thanks for sharing this with your viewers. Logistics is an underrated, overlooked aspect of a country’s ability to wage and sustain the warfighters. (And getting them home when it’s all over.) The Eisenhower School for National Security and Research Policy at the National Defense University prepares military officers and civilians for strategic leadership and success in developing a national security strategy and in evaluating, marshaling, and managing resources in the execution of that strategy. Ike was both a student and a professor at this school when it was still called the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

    Liked by 5 people

  38. Who would have believed then, that Eisenhower’s admonition foretold denial today? Do we never learn?

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Impressive effort. I don’t know about the WW2 situation but in the UK we had a number of problems in 1919 with riots and mutiny, as troops were not brought home quickly enough.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. I like the name Operation Magic Carpet. It was interesting to read as I’m sure this is how my grandfather arrived home.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. A really interesting article about part of the end of the war that is often overlooked. When my dad was sent home from India in late 1946, his ship was diverted to Durban in South Africa to collect other troops, and it took many weeks before he got back to Britain.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. What an amazing story. We have no conception of what went into that operation. quite incredible.

    Liked by 4 people

  43. Thank you very much, Steve for such an encouraging intro!

    Like

  1. Pingback: Shipping Them Home at the End of WWII | The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

  2. Pingback: Shipping Them Home at the End of WWII — Pacific Paratrooper | Ups and Downs of Family History V2.0

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