11th Airborne Division – June 1944 – Lt. Gen. G.C. Kenney

Crashed Zero, Lae, New Guinea

Smitty always made mention of how hard the soldiers before him had to struggle.  He noticed that no matter how hard people or nature tried to disguise their surroundings, the scars of war were everywhere.  In New Guinea, my father had a clear view of the battle remnants of General Robert Eichelberger’s Australian and American troops from when they fought on a similar terrain and in battles as fiercely intense as Guadalcanal – on each island the territories had to be taken inch by inch.  (Many veterans know of what I speak.)

Japanese equipment

Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, Chief of Allied Air Forces, in the southwest Pacific sent his complaints to the War Dept.  and Gen. “Hap” Arnold, head of the U.S. Army Air Forces to explain just that in 1942:

“… The Japanese is still being underrated.  There is no question of our being able to defeat him, but the time, effort, blood and money required to do the job may run to proportions beyond all conception, particularly if the devil is allowed to develop the resources he is now holding.

Gen. George C. Kenney

“Look at us in Buna.  There are hundreds of Buna ahead for us.  The Japanese there has been in a hopeless position for months.  He has been outnumbered heavily throughout the show.  His garrison has been whittled down to a handful by bombing and strafing.  He has no air support and his own Navy has not been able to get passed our air blockade to help him.  He has seen lots of Japs sunk off shore a few miles away.  He has been short on rations and has had to conserve his ammunition, as his replenishment from submarines and small boats working down from Lae at night and once by parachute from airplanes has been precarious, to say the least.  The Emperor told them to hold, and believe me, they have held!  As to their morale — they still yell out to our troops, “What’s the matter, Yanks?  Are you yellow?  Why don’t you come in and fight?”  A few snipers, asked to surrender after being surrounded, called back, “If you bastards think you are good enough, come and get us!”

“…I’m afraid that a lot of people, who think this Jap is a “pushover” as soon as Germany falls, are due for a rude awakening.  We will have to call on all our patriotism, stamina, guts and maybe some crusading spirit or religious fervor thrown in to beat him.  No amateur team will take this boy out.  We have got to turn professional.  Another thing: there are no quiet sectors in which troops get started off gradually, as in the last war.  There are no breathers on this schedule.  You take on Notre Dame every time you play!”

Gen. Eichelberger

It was after this one month later after this report that the specialized training for the 11th A/B began and the War Dept. also saw the need for improved weapons for this “new type of war.”   Under the direction of Colonel William Borden this effort resulted in: 105-mm and 155-mm mortars, flamethrowers, ground rockets, colored smoke grenades and the skidpans for towing heavy artillery in muddy terrains.

But – still at this point – only about 15% of the Allied resources were going to the Pacific.

 

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Military Humor – 

“Sorry sir, but the lads won’t go over the top if the ladder hasn’t been health and safety tested.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Abraham Bashara – Lawrence, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Ralph C. Battles – Boaz, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor

Gary Cohen – Tuscaloosa, AL; Civilian, Veteran’s Dept. Psychologist, (Florida condo collapse)

Louis N. Crosby – Orangeburg, SC; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co A/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Warren G.H. DeVault – Rhea, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 34493012, Co F/2/12/4th Infantry Div, Bronze Star, KIA (Hürtgen, GER)

Dielon Harwood – Guion, TX; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret.)

William MacDonald – Quincy, MA; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

Frank Nicholls, NZ; RNZ Army # 436280, WWII

Ward Russo – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Essex, mechanic

Edwin Sedran – Far Rockaway, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Elaine Smith – Syracuse, NY; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII

Glen F. White – MO; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc. # 371100, Co A/1/6/2nd Marine Division, Silver Star,  KIA (Betio, Tarawa Atoll)

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What should the caption be?

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 19, 2021, in First-hand Accounts, SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 112 Comments.

  1. Well documented as usual – My compliments!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for all that you do with you site; it is needed. Also, thanks for following my site, and for your likes of my posts, which are encouraging for me. Please have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Incredible foresight and understanding of Japanese national character.
    Caption: “As long as I am the one holding the steering wheel!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Imagine if the technology that exists today had been available then. Perhaps there would have been less underestimating?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps, but then there was always the possibility that this was all done to keep them active. I’ll have to find out what the men complain about these days, um….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Captio: “If it’s good enough for the Army then the Marines will want twice as many.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “It’s running a little rough today… maybe the transmission.”
    I imagine the debates between the upper ranks got pretty intense. It was cool to see the correspondence, GP. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Caption: “As long as I’m on the ground…I’ll fly anything” or “I hope I qualify for a section 8 . Is anybody watching?” or “This is a lot safer down here than up there!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My son just returned from 2 weeks of “gunnery”. He showed me a huge bullet from an even huger gun he used. The bullet was like 2’ in length. He drives tanks and fixes them, too. He is a Sergeant. He received new stripes of honor.

    My other son is a captain and saves people from fire breathing dragons and those who are trapped inside burning castles. He was in People Magazine for his bravery.

    Heroes Rock! And your site Rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. De japanners werden onderschat maat na wat gevechten zullen ze het wel geweten hebben Japanners zijn niet te onderschatten en vechten tot het einde

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think the Japanese are underestimated any more. Caption: “We’re going nowhere fast” to fit with the theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I find the general’s use of pronouns disturbing. Why “he” instead of “they” when discussing the Japanese forces? Was he trying to diminish the size of the enemy they were facing? Turn thousands of individual men into one monolithic being? I doubt anyone used similar pronoun usage when referring to the German forces. I have to assume there was some racism in that choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’d say that false assumptions about racial inferiority (ignorance) played a big part in thinking the Japanese would be pushovers. Kenney was pretty clear headed about what it would take to win the war and the importance of controlling resources. My suggestion for the caption is “Sunday driver!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Racial ignorance did play a big part, also that a majority of our citizens were originally from Europe and had relatives still there to be saved from Hitler.
      That caption is hysterical!! 🤣👍😎😂

      Like

  13. Excellent account. Please note – someone slipped in punctuation. Had to read this twice to make sense: (corrected)
    It was after this, one month later after this report, that the specialized training for the 11th A/B began, and the War Dept also saw the need for improved weapons for this “new type of war.”
    The next sentence needs a comma after “Borden”.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. A nice read. Thank you for sharing and lifting up our understanding about our military which always inspires our patriotism.♥️🍂🍮🍮

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Enjoyed the post, GP. A caption should be. “Gotta love those motor pool parts guys.”

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Good to hear a senior officer stating the truth .

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Very interesting! My father served in the Navy in the southwest Pacific. I never got tired of hearing his war stories.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Outstanding read as always.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Interesting about underestimating Japan. I suppose we did at one point.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Nobody who has read these home truths from George C. Kenney could possibly be against the use of the atom bomb on the Japanese. What would our casualties have been?

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Dear GP
    well, the Japanese were always underestimated, probably even today.
    By the way, our idea for the caption: The safest way of driving.
    Thank you very much for sharing all this information. It’s always a great history lesson visiting your blog.
    With lots of love from us all. Keep well, enjoy life and take care
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  22. High commnds usually manage to underestimate the enemy’s strength – and a lot of people die before they are woken up to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Excellent observation from Lt. Gen. Kenney. The Japanese were fierce warriors and loyal to their emperor and would fight to the end.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. The war in the Pacific was grueling from start to finish. I hear people talk about island-hoping, like it was an easy run across the ocean. They couldn’t be more wrong.

    I think the caption should be. “They told me the rest will be here any day.”

    Liked by 2 people

  25. The only word i say after reading your blog is WOW!!

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Wonderful post, GP. I was fascinated to read Kenney’s report–I learned a lot from it. I wonder how the Pacific campaign soldiers, sailors, and Marines felt about the Europe First policy. I’m glad we still have senior officers who have the moral courage, to tell the truth to the Powers that Be, except for those who think they are in Dr. Strangelove.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. We in the US seem to have a history of underestimating our enemies.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. Yes, you shouldn’t underestimate the Japanese. She had a long time to prepare. Thank you for sharing this, GP! Have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 4 people

  29. It’s interesting that Kenney used the third person singular grammatical form to describe the Japanese adversaries.

    Liked by 6 people

  30. Great piece GP. A lot of people forget that in WW2 all military planners had to go off of was aerial photos when planning an assault. On most of the major islands the Japs had fortified underground tunnel networks that hid a majority of their defenses and big guns.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Currently re-watching the Hanks/Spielberg mini series on The Pacific, really shows the dreadfulness of it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Pierre Lagacé

    Very interesting observations made by Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Thank you very much!

    Like

  34. Thank you, Matt.

    Like

  35. Thank you, Michael.

    Like

  36. Thank you for sharing the Gen. Kenney report.

    Like

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