Pacific Theater items

Lipa Railway Station, May 1945

showing damage, looking south from Lipa Cathedral

The 11th Airborne continued their patrols, moping up details and training at Lipa. General Swing had another jump school built that created 1,000 newly qualified paratroopers. Plus, the entertainer, Joe E. Brown came to visit.

The new glider school concentrated on the “snatch pickup” method, whereby a CG-4A Glider on the ground with a towrope and a C-47 with a hook. As the plane goes overhead at an altitude of 15 feet, it snatches up the glider and brings it to 120 mph in a matter of a few seconds. (The noise from the plane, shock and whiplash must have been overwhelming.).  With May drawing to a close and the Japanese Army being pushed to the northeast corner of Luzon, the men of the division began to realize something was afoot.

Joe E. Brown passing out mail call on Luzon


23 May, at least 65 square miles of Tokyo had been incinerated by bombs and napalm. Later, the same action was taken over Yokohama, Osaka and Kobe. This left over 100 square miles of the principle Japanese cities devastated and one-third of the country’s construction destroyed. Japan’s factories were demolished.

The Sixth Australian Division attacked and occupied Wewak, New Guinea. This is relevant because it housed the headquarters of the Japanese Eighteenth Army. A major boon for the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations).

Young Japanese girls wore headbands that designated them as Special Attack Force members. Daily they would recite the Imperial Precepts for Soldiers and Sailors before they began a twelve-hour shift in a makeshift factory in Kokura, Japan. Here they were producing 40 foot balloons to carry a bomb package across the ocean as they were released to drift on the Pacific jet stream.

Japanese balloon bomb

A total of approximately 9,300 of these weapons were made and about 342 reached land, some as far east as Ontario, Michigan and Nebraska. Some were shot down or caused minor injuries and one hit a powerline of the nuclear weapons plant at Hanford, Washington. But – 5 May 1945 – near Klamath Falls, Oregon, a pregnant woman, Elyse Mitchell and five students were killed on their way to a picnic. These were the only casualties of the war in the 48 states.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wallace Bryans – Omaha, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Airborne Ranger, Master Aviator, (Ret. 24 y.), 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

Charlie M. Chester – Clarksville, TN; US Army, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

William Coughlin – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Lt. Colonel (Ret.), 82nd Airborne

Andrew G. Coy – Pure Air, MO; US Army, Vietnam, 5th Special Forces (Ret. 25 y.), Bronze Star, Purple Heart

James F. “Stocky” Edwards (100) – Nokomis, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, P-40 pilot, Lt. Col. (Ret.32 y.), Wing Comdr.

Ralph Grogan Sr. – Critz, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co B/9th Armored Battalion

Henry “Jimmie” James Sr. – London, ENG; RB Navy, WWII, gunner, HMS Sheffield

Bette Jensen (100) – Bedford, TX; US Women’s Army Air Corps WAC, WWII, aviation

Earl R. Lewis Jr. – Meadville, PA; US Army, Vietnam

Anne McGravie – Edinburgh, SCOT; British Women’s Navy WRENS, WWII

Thomas Rawlins – Bellbrook, OH; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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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 25, 2022, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 109 Comments.

  1. I remember reading about the balloon bombs and the Oregon casualties. I had not realized one hit the Hanford plant in Washington, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for another great post, GP. Those pictures of Lipa look so similar to the images we are seeing from Ukraine these days. Glad you are keeping history alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Americaoncoffee

    I am thankful that Indian troops in particular, the Gurkhas stopped the Japanese invasion at the border, in a hand-to-hand combat which was supported by the u.s. air force P40s.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I grabbed at my neck at the description of the glider. It must have been an incredible force to endure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s pretty much the impression I got. I know Dad didn’t care for them. As they were developing the gliders there were quite a few funerals he had to attend. He ended his comments about them at that, but it helped me understand why he hated to hear Taps.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had not realized any of those balloon bombs had actually worked.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Osaka is a beautiful place no GP

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Operating a jump school in the midst of a war sounds a big challenge. Thanks for sharing, GP! Have a nice week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everyone in Gen. Swing’s division had to be jump and glider trained. Being as he so many reinforcements arriving, the jump school was imperative.
      Take care.

      Like

  8. Thanks for another great post, GP. I forgot there were casualties in the US proper during WWII.
    Parachute jumping is dangerous. Glider assaults were beyond dangerous…
    Those are two of the funniest memes…and I couldn’t agree more. The chute dragging is just memories now but not the once a paratrooper always a paratrooper.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I would not want to be in that glider during take-off. Sounds scary! I don’t remember reading anywhere about the balloon bombs. I know about young Japanese girls being taught how to shoot.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I guess the balloon bomb was in desperation. What a shame for the young Japanese girls who worked to make them.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Such destruction required to get the message across

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Niet te geloven dat ze jonge vrouwen inschakelden voor produceren van die ballonnen in fabrieken. Iets waar ik nog nooit van gehoord had

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I had no idea that there had been WWII casualities in the lower 48.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The Japanese system of releasing the balloons was really imaginative. I have a feeling that they also tried to set North American forests and wheatfields on fire with incendiary devices that started to burn as the balloon got closer to the ground.
    The “snatch pickup” system sounds very brutal for all concerned. I can’t imagine that it ever worked, unless, of course, anybody knows any better……

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think those gliders were based on the ‘bumble bee theory’. Technically they can’t fly – but they do. Dad hated them! While they were developing them, he said he went to far too many funerals.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey, I have question…you wouldn’t happen to know anyone who lived/lives on a military base, and wants to give my fiction manuscript a readthrough just to see if there’s something glaring off about my setting?

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Another super report, GP. Thank you

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I have never heard of balloon bombs that caused damage and casualties in MId-America.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I had never heard of the balloon bombs until now. Wow.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Japanese balloons were the ultimate in “dumb bomb” technology.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. I did not know much about balloon bombs but had heard mention of them before. That’s a huge number of made ones compared to how few actually were reported to have reached land…thankfully.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. The prospect of being in a glider — in a war zone is terrifying. I had forgotten that they used them, but I remember my father shuddering at a movie about it when I was a kid.
    Great post, GP. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. A Balloon Bomb–that is clever but not terribly effective. I hadn’t heard about the only casualties of the war in the US as caused by them.

    If I haven’t said before, I always stop at the images you include with the remembrances. They are thoughtful, say so much in their pictures.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. That snatch pickup must have been a real head jerk! I hadn’t heard about the balloon bombs. Thanks for being so informative, GP. You’re a great source of information.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. So much effort was put into the manufacture of the balloon bombs, and yet they were highly ineffective.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I would not have liked to b e in one of those gliders!
    Thanks for ther information on the bomb balloons…I had never heard of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. All the way to Michigan, my home state! That’s evil man…

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s how they probably felt about civilians being killed in Japan from all our bombs, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, you are right, GP. I see the footage of the wars and wonder why? What is the purpose? Mankind has been at war with itself forever it seems. I am sick of it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • When I see wars or a pandemic/epidemic, it reminds me of the Nature shows I’ve seen when the ‘herds’ have to be trimmed. A sick way to look at it, I know, but humans do breed like rabbits. When I went to school there was 3 billion, now we have 8 billion people. The saddest part is, we kill off our best and protect the weakest, while Nature kills off the weakest – survival of the fittest.

          Like

  27. The Fu-Go balloon bombs were a ‘last gasp’ effort of course, but killing civilians on the US mainland must have been a late morale boost for the Japanese, as well as a terrible shock for the American people involved.
    Best wishes, Pet.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. The DRAG THE CHUTE cartoon could also apply to SHOOT in certain situations: Either you shoot the other guy, or the other guy shoots you.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Desperate people do desperate things. Love the ‘toons, GP. I wonder how the young Japanese girls felt about spending long days building bomb balloons.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. I didn’t know that Japanese girls wore headbands that designated them as Special Attack Force members. Interesting

    Liked by 3 people

  31. I did not know about the balloon bombs. You always teach me. GP. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 5 people

  32. I watched a documentary on those balloon bombs. They were very sophisticated, especially in that era. It’s so sad that they persisted in fighting a war they had to know had been long lost.

    I would not want to have been in one of those gliders during “take off.” That had to be scary as all get out.

    I hope you have a great week, GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. I’ve always been fascinated by those ‘bomb balloons’ but haven’t known much about their history. It’s interesting that I grew up in Iowa not long after WWII but never knew that one reached our state. I suppose part of the reason is that Laurens is in the northwest corner of the state, and we lived in the central part. It’s hard to remember these days that geography sometimes could be so limiting. Of course, all of the family lived south of us, so there wasn’t much reason to head northwest.

    Liked by 5 people

  34. Don’t suppose anyone realised what the horrible balloons were brining.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Wewak is where Dale Wilson’s B-25 was lost in late 1943, so his family watched for any news from there. Balloon bombs: The Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge has one on display that landed in Iowa. This is written by the museum curator: http://iowahistoryjournal.com/japanese-balloons-bomb-iowa-strange-true-story-world-war-ii/

    Liked by 3 people

  1. Pingback: Pacific Theater items – Nelsapy

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