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Intermission Story (5) – HMAS Patricia Cam

HMAS Patricia Cam

A bombing, a beheading, and an incredible escape from drowning using a pocket knife.

It sounds like the plot to a Hollywood film, but this is a piece of history about a World War II bombing off the East Arnhem Land coast that has been discovered accidentally after 74 years.

Reverend Len Kentish

One morning in 1943, coastwatcher and missionary Reverend Len Kentish and five Yolngu men from Arnhem Land communities jumped on board the HMAS Patricia Cam to go to Yirrkala.

The ship was then bombed and machine gunned by a Japanese sea plane.

“It blew the bottom out of the ship and she started to go down immediately,” historian Mike Owen said.

Mandaka Marika lives in Yirrkala, and his uncle Milirrma Marika died in the attack along with Djimanbuy, Djinipula Yunupingu and six other seamen.

“It’s a very sad feeling just like losing someone, a loved one … In our heart we remember our brave uncle,” Mr Marika said.

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Reverend Kentish was taken as a prisoner of war, the only Australian to be captured from home waters.

“The pilot got out with a pistol and beckoned to one of the men, and it happened to be the Reverend Kentish, and he swam over and got on board and was given a drink and they took off,” Mr Owen said.  “He was held captive for a couple of months … he was taken out and beheaded by his captors.”

Narritjin Maymuru and Paddy Babawun survived the bombing after an incredible fight.

They were underwater from the force of the bomb and drowning under a tarp, but they managed to free themselves by cutting through it with a pocket knife and their teeth.

“When they shot the boat, [Narritjin Maymuru] was underneath the water with a tarp … he had a pocket knife, he cut it and came up through that one,” Mr Maymuru’s nephew Danadana Gundara said.

But this story was lost in history for 74 years.

Mr Owen discovered it while looking for African coins in East Arnhem Land.

“On our last day we found a large piece of timber from a ship, and while I was investigating the find I realized it was in the right place for a Patricia Cam … So I started chasing the story down,” he said.

HMAS Patricia Cam Memorial in Yirrkala

A ceremony to commemorate those who died was held in Yirrkala this year for the first time, and a plaque in the community is the only memento for those who died in the attack.

“Every year we should remember these brave men working for the Australian Army that were killed there,” Mr Marika said.

The Yolngu men’s descendants are now calling for them to be commemorated at the Australian War Memorial.

“They offered their life, they sacrificed their lives for family and the land. That’s an excellent job,” Mr Gundara said.  “We are Australians and we have to do the same things for all, for black and white, we’re all working together.”

The additional survivors after reaching Darwin.

Click on images to enlarge.

This story is from ABC News Australia, 17 May 2017.

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Military Humour –

There’d better be some beer in THIS drop!

Smart Move!!

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Farewell Salutes –

Mavis Amon – Wellington, NZ; WA Air Force # 420507, WWII

Nichael Bond – Reading, ENG; RAF & Army; WWII, ETO, Middlesex Regiment

Harold Brown – Hunter’s Hill, AUS; RA Air Force # 74174

Patrick Crowe – Warrnabool, AUS; RA Air Force # 13544, WWII

George Davidson – Newtown, NZ; RNZ Navy # 8832 / RNZ Army # 620738, J Force & # 206028, K Force, WWII

Frank Hirst – Adelaide, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII

Hansen Kirkpatrick – Wasilla, AK; US Army, Afghanistan, Pfc, 1st Armored Division, KIA

Raymond Parris – San Antonio, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B/187/11th Airborne Division

Robert ‘Bobby’ Temple – Shiloh, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Oklahoma, Seaman 1st Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Robert Towns – Canberra, AUS; RA Navy, HMAS Barcoo

In honor of the Australian veterans that we have lost, please listen to “The Last Post” given to us by Paol Soren!!

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A Memorial for Australia’s Z Force

Jack Tredrea w/ several Z-Force members and local fighters

Jack Tredrea w/ several Z-Force members and local fighters

Members of a secret Australian military unit that conducted more than 80 operations into enemy territory during World War II have been recognized at the Australian War Memorial.

The Z Special Unit conducted missions in the Pacific and South East Asia, but their achievements were classified for decades.  Senior historian at the memorial Dr Karl James said members of the unit conducted some of the most courageous and extraordinary acts of World War II.

“It is only given the passage of time say from the 1980’s onward, the wartime records relating to Z Special Unit have been cleared and opened, that we are now able to talk about some of these pretty remarkable exploits.”

Jack Tredrea

Jack Tredrea

Dr James said the unit was comprised of about 1,700 members who were sometimes deployed in two-man teams working alongside a wide range of other allied services.

“They worked much more closely with local people, like villagers and they were also given some language training,” he said.

There were also women members of the unit supporting missions from Australia as professional ciphers.

Jack Tredrea, 96, of Adelaide, unveiled a plaque commemorating Z Special Unit at a service at the War Memorial, which he lobbied for alongside ANU anthropologist Christine Helliwell.

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One of the few surviving members, Mr Tredrea, was deployed with Z Special Unit as part of the stealth Operation Semut in Malaysian Borneo, that involved parachuting into the jungle with weapons and cyanide pills.

“We didn’t know whether the Japanese had arrived up in the highlands, we were jumping in blind,” he said.  “But luckily they hadn’t got into the highlands and we were welcomed that day by the villagers. Semut consisted of Semut 1, 2, 3, and 4, and each one had eight personnel … at the end of the war we [had made] over 2,900 kills and taken over 300 prisoners.”

Mr Tredrea and his comrades were sworn to secrecy for 30 years after the war.  He said the new Canberra plaque and the public recognition it brought meant a lot to him and other surviving veterans and families.

Z-unit, Borneo

Z-unit, Borneo

“For all these years no-one knew anything about Z which I think was a great pity because even the SAS today tell us that they are still working on what we started,” he said.

“I was always so proud of the work that Z Special did and when Dr. Christine Helliwell approached me with this idea [for the plaque and service] I was absolutely chuffed.  There are a lot of fellows looking down on us from upstairs with big smiles too.”

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ANU anthropologist Dr Helliwell came across witnesses to some of the units’ secret missions during her field work with indigenous Diak people in the highlands of Malaysian Borneo, near the Indonesian border, in 2014.

“I was expecting that the locals might not have been flattering about Australian soldiers as a lot of people were resistant to colonialism,” she said.

“But in fact the Japanese did not have a good reputation through Borneo and they really liked the Australian Z Specials who really worked hard to get along with the local people.  That’s why they were so successful in Borneo and they actually formed guerrilla armies and fought with the locals.”

Z-Force Borneo

Z-Force Borneo

She described the members of Z Special Unit as national war heroes.

“There were groups that went into rescue American airmen that went down, coming in at night on a submarine and then these little canoes,” she said.  “Those are really brave and risky things to do.”

Hundreds of people including veterans, widows, families and dignitaries attended the plaque unveiling, which Dr Helliwell worked with veterans and the ACT SAS Association to have installed.

Among them were about 20 surviving veterans of the Z Special Unit and 10 families of veterans from New Zealand who also served with the unit.

It was the first time a national commemoration has been held to recognize the service of the members of Z Special Unit.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Australian Military Humor – 005-478x640

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Farewell Salutes – 

Virgil Boyd Atkins – W.VA; US Army, Korea, 65th/3rd Infantry Div., Pvt., POW, Silver Star

Joe Hosteen Kellwood – Sunnyslope, AZ; USMC, WWII, PTO, Navajo Code Talker128075867

Roy Kellwood – Sunnyslope, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Dabney Montgomery – Selma, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee ground crewman

Allen Kenji Ono – Honolulu, HI; US Army, Lt.General (Ret.)

George Saxton – Worcester, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., Infantry

Gordon Eugene Thompson – MT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Captain, pilot

Charles Trout – Hernando, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

John Whalen – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Korea

Byres Wylie – Burnie, Tas., AUS; RA Navy # H2890 & RA Air Force # A22496

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Making Maps Under Fire: Surveying New Guinea in World War II

Ever wonder how the operations of the Pacific were planned? Where did all those maps come from?

The Rant Foundry

Filed in: War History  –  Author: JF Dowsett

HMAS Whyalla in camouflage in New Guinea HMAS Whyalla in camouflage in New Guinea

On January 2nd 1943, the Australian Navy corvette HMAS Whyalla was anchored deep in the Maclaren Harbour inlet on the Cape Nelson Peninsula in New Guinea. She had been brought in close to the shoreline and camouflaged with a bewildering array of branches, vines and bushes that were doing their best to hide 730 tons of steel ship from the Imperial Japanese Air Service, who at that stage still menaced Allied naval operations in the area.

Like a lightning storm a force of 18 Japanese dive bombers approached undetected and attacked in a terrifyingly determined manner. The Whyalla had field survey parties out on duty and her two tenders, the requisitioned trawlers HMAS Stella and Polaris, were sounding off the harbour entrance. Several bombs narrowly missed the Whyalla, which suffered damage from…

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January 1944 (1)

The New Year in the Pacific started off with a bang! Literally.

New Britain

New Britain

1 January – US aircraft from the USS Monterey and Bunker Hill attacked Kavieng, New Ireland and destroyed 7 enemy planes.  RAdm. Sherman’s carrier task force bombed a Japanese convoy of transports and several cruisers in those waters.  Fifteen B-24 bombers escorted by 68 fighters hit Rabaul, New Britain.

After a strike on Rabaul.

After a strike on Rabaul.

In other areas, the USS Finback sank and enemy tanker in the East China Sea, hitting her with 5 of the 6 torpedoes fired.  The USS Puffer sank the freighter  Ryuyo Maru and damaged another ship south of the Philippine islands.  The USS Ray sank the converted gunboat IJN Okuyo Maru in the mouth of Ambon Bay, Java.

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The 10th Air Force in Burma attacked a bridge on the Mu River.  Major Robert Erdin, in the lead B-25, pulled up to avoid a tree; as he did, he released his bombs and toppled 2 spans of the bridge.  Further testing of this method proved successful.  The 490th Bombardment Sq. became so proficient at it, they became known as the “Burma Bridge Busters.”

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The 13th Air Force, 868th Bombardment Sq. was activated to work directly under the XIII Bomber Command.  Their B-24’s were equipped with radar for night missions and would become known as the “Snooper Squadron.”

The 5th Air Force, with 120 aircraft (B-24’s, B-25’s and A-20’s) pounded the Saidor area on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, in preparation for an Allied invasion the following day.  The eventual objective was Hollandia, once the Dutch capital was now the Japanese center for shipments in the southwest Pacific.  Other B-25’s bombed Madang and Alexishafen.  Troop concentrations in the Cape Gloucester area were hit as well as positions at Borgen Bay.  P-39’s strafed enemy barges along New Britain’s coast.

The 7th Air Force used their P-39’s to strafe the harbor of Mille Atoll and attack the shipping north of the islands.  Two small vessels were heavily damaged.

Saidor, New Guinea

Saidor, New Guinea

2 January – Operation Dexterity was launched by the US 126th Regiment/32nd Division, who made a large scale-scale landing at Saidor, Papua New Guinea.  Although this was a harbor, with a nearby airstrip, it was poorly defended and the landing was covered by the guns of the 7th Fleet, making this an easy objective.

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This action put the enemy roughly midway between the west and east Allied advances and would sever the Japanese rearguard of the 20th and 52st divisions from the main enemy base at Madang, (about 55 mile [88 km] away).  Approximately 20,000 troops of the Japanese 18th Army escaped the trap of being caught between the Australians and Americans and were forced into the jungle interior of Huon Peninsula.

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When Saidor was taken, Gen. Hatazo Adachi decided to go to Sio to supervise operations personally.  His submarine was hit by one of the PT boats now patrolling the waters, but he managed to make it back to shore.  He ordered all troops to converge on Madang on foot while he waited for another submarine.

Gen. MacArthur would one day remark on the terrain of New Guinea as an enemy, “Few areas of the world present so formidable an obstacle to military operation.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – SNAFU

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Bruckner – Broad Channel, NY; US Air Force, Korea

David Bauders – Seattle, WA; US Army, Iraq, 176th Engineers, 1st Lt.228685_214560631902034_100000442955388_742352_2701778_n

Glenn Covert – Manteno, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Frederick Gervig – Los Angeles, CA; US Navy, WWII

Henry Luers – NJ; US Army, WWII, Vietnam, pilot (Ret.)

Francis McGrath – Winchester, MA; US Navy, WWII

John Panasik – Allentown, PA; US Air Force, 1st Lt.

George Spear Jr. – Stamford, CT; US Navy, WWII

Stan Tomkins – Ottawa, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Ian Wilson – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, Lt., pilot

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CAPTAIN REG SAUNDERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY

An article by Lloyd Marken about a remarkable man. The Maori say it almost musically…
Kia kaha, kia maia, me te aroha.
(Be strong, be courageous and compassionate.)

lloydmarken

Two decades before he was recognised as a citizen of his country he fought for it in two wars. He couldn’t vote in his own country where his people had been for thousands of years. This was nothing new. His father Walter (Chris) Saunders and uncle William Reginald Rawlings MM had done so before him in the Great War, the uncle not returning home. His family would continue to pay a cost for serving the nation. His brother Harry Saunders would die at Kokoda and his first marriage would not withstand his time away in Korea. What did change was that he became the first Aboriginal to be commissioned into the Australian Army going on to command 100 men in combat.

He was born in Victoria of the Gunditjmara people and worked in a sawmill from a young age. In 1940 he joined the Australian Imperial Force immediately displaying natural leadership skill, in…

View original post 472 more words

Tribute to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels of New Guinea

Papuan natives, known affectionately to the Australians as 'Fuzzy-Wuzzy angels', carry supplies during the fighting near Wau in New Guinea. The Australian forces owed much to native carriers who kept the forward troops supplied and helped to evacuate the wounded. AUS 1726 Part of AUSTRALIAN SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION

Papuan natives, known affectionately to the Australians as ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy angels’, carry supplies during the fighting near Wau in New Guinea. The Australian forces owed much to native carriers who kept the forward troops supplied and helped to evacuate the wounded.
AUS 1726
Part of
AUSTRALIAN SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION

THE “FUZZY WUZZY” ANGELS

Many a mother in Australia
When the busy day is done
Sends a Prayer to the Almighty
For the keeping of her Son.

Asking that an Angel guide him
And bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are
Answered on the Owen Stanley track.

Tho’ they haven’t any halos
Only holes slashed through the ear
Their faces marked with tattoo’s
And scratch pins in their hair.

Bringing back the badly wounded
Just as steady as a hearse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
And as gentle as a Nurse.

Slow and careful in bad places
On that awful mountain track
And the look upon their faces
Made us think that Christ was black.

Not a move to hurt the carried
As they treat him like a Saint
It’s a picture worth recording
That an Artist’s yet to paint.

Many a lad will see his mother
and the husbands, weans and wives
Just because the Fuzzy Wuzzies
Carried them to save their lives.

From Mortar or Machine gun fire
Or a chance surprise attack
To safety and the care of Doctors
At the bottom of the track.

May the Mothers of Australia
When they offer up a prayer
Mention these impromptu Angels
With the “Fuzzy Wuzzy ” hair.

by NX6925 Sapper H “Bert” Beros of the 7th
Division, 2nd AIF; it was actually written on the Kokoda Track/Trail !!!!

A MOTHER’ S REPLY

We, the Mother’s of Australia
As we kneel each night in prayer
Will be sure to ask God’s blessings
On the men with fuzzy hair.

And may the Great Creator
Who made us both black and white
Help us to remember how they
Helped us to win the fight .

For surely He, has used these
Men with fuzzy wuzzy hair
To guard and watch our wounded
With tender and loving care.

And perhaps when they are tired
With blistered and aching back
He’ll take the Yoke On himself
And help them down the track.

And God will be the Artist
And this picture He will paint
Of a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel
With the Halo of a Saint.

And His presence shall go with them
In tropic heat and rain
And he’ll help them to tend our wounded
In sickness and in pain.

So we thank you Fuzzy Wuzzies
For all that you have done
Not only for Australians
But for Every Mother’s Son.

And we are glad to call you friends
Though your faces may be black
For we know that Christ walked
With you – on the Owen Stanley track.

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Military Island Humor – booby-601x800

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Believed to be the last “Fuzzy Wuzzy” Angel recently passed away>>>

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Faole Bokoi – Papua, New Guinea, WWII

Click on link above to read his story.

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alfonso Carrasco – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187/11th Airborne Division

Charles Hart – W.AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, PTO

Coastwatcher's  Memorial; Papua, New Guinea

Coastwatcher’s Memorial; Papua, New Guinea

Thomas Hayes – Sydney, AUS; 3 RAR, Korea

James Lang – Newcastle, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

James Miller – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO

Ernest Patterson – W.AUS; RA Army, WWII

Pat Rogers – NYC, NY; USMC, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer

Frank Streather – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 452 Squadron

Hugh Thomson – AUS; RA Army, WWII

Warren Warchus Sr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 bombardier

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ANZAC Day

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In honor of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have fought in numerous wars for their freedoms and the rights of others; 25 April is the designated date for memorial ceremonies and tributes.

ANZACs hard at work

ANZAC’s hard at work

There are ceremonies for the ANZAC’s and there are other poems, but I believe this says it all…

Ode of Remembrance

ShowImage - CopyThey shall grow not old, as we are left grow old;ShowImage - Copy (2)
Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
 
 

Gone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten

The Spirit of ANZAC

The Spirit of ANZAC

Remembrance

Remembrance

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If you have the time – Please visit my past post for the Anzac Centenary and others.  Besides these, you could add ANZAC DAY to your Tags on your Reader pages to honor these troops. 

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/anzac-centenary/

From Su Leslie ____

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/six-word-saturday-aucklands-wwi-dead-lest-we-forget/

From John’s Storybook ___

https://johnsstorybook.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/anzac-day/

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Farewell Salutes –

Dick Beitler – Berne, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO

Mark Briggs – (Memoriam) – NZ Army, WWI, WIA

U.S Forces Honor Guard to honor all those that served for our freedoms in every war.

U.S Forces Honor Guard to honor all those that served for our freedoms in every war.

Donald E. Cook – Princeton, IL; US Navy, Korea, USS Columbus, Underwater Demolition Team

Gary Hardman – Newcastle, AUS; RA Navy, Vietnam, HMAS Paramatta, Ibis & Torrens

Alfred Hudson – NZ; RNZ Navy # C/SSX16068, WWII, ETO

James Lang – Hunter, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

Carl Mankey – N.E. IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, 2 Purple Hearts

Francis Queenin – Puhinui, NZ; NZ Air Force # 34677, driver

Marquerite Schouten – Wairarapa, NZ; British Army # W/315535, Cpl.

Frank Streather – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 452 Squadron

Honore Wright – Tauranga, NZ; WWII, ambulance driver

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November 1943 (4)

Matilda tank enroute to Sattelberg

Matilda tank enroute to Sattelberg

 

The battle of Sattelberg (17-25 November 1943) saw Australian troops capture a strongly defended Japanese position in the hills to the north-west of Finschhafen, and helped secure their position on the eastern tip of the Huon Peninsula, New Guinea.

The Australian 9th Division landed north of Finschhafin on 22 September 1943, at Scarlet Beach.  The Japanese retreated to Sattelberg.

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After the failure of the Japanese counterattack the Australians were able to go back onto the offensive. They still held a fairly narrow coastal strip, running north from Finschhafen past Scarlet Beach and up to Bonga. They also had an isolated outpost at Jivevaneng, on the road west from the coast to Sattelberg.

The Japanese held the high ground around Sattelberg, the area north from Sattelberg to Wareo, and a ridge that ran east from Wareo to Gusika, on the coast just to the north of Bonga. They also still had a roadblock east of Jivevaneng, manned by a company from the 80th Regiment.

The Australian attack involved three brigades now in the Finschhafen area. The 24th Brigade was posted to the north, with the task of cutting the Japanese track between Wareo and Guisika. The 20th Brigade was to clear the Japanese roadblock. The 26th had the task of clearing the heights of Sattelberg. The 4th Brigade was also moved to the area to reinforce the 9th Division.

sattank

On D-Day itself the attack was supported by the Matilda tanks, and by a barrage of American rockets. The attack with a howitzer armed tank in the lead, followed by a gun tank and the infantry. The tanks were to take on the heavily fortified Japanese bunkers, while the infantry protected them against close in attackers.  About noon the lead tank was immobilized after it ran over an unexploded Australian 25pdr shell. The tank was stuck just around a corner, so the other tanks couldn’t pass it or tow it away. The infantry continued to advance without the tanks and made some progress before running into strong a Japanese position that held them up.

On 18 November the Japanese pulled out of Coconut Grove, the 2/23rd’s target. On the road the 2/48th, again supported by tanks, attacked, and this time they reached Coconut Grove where they ended the day. On 19 November the tanks ran into an anti-tank ditch which held them up for some time. After this barrier was overcome the advance resumed until the terrain finally defeated the tanks. The day ended with a successful infantry assault up a steep hill covered by the first use of a fougasse (a 5 gallon drum filled with flammable oils) on New Guinea. On 20 November the advance west along the road continued, and on 21 November the Australians broke through the Japanese lines at Steeple Tree Hill. There was then no opposition until the advancing troops reached the first hairpin bend on the road. By the end of the day the Australians were ready to attack the Sattelberg ridge itself.

Australian troops start their dawn attack on Sattelberg.

Australian troops start their dawn attack on Sattelberg.

On 23 November scouts discovered a way across the valley to the right of the road, allowing them to conduct a surprise attack up the south-eastern corner of the ridge. On 24 November the Australians finally managed to get onto the summit after a day of very confused combat.

This finally convinced the Japanese to retreat north towards Wareo, their last major inland position. On the morning of 25 November the Australians made an unopposed entry into Sattelberg, while the deadlock was also broken around Position 2200.

In the north the 24th Brigade captured Pabu, blocking the Gusika-Wareo track, on 19 November. This was the main Japanese supply route, and they responded with a week of counterattacks. They also carried out a major attack towards the coast between Scarlet Beach and Bonga. The attack began on 22 November, but made no real progress. A few days later reinforcements reached the isolated Australian troops at Pabu. This secondary assault greatly helped the attack on Sattelberg by disrupted a planned Japanese counterattack.

Sgt. Tom Derrick raises the flag over the Sattelberg mission

Sgt. Tom Derrick raises the flag over the Sattelberg mission

The capture of Sattelberg helped secure the beachhead at Finschhafen. It also caused a great deal of damage to Japanese morale on New Guinea, and saw the failure of the last major large-scale counterattacks on the Huon Peninsula.

Information derived from Lancers.org; History of War.com; Australian War Museum; Wikipedia.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Albert Agnello – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII

Frederick Bicknell – W.AUS; Royal Engineers, WWII, ETO, 8th Army

Louis Cardin – Temecula, CA; USMC, Iraq, SSgt., 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, KIA

Clifford Cooney – W.AUS; Royal Air Force # 1750576us_and_australia_crossed_flags_sticker-r1405ba5224f9416183d3c5e1cb2c18ad_v9waf_8byvr_324

Jean Foust – Delphos, OH; US Navy WAVE, WWII, nurse

Buck Haines – Luka, MS; US Air Force, Cuban Missile Crisis

Gilbert Lesko – Port Orangem, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne

Matthew Locke – AUS; Australian Special Air Service Reg., Afghanistan, KIA

Andrew Russell – AUS; Australian Special Air Service Reg., Afghanistan, KIA

Elizabeth Strohfus – Faribault, MN; US Army Air Corps WASP, WWII, pilot

Joshua Wheeler – Roland, OK; US Army, Iraq, Delta Force, MSgt., KIA

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October 1943 (1)

Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, 5 Oct. 1943

Huon Peninsula, New Guinea, 5 Oct. 1943

2-4 October – on New Guinea, the Australians took control of Finschhafaen and the Allied troops were consolidated on the Huon Peninsula.  The Australians then reached Dumpu, only 30 miles (48 KM) from the northern coast.  This confined the enemy along that coastline.

4 October – the isolated Japanese post on Wake Island came under heavy naval and aerial bombardment from the US Navy Task Force 14, commanded by RAdm. Alfred Montgomery.  The B-24 Liberators dropped more than 320 tons (325 tonnes) of bombs.  Approximately 30 Japanese planes were destroyed on the ground and 31 counted downed by aerial combat.  The US lost 13.

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4-6 October – the final Japanese forces were evacuated from New Georgia.  This left the enemy with no air base in the Solomons.  The final air battles cost the enemy 27 more aircraft.  The total cost for Vila airfield area: the US had 5,000 casualties, including 1,094 KIA and Japan had 2,500 KIA.  (expensive piece of property).

6 October – In Burma, Gen. Sir William Slim became the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Eastern Command and also led over the newly formed 14th Army.

12 October – at Rabaul, the crucial Japanese air and naval base was hit by a massive attack of 349 US bombers.  In all, a total of 20,540 tons (20,913 tonnes) were dropped on the heavily fortified post by the Allied strike.

 

1-22 October – final plans were made for Operation Galvanic landing on Bougainville for the next ‘hop’ through the Solomons (Operation Goodtime) meant orders for the Marines of US Task Force 311.  Aerial bombings of the island continued and the air base was severely damaged on the 18th.  The Japanese lost 123 aircraft during another air raid near Rabaul on the 22nd.

Bougainville, a 150 mile-long fiddle-shaped island is the largest of the Solomons.  It has jungle-covered mountains, 2 of which are volcanoes, and only narrow beaches to land on.  Adm. Halsey picked the code “Cherryblossom” for the 3rd Marines operation.  The 37th US Army Division to follow 1 November.  This force would be up against the 6th Imperial Division; 35,000 of the terrorists of Nanking.

Gen. Vandergrift

Gen. Vandergrift

The commander of the 3rd Marines mysteriously fell from his 3rd story window at his headquarters in Noumea.  Gen. Vandergrift was chosen to lead the men in for the initial landing.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

6a00d8341bfadb53ef00e54f2c2fcf8834-640wi

getting-to-know-your-fauna-1.pngYou've got to align your sights, private!!

You’ve got to align your sights, Private!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pierre Bouvet – Mauritius; South African Air Force, WWII, 31st Bomber Squadron

Daniel Elloitt – Youngsville, NC; US Army, Iraq, MP command, KIA

Marcel Gagnon – San Leandro, CA; US Army, WWII, Bronze Starsalutetop

Jean-Paul Dubreuil – Port Coquitlam, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Korea, Major (Ret. 22 yrs.)

Howard Guthrie, Jr. – Vero Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 58th Bomber Sq., radar

Alfred Hargreaves – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Navy # 9315, WWII

Wallace McTammany – Providence, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Peregory – Esmont, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 29th Division, Sgt.

Roy Rossiter – Abilene, TX; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Janet Sommerville – Payson, AZ; US State Dept. & French Underground, WWII

Gerald Walter – Owosso, MI; US Army, WWII, POW

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R.A.A.F. Transport Pioneers

Added information about New Guinea.

The Rant Foundry

Aircrew and servicing personnel who travelled on the Lockheed Lodestar aircraft of No. 37 Squadron RAAF which escorted the Supermarine Spitfire aircraft of No. 452 Squadron RAAF during the move from Sattler airfield, near Darwin, NT, to Morotai Island in the Halmahera Islands, Dutch East Indies. They are seen here at Merauke, Dutch New Guinea, the first stop on the long flight. [AWM OG3059] Aircrew and servicing personnel working on a Lockheed Lodestar aircraft of No. 37 Squadron RAAF seen here at Merauke, Dutch New Guinea, the first stop on the long flight. [AWM OG3059] During 1943, an Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircrew pioneered the longest transport route in the world to be flown by a single crew, from Laverton in Victoria to the Kamiri strip in Noemfoor Island, Dutch New Guinea, a distance of over 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) across the towering unexplored mountain ranges of central New Guinea. The pioneer crew on this record-making run were Flight-Lieutenant R.W. Shore – captain; Flight-Lieutenant W.O. Francis – observer; Flight-Sergeant J. Caduch; Flight-Sergeant D. Sherton; and Sergeant N. Lazarus.

The route eventually became a regular run for the 37th Squadron’s aircrews who, flying Lodestars, linked Melbourne with the farthest RAAF outposts of New Guinea. Regularly flying 44 hours, these young Australians, most of whom…

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