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OSS in Kunming, China

Julia Child with OSS colleagues

The OSS group that included Julia Child and her future husband Paul found themselves in a flood in mid-August 1945.  But what they were encountering was nothing compared to the civilians.  Chinese villages of mud huts were “melting like chocolate.”  Farmers drowned in their own fields.  As the flooding began to subside, Japan was hit with the second atomic bomb.

The incoming Russian soldiers only added to the Pandora’s box that was already opened in China.  The OSS HQ in Kunming went into overdrive.  Eight mercy missions were launched to protect the 20,000 American and Allied POW’s and about 15,000 civilian internees.

Elizabeth McIntosh w/ colleagues during Kunming flood

All the frantic preparations – for rescue operations, food and medical drops and evacuation – had to undertaken despite the weather conditions.  Adding to the drama was the uncertain fate of the 6-man OSS team dispatched to Mukden in Manchuria to rescue General “Skinny” Wainwright, who endured capture along with his men since Corregidor in May 1942.

There was also evidence that other high-ranking Allied officials were held in the camp, such as General Arthur E. Percival, the former commander of Singapore.

On August 28, 1945, General Jonathan Wainwright steps down from a C-47 transport in Chunking, China, after three arduous years in a Japanese prison camp.

The OSS mercy missions were treated very badly.  Officers were held up by Chinese soldiers and robbed of the arms and valuables.  The mood in China was changing very quickly.  Even in Chungking, the Chinese troops were becoming anti-foreign and uncooperative.

Word from Hanoi was that the OSS was beset with problems there as well.  Thousands of still-armed Japanese were attempting to keep order in French Indochina.  Paul Child told his brother he well expected a civil war to start there very soon.  The French refused to recognize the Republic of Vietnam and worked with the British to push for “restoration of white supremacy in the Orient”.

OSS in Ho Chi Minh, Indochina

The French were becoming more and more anti-American.  They were using agents with stolen US uniforms to provoke brawls and cause disturbances.  The British were dropping arms to French guerrilla  forces to be used to put down the independence movement.

In Kunming, the streets were littered with red paper victory signs and exploded fireworks.  Some of the signs were written in English and bore inscriptions reading, “Thank you, President Roosevelt and President Chiang!” and “Hooray for Final Glorious Victory!”  Paper dragons 60-feet long whirled through alleyways, followed by civilians with flutes, gongs and drums.

The weeks that followed would be a letdown.  Most of them were unprepared for the abrupt end to the war.  Peace had brought a sudden vacuum.  One day there was purpose and then – nothing had any meaning.  The OSS would go back to their drab civilian lives.

Click on images to enlarge.

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“Secret ?”  Military Humor – 

CIA, ‘It’s Ferguson, our ‘Master of Disguise,’ sir — he’s having an identity crisis.’

‘I don’t have any formal training, but I do own the complet boxed set of ‘Get Smart’ DVD’s.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Dalton Jr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Clinton Daniel – Anderson, SC; US Army, WWII, PTO

Richard Farden – Rochester, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 95th Bomber Group/8th Air Force

Murphy Jones Sr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Colonel, ‘Hanoi Hilton’ POW

Robert Haas – Toledo, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co C/127 Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Dorothy Holmes – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Chief Master Sgt. (Ret. 30 y.)

Arnold ‘Pete’ Petersen – Centerville, UT; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart

Alfred Rodrigues Sr. (99)  – HI; US Navy, WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor

Tito Squeo – Molfetta, ITA; US Merchant Marines, WWII, diesel engineer

Joseph Wait – Atlanta, GA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot

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Soviet Invasion – August 1945

Manchurian operation map

Stalin’s simple purpose for declaring war against Japan was for territorial gain, for which he was prepared to pay heavily.  Before launching their assault in Manchuria, the Soviets made provision for 540,000 casualties, including 160,000 dead.  This was a forecast almost certainly founded upon an assessment of Japanese strength, similar to what the US estimated for a landing at Kyushu.

Since 1941, Stalin had maintained larger forces on the Manchurian border than the Western Allies ever knew about.  In the summer of 1945, he reinforced strongly, to create a mass sufficient to bury the Japanese.  Three thousand locomotives labored along the thin Trans-Siberian railway.  Men, tanks and matérial made a month-long trek from eastern Europe.

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
A Soviet marine waving the ensign of the Soviet navy as Soviet airplanes fly overhead after the victory over the Japanese occupation troops in Port Arthur, South Manchuria. Picture taken August 1945 by Yevgeni Khaldei.

Moscow was determined to disguise this migration.  Soldiers were ordered to remove their medals and paint their guns with “On To Berlin” slogans.  But train stations were often lined with locals, yelling support for them to fight the Japanese.  So much for secrecy.

Some of the men thought they were returning home.  After 4 years of war, they were dismayed to be continuing on.  “Myself, I couldn’t help thinking what a pity it would be to die in a little war after surviving a big one,” said Oleg Smirnov.

After traveling 6,000 miles from Europe, some units marched the last 200 miles through the treeless Mongolian desert.  “I’d taken part in plenty of offenses, but I’d never seen a build-up like this one,” said one soldier.  “Trains arriving one after another…  Even the sky was crowded: there were always bombers, sturmoviks, transports overhead.”

MANCHURIA, AUGUST 1945. Japanese cavalry troops along the Amur River in Manchukuo.

Machine-gunner Anatoly Silov found himself at a wayside station where he was presented with 5 mechanics, 130 raw recruits and crates containing 260 Studebaker, Chevrolet and Dodge trucks he was ordered to assemble.  “As the infantry marched, the earth smelt not of sagebrush but of petrol.”  Most of the men lost their appetites for food and cigarettes, caring only about thirst.”

By early August, 136,000 railway cars had transferred eastwards of a million men, 100,000 trucks, 410 million rounds of small-arms ammo, and 3.2 million shells.  Even firewood had to be cut in forests and shipped 400 miles.  “Many of the guys rubbished the Americans for wanting other people to do their fighting,” said Oleg Smirnov.

As troops approached the frontier, their camouflage and deception schemes were used to mask their movements.  Generals traveled under false names.  These veterans of the Eastern front were up against 713,724 of the so-called Manchukuo Army of which 170,000 were local Chinese collaborators.  The Japanese weapons were totally outclassed by the Soviets’.  Many mortars were homemade, some bayonets were forged from the springs of discarded vehicles.

MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
Soviet troops in Harbin in Manchuria, after their victory over the Japanese occupation troops, 1945.

On 8 August 1945, the Soviet troops were told, “The time has come to erase the black stain of history from out homeland….”  To achieve surprise, the Soviets denied themselves air reconnaissance.  The 15th Army crossed the Amur River with the aid of a makeshift flotilla of commercial steamships, barges and pontoons.  Gunboats dueled with the shore batteries.  One Soviet armored brigade made it 62 miles into Manchuria before the rear units made it ashore.

The Japanese Guandong Army had suffered a tactical surprise by overwhelming forces.  On the morning of 9 August, the Japanese commander, Otozo Yamada, called the Manchukuo Emperor, Pu Yi.  Yamada’s assertions of confidence in victory were somewhat discredited by the sudden scream of air raid sirens and the concussions of Russian bombs.  Pu Yi, a hypochondriac prey to superstition and prone to tears, an immature creature at 39, heartless in ruling his people, now was extremely paranoid and terrified of being killed.

Click on images to enlarge.

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(Russian ?) Military Humor – 

 

YOU get the CAR where IT needs to be!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Mason Ashby – Floyds Knoles, IN, US Army, WWII, PTO

Donald Catron – Logan, UT; US Merchant Marines, WWII / US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Arthur Dappolonio – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William Gutmann – KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Siboney, medic

Henry James – Rolla, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

James Knight – Longview, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Lundberg – Erie, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII,ETO, P-47 mechanic

James Petrie – Rangiora, NZ; 2NZEF # 19483, WWII, ETO, Pvt.

Roy Theodore – Lestock, CAN; Crash Rescue Firefighter, WWII, ETO

Eugene Williams – Washington D.C.; US Navy, WWII, ETO, LST, Purple Heart

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CBI – August 1945

Jim Thorpe

AMERICA’S GREATEST ATHLETE

INDIAN JIM THORPE VISITS CALCUTTA G.I.’S

Roundup Staff Article
CALCUTTA – A legendary sports figure, remembered by the current generation through record books and faded newspaper clippings of several decades ago, Indian Jim Thorpe, often described as the all-time greatest of all athletes, made a surprise visit to Calcutta this week.
Thorpe, 57 years old, didn’t come in with a lot of fanfare, he was on no USO tour. Instead, the man who was the superman of the 1912 Olympic Games at Stockholm, quietly arrived here as a member of the Merchant Marine and when discovered in the City by the Sea he was at work on the docks.
When friends urged him to appear for the G.I.’s here, Thorpe obliged. He attended the opening night of the volleyball tourney, made a radio appearance and toured local American hospitals. The veteran athlete got a big thrill from talking with youngsters who had come to regard the early-century hero as a myth, and little expected to see him taking an active part in the war as a Merchant Mariner.
Thorpe’s visit brought to mind many exploits and tales of the famous American Indian, who entered Carlisle Institute in 1904 and under Glenn (Pop) Warner’s direction became the star all-around athlete. Thorpe’s career reached a climax in 1912 when he carved a permanent niche in sports history by becoming the first man ever to win the Pentathlon and Decathlon events.
Recently, Arthur Daley in his New York Times sports column, stated that the “almost legendary Thorpe was the greatest athlete that America, a land of great athletes, ever produced.”
Thorpe’s athletic skill was exercised in many sports. John McGraw signed him to a Giant baseball contract, he played pro football, helping to organize the National Pro League 25 years ago. He played a low handicap game of golf, bowled with the champions and knew no sport that denied him the right to be classed an expert.
But that was long ago. Life hasn’t been too kind to Jim Thorpe down through the years and his fortune never matched his skill. Some months ago Jim decided to “get in the war.” All the regular military services scoffed at this veteran hero, and only in the Merchant Marine did he find himself acceptable. So, today Thorpe is a happier man – he’s back in the game.

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MANCHURIA: RED ARMY, 1945.
Soviet troops in Harbin in Manchuria, after their victory over the Japanese occupation troops, 1945.

The Soviet Union declared war on Japan 8 August 1945

Russian Armies Push Deep Into Korea And Manchuria As Nipponese Quit

Roundup Staff Article

Acting with their usual speed and power, Soviet Armies wasted little time in pushing into Manchuria and Korea this week after Russia declared war against the tottering Japanese August 8.
Breaking through at several points along a 300-mile line from Hutou to Hunchun the Russian steamroller reported only “moderate” to “meager” opposition, despite previous stories that the Japs had their best armies in the area. The Reds attacked both the East and West borders of Manchuria and into Korea, indicating a giant pincers operation.
Within three days after the declaration of war, Soviet troops had fought their way more than 200 miles inside Jap-held territory, with the main attack down the Chinese Far Eastern Railway. The railway town of Hailon was reported captured and heavy fighting is in progress beyond the Khingan foothills, natural barrier protecting the important Nip arsenal and rail center of Harbin. Soviet columns are within 350 miles of Harbin.

1,000,000 SOVIET TROOPS
On Sakhahn Island the Red Army has penetrated Jap territory and “fierce fighting is in progress” according to the Nips. The Russians, however, have said nothing about their activity in this area.
Russian marines, protected by the Soviet Fleet, poured ashore on Korea, capturing the Nip naval base at Rashin.

 

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Military Humor – CBI Style – 

When Men Were Men

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rene Allard – Central Falls, RI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Jenks

Rudolph Carboni – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII

Arthur DeMattei – San Jose, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 148th Infantry

Norman Ewert Sr. – Cheektowaga, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. A/1/345/87th Infantry

William Hess – Ocala, FL; US Army, WWII, SSgt., 928th Engineers

Jack Lyon (101) – East Sussex, ENG; RAF, WWII, ETO, navigator, POW (Great Escape)

Troy Mallory – Quincy, IL; US Army, WWII,334/84th Div. “Rail Splitters”. Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Stephen Nemec – Cleveland, OH; US Army, Korea, Cpl., KIA

Leopold Ramirez Jr. Mission, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Sam Saburo Terasaki – Denver, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Sgt., Co. A/100/442 RCT

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The British Unsung Hero of Burma

Major Hugh Paul Seagrim

Major Hugh Paul Seagrim

For all the heroes that became famous, there are just as many that did heroic deeds which, for them, was their duty. One of them, British Major Hugh Paul Seagrim, dedicated his life to resisting Japanese forces when they invaded Burma.

Seagrim was born in Hampshire, England in 1909. He was schooled at Norwich and then joined the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. In 1929 he obtained a commission in the British Indian army. He was sent to Burma and before long was accepted by the Karens, forming close friendships.

British in Burma

Burma, now called Myanmar, is situated west of Laos and Thailand in Southeast Asia. It was a colony of Great Britain from 1886 until 1948. The different major ethnic groups living in Myanmar are Burmans, Karen, Shan, Chinese, Mon, and Indian.

Most Indonesian countries regarded the British as haughty foreigners, who looked down on the native peoples while exploiting their land. They were pleased to find none of those traits in Seagrim.

He discarded his uniform, grew a beard and due to the sun his skin turned brown. The Major was always identifiable due to his extreme height of six feet four and earned the nickname “Grandfather Longlegs” from his men. He was a calm, grounded man who always put his men first and was kind to everyone.

Stuart tank advancing on Rangoon

In 1940, the Japanese invaded Burma, with their objective being the conquest of India. Over three hundred thousand British soldiers were forced to withdraw. Seagrim, however, stayed and fought.

The Burmans had their own Independent Army, which sided with the Japanese against the Karen, who possessed only crossbows for protection. Seagrim and his men hid in the jungle and obtained food and weapons when they could. Forced to move around to keep out of reach of the Japanese, they slept in crude bamboo huts and often had to eat rats. The Major was a man of faith and held a daily prayer service for those whose families had been converted to Christianity by missionaries in the 1800s.

After about a year of guerrilla warfare, the Japanese were aware of Seagrim and his men. Having by then lost their ability to wage war, they spied on the Japanese and relayed information to the British in India. Seagrim begged for reinforcements but to no avail.

The frustrated Japanese began attacking the Karen villages to flush the Major out of the jungle. One of their victims finally gave in after horrendous torture and revealed the location of the guerrilla army. As many as three hundred Japanese soldiers closed in on the area, but Seagrim and his men escaped.

Japanese firing squad

Rather than put the Karens in any more danger, the Major decided to surrender. He was taken to the “Rangoon Ritz,” a notoriously brutal prison. All through his captivity, the Major kept his poise, good humor and ability to walk with his head held high. He pleaded for the lives of his men, pointing out that he was the spy, not the Karens. When Seagrim refused to do what the guards told him, he did so courteously. He would not bow or show any submission but did so without animosity. Just his presence buoyed the spirits of the other prisoners.

After being sentenced to death by a Japanese tribunal, and ordered to dig their own graves, Seagrim and seven of his men were executed on September 22, 1944, as they were singing a hymn.

Seagrim posthumously received the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; the Distinguished Service Order and the George Cross.

The medals are on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military in the Movies – 

General admission – Private showing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth Adams – Cincinnati, OH; US Navy, WWII

John Bauer – Furth, BAV; US Army, WWII, ETO & Nuremberg Trials, MIS Interpreter “Richie Boys”

Harold Dawson – Bartow, FL; US Army, WWII

Allen Glenn – Great Mills, MD; US Navy, ATC, Vietnam, Desert Shield & Desert Storm

Gerard Gorsuch – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Bonnie Jackson – Edgar, AZ; US Army Air Corps,WAC, WWII

Jack Moyers – Denver, CO; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Christina Neigel – Verendrye, ND; Civilian, Red Cross, WWII

Robert Sommer – Woodstock, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 gunner

Frederick Wheeler – Concord, MA; Civilian, WWII, ETO, ambulance driver

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CBI – July 1945

From: the CBI Roundup – the Major has no wish to go home…..

Among the 10th Air Force *wallahs it is highly doubtful which is the better known story, that of Maj. George E. Williams or the crashing, smashing glorious finale of Little Audrey.
We can’t tell you the Little Audrey yarn, for the chaplain would probably raise hell, but we can and will tell you the sad history of “Hard Luck” or “Good Luck” Williams, depending on whether you look at it from your own or his attitude.

Williams is Quartermaster for the 10th, and scheduled to return shortly to the States. He is currently trying to avoid flying Stateside, so before we begin the sad saga of Williams, if anyone knows of a nice, comfortable boat with a fearless skipper who doesn’t ask questions, please inform the major.

Williams, according to the 10th AF PRO, is an affable soul, healthy as anyone can be who has sweated out about two years over here and is a moderately happy-go-lucky Air Corps *wallah. Unfortunately there is no one in the entire 10th who will knowingly ride in a plane with him.

Shortly after his arrival in the then CBI Theater the major had to be piloted to the Arakan. He arrived safely. On the takeoff the B-25 failed to rise fast enough and after hitting a tree the only part left intact was the fuselage which skidded along the ground to a dead stop amidst a huge puddle of gasoline.

The gasoline failed to ignite and out stepped William and the entire crew – unscratched.  Williams then entered into the full stride of his “accident” career. Included were several L-5 crackups, getting lost while flying less than 50 miles over flat country on a perfectly clear day, another B-25 mishap and an episode in a C-46 over The Hump.

It was the second B-25 adventure which soured Williams’ associates on flying with him anywhere for any known reason. After completing a tour of Burma bases, he had to be flown back over the little hump into India. The B-25 took off without incident and the plane flew towards the tricky Ledo Pass. But before crossing over into India, Williams found he could get off at a Burma strip just this side of the Burma side of the pass and complete his business.

“Cabin in the Sky” 10th Air Force

Our hero was safely deposited on terra firma and gaily waved goodbye to the B-25 crew as they headed for India. The plane was never heard of again.

Williams’ final air chapter came on a C-46 trip over The Hump. Unable to hold his altitude, the pilot ordered the passengers to bail out. Williams was number two in the parachute line. As number one stood hesitating to gather his courage before leaping, the pilot suddenly changed his mind and decided he could hold the plane in the air.

Williams, keeping his parachute on and gloomily reflecting that he would probably have to jump anyway, “sweated out” the rest of the trip until the plane put its wheels down. “Well, we made it,” commented the pilot, with a grim look at the dejected Williams.
So Williams is now awaiting transportation back to the States. And all things come to him who waits. Or do they?

 

*wallah – slang for a chap or fellow

HQ., NORTH BURMA AIR TASK FORCE – He is the oldest member of the 10th Air Force, having served three years both in the headquarters of the 10th and its units; he has been in service for more than five years, four and a half of which have been spent overseas, both in North Africa and the India-Burma theaters; but he is not a member of the USAAF nor does he wear an American uniform. He is Squadron Leader W. B. Page, of the RAF, serving as liaison officer with headquarters of Brig. Gen. A. H. Gilkeson’s North Burma Air Task Force, a 10th Air Force combat unit.

Page’s long tour with the 10th began just three years ago when he worked with the Seventh Bombardment Group. From there it was a jump to the original India Air Task Force, under Brig. Gen. Caleb V. Hayes and then to the headquarters of the 10th under the command of Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson.
Page is a natural for the job of liaison between the USAAF and the RAF. Although born and raised in England he lived in New Jersey and worked in New York City prior to entering the British forces five years ago.

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Military C.B.I. Humor – 

“Shome dirty shon-of-a-gun shawed my bed in half_____

“THE FOLKS ARE AWAY AND WE CAN HAVE THE SOFA TO OURSELVES.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Braatz – Kenosha, WI; US Army, All-Star Football Team

William V. Fuller – Hadley, ENG; RAF

Albert Madden (100) – Hyannis Port, MA; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Bugler 9th Infantry Division

Jason M. McClary – Export, PA; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., KIA

Richard Murphy Jr. – Silver Spring, MD; USMC, WWII, PTO, SSgt., KIA (Saipan)

Dennis Norling – MN, TX, & FL; USMC, Vietnam, 2 Purple Hearts

Robert Patten – Holllywood, FL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 1st Sgt.

Raymond Plank – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, bomber pilot

Leonard Segal – Bourne, MA; US Army, radio operator

Edward Shapiro – Schenectady, NY; US Army, 2nd. Lt., Dentist

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CBI – British receive POW’s / Vietnam in the picture

Japanese POWs in Malaya

“From May onwards, prisoners in a terrible state came in daily,” recorded a British gunner unit in Burma, “many of them armed with nothing more dangerous than bamboo spears, trembling with a mixture of malaria and humiliation.”

British soldiers in Burma

But if some proved ready to quit, others did not.  To the end, most Japanese who lost their ships at sea deliberately evaded Allied rescuers.  On the deck of HMS Saumarez, destroyer Captain Martin Power was directing rescue operations after sinking a Japanese convoy off the Nicobars, when he suddenly heard a “clang” against the ship.

Andaman and Nicobars Islands

Peering over the side, he saw a bald, heavily built Japanese man clinging to a scrambling net with one hand, while hammering the nose of a shell against the hull with the other.  Power drew his pistol, leaned over and whacked the man’s head.

“I could not think of anything else to do – I spoke no Japanese.  Blood streaming down his face, he looked up at me, the pistol 6 inches from his eyes, the shell in his hand…  I do not know how long I hung in this ridiculous position, eyeball to eyeball with a fanatical enemy, but it seemed too long at the time.  At last he dropped the shell into the sea, brought up his feet, and pushed off from the ship’s side like an Olympic swimmer, turned on his face and swam away.”

*****          *****          *****

By this time of the Pacific War, the Vietnam area of Indochina was in dispute.  DeGaulle demanded that the current Vichy government take a firm stand, but this was a disaster.  The Japanese had staged a pre-emptive coup against the Saigon administration.  Frenchmen became POW’s and their future fate would cause Anglo-American arguments.  When US planes arrived from China to carry out evacuations, the French were furious that the aircraft did not bring them cigarettes.

London’s Political Warfare Executive sent a directive to Mountbatten that highlighted the political and cultural complexities of the CBI: “Keep off Russo-Japanese, Russo-Chinese and Sino-Japanese relations except for official statements.  Show that a worse fate awaits Japan if her militarists force her to fight on… Continue to avoid the alleged Japanese peace feelers.”

The Dutch, French and British owners of the old Eastern empires were increasingly preoccupied with regaining their lost territories – and they were conscious that they could expect scant help from the Americans to achieve this.  The British Embassy in Washington told the Foreign Office:

“If we prosecute the Eastern War with might and main, we shall be told by some people that we are really fighting for our colonial possessions the better to exploit them and that American blood is being shed to no better purpose than to help ourselves and Dutch and French to perpetrate our degenerate colonial Empires; while if we are judged not to have gone all out, that is because we are letting America fight her own war with little aid, after having her pull our chestnuts out of the European fire.”

Quotes taken from “Retribution” by Max Hastings

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Bailey – Parma, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., pilot, KIA

David Cruden – Hurtsville, AUS; RA Air Force # 422443, 460 & 582nd Bomber Command Squadrons

Fred Hermes Jr. – Villas, NJ; US Coast Guard, Academy Grad., Commander (Ret.)

William A. Laux – LaCrosse, WI & Arrow Lakes, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO

John Moore – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII, Captain (Ret.)

Ronald S. Richardson – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, ETO, Lt. Commander, pilot, KIA

Robert Stoner – Buffalo, NY; US Navy, minesweeper

Harry Thomas – Marlington, WV; US Army, WWII

Michael C. Ukaj – Johnstown, NY; USMC, Iraq (the NY limo crash on his 34th birthday)

Elwood Wells – Epsom, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Captain, 1337 A.F. Base, KIA

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Nudge In Rear Came Too Soon, So Mitchell Gunner Bombed Wrong Target In China

b25-12a

B-25, “Ormoc Bay”, by: Jack Fellows from the IHRA

By Sgt. Marion Hargrove

SOMEWHERE IN CHINA–This story has been held back for a while because the fellow was mighty sensitive about it, and he happens to be a tech sergeant, 6 feet 2 and weighing 200 pounds. He’s cooled off a little, so now it can be told.

The tech sergeant is Karl May of Yakima, Wash., an aerial engineer and gunner in one of the local Mitchell B-25 bombers. The tale goes back to the time when he was still a buck private, working as an armorer in his squadron and bucking like hell for a job on a combat crew.

They finally let him go on a few missions to try him out. He got along fine until his third trip. That was the raid on the big Jap base at Hankow, former Chinese capital, on the Yangtze.

There were two minor defects that day in the bomber to  which May was assigned: there were no racks in the ship for fragmentation bombs and the interphones were temporarily out of commission.

Well, they were working the thing out all right without fragracks or interphones. They had Pvt. May squatting by the photo hole with a stack of frag bombs and the understanding that when the turret gunner nudged him in the behind he was to cut loose with all he had.

Fragmentation bomb

It happened that the bomber had a passenger that day–maybe an observer from Washington, maybe a newspaperman, maybe just a sightseer.

This worth person grew unaccustomedly chilly, saw that the draft came from the open photo hole and decided to ask the private beside it to close it. The private – yep, it was May – had his back turned, so the passenger sought to attract his attention with a gentle nudge in the rear.

Pvt. May reacted like the eager beaver he was. He held one frag bomb over the hole and let it drop. Then he turned another loose into thin air. He was preparing to drop every bomb in the ship – until he was rudely and violently stopped. To May’s dismay he learned: 1) that the ship was nowhere near Hankow, 2) that he had been given no signal and, 3) that he had just wasted a couple hundred dollars’ worth of U.S. high explosives.

B-25 dropping frag bombs

The mission proceeded to Hankow, where May dropped the rest of  his bombs through the photo hole, an armful at a time. But his heart was heavy at the thought of having goofed previously.

When the plane returned to its base, there was an intelligence report from the Chinese Army waiting for it.  According to this report, two bombs dropped on a Japanese barge on the Yangtze had scored direct hits, sinking the barge and drowning 160 Japanese soldiers.

T/Sgt. May never tells the story himself and he gets mad when he hears anyone else tell it.  Only those who’ve seen the records will believe it.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wayne Bauer – Las Cruces, NM; US Army, WWII, ATO

Harry Carlsen – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, 2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

Images is courtesy of:
https://mywarjournals.com/

James Fleischer – Detroit, MI; US Army

John Guice – Greenville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Robert Hegel – IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 15th Air Force, navigator

Claude A. Rowe – Chuka Vista, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee

Elizabeth Schwantes – Kaukauna, WI; US Coast Guard, WWII

Leslie Thickpenny – Pukekohe, NZ; NZ Air Force, WWII, flight engineer

Henry Wheeler (100) – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, 12th Army, Intelligence, Bronze Star

Robert Zeigler Jr. – Ft Lauderdale, FL; US Army, Korea

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CBI Theater – 1945

Stilwell Road

Fish Story along the Stillwell Road

ALONG THE STILWELL ROAD – The latest man-bites-dog incident turns out to be a fish story.
S/Sgt. Charles T. Hardin, Trenton, Tenn., power shovel operator for an Engineering Battalion along the Stilwell Road, used the world’s largest fishing tackle to bring in a 100-pound catfish out of the Dihing River.

Hardin, an engineer, was scooping up gravel from the river’s bed, as it had been his custom to do over many months since he has been in ol’ I-BT. He noticed a massive, torpedo-like form wending its way up to the spot where his shovel was operating.

Charles T. Hardin

Giving the controls a quick one-two, Hardin hit the lumbering fish with the big bucket and stunned him into insensibility. Then, skillfully maneuvering the huge snorting shovel, he hauled him in as easily as dipping for a trout.

His piscatorial prize turned out to be a white bellied catfish, measuring almost six feet from tail to teeth. As Hardin put it, “I’ve scooped up a lot of gravel to help build this road, but I never caught anything bigger than a minnow before. This time I hit the jackpot.”

After the fish was hauled off to the company area, the boys began slicing off steaks for a fish fry was contemplated.
A real tribute was paid the Stilwell Road Isaac Walton by one of his buddies, who remarked, “Old Hardin can throw that bucket anywhere he wants!”

 

Poem from CBI WWII

THE DEVIL’S DILEMMA

I met the Devil yesterday beneath a shady tree;
His head within his hand was held, his elbow on his knee.
A frown he wore upon his brow; his horns were dull with dust,
And resting on his arm I saw his pitchfork red with rust.
“Well, ” I said, “what can it be that brings you up from Hell?
From all appearances it seems that things aren’t going well.”
He gazed at me with blood-shot eyes and bade me take a seat,
And so I sat and wondered why his face bore sad defeat.

“O, Mortal, know,” he spoke, “that once I ruled a proud domain;

Within the bowels of Earth I reigned o’er punishment and pains of those were sent to me who’d lived in sin and hate,

To suffer for eternity upon hot Hades grate.
My tortures were most terrible, no others could compare,
I though I had the latest thing in fire and brimstone there
But then came war upon the Earth with tanks and planes and guns,
And implements of war ne’er seen before beneath the sun.
Now all the souls that go below who’ve failed the living test,
No longer fear my kingdom, but go as if to rest!
But I must leave; I’ve dallied long and must be on my way.
I’m off to meet St. Peter and you’ll pardon me, I pray;
I have a plan we must discuss that may unscramble this,
For Earth’s no longer what it was; it’s Hell, that’s what it is.”

 

– BY S/SGT. G. W. HICKOX

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

“Okay, now we need to go to Plan B.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Anglin – AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, P-61’s 426 Night Fighter Squadron

John Bushfield – Boise, ID; US Army, WWII, 10th Mountain Division

Smoke Angel

Virgil DeVine – St. Louis, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-26 tail gunner

Charles Goodwin – Haskell, TX; US Navy, Vietnam, pilot, USS Coral Sea, KIA

Charles Hayden – Vancouver, CA; RC Air Force, WWII, B-17 tail gunner

Jay Kislak – Hoboken, NJ; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Anna Newman – Sarasota, FL; Civilian, WWII,  truck driver, MacDill Air Force Base

Albert Rivoire – Pawling, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 104th Infantry Division, Bronze Star

Robert Seeber – Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Isley

Geoffrey Wright – Orewa, NZ; British Army # 14418502, WWII, ETO & CBI, Captain

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C.B.I. Theater – June 1945 (2)

Assembling the helicopter at Myitkyina. Shortly after, it would land on a Burma peak for the 1st such mercy mission in this area.

AAF HQ. – Capt. Frank W. Peterson maneuvered the helicopter through the maze of jungled Burma peaks and set the small ship down on a rough strip atop a razorback mountain whose sides fell off steeply to narrow valleys 2,500 feet below.
Twenty-four hours later, after gas and oil had been air-dropped, he took off again, this time carrying a passenger: 21-year-old Pvt Howard Ross, ground observer at an isolated weather station outpost in North Burma who was suffering from a badly infected gunshot wound in his hand.

This air evacuation mission, marking the first time a helicopter had been employed in rescue work in this Theater, climaxed one of the most amazing stories to come out of India-Burma.  The story had its beginning when, after the forced landing of a B-25 on an isolated mountain-top in Burma, it was determined that a helicopter would be necessary to effect the rescue of the bomber crew, none of whom were injured. The request was made by radio to Army Air Forces Headquarters in Washington.

A crew at Wright Field, Ohio, was ordered to begin the dismantling of a helicopter and, working all night, loaded it upon a C-54 cargo plane by the following morning. meanwhile, Peterson, a Wright Field test pilot was ordered to accompany the engineering crew to Burma.

Four days later, the C-54 with its rescue mission cargo landed at Myitkyina, only to learn that the men they had been rushed overseas to rescue had already been evacuated.  It was decided, however, to continue with the assembly of the helicopter as rapidly as possible in the event another emergency should arise.

Late that night, Lt. Leo J. Kenney, commanding officer of the jungle rescue unit, awakened Peterson and told him that a member of a weather station located high on a 4,700-foot mountain in the Naga Hills, with a gun shot wound.  With  medical aid 10 days distant by mountain trail, air rescue had to be attempted despite the inaccessibility of the station even to parachute jumping.

Pilot Erickson & Igor Sikorsky test the Sikorsky R-4, 1942 The following morning the rescue mission took off.  Since the helicopter was not equipped with radio and Peterson and Lt. Irwin C. Steiner, another veteran pilot from Wright Field who accompanied Peterson, were flying over unfamiliar territory, the rescue ship was escorted by two L-5’s piloted by T/Sgt. William H. Thomas and S/Sgt. Gibson L. Jones.

Four times, the helicopter became separated from its guide planes, a low ceiling having enveloped the mountain country. But each time the planes renewed contact. Once the helicopter made three attempts before finally topping a 5,000-foot mountain peak. Another time, the ship ran out of gas and had to make a forced landing on a sand bank in the Chindwin River, where Peterson and Steiner sat down and waited for fuel to be air-dropped from the L-5’s.  Up in the air once more, the helicopter climbed up over rocky peaks which jutted sharp above matted jungle, finally landing at the crude air-drop field near the weather station just before running out of gas again.  The next day, nine days after engineers began disassembling the helicopter at Wright Field, Peterson flew the wounded man out of the jungle.

*****          *****          *****

General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell, commander of U.S. Armies in the China, Burma, and India Theater, proudly wears his newly received four stars on his collar and the tag on his jeep. October 26, 1944. He was recently promoted to the rank of Full General.(AP Photo)

Uncle Joe Stilwell has returned to the grim but satisfying business of killing Japs – as Commanding General of the U.S. 10th Army, which this week annihilated the remnants of enemy opposition on bloody Okinawa.
Okinawa’s soil today contains the mortal remains of Lt. Gen. Simon Boliver Buckner, Jr., the colorful commander who led the new 10th Army ashore last Easter Sunday. In their last hour of military triumph, G.I.’s and his ranking officers reverently buried the general beside the men of the Seventh Division.
The nation applauded the move that placed four-starred Uncle Joe in command of the 10th Army. While in Chungking and India, Stilwell helped plan and carry out the liberation of North Burma and the building of the Ledo Road which later took his name.

Joe Stillwell, one of the most beloved generals in WWII

Subsequent differences of opinion with Chiang Kai-shek led last October to Uncle Joe’s recall to Washington where he was given command of Army Ground Forces.
Stilwell carried out his job with AGF with determination and spirit, bit no one doubted that it was his prayer to be returned to a combat assignment against the Japanese.
The death of Buckner brought to 34 the number of U.S. generals lost from all causes in action thus far in World War II, including four lieutenant generals. Shortly after the 10th Army Commander was killed, Brig. Gen. Claudius M. Easley, assistant commander of the 96th Infantry Division on Okinawa, also died in action.

Click on some of the images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Style – 

“HEY BABE, YOU DROPPED YOUR HANDKERCHIEF – SIR!!

“HERE’S THAT STOVE YOU REQUESTED BACK IN DECEMBER.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Timothy Bolyard – Thornton, WV; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt. Major, KIA

John Breitmeyer – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Navy # NZ9045, WWII

Warren Foss – St. Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Helmer Holmberg – Brn: SWE; Swedish Army, WWII

John Innes – Brisbane, AUS; Civilian, Pacific War Historian eg: “Guide to the Guadalcanal Battlefields”

Ruth Mesich – Wakefield, MI; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Millard Odom – Bateville, AR; USMC, WWII, PTO, Sgt., 3/2nd Marine Regiment, KIA (Tarawa)

Vinnie O’Hare – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, WWII

Robert Prata – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Roy Stilwell Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 13th Air Force

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C.B.I. Theater – June 1945 (1)

Harassed and groggy after ever-increasing aerial blows, residents of Japan’s main cities once more sought shelter underground this week as Super-Forts rode high and unchallenged over the island kingdom. But, for once, the giant planes did not only unleash cargoes of flaming death. Huge paper bombardments also rained down on the cities, spraying millions of propaganda leaflets over wide areas.


Text of the leaflets was soon revealed by Radio Tokyo, which reported they were signed by President Truman and advised the Japanese people to get out of the war or face the same destruction that was accorded the German people. “Unconditional surrender,” the broadcast reported the pamphlets as reading “would not mean obliteration or slavery for the Japanese people.”
However, Uncle Sam’s airmen backed up the threats implied in the propaganda warfare with two “knockout” punches aimed at Nippon’s “glass jaw” – her concentrated industrial empire.

As Maj. Gen. Curtis S. Lemay, Commander of the 12th Bomber Command, assessed the results of last week’s destruction raids on Tokyo in an announcement that 51 square miles surrounding the Imperial Palace grounds in the heart of Japan’s capital city are “great masses of gray ashes and fire-blackened ruins of the few buildings left standing.” Super-Forts struck in force at Yokohama and Osaka.

Metrotogoshi Railway Station, Tokyo, after incendiary bombing.

The next day, more than 450 B-29’s returned from the heaviest daylight raid on Japan and reported giant fires were burning all over the industrial section of Tokyo’s port city of Yokohama. Later the enemy High Command conceded that “considerable damage” was inflicted and reported a high wind was spreading fires throughout the city’s automotive, aircraft, shipbuilding and rubber plants. Aerial photographs revealed that the raid, in which 3,200 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped, had burned out nearly seven square miles of Yokohama’s principal business and industrial center.

The Super-Forts were out again, this time striking at the manufacturing center of Osaka. More than 450 bombers, escorted by 150 Mustang fighters, dropped 3,200 tons of bombs. The attack was concentrated on harbor facilities, shipyards, warehouses and factories. Reports indicated that 86 square miles of Japan’s most highly industrialized city were destroyed or heavily damaged and Japanese broadcasts admitted that flames started throughout the manufacturing heart of the city were only gradually being brought under control.

Osaka 1945

The naval air force was out in strength, too. Striking on two successive days, planes attacked Southern Kyushu airfields from which the Japs have been launching suicide aerial attacks against the American fleet. Meanwhile, the Jap government announced that the entire naval air corps of Japan has been converted into a “suicide corps” for attacks against Allied warships.

*****          *****          *****

The British this week announced formation of new SEAC Army, the 12th, under the command of Lt. Gen. Montague Stopford, to be based in Rangoon.
In the meantime, the 14th Army continued its mopping up operations in Burma, with the enemy making desperate attempts to keep open his escape routes to the east.
At the “Kama” escape route, north of Prome and east of the Irrawaddy River, the British killed 1,221 Japs in a series of engagements.
In the Kalaw, area Empire troops have captured a “staircase,” which goes up to the mountains northwest of Kalaw. This was rugged terrain and presented difficulties comparable to any in the entire Burma campaign.
The Japs are resisting in Burma from Pegu in the south to Mawchi Road in the north. British reports say the enemy is just as fanatical as ever in his resistance. During the week, planes of Eastern Air Command hit troop concentrations in Moulmein and attacked the jetty area in Martaban.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Roundup Style – 

“BE CAREFUL, JOE! IT MIGHT BE A TRAP!”

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Blancheri – Los Angeles, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pharmacists Mate,  2/2nd Marines, KIA (Betio)

Harry ‘Bud’ Calsen – Brookfield, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, TSgt., A/2nd Amphibian Unit, KIA (Betio)

Robert Holmes – Salt Lake City, UT; USMC, Pfc., KIA (USS Oklahoma)

Robert Kitchner –  Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea

Richard Murphy – Washington DC; USMC, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 6th Marines, KIA (Saipan)

Henry Sakaida – Los Angeles, CA; Civilian, Pacific War Historian, eg: “Winged Samurai”, “The Siege of Rabaul”, “Pacific Air Command WWII”

Lester Schade – Holton, WI; USMC, WWII, PTO, Captain, 4th Marines, KIA,  (Enoura Maru, hellship)

Neil Simon – Bronx, NY; US Army Air Corps, (renown playwriter)

Arthur Weiss – St. Louis, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Lowell “Whip” Wilson – Lynchburg, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 306th Bomber Group, Silver Star

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