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August 1944 (2)

Left: RM1c George Ray Tweed Right: Sergeant Soichi Yokoi

(Left) RM1c George Ray Tweed, (Right) Sergeant Soichi Yokoi

10 → 16 August – on Guam, when the resistance finally collapsed, only isolated pockets of Japanese soldiers would remain.  It was estimated that approximately 7,500 were at large.  Mopping up would go into 1945 to flush the enemy out.  The last enemy soldier finally surrendered 24 January 1972, Sgt. Soichi Yokoi.

A Japanese female nurse named, Shizuko was the sole survivor of the “Valley of Death.”  Wounded from her attempt at suicide, she was being taken care of by a US officer who told her not to move, he said, “We believe in humanity even in war.”  She didn’t believe him.  She said, “Everybody knows the Americans are devils, they tear prisoners apart with tanks.”  She added that she feared Americans, “…especially the black ones.”  The officer started laughing and told the nurse, “It was the Negroes that saved you!”

On Noemfoor Island, pointing to the enemy withdrawal.

On Noemfoor Island, pointing to the enemy withdrawal.

17-20 August – off New Guinea, the resistance on Biak and Noemfoor Islands was crushed as 2,000 paratroopers of the 503rd jumped and the land forces of the 158th RCT overtook the airfields.  Operation Cyclone was a success.

22-24 August – activity around the Philippines picked up with US torpedoes taking 3 Japanese frigates.  The USS Haddo was busy and even was able to claim the sinking of the IJN destroyer Asakaze.  On the 24th, the enemy retaliated by sinking the USS Harder off the Luzon coast with depth charges.

27 August – In northern Burma, the Chindits were evacuated after months of exhausting operations.  The last Chindit to leave was on this date.  The 10th and 14th air forces in the CBI continued bombing all points of opportunity in Burma and China, while the 7th Air Force off of Saipan continued to hit Iwo Jima.

T/5 Robert Kingston, Maj. Robert E. Pennington, Lt. E. Boyd (seated) and T/5 Joseph H. Hill operating on Chinese soldier on Salween Front.

T/5 Robert Kingston, Maj. Robert E. Pennington, Lt. E. Boyd (seated) and T/5 Joseph H. Hill operating on Chinese soldier on Salween Front. (photo from CBI Roundup)

In a radio broadcast by Pres. Roosevelt, he made clear the final decision that troops would be attacking the Philippine Islands and not Formosa.  Now the Japanese were also aware.  It was seen by White House observers that FDR had timed the invasion to make headlines for the end of his re-election campaign.

Operation Vogelkop

Operation Vogelkop

The 6th Infantry Division was slated to spearhead the operation in the Sansapor, W. Papua landing.  The 31st Infantry Div. was sent to Maffin Bay.  From mid-July till the end of August, the area was aggressively patrolled.  The landing used information from the 5th Air Force terrain experts and hydrographic equipment.

With the capture of the Marianas, Nimitz’s forces would head to the West Caroline Islands.  This operation encompassed nearly 800 vessels.

We must also give note of the PT boat service given on the coasts of New Guinea, harassing enemy barge traffic and preventing the enemy from putting reinforcements ashore.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Cary – Viking, AB, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

John Cloe – Anchorage, AK; US Army, Vietnam (Ret. 29 yrs.), WWII Alaska historian

Anthony Etrio – Fairfield, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div., Purple Heart

Gettysburg

Gettysburg

Angus ‘Jay’ Jameson – Carrollton, GA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Bernard Ginn Que Jee – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Korea, Cpl.

Joseph Hillman Jr. – Rock Run, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII / US AF, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret.)

Edward Lewis – Green River, WY; US Army, WWII

Gabriel Sanchez – Lincoln, NM; US Army, WWII, ETO

Joel D. Sollender – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW, 87th Inf. Div., Purple Heart

Henry Valdivia Jr. – Phoenix, AZ; US Navy, WWII

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July 1944 (2)

Soldiers near Aitape, New Guinea, July 1944

Soldiers near Aitape, New Guinea, July 1944

1o-11 July – on the night of 10th/11th July the trapped Japanese 18th Army attempted to break through US lines.  In what became known as the Battle of Driniumor River they attacked in a solid mass of around 10,000 men in a suicidal frontal assault. This was an attempt to ensure that some men would successfully break through – which they did – but it was achieved at appalling cost.

The Japanese were now aware of how strongly defended the US positions were. US machine gunners cut down hundreds of the Japanese, with some reports of so many bodies piled up in front of US positions that that they blocked the field of fire and men had to go forward to clear them away.    MGeneral H. W. Blakeley recorded:

 

“Shortly before midnight, after a short artillery preparation, which came as a surprise because no enemy artillery had been identified within range of the Driniumor, [10,000] enemy infantry in screaming waves began charging across the river against Companies E and G 128TH Infantry, in the south part of the sector of the 2D Battalion, 128TH Infantry

“The attack in the Company G sector was stopped, but another attack which hit Company E shortly after the first assault was more successful largely because of the physical impossibility of holding a position in the dark against an attacking force believed to have a ten to one superiority over the defenders. By dawn the Japanese held a good-sized area of wooded high ground to the left rear of Company G.”

 

11 July – Franklin Roosevelt announced his intention to run for an unprecedented fourth term in office as President of the United States.

On New Guinea, the Babo airfield was hit along with supply dumps at Kokas.  Manowari, Waren and Moemi were also bombed.  Halmahera Island received destruction of various enemy installations.

Aitape area

Aitape area

13-14 July – the land/sea war in and around New Guinea continued as warships bombarded Aitape to support the Australian and US troops advancing up the northern coastline.  Heavy fighting and a Japanese attack, under Gen. Adachi, at the Wewak River had slowed their progress.  The Allied troops launched a double enveloping counteroffensive that divided Adachi’s men into two groups, which soon rendered them useless.  Nevertheless, combat would continue for 4 more weeks.

 

In the CBI arena, the 10th Air Force was bombing and strafing the Myitkyina area to support their ground troops, while bridges were bombed at five other areas.  The 14th Air Force in China caused massive damaged at the Pailochi and 2 other air fields along with compounds, river shipping, troop concentrations and railroad yards.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Martin Alexander – Columbia, FL; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret.) pilot

Arthur Brown Jr. – Spokane, WA; US Navy, WWIItributesarmy

Ray Cochran – Melbourne, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Arturo Franco – Dallas, OR; US Army, Kosovo & Afghanistan, 82nd Airborne Division

Leon Glowicki – Bay City, MI; US Army, Korea, 7th Division, Engineers

Theodore Larson – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

John McGinn – Portsmouth, NH; US Army, HQ Co/88th Infantry Division

George Roberts – Birkenhead, ENG; Fleet Air Arm, WWII

Albert G. Smith – AUS; RA Army, WWII, PTO, Z Force

George Thompson – Albury, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, B-24 co-pilot

Peter Vukovich Sr. – Hammond, IN; US Navy, WWII, ETO

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Canadian-Chinese in the C.B.I. 1944-45

 

Force 136

Force 136

Rumble in the Jungle: The Story of Force 136 is on at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver Canada until the end of 2016.  More information at: www.ccmms.ca

Ironically, while these men were agents for the Allies, back home in Canada they were not considered citizens. Although born in Canada, these soldiers could not vote, nor could they become engineers, doctors or lawyers. Many were forced to live in segregated neighborhoods. In some cities, they were forbidden to swim in public pools and were forced to sit in the back of theaters.

In late 1941, Japan entered the war. It quickly invaded large swathes of Southeast Asia. Many of these areas had been British, French and Dutch colonies.

Britain was desperate to infiltrate the region. They had had some success in occupied Europe when Special Operations Executive (SOE.) trained and dropped secret agents into France, Belgium, and Holland. These agents organized and supported local resistance fighters, and helped with espionage and sabotage of infrastructure and German supply lines and equipment.

Training camp near Poona, India. (another camp was in Australia).

Training camp near Poona, India. (another camp was in Australia).

However, Southeast Asia presented unique challenges to SOE. It was a vast area with many islands, challenging physical terrain and diverse populations and languages. As well, most of the residents of the region resented their former colonizers.

SOE realized that Caucasian agents would stand out too much and would struggle to gain local trust. The British needed an alternative.

There was one glimmer of hope. Scattered throughout the region was a sizeable population of Chinese who were vehemently opposed to Japanese occupation and angry about Japanese aggression in China. The question was how to contact and organize them?

Training by British Intelligence.

Training by British Intelligence.

That’s when the British discovered Chinese Canadians. They could easily blend into the population. They could speak Cantonese. They were loyal to the Allies. And there were lots of these young men waiting for an assignment.

Between 1944 and 1945, Chinese Canadians were recruited and quietly seconded to SOE in Southeast Asia (Force 136). They were told they had a 50-50 chance of surviving. They also were sworn to secrecy.

To do this kind of work would require much more than basic army training. The men would need to learn commando warfare techniques. Over the course of several months they learned skills such as: stalking; silent killing; demolition; jungle travel and survival; wireless operations; espionage; and parachuting.

Originally unsure that Chinese Canadians could pass muster, SOE recruited in waves. The first team consisted of only 13 hand-picked men. Eventually, about 150 were seconded for Southeast Asia with the majority based out of India.

Force 136

Force 136

Some men had been assigned to do short trips into occupied Burma. But 14 Chinese Canadians found themselves operating behind Japanese lines for several months in Borneo, Malay, and Singapore. They endured primitive conditions as well as suffocating heat and humidity. They befriended headhunters and other guerrilla groups in the jungles. To survive, some men were forced to eat monkey and crocodile meat, and even insects.

Fortunately, all the Chinese Canadians in Force 136 survived the war although some came back sick with tropical diseases.

With the war over and the Allies victorious, Chinese Canadians now wanted a second victory – the right to vote. Armed with their war wounds and service records, veterans became part of a chorus that demanded full citizenship for the community.  Their loyalty won out. Two years after the guns fell silent, Chinese Canadians were finally granted citizenship. By 1957, the country elected their first Chinese Canadian Member of Parliament: Douglas Jung, who had served with Force 136.

Veterans from Force 136; Hank Lowe, Gordon Quan, Tommy Wong, Charlie Lee & Ronald Lee, cut their cake, 14 May 2016

Veterans from Force 136; Hank Lowe, Gordon Quan, Tommy Wong, Charlie Lee & Ronald Lee, cut their cake, 14 May 2016

Today, through the Museum’s special exhibition, a new generation is learning how the blood, sweat, and tears of a small group of men, in a secret jungle war, helped change the destiny of an entire community. And how their service helped secure a coveted title: the right to be called a “Chinese Canadian.”

Condensed from information found with the Chinese-Canadian Military Museum, Vancouver, Canada.

Click on images to enlarge.

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CBI Roundup Humor  – Private Louie by Somerville

 

"I guess it's safe to say - he DOESN'T like snakes !"

“I guess it’s safe to say – he DOESN’T like snakes !”

Louie leaving for a change & rest - the bearers have all his change and the railroad got the rest !

Louie leaving for a change & rest – the bearers have all his change and the railroad got the rest !

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Albert – Milwaukee, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Kenneth Bailey – Ames, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 pilot, Major (Ret.)

Passing the Colors

Passing the Colors

Joseph Clancy – Durand, MI; US Army, WWII & Korea, Captain

Kenneth Eastlick – Osoyoos, BC, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Beryl Head – Hawke’s Bay, NZ; WR Air Force, WWII, LACW R-T operator

George Keyser – Redington Bch., FL; US Army, WWII/USAF, Korean War

Keith Meredith – Launceston, AUS; RA Army # TX6408, WWII, 6th & 2nd Regiments

Garrett ‘Ray’ Myers – Hemet, CA; US Navy, WWII, signalman

Allen Pellegrin – Houma, LA; US Army, WWII, 109th Engineers/”Red Bull” Division

Karl Zerfoss – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, 397th/100th Infantry Div., T-5 radio operator

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June 1944 (5)

Clearing a road-block on the Imphal-Kohima Road

Clearing a road-block on the Imphal-Kohima Road

Around the wide Pacific…….

14 June – Iwo Jima, in the Volcano Island group, and Chichi Jima & Haha Jima, in the Bonins, were attacked by US carrier aircraft.  Installations were bombed and strafed.  The Japanese lost: 39 planes shot down, 25 aircraft destroyed on the ground, 2 freighters sunk and several heavily damaged.  The US lost: 8 aircraft, with 3 more downed the following day.

15 June – on Biak Island, New Guinea, US ground forces were not making progress due to cliff-side ambushes.  MacArthur sent in Gen. Eichelberger to take over the command.

In Japan, 47 China-based B-29’s bombed Yawata, the nation’s steel center.  Not much damage was incurred on the plant although the civilian casualty rate was high.  This was the first attack by land-based aircraft on Japan’s mainland.

Ichi-Go Plan

Ichi-Go Plan

18 June – the Japanese Ichi-Go offensive captured Changsha, Burma.  They continued to advance, which put Gen. Chennault’s B-29 bases in jeopardy.

19-20 June – enemy installations on Pagan were bombed and strafed by US aircraft.  From here, until 7 July, Guam and Rota were attacked each day at least once by carrier forces.

Japanese tanks and troops in CBI

Japanese tanks and troops in CBI

22-26 June – in the CBI, the enemy siege and fighting at Imphal, India lasted 88 days.  The Japanese U-Go offensive unraveled as the British 2nd Division and 5th Indian Division finally met up at the Imphal-Kohima Road, Milestone 107.  In Burma, the town of Mogaung fell to the 77th LRP Brigade and the Chinese 38th Div.  They then turned east to Myitkyina, where the US and Chinese forces were already laying siege.

Kuril Islands

Kuril Islands

In the Kuril Islands, Kurabu Zaki, on Paramushir, and important enemy base, was bombarded by ground units.  This action would be repeated on 30 June.

28 June – US troops on Saipan reached Nafutan Point on the southeast tip of the island.  It had taken nearly 2 weeks to cover 4 miles (6 km).

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Melvyn Douglas

Melvyn Douglas

Article from the ‘CBI Roundup’ newspaper

MELVYN DOUGLAS CRASH LANDS

INDIA – Capt. Melvyn Douglas, motion picture star now serving in CBI as a Special Service Officer, and 17 other passengers on an airplane owe their lives to the cool piloting of 1st Lt. Harold L. Griffith, of Los Angeles, Calif., it was revealed this week.

After riding out a severe storm and bucking terrific headwinds, Griffith was forced to make a difficult “belly landing.” The dangerous crash landing was made on a dry lake, flanked on three sides by hills, and was accomplished without a moon for illumination.

Capt. Douglas and the other passengers, including Capt. Roger F. Howe, Seattle, Wash., and Glenn Abbey, of Dodgeville, Wis., member of the American Mission at New Delhi, had high praise for Lt. Griffith and his co-pilot, Lt. James M. George, of Seminole, Tex., and Sgt. E. B. Halzlip, Eatonton, Ga., radio operator.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

CBI humor

CBI humor

CBI humor

CBI humor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gloria (Gove) Allen – Delray Beach, FL; USO, WWII

Luxembourg American Cemetery

Luxembourg American Cemetery

Paul Chess (Fiszel Czyz) – brn: POL/Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII

Cyrus Duval – Twinsburg, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

John Farrel Sr. – Bronx, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Paul Healy Newport, RI; US Army, Vietnam

Edward Isbell – OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Charles Kessler – Denver, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

John McCreight – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, navigator

Charles Prophit – Tquesta, FL; US Navy, Vietnam

Geneva (Shepard) Richard – Womelsdorf, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, driver

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April-May 1944

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Liao Yueh-shang, Cmdr of the 22nd Chinese Div. discuss plans.

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Liao Yueh-shang, Cmdr of the 22nd Chinese Div. discuss plans.

During the first week of April, Gen. Stilwell’s New China Army was preparing to attack Gen. Tanaka’s men, but Stilwell’s own supply base was being threatened.  Urgent pleas were sent to Chiang Kai-shek to send his Nationalist Army to eastern Burma for assistance – but Chiang failed to respond.

FDR was notified of this lack of support and the president sent a cable to Chiang:  “If they [Nationalist Army] are not to be used in the common cause, our most strenuous efforts to fly in equipment and furnish instructional personnel have not been justified.”

map of Burma

map of Burma

This meant that Chiang’s Lend Lease was threatened and 10 days later, 72,000 Chinese troops marched to Burma.  Japan considered this action a break in their “silent” truce and the Imperial Staff ordered the launch of the ‘Ichi-Go’ operation.

Merrill’s Marauders had incured 50% casualty losses, Merrill himself suffered a heart attack and now air bases were threatened.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved Stilwell’s Operation End Run.  Merrill signed himself out of the hospital and rallied his 1,400 survivors, 2 Chinese regiments and a band of OSS – trained guerrillas to begin a trek through the jungle and over the 6,000′ Kumon Range to reach Myitkyina.  To add insult to injury (and disease), the monsoon season started early.

“The die is cast and it’s sink or swim,” Stilwell said.

At the beginning of 1944 Army Air Force units in CBI had about 1,500 airplanes, of which approximately 900 were in commission.  During the critical months of March, April, and May 1944, when the Allied forces gained air superiority in Burma, American aircraft strength in India, Burma, and China ranged between 1,700 and 2,500. In 1945 the number of aircraft varied as indicated by the following table:

31 Jan. 31 Mar. 30 Apr. 30 June 31 July 31 Aug.
Fighters 1,238 1,254 1,236 1,316 1,410 1,356
Bombers (M) 387 387 386 389 431 419
Bombers (H) 158 184 189 182 156 133
Reconnaissance 160 209 204 206 171 167
Transports 1,213 1,301 1,325 1,436 1,444 1,475
Training and Liason 536 540 538 513 487 485
Gliders 367 310 211 121 79 57
TOTAL 4,059 4,187 4,089 4,163 4,178 4,092

As these figures and those in table above emphasize, fighter and transport aircraft played the most important roles in CBI.  Among fighters, the old P-40 gave way to P-38’s, P-47’s, and especially to P-51’s.

Tawi-Tawi location

Tawi-Tawi location

The Japanese Imperial Staff finalized the A-Go plan.  And the newly organized Japanese First Mobile Fleet under VAdm. Ozawa, that was anchored at Singapore, headed for Tawi Tawi [Portal to the Philippines] under Toyoda’s orders.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – from: ‘CBI Round Up’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Bogin – Dayton, OH; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Bronze Star

Reuben Cooke – Regina, CAN; WWII, RC Army, Red Deer Army Corps/Regina RiflestributesArmy (566x640)

Francis Barnbrook Erikson – Fort Plain, NY; US Army Nursing Corps, WWII, ETO

Estelle Hullihan – W.Palm Bch, FL & NYC; Civilian, Radio Free Europe

Herbert Jenkins – Whangarei, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 243124, WWII, 2nd Division Cavalry

Earl J. Keating – New Orleans LA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 126th/32nd Infantry Division, Pvt., KIA (Buna-Gona)

John H. Klopp – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 126th/32nd Infantry Division, Pvt. KIA (Buna-Gona)

Frank Papernic – Lynbrook, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 711 Ordnance/11th Airborne Division

Thomas Tucker – Huntsville, AL; US Army, Lt.Colonel (Ret.)

Fergus Warren – Victor Harbor, AUS; RA Air Force # 071854, WWII

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April 1944 (2)

Battle of Kohima

Battle of Kohima

4 April – In the CBI, the Japanese started their offensive towards India by attacking Kohima, India.  This operation would suffer from supply problems and the typhoon season.  Over 30,000 of the enemy would eventually be lost to due to disease and starvation.  Ground troops in Burma received support from the 10th Air Force as over 120 aircraft struck Japanese railroads and supply areas.

5-6 April – the Japanese 138th, 58th and 24th regiments of the 31st Div. surrounded the Allied troops at Kohima into a 10-mile pocket.  The 58th attempted to make a surprise attack at the center, but were thwarted by the Royal West Kents.   Within the circle, dependent on air supply were the 17th Indian Light Div., 50th Parachute Brigade, 5th Indian Div, 23rd Indian Div. and the 254th Tank Brigade.

10th Gurkha Rifles clearing 'Scraggy Hill' at Imphal

10th Gurkha Rifles clearing ‘Scraggy Hill’ at Imphal

6-18 April – the Japanese 53rd in Burma took the Chindit supply base known as “White City.”  The Chindits in northern Burma received glider-borne reinforcements.  They then occupied the Japanese base at Indau and that cut the enemy off from southern Burma.

7 April – in Japan, it was decided that despite the Army being overstretched in the Pacific and Burma, the new offensive in China would commence.  Inchi-Go’s objective was to occupy south China, thereby providing open land routes to their other forces in Malaya and Thailand while crushing US air bases.

7-13 April – in India, the Japanese 138th Regiment encircled the 161st Indian Brigade and took Kohima, but further into the settlement, 1500 troops [mostly the Assam Rifles and 4th Royal West Kents), best back the invaders.

14-18 April – the Allied XXXIII Corps began to try relief operations in the Kohima area.  The 5th Brigade/2nd Div. smashed the Japanese roadblock at Zubza and made a break in the circle around the 161st Indian Division.

18 April – the Allied troops were finally relieved in the Kohima area as the 5th Brigade reached them.  This does not in any way slow the fighting down.  Both sides tried to encircle the other with flanking maneuvers.

Kohima War Cemetery

Kohima War Cemetery

26-27 April – the Allied XXXIII Corps started a major offensive to retake Kohima.  The 5th attacked the Japanese right flank from the north and the 4th Brigade came from the south.  After the British took the road junction, both sides took entrenched positions about 72 feet apart, around the “Tennis Court”.  The following 2 weeks would bring heavy and close-quarter battles.

27-28 April – in New Guinea, the Cyclops Airdrome had limited operation.  With the swift success at Hollandia, plans by generals MacArthur and Kenney began to take form on heading west.

A short gallery of photos of constructing an airdrome in WWII.

Click on images to enlarge.

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CBI Military Humor – 

The CBI version of being sold the Brooklyn Bridge.

The CBI version of being sold the Brooklyn Bridge.

"Corporal Gee Eye" always getting into trouble!!

“Corporal Gee Eye” always getting into trouble!!

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eddie Agurkis – Newburgh, NY; USMC, WWII & Korea

salutetop

The Salute

Simon Bromley – AUS; RA Air Force

Ethel Gay Carmichael – Leader, CAN; RC Air Force (WD), WWII

Edward Ebanks – Hollywood, FL; Merchant Marine (Ret. 45 years)

Paul Kelly Sr. – Brighton, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 pilot “Millie K”

John McCambridge – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, WWII

Samuel Prather – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt.

Andrew Repasky – Library, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne, artillery

Robert Segil – Salt Lake City, UT; US Army, WWII, PTO, Lt., tank destroyer unit

Ruth Turner – Knoxville, TN; US Cadet Nursing Corps, WWII

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March 1944 (1)

Marauder Sgt. Gerald Silvey watches Sgt. Robert Passanisi repair the 60 ib. SCR 300 FM Transceiver

Marauder Sgt. Gerald Silvey watches Sgt. Robert Passanisi repair the 60 ib. SCR 300 FM Transceiver

5 March – in the CBI, the Chinese 22nd and 38th divisions captured Maingkwan in the Hukawng Valley in Burma.  On their left flank, the US troops of Merrill’s Marauders crossed the Tanai River and took Walaboum.  Despite a serious lack of food and enduring combat, including suicidal bayonet charges of the Japanese 18th Division, under Gen. Tanaka, the Allied casualties were light.

Chindit forces in north Burma launched Operation Thursday.  The 77th and 111th LRP (Long Range Patrol) Brigades, (~ 9000 men), along with their 1,300 mules were deployed by glider and transports by the recently formed American Air Commando, under Col. Phillip Cochrane.  Their mission was to establish landing strips for air supply and to cut the flow of enemy supplies and communication in the Mitkyina area.  More of the brigades would be flown in over the next 3 months.

Gen. Renya Matguchi’s plan of U-Go began in Central Burma with the 33rd, 15th and 31st divisions, with 7,000 of Bose’s Indian National Army in support.  Their goal was to halt any Allied offensive in that sector, enter India and cut off the Tiddim-Imphal Road; a major supply route.

Chindit operations map

Chindit operations map

On the 12th of March, the enemy reached Witok on the approach to Shenan Saddle.  The 17th Indian Div., under Lt.Gen. A.P. Scoones, became trapped by the Japanese 33rd Div. and the 28th Indian Div. was encircled by Matguchi’s 15th Div.  Mountbatten called in the American Hump and the RAF for assistance.  Other units of the 15th attacked “Broadway”, an Allied airfield in the Chindit area the following day.

As those Allied units fell back from the Japanese offensive, the troops in the Arakan made progress.  They recaptured Buthidawng and the enemy fortress at Razabil.

Chindits, 77th Division

Chindits, 77th Division

15-16 March – the second phase of U-Go started with the Japanese troops, east of Imphal, heading west to meet up with the other units coming up from the south.  Meanwhile, the enemy 33rd Div. began a 3-prong assault toward Kohima.  Chindit troops cut the Japanese supply railways on the 16th.

23-30 March – the 14th LRP Brigade landed at “Aberdeen” landing zone in support of the Chindits near Manhton.  On the 25th, MGen. Orde Wingate, leader of the Chindits and pioneers of Tactical innovations, was killed in an air crash over Burma.  MGen. W. Letaigne would succeed him.  By the 30th, the Chidit operations began to falter.  The 16th Brigade retreated from the Japanese 53 rd. defense at Indaw.

Click on images to enlarge.

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C.B.I.  Military Humor – 

r3260

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Anderson – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Corps of Engineers

Roy Anderson – Cloquet, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 330th Troop Carrier Sq. (The Hump), C-47 pilot

John Burke – Shelley, ID; US Army, WWII, CBIimages-1

Brett Burney – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 403939, WWII, Africa & Burma

Llyod Diedrichsen – Scribner, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Scouts & Raiders

Bruce Evans – Cold Lake, CAN; Vintage Wings of Canada pilot

Steven Harris – Huntsville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers, 11th Airborne Division

Magdalena Leones – Lubuagan, PI; Philippine-American Army (USAFIP), WWII, PTO, Silver Star

Richard Reinhardt – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 172nd Combat Engineers

Charles Smith – Winfield, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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C.B.I. Roundup, 24 February 1944

r79

HELL, HIGH WATER
FAIL TO HALT BIG JOB
 

 It’s a little silly to tell United States Army Engineers that a job is impossible. It’s especially silly when they are building a road and under the command of a peripatetic old guy like Col. Lewis Pick. 

 Pick has white hair and didn’t develop his sturdy bottom sitting behind desks. He developed it travelling up and down the Ledo Road in a jeep, telling the boys with the hairy ears that they had to get so many miles done that day and damn the rain, the jungle, the mud, the mosquitoes, the mountains and the consequences. 

Lewis A. Pick

Lewis A. Pick

We are not trying to imply that Pick has gone forth like Lancelot in gilded armor, driving the lead bulldozer and challenging his boys to keep up. He probably couldn’t drive a bulldozer if he had to. What we are trying to say is that Pick is the guy who puts ants in everyone’s pants and delivered an engineering project that must equal in immensity and difficulty any that has ever been attempted by the United States Army. 

Pick doesn’t live in an ivory tower and neither do the boys whose muscles are actually building what is intended to be a new line of communication into China. These junior officers and men live along the road, on top of saw-tooth ridges, and are quite comfortable now. This, gentle readers, is the “dry” season. It only rains about four days out of five and the guys building the road only get wet on the outside. Later, when the monsoon opens, they’ll get wet from sweat and wet from rain and their clothes will never dry out, their shoes will mold, leeches will construct dugouts in their navels, mosquitoes will be as big as B-25’s, the mud will be the same only more so, but they’ll continue to build the road. 

US Corps of Engineers in the CBI.

US Corps of Engineers in the CBI.

 An officer will get an order from Pick to build five miles in 24 hours and he’ll say, “What does that damn fool think I am, a magician?” He’ll tell his sergeant, who will explain, “I’ve got four bulldozers. Two haven’t got clutches anymore. One is hitting on three cylinders. The other will be busy pushing stuck trucks that are never kept off this God-forsaken boulevard so we can build it.” 

They’ll gripe, curse, say it can’t be done, get their T/5 slips and build the five miles. They’ll never admit it was possible to build it. They’ll alibi that it was done because of some fortuitous circumstance beyond their control and say it can’t be done again. The truth is that it will be done again., and again, regardless of circumstances, and one day American trucks with Chinese and American drivers will be rumbling back up the Burma Road to China. 

When this road was started, the cynics went to work in earnest. It couldn’t be done, they said, and it did undoubtedly falter for a while. Then came reinforcements and Pick. The Americans, Chinese, Indians and assorted tribesmen have already pushed the road ahead at a faster pace than these same cynics ever believed possible. The road has been partially graveled, trucks move ahead, never stopping to permit construction to proceed unhampered. 

The first convoy down the Ledo Road, led by Gen. Pick.

The first convoy down the Ledo Road, led by Gen. Pick.

This road is not the Roosevelt Highway and 15-miles-per-hour speed limit signs make you shake your head and wonder how you can ever go that fast without telescoping your spine. It isn’t worth much for Sunday driving in your convertible coupe.  This road is a yellow scar torn through the lush, green jungle and a monument to officers and men who have imagination, who will take a chance, who are tough and who won’t be licked by the elements. 

[Under the outstanding command of General Pick, the Ledo Road was completed in only 2 ½ years.]

Click on images to enlarge.

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CBI Military Humor – 

r525

r80

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Clarence Agress – Knoxville, TN; US Army WWII, CBI, 38th Evacuation Hospital, doctor

William Alloy – New Orleans, LA; US Army, Corps of Engineers (Ret. 38 yrs.)

Roy Anderson – Cloquet, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 330th Troop Carrieer Sq., C-47 pilot (The Hump)

Max Baker – Topeka, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO, Corps of Engineers bomb squad

Dominic Bonfanti – Ansonia, CT ; US Army, WWII, PTO, 277th Combat EngineersAmerican-Flag-Eagle2

Vincent Gonzalez – Camarillo, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 9th Combat Cargo Unit/10th AF

Roy Hardesty Jr. – Shelbville, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Alfred Kleeman – Brn: Stuttgart, GER; NY; US Army, WWII, CBI, 653rd Topographic Engineer Battalion, SSgt.

Hugh Purnel Jr. – Seattle, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 10th Air Force (The Hump)

Conrad Thompson – Youngstown, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Recon Photography, SSgt.

Joseph Williamson – Fort Mill, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Sgt. Major

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Two Bloggers Tackle WWII – Book Reviews

"Surviving the Death Railway" by: Hilary Custance Green

“Surviving the Death Railway” by: Hilary Custance Green

About the book….

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death.

While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit. Fortunately these moving letters have been preserved and appear, edited by their daughter Hilary, in this book along with Barry’s graphic memoir written after the War.

Surviving the Death Railway’s combination of first-hand account, correspondence and comment provide a unique insight into the long nightmare experienced by those in the Far East and at home.

The result is a powerful and inspiring account of one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind which makes for compelling reading.

About the author, Hilary Custance Green…

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green has BAs in Fine Arts (UEA) and Sculpture (St Martin’s School of Art) and spent twenty years sculpting. In 1993 she graduated with an Open University BSc in Psychology and spent fifteen years working in brain science, gaining a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Cambridge in 1999.
She has had three novels published and has spent six years researching this book. 
Born in Malaya in 1915, Barry Custance Baker married Phyllis, a fellow Cambridge graduate in 1939. Barry joined the Royal Corps of Signals and this book records his experiences as a POW. After gaining his freedom, they had three more children post-war. Barry stayed in the army until 1959, then took up teaching. Phyllis filled her life with voluntary work and the theatre.

Hilary Green’s blog can be located HERE!

"Pacific War" by: Matthew Wright

“Pacific War” by: Matthew Wright

In December 1941, Japan attacked the British Empire and the United States, turning the European war that had raged since 1939 into a global conflict. For a few desperate months during early 1942, the Kiwis faced a deep crisis. Australia had its own threat to face. Britain was stretched to the utmost against Germany, and the United States — with millions still unemployed — took time to turn its huge industry to war production.

Despite a heavy commitment to the European war, New Zealanders eventually fought the Japanese on land, sea and air, from Malaya to the Solomons and, finally, in Japanese home waters. Kiwis also contributed in many other ways, providing bases and recreation facilities for US forces, food for the whole campaign, even sending physicists to work on the atomic bomb project.
This was not easy. New Zealand had heavy commitments in North Africa and Europe. Even after the crisis of 1942 had passed, the country struggled to find the resources to keep air force, navy and army operating in the Pacific. New Zealand’s land component was finally withdrawn in 1944 after ongoing manpower issues reached crisis point — an issue that soon became entwined with Pacific politics and New Zealand’s role in the war. This book focuses on the army contribution and the politics that surrounded it; but we must not undervalue New Zealand’s ongoing and long-term air and naval campaigns in theatre. The navy, in particular, took a front-line role from the beginning of the Pacific struggle in December 1941 to the very last actions of the war in August 1945.

About the author..

Matthew J. Wright

Matthew J. Wright

I’m a New Zealand writer. My main interests are in the sciences – physics, particularly, though I’m deeply curious about a lot of stuff, especially the human condition. I have qualifications in writing, music and anthropology among other fields, and hold multiple post-graduate degrees in history. I’m also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. However, I don’t define myself as a historian and prefer not to be labelled as one.

I write a lot. I published my first short story in 1976 and since the early 1980s have worked professionally as a writer, historian, journalist, reviewer, and in media relations. My publications include more than 550 articles, academic papers, reviews and over 50 books on topics ranging from travel guides to biography, engineering, military and social history. I’ve been published principally by Penguin Random House.

Matthew Wright’s blog can be located Here!

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TWO OTHER BOOKS ON THE WAR WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED IN A FEW WEEKS.

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Lt. Alec Horwood, in the C.B.I. Theatre

Lt. Alec George Horwood, Victoria Cross; Queen's Royal West Surrey Reg., British Army

Lt. Alec George Horwood, Victoria Cross; Queen’s Royal West Surrey Reg., British Army

As the Japanese prepared for a major assault through north Burma into India, the British were attempting a more aggressive approach into occupied Burma. The fighting was conducted in dense jungle where the Japanese strong points were well concealed – and they fought to the death.

As a Sergeant in the 6th Battalion The Queen’s Royal Regiment Alec Horwood had been captured at Dunkirk but had escaped as they were being escorted through Antwerp, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. After being Commissioned he was attached to the 1st Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment and he now found himself in the jungle fighting of Burma:

Queen's Royal West Surrey Regimental badge.

Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regimental badge.

At Kyauchaw on 18th January 1944, Lieutenant Horwood accompanied the forward company of The Northamptonshire Regiment into action against a Japanese defended locality with his forward mortar observation post.

Throughout that day he lay in an exposed position which had been completely bared of cover by concentrated air bombing and effectively shot his own mortars and those of a half troop of another unit while the company was maneuvering to locate the exact position of the enemy bunkers and machine-gun nests. During the whole of this time Lieutenant Horwood was under intense sniper, machine-gun, and mortar fire, and at night he came back with most valuable information about the enemy.

On 19th January, he moved forward with another company and established an observation post on a precipitous ridge. From here, while under continual fire from the enemy, he directed accurate mortar fire in support of two attacks which were put in during the day. He also carried out a personal reconnaissance along and about the bare ridge, deliberately drawing the enemy fire so that the fresh company which he had led to the position, and which was to carry out an attack, might see the enemy positions.

Lieutenant Horwood remained on the ridge during the night 19th-20th January and on the morning of 20th January shot the mortars again to support a fresh attack by another company put in from the rear of the enemy. He was convinced that the enemy would crack and volunteered to lead the attack planned for that afternoon.

He led this attack with such calm resolute bravery, that the enemy were reached and while standing up in the wire, directing and leading the men with complete disregard to the enemy fire which was then at point blank range, he was mortally wounded.

on patrol in Burma, 1944

on patrol in Burma, 1944

By his fine example of leadership on the 18th, 19th and 20th January when continually under fire, by his personal example to others of reconnoitering, guiding and bringing up ammunition in addition to his duties at the mortar observation post, all of which were carried out under great physical difficulties and in exposed positions, this officer set the highest example of bravery and devotion to duty which all ranks responded to magnificently.

The cool, calculated actions of this officer, coupled with his magnificent bearing and bravery which culminated in his death on the enemy wire, very largely contributed to the ultimate success of the operation which resulted in the capture of the position on the 24th January.

London Gazette
30th March 1944

Information from WWII Today.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

aaa5

 

 

morale

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Farewell Salutes –

Stuart Boze – Genesee, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Vincent Chatfield – Plimmerton, NZ; RNZ Army # 537217, WWII

They all stand together.

They all stand together.

Andrew Clement – Quincy, MA; US Navy, Djibouti (Op. Enduring Freedom), Petty Officer

Donald Morris – Moore, OK; US Army, WWII/ US Air Force, Korea

Francis John Pound – Winnipeg, CAN; Royal Canadian Navy, WWII, KIA

John Quinn – Indianapolis, IN; US Army, WWII, Purple Heart

Harmon Smith – Chester, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea

Calvin Tackett – Longview, TX; US Army, WWII

Paul VanLuvender – Scranton, PA; US Navy, WWII, USS Melvin

Raymond Walters – Trenton, NJ; US Navy, WWII

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