Blog Archives

October 1944 (6)

While the Imperial Navy was floundering in their attempts to halt the persistent invasion of Leyte, Gen. Yamashita was in his headquarters at Fort McKinley on Luzon.  He was receiving very little information from his own people and upon hearing of the US landing, he was heard to say, “Very interesting.  But where is Leyte?”  [The Japanese general had only just been transferred from Manchuria.]

Yamashita did not feel that the Japanese all-out standing defense should be on Leyte and he refused to supply more troops to the island.  But he was overruled.  Gen. Terauchi, knowing that the island’s occupation by the Americans would divide their bases, so reinforcements would be sent in.

MacArthur inspecting the beach

21 October – Most of the Japanese beach defenses had been shattered by bombing and strafing and a majority of the 1st Battalion/16th Division had been wiped out.  Parts of Tacloban had been liberated by the US troops and Gen. Makino was now forced to split the remainder of his 16th Div. in half, North and South Defense Forces.

As the ground forces continued fighting, Japanese aircraft from all other bases in the Philippines arrived on Luzon to support the plans for a counteroffensive.

25 October – Gen. Sosaku Suzuki, in charge of defending the Central Philippines, still was receiving inferior or misleading intelligence and remained confident of Japanese victory because:  He still expected support from the Navy; he had glowing reports concerning Formosa; he was told that ALL US carriers had been sunk and no American aircraft were flying over his headquarters on Cebu.  Suzuki told his Chief of Staff, Gen. Tomochika, “…we are about to step on the center of the stage.  There is no greater honor or privilege.”

Two Japanese units were on en-route to Luzon:  the Japanese 1st Division [the Gem Division] to land at Ormoc on the west coast and the 26th Division at Carigara in the north.

MacArthur’s summary:

“The assault continued after a rapid consolidation of the first few days  objectives.  Numerous enemy counterattacks were beaten off in all areas during the next few days as advancing forces reported increased resistance on every front.  By the end of the third day, over 2,000 Japanese had been reported killed…

“On 24 October, elements of the XCorps began a drive up the Leyte side of San Juanico Strait, while farther south other units of the Corps pushed westward.  At the same time, the XXIV Corps directed attacks northward and westward.  The 96th Div., moving inland from Dulag, met heavy opposition from fortified positions on Catmon Hill, a terrain feature dominating the division’s zone of action and giving protection to enemy mortars bobbing shells toward the assault shipping in Leyte Gulf.  Catmon Hill was initially by-passed, then neutralized by naval guns and field artillery and finally cleared of the enemy by 31 October.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

“try to say something funny, Joe”

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Jack Agnew – Hamilton, CAN; RC Navy, WWII

Leonard Beford – Falmouth, MA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Herbert Creacey – Roseburg, OR; US Navy, WWII

Catherine Ewell – Zachary, LA; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

Herbert Good – Bound Brook, NJ; US Army, WWII

Frank Hill –  Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Ralph Konze – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Lt.Colonel (Ret.)

Caldon Norman – Mineapolis, MN; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

John S. Powell Jr. – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Army, Korea, Captain

Gerald Shepler – Liberty, IN; US Army, Korea, K/3/187th Airborne RCT, KIA

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Tribute

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. James Crotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty, USCG

This tribute to Lt. Crotty was condensed from an article written by William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Atlantic Area Historian, USCG.  Courtesy of the MacArthur Memorial Library, Norfolk, Virginia.

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Cotty

Lt. Thomas James Eugene Crotty

Lt. ‘Jimmy’ Crotty graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1934 and for 6 years he served on board cutters, including the Tampa during its famous rescue of passengers from the burning liner Morro Castle.  In April 1941, Jimmy received training at the Navy’s Mine Warfare School and Mine Recovery Unit.  He then received orders for the Philippine Islands in October.

On 10 December, the American Navy Yard at Cavite was bombed by the Japanese.  Crotty supervised the demolition of strategic facilities to prevent them from falling into enemy hands as ground troops made their way to Corregidor.  This included the ammunition magazine and the fleet submarine, USS Sea Lion, which had been damaged during the air attacks.

USS Quail

USS Quail

During February and March 1942, Crotty served as executive officer of the Navy minesweeper USS Quail which shot down enemy aircraft and swept the minefields so US subs could deliver supplies and evacuate personnel.  They also provided shore bombardment against Japanese beach landings.

Crews on board Navy vessels cannibalized deck guns and moved them onto the island to mount a final stand against the encircling enemy forces.  Crotty served to the bitter end.  Eye witnesses reported seeing him commanding a force of Marine and Army personnel manning the 75-mm beach guns until Japanese bombardment put the guns out of commission.

Marines fire a 75-mm gun, 1942

Marines fire a 75-mm gun, 1942

With Corregidor’s capitulation on 6 May, Lt. Crotty became the first Coast Guard POW since the War of 1812.  His fellow prisoners at Cabanatuan knew him for his love of sports as well as his sense of humor and optimism.  One person later recounted: “The one striking thing I remember was his continued optimism and cheerfulness under the most adverse circumstances.  He was outstanding at a time when such an attitude was so necessary for general welfare.”

Lt. Crotty

Lt. Crotty

Crotty received little recognition for his heroic efforts during those desperate days due in part to the destruction of records and the death of so many eye witnesses.  To this day, no one knows the precise day he died, from the diphtheria epidemic that killed 40 prisoners a day, or the exact location of his final resting place.

Crotty's shadow-box

Crotty’s shadow-box

In the words of one of his shipmates, intelligence officer, Lt.Cmdr. Denys W. Knoll:
“Lieutenant Crotty impressed us all with his fine qualities of naval leadership which were combined with a very pleasant personality and a willingness to assist everyone to the limit of his ability. He continued to remain very cheerful and retained a high morale until my departure from Fort Mills the evening of 3 May. Lt. Crotty is worthy of commendation for the energetic and industrious manner in which he performed all his tasks. He continued to be an outstanding example of an officer and a gentleman to all hands and was a source of encouragement to many who did not posses his high qualities of courage and perseverance that he displayed.”

Lt.Cmdr. John Morrel also, along with 17 others escaped 2,000 miles to Darwin Australia in a 36′ motor launch and wrote the book, “South From Corregidor.”

Click onto images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –  now they’re into ‘planking’

military planking

military planking

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Caporale – CT & FL; US Navy (Ret. 20 years)

Gert Dalby – Santa Ynez, CA; Danish Military

William Foster – Goshen, IN; USMCplaying-taps

Richard Hottelet – Brooklyn, NY; WWII journalist, last of the “Edward R. Murrow Boys,” ETO, POW

Norman Lucas – Knox, ID; USMC, WWII, PTO, Company C/1/24th Div.

Douglas MacLean – Calgary, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, HMCS Oakville

Donald Moore – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corp, WWII, PTO, Med/457 Artillery

Betty Quilan – Oklahoma City, OK; Military Intelligence, WWII

Marion Stults – Tucson, AZ , US Army, 511th/Signal

Jack Walsh – Portland , ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Perry & Shenandoah

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May 1942 (2)

CORREGIDOR

CORREGIDOR

 

3 May – Corregidor had been bombed without mercy for weeks and the beach fortifications began to fall away.  For the 1,300 men of the 4th Marine Division, “…it was like living in the center of a bulls-eye.”  The confines of the Malinta Tunnel became terribly overcrowded.  The US submarine, “Starfish was able to evacuate 25 more of the personnel, (13 of them nurses) and Wainwright told the skipper of the boat as it left, “They will have to come and get us… They will never get us any other way.”  The “Rock” had only five days of fresh water remaining.

US officer giving water to a wounded Japanese soldier

US officer giving water to a wounded Japanese soldier

4 May – Wainwright sent a radio message for General Marshall, “In my opinion the enemy is capable of making an assault on Corregidor at any time.”  As if in response, 600 Japanese soldiers landed and the First Marine Battalion went into heavy combat, but the enemy made their way to the tunnel.  Wainwright received a message from President Roosevelt, “You and your devoted followers have become the symbols of our war aims and the guarantee of our victory.”

troops pour into Malinta Tunnel during air raid

troops pour into Malinta Tunnel during air raid

Just before noon on 5 May, Japanese General Homma was notified that the white flags of truce were flying over The Rock.  Wainwright had given the order, “Execute Pontiac” – surrender.  The general had been unaware that Homma’s men were having great difficulty in crossing the swift current of the channel and were running low on their small landing boats.  Homma was fearing a possible defeat about the time the white flags were raised.  More than 800 US and Filipino troops had been lost in that final assault, but it cost the enemy in excess of 3x that amount.  Mindanao fighting would continue for two more days.

Japanese troops headed toward the 'mile-long' barracks

Japanese troops headed toward the ‘mile-long’ barracks

10 May – Gen. Wainwright officially surrendered to Gen. Homma.  At MacArthur’s press conference he said, “Corregidor needs no comment from me.  It has sounded its own story at the mouth of its guns.  It has scrolled its own epitaph on enemy tablets.  But, through the bloody haze of its last reverberating shot, I shall always seem to see a vision of grim, gaunt, ghastly men still unafraid.”

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With the end of the Philippine campaign, the Allies had lost 140,000 lives.  Nearly 12,500 US and Filipino soldiers became POWs.  Of the surviving 4th Marine Division, no more than one-third would live through their brutal captivity as enemy prisoners of war.

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For further information, very short videos and a radio broadcast by General Wainwright, The Tragedy of Bataan website can be located – HERE!

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Aviation Humor – 

WE’RE ALL STUCK IN THE SAME TRAFFIC JAM – SO KEEP A HANDLE ON THE ROAD-RAGE!!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stanford Brunson –  Macon, GA, USMC, Vietnam

Ralph Buelow – Racine, WI; US Army, WWII, ETOTaps

Alice Caccgillo – Windham, NY; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Tommie Falkner – Calera, AL; US Air Force (Ret. 21 years)

Ebo Jansseen – Fort Myers, FL; USMC, WWII, 2 Purple Hearts

Norman Johnson – Tauranga, NZ; NZ Army, Cpl. # 676003

George Kilvington – Victoria, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO

Leonard Romeo – Piscataway, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Chuck Stevenson – Ft. Smith, AR; US Army, Vietnam

Frank Vargas – Hillside, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO / US Army, Korea

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From those that were there… (3)

 

Richard Gordon, MP, 1942

Richard Gordon, MP, 1942

Richard M. Gordon was born and raised in NYC’s neighborhood called “Hell’s Kitchen” and when asked where he preferred to serve, the Philippines or Panama, he chose the point on the map farthest away from the ‘old neighborhood.’  Gordon was originally with F Company/31st US Infantry Regiment, but was transferred to help form a new unit, the 12th MPs, the only Philippine Scout Unit with both American and Filipino enlisted men.  He made a point to start his interview off with ___

“I was captured – I did not surrender.  Most of my fellow soldiers felt as I did – that we could not lose.  We believed it was just a question of when the promised reinforcements would arrive.  We were lied to – but by Washington, not by General Douglas MacArthur.

12th MP Brass

12th MP Brass

“We never knew defeat was imminent until our commanding general told us he had surrendered.  At the time, no one believed him, and when they found out it was true, many were in tears.  We felt we indeed had been ‘expendable.’  During a later prison camp session held by our Bataan garrison CO, MGen. Edward P. King, Jr., before he was shipped out to Mukden, Manchuria, he told us we had been asked to lay down a bunt to gain time.  The baseball metaphor was probably the best way to explain why we were there in the first place.

 

“Gen. Lough gave us the word of our unit’s surrender.  After hearing this, we camped in combat positions on Mount Bataan, known at the time as Signal Hill.  A small group of us went farther up the mountain, in an effort to avoid surrender.  Several days passed with no sign of the enemy.  Hungry and in need of provisions, Cpl. Elmer Parks [of Oklahoma] and I volunteered to drive down the hill to our last position in search of supplies.  Elmer was driving and I was riding shotgun in a Dodge pickup truck.  We gathered up a number of Garand M1 rifles and decided to go a little farther down the road.

The Mariveles, today

The Mariveles, today

“…we came upon a huge banyan tree, so large it served as a road divider.  As we approached, a lone Japanese soldier holding a rifle stepped out from behind it.  Elmer stopped the truck and we stared at one another.  The thought of attempting to run occurred to both of us, as did the thought of picking up one of the M1s.  But neither of us did a thing other than stare at the Japanese soldier.  Finally, he motioned to us to get out of the truck.

“At that moment, 10 -15 more Japanese came out of the brush.  They surely had us in their sights all the time.  These were front-line troops, scouring the area for enemy resistance.  They took turns hitting us with the butts of their rifles.  We were searched and any valuables we had – were taken.  On our way down the mountain I saw our battalion commander, Major James Ivy, bare from the waist up and dead with countless bayonet holes in his back.

Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon

“Walking down that mountain…where the road leveled off into the West Road of Bataan…That night was so dark and confused that I immediately lost contact with Elmer.  I assumed he had died.  I never saw him again – until a reunion 47 years later at Fort Sill, OK.”

Richard Gordon remained a POW until the end of the war, but continued his military career and retired a Major in the U.S. Army.  He is the founder of the Battling Bastards of Bataan Group.  Major Gordon passed away 26 July 2003 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.  The information here was compiled from both the Philippine Scout Heritage Society and historynet.com

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updated Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Bissette – Essey Junction, VT; (’42) US Coast Guard, WWII; (’46) USMC; US Army, Korea, Sgt. Major, (Ret. 34 combined years)

Walter Figg Jr. – Louisville, KY; US Army, WWIImilitary

Walter Geisinger – Springfield, VA; US Air Force, LtColonel, (Ret.)

Earl Knight – Yuma, AZ; US Army, WWII

James MacRae – Mount Prospect, IL; US Army, WWII, 14th Armored Div.

Irvine Mitchell – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 421748, WWII, pilot

James Schwantes – Mayville, WI, US Army, WWII

Kenneth Tobin – Kingia AUS; 5th Australian Army

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January 1942 (1)

Japanese light tanks and armored vehicles attack British Positions, Jan. '42

Japanese light tanks and armored vehicles attack British Positions, Jan. ’42

The “Oriental Blitzkrieg” did not end with the New Year’s arrival.  As the Allies attempted to reorganize, the Japanese tactics would continue for six more months.

2 January, some units of the Japanese 14th Army occupied Manila while the 48th Division pushed against the Porac Line of US defenders that were spread across the entrance of the Bataan Peninsula.  Much to Gen. Homma’s dismay, his well-trained men were being sent to Java and would replaced by the 65th “Summer Brigade” from Formosa.  Cavite naval base was taken and Brunei Bay at Borneo was occupied.

enemy tank knocked out by British antitank gunners. Jan. '42

enemy tank knocked out by the 13th Battery/ Australian 4th Anti-Tank Regiment. Jan. ’42

3 January, Allied forces in southeast Asia were put under a joint command named ABDACOM (American-British-Dutch-Australian Command).  British General Sir Archibald Wavell acted as Supreme Commander with the headquarters on Java.  This attempt at a joint structure proved to be difficult due to international rivalries, code differences and teams trying to work together with no prior experience.  In China, Chiang Kai-shek was made the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces of that nation.

the "Malahang Wreck" with Australian troops approaching.

the “Malahang Wreck” with Australian troops approaching.

4-19 January, the Indian 11th Division, British and Commonwealth forces were continually pushed back on Malaya.  The capital, Kuala Lumpur, was occupied on the 12th by the Japanese 25th Army.  On the 17th, 15 tanks burst through the lines as the enemy dropped paratroopers along the coast.   The 5th and 8th divisions’ positions pushed to within 100 miles (160 km) from Singapore on the 19th.

original crew of the USS Pollack

original crew of the USS Pollack

5-9 January, the submarine, the USS Pollack, commanded by Stanley Moseley, damaged the cargo ship, Heijo Maru; 2 days later, she sank the cargo ship, Unkai Maru No. 1 and on the 9th, she sank the freighter Telan Maru in Japanese waters.  /  Off Papua, New Guinea, the 49th Fighter Group damaged a Japanese 4,103 ton cargo ship that was then steered to the beach near Malahang.  On the 8th, she was destroyed.

9 January, Japanese Gen. Nara caused high casualties to is own troops when he ordered his over-aged Summer Brigade against the Abucay Line on Luzon.  MacArthur called on D.C. again for a “sea thrust” to be sent from Australia.  The US Chief of Naval Operations told FDR that they did not have enough ships for such an operation.  The president sent a New Year’s message to the Filipinos: “I can assure you that every possible vessel is bearing down…the strength that will eventually crush the enemy…”  Approximately 80,000 US and Filipino troops gallantly defended their positions until 23 January when I & II Corps were pushed 30 miles (48 km) south.

BATAAN

BATAAN

The moral of the American troops was waning quickly due to round-the-clock fighting, taunts from the enemy loud speakers, hunger, low supplies of medicine and lack of sleep.  Resentment was expressed for the refusal of Allied support, the Filipinos and MacArthur, who remained on Corregidor Island, in the endless verses of one of the most corrosive military dirges of WWII:

We’re the Battling Bastards of Bataan
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam,
No aunts, no uncles, no nephews, no nieces
No rifles, no plans or artillery pieces,
and nobody gives a damn!

But – despite disease and lack of support, the American and Filipino troops continued to fight on.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Bill Mauldin

Bill Mauldin

SLANG2

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Farewell Salutes – 

"Wounded Warrior" painting by U.S. Marine Michael Fay

“Wounded Warrior” painting by U.S. Marine Michael Fay

John Aziz – Toronto, CAN; RC Army; WWII

Wes Banks – St. Petersburg, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

James Hurt – Pittsburg, KS; US Army, Capt. (Ret.), Vietnam, 189th Helicopter Comp., Bronze Star

Frank Knowlton – Kerhonkson, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Henry Irwin – Wichland, WA; US Army, Korea, Purple Heart

John Moss – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Air Force # Y78337, Warrant Officer

Jordon Spears (21) – Memphis, IN; USMC. Corporal, ISIS Campaign

Robert Walton Jr. – Lake Worth, FL; US Navy, WWII, 1st Beach Battalion, ETO

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New Year’s Day 1942

Carl Mydans, "Life" mag. photographer

Carl Mydans, “Life” mag. photographer

While the people of Japan celebrated New Year’s Day in their usual fashion, debts were paid, people thronged to the Meiji Shrine to throw coins at midnight and for good luck, red daruma dolls were purchased, all this was topped off with the news of military success against the Allies.  But all this gaiety did not please the military.  They were aware of just how arduous the war was going to be and strict discipline must be maintained.  General Muto said:  “The first step is to replace Shigenori Togo as Foreign Minister.” [similar to the US Secretary of State] –  (Togo had been opposed to the military aggression.  He had to go.)

Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year's period.

Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year’s period.

The Japanese in the Philippine Islands celebrated differently.  They closed in on Manila from two directions.  The southern troops were slowed about 40 miles out due to the amount of bridges that had been dynamited, but they were receiving very little opposition.  General Homma, only 17 miles away, halted his troops to prepare themselves in tight and clean formations to parade into the city.  MGeneral Koichi Abe, in the north, led his 48th Division into Manila in front of sullen Filipinos.

Luzon trenches; taken by: Carl Mydans

Luzon trenches; taken by: Carl Mydans

Carl Mydans, a photographer for Life magazine, and his wife Shelley, watched the influx of Japanese from their Bayview Hotel window as the invaders looted warehouses and homes.  They saw 3 companies of soldiers and sailors form ragged lines on the lawn of High Commissioner Francis Sayre’s residence.  Three cannons boomed as the American flag lowered and a sailor stepped on it.  He then put the Rising Sun in its place on the pole.  A band played the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo.

Route to Manila

Route to Manila

The Emperor’s reign will last
For a thousand and then 8 thousand generations
Until pebbles become mighty rocks
Covered in moss.

A cable arrived from Carl’s employer: “ANOTHER FIRST-PERSON EYEWITNESS STORY BUT THIS WEEK WE PREFER AMERICANS ON THE OFFENSIVE.”  Mrs. Mydans sent the reply: “BITTERLY REGRET YOUR REQUEST UNAVAILABLE HERE.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political Humor – seuss-4

Dr_Seuss_World_War_II_Political_Cartoon_5

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Warwick, RI; US Navy, Korea

Ingeborg Buonomo – Lecanto, FL; WAC, WWWIIroseglitterdivider_thumb

Norman Helfrich – Rabbit Lake, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO

Jery Kaas – Anthem, AZ; US Navy, WWII, USS Carolina

Lee Patrick – Niles, IN; US Navy, WWII, USS Cacapon

Brian Henry Senn – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # G83335, Flight Lt.

Tommy Shaw – Huntsville, AL; US Air Force, Korea, control tower operator

John Swett – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

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General Yamashita surrenders the Philippines

General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he surrenders - click to enlarge and read

General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he surrenders – click to enlarge and read

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He had joined the Japanese Army in 1906 and fought the Germans in China in 1914, graduated Staff College in 1916 and began a military attaché in Switzerland as an expert on Germany, where he was to meet Tojo Hideki. Tojo soon became very envious of the success and advancements Yamashita was achieving. This was especially true after the campaign in Malaya and bluffing the British into surrendering to his inferior forces in Singapore. Tojo used his influence to have Yamashita transferred to Manchuria before he could even announce his win to the Emperor. The general was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1944. A man who believed in the Samurai traditions and was highly devoted to the Emperor.

Precluding the surrender of Yamashita is an interesting story that lead into the general’s surrender. This has been taken from the Military Intelligence files of the General HQ U.S. Army Forces, Pacific, which were given to me by http://p47koji.wordpress.com and supplied much of the data included here in today’s post. Please click on to enlarge for easier reading.

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30 August, negotiations with the general were drawing to a close, but he remained in his mountain headquarters sending word with thanks to the American Commanders for their “sincere efforts and concerns,” and his regrets that he was unable to contact his forces in Cagayan Valley, Balete Pass and the Clark Field areas. Small groups were beginning to turn themselves in and Major General Yuguchi, of the 103d Division in the Cagayan Valley had already agreed to the surrender terms, but was awaiting word from Yamashita. The 37th Infantry Division was expecting 3,000 to surrender on 2 September. Throughout the Philippine Islands, capitulations were being delivered from Japanese officers.

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

Some Japanese soldiers refused to believe that the Emperor had aired a demand for peace and skirmishes were reported on various islands. No American troops were listed as casualties. Those killed during that action with unfriendly combatants were Japanese, Filipino, Korean and Formosan. One civilian news reporter was captured.

General Yamashita arrived for his surrender and behaved as a gentleman officer would, then was led away to Baguio City for confinement, surrender and trial.

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Resources: Pacific War Online Encyclopedia; “The Final Victory”, by Stanley Weintraub; “The Pacific War” by John Costello; General Headquarters U.S. Army Forces, Pacific official Military Intelligence files supplied by http://p47koji.wordpress.com
With special thanks to Koji, I sincerely hope my readers will take a look into his blog as well. Thank you.

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Home Economics building (today) site of surrender

The above is a modern photo of the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School where General Yamashita was first contacted. Later, he was sent to Baguio City for the formal surrender.

Yamishita photo is credited to, Dr. Walter Johnson.

Missed photos – YTD

As the 11th Airborne Division plans to move on to Okinawa, I am posting additional photos that I previously omitted to avoid clutter and distract from the stories. I hope you enjoy them.

Luzon cemetery

Luzon cemetery

Smitty wrote on the reverse side of this picture that it was the first cemetery on the island that they built. The shadowy figure on the bottom has always been a mystery. My father said no one was there when it was taken, but to me it does appear to be a man.

Graves of the fallen, Manila U.S. cemetery today

Graves of the fallen, Manila U.S. cemetery today

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Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

plaque in front of Luzon Memorial

plaque in front of Luzon Memorial

Luzon Memorial

Luzon Memorial

Memorial in Manila

Memorial in Manila

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Smitty must not have always been on patrol or training recruits, the photograph on the left was addressed to Mr. Everett Smith, from Dheadora D. Bella, Imus, Cavite, P.I. and on the front it is signed – With Love, Doriny. On the right is signed – Adorable ___ Med, Paulit & Lila. (Should any descendents recognize these photos, please give me more information on who they were. Thank you)

Women of Cavite

Women of Cavite

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Yank magazine, bartender from Brooklyn, New York

Yank magazine, bartender from Brooklyn, New York

Below, General Pierson (right) examines the bullet holes in a Japanese glider downed near Manila with Frank Smith (left), the war correspondent from the Chicago Sun Times that traveled with the 11th Airborne.

Japanese glider

Japanese glider

Japanese A6M Zero fighters near Lae, New Guinea 1943

Japanese A6M Zero fighters near Lae, New Guinea 1943

A cartoon from Camp Polk

A cartoon from Camp Polk

1 April 1945, Okinawa

1 April 1945, Okinawa

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Remember to click on any photo you need to see more clearly. I hope you have enjoyed this blog thus far and will continue to view as the 11th Airborne Division moves on to Okinawa.
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Australia and June 1945 updates

Brisbane 1945

Brisbane 1945

8 June 945, Cpl. Everett Smith found himself and four others from the division on leave in Australia and Smitty was determined to have a good time! Those that went to Brisbane on the same orders for TDY were:
Lt. Col. Francis W. Regnier MC HQ 11th A/B Div.
Major George K. Oliver INF HQ 11th A/B Div.
T Sgt. Manuel C. DeBeon Jr. 187th Glider Infantry
Tec 4 Beverly A. Ferreira HQ 11th A/B Div.
The orders were signed by Major E.W. Wyman Jr., Adjutant General

Townsville Queensland WWII

Townsville Queensland WWII

My father never told me very much about his R&R and probably for a good reason. (For one, my mother was always around listening.) He did say that when he first arrived in Australia, he wanted a haircut and a shave. While the barber was working on him, he remarked that the pores in Smitty’s nose appeared enlarged. My father answered, “You spend five months in the jungles of New Guinea and see what your nose looks like.” Dad said after that, his money was no good. Everyone in the barbershop made such a fuss over him that henever got a word in edgewise. They were so extreely grateful to anyone who helped to stop the Japanese. Smitty did always tell me he wished he could make a trip back there; he thought Australia and her people were great, but sadly, he never did.

Perhaps the young lady, Joan, was the reason Smitty wouldn’t talk about his time on leave.

Happy Flying, Love, Joan

Happy Flying, Love, Joan

WWII postcard

WWII postcard

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June events –

9 June – U.S. Marines land on Aguni Shima in the Ryukyu island chain and Japanese defenses crumble on Mindanao, Philippines.

Australian soldiers at Wewak

Australian soldiers at Wewak

10 June – Australian troops land at Brunei Bay, Borneo and by the 25th, they capture major oil fields and the island of Tarakan.

21 June – As Japan commanders commit suicide and 7,500 soldiers surrender, Okinawa falls. The devastating figures:
approximately 100,000 Japanese soldiers dead and a loss of 8,000 aircraft (4,000 shot down by combat missions)
7,613 U.S. Marines and Army infantry killed
31,807 U.S. wounded
U.S. Navy lost 4,900 seaman, 36 vessels sunk and 368 damaged
U.S. lost 763 aircraft

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More current news –

Recently I discovered that a WWII Marine veteran was living nearby. Joseph Dryer Jr. landed on Iwo Jima 68 years ago as a lieutenant. A Japanese hollow point bullet (dum-dum) came directly at his chest 26 days later. It hit his dog tags, cut off his locker box keys and drove everything into his chest. But, he was too tough for one bullet – at 91 years young, he lives in his Palm Beach home today surrounded with emorabilia of his amazing life. Let’s give a salute.

Lt. Joseph Dryer Jr. (in circle) Iwo Jima

Lt. Joseph Dryer Jr. (in circle) Iwo Jima

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References: The Palm Beach Post, Everett’s scrapbook, Angels: History of the 11th A/B, by Gen. Flanagan; The Pacific by John Davison

Personal not – I believe my next post will be a flashback to the Battle of Leyte Gulf. I will do my utmost to do it justice.

Pacific Theater continues

The men needed some humor.

The men needed some humor.

amusement park, Conn.

amusement park, Conn.

movie poster

movie poster

600full-first-yank-into-tokyo-photo

While families at home went to the latest movie (either glorifying the war with romance or as an escape from the constant reminders of war), carnivals or to work, the Sixth Australian Division attacked and occupied Wewak, New Guinea. This is relevant because it housed the headquarters of the Japanese Eighteenth Army. A major boon for the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations).

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

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Japanese balloon bomb

Japanese balloon bomb

Young Japanese girls wore headbands that designated them as Special Attack Force members. Daily they would recite the Imperial Precepts for Soldiers and Sailors before they began a twelve-hour shift in a makeshift factory in Kokura, Japan. Here they were producing 40 foot balloons to carry a bomb package across the ocean as they were released to drift on the Pacific jet stream. A total of approximately 9,300 of these weapons were made and about 342 reached land, some as far east as Ontario, Michigan and Nebraska. Some were shot down or caused minor injuries and one hit a powerline of the nuclear weapons plant at Hanford, Washington. But – 5 May 1945 – near Klamath Falls, Oregon, a pregnant woman, Elyse Mitchell and five students were killed on their way to a picnic. These were the only casualties of the war in the 48 states.
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Going thru Manila.

Going thru Manila.

The 11th Airborne continued their patrols, moping up details and training at Lipa. General Swing had another jump school built that created 1,000 newly qualified paratroopers. The new glider school concentrated on the “snatch pickup” method, whereby a CG-4A Glider on the ground with a towrope and a C-47 with a hook. As the plane goes overhead at an altitude of 15 feet, it snatches up the glider and brings it to 120 mph in a matter of a few seconds. (The noise from the plane, shock and whiplash must have been overwhelming.) With May drawing to a close and the Japanese Army being pushed to the northeast corner of Luzon, the men of the division began to realize something was up.

Infantry in Manila

Infantry in Manila

Research derived from The Mail Tribune (Oregon newspaper), Film Links 4U. com, the U.S. Army & The Last Great Victory by: Stanely Weintraub.

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