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Japan’s Underwater Aircraft Carrier I-400 series conclusion

Watch the surrender of a I-400 class Supersubmarine.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto called for the construction of 18 of the massive submarines carrying a total of 36 attack planes. The name of the special submarine class was abbreviated to Sen-toku.

The attack planes had to be designed from scratch. The need for speed, range and a decent sized bomb payload required tradeoffs. The wings had to be foldable to fit inside the tube, or hangar, atop the submarine. The design work, testing, and building of the plane was outsourced to the Aichi Aircraft Company.

The I-400 program did have its detractors in the heavily bureaucratic Imperial Japanese Navy.  After the defeat at Midway in early June 1942, Japan became more focused on defending the homeland and far less on possible attacks on the U.S. mainland using the large submarines. The death of Yamamoto in mid-April 1943, played further into the hands of conservative Japanese commanders. Cutbacks were ordered in the number of submarines to be built.  .

The first test flight of the Aichi attack plane occurred on November 8, 1943. The plane, called Seiran or “storm from a clear sky,” reportedly handled fairly well as the world’s first sub-borne attack bomber. The Japanese began compiling limited available information on the heavily fortified Panama Canal. Their analysis showed that destroying the gate opening onto Gatun Lake would create a massive outpouring of water, destroying the other gates in its path while rushing toward the Caribbean Sea.

After weeks of planning, the Japanese came up with a strategy to attack the Gatun locks at dawn when the gates were closed and presumably the defenses were lax. The planners had nearly a full year to formulate the attack for early 1945. But there were problems ahead because none of the submarines were complete and the planes were not yet in the production stage.

The Japanese labored on, and by the end of 1944 the I-400 and the smaller I-13 were completed and turned over to the Navy. In early January 1945, the I-401 was commissioned  and the I-14, the last of the underwater aircraft carriers, was put into service by mid-March 1945.

As an important aside, it should be noted that while preparations for the attack on the Panama Canal went forward, Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, vice-chief of the Naval General Staff, floated another idea for the use of the Sen-toku submarines. He suggested arming the Seiran planes with biological weapons to be unleashed against a populated area on the West Coast of the United States.

Dr. Shiro Ishii, Japan’s top virus expert and head of the Army’s notorious 731 unit in Manchuria, was consulted. He recommended that the planes drop plague-inflected fleas, something he had tested with success in China.  On the United States with San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego he suggested as targets. The plan was discarded in late March by the head of the Army’s general staff who called it  “unpardonable on humanitarian grounds.”

In effect, the Japanese Army, which had led the development of biological weapons and had tested them on Chinese and American captives, nixed the idea of using the weapons late in the war on American civilians, perhaps in the belief that the war was already lost.

I-400 class submarine located off Oahu.

The subs were later scuttled.

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Upcoming –   For those in the U.S. and around the world, reading here – Happy Thanksgiving!! 2022

Thanksgiving from: Pacific Paratrooper | Pacific Paratrooper (wordpress.com)

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Alesi – Salem, OH; USMC, WWII,PTO, 5/4th Marines

Norma Bidner (101) – Gibson City, IL; Civilian, WWII, Chanute Air Force Base

Take a moment to honor them.

Robert Black – Boise, ID; US Navy, Chaplain, the Gray Shepard Award, USS Racine

Raymond Cattell (101) – Birmingham, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII, HMS Glasgow & HMS King George V

Benge Elliot – Lamesa, TX; US Army, medical

Levin Ferrin (100) – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 82nd Airborne Division

Willis Holton – Jacksonville, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Francis P. Martin – Scranton, PA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc. # 33457416, Co D/1/157/45th Infantry Division, KIA (Reipertswiller, FRA)

Walter Nies – Eureka, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 37307545, Tail gunner, 96 BS/2 BG/15th Air Force, POW, KWC (Stalag Luft 6, GER)

James Rotunno – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 32204944, Co K/3/157/ 45th Infantry Division, KIA (Reipertswiller, FRA)

Robert A. Wright – Whitesville, KY; US Army, Korea, Pfc. # 15381551, Co C/1/19/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Taejon, SK)

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Japan’s Underwater Aircraft Carrier / part-one

I-400 Series Super-submarine

Lieutenant Commander Stephen L. Johnson had a problem on his hands; a very large problem. His Balao-class submarine, the Segundo, had just picked up a large radar contact on the surface about 100 miles off Honshu, one of Japan’s home islands, heading south toward Tokyo.  World War II in the Pacific had just ended, and the ensuing cease fire was in its 14th day. The official peace documents would not be signed for several more days.

As Johnson closed on the other vessel, he realized it was a gigantic submarine, so large in fact that it first looked like a surface ship in the darkness. The Americans had nothing that size, so he realized that it had to be a Japanese submarine.

This was the first command for the lanky 29-year-old commander. He and his crew faced the largest and perhaps the most advanced submarine in the world. The Japanese I-401 was longer than a football field and had a surface displacement of 5,233 tons, more than three times the Segundo’s displacement. More troubling though was the sub’s bristling weaponry that included a 5.5-inch gun on her aft deck, three triple-barreled 25mm antiaircraft guns, a single 25mm gun mounted on the bridge, and eight large torpedo tubes in her bow.

During a brief ceremony aboard one of the aircraft carrier submarines, the Japanese naval ensign is lowered and replaced by the Stars and Stripes as the vessel is turned over to the control of the U.S. Navy after Japan’s surrender

The large sub displayed the mandatory black surrender flag, but when the Segundo edged forward, the Japanese vessel moved rapidly into the night. The movement and the continuing display of the Rising Sun flag caused concern.  Johnson’s vessel pursued the craft that eventually slowed down as dawn approached. He brought his bow torpedo tubes to bear on the craft as the two vessels settled into a Mexican standoff.

Johnson and his crew had received permission by now to sink the reluctant Japanese vessel if necessary, but he realized he had a career-boosting and perhaps a technologically promising prize in his sights. Much depended on this untried American submarine captain and his wily opponent in the seas off Japan.

Supersub I-400 series

Little did Johnson know that the Japanese submarine was a part of the I-400 squadron, basically underwater aircraft carriers, and that the I-401 carried Commander Tatsunosuke Ariizumi, developer of the top-secret subs initially designed to strike the U.S. homeland in a series of surprise attacks. Ariizumi was considered the “father of the I-400 series” and a loyal follower of the emperor with years of experience in the Japanese Navy, so surrender was a disgrace he could not endure.

Johnson also had to contend with Lt. Cmdr. Nobukiyo Nambu, skipper of the I-401, who traced his combat experience back to Pearl Harbor. He now commanded the world’s largest submarine designed to carry three state-of-the-art attack planes in a specially built hanger located atop the vessel. These secret Aichi M6A1 planes were initially designed for “a second Pearl Harbor” or another surprise attack, possibly even against New York City or Washington, D.C. The I-400 series submarines were themselves full of technological surprises.  They were capable of traveling around the world one and a half times without refueling, had a top surface speed of 19 knots (or nearly 22 miles per hour), and could remain on patrol for four months, twice as long as the Segundo.

Neither Nambu nor Commander Ariizumi readily accepted the emperor’s surrender statement when it was broadcast on August 15. The subsequent communiqués from Tokyo were exceptionally confusing, especially Order 114, which confirmed that peace had been declared – but that all submarines were to “execute predetermined missions and attack the enemy if discovered.”

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

It was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of Japan’s Combined Fleet and developer of the Pearl Harbor attack, who called for the construction of the I-400 series some three weeks after Pearl Harbor.  Once Japan was committed to war, he believed that submarine aircraft carriers dropping bombs “like rain” over major U.S. cities would surely cause the American people to “lose their will to fight.” A second surprise attack with even more to come would prove psychologically devastating to the Americans.

To be continued…

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Military Humor-

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Farewell Salutes – 

William K. Beers – Lewistown, PA; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne & 17th Artillery

George E. Bernard (100) – Burlington, VT; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Seaman 2nd Class, LCT Rocket # 373

Charlotte Clark – Laconia, NH; Civilian, WWII, Scott & Williams Aircraft parts

Milton Cronk (100) – Iowa City, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Marines Raiders, Purple Heart

Frank Daniels – Watertown, MA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner, Seaman 1st Class

R. James Giguere – St. Paul, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 “Miss Lace” bull turret gunner

William C. Jones (100) – Fort Smith, AR; US Navy, WWII

Ruth (Lias) Lowery (100) – Akron, OH; Civilian, WWII, B-17 production

Johnnie Mullenix – Unionville, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Richard Shaug – Cambria, CA; US Army, Korea, HQ Co/187th RCT

Twila Wellsfry – Chico, CA; Civilian, WWII, bookkeeper, Mares Island shipyard

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USMC Birthday / Veterans Day 2022

The Marine Corps birthday has been commemorating on November 10 every year since 1775,  the year of establishment of Continental Marines. Every year the cake cutting ceremony with the conventional ball follows.

Saluting the U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Corps Birthday Cake

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

 

 

 

 

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Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

Thank you – To ALL our veterans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 11th Airborne Division jumps again!

PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

 

For many other countries who remain free thanks to their veterans, this day is called Remembrance Day.  I thank you!!

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Lawrence “Junior” Anderson – Blanchard, MI; USMC, WWII, CBI, scout observer

Catherine Batoff – Cedar Lake, IN; US Army WAC, WWII

Jesse G. Bell – Roopsville, GA; US Navy, WWII, USS Case DD-370

Leo E. Cummings – Jackson, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ralph Fiorio – Peekskill, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 8th Armored Division

David E. Holeman – Le Harpe, KS; US Air Force, WWII, PTO, # 646029, 17/24th Pursuit Group, POW, KWC (Cabanatuan Camp, P.I.)

Merle L. Pickup – Provo, UT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Cpl. # 39832953, 393 BS/308 BG, KIA (India)

Paul J. Simons Jr. (102) – Wyoming, MO; US Army, WWII

James M. Triplett – King County, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt # 39202130, B-24 radio operator, 700BS/445 BG/2/8th Air Force

Allen H. Tuttle – King County, WA; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 19261249, field artillery cannoneer, C Batt/38/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KWC (NK Camp # 5)

Larry A. Zich – Lincoln, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer # 508603819, HQ/37/1st Signal Brigade, KIA

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Why is the only one standing the man with a wheelchair?

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Potsdam Conference, part one

Potsdam Conference table

“Operation Iceberg,” the invasion of Okinawa began on 1 April 1945 and would basically end on 22 June. Many are unaware that small skirmishes continued even after the 11th Airborne Division landed on that island. But … as we enter into July, others matters begin to develop.

Harry S. Truman did not have the outstanding record that most people look for in a president. He had poor eyesight and was unable to complete a 4-year college. Later, he failed as the owner/operator of a small mining and oil business, as a farmer and then as a haberdasher. (In my opinion, that only left politics as an option.) HST was elected to the Senate with the assistance of the corrupt Thomas J. Pendergast and proved to be an unimportant legislator. His only military achievement was in successfully tightening up the discipline of the rag-tag outfit he was given. He was chosen as the Vice-Presidential candidate because southern democrats liked him and FDR needed those votes. (I’m afraid these facts were located during research, they are not my own thoughts – unless specified.)

Potsdam page

This was the man sent to Germany, sailing on the “Augusta” with Secretary of State, James Byrnes and Admiral Leahy to attend the Potsdam Conference to begin on 17 July 1945. The primary agenda for the massive meeting dealt with the revision of the German-Soviet-Polish borders and the expulsion of several million Germans from the disputed territories. The code name for this conference was “Terminal,” with Stalin, Churchill and Truman representing the three major powers.

16 July was significant in that the Atomic bomb was successfully tested, exploding the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT and a blast point of 750 degrees F. Oppenheimer would then prepare the test results for his report to Henry Stimson in Potsdam. Truman confided the news to Churchill and the two rulers instantly decided that at least two bobs would be dropped on Japan. This decision was made despite the arguments of Adm. Leahy, General “Hap” Arnold and Gen. Dwight Eisenhower who strongly spoke against it’s use, calling it completely unnecessary. Many of the scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project felt that such a dramatic scientific discovery should not be used. The petition, “…the liberated forces of nature for the purpose of destruction … open the door to an era of devastation …,” was signed by 57 scientists. They had the foresight to visualize the nuclear problems that we face today, but their qualms went unheeded.

Potsdam, continued

The Potsdam Proclamation demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan, but did not make mention of two clearly important issues – (1) that the atomic bomb was is existence and (2) whether or not the Emperor would retain his seat in the palace. Both of these provisions would have clarified the true situation for the Japanese Army. Many, on-site at Potsdam, believe that the Japanese were purposely and maliciously misguided.

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Military Humor – WWI Style – 

“A BOLT FROM THE BLUE – WITH LOVE FROM YOURS TRULY”

“SAY WHEN !”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Aubry – Saratoga Springs, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, radar repair

Thomas Austin Sr. – Greenville, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Armored Division

Ellery Engell – Erie, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Sea Bees

William W. Fitz – Dedham, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

David A. Gockowski Sr. – Bellevue, NE; US Air Force, CMSgt. (Ret.), WWII, Korea, Vietnam

Hilda (Morrison) Harned – Hodgenville, KY; US Navy, WWII, nurse

Gordon Kemp – Peterborough, NH; US Navy, WWII, PTO radar repair

William Nichols – Lima, OH; US Navy, WWII, ETO & PTO

Robert H. Reilly – NYC, NY; USMC, WWII & Korea, 1st Lt.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Windsor) – Mayfair, London; Auxiliary Territorial Service, WWII  / 70 year British Monarch

Thaddeus Zawilinski – Amsterdam, NY; US Army, West Point Academy

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Operation Downfall, part two

Operation Downfall/Olympic

In a memo from the Undersecretary of the Navy, a project named “Dagwood” was mentioned, but I am unable to locate any details. MacArthur sent out a deceptive message (with slip-shot secrecy) to be intercepted by the Japanese called “Pastel Two.” This showed a detailed “plan” about Allied landings on the China coast. The Panama Canal had a steady stream of ships loaded with men, equipment and supplies. Seven more atomic bombs were on order for “Operation Olympic” British, Canadian and Australian divisions were to be re-equipped with American weapons and logistical support to standardize the entire operation. The Allied planners felt they would ultimately involve 5 million men. (Operation Overlord in Europe totaled 150,000 men and 1,500 tanks.) They expected opposition from 5,000 kamikazes, which proved later to be correct. The main objective for “Olympic” would be to secure Kagoshima Wan; a great landlocked bay for which men and supplies would flow through for the post-invasion buildup.

Operation Coronet would follow Olympic on 1 March 1946 and would be a more massive invasion. The main objective then would be Tokyo Bay on Honshu.

The Naval plans were also far too complex for me to completely list here, but to give you an idea – Halsey’s Third Fleet was assigned eastern Honshu and the Fifth Fleet would take western Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Seventh Fleet would be at Korea (south of the 38th parallel) and Admiral Fletcher’s North Pacific Force would cover Hokkaido.

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Saipan

After the fall of Saipan, Japan knew they were forced to strengthen their homeland defenses. Yet this progress was moving slowly; labor was scarce, with the lack of fuel their mobilization was slow, production, food and weapons were decreasing rapidly. The country was becoming very tired of war. Covering the Japanese islands were four ground armies of eight divisions and 14 cadre divisions; plus three air defense divisions. Immense manpower groups were expected to bring this to 56 divisions, 38 brigades, somewhere in the vicinity of 2 million new men. War materiel was to be brought in from Manchuria. The Japanese plan of defense was called “Ketsu-Go.”

Japanese defenses

I realize the map is difficult to view even after you click on it, but try to see the black squares which represent Japanese defenses with artillery.

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The 11th Airborne, training the reinforcements and handling the “mopping-up” details on Luzon were beginning to set odds on whether or not the war would end before “Olympic” went into play. The combined “Operation Downfall” was a “go” up until the ink on the surrender papers dried.
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From Paul Putnam for his father Robert, a veteran of the 11th Airborne Division.

Robert Putnam

Robert Putnam

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Military Humor –  WW I  Style – 

“I’m HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME.”🙄

Not much different than WWII, eh?

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Farewell Salutes – 

Warren “Bill” Allen – Spofford, NH; USMC, WWII, air traffic comptroller

Margaret “Marty” Bartholomew (102) – Toledo, OH; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt.

Courtesy of: Dan Antion

H. John Davis Jr. (103) – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Kenneth Ellsworth – Elkhorn, WI; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Nathan Isaacs – Winnipeg, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, navigator

Betty (Hale) Johnson – Wichita, KS; Civilian, WWII, Beech Aircraft

Victor Kester (102) – Revere, MA; US Navy, WWII

Richard J. Lewis – Burlington, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Walter Minick – Elmhurst, IL; USMC, WWII

Hiroshi “Johnny” Okura (100) – HI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bat A/522/442nd Division

Robert Weaver Sr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

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Happy Labor Day!

4th of July 2022 🇺🇸

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY 2022

Respect – Honor – Celebration

Celebrating the birth of our nation and dedicated to those who have served and fought to preserve our freedom.

PLUS A CHANGE OF PACE FOR PACIFIC PARATROOPER – A HUMOROUS LOOK AND 5 MINUTE HISTORY OF America’s BIRTH!

ONE TEAM UNITED – LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN AMERICA!!

Military July 4th Humor –

Farewell Salutes –

William Anderson Jr. (100) – Ninety Six, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Zane Baker (100) – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO

William Coward Sr. – Ramseur, SC; USMC, WWII, PTO, MGunnery Sgt. (Ret. 33 y.)

Leon Diamond – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Donald W. Emery – Searsport, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Hancock (CV-19), aviation ordnance

Grover Long – Adolphus, KY; US Navy, WWII

Howard McGhee – Sioux City, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Donald Morehead – St. Paul, MN; US Navy, WWII, signalman

Robert Pogna – Gunnison, CO; US Navy, WWII, USS Pocomoke

Hershel W. Williams – Quiet Dell, WV; USMC, WWII, PTO, Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret.), Purple Heart, Medal of Honor

🇺🇸      🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸     🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸

New Orders for the 11th Airborne

Lt. Gen. Joseph May Swing

21 January 1945 – Gen. Swing announced to his 11th Airborne Division that he was ordering up a review as they were transferring to the 8th Army and the reviewing officer would be none other than Gen. Robert Eichelberger.  Swing had received Field Order Number 17 which gave him the order to prepare for Luzon.

Luzon was the most populated, most highly developed and the most historical island in the archipelago.  It was a land of wild boars, birds, snakes, reptiles, feral dogs, tons of insects and an enemy hiding within the cogon grass at every turn. (the plant had coarse spikes with “silky” hairs that made your skin feel as those hundreds of critters crawled beneath it.)  There was always a threat of dengue fever, that is contracted from a mosquito and if left untreated resulted in bleeding and death, and we can’t forget malaria.

The 6th Army, under Gen. Krueger, was already in the midst of all this trying to reach Manila.  MacArthur had told Eichelberger how upset he was at their slow progress to get to the capital and added, “speed up your ‘palsey-walsey,’ Krueger doesn’t radiate courage.”  Ergo – a rivalry was born and a race between the 6th and 8th Armies would exist – the problem was – the 11th A/B had been given more than one priority as their mission.

Generals Swing and Eichelberger making plans for the 11th Airborne

As X-Day approached, the pace of activity increased dramatically.  The division’s supply loading plan put the responsibility on the unit commanders.  The G-4, Roy Stout, set up a special section to load the 11th and all ran efficiently despite not knowing what vessels the Navy would be sending.  But on 25 January, most of the supply ships were completely loaded within 24 hours.


The LCI’s (Landing Craft Infantry), arrived at 0700 hours on 27 January and a convoy of almost 100 ships pulled out to sea that afternoon, under the command of Adm. Fechteler, and headed south through Mindanao Sea and then swung north.  The LCI’s were crowded and there were no cooking facilities, the men ate “10-in-1” rations rather than having the customary steak and eggs before a landing.

Adm. Flechteler

Most of the sailing days were spent in map study, planning and orientation.  All the troopers would be so well briefed on the terrain from aerial photographs and mock-up reliefs that their landing somehow felt like déjà-vu.  Excess baggage was not carried – only what the men could carry on their backs.  Personal baggage would not be seen for 2 months.

General Eichelberger wrote his wife, Miss Emmalina, of the beauty in watching the large naval convoy and he marveled at their expertise.  He noted the Navy’s ability to keep their sense of humor, despite the seriousness of their voyage.  Before landing on 31 January, he heard over the loud speaker system, “Sick call _ all sick, lame and lazy report to sick bay.”  He also commented that Gen. Swing was grand to deal with.

Eichelberger would write in his book, “Now the stage was set for what I regard as one of the most thrilling exploits for the Pacific War – the 11th Airborne’s dash for Manila”

References: “Our Road to Tokyo”, by Gen. Robert Eichelberger; “The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division,” by Gen. E.M. Flanagan Jr.; “Rakkasans” by Gen. E.M. Flanagan and “Dear Miss Em”, by Gen. Robert Eichelberger

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

June Boykin – Philadelphia, PA; US Army WAC, WWII, nurse

James E. Carl (101) – Tulsa, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO,P-51 pilot, Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

Sea Captain

Kenneth Dower – New Haven, CT; US Navy, WWII / USMC, Korea

Myles W. Esmay, Utica, NY; US Army, WWII, CBI, 1st Lt. # 0-491925, Co B/236th Engineer Combat Battalion (Merrill’s Marauders), KIA (Myitkyina, BUR)

William Jordon – Waynesville, NC; USMC, WWII / US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

Calvin Keaton – Ironton, OH; USMC, WWII, PTO

Dennis F. Melton – Waverly, TN; US Air Force, Nigeria, SSgt., 768th Expeditionary AB Squadron/Nigerian AB 101

Harry C. Nivens (100) – Pinesville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 101st Airborne Division, Purple Heart

Claude White – Dyersburg, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Chief Water Tender # 2948177, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Ian Woodrow – brn. IRE; British Merchant Marines, WWII

William M. Zoellick – Cook County, IL; US Army, Korea, Pfc # 26368528, Co B/1/9/2nd Infantry Division, POW, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

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HMAS Australia

HMAS Australia

A  ship with quite a colorful World War II history was the HMAS Australia, fondly known as “The Aussie”. The Aussie fought for almost the entire duration of the war. A county class cruiser commissioned in 1928 she was the second ship to bear the name of her country.

With the outbreak of WWII,  Aussie sailed for the Atlantic to begin her long wartime career that she was to fight on all fronts and against all enemies.  In September, 1940, she was in Operation Menace off Dakar, French West Africa.  Bombers of the Luftwaffe tried in vain to sink her whilst she was berthed alongside in Liverpool during the period when the city suffered its worst blitz. During her war service Aussie went everywhere.

In December 1941, when Japan entered the war with the Allies, Aussie became the flagship or Rear Admiral Crace, followed by Admiral Crutchley and then Commodore Collins.  In January 1942 the cruiser assisted in escorting the first US troops to Australia. Operating in the Coral Sea it pursued and attacked the Japanese from Guadalcanal to Hollandia, surviving everything its enemies could throw at her, until…

Aussie damage

HMAS Australia was needed badly by the R.A.N for she was the last surviving seaworthy member of the country’s heavy cruiser fleet the rest having been sunk and Hobart badly damaged. So she was quickly returned to active service.

She headed straight back to Philippine waters and on the afternoon of 5th January 1945 at Lingayen Gulf,  The Kamikazes targeted her again.  Her new Captain Armstrong flung the ship about wildly, but another bomb laden aircraft slammed into to her. The casualties were high – 25 men killed and 30 seriously wounded, most were badly needed guns crews.

Despite extensive damage she joined HMAS Shropshire and other US units to aid in the bombardment of San Fernando and Poro Point.  A new wave of Kamikazes then attacked, a Aichi ‘Val’ Dive Bomber surviving the murderous fire thrown up by all ships collided headlong into her upper deck exploding in an enormous fireball.  Several guns crews died instantly and a severe shock wave shuddered throughout the ship. This hit accounted for another 14 dead and 26 seriously wounded. by now Aussie’s AA defenses were all but eliminated.

Aussie damage

At dawn on 8th January, the allied fleet resumed its bombardment and the Kamikazes renewed their suicidal attacks.  Aussie was the last ship in the line and was once again singled out.   The Aussie’s gunners throwing up withering fire at a Mitsubishi “Dinah” Bomber until at last shooting it down, but not before it released its bomb which exploded close to the waterline, punching a large hole in the hull.

Taking a dangerous list to port another ‘Dinah’ roared in.  Those guns still in operation tore the bomber to bits and it showered down aviation fuel upon the sailors whilst its massive engine smashed through the bulkhead of the Captain’s Day Cabin. Within seconds another ‘Dinah’ roared in, the Aussie gunners frantically trying to shoot it down, succeeding, within just 15 metres, the propeller blades embedding themselves in a life-raft.  The aircraft skidded into the hull ripping another large hole and damaging yet another fuel tank, whilst two mess decks were completely destroyed. Aussie by now was in bad shape, her speed reduced to fifteen knots to avoid causing more damage,  still hung in and managed to continue the fight with what was left of her.

funnel damage

The following day the Japs decided to finish the Flagship off knowing she was almost dead in the water. As another plane raced in heading for her bridge its pilot misjudged his attack line and slammed into the yardarm slewing the aircraft around so as to miss the bridge area and taking out the top of the foremost funnel. Sliced off cleanly it crashed to the deck. There were no casualties from this hit but it spelled the end for Aussie. Two boilers had to be shut down because of insufficient updraft.  Aussie’s war had come to an end.

Information from the Royal Australian Navy Gun Plot; Australian Navy and Joey’s Walkabout

The Australian Navy link includes some fantastic photographs!

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

“That meal was delicious, what went wrong with it?”

“Let’s go in here – they probably remember me from last night!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth L. Bridger – Stevens County, WA; US Army, Korea, Pvt. E-2 # 19354338, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Kevin J. Carroll – East Meadow, NY; USMC, Vietnam, Pfc., 3/1/Marine Aircraft Group 12, KIA (Quang Tin, SV)

William B. Coleman – Mobile, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc. # 34803721, Co F/134/35th Infantry Division, Bronze Star, KIA (Grèmecey, FRA)

Roy C. Delauter – Washington County, MD; US Army, Korea, Sgt. # 13277149, Co D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Kathleen (Gohl) Gilchrist – Royal Oak, MI, US Navy WAVE, WWII

Carson R. Holman – Newport, PA; US Army, Colonel(Ret. 30 y.), West Point graduate, 82nd Airborne Division

Errol Lagasse (100) – Panama City, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII, Chief Petty Officer

David F. Lutes – Sarasota, FL; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

Thomas McGee (102) – Bethesda, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Tuskegee pilot, 409 missions in 3 wars  (remains a record), Colonel (Ret. 30 y.)

Bill Morrison – Birmingham, AL; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pfc., Co G/2/110/ 28th Infantry Division, KIA (Hürtgen Forest, GER)

Adolph Olenik – Gary, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 15103844, B-24  “Kate Smith” gunner, 98th Heavy/345th Bomb Squadron, KIA (Ploesti, ROM)

Charles F. Perdue – Salisbury, MD; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Shipfitter 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

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Lingayen Gulf | January 1945

The USS Louisville is struck by a kamikaze Yokosuka D4Y at the Battle of Lingayen Gulf, 6 January 1945

On 2 January, the US carrier, USS Ommaney Bay, was severely damaged by a kamikaze aircraft and would later need to be scuttled.  Three days later, the cruiser, USS Columbia, was also damaged when she was hit by 2 of the Japanese suicide planes.  US shipping received relentless kamikaze strikes that cost the Navy more than 1000 men due to those 30 hits.

Beginning on 6 January, a heavy naval and air bombardment of suspected Japanese defenses on Lingayen began.  Aircraft and naval artillery bombardment of the soon-to-be landing areas occurred, with kamikazes attacking again on the 7th.

USS Columbia, hit by kamikaze

On the 8th, it was observed that in the town of Lingayen, as a response to the prelanding shelling, Filipinos had begun to form a parade, complete with United States and Philippine flags – firing was shifted away from that area.

The USS Louisville had been hit on the 5th of January with one man killed and 52 wounded, including the captain.  The following day she was attacked by six successive plane, 5 were shot down, but one got through.

Rear Admiral Theodore Chandler

The strike on the Louisville was also notable for the death of RAdmiral Theodore Chandler, commanding the battleships and cruiser in Lingayen Gulf.  He was badly burned when his Flag ship was engulfed in flames, but jumped down to the signal deck and deployed hoses to the enlisted men before waiting in line for treatment with the other wounded sailors.  However, his lungs had been scorched by the petroleum flash and he died the following day.

An eye witness account of the attack on the USS Louisville, from John Duffy:

“All of a sudden, the ship shuddered and I knew we were hit again.  I was in charge of the 1st Division men and I yelled, “We’re hit, let’s go men!”  I was the first man out the Turret door followed by Lt. Commander Foster and Lt. Hastin, our Division Officer, then a dozen more men.

“The starboard side of the ship was on fire from the forecastle deck down.  One almost naked body was laying about ten feet from the turret with the top of his head missing.  It was the kamikaze pilot that had hit us.  He made a direct hit on the Communications deck.

“As the men poured out of the turret behind me, they just stood there in shock.  Explosions were still coming from the ammunition lockers at the scene of the crash.  We could see fire there too.  Injured men were screaming for help on the Communications Deck above us.  I ordered 2 men to put out the fire on the starboard side by leaning over the side with a hose.  That fire was coming from a ruptured aviation fuel pipe that runs full length of the forecastle on the outside of the ship’s hull.  That fuel pipe was probably hit by machine-gun bullets from the kamikaze just before he slammed into us.

USS Louisville during kamikaze attack

“Although there was no easy access to the deck above us, I ordered several men to scale up the side of the bulkhead (wall) and aid the badly burned victims who were standing there like zombies.  I also ordered 3 men to crawl under the rear Turret 1’s overhang, open the hatch there and get the additional fire hose from Officers Quarters.  These 3 orders were given only seconds apart and everyone responded immediately, but when they got near the dead Jap’s body, which was lying right in the way, it slowed them down…”

For some additional information on the Kamikaze, Click HERE.

The HMAS Australia was included in this fleet and would also come under heavy attack.  Her full story will be the following post.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

R.B. Cherry – Dallas, TX; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co. G/2/24th Infantry Division, POW, KIA (Camp 5, NK)

Naomi Clark – Lima, OH; Civilian, WWII, Lima Army Tank Depot

The Flag flies in all weather, courtesy of Dan Antion

Alfred Guglielmetti (103) – Petaluma, CA; Civilian, WWII, Mare Island welder, battleship repair

Nancy Hussey – Bronxville, NY; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII, Company Comdr. & coxswain

John M. Loncola (100) – Old Forge, PA; US Navy, WWII, CBI & PTO, Chief Petty Officer

Jocelyn L. Martin – Orewa, NZ; WRNZ Air Force, LACW # 77239

John R. Melton – Liberty, MS; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class # 2744530, USS West Virginia, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

George Pendleton – Bristol. RI; US Navy, WWII

Robert E. Smith – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, fighter pilot

Robert Teza – Syracuse, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO

Richard Watson – Gorham, ME; US Army, WWII

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USMC Birthday | Veterans Day

US Marine Corps Birthday

10 November 2021 – The United States Marine Corps’ 246th Birthday

Prior to 1921, Marines celebrated the recreation of the Corps on 11 July with little pomp or pageantry.  On 21 October 1921, Major Edwin North McClellan, in charge of the Corps’s fledgling historical section, sent a memorandum to Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting the Marines’ original birthday of 10 November be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps. Lejeune so ordered in Marine Corps Order 47:

Sketch of the original Tun Tavern

 

11 November 2021 – U.S. Veterans Day

On November 11th, we pause to reflect on the history of this great Nation and honor all those who fought to defend it. Originally titled “Armistice Day” and intended to celebrate the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars,” Veterans Day allows us to give thanks to veterans past and present, men and women from all walks of life and all ethnicities, who stood up and said, “Send me.” We recognize your sacrifices, your sense of duty and your love for this country.

 

Poppy from MaryLou

Remembrance Day around the world!

Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of WWI, to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V, in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.  Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente.

Click on still pictures to enlarge.

 

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Ankomeus – Ft. Atkinson, WI; US Army, Korea, Co. A/187th RCT

Santina Breen – Elizabeth, NJ; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Eric David – brn: Koln, GER; US Navy, WWII,  electrician’s mate

Edward Fay Jr. – Bradenton, FL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert J. Herynk – Hanover, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO, Pvt., Co K/3/126/32nd Infantry Division, KIA (Soputa-Sanananda Track, NG)

Allan F. Hicks – MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt. # 19145765, 319th Bomber Group/440th B Squadron, KIA (Italy)

Harold W. Lindsey – San Antonio, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 2nd Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Stephen C. Mason – Jersey City, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 12165894, HQ Co/505/82nd Airborne Division, Bronze Star, Silver Star, KIA (Beek, NETH)

James McDonald – Leveland, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fireman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Walter C. Stein – Cheyenne, WY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Michaux Turbeville – Dillon, NC; US Army, Korea, Pfc., HQ Co/3/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

Leon S. Wheeler – Conklin, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. E/188/11th Airborne Division

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Why is the only person standing, the one in the wheelchair?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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