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Lack & misuse of naval power by the Axis

An analysis of the Axis powers by a well-experienced researcher.

The World's Not Enough

While Germany, Japan and Italy all fielded large land armies, and powerful air forces, the biggest oversight by all three was in the proper development, and use of naval power.

Germany

deutschland-class_heavy_cruiser_ Deutschland Class heavy cruiser Admiral Scheer, launching a Heinkel 60 scout plane.

The biggest naval warfare failure. Germany had built highly advanced surface warships, and had the industrial capacity to build fleets. They simply didn’t do it.

Hitler, and Kriegsmarine chief Admiral Erich Raeder realized the need for a battle fleet. However, as the land war expanded in Europe, Hitler became less and less interested in naval matters.

Germany by September 1939, had built advanced warships comparable, or superior to any navy in the world. But in such few numbers, Germany couldn’t assemble one effective battle-group that could survive combat beyond the Baltic Sea.

Even Germany’s infamous U-boat fleet barely existed in 1939, with a mere 17 vessels in…

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Floating Docks of WWII

SS Artisan (ABSD-1) w/ Antelope (1X-109) & LST-120 in the dock at Espiritu Santo, 8 January 1945

SS Artisan (ABSD-1) w/ Antelope (1X-109) & LST-120 in the dock at Espiritu Santo, 8 January 1945

The United States Navy, during World War 2, decided to create a temporary forward base utilizing service stations; these stations meant the United States Navy could operate throughout the huge Pacific Ocean for more sustained amounts of time.

Creating these pretty much meant they could have a major naval base within a short distance of any operation carried out in the area. The base was able to repair; resupply and refit, meaning fewer ships had to make the journey to a facility at a major port, which allowed them to remain in the Pacific for up to a year and beyond.

This was vitally important as if ships were damaged enough (either by storms in the area or damage from the enemy) they would usually have to travel thousands of miles to get to the United States naval base that could carry out essential repairs. The distance to the San Francisco base (the nearest United States naval base) was as far from their location as it would have been to sail from London, England to San Francisco.

USS Iowa in dry dock

USS Iowa in dry dock

These temporary bases provided ships with supplies, ranging from food, fuel, ordnance and other much-needed supplies. This meant that these stations were vital in terms of practical use to the United States Navy and their operations in the area.

These stations were officially named Advance Base Sectional Docks (ABSDs) and were put together section by section. Each part was welded to the next once in their correct position.

There were two different sizes of floating docks created, the largest ones were created using ten sections and could lift 10,000 tons each – being 80 feet wide and 256 feet long. Once these sections were welded together, it became a fully assembled dock that was a whopping 133 feet wide, 827 feet long and could lift up to 90,000 tons.

Looking at an LST from inside the ASDR

Looking at an LST from inside the ASDR

This was more than enough lifting power for any ship within the Fleet.

The smaller dock was put together using eight sections and could lift 8,000 tons each – being 101 feet wide and 204 feet long. Once the sections of the smaller dock were fitted together, it was capable of lifting a ship up to 120 feet wide, 725 feet long and 8,000 tons of weight.

The sections used in the creation of these docks were given the form of a rough hull; this allowed the sections to be towed in place at a speed of 6-8 knots. The walls were capable of folding down so that they had resistance to the wind while being towed and helped to lower their center of gravity.

ABSD-2 at Manus w/ USS Mississippi (BB-41), 12 October 1944

ABSD-2 at Manus w/ USS Mississippi (BB-41), 12 October 1944

Each dock had their own generator aboard (fueled by diesel) and quarters for the crew. Once fully assembled every dock had two cranes aboard, that could lift 15 tons; these ran on specially placed rails that sat on top of the dock walls.

Enough sections were made during the War that three large and four small docks were able to be assembled. The very first one was complete within 1943 (at Noumea) and a second was being fitted by the end of the year at Espiritu Santo. The total capacity of the dry docks in the Navy by the end of 1943 was 723,000 tons.

Idea for this post was suggested by Ian, the Aussie Emu.

Information retrieved from the War History on line.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Lawrence Apel – St. Louis, MO; US Army, ATO & PTO

Frank Bobb Jr. – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Gene Cernan – Chicago, IL; US Navy, pilot, Astronaut (2 Moon voyages)

Max Duncan – Forest City, NC; US Navy, WWII, USS Barb (SS-220), Capt. (Ret. 30 yrs.), Silver Starsalute

Robert Eaves – Boston, MA; US Army, WWII

Colin Gibbard – Wanganui, NZ; RNZ Army # 105345, WWII, 27th Machine-gun Battalion

Ernest Glass – Walpole, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, KIA

James King – Temperance, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Savo Island (CVE-78), machinist’s mate

Roderick McIntire – Kuluin, AUS; RA Air Force # 420241, WWII, navigator

William Mohr (108) – Hatboro, PA & Port St. Lucie, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 381st/45th Infantry Div., Sgt.

John Oblinger Jr. – North Bend, OH; US Army, West Point, 11th & 82nd Airborne, Major (Ret.)

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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.

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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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USS Alabama – Then and Now

USS Alabama

USS Alabama, Cruise book

The USS Alabama (BB-60) is a South Dakota Class Battleship, launched on April 16, 1942. It served during World War II in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The Alabama served in British waters protecting supply convoys to the Soviet Union.

Later it joined U.S. forces fighting in the Pacific. It was involved in the Gilbert Island, Marshall Islands, and Marianas Islands campaigns, and in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Okinawa.

The Alabama was awarded nine battle stars for her service.

On January 9, 1947, the Alabama was decommissioned. Her last journey under her own power was to the United States Pacific Reserve Fleet at Bremerton, Washington. She remained there until removed from the Naval Vessel Register on June 1, 1962.

US Navy poster

US Navy poster

However, that was not the end of her life. Some citizens of the State of Alabama formed a ‘USS Alabama Battleship Commission’ with the aim of raising funds to preserve the Alabama as a memorial to the men and women who served their nation during World War II.

The money, including $100,000 raised by schoolchildren in the form of nickels and dimes, and a $1,000,000 corporate donation, was found, and the Alabama was awarded to the state on June 16, 1964. She was formally handed over at a ceremony in Seattle on July 7.

She was then towed to Mobile Bay, Alabama, where she lies in Battleship Memorial Park. It opened as a museum on January 9, 1965. She was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

The Alabama is one of the most well-known American ships of World War II. The 1992 movie Under Siege, starring Steven Seagal, featured it, though not by name.

Though the action in the film is supposed to have occurred on board the Missouri, the Alabama is actually shown in most of the battleship scenes.

 

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Carlton Blackmore – Westfield, NJ; US Army, WWII, Captain

John Cleary Jr. – Bronx, NY; US Army, Korea

Allan Dally – Hawke’s Bay NZ; RNZ Army # 056129, WWII, East Coast Mounted Riflesbiabonlceaepa7g-599x769

Harold Gordon – New Bern, NC; US Merchant Marine, WWII & Korea, radioman

Fred Johnson – Park City, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Snowbell (AN-52)

Larry Jordal – Sisseton, SD; US Army, Korea

Stanley Levine – Cincinnati, OH; US Army, WWII

Richard Rose  – Battle Creek, MI; US Air Force

William J. Simon Jr. – W.Scranton, PA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Marcey Jack Wilson – Wichita Falls, TX; US Navy, WWII

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July 1944 (3)

Gen. Hidecki Kojo and Cabinet

Gen. Hideki Kojo and Cabinet

18 July – Gen. Hideki Kojo, the Japanese Prime Minister and Chief of Staff resigned along with his entire cabinet.  The former premiers of Japan as an advisory group had moved the Emperor to form a new government in the wake of the increasing defeats.  Gen. Kuniaki and Adm. Mitsumasa Yonai took over the Army and Navy, which Tojo had been running under one office.

For two weeks, the bombardments of Guam in the Marianas had continued.  On the 19th, US Navy ships started the 2-day pre-landing attacks, focusing on the Asan and Agat beaches.  A Japanese diary of these days read: “On this island, no matter where one goes, the shell follows.”

While marines crawl onto a beach, an enemy shell explodes a troop-laden amtrac offshore. Survivors from other shelled amtracs are swimming toward the beach. (National Archives)

While Marines crawl onto a beach, an enemy shell explodes a troop-laden amtrac offshore. Survivors from other shelled amtracs are swimming toward the beach. (National Archives)

21 July – The 1st Marine Brigade/3rd Division and the 77th Army Division went ashore on the west coast of Guam.  They discovered a sign left for them reading: “WELCOME MARINES.”  It was put there by the Navy UDT (Underwater Demolition Team).  It would then take 5 days for the two landing teams to link up.  A massive frontal attack took place that the men called “New Year’s Eve at the zoo.”  But the Japanese were mainly in cliff side sheltered positions.  They had not encountered the whole force.

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24-25 July – after a 2-week rest, the US 4th Marine Division landed on the Tinian Island northern coast while the 2nd Div. made a feint attack off the southern sector around Sunhanon Harbor.  The 4th ran into ferocious resistance from the Japanese as the 2nd moved up the coast to support.

25-29 July – on Guam, the enemy launched a massive attack on the 3rd Marines who lost 1,744 men.  It was still considered a defeat for the Japanese who suffered nearly 20,000 casualties and men taken prisoner.  Plus, the enemy lost the island’s main airfield, Tiyan, as the Orote Peninsula was taken.  MGeneral Geiger then headed north.

Pres. F. D. Roosevelt in conference with Gen. D. MacArthur, Adm. Chester Nimitz, Adm. W. D. Leahy, while on tour in Hawaiian Islands. 1944. (Navy) NARA FILE #: 080-G-239549

Pres. F. D. Roosevelt in conference with Gen. D. MacArthur, Adm. Chester Nimitz, Adm. W. D. Leahy, while on tour in Hawaiian Islands. 1944. (Navy)
NARA FILE #: 080-G-239549

During July, US military leaders, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and FDR met at Pearl Harbor to discuss the Pacific War.  The men were basically divided between the MacArthur/Halsey plan of attacking the Philippines and Okinawa and Nimitz/ Admiral King’s idea to by-pass the Philippines and go directly to Formosa and isolate Japan from her resources in the Netherland East Indies.

The Joint Chiefs eventually gave their consent to MacArthur and Halsey mainly because the King/Nimitz plan would leave major Japanese bases in the rear of the Formosa landing.

In the CBI theater, various enemy positions, railroads, shipping, troops garrisons and other areas of opportunity were bombed by both the 10th and 14th Air Forces continually.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Japanese cartoons from the Kunihiko Hisa collection cont’d – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Abbott Sr. – Vancouver, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Melvin Bales – Manitoba, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, 407th Squadron

William Carden Sr. – US Navy, WWII, USS Huntington and Guamletellier_grave-jpgpeleliu

Jim Delligatti – Uniontown, PA; US Army, WWII

Herbert Gilbert – Dryden, VA; US Army, Korea

Sammy Lee – Fresno, CA; US Army, Medical Corps doctor, (Olympic diver)

Allen W. Osborne – Thompsontown, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/127th Engineers/11th Airborne

Alton Phillips – Tampa, FL; US Navy, WWII

Revell ‘Jack’ Sowards – Manassa, CO, US Navy, WWII

Manuel Tabackman – Dayton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

James Williams – Hendersonville, SC; US Army, WWII

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Thanksgiving

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I wish to express my thanks to each and every one of you !!

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For those of you living where there is no official Thanksgiving Day – look around – family, friends, Freedom and life itself – all enough to give thanks for each day !

Thanksgiving during WWII…

They’re celebrating Thanksgiving on this very day,
My thoughts are at home, though I’m far away;
I can see everyone, eating dinner deluxe,
Whether it be chicken, turkey or even duck;
The fellows over here won’t whimper or moan,
They’ll look to the next one and hope to be home.
 
Truly and honestly, from way down deep,
They want you to be happy and enjoy your feast.
These holidays are remembered by one and all,
Those happy days we can always recall.
The ones in the future, will be happier, I know
When we all come back from defeating the foe.

_______Poem by an Anonymous WWII Veteran

Please remember the troops that gave you freedom and those that protect it each day !!

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Thanksgiving Humor – 0a4de2cfa2234de501710f319eebbb4c

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Farewell Salutes – 

Elmer Bales – Alliance, OH; USMC, Cpl.

Ray Clontz Jr. – Corvallis, OR; US Army, 11th & 82nd Airborne

Edgar Johnson Jr. – Grand Bayou, LA; US Navy, WWII, CBImediumpic634249020853470000

Harold Irwin – Argos, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII

William Legault – Coventry, RI; US Navy, WWII, USS Arkansas

Isaiah McGrue – Boligee, AL; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, 1st Sgt. (Ret.)

John Osika – Port Vue, PA; US Army, WWII

Willie Rogers (101) – St. Petersburg, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 100the Air Engineer Sq., Tuskegee airman

Frank Royal (101) – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army Air Corps; WWII, PTO, P-38 pilot, Colonel

Melvin Smith – Walwick, NJ; US Navy, WWII, sub SSR272 Red Fin

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July 1944 (1)

503rd Regiment at Noemfoer, 2 July 1944

503rd Regiment at Noemfoer, 2 July 1944

1 July – on Saipan, the US 27th Infantry Division and the 2nd and 4th Marine divisions were within 5.5 miles (9km) of the northern tip of the island.  On the left flank of the advance they had taken the heights overlooking Tanapag Harbor.

2 July – for Operation Cyclone, paratroopers of the 503rd Regiment [not yet a part of the 11th Airborne Division] dropped on Noemfoor Island, off New Guinea.  Sgt. Ray Eubanks received the Medal of Honor for his actions here posthumously.  A landing was also made in the vicinity of Kaimiri Airdrome on the northwest coast of Noemfoor.

Sgt. Ray E. Eubanks

Sgt. Ray E. Eubanks

The amphibious attack force, under the command of Rear Admiral Fechteler, consisted of an attack group, a covering group of cruisers and destroyers, a landing craft unit, and a landing force built around the 148th U. S. Infantry Regimental Combat Team reinforced. Prior to the landing nearby Japanese airfields were effectively neutralized by the 5th Air Force.  Enemy opposition was feeble, resistance not reaching the fanatical heights experienced on other islands.

On Iwo Jima, US carrier aircraft shot down 16 Japanese planes and destroyed 29 more on the ground.

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4 July – in a combined US strike in the Bonin Islands and Iwo Jima, aircraft, destroyers and carriers worked together and sank 4 enemy destroyers and several transport vessels.

6 July – in China, the 14th Air Force was in continuous bombing missions to hit river shipping, bridges, troops concentrations, road traffic and any other general target of opportunity around Tungting Lake and the Yangtze River.  B-25’s closer to the Burma border caused damage at Tengehung and dropped supplies to Chinese ground troops.

7-9 July – the final banzai* charge on Saipan appeared to some like a stampede.  As the enemy confronted US machine-gun fire, some brandished swords, others with knives, sticks and stones.  Even the wounded hobbled forward on crutches.  Their leaders: Gen. Yoshitsugo Saito, Adm. Chichi Nagumo and Gen. Igeta, performed the ritual seppuku**.  Being as the Americans would probably arrive before they bled to death, 3 men [2 were chosen, one volunteered] shot them in the head once the ritual was completed.

Saipan suicides

Saipan suicides

Bulldozers had to be brought in the next morning to bury the 4,000 Japanese troops.  On the 9th, it was announced that Saipan was in American hands.  Civilians began mass suicides in front of the appalled US soldiers.  The island, only 10 miles long cost the US approximately 3,126 KIA and about 13,000 WIA.  The enemy suffered over 27,000 KIA (8,000 suicides), with the civilian deaths, this made it the most costly operation of the Pacific estimated between 40-50,000.

9 July – The 10th Air Force in Burma supported the ground forces at Myitkyina.  Elsewhere enemy buildings, railroad boxcars, trucks, factories and supply areas were being bombed by the aircraft.  A detachment of the 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron/8th Photographic Recon Group started operating at Myitkyina.

* the word banzai was never actually used by the Japanese.  The official battle cry was Wah! Wah!

** Senjinkun (Battle Ethics): “I will never suffer the disgrace of being taken alive.  I will offer up the courage of my soul and calmly rejoice by the eternal principal.”

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Military Humor – 

 

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Helmsman with an attitude.

Helmsman with an attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Albino Boroevich – Burnaby, BC, CAN; RC Army, WWII

Guido Cavallo – Washington, DC; US Army Air Corps, WWII11986973_1183822258300441_3544440820007753006_n-jpgfrom-falling-with-hale

Randolph Christensen – New Rochelle, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 86th Black Hawk Div.

Ellis Hoskins –  Shawanee, TN; US Army, 11th Airborne Division, MSgt.

Robert Leckrone – Joliet, IL; US Navy, WWII, ATO (Alaska)

Eric Morgan – Waikanae, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 76210, WWII, Squadron Leader

Wilbur Nelson – Perth Amboy, NJ; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Corpsman

Boyd Parish – Elba, ID; US Army, WWII

Stratis Paul – brn: Andros, GRE/Bronx, NY; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

James Smith – St. Cloud, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

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Veteran’s Day ~ Remembrance

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“FOR TOO LONG, TOO MANY OF US HAVE PAID SCANT ATTENTION TO THE SACRIFICE OF A BRAVE FEW IN OUR MIDST.  IT IS UNHEALTHY FOR A NATION TO BECOME DETACHED FROM THOSE WHO SECURE IT.”_______Howard Schultz, author of For Love of Country

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I first want to give my personal THANK YOU to each and every veteran that fights for peace and freedom!!!  I tear up and become speechless at the mere sight of any one of you!!

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 Here in the United States of America we do our best to convey our gratitude to these men and women for giving so much of themselves for our safety on this day.  In such nations as: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, India, Mauritius, South Africa and many in Europe, a day set aside is called Remembrance Day and was recently observed.

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Our fellow blogger @ Parent Rap led me to this –  100 Ways to Honor a Veteran – if you care to view it – CLICK HERE.

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FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

by: Cadet Major Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior ROTC, Homestead Senior High, Homestead, FL 1988

watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it, and then
He stood at ease.
 
looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
 
thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mother’s tears?
 
How many pilot’s planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldier’s graves?
No, freedom is not free.
 
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a certain chill.
 
I wondered how many times
that Taps meant “Amen,”
When a flag draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
 
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
 
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
O unmarked graves in Arlington
No, freedom is not free.
 
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Farewell Salutes –

Andrew Byers – Rolesville, NC; US Army, Afghanistan, 10th Special Forces Group, Capt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

Jason Finan – Anaheim, CA; US Navy, Iraq, Chief Petty Officer, KIA veterans_day

Ryan Gloyer – Denton, PA; US Army, Afghanistan, 10th Special Forces Group, Sgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

William Hobbs – Marietta, GA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 187th Reg/11th Airborne & later 82nd difference-memorial-veterans-day-640x480Airborne (Ret.)

Matthew Lewellen – Kirksville, MI; US Army, Jordan, Special Forces, SSgt., KIA

Kevin McEnroe – Tucson, AZ; US Army, Afghanistan, Jordan, KIA

James Moriarty – Kerrville TX, US Army, Jordan, KIA

Dakota Stump – Avon, IN; US Army, 1st Cavalry Division, Ft. Hood

Adam Thomas – Lyon County, MN; US Army, Afghanistan, !0th Special Forces A/B, SSgt., Bronze Star, Purple Heart, KIA

David Whitcher – Bradford, NH; US Army, SSgt., 1st Special Warfare Training Group

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June 1944 (3)

Saipan landing

Saipan landing

15-20 June – H-hour for the landing on Saipan was 0840 hours.  A protective reef, some distance offshore made it necessary to use amphibian tractors (amtracs), for the landing.  The US Army 534th and 773rd Amphibian Tractor battalions, along with the Marine amtracs (making it 350 vehicles), put 4,000 4th Marines ashore in the first 20 minutes.  The US Army 708th Armored Amphibian Battalion spearheaded the landing and blasted a path to a ridge-line running parallel to the shoreline.  Gen. Saito’s 43rd Division was not prepared for all this.

LVT's attacking Saipan, 1944

LVT’s attacking Saipan, 1944

When opposition did come it was artillery fire from Hill 500 on the slopes of Mount Tapotchau and heavy casualties resulted.  At 0300, the evening of 15-16 June, about 1,000 of the enemy came charging down the hill with 36 tanks.  Gen. Saito sent a signal to Tokyo announcing his counterattack to “annihilate the enemy in one swoop.”  But the US destroyers delivered such accurate shell fire, the assault was halted and 15 Japanese aircraft were shot down as they attempted to hit the ships.  Saito decided to await assistance from the Imperial Navy before taking on another offensive.  On the 16th, the US Army 27th Infantry Division landed.

Red Beach 2, Saipan

Red Beach 2, Saipan

Aslito airfield when it was still in Japanese hands, 1944

Aslito airfield when it was still in Japanese hands, 1944

Despite serious opposition, the US troops captured the Aslito airfield in the southern area (later called Iseley).  Adm. Spruance sailed to join up with Lee’s battleships and the returning TF-58.  As the 5th Fleet Commander, he radioed out: “OUR AIR WILL FIRST KNOCK OUT ENEMY CARRIERS… THEN WILL ATTACK ENEMY BATTLESHIPS AND CRUISERS… LEE’S BATTLE LINE WILL DESTROY ENEMY FLEET… ACTION AGAINST A RETREATING ENEMY MUST BE PUSHED BY ALL HANDS…”

Radio direction findings spotted the Japanese force 600 miles west of Guam heading straight for the patrol line of 6 US submarines.  Their orders came directing from CINCPAC: “SHOOT FIRST AND REPORT LATER.”  During the battle, the USS Albacore torpedoed the largest carrier of the Imperial Navy, the IJN Taiko.  One hit caused gas fumes to build up like a bomb.  The Taiko would continue to sail for 3½ hours, then she blew apart.  The second torpedo was spotted by Warrant Officer, Akio Komatsu, who dove his plane into it.

The submarine USS Cavalla, under Commander Herman Kessler, moved in on the IJN Shokaku and released six torpedoes – 3 of which hit.

26

Adm. Ozawa believed his battle plan would be supported by 500 land-based aircraft, when in fact, Adm. Kurita had sent his planes out to dispense any diversionary attacks.  US Adm. Mitscher’s TF-58 Hellcats and Avengers hit Guam in what would be labeled by the pilots as “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”

Fighter plane contrails, Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

Fighter plane contrails, Great Marianas Turkey Shoot

US aircraft had shot down 25 of the enemy force of 68 before they reached the fleet.  Those 43 that did get through were met by hellish anti-aircraft fire and only 27 escaped.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 10917034_508938132578654_4177597521600009923_n-577x640

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Farewell Salutes – 

Russell ‘Buck’ Adkins – Sweetland, WV; US Army, WWII, PTO, Engineers

Anthony Baldino – Dania, FL; US Navy, WWIImm105-3

William Bolin Crow – Abilene, TX; US Army, Korea, 1st Sgt., 187th RCT

John Eresman – Fox Valley, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Prince of Wales Rangers

Nona Gabriel – St. John, KY; US Army WAC, WWII, ETO,  11th Field Hosp., nurse

James Hankins – Memphis, TN; US Navy, WWII, USS Bradford

Donnie Hendrickson – Janesville, WI; US Army, Korea, Cpl., KIA

Richard Pittman – Stockton, CA; USMC, Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret. 21 years), Medal of Honor

Victor VanFleet – Kalamazoo, MI; US Navy, WWII

Burton Wallace – Plymouth, IN; US Army, WWII, medic

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June 1944 (2)

USS California damaged at Pearl Harbor

USS California damaged at Pearl Harbor

12-13 June – the US TF-58 intercepted a Japanese convoy of 20 ships fleeing the Mariana Islands.  Most of the ships were sunk or heavily damaged  The USS California and Braine were damaged by enemy coastal guns.  Another Japanese convoy of 6 vessels was also attacked west of Guam.  The Marianas continued to be bombed by air, battleships and destroyers.

The same was done at Matsuwa in the Kuriles by the 20th Air Force.  B-29’s carried out the first air raid  against Japan since Doolittle’s attack in April of ’42.  They bombed the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata.

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The Marianas campaign expanded United States Army operations in a theater commanded by the U.S. Navy. Admiral Nimitz assigned overall campaign responsibility to Vice Adm. Raymond A. Spruance’s Fifth Fleet. Vice Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner would command the Joint Expeditionary Force charged with the amphibious assault. Turner himself would also command directly a Northern Attack Force against Saipan and Tinian, while a Southern Attack Force under Rear Adm. Richard L. Conolly would assault Guam. Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher’s Fast Carrier Task Force and Vice Adm. Charles A. Lockwood’s Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, would cover all landings.

Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith, USMC, Commanding General, V Amphibious Corps, would control the Marianas amphibious forces as each left U.S. Navy control at the water’s edge. Three Marine Corps general officers would command the landing forces on the targeted islands: Holland Smith on Saipan, Harry Schmidt on Tinian, and Roy S. Geiger on Guam. Amphibious units assigned to the Marianas included the 2d’ 3d’ and 4th Marine Divisions and a separate Marine brigade. Three major Army units-the 27th and 77th Infantry Divisions and XXIV Corps Artillery-were assigned from U.S. Army Forces in the Central Pacific Area, commanded by Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Jr. Army and Marine Corps units totaled 106,000 men. Naval support for this huge force included 110 transport vessels and auxiliaries and 88 fire support ships, from rocket gunboats to aircraft carriers.

14 June – Adm. Mitscher’s carriers, after a 200-bomber strike, left the Japanese airfields in ruins and over 100 of their aircraft destroyed.  As the huge armada readied for their D-Day on Saipan, Gen. Holland Smith, aboard the USS Rocky Mount, said, “We are through with the flat atolls now.  We learned how to pulverize the atolls, but now we are up against mountains and caves where the Japanese can dig in.  A week from now there will be a lot of dead Marines.”

Japanese bunkers on Biak

Japanese bunkers on Biak

Ground fighting continued on Biak as the enemy aircraft also attacked the Allied troops and the offshore shipping.  A squadron from the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group moved from Saidor to Biak with their P-39’s.  Over 100 aircraft of the 5th Air Force hit Wewak.

During the 3-day bombardment of Saipan, it was a bitter irony for Japanese Adm. Nagumo, relegated to command his tiny flotilla, to be on the receiving end of shells fired from 3 of the battleships his pilots had hit at Pearl Harbor.  The US Navy UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) went in to Saipan, but found no mines or obstacles.

The broadcast from Tokyo Rose: “I’ve got some swell recordings for you, just in from the States.  You’d better enjoy them while you can, because tomorrow at oh-six-hundred you’re hitting Saipan… and we’re ready for you.  So, while you’re still alive, let’s listen to…”

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Military Humor – 

Why the Services can't work together...

Why the Services can’t work together…

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ben Barnes – Miller, SD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st LT., pilot

John Groh – Knoxville, TN; US Army, LT., Transportation Unitth-jpg1

Victor Hickox – Paragould, AR; US Army, Company A/674th Artillery/11th Airborne Division

William Korn Sr. – Newark, NJ; US Army, WWII

Francis Macri – Rome, NY; US Army, WWII

Nevin Roth – Ormond, PA; US Navy, WWII

Gerrit Scholten – Boyden, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 pilot

Victor VanFleet – Kalamazoo, MI; US Navy, WWII

Andrzej Wajda – Suwalki, POL; Polish Army, WWII

Edmond Zawalich – Dorchester, MA; US Army, WWII

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