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Submarine Warfare – July 1945

Submarine tender, USS Anthedon, Australia 1945

From: the true story of America’s “wolf packs” and “life guard” teams –  “Sink ’em All”. by Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood Jr., USN.   “Uncle Charlie” spent 39 years in submersibles.

My long-delayed visit to Admiral Fife’s command finally got underway in a PBM from Saipan, 20 July 1945.  Cavite and Manila were pitiful to behold.  These once beautiful and picturesque Spanish-built cities lay in ruins.

On the north shore of Subic Bay, 60 miles up the coast, I found Jimmie Fife building a submarine base and rest camp in jungles where, in bygone days, we hunted wild pig and deer.  Two pile-built piers extended into the bay, while 2 American and 2 British tenders with submarines alongside, lay at anchor farther out.

Aboard the tender Anthedon, anchored off the Base, I found Cmdr. Dick Hawes, an old friend from earlier submarine days.  Even this fine, new tender command was not big enough to absorb Dick’s energies, so he had salvaged a small Japanese freighter and had it moored alongside.  Repair crews worked elbow to elbow on the decks and in machinery spaces preparing her to run rations and materials up from the Fleet Base at Leyte Gulf.

Welcome sign for Subic bay, estab. July 1945

That afternoon, I went aboard the British tender Bonaventure with Captain Fell in order to take a dive in one of the XE midget submarines.  The midgets were training for a break into Singapore Harbor to lay mines and limpets under the heavy cruisers, IJN Myoko and Takao, which had taken refuge there after being heavily damaged by USS Darter and Bergall.  They also intended to cut the Hong Kong-Singapore cable off Saigon.

When I arrived on Guam, Admiral Nimitz sent for me and again warned me to be prepared to divide up the Sea of Japan with Russia, as she was coming into the picture on 15 August.  I took a poor view of the impending situation.  We had skimmed the cream off the Sea of Japan and there would not be much of a job for anyone in those waters except to pick up dunked *zoomies, smuggle in commando troops and land secret agents.  Already an OSS officer had approached me with a proposition to put agents ashore on the west coast of Korea.

British XE-Midget submarine

Cmdr. “Tiny” Lynch, during a patrol in June and July, played a dangerous game of ‘Hide and Seek’ with 2 Japanese frigates.  On 1 July, on the west coast of Korea, in dense fog about noon, an enemy convoy headed for Japan headed straight for his submarine.  He distributed 8 torpedoes among the 4 leading ships.  The frigate passed firing “full battle practice” and somehow missed the sub.

While Tiny dove for deeper water, all 8 torpedoes were heard to hit and high periscope reported mushrooms of smoke.  But the situation was far from being in hand.  He had only 2 torpedoes left, and one of them was a new hush-hush weapon, this seemed an excellent opportunity to test it.  It was sent on it’s way.

Time dragged by and nothing happened.  Tiny was ready to head for more shallow waters, when back from the fog, came the sound of a heavy explosion, followed by depth charge explosions.  The torpedo had missed the first target, but hit the second and as she sank, all her depth charges exploded.  Two freighters and a frigate – not bad for 15 minutes work.  The mine-detecting gear worked!

Japanese midget subs in dry dock, 1945

*zoomies – Aviator. Usually applied to USAF pilots. Stems from the USAF Academy – the “blue zoo” where civilians observe formations march to lunch daily from the chapel wall

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Military Humor – 

‘I joined the navy to see the world and I spent four years on a submarine!’

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Herbert Walker Bush – CT, ME, W.TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO, youngest pilot, USS San Jacinto  Avengers, D.F.C. / CIA / 41st President of the United States of America

Dominic Calabrese – Bronxville, NY; US Army, 1st Lt.

Herbert Davidson – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, corpsman

Troy Fultz – Green Forrest, AR; US Army, WWII, Bronze Star

Hub Gray – CAN; RC Army, Korea, LT., 6/C Co./ 2nd Batt./Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

James Harvey – New Haven, CT; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Carl King – Norwalk, OH; US Merchant Marines / US Army, WWII

Thomas (Bucky) O’Brien – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Scott Stearney – Chicago, IL; US Navy, Middle East, Vice Admiral, Commander of Naval Forces Central Command

Edward Vetting – Manitowoc, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO

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PT Boat report – July 1945

New Guinea, July 1945

The final invasion of the SW Pacific area was made on 1 July, 1945, when troops of the 7th Australian Division were landed at the oil port of Balikpapan in SW Borneo.  The amphibious attack group commander wanted PT boats patrolling the beachs beforehand to prevent the enemy from erecting obstacles.

Accordingly, 4 Pt’s of Squadron 10, 4 from Squadron 27 and the patrol boat tender USS Mobjack, under Lt. Cmdr. Tappaan, were dispatched.  They strafed and rocketed the beaches to keep the enemy away.

Mindanao, 1945, PT-150 in foreground

The Varuna arrived with 8 more PT’s and the task unit was brought to full strength with the arrival of 7 more boats.  On the night of 9/10 July, Lt. A.W. Allison’s PT-73 and Lt. C.S, Welsh’s Pt-359 were sent to destroy a reported enemy radar station on Balabalagan Island.  The boats did a thorough job of strafing huts and buildings and 130-foot tower, in the face of machine-gun and rifle fire.

When PT boats 163, 167 & 170 returned to the island, they found all enemy equipment destroyed, 6 fresh graves and one dead Japanese soldier.

PT Advance Base, Brunei Bay, Borneo 1945

The western coast of Celebes was where the PT boats found Japanese shipping.  On 22 July, Lt. Roger Waugh in Pt-163, Lt. Baker in PT-174 and Lt. Harrison’s PT-170 made a daylight strike on Paloe Bay, Celebes, along with RAAF Kittyhawk fighters.  The combined effort destroyed 4 prahaus, damaged a hotel, dock and many houses in Dongala town.  The fires could be seen 30 miles out at sea.

PT Cradles on USS Oak Hill (LSD-7), Espiritu Santo Is. 23-24 July 1945

The period of June to July 1945 was characterized by the disappearance of PT targets around the SW Pacific except for Morotai, where the boats continued to encounter small enemy craft because of the static land situation and large enemy concentrations on Halmahera.

As the Philippine campaign drew to a close, plans were made to transfer squadrons and tenders from the 7th Fleet to the Pacific Fleet for operations in the north.

Espiritu Santo Is., Boat Base # 2, July 1945

The original plans for the Japanese invasion, Operation Olympic, did not include PT boats, but the Commander Amphibious Force Pacific Fleet asked Commodore Bates to submit a plan for the use of 200 along the Japan coast.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Brennan Sr. – Lawrence, MA; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 32 y.)

Kenneth Chesak – El Paso, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Leo Devane – Albany, NY; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Petty Officer

Norman Garfield – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, Sgt., Signal Corps

Olivia Hooker (103) – Tulsa, OK; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII

Leo Kornblath – Roslyn Heights, NY; Civilian, US Navy, WWII, minesweeper draftsman / US Air Force, B-29 Flight Engineer

Joe Lauzon – Sault Ste. Marie, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Queen’s Own Rifles, 3rd Division

Irving Levin – Stuart, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO,B-29 Flt. Engineer, 20th Air Force

Kenneth Sanborn – Macomb County, MI; US Air Force

Gillis Wilder – Corbin, KY; US Navy, WWII

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my-war.jpg

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

Dylan J. Elchin – Hookstown, PA; US Air Force, Afghanistan, SSgt., 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 2- Purple Hearts, KIA

Eric M. Emond – Brush Prairie, WA; USMC/ US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.1st Class, 1/3rd Special Forces Group (21 y. served), KIA

Andrew P. Ross – Lexington, VA; US Army, Afghanistan, Captain, 1/3rd Special Forces Group, KIA

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Veterans Day 2018

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES….

https://mailchi.mp/nara/0rjknzxchj-763401?e=2018eed2da

NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY YOU LIVE IN – IF YOU ARE LIVING FREE – THANK A VETERAN !!!

 

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Here We Go……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Buchta – Far Rockaway, NY; US Navy, USS Nimitz

Jean Danniels – ENG; WRENS, WWII

Waverly Ellsworth Jr. – Buffalo, NY; US Navy, Korea, medic

Virgil; Johnston – Grove, OK; USMC, WWII

Alma (Smith) Knesel – Lebanon, PA; Manhattan Project (TN), WWII

Samuel Mastrogiacomo – Sewell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, MSgt., B-24 tail gunner, 2nd Air Div./8th A.F. (Ret. 33 y.)

Willis Sears Nelson – Omaha, NE; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-17 pilot

Gregory O’Neill – Fort Myers, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 787th

Orville Roeder – Hankinson, ND; US Army, Medic

Nicholas Vukson – Sault Saint Marie, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, Telegraphist, HMCS Lanark

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Home Front – A Weed Went to War

Late in World War II, the common milkweed was often the only thing that kept a downed aviator or soaking-wet sailor from slipping beneath the waves. The plant’s floss was used as the all-important filler for flotation devices.

The northwest part of the Lower Peninsula, particularly the area around Petoskey, became the country’s picking and processing center for milkweed floss. By the time the war ended, an army of citizens—including schoolchildren—led by a visionary doctor had helped keep America’s servicemen safe from harm.

In the early 20th century, the typical filler for life preservers was a material called “kapok.” A cottony fiber extracted from the pods of the ceiba tree, kapok was cultivated in the rainforests of Asia. America’s primary source for this material was the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia).

Then, in 1937, came Japan’s invasion of China, which initiated World War II in the Pacific.

Enter Dr. Boris Berkman, a Chicago physician and inventor who was a champion of the milkweed, long considered a noxious weed to farmers. Berkman envisioned this plant as a new crop rivaling the soybean in usefulness. He suggested more than 20 uses for the plant’s stems, leaves, and pods: among them insulation, pressed board, oil, animal food, rayon, cellophane, dynamite, surgical dressing, and textile fibers. In his 1939 patent application for a milkweed gin to process the plant, he asserted that “milkweed is an American crop capable of producing untold benefits to the American farmer, and not subject to the uncertainties attending the importation of foreign raw materials.”

This October 1944 scene shows Six Mile School students pointing upwards to some of the 109 sacks of milkweed pods they gathered for the war effort. The bags are hanging in a corn crib near the school so the pods could dry out. Teacher Louise Behrend (left) looks on proudly.

This would be the first factory of its kind in the world. The Navy contract initially called for 200,000 pounds of milkweed floss production in 1942, then increased its request by 100,000 pounds for other experimental uses. Such an endeavor would require harvesting over 2 million pounds of ripe milkweed pods. The spot chosen to host this ambitious project was in the milkweed-rich hills along the Lake Michigan shore.

Picking was a low-tech, labor-intensive task, requiring some knowledge of the plant and the seasonal variations that affected it. It was crucial for processing that the pods be picked while they were ripe but not yet fully open. Too early, and the crop would be spoiled by moisture. Too late, and there would be no crop at all.

Pickers entered their fields knowing that it took approximately two full bags, or about 20 pounds of ripe pods, to produce enough floss for one life jacket; “Two Bags Save One Life” was the government slogan. This fact provided a simple message to all involved: that they were doing their part for the war effort.

Berkman continued to champion the milkweed cause, registering various patents including the use of the plant’s floss as an “ear defender” (ear plug) and clothing liner. But he was never able to raise interest in developing another processing facility.

Still, his achievements as the head of the Milkweed Floss Corporation of America did stand on their own. Under his leadership, it is estimated that enough material was collected and processed over the life of the Petoskey facility to fill 1.2 million life preservers.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Home Front Political Cartoons –

Sioiux City Times

Rochester Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chattanooga Times, the overburdened railroads

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth Clark – Millport, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, pilot

Keith Cole – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 492nd

Richard Johnson – Rockport, MA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Major, Academy graduate (Ret.)

John Karr – Washington D.C.; US Army, WWII, ETO

George Lynn – Gastonia, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division / Korea, 2 Purple Hearts

Frank McPhillips – Burlington, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 pilot, 8th Air Force

Harold Roberts Jr. – Melbourne, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Edward Smith – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII, Captain

Raymond Stucky – Newton, KS; US Army, WWII, Medical Corps

Brent Taylor – North Ogden, UT; US National Guard, Afghanistan, Major, KIA

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USS Indianapolis (CA-35) – 30 July 1945

USS Indianapolis off Mare Island, 10 July 1945

 

Sadly, four days later after delivering the components of the atomic bomb from California to the Pacific Islands in the most highly classified naval mission of the war, USS Indianapolis is sailing alone in the center of the Philippine Sea when she is struck by two torpedoes and sunk within twelve minutes. The ship was without a sufficient number of lifeboats, her disappearance went unnoticed for almost four days and the navy search team was called off early. Therefore, only 316 men of her 1,196-man crew were rescued. This has been considered the most controversial sea disaster in American history.

For the next five nights and four days, almost three hundred miles from the nearest land, the men battle injuries, sharks, dehydration, insanity, and eventually each other. Only 316 will survive.  For the better part of a century, the story of USS Indianapolis has been understood as a sinking tale. The reality, however, is far more complicated—and compelling. Now, for the first time, thanks to a decade of original research and interviews with 107 survivors and eyewitnesses, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic tell the complete story of the ship, her crew, and their final mission to save one of their own.

part of the Indianapolis crew

It begins in 1932, when Indianapolis is christened and launched as the ship of state for President Franklin Roosevelt. After Pearl Harbor, Indianapolis leads the charge to the Pacific Islands, notching an unbroken string of victories in an uncharted theater of war.

Then, under orders from President Harry Truman, the ship takes aboard a superspy and embarks on her final world-changing mission: delivering the core of the atomic bomb to the Pacific for the strike on Hiroshima.

Vincent and Vladic provide a visceral, moment-by-moment account of the disaster that unfolds days later after the Japanese torpedo attack, from the chaos on board the sinking ship to the first moments of shock as the crew plunge into the remote waters of the Philippine Sea, to the long days and nights during which terror and hunger morph into delusion and desperation, and the men must band together to survive.

Captain Charles Butler McVay III, US Navy

Then, for the first time, the authors go beyond the men’s rescue to chronicle Indianapolis’s extraordinary final mission: the survivors’ fifty-year fight for justice on behalf of their skipper, Captain Charles McVay III, who is wrongly court-martialed for the sinking.

What follows is a captivating courtroom drama that weaves through generations of American presidents, from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, and forever entwines the lives of three captains—McVay, whose life and career are never the same after the scandal; Mochitsura Hashimoto, the Japanese sub commander who sinks Indianapolis but later joins the battle to exonerate McVay; and William Toti, the captain of the modern-day submarine Indianapolis, who helps the survivors fight to vindicate their captain.

USS Indianapolis survivors on Guam, August 1945

McVay was found guilty on the charge of failing to zigzag. The court sentenced him to lose 100 numbers in his temporary rank of Captain and 100 numbers in his permanent rank of Commander, thus ruining his Navy career. In 1946, at the behest of Admiral Nimitz who had become Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary Forrestal remitted McVay’s sentence and restored him to duty. McVay served out his time in the New Orleans Naval District and retired in 1949 with the rank of Rear Admiral. He took his own life in 1968.

Read another story from us: After The USS Indianapolis Was Sunk, The Sailors Had To Survive The Worst Shark Attack in History

A sweeping saga of survival, sacrifice, justice, and love, Indianapolis stands as both groundbreaking naval history and spellbinding narrative—and brings the ship and her heroic crew back to full, vivid, unforgettable life. It is the definitive account of one of the most remarkable episodes in American history.

From: War history on-line, “In Harm’s Way” and the USS Indianapolis official website.

The wreck of the USS Indianapolis was finally found 19 August 2017.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political Humor – 

DEPENDS ON YOUR POINT OF VIEW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Buchinsky – PA; US Navy, Vietnam, USS Saratoga

Elihu ‘Al’ Channin – CT; US Air Force, Korea, pilot

David Davis – Granite City, IL; US Air Force, Korea

Clarence Gransberg – Hatton, ND; US Navy, WWII

Joseph Kennedy – Aurora, CO; US Air Force, Flight Instructor (Ret. 30 y.)

Fred Marloff – IN; US Navy, WWII, PTO

James R. Peterson – Mason City, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-24 waist gunner on “Black Jack”, 43rd/403 Bombardment Squadron

Joachim Roenneberg – NOR; Norwegian underground, WWII, demolition, Operation Gunnerside

Margaret Strautman – Montreal, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO

Henry Wheeler – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 12th Army, Intelligence, Bronze Star

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Research for Jeff S. –

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From a U.S. sailor’s diary (Balikpapan)

USS Montpelier (CL-57)

Wednesday, 27 June 1945:  USS Montpelier 

The bombers started early this morning, it was 7 A.M.  The men on the 5″ and 6″ guns will be glad when we leave here.(Balikpapan).  The past 10 days they have been in those hot steel mounts and turrets passing big shells and powder cases.  They start passing the ammunition at 7:30 AM and don’t stop until 6 PM.  Then they stay up all night standing their usual watches.

James J. Fahey’s secret diary

The Australian cruiser, Hobart, one heavy cruiser and some destroyers came in today, many PT boats and gunboats also came in.  A destroyer pulled alongside with 60 bags of mail.  The air mail was only 16 days old!

The demolition squad returned to our ship this morning, they were soaking wet.  They have a very dangerous job clearing the place of mines and underwater obstacles put there by the Japs, they must have worked all night.  One of our b-25 medium bombers came in so low on a strafing run that it hit some trees and landed in the water.  One of our small boats was sent to pick up the crew, lucky for them no one was hurt.

The Australian soldiers that we have with us are always studying their maps, charts and photos.  These men are special troops and have important jobs to do when they land

War Diary of the USS Montpelier

Thursday, 28 June 1945

All hands got up at 6 AM.  We really opened up on the Japs today and so did the bombers.  When it was all over you could see nothing for miles around but thick black smoke, it rose so high into the sky for miles, it went so high that it was out of sight.  I never saw anything like it before.

There was enough black smoke here to cover many big cities, at the same time it was enough to choke you.  I don’t know how the Japs can stand it.  There were so many huge storage tanks exploding and so many miles of Borneo were blacked out that it looked like the end of the world.

Today while we were covering the demolition crew, the Jap machine-guns opened up on them, they had some casualties.  They had a very rugged job to do, they were in the water near shore and the Japs were looking at them not too far away.

They must have ice water in their veins, no wonder it is such a tough outfit to join.  I can see why they have such heavy casualties.  The Japs gave them a hot time with their machine-guns and mortars.  The demolition crew set off long chains of explosions. They have to clear a path in the water for our landing craft…..

There is a big wall and many steel posts plus mines.  The demolition men can stay under water for a long time, but when they come up, the Japs open up on them.  We fired back and knocked out their guns and crews.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Max Barton – Streator, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 193rd Ordnance Co./5th Air Force

John Clement – Quantico, VA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

Fred Frevert – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 38th Infantry Division

Noel Grimm – Hudson, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO, Sgt., M.P.

Robert Hagan Sr. – PA; US Air Force, Captain, pilot

Frederick Hopkins – New Plymouth, NZ; J Force # 444837, WWII, PTO

Stanly Kretowski – Cobourg, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII, ETO

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

Charles Slade Jr. – Saginaw, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO

Jerry A. Williams – Phoenix, AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

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C.B.I. Theater – June 1945 (1)

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


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

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

Metrotogoshi Railway Station, Tokyo, after incendiary bombing.

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

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

Osaka 1945

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

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

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Military Humor – CBI Roundup Style – 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

Robert Kitchner –  Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 1945 for the Navy

USS Langley, June 1945

After sending Sherman’s US Navy Task Force 38.3 to Leyte for a rest period, Halsey ordered RAdm. Radford’s Task Force 38.4orce northward on June 2 to strike the airfields on Kyushu, the southernmost Japanese main island. Halsey and McCain remained off Okinawa. When Radford returned on the afternoon of June 3, Halsey sent Task Group 38.1 southeast to rendezvous with Rear Admiral Donald B. Beary’s Service Squadron 6.  Ships and search planes reported a tropical storm moving up from the south.

The Missouri and Shangri-La headed southeast with Radford’s group, and Halsey ordered the amphibious command ship Ancon to monitor the storm. On the evening of June 4, Task Group 38.4 joined Clark’s force and Beary’s fueling squadron, and they all headed E-SE. At this time, radar operators aboard the Ancon sighted a typhoon, but the ship’s report did not reach Halsey until 1 the next morning.

USS Pittsburgh, Typhoon Connie, 1945

Course changes were made, and there was much feverish plotting aboard the Missouri and other ships through the night and into June 5. Halsey did not want his fleet scattered as before, and he hoped to find better weather so that his flattops could fend off kamikaze attacks. But the barometer was falling, and the howling typhoon closed in. While Radford’s group steamed through fairly calm seas 15 miles to the north, Task Group 38.1 was sucked into a maelstrom of high winds and mountainous waves. Clark ordered his ships to stop their engines and heave to.

Beary’s fueling group, meanwhile, struggled against 75-foot waves and wind gusts up to 127 knots as it passed through the eye of the typhoon. His 48 ships were “riding very heavily,” he reported, yet only four—two jeep carriers, a tanker, and a destroyer escort—received serious damage. Clark’s group passed through the eye half an hour after Beary’s, and almost all of his 33 ships suffered some damage, but none were sunk. The cruiser, Pittsburgh had 110 feet of her bow section torn off, and Clark’s four carriers—the San Jacinto, Hornet, Bennington, and Belleau Wood—were battered. Clark and Beary lost six men killed or swept overboard and four seriously injured, 76 planes were lost.

USS Hornet, June 1945

The other TF-38 ships damaged in the typhoon included the battleships Missouri, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Alabama; the escort carriers Windham Bay, Salamaua, Bougainville, and Attu; the cruisers Baltimore, Quincy, Detroit, San Juan, Duluth, and Atlanta; 11 destroyers; three destroyer escorts; two oilers, and an ammunition ship.

Halsey was aware he would have to face another court of inquiry and took the offensive.  In an angry message to Admiral Nimitz, he complained that early-warning messages were garbled, that weather estimates conflicted, and that coding regulations critically delayed the Ancon’s message. The Third Fleet, meanwhile, soon went back into action. On June 6, 1945, Clark’s and Radford’s groups again provided air support off Okinawa, and Radford’s carriers resumed strikes against Kyushu on the 8th. U.S. troops gained the upper hand on Okinawa, the kamikaze attacks tapered off, and TF-38 retired to Leyte Gulf on June 13 after 92 wearying days at sea.

USS Bennington, June 1945

Admirals Halsey, McCain, Clark, and Beary were ordered to appear before a court of inquiry aboard the aging battleship USS New Mexico anchored in San Pedro Bay, a Leyte Gulf inlet. Presided over again by the harsh Admiral Hoover, the tribunal convened on June 15 and deliberated for eight days. Blame was placed squarely on Halsey and McCain, with the court concluding that the main cause of the Third Fleet’s damage was Halsey’s “extremely ill advised” change of course from 110 to 300 degrees at 1:34 am on June 5. McCain, Clark, and Beary were indicted because “they continued on courses and at speeds which eventually led their task groups into dangerous weather, although their better judgment dictated a course of action which would have taken them fairly clear of the typhoon path.”

Hoover recommended the reassignment of Halsey and McCain, and Navy Secretary James V. Forrestal was reportedly ready to retire Halsey. When the court’s finding reached the Navy Department, Admiral King agreed that the two officers had been inept and, with the weather data available to them, should have avoided the typhoon. But Halsey was a national hero, and King had no wish to humiliate him. It would tarnish the Navy’s triumph in the Pacific. King decided to take no action, and Forrestal agreed.

Admirals Halsey & McCain, March 1945

McCain, however, received no such consideration. Nimitz had long doubted his competence, and it was decided that it was time for him to go. He was ordered by the Navy Department on July 15 to hand over command of Task Force 38 to Admiral John H. Towers and, after a furlough, become deputy head of the Veterans Administration. But McCain, worn out and emaciated, died of a heart attack on the day after he returned to his Coronado, California, home on 6 September 1945.

Halsey, meanwhile, sailed back to America and was greeted in San Francisco and Los Angeles by blaring bands, sirens, whistles, and cheering thousands. His reputation had been tarnished, yet he emerged from the war as a fighting admiral revered by the men who served under him.

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Naval Humor –  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Anthon – Baton Rouge, LA; US Coast Guard, WWII, PTO, LT., Academy Graduate

Dean Bailey – Mobridge, SD; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Gardiner’s Bay

John Casey – Phoneix, AZ; US Navy, WWII, corpsman

Robert Danzig – Albany, NY; US Navy, Korea

Edward Finley III – New Orleans, LA US Navy, Top Gun pilot

Ed Jost – Glencoe, IL; USMC, WWII, Sgt., machine-gunner

Gordon Olson – Seymour, CT; USMC, WWII

Thomas Suddarth –  Concord, MO; US Navy, WWII, USS Honolulu Klaskanine

Warren Venable – Memphis, TN; US Navy, aerial photographer

Eugene W. Wicker – Coweta, OK; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 1st Class, radioman, USS Oklahoma, KIA

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Eye Witness Account – Clearing Manila Harbor

RAdm. William A. Sullivan

This is condensed from a story written by Rear Admiral William A. Sullivan and appears in”The Pacific War Remembered” edited by John T. Mason Jr.

ship in Manila Harbor

 

When Captain B.S. Huie had arrived with his men, I put the gang to work on North Harbor.  There turned out to be over 200 wrecks there.  Huie cleaned this up and then work began on the Pasig River.  For some weeks we had 40 to 60 wrecks cleaned up per week, this was around the end of May.

crossing the Pasig River

Our most important job in Manila was the opening of the main harbor entrance.  The Japanese did a perfect job blocking it – far more efficient than any similar job the Germans had done in Europe.  There were 5 ships sunk in a staggered line across the entrance.  Four of them were old inter-island ships and one was the Luzon, flagship of the Yangtze patrol.  I had the steering wheel of the Luzon taken off and sent to the naval Academy Museum.

USS Luzon

About this time, Doc Schlesinger advised me to get the men out of the tents they had been living in and put them in solid buildings before rainy season hit.  Requisitions for lumber were ignored.  The lumber was being unload by the SeaBees to build build a tremendous 7th Fleet Headquarters.

I watched them and every afternoon at 4:00 pm, they knocked off and went back to their billets.  One night a lighter was not properly secured and drifted loose.  I sent our boat over to it.  Just what we needed!  The next morning, the SeaBees returned and went to work as usual.

I turned it all over to our firefighters and the houses got built by mostly Filipino carpenters and guerrillas.  No one in the Navy asked where I got the lumber.  The only who asked was General Casey, MacArthur’s chief engineer.  I told him I stole it from the Navy as the Army was short, so I couldn’t have stolen any from them.

We had a job which received much publicity, the recovery of silver pesos from the waters around Corregidor.  I asked MacArthur about using Army divers, but he didn’t want the job of Manila Bay neglected.  A week or two later, he brought the subject up again.  He said the money had been removed from Manila bank before the Japanese complete take-over.  The money was dumped by barges, something like 13 million dollars worth.  The United States had both a legal and moral obligation to recover it.

I made up a team of divers and gave the CO of the ARS his orders and he left with an Army finance officer and a MP.  They found no silver.   An Army Sgt., Bataan Death March survivor, recently released POW, who had worked on the barges, marked the chart with an X.  He also said the Japanese had recovered some of the silver themselves.

Dive ship in Manila Harbor

Finally after many dives, the wooden boxes were located at 90 →130 feet down, deteriorated and broken apart.  The divers had to sift the silt on their hands and knees.  The recovery of the silver continued through my stay.  When I left the Philippines (August 1945), I believe something like 7 million dollars in pesos had been recovered.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

August Bill – Woodland, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Vella Gulf

Patrick Churchill – Oxfordshire, ENG; Royal Marines, WWII, ETO

Joseph DioGuardi – Mount MOrris, NY; US Army, Korea, 11th Airborne Division

Gerald Giles – Lowell, MA; US Army, Cpl., medic

Drensel Haws – Emmett, ID; US Navy, WWII

Dick Marshall – Des Moines, IA; USMC, WWII, PTO

John Reith – LA & CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, P-51 pilot

David South – Bozeman, MT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 85th Div., Silver Star, Bronze Star

Albert Trapanese – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII

Charles Wright – Millcreek, UT; USMC, WWII, PTO

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PTO & CBI reactions to V-E Day

US Army 77th Division hears the news on Okinawa

Victory in Europe was welcome news to Allied troops in the Pacific and the China-Burma-India theaters of war. They greeted it with thanksgiving but there was little celebration. As a London Times special correspondent in Burma wrote, “The war is over. Let us get on with the war.” Now that Europe would no longer be receiving the bulk of troops and materiel, officers and enlisted personnel in the war against Japan hoped they would be given more men and equipment quickly, in order to end their war sooner.

Meanwhile, fighting continued in New Guinea, the Philippines, Okinawa, the CBI and elsewhere. Kamikazes still made suicide dives to sink Allied ships. The lights may have gone on over Europe and America, but a funeral pall still darkened the Pacific and Asia.

SMITTY _ New Guinea 10/24/44

Smitty, my father, when asked how he had felt, merely shrugged. “I was happy for my fellow soldiers over there, but we had work to do, so we didn’t think about it very long.”

From The May 7, 1945 Edition of Stars and Stripes

OKINAWA, May 6 (ANS)—The reported death of Adolf Hitler and the word of surrender of the German armies in Italy was good news to soldiers, sailors and marines here but there was no celebrating.Most of the fighting men figured it wouldn’t mean a thing to them “until we can see some help coming and see a chance of ending the war out here.”

They termed Hitler’s death “good riddance” and said it was a good thing he went that way because there probably would have been lots of bickering around if we had taken him alive.”

Gen. Daniel I. Sultan

Gen. Dan I. Sultan, commander of the India-Burma Theater, on V-E Day, paid tribute to the fighting men who won the European war in a short statement to the troops of the India-Burma Theater broadcast over the American Army radio stations in the Theater. The text of Gen. Sultan’s statement:
“Today in Europe, German military might has been broken. After almost six years, organized hostilities have ceased. The great work of reconstruction of the shattered continent can now begin.
“We recognize the tremendous achievements of the Allied Armies in Europe who won this victory, for we too have been fighting. We know the cost of driving back a tenacious enemy – we know the necessity for close co-operation of all branches of our forces, the close union with our allies in the common cause. We know the heartbreaking conditions of combat under adverse weather and over difficult terrain – the back-breaking work of construction and supply in support of combat operations. So, as fighting men, we pay tribute to the fighting men in Europe.
“Their victory is in part our victory. We have done with less man and supplies, so that they might have more. Their victory brings our victory nearer. The men who broke the German ground defenses in the west, who destroyed her essential industries from the air, can now turn their attention to the war with Japan. The industrial strength of the United States, until now producing for the war both in Europe and in Asia, can turn its full productive force to the Far East.
“This is the day of Germany’s defeat and Europe’s liberation, but we must not forget that there is still a tough battle to be fought before the Japs are licked. Every one of us knows his part in that fight; and if every one of us will do his part to the utmost, Japan’s defeat and the liberation of Asia will come surely and swiftly.”

The Pacific War

 

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia greeted V-E Day with the question, “Since when has it been customary to celebrate victory halfway through a contest?” The war with Japan had been the great threat to Australia itself, and the country’s sons were still fighting and dying in that war. Accordingly, the mood was more somber than in Europe. On May 9, some 100,000 people attended a service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

For the most part New Zealanders observed V-E Day on May 9, although there was some spontaneous dancing in the streets. Preparations had been underway for weeks, in part to keep celebrations from getting out of control. Events included speeches, thanksgiving services, and the singing of the national anthems of New Zealand, America and the Soviet Union. A People’s Victory March in Christchurch drew 25,000.

In the U.S., many communities attempted to subdue celebrations, wanting to give the occasion the solemnity they felt it deserved and reminding Americans that, as Truman said, “Our victory is only half over.” Across the country, however, joyous celebrations broke out. Thousands gathered in New York’s Times Square. New Orleans took on the appearance of Mardi Gras, with people dancing in the streets. Church bells rang out the glorious news in small towns and major cities.

In the Soviet Union, Stalin himself seemed less than enthusiastic. His deputy Nikita Khrushchev telephoned to congratulate the Soviet leader on his victory, and Stalin reportedly snapped at him, “Why are you bothering me? I am working.” The USSR’s official victory parade took place in a downpour over a month later, on June 24.

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Military Humor –

‘Bring back rationing!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Harold Bishop – Sacramento, CA; US Navy, WWII, submarine service

Christopher A. Celiz – Summerville, SC; US Army, Afghanistan (7th deployment), Sgt. 1st Class, KIA

Dallas ‘Chris’ Christenson – Pensecola, FL, US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret.)

John Hart – Keesville, NY; US Army / US Navy

Melvin Hilscher – Kulm, ND; US Army, WWII

James McLean – AUS; RA Air Force # 428761, WWII, Flight Sgt., 83rd Squadron

George Meyer – Bristol, CT; US Navy, WWII, Medical Corps

Ruskin Reddoch – Troy, AL; USMC, WWII, 1st Lt., Silver Star, Purple Heart

Elliot Seidman – Delray Beach, FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman

Maria Swafford – Boydton, VA; Civilian, US Map Service, D.C., WWII

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