Blog Archives

CBI – British receive POW’s / Vietnam in the picture

Japanese POWs in Malaya

“From May onwards, prisoners in a terrible state came in daily,” recorded a British gunner unit in Burma, “many of them armed with nothing more dangerous than bamboo spears, trembling with a mixture of malaria and humiliation.”

British soldiers in Burma

But if some proved ready to quit, others did not.  To the end, most Japanese who lost their ships at sea deliberately evaded Allied rescuers.  On the deck of HMS Saumarez, destroyer Captain Martin Power was directing rescue operations after sinking a Japanese convoy off the Nicobars, when he suddenly heard a “clang” against the ship.

Andaman and Nicobars Islands

Peering over the side, he saw a bald, heavily built Japanese man clinging to a scrambling net with one hand, while hammering the nose of a shell against the hull with the other.  Power drew his pistol, leaned over and whacked the man’s head.

“I could not think of anything else to do – I spoke no Japanese.  Blood streaming down his face, he looked up at me, the pistol 6 inches from his eyes, the shell in his hand…  I do not know how long I hung in this ridiculous position, eyeball to eyeball with a fanatical enemy, but it seemed too long at the time.  At last he dropped the shell into the sea, brought up his feet, and pushed off from the ship’s side like an Olympic swimmer, turned on his face and swam away.”

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By this time of the Pacific War, the Vietnam area of Indochina was in dispute.  DeGaulle demanded that the current Vichy government take a firm stand, but this was a disaster.  The Japanese had staged a pre-emptive coup against the Saigon administration.  Frenchmen became POW’s and their future fate would cause Anglo-American arguments.  When US planes arrived from China to carry out evacuations, the French were furious that the aircraft did not bring them cigarettes.

London’s Political Warfare Executive sent a directive to Mountbatten that highlighted the political and cultural complexities of the CBI: “Keep off Russo-Japanese, Russo-Chinese and Sino-Japanese relations except for official statements.  Show that a worse fate awaits Japan if her militarists force her to fight on… Continue to avoid the alleged Japanese peace feelers.”

The Dutch, French and British owners of the old Eastern empires were increasingly preoccupied with regaining their lost territories – and they were conscious that they could expect scant help from the Americans to achieve this.  The British Embassy in Washington told the Foreign Office:

“If we prosecute the Eastern War with might and main, we shall be told by some people that we are really fighting for our colonial possessions the better to exploit them and that American blood is being shed to no better purpose than to help ourselves and Dutch and French to perpetrate our degenerate colonial Empires; while if we are judged not to have gone all out, that is because we are letting America fight her own war with little aid, after having her pull our chestnuts out of the European fire.”

Quotes taken from “Retribution” by Max Hastings

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Edward Bailey – Parma, MI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt., pilot, KIA

David Cruden – Hurtsville, AUS; RA Air Force # 422443, 460 & 582nd Bomber Command Squadrons

Fred Hermes Jr. – Villas, NJ; US Coast Guard, Academy Grad., Commander (Ret.)

William A. Laux – LaCrosse, WI & Arrow Lakes, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO

John Moore – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, WWII, Captain (Ret.)

Ronald S. Richardson – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, ETO, Lt. Commander, pilot, KIA

Robert Stoner – Buffalo, NY; US Navy, minesweeper

Harry Thomas – Marlington, WV; US Army, WWII

Michael C. Ukaj – Johnstown, NY; USMC, Iraq (the NY limo crash on his 34th birthday)

Elwood Wells – Epsom, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, Captain, 1337 A.F. Base, KIA

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Nudge In Rear Came Too Soon, So Mitchell Gunner Bombed Wrong Target In China

b25-12a

B-25, “Ormoc Bay”, by: Jack Fellows from the IHRA

By Sgt. Marion Hargrove

SOMEWHERE IN CHINA–This story has been held back for a while because the fellow was mighty sensitive about it, and he happens to be a tech sergeant, 6 feet 2 and weighing 200 pounds. He’s cooled off a little, so now it can be told.

The tech sergeant is Karl May of Yakima, Wash., an aerial engineer and gunner in one of the local Mitchell B-25 bombers. The tale goes back to the time when he was still a buck private, working as an armorer in his squadron and bucking like hell for a job on a combat crew.

They finally let him go on a few missions to try him out. He got along fine until his third trip. That was the raid on the big Jap base at Hankow, former Chinese capital, on the Yangtze.

There were two minor defects that day in the bomber to  which May was assigned: there were no racks in the ship for fragmentation bombs and the interphones were temporarily out of commission.

Well, they were working the thing out all right without fragracks or interphones. They had Pvt. May squatting by the photo hole with a stack of frag bombs and the understanding that when the turret gunner nudged him in the behind he was to cut loose with all he had.

Fragmentation bomb

It happened that the bomber had a passenger that day–maybe an observer from Washington, maybe a newspaperman, maybe just a sightseer.

This worth person grew unaccustomedly chilly, saw that the draft came from the open photo hole and decided to ask the private beside it to close it. The private – yep, it was May – had his back turned, so the passenger sought to attract his attention with a gentle nudge in the rear.

Pvt. May reacted like the eager beaver he was. He held one frag bomb over the hole and let it drop. Then he turned another loose into thin air. He was preparing to drop every bomb in the ship – until he was rudely and violently stopped. To May’s dismay he learned: 1) that the ship was nowhere near Hankow, 2) that he had been given no signal and, 3) that he had just wasted a couple hundred dollars’ worth of U.S. high explosives.

B-25 dropping frag bombs

The mission proceeded to Hankow, where May dropped the rest of  his bombs through the photo hole, an armful at a time. But his heart was heavy at the thought of having goofed previously.

When the plane returned to its base, there was an intelligence report from the Chinese Army waiting for it.  According to this report, two bombs dropped on a Japanese barge on the Yangtze had scored direct hits, sinking the barge and drowning 160 Japanese soldiers.

T/Sgt. May never tells the story himself and he gets mad when he hears anyone else tell it.  Only those who’ve seen the records will believe it.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wayne Bauer – Las Cruces, NM; US Army, WWII, ATO

Harry Carlsen – Chicago, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, 2nd Marine Division, KIA (Tarawa)

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

James Fleischer – Detroit, MI; US Army

John Guice – Greenville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Robert Hegel – IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 15th Air Force, navigator

Claude A. Rowe – Chuka Vista, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Tuskegee

Elizabeth Schwantes – Kaukauna, WI; US Coast Guard, WWII

Leslie Thickpenny – Pukekohe, NZ; NZ Air Force, WWII, flight engineer

Henry Wheeler (100) – Buffalo, NY; US Army, WWII, 12th Army, Intelligence, Bronze Star

Robert Zeigler Jr. – Ft Lauderdale, FL; US Army, Korea

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CBI Theater – 1945

Stilwell Road

Fish Story along the Stillwell Road

ALONG THE STILWELL ROAD – The latest man-bites-dog incident turns out to be a fish story.
S/Sgt. Charles T. Hardin, Trenton, Tenn., power shovel operator for an Engineering Battalion along the Stilwell Road, used the world’s largest fishing tackle to bring in a 100-pound catfish out of the Dihing River.

Hardin, an engineer, was scooping up gravel from the river’s bed, as it had been his custom to do over many months since he has been in ol’ I-BT. He noticed a massive, torpedo-like form wending its way up to the spot where his shovel was operating.

Charles T. Hardin

Giving the controls a quick one-two, Hardin hit the lumbering fish with the big bucket and stunned him into insensibility. Then, skillfully maneuvering the huge snorting shovel, he hauled him in as easily as dipping for a trout.

His piscatorial prize turned out to be a white bellied catfish, measuring almost six feet from tail to teeth. As Hardin put it, “I’ve scooped up a lot of gravel to help build this road, but I never caught anything bigger than a minnow before. This time I hit the jackpot.”

After the fish was hauled off to the company area, the boys began slicing off steaks for a fish fry was contemplated.
A real tribute was paid the Stilwell Road Isaac Walton by one of his buddies, who remarked, “Old Hardin can throw that bucket anywhere he wants!”

 

Poem from CBI WWII

THE DEVIL’S DILEMMA

I met the Devil yesterday beneath a shady tree;
His head within his hand was held, his elbow on his knee.
A frown he wore upon his brow; his horns were dull with dust,
And resting on his arm I saw his pitchfork red with rust.
“Well, ” I said, “what can it be that brings you up from Hell?
From all appearances it seems that things aren’t going well.”
He gazed at me with blood-shot eyes and bade me take a seat,
And so I sat and wondered why his face bore sad defeat.

“O, Mortal, know,” he spoke, “that once I ruled a proud domain;

Within the bowels of Earth I reigned o’er punishment and pains of those were sent to me who’d lived in sin and hate,

To suffer for eternity upon hot Hades grate.
My tortures were most terrible, no others could compare,
I though I had the latest thing in fire and brimstone there
But then came war upon the Earth with tanks and planes and guns,
And implements of war ne’er seen before beneath the sun.
Now all the souls that go below who’ve failed the living test,
No longer fear my kingdom, but go as if to rest!
But I must leave; I’ve dallied long and must be on my way.
I’m off to meet St. Peter and you’ll pardon me, I pray;
I have a plan we must discuss that may unscramble this,
For Earth’s no longer what it was; it’s Hell, that’s what it is.”

 

– BY S/SGT. G. W. HICKOX

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Military Humor – 

“Okay, now we need to go to Plan B.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Anglin – AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, P-61’s 426 Night Fighter Squadron

John Bushfield – Boise, ID; US Army, WWII, 10th Mountain Division

Smoke Angel

Virgil DeVine – St. Louis, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-26 tail gunner

Charles Goodwin – Haskell, TX; US Navy, Vietnam, pilot, USS Coral Sea, KIA

Charles Hayden – Vancouver, CA; RC Air Force, WWII, B-17 tail gunner

Jay Kislak – Hoboken, NJ; US Navy, WWII, pilot

Anna Newman – Sarasota, FL; Civilian, WWII,  truck driver, MacDill Air Force Base

Albert Rivoire – Pawling, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 104th Infantry Division, Bronze Star

Robert Seeber – Omaha, NE; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Isley

Geoffrey Wright – Orewa, NZ; British Army # 14418502, WWII, ETO & CBI, Captain

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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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Australian/New Zealand Z-Force

Z Force, also known as Special Operations Executive (SOE), Special Operations Australia (SOA) or the Services Recon Dept. (SRD)—was a joint Allied special forces unit formed during the World War II to operate behind Japanese lines in SE Asia. Predominantly Australian, Z Special Unit was a specialist reconnaissance and sabotage unit that included British, Dutch, New Zealand, Timorese and Indonesian members, predominantly operating on Borneo and the islands of the former Netherlands East Indies.

The unit carried out a total of 81 covert operations in the SW Pacific Theater, with parties inserted by parachute or submarine to provide intelligence and conduct guerrilla warfare.

Crew of the ‘Krait’, Operation Jaywick, 1943

The best known of these missions were Operation Jaywick and Operation Rimau, both of which involved raids on Japanese shipping in Singapore harbour; the latter of which resulted in the deaths of 23 commandos either in action or by execution after capture.

Although the unit was disbanded after the war, many of the training techniques and operational procedures employed were later used during the formation of other Australian Army special forces units and they remain a model for guerrilla operations to this day.

On 25 March 1945, Tom Harrisson was parachuted with seven Z Force operatives from a Consolidated Liberator onto a high plateau occupied by the Kelabit people.  His efforts to rescue stranded American airmen shot down over Borneo are a central part of “The Airmen and the Headhunters.”  The unit he commanded was called SEMUT – 1, six Australians and one New Zealander, all younger than the major, but had years’ more experience from fighting in New Guinea, mainland SE Asia and North Africa.  (I highly recommend the book).

Z Force 1945

Throughout June and July 1945, several operations under the aegis of Operation Platypus were launched in the Balikpapan area of Borneo.

In his memoirs, former leading aircraftsman Jack Wong Sue claimed that Z Special Unit commandos in Borneo killed 1,700 Japanese for the loss of 112 commandos, as well as training more than 6,000 guerrillas. According to Sue, the activities of the commandos laid the groundwork for the Allied invasion of Borneo in 1945.

Borneo Campaign

During the southern winter of 1944, twenty-two New Zealand soldiers, based at Trentham Military Camp, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Wellington, New Zealand were sent to train with Z Special Unit in Melbourne, Australia. They were then sent to Fraser Commando School, on Fraser Island, Queensland, to be trained in using parachutes, unarmed combat, explosives and the Malay language. Four New Zealanders were killed during operations in Borneo.

Major Donald Stott and Captain McMillan were both presumed drowned in heavy seas while going ashore in a rubber boat from the submarine USS Perch (SS-313) in Balikpapan Bay on 20 March 1945. Their bodies were never found. Warrant Officer Houghton made it to shore in a second boat but was captured ten days later and languished in Balikpapan Prison where he died of beriberi about 20 April 1945.

The last of the Z Force, 2012

Signalman Ernie Myers, a trained Z Special Unit operative in Platypus VII, parachuted into enemy-held territory near Semoi on 30 June 1945, but landed with two other operatives inside a Japanese camp area. They resisted strongly, but the Australian in the party was killed and Myers was captured along with the Malay interpreter of the group. Both men were tortured for three days, before being beheaded. Their bodies were recovered soon after the Japanese surrender when Lieutenant Bob Tapper, another New Zealander who was working with the War Graves Commission, discovered their remains. Evidence given to the commission by native witnesses ensured that the Japanese involved paid the penalty for this atrocity.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard Allison – Wichita, KS; US Army, WWII, PTO, MSgt.

Phillip Barksdale – Bowie, AZ; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea, Engineer Technician

David Ferland – Hornell, ME; US Coast Guard, Navy & Air Force, 1st Class Gunner’s Mate, (Ret.)

Edgar Gifford – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, surgical tech.

Harold Henderson, Knoxville, TN; USMC, WWII, PTO, 9/3rd Division & CBI, 7th Service Regiment

Clifford Moore – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Robert Shaffer – Pawtucket, RI; US Coast Guard, WWII

Woodrow Smith – Vidor, TX; US Army, WWII

Jack Young – Murphy, NC; US Navy, WWII, PTO & Korea

Josef Zawitkowski – Nisko, POL/Buffalo, NY; Polish Home Army, “Ojciec Jan” unit, Deputy Cmdr.

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Japanese Kaiten Torpedo

Kaiten Type-1 Yushukan on display in Tokyo

IJN Navy officers in 1944, were the designers, Lts Hiroshi Kuroki and Sekio Nishina. The pair were killed while testing the weapons.

In the desperate final year of WWII in the Pacific, very few people on both sides knew of the existence of the Japanese kaiten human torpedo. It was a top secret weapon developed by two “Circle 6 metal fitting” and only a few in the Imperial Navy knew what it really was.

The kaiten was the underwater equivalent of the Kamikaze suicide plane. Although the human torpedo pilots did not die in a blaze of glory as their air force counterparts, they all believed in their cause and there was no shortage of volunteers for the top secret program.

The kaiten was powered by a Type 93 “Long Lance” torpedo engine fitted to a long tubular body. The engine was oxygen-powered and had a maximum speed of 30 knots (34.5 mph). The 54-foot weapon packed a 1550 kg (3,420 pound) warhead and was controlled and guided by a human operator. There was a tiny pilot’s compartment which had a periscope and a gyro-compass to guide him to the target. Once launched, the weapon could not be recovered. There was a self-destruct button if the pilot failed to hit his target.

Kaiten Type-10 schematic

To sink a submarine was very difficult. The killing radius of the exploding depth charge, depending on various circumstances such as depth, payload, and strength of the target’s hull, was around 10 to 13 feet. From 26 to 33 feet, serious damage could be inflicted. It took a lucky hit to sink a submarine; most were sunk after being battered continuously until they lost power or air. The US Navy had perfected anti-submarine warfare using high tech equipment and teams of destroyers and destroyer escorts. The danger point for the submariners was about 12 hours without fresh air. By forcing the sub to surface  or preventing it from surfacing for air, its destruction was assured.

Petty Officer Yutaka Yokota, a kaiten pilot on the I-36, recalled: “Then came the depth charges. They felt like a giant pile driver smashing into the side of the I-36. She shook and swerved, throwing me to my knees. The wardroom sofa leaped fully two feet above the deck and toppled over on its side. Every light that I could see went out, and only about half of them came on again.”

USS Sproston

The I-36 was taking a severe beating and there was nothing she could do. It had launched one kaiten, but it still had 5 more strapped to the deck. Sugamasa wanted to dive down to 325 feet, but his cargo prevented him from doing so. To dive deeper meant that he would destroy the kaitens due to heavy underwater pressure.
Oil and debris came bubbling to the surface, but Cdr. Esslinger on the USS Sproston wasn’t falling for that old submariner’s trick. The crew smelled blood in the water and increased their resolve. They had knocked down several Japanese planes, but wanted to add a submarine to their  tally.

LCdr. Sugamasa was running out of options. Then Ensign Minoru Kuge rushed into the con and volunteered to man his kaiten and counter attack. All of the electric rudders on the small crafts were damaged, but they could be steered manually. Petty Officer Hidemasa Yanagiya also insisted to sortie. Sugamasa knew that a counter-attack had little chance of success. These two brave men were going to sacrifice themselves to lure the destroyer away from their submarine so that she could escape.

Yokota’s kaiten was badly damaged. He had sortied twice before, only to be thwarted by mechanical failures in the temperamental kaiten. He was confident that the third sortie would be the charm. Now a bystander, he stood by clutching a vial of cyanide and thought “Once they made their direct hit and water came rushing into our hull, I was going to swallow the container’s contents. I could not bear to think of death by drowning or suffocation.”


Kuge and Yanagiya quickly boarded their kaiten through a tight hatch and were sealed shut. The engines started, the clamps were released, and the two kaitens whirled their way toward the surface. The skipper and his sonarmen listened intently through their earphones. Fifteen minutes later, the first contact was made.
Sproston had spotted a kaiten and made a run towards it. The conning tower and periscope were clearly visible at quite a distance.Then the 5-inch guns opened up. Sugamasa and his sonarmen heard faint explosions. “We made a direct hit!” recalled Roberts. “I saw the small black conning tower go sailing off into the air!” There was wild jubilation! The Sproston had scored.

Down below in the I-36, they later heard a gigantic boom; a kaiten had exploded. But which one, Kuge or Yanagiya? Believing that it had scored a kill, they cheered. But they were wrong. The depth charges kept coming. From noon until night, the destroyer pounded the submarine until their inventory of depth charges was depleted. Finally, the destroyer retired from the scene. The I-36 limped back into port like a beaten dog on 6 July 1945. For Yutaka Yokota, he was unsuccessfully lucky, for he lived to tell about it.


Through the diligent efforts of Don Roberts (Jim’s son), the connection between the Sproston and the I-36 was made. Don located Yutaka Yokota in Tokyo and exchanged letters. The USS Sproston Association invited the former kaiten pilot to their reunion in Orlando, Florida in September 1990. Yokota could not attend due to ill health. The old sailors were looking forward to meeting Yokota at the 1992 reunion in Chicago, but were saddened to learn that he had passed away on 16 March 1991 of cancer at age 65.

Jim Roberts had sent a letter to Yokota prior to his passing. In his letter, Jim wrote: “We tried our best to sink you. But I am glad that we did not do so.” This letter was read at Yokota’s funeral wake. About a hundred of Yokota’s comrades, many of them from the kaiten program and the submarine service, attended his funeral. “I wish we could have met,” sighed Jim. “We had so much to talk about.”
Jim Roberts passed away at his home in Lakewood, CA in 2004.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Glen Azevedo – Riverside, RI; US Coast Guard, Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer

James Barrett – Palmerston North, NZ; RNZ Army # 33572, WWII, Warrant Officer 1st Class

James Bates – Kimmins, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW / Korea, (Ret. 30 y.), Silver Star, Bronze Stars

William Danner – Elwood, IN; US Army, WWII, 104th Infantry Division, Chief Warrant Officer2 (Ret. 25 y.)

Robert Fitzgerald – Charles City, IA; US Navy, WWII

Melvin Liederman – Hallendale, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO

Guy Nightingale – Corning, KS; US Navy, WWII

Richard Pride – Hampton, VA; US Army, WWII, Major / NASA engineer

Joseph Rosario – Morristown, NJ; USMC

Fred Segal – Detroit, MI; US Navy, Lt., Taurus Missile System

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Research for Jeff S.

Pictures are larger than shown here.

511th area is indicated within the red circle

The 511th traveled west to Lipa

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Japan – June 1945

Hidecki Tojo meets with Wang and other officials

From: the diary of Commander Tadakazu Yoshioka, 26th Air Flotilla, Luzon

… following the Vassal’s Conference, a new ‘Gist of the Future War Guidance’ was issued say:

Policy: Based upon the firm belief that Loyalty to His Majesty should be fulfilled even though one should be born seven times, the war must be accomplished completely with the unified power of the land and the unified power of the people in order to protect the nationality of our nation, to defend the Imperial Domain, and to attain the object of the war subjugation.

Meanwhile however overtures were being made to the Allies via Moscow, as the Soviet Union had not yet declared war on Japan.  But the negotiations faltered when Stalin and Molotov headed to Berlin to attend the Potsdam Conference.  One result of the conference was the declaration demanding Japan’s unconditional surrender.  When some began to voice their fear that the Soviet would break its neutrality agreement and attack Japanese forces in Manchuria, Secretary Tanemura berated his colleagues for defeatism, “They should be planning for victory on the mainland.,”

Tannemura said,  “In the evening, I received an unofficial order from the Chief of the Military Affairs Bureau, Yoshizumi, transferring me as a staff officer to the Korean Army.  Simultaneously with thanking my superior for the favor of giving me a place to die at this final phase of the war, I left the Imperial General Headquarters after 5 years and 8 months with the feeling of utter shame in my inability to serve His Majesty, which led to this situation.  I will compensate for my past crime by burying my bones on the front line.”

Tanemura was captured in Korea and spent 4½ years in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp before being returned to Japan in January 1950.

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Evacuation of school children into rural areas.

The Japanese home front was elaborately organized, block by block, with full-scale food rationing and many controls over labor. The government used propaganda heavily and planned in minute detail regarding the mobilization of manpower, identification of critical choke points, food supplies, logistics, air raid shelters, and the evacuation of children and civilians from targeted cities. Food supplies were very tight before the heavy bombing began in the Fall of ’44 and then grew to a crisis

Agricultural production in the home islands held up well during the war until the bombing started. It fell from an index of 110 in 1942 to 84 in 1944 and only 65 in 1945. Worse, imports dried up. The Japanese food rationing system was effective throughout the war, and there were no serious incidences of malnutrition. A government survey in Tokyo showed that in 1944 families depended on the black market for 9% of their rice, 38% of their fish, and 69% of their vegetables.

The Japanese domestic food supply depended upon imports, which were largely cut off by the American submarine and bombing campaigns. Likewise there was little deep sea fishing, so that the fish ration by 1941 was mostly squid harvested from coastal waters. The result was a growing food shortage, especially in the cities. There was some malnutrition but no reported starvation.  Despite government rationing of food, some families were forced to spend more than their monthly income could offer on black market food purchases. They would rely on savings or exchange food for clothes or other possessions

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Current News – 

Tomorrow is POW/MIA Day here in the United States.  Please spare a moment to remember those who never made it home.

87f31ec32369ebdd1ea0679b66d029f6

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Antolik – Nanticoke, PA; US Army, Korea, Co. A/85th Tank Battalion, Cpl.

Edward Brook – Lancashire, ENG; Royal Navy, WWII

Glenn Frazier – AL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Col., 75th Ordnance Co., (Bataan March survivor)

Josseph Gagner – Cranston, RI; US Coast Guard, Academy graduate, Chief Petty Officer (Ret. 20y.)

James Howard – Maiden Rock, WI; US Army, WWII

William Liell – Staten Island, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/511th // Co. A/187th RCT, Korea

Max McLaughlin – Mobile, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Freddie Oversteegen – Schoten, BEL; Civilian resistance fighter, WWII

Leonard Tyma – Dyer, IN; USMC, WWII, KIA (Betio)

James Welch – Salt Lake City, UT; USMC, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart

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Gen. Robert Eichelberger Remembers

Generals Eichelberger & MacArthur

From: “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo”

I remembers a story Bob Shoe told on himself.  During the hottest of the fighting on Negros, he was making a trip to the front to look over the situation.  His jeep passed through a weary column of the 503rd Parachute Regiment which had been relieved after many hours of fighting and was on its way to the rear.

General Shoe is completely free of pretentiousness; he was born honest and friendly.  When he stopped for a drink at a spring, he spoke to a grimy paratrooper.  His question didn’t mean anything; it was merely passing the time of day.

“How are things at the front?” Shoe asked cheerfully.

11th Airborne paradrop

The veteran paratrooper, probably 20 years old, looked at Shoe’s clean uniform and his star and his jeep with elaborate boredom and said nothing.  Shoe went on to the front and was promptly shot.  It was a bloody wound and the stretcher which carried him toward the rear was thoroughly incarnadined.

On the way back, his stretcher was stopped by a military traffic jam, and he found himself again among the walking 503rd.  He asw the same redheaded young Pfc he had encountered back at the spring.  The Pfc was friendly now.  He grinned.  “General,” he said, ” how are things at the front?”

*****          *****          *****

Our Jungle Road to Tokyo”

I took a flying boat to Jolo, Philippines.  The USS Boise dropped anchor in Jolo Harbor and I rejoined General MacArthur, who reported the Borneo expedition completely successful.  After a tour of the island, we went back aboard the Boise and headed for Davao City.  Gen. Kenney, who now commanded both the 5th Air Force and the 13th Air Force, was aboard.  George and I spent 2 hours discussing the Philippines campaign and the problems which lay ahead.

That evening MacArthur talked to us for almost 2 hours about coming events and next morning we landed at Davao City.  We went as far as Mintal, where Jack Clifford and his troops had not yet been able to end their struggle against a stubborn enemy.

But we had reason to observe that massive artillery support – now under command of Hugh Cort – was true, accurate and devastating.  It was then that MacArthur told me he did not believe there were 4,000 Japanese left alive on Mindanao.  The surrender figures at war end were 23,000 enemy soldiers, showed how wrong he was.

*****          *****          *****

Generals Eichelberger & MacArthur

I was proud of the job the 41st Division had accomplished at Zambo when the fighting was done.  They laid down their guns and went to work.  They cut weeds and they cleaned out debris.  They became good neighbors.

The Japanese had refused to allow Catholic Filipinos (and there were a good many in that Moslem area), to worship at the ancient shrine of Bien Bemido al Virgen del Pilar.  The shrine was about the size of an American sandwich shop and was tucked into a space along a section of the Fort Pilar wall which had fallen into ruin.

GIs of the 41st Signal Company went to the work of repair and finally put up a sign welcoming all nationalities to worship there again.  Before long, there were hundreds of burning candles.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Anderson – Fargo, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Air-Sea Rescue

Joseph Bacigalupi – Little Silver, NJ; US Army

Edwin Bullington – Prairies Grove, AR; US Navy, USS Observation Island, photographer

Harry Doty – Milford, IN; US Army, WWII, artillery

Leonard Fenimore – Cabria, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Aaron Justice – Weirton, WV; US Army, WWII, ETO

David Lessin – Newark, NJ; US Army, Major, Medical Corps

Gerald Rothaermel – Bridgeport, CAN; Canadian Air Force, WWII

Leonard Solomon – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ATO, TSgt., 42nd Coast Artillery of Engineers

Norman Wecker – Chicago Heights, IL; US Navy, WWII, PBY pilot

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The Generals, Australians and Borneo (2)

The Borneo Campaign Map

From: “General Kenney Reports”

[continued from the previous post where the Generals were on the island of Labaun after the Australian troops had landed to take it back from the Japanese.]

We got to the USS Boise and the next morning we all went over to the beach near Brooketon.  Gen. Wooten joined us.  We waded through a half mile of swamp to a road where 6 jeeps picked us up and drove into the town of Brooketon itself.  The place was completely wrecked by bombing.

Australian soldiers firing artillery, Borneo

Wooten said they encountered very little opposition until they got about 10 miles inland, where they were in contact with about 500 Japs who were dug in on a hill commanding the road.  He had radioed for some airplanes from Palawan to blast their artillery out of the hills so he could use the road.

MacArthur, of course, wanted to see what as going on, so we climbed in the jeeps and headed off for more trouble.  About 5 miles down the road we came to an overturned Jap truck.  It seemed that about 2 hours before, the truck with 12 Nips on board, had dashed along the road with the lights turned on, the horns blowing, and the fools all yelling “Banzai”, heading for the Aussies who were marching toward them.  The Aussie machine-gunners had taken care of the truck and all the Japs.

*****          *****          *****

MacArthur on Labaun, Borneo 10 June 1945

From: “The Australian Experience”

The decision to bring forward the OBOE VI operation, on the western side of Borneo, was a strategic surprise to the Japanese. The area around Brunei Bay facilitated rapid deployments and operational maneuver from the sea. General MacArthur set Z-Day as 10 June 1945. Naval and landing force command for the Brunei Bay amphibious assault, landing 33,500 personnel and 49,500 tons of supplies and equipment was delegated to Rear Admiral Royal, and Major General George Wootten, commander of the Australian 9th Division.

The Brunei Bay operation was, according to MacArthur, ‘flawlessly executed’. Between 10 June 1945 and the end of the war, the fighting at Brunei Bay and Labuan led to the loss of 119 Australians killed and a further 221 wounded. At least eight Americans lost their lives and 55 were wounded. The Japanese lost 1,375 and 130 captured during this operation, although guerillas probably killed another 1,800 throughout British Borneo.

Borneo, 1945

The order of battle for the ground forces for the OBOE II is indicative of the Australian Army’s approach. Australians made up 94 per cent of the invasion force. It was built around the Australian 7th Infantry Division. The major Australian contribution, its nine infantry battalions (in three brigades) were central to the activities of the ground force. The Australian artillery and armored units were allocated an infantry support role, and were not well versed in the application of combined arms teams.

The US Army provided the specialist amphibious ship-to-shore units for the Australian division. While the Australian Army was responsible for beach operations, the Navy provided a Beachmaster and the RAN Beach Commandos. The NEI troops did fight but were also employed as interpreters and as security for the Netherland Indies civil affairs organization. The RAAF airfield construction squadrons, which were attached to the ground force commander, were to land early and have an airbase ready for Allied aircraft in just four days.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Atilano ‘Al’ David – Angeles, P.I. & NM; WWII, PTO, Sgt. 31st Regiment Philippine Division, (Bataan Death March survivor)

Harold P. DeMoss – Nashville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ensign, Fighting Squadron 100, KIA

Hubert Fuller – Huntington, WV; US Army, WWII, PTO, 147th Signal/7th Armored/3rd Army

Frank Guerrieri Sr. – Garfield, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS St. Louis

John Hickman – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 14321

Kathy Meinsen – Bastrop, TX; US Army

Gerald Nehring – Hinckley, IL; US Army, WWII, CBI

Thomas Reilly – Scituate, MA; US Coast Guard, Chief Boatswain’s Mate (Ret. 24 y.)

Norman Summers – Auckland, NZ; Royal Navy # MX801257 / RNZ Navy # 12177

Julian Waldman – Oceanside, NY; US Army, WWII

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Personal Note – I have having a little computer trouble.  If I do not answer comments or visit your site, I will do so as soon as possible.   Thank you for your patience.

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C.B.I. Theater – June 1945 (2)

Assembling the helicopter at Myitkyina. Shortly after, it would land on a Burma peak for the 1st such mercy mission in this area.

AAF HQ. – Capt. Frank W. Peterson maneuvered the helicopter through the maze of jungled Burma peaks and set the small ship down on a rough strip atop a razorback mountain whose sides fell off steeply to narrow valleys 2,500 feet below.
Twenty-four hours later, after gas and oil had been air-dropped, he took off again, this time carrying a passenger: 21-year-old Pvt Howard Ross, ground observer at an isolated weather station outpost in North Burma who was suffering from a badly infected gunshot wound in his hand.

This air evacuation mission, marking the first time a helicopter had been employed in rescue work in this Theater, climaxed one of the most amazing stories to come out of India-Burma.  The story had its beginning when, after the forced landing of a B-25 on an isolated mountain-top in Burma, it was determined that a helicopter would be necessary to effect the rescue of the bomber crew, none of whom were injured. The request was made by radio to Army Air Forces Headquarters in Washington.

A crew at Wright Field, Ohio, was ordered to begin the dismantling of a helicopter and, working all night, loaded it upon a C-54 cargo plane by the following morning. meanwhile, Peterson, a Wright Field test pilot was ordered to accompany the engineering crew to Burma.

Four days later, the C-54 with its rescue mission cargo landed at Myitkyina, only to learn that the men they had been rushed overseas to rescue had already been evacuated.  It was decided, however, to continue with the assembly of the helicopter as rapidly as possible in the event another emergency should arise.

Late that night, Lt. Leo J. Kenney, commanding officer of the jungle rescue unit, awakened Peterson and told him that a member of a weather station located high on a 4,700-foot mountain in the Naga Hills, with a gun shot wound.  With  medical aid 10 days distant by mountain trail, air rescue had to be attempted despite the inaccessibility of the station even to parachute jumping.

Pilot Erickson & Igor Sikorsky test the Sikorsky R-4, 1942 The following morning the rescue mission took off.  Since the helicopter was not equipped with radio and Peterson and Lt. Irwin C. Steiner, another veteran pilot from Wright Field who accompanied Peterson, were flying over unfamiliar territory, the rescue ship was escorted by two L-5’s piloted by T/Sgt. William H. Thomas and S/Sgt. Gibson L. Jones.

Four times, the helicopter became separated from its guide planes, a low ceiling having enveloped the mountain country. But each time the planes renewed contact. Once the helicopter made three attempts before finally topping a 5,000-foot mountain peak. Another time, the ship ran out of gas and had to make a forced landing on a sand bank in the Chindwin River, where Peterson and Steiner sat down and waited for fuel to be air-dropped from the L-5’s.  Up in the air once more, the helicopter climbed up over rocky peaks which jutted sharp above matted jungle, finally landing at the crude air-drop field near the weather station just before running out of gas again.  The next day, nine days after engineers began disassembling the helicopter at Wright Field, Peterson flew the wounded man out of the jungle.

*****          *****          *****

General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell, commander of U.S. Armies in the China, Burma, and India Theater, proudly wears his newly received four stars on his collar and the tag on his jeep. October 26, 1944. He was recently promoted to the rank of Full General.(AP Photo)

Uncle Joe Stilwell has returned to the grim but satisfying business of killing Japs – as Commanding General of the U.S. 10th Army, which this week annihilated the remnants of enemy opposition on bloody Okinawa.
Okinawa’s soil today contains the mortal remains of Lt. Gen. Simon Boliver Buckner, Jr., the colorful commander who led the new 10th Army ashore last Easter Sunday. In their last hour of military triumph, G.I.’s and his ranking officers reverently buried the general beside the men of the Seventh Division.
The nation applauded the move that placed four-starred Uncle Joe in command of the 10th Army. While in Chungking and India, Stilwell helped plan and carry out the liberation of North Burma and the building of the Ledo Road which later took his name.

Joe Stillwell, one of the most beloved generals in WWII

Subsequent differences of opinion with Chiang Kai-shek led last October to Uncle Joe’s recall to Washington where he was given command of Army Ground Forces.
Stilwell carried out his job with AGF with determination and spirit, bit no one doubted that it was his prayer to be returned to a combat assignment against the Japanese.
The death of Buckner brought to 34 the number of U.S. generals lost from all causes in action thus far in World War II, including four lieutenant generals. Shortly after the 10th Army Commander was killed, Brig. Gen. Claudius M. Easley, assistant commander of the 96th Infantry Division on Okinawa, also died in action.

Click on some of the images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Style – 

“HEY BABE, YOU DROPPED YOUR HANDKERCHIEF – SIR!!

“HERE’S THAT STOVE YOU REQUESTED BACK IN DECEMBER.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Timothy Bolyard – Thornton, WV; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt. Major, KIA

John Breitmeyer – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Navy # NZ9045, WWII

Warren Foss – St. Louis, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Helmer Holmberg – Brn: SWE; Swedish Army, WWII

John Innes – Brisbane, AUS; Civilian, Pacific War Historian eg: “Guide to the Guadalcanal Battlefields”

Ruth Mesich – Wakefield, MI; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Millard Odom – Bateville, AR; USMC, WWII, PTO, Sgt., 3/2nd Marine Regiment, KIA (Tarawa)

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

Robert Prata – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Roy Stilwell Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 13th Air Force

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