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October 1944 (3)

Japanese Center Force: Nagato, Musachi & Yamato

Japanese Center Force: Nagato, Musachi & Yamato

Avengers from the Cabot and Intrepid attacked the enemy superbattleship Musashi [the Palace] and she withstood 3 more torpedo hits.  The IJN Myoko was damaged, but the carrier aircraft continued to concentrate on the “Palace.”  Kurita, on the Yamato radioed out:  “URGENT REQUEST LAND-BASED AIR FORCE AND MOBILE FORCE TO MAKE PROMPT ATTACK ON ENEMY CARRIER FORCE IN SIBUYAN SEA.”  This call went unanswered.

The Musachi took 7 more torpedoes, that hit her port quarter and bridge tower, and still she moved at 6 knots.  Kurita ordered the experimental “San shiki” shells to be loaded into the guns. (These were designed to loft fragmentation bombs at low-flying planes.)  But finally, after 17 bombs and 19 torpedoes, the Palace succumbed and sank vertically like a skyscraper.

VAdmiral Toshihira Inoguchi chose to go down with his ship; 1,376 of her 2,399-man crew were rescued. About half of her survivors were evacuated to Japan, and the rest took part in the defense of the Philippines.*

Task Force - 58

Task Force – 58

24→25 October – Adm. Kinkaid ordered Adm. Oldendorf to prepare for a night engagement and to re-position his Task Force-77.  At the entrance to the Suriago Strait he situated double lines consisting of 6 battlewagons, 8 cruisers, 28 destroyers and 39 “expendable” PT boats.

The dual lines caused echoes in the Japanese radar of the Southern Force and between the torpedoes and gun barrages, Nishimura’s force was devastated: 2 battleships, 1 heavy cruiser and 4 destroyers after 2 hours of battle.  Shima’s group had 2 cruisers sunk, 1 battleship damaged and the admiral began a retreat.

25 October – as Halsey and the TF-38 headed north to intercept Ozawa’s Decoy Force, Kurita aimed his Centre Force at the US escort carrier group TG-77.43 “Taffy 3, under Adm. Sprague.  With only 6 small carriers and 6 destroyers, Sprague was all that sailed between the ground invading force and the enemy ships.  In an apparently suicide tactic, the admiral charged Kurita by air and sea.  The enemy thought they were facing the entire Third Fleet.  In maneuvering to avoid the attack, Kurita lost any tactical control.

Sprague suffered heavy losses, but the enemy had the cruisers Kumano, Chokai and Chikuma at the bottom of the sea.  Kurita retreated with the Suzaya, Haguro and sister-ship to the Musachi, the IJN Yamato; all having been hit by aircraft fire.  Sprague was now low on fuel and ammunition.  Kinkaid radioed Halsey: “WHERE IS – REPEAT – WHERE IS TASK FORCE 34?  THE WORLD WONDERS.”

Superbattleship IJN Musachi

Superbattleship IJN Musachi

* In March 2015, the American philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen, and his team of researchers located the wreck of Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea using a remotely operated underwater vehicle deployed from the yacht Octopus. The ship lies at a depth of around 1,000 metres (3,300 ft).  The wreck was revealed to be in several pieces with most of the hull amidships appearing to have been blown apart after leaving the surface.  The bow section from the number one barbette forward is upright on the sea floor while the stern is upside down. The forward superstructure and funnel is detached from the rest of the ship and lies on its port side.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wilfred Adams – No.Battleford, CAN; RC Army, WWII, RTO

Chester Bingaman – Huntsville, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Mississippi and LSM-183maxresdefault

Michael Francuck – Holly, MI; US Navy, WWII

Walter Haas – Brn: GER, FL; US Army

John Hogg – Sacramento, CA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Howard Kelly, Miami, FL; US Army, WWII

Arnold Keuneke – IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, TSgt., Signal Corps

David Plotkin – Massapequa, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWI, PTO, pilot

Richard Roether – Cincinnatti, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Robert Trpinc – Millsboro, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO

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October 1944 (2)

October 20, 1944: U.S. troops head toward the beaches of Leyte island during the amphibious assault to reconquest the Philippines. (AP Photo)

October 20, 1944: U.S. troops head toward the beaches of Leyte island during the amphibious assault to reconquest the Philippines. (AP Photo)

15→16 October – Carrier aircraft again set off to bomb shipping and installations at the Manila Bay, Luzon area on both days.  The Japanese lost: 20 aircraft shot down and 30-40 destroyed on the ground.

17→18 October – Northern Luzon and again the Manila Bay area were attacked by the carrier aircraft and the enemy this time lost 56 aircraft; four ships were sunk, with 23 others damaged.  The US lost 7 aircraft.

19 October – Carrier aircraft bombed, rocketed and strafed select targets in the Visayas Group of the Philippines.  The US 6th Army , under Gen. MacArthur began landings on Leyte which pushed the Japanese Navy to act.

22→23 October – Three enemy task forces converged for battle.  The Japanese Combined Fleet were underway for Operation Sho, (Sho  = Victory) and they would meet with their first casualties from the US submarines Darter and Dace in the Palawan Passage.

Just after 0500 hours, LtComdr. Benitez said to his men, “It looks like the 4th of July out there!”  Adm. Kurita’s cruisers IJN Atago & Maya of  the 1st Strike Force were ht and sinking.  The enemy’s position was passed on to command and the US Task Force 38/3rd Fleet sailed to the Sibuyan Sea to intercept.  The Second Battle of the Philippine Sea was underway and it would continue through 27 October.

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[It will take the next few posts to try and encapsulate all that transpired in this short period of time – Please bear with me.]

Japanese losses would include: 2 battleships, 4 carriers, 6 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers, 3 small cruisers or destroyers, and 6 destroyers.  Severely damaged were: 1 battleship, 5 cruisers, 7 destroyers.  Others with damage: 6 battleships,4 heavy destroyers, 1 light cruiser and 10 destroyers.

US losses: the light carrier Princeton and 2 escort carriers, the Saint ‘Lo and Gambier Bay were sunk.  Two destroyers, Johnston and Hoel went under, along with 1 destroyer escort, the Samuel B. Roberts and a few smaller craft.

[The story of the USS Samuel B. Roberts can be read in the book “For Crew and Country,” by John Wukovits.  It is an inspiring book to read.]

24 October – Adm. Mitscher’s aircraft assaulted Adm. Kurita’s Center Force and the Nishimura/Shima Sounthern Force while their planes  were out hitting US concerns around the Philippines.  The Princeton was hit by a kamikaze carrying a 100-pound bomb that went through her deck.  The Birmingham was damaged by later explosions as she assisted the damaged carrier; this killed 200 seamen.

The following 10 minute video shows both Allied and Japanese photography.


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Military Humor – Navy style

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“I have a funny feeling about those blind dates of ours.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Millard Ball – Clarksville, TN; US Merchant Marine, WWII / US Army, Korea, 187th RCT / Vietnam, 101st Airborne, CSgtM (Ret. 45 years)

Victor Carty – San Jose, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, aircraft mechanicsalute

Edward Cooke – Fonda, IA; US Navy (USNA graduate), WWII, CBI, minesweeper, VAdmiral

Warren Ferguson – Seattle, WA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3167th Signal Corps

Teresa Gies – Wellington, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII

Harry Hamilton Sr. – St. Petersburg, FL; US Navy, WWII

Matuszewski Klemens – Taragowa, POL; Polish Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Paul Martin – Croghan, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 318 Fighter Sq./7th Air Force, Cpl.

Richard Ramsey – Bloomington, IN; US Navy, WWII, LST-947

Frank Yates – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 502/101st Airborne, Sgt.

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First Hand Account – after Peleliu

Bruce Watkins, Monty Montgomery & Steve Stasiak

Bruce Watkins (Commander), Monty Montgomery (platoon Sgt.) & Steve Stasiak (guide)

INTRODUCTION: The following is a chapter taken from “Brothers in Battle” by R. Bruce Watkins. This book was written for the benefit of his children, grandchildren, and friends who have an interest in the events of World War II as he saw them. It reflects his personal experience as a platoon leader in E CO/ 2ND Battalion/1st Marines at Peleliu. He also served as company commander of E Co on Okinawa. Bruce dedicated his book to “My Brothers, those undaunted Marines, who followed me without hesitation into the very jaws of death.” [Pictures below are some of these men.]

We don’t often hear what happens after the men fight, the following is what Bruce Watkins remembered after the battle:

Bruce Watkins

Bruce Watkins

Chapter V
PAVUVU

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Marc Jaffe

As we filed off the Tryon to our old bivouac at Pavuvu, we saw few familiar faces. There were a handful of lightly wounded casualties, but all the other living were still hospitalized. Settling into the tents that had been our home a short month ago, we were immediately struck by the empty cots with personal gear stowed below. We had returned with about 15% of our original number. That made for a lot of empty cots. Most of these cots would never see their original occupants again.

     Shortly after, I received a summons from Division headquarters. “We think we may have one of your men down here.” It was PFC Brennan and he told me he did not have a name, that the Japs had taken it from him on the second day. He was sent home to the States and I received a letter from him some time later. He had been suffering from cerebral malaria but back in a cool climate he had recovered.

    

John Kincaid

John Kincaid

In the heat of the Peleliu battle I had not accounted for two of our 17-year-old privates, but these returned to us now, unscathed. Monty told me they had bugged out in the middle of the battle. I had assumed they were wounded or killed. Although this was technically desertion under fire, the NCO’s had a great deal of understanding, taking into account their youthfulness. I saw no reason to take issue with their judgement, and these two more than proved themselves in the next battle.

     There were many signs of strain after Peleliu. Our colonel told us how coming out of the shower he met a major, a member of Battalion Staff, with a towel draped over his arm. The major asked the colonel if he really liked him. The colonel replied, “Of course.” He then removed the towel displaying a loaded 45 pistol in his hands. “I’m glad you do,” he said, “because if you didn’t, I would have to shoot you.” Our colonel made quiet arrangements and the major was shipped back to the states under guard.

Sgt. Hap Farrell

Sgt. Hap Farrell

     We took a boat over to Bonika, the main island of the Russells, where our hospital was. There we saw many of our comrades. John Kincaid was having trouble with both eyes and Joe Gayle was just getting the use of his arms back. Sam Alick was recovering well from the leg wound, but his thumb would never work the same. Another platoon sergeant, a handsome man, had half his face and jaw gone. A gunny sergeant with a shattered pelvis lay there with rods like an erector set holding his hips in place, and so it went. The good news was that Lee Height could return with us.

Lt. Lee Height

Lt. Lee Height

     Back on Pavuvu in the days that followed, we were allowed to rest and routine was at a minimum. We drifted from tent to tent checking on who had returned and always there were the empty cots. This was a most necessary rehabilitation period during wich we dealt with our shock and the loss of many friends. We were to need that rest both physically and mentally for there was much ahead of us.

In 1992 Bruce wrote “Brothers in Battle” about his experiences. The period covered stretches from December 1941 until November 1945.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Edward Borschel Jr. – Panama City, FL; US Army, 187th RCT

Jack Griffiths – San Diego, CA; US Army, Korea, HQ/38/2nd Infantry Div., Major, POW, KIA

Dixie Heron – UK; RAF, WWII, ETO, 249th Squadron

Hugo Koski – Mt. Vernon, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII, Quartermaster

Ira Miss Jr. – Frederick, MD; Korea, HQ/38/2nd Infantry Div., MSgt., POW, KIA

Clifford Nelson – Spanish Fort, AL; US Navy, WWII, PTO & Korea, Captain (Ret. 29 years)

Charles Owen – Greendale, WI; US Navy, WWII

Lee Ragatz Jr. – Dania, FL; US Navy, USS Midway

Jack Slaughter (103) – Muskogee, OK; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Welles, Silver Star

Martin Waddington – So.Hurtsville, AUS; RA Air Force # NX098714, 10th Squadron

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October 1944 (1)

Causeway with 2 damaged Sherman tanks, Peleliu

Causeway with 2 damaged Sherman tanks, Peleliu

3  October – the Marines on Peleliu attacked the “Five Sister,” a coral hill with 5 sheer peaks and the Japanese defensive fire was deadly accurate.  Four days later, in an Army tank/Marine infantry operation, they made their assault in a horseshoe shaped valley after 2 ½ hours of big gun artillery fire.

The odor on the island of decaying bodies and feces, (latrines could not be dug in the coral), became extreme.  The flies were uncontrollable.  The [now-banned] pesticide of DDT was first used on Peleliu, but with very little success.

Napalm strike on Five Sister, Peleliu

Napalm strike on the Five Sisters, Peleliu

On 12 October, Captain Andy “Ack-Ack” Haldane, well-respected leader and veteran of Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and Peleliu, was killed on Hill 140 in the Umurbrogol Pocket.  This was also the date that organized resistance on the island was declared over.

10 October – The 3rd Fleet of aircraft carriers made a major attack on the enemy naval and shore installations on the Ryukyu Islands.  Their arrival took the Japanese by surprise and destroyed 75 planes on the ground and 14 in the air; 38 ships were either sunk or damaged.  Other US Navy surface vessels conducted a 15-hour bombardment of Marcus Island.  This would give the US a forward base less than 1000 miles from the Japanese mainland.

Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands

Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands

12→15 October – after refueling, the 3rd Fleet’s 1000 carrier fighters and bombers conducted a campaign over Formosa along with 100 Superfortresses of the US Army’s 20th Air Force coming out of the Chingtu bases.  The 500 enemy aircraft of Adm. Fukudome’s Imperial Navy 6th Air Force were manned by inexperienced pilots.  On the 13th along, 124 enemy fighters were shot down during a massive dogfight and 95 more were destroyed on the ground.  As Fukudome himself described it, “Like so many eggs thrown against the stone wall of indomitable enemy formations.

More than 70 enemy cargo, oil and escort ships were sunk in the area.  The US lost 22 aircraft.  The carrier, Franklin, and the cruiser, Canberra, were hit, but the latter was towed to safety.  Due to the inexperienced Japanese pilots misinformation, Tokyo Rose announced, “All of Admiral Mitscher’s carriers have been sunk tonight – INSTANTLY!”  Japan claimed a second Pearl Harbor and a public victory holiday was proclaimed.

Arisan Maru

Arisan Maru

In October, the Japanese ‘hell ship’, Arisan Maru, departed Manila, P.I. with 1800 American prisoners on board held in her unventilated hold.  It was sunk by the USS Snook, killing 1795 POW’s.

The Japanese attempted to break the build-up of Allied forces in Manila Bay, Luzon, P.I., but the result was losing approximately 30 more aircraft to US fighters and antiaircraft fire.

October 1944 was an extremely active month and it will take at least 5 posts to just put the basics down.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – military-humor-funny-surrounded-attack-soldiers-meme

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Alamar – Scranton, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper

Robert Brooks – Ontario, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, 143rd Air Wing, radio operations

Peleliu cemetery

Peleliu cemetery

Harold Girald – Mah-wah, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Ken Hartle (103) – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, SeaBee

Melvin Hill – Pomona, CA; Korea, 31st RCT, KIA

Harold “Hal” Moore, Jr. – Auburn, AL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 1/7th Cavalry Reg., Lt.General, West Point Grad, DSC

Allen “Bud” Moler – Dayton, OH; USMC, PTO, KIA (Roi-Namur)

Brent Morel – Martin, TN; USMC, Iraq, 1st Marine Recon Battalion, Navy Cross, KIA

Richard Lyon – Oceanside, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO / Korea, Admiral (Ret. 41 years)

Elizabeth Zarelli Turner – Austin, TX; US Army WAC, WWII, pilot

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September 1944 (2)

Moro tai, 15 September 1944

Morotai, 15 September 1944

Adm. Mitscher’s TF-38 bombings of Clark and Nichols airfields on Luzon, P.I., mowed down enemy bases.  More than 200 planes were destroyed and the shipping in Manila Bay was ravaged.  No Japanese aircraft reached the fleet, but 15 US aircraft were lost during the operation.

15 September – US troops landed at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies.  They were met by only light resistance despite its location at the entrance of the Celebes Sea off the southern coast of the Philippine Islands.

16 September – the Japanese escort carrier Unyo [“A Hawk in the Clouds”] was sunk in the South China Sea by the US submarine Barb.  Although no US surface ships were in the area, the submarine service were causing havoc with the Japanese supply convoys between the N.E. I. and the southeastern Asian enemy forces.

Peleiu, 1944

Peleiu, 1944

On Peleliu. most of the 6 x 2 mile island was composed of coral ridges and heavily wooded scrub which made taking aerial photographs useless.  Although on paper, the 1st Marines were reinforced to an adequate size, the figures convinced MGen. Rupertus that Operation Stalemate would only last 3-4 days.  Col. Chesty Puller differed and pointed out the number of actual combat troops, but the general felt Chesty’s argument was groundless.

As the men crossed the airfield, E.B. Sledge, [author of “With the Old Breed’], said, “To be shelled by massed artillery and mortars is absolutely terrifying, but to be shelled in the open is terror compounded beyond belief of anyone who hasn’t experienced it.  The temperature that day was 105°F in the shade.”

Peleiu landing

Peleiu landing

19 September – on the eastern coast of Peleliu, the Marines took Ngardololok and flushed out a large Japanese defense, but the enemy remained deeply embedded in fortified positions.

22-23 September – naval bombardment sank some of the enemy barges which headed out to Peleliu, but about 600 of the Japanese troops from the 2nd Batt/15th Regiment made it to shore.  The Marines became even more weary of the continuing battle upon hearing this news.  The situation was becoming a replay of Guadalcanal.

25 September – The US Army 321st Infantry Regiment/81st Division was brought to Peleliu to support the Marines.  The joint effort created the III Amphibious Corps.

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28 September – Marine pilots pounded the beach of Ngesebus, Peleiu for another amphibious landing.  They found no resistance until the reached the second airstrip.

In mid-September, FDR and Churchill met for their 8th was summit known as the Octagon Conference.  Most of the discussions revolved around the European Theater, but the British suddenly demanded more of a visible presence in the Pacific.  This after 3 years of insisting the PTO was America’s responsibility.  Adm. King vetoes the idea, but FDR accepted and this both embarrassed and infuriated the Chief of Naval Operations.  Ground work was also started for post-war atomic bomb production and an agreement for the weapons use against Japan if necessary.

Click on images to enlarge.

An eye witness account of Peleliu will be in the following post.

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Military Humor – 

Sad Sack

Sad Sack

Private Beetle

Private Beetle

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Farewell Salutes –

Anthol Bensley – Manawatu, NZ; RNZ Navy # 6389, WWII, Able Seaman

Joseph Frigenti – FL; US Army, Korean Warmediumpic634249020853470000

William Holden – Burlington, VT; US Navy, WWII, ETO, submarine service

Kenneth Irvin Sr. – Altoona, PA; US Army, WWII, 433rd Medical, Pfc

Philip Karp – Northdale, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Bob Leidenheimer Sr. – New Orleans, LA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Richard Manning – Norwell, MA; US Navy, WWII / US Army, Korea

Frank Puckett – Dickson, TN; US Army, WWII, ATO, Purple Heart

John Strudwick – London, ENG; RAF, 604 Squadron

William Tice – Ann Arbor, MI; US Army, 1st Infantry “The Big Red One”

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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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THE LAST MAN STANDING

An eye witness account to help bring the history into perspective.

Indianaeddy-" The Human nature of male Dogs"

THE LAST MAN STANDING

This picture was taken on the island of Guam.

The men you see make up two machine gun squads. Every man in this picture was either killed or wounded before World Two ended, except for the small muscular man on the left. He was the squad leader. He was my father.

Each squad was made up of seven men. There are thirteen men in the picture. The fourteenth man was taking the picture. He was also the squad leader of six of these men. These two squads worked closely together on Guam. That is evident in their body posture.

The night before they set an ambush at an advantageous spot on Harmon Road. The Japanese that had not yet been killed, captured, or surrendered, were completely surrounded and out numbered. The Marines knew some of them would try to break through during the upcoming night. That’s what they would have…

View original post 504 more words

July 1944 (2)

Soldiers near Aitape, New Guinea, July 1944

Soldiers near Aitape, New Guinea, July 1944

1o-11 July – on the night of 10th/11th July the trapped Japanese 18th Army attempted to break through US lines.  In what became known as the Battle of Driniumor River they attacked in a solid mass of around 10,000 men in a suicidal frontal assault. This was an attempt to ensure that some men would successfully break through – which they did – but it was achieved at appalling cost.

The Japanese were now aware of how strongly defended the US positions were. US machine gunners cut down hundreds of the Japanese, with some reports of so many bodies piled up in front of US positions that that they blocked the field of fire and men had to go forward to clear them away.    MGeneral H. W. Blakeley recorded:

 

“Shortly before midnight, after a short artillery preparation, which came as a surprise because no enemy artillery had been identified within range of the Driniumor, [10,000] enemy infantry in screaming waves began charging across the river against Companies E and G 128TH Infantry, in the south part of the sector of the 2D Battalion, 128TH Infantry

“The attack in the Company G sector was stopped, but another attack which hit Company E shortly after the first assault was more successful largely because of the physical impossibility of holding a position in the dark against an attacking force believed to have a ten to one superiority over the defenders. By dawn the Japanese held a good-sized area of wooded high ground to the left rear of Company G.”

 

11 July – Franklin Roosevelt announced his intention to run for an unprecedented fourth term in office as President of the United States.

On New Guinea, the Babo airfield was hit along with supply dumps at Kokas.  Manowari, Waren and Moemi were also bombed.  Halmahera Island received destruction of various enemy installations.

Aitape area

Aitape area

13-14 July – the land/sea war in and around New Guinea continued as warships bombarded Aitape to support the Australian and US troops advancing up the northern coastline.  Heavy fighting and a Japanese attack, under Gen. Adachi, at the Wewak River had slowed their progress.  The Allied troops launched a double enveloping counteroffensive that divided Adachi’s men into two groups, which soon rendered them useless.  Nevertheless, combat would continue for 4 more weeks.

 

In the CBI arena, the 10th Air Force was bombing and strafing the Myitkyina area to support their ground troops, while bridges were bombed at five other areas.  The 14th Air Force in China caused massive damaged at the Pailochi and 2 other air fields along with compounds, river shipping, troop concentrations and railroad yards.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Martin Alexander – Columbia, FL; US Air Force, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, (Ret.) pilot

Arthur Brown Jr. – Spokane, WA; US Navy, WWIItributesarmy

Ray Cochran – Melbourne, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Arturo Franco – Dallas, OR; US Army, Kosovo & Afghanistan, 82nd Airborne Division

Leon Glowicki – Bay City, MI; US Army, Korea, 7th Division, Engineers

Theodore Larson – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

John McGinn – Portsmouth, NH; US Army, HQ Co/88th Infantry Division

George Roberts – Birkenhead, ENG; Fleet Air Arm, WWII

Albert G. Smith – AUS; RA Army, WWII, PTO, Z Force

George Thompson – Albury, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, B-24 co-pilot

Peter Vukovich Sr. – Hammond, IN; US Navy, WWII, ETO

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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.

bonin%20islands

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.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

military-humor-spider-slayer-tank

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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Smitty ~ Letter IX

New Guinea, WWII

New Guinea, WWII

Letter IX                                            “A Day’s Venture”                           Monday 6/26/44

Dear Mom,

Yesterday, being Sunday, a day of rest, I decided to ride around this place and see something.  I made up my mine though that this sightseeing tour of mine, this time, would be done as a civilian completely forgetting I’m in the army.  You have to do this in order to see the place in its true light, otherwise if you don’t all you can see is hardship and work.  With my mind cleared of Khaki, I set forth in a jeep with a buddy of mine; who I dare say couldn’t see the sense of our venture.

As we drove along in the still quiet, the thought kept coming to me of the enormous job the boys before us had to confront and overcome.  Here and there along the way you could see some old emplacement or deserted village.  These villages were really something to see with their straw-thatched roofs and open sided houses.  We wouldn’t call them shed, but that is just what they looked like.

New Guinea 10/24/44

Smitty in New Guinea

One can readily understand why the authors of those travelogues really go all out when describing these islands.  You forget the heat as cooling breezes blow over you from the coast and the shade of the giant coconut trees gradually engulf you.

We passed one spot close to the coast that suddenly shook us with the horrible realization of our place and mission.  It wasn’t large or spread out, but all was peaceful and quiet though men were gaily chatting and swimming nearby.  We entered by an archway on which was inscribed, “Japanese Cemetery.”  We passed now upon some of the little white markers all neatly lined up and lettered.  Although they were once an active enemy, one could not help but see the shame and waste of war.

The water off Lae, New Guinea

The water off Lae, New Guinea

We looked around the beach for a while, then decided to go in for a swim.  The water here is amazingly warm and clear.  You could never believe it unless you could see it as I have.  How crystal clear and immune of blemish this water here is.  Why, to peer down 25 feet and see bottom is really an easy thing to do.  The bottom is sand, sand at its finest and whitest literally covered with shells of every shape and color with here and there a grotesque piece of coral.  You can really pick out the coral as it shows up a faint green while the shells throw all colors of the rainbow up at you until your eyes are completely dazzled by the many-colored lights.

By this time, the sun was well on its way toward the horizon and dusk rapidly approaching.  Here and there a faint star twinkled until suddenly the sky was almost completely covered with thousands.  The moon finally appeared in all its bright glory and reflected itself a hundred times over on the waves before us.  The end of the day had come and with it also my venture into a world never to be forgotten.  This day will long be remembered and stored with the rest of my most treasured memories.

Good night!  And may God bless you,  Everett

PS.  I shall write to Joe Dumb as soon as I send this letter on its way.  Be good and take care of yourself.

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

misslerange

"And, that's an order!"

“And, that’s an order!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Alvin Ake – Perkins, OK; US Army, WWII, 324th Infantry Regiment

Raphael Clothier – Canberra, AUS; RA Air Force # 20871, Cpl.vietnam-memorial-640x360

Robert Hoover – Nashville, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 52nd Fighter Group, pilot, POW (escaped)

Richard Jacobs – Waikato, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 622312, RNZ Army, WWII

Thomas Kearns – Woburn, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, T5 antiaircraft gunner

George Martini – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, USS Essex

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

Joyce “Lucky” Parker – Bartow, FL; US Army, WWII

James Smith – Liberty, MS; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, KIA (Tarawa)

Charles Wilkinson – Ormond-By-The-Sea, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers/11th Airborne Div.

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