Blog Archives

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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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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June to July on Luzon 1945

“Mopping-up”

General MacArthur relieved the headquarters of Sixth Army and I Corps of further operational responsibility on Luzon in order that the two could begin preparations for the invasion of Japan. The headquarters of Eighth Army and of XIV Corps assumed responsibility for the further conduct of operations throughout Luzon, where the only Japanese force still capable of effective, well-organized resistance was the Shobu Group.

For Sixth Army and I Corps, the meeting of the 37th Division and 11th Airborne Division units south of Aparri on 26 June had marked the strategic end of the campaign in northern Luzon. This conclusion attained considerable logic. The juncture had divided the Shobu Group’s remaining forces and had occurred while Yamashita was desperately trying to withdraw all available units into his last-stand area.

Moreover, Sixth Army estimated upon relinquishing control to Eighth Army that no more than 23,000 Japanese were left alive in northern Luzon and that these troops were disorganized and incapable of effective defensive operations. The 6th Army further estimated that only 12,000 of the 23,000 Japanese were located in the Cordillera Central between Routes 4 and 11, the rest in the Sierra Madre east of the Cagayan Valley.

XIV Corps would have under its control the USAFIP(NL), now a seasoned and reasonably well-armed force of 21,000 men supported by two U.S. Army field artillery battalions. Also under XIV Corps was the experienced Buena Vista Regiment, equivalent in size to a U.S. Army infantry regiment less supporting arms and services. All in all, it appeared that XIV Corps would become involved only in relatively easy mopping-up and patrolling operations.

The 6th Army had greatly underestimated the Japanese strength left in northern Luzon, and the 8th Army’s estimates, made upon its assumption of command, were but little closer to fact. Actually, at the end of June, close to 65,000 Japanese remained alive in northern Luzon, 13,000 of them in the Sierra Madre and 52,000 in the last-stand area between Routes 4 and 11.

Caring for injured Filipinos

Although organization, control, and morale were deteriorating, and although most of the troops were ill armed and poorly supplied, the Japanese in the last-stand area were still capable of effective resistance when the occasion demanded. The task confronting the U.S. Army and guerrilla units in northern Luzon was of far greater magnitude than any headquarters estimated at the end of June.  XIV Corps plan for operations against the remainder of the Shobu Group differed only in detail from those I Corps had previously employed.  Reduced to their simplest terms, both sets of plans called for the exertion of unremitting pressure against the Shobu Group wherever Shobu Group troops were to be found.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Anderson – Mackay, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/187th/11th Airborne Division

Francis Beecher – Norristown, PA; US Air Force, radioman

Greater love hath no man

Roy Custer Jr. – Miami, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Joseph Ferraro – Queens, NY; US Navy, WWII

Vincent Johnson – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Al Kuschner – Great Neck, NY; US Navy, WWII

Carlo Lattinelli – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Korea

Charles Merritt – San Diego, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Panamint

Allan Redmond – Chicago, IL; US Merchant Marines, WWII, engineer

James Thayer – Carlton, OR; US Army, WWII, ETO, General, Bronze Star, Silver Star

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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 (1)

USS Boise

From: General Kenney Reports

I joined Gen. MacArthur on board the USS Boise at Palawan on 8 June as I had promised.  The ship steamed south and the next afternoon joined the main convoy carrying the 9th Australian Division, commanded by Gen. Wooten.  We made the rendezvous between Palawan Island North Borneo.

The weather was perfect, the mountains on either side of the straits were beautiful, I had about 9 hour’s sleep the night before and there was no sign of a Jap airplane in the skies.  It was so peaceful, it didn’t seem as though there was a war on at all.

On the morning of the 10th, 6 o’clock a lone Jap bomber came over, dropped one bomb, which missed a landing craft, and then flew away under under a hail of antiaircraft fire.

We watched the Naval gunfire on the landing beach on the island of Labuan, our first objective, and after the RAAF and the 13th Air Force bombers got through a farewell blasting of the Jap positions, Generals MacArthur and Morehead, Adm. Royal and Naval commander, Bostock, and myself went ashore.

The Aussie first-wave troops had landed and pushed inland from the beach about ¼ mile.  They put out their patrols and then calmly started cooking their tea.  Nothing seemed to worry this fine-looking body of troops.  They were bronzed and healthy-looking, well equipped and there was no question about their morale.

Australian soldiers land at Labuan Island, North Borneo

The “brass-hat” party moved along the road paralleling the beach, to the accompaniment of an occasional sniper’s shot and a burst of machine-gun fire ahead of us and farther inland.  I began to feel all over again as I had at the Leyte landing,  Mac kept walking along, enjoying himself hugely, chatting with a patrol along the road every once in a while and asking the men what they were shooting at.

Moreshead and Bostock asked me where we were going, I shrugged my shoulders and pointed at MacArthur.  Just then a tank came lumbering along the road and we stood a side to let it pass.  As the tank reached the top of a little rise perhaps 50 yards ahead of us a burst of rifle and machine-gun fire broke out and then stopped.  The turret gunner looked out, said, “We got those two obscene, unmentionables so-and-so’s,” and the tank drove on.

Australian troops and tanks land at Labuan Island

Mac commented on the good clothes and well-kept equipment the two dead Japs had and remarked that they looked like first-class troops.  Just the, an Australian Army photographer came along to take pictures of the two dead lying there in the ditch.  His bulb flashed and he dropped to the ground with a sniper’s bullet in his shoulder.

I walked over to Gen. MacArthur and told him that all he had to do was to hang around that place long enough and he would collect one of those bullets too and spoil our whole trip.  It looked to me as though we had finally gotten into the Jap outpost position and if he wanted my vote, it was to allow the Australian infantry to do the job they came ashore for.

To be continued….

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Military Humor – 

When the military has cut-backs….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eliza Blanchard – Lincoln, AL; US Army WAC, medic

Richard Devos – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jane (Sepko) Frink – Southington, CT; US Army

Dennis Hogg – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force # 1200664, Vietnam, A Squadron

Gordon Lewis – Thornlands, AUS; Australian Army # 434815, WWII

Patrick McCormick – Toronto, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Ronald W. Nutt – Ocean Grove, AUS; RA Air Force # 135995

Graham Rohrsheim – Port Pirie, AUS; RA Navy, Commander (Ret.)

Alfred Tuthill – Chesapeake, VA; US Coast Guard, Master Chief Radioman (Ret. 28 y.)

William Zobel Jr. – Hollywood, FL; US Air Force

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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.

*****          *****          *****

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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Mickey

Get an aerial view from an aircraft called MICKEY.

IHRA

Delivered to the AAF on July 8, 1944, this “H” model went into service with the 389th Squadron in March 1945. The pilot was Maj. James M. Wylie, the 389th Squadron C.O., and he named the aircraft MICKEY, after his wife’s nickname. When S/Sgt. Orian E. Hackler, the crew chief, asked about a tail identifier, Wylie replied that it would be nice to have “X,” for “X marks the spot.”

Wylie claimed this aircraft was a “pilot’s dream,”, and he flew most of his missions in it. On one, he almost lost control of it over Nichols Field on February 6, 1945. An unexploded 20mm shell tore through one wing and the plane swooped towards the ground before Wylie regained control and returned his damaged mount to Mangaldan. Afterwards, the aircraft received only occasional small arms hits. The profile painting shows MICKEY at Mangaldan during April 1945, with 67…

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Okinawa – June 1945

Last picture ever taken of Lt.Gen. Buckner, the day before he died

By 10 June, the Marines had captured Yuza Hill.  The 10th US Army suffered severe casualties before they and the USMC advanced to Kunishi Ridge, the western anchor of the Japanese defense; a massive fortress.

Gen. Buckner had been sending messages to Gen. Ushijima, urging him to surrender.  So, when over a dozen Japanese wearing white hats appeared, the Marines assumed they were surrendering and they ceased operations.  Shortly after the enemy soldiers ran, a mortar barrage began.

By morning, the Americans had a foothold on the ridge, but reinforcements were cut down when they tried to advance.  Nine tanks were used to deliver 54 fresh men and supplies, but returned with 22 wounded.  As the battle for Kunishi raged on, the tanks opened a road to continue supplying the Americans.

Okinawa

By 16 June, the US 96th Div. opened a road for the tanks to continue delivering supplies, as air drops were falling into enemy hands.  Only one day later, Kunishi Ridge was considered a “mopping up” operation.

The Marines were sent to Mezado and Kuwango ridges where the enemy fire though intense, was short-lived.  Meanwhile, the Army moved down the Pacific side of the island encountering the enemy at Yaeju Dake-Yuza Dake Escarpment.  Naval gunfire and artillery smothered the enemy as the 10th Army proceeded hill by hill toward the tip of Okinawa, up Hill 89, Ushijima’s headquarters near Mabuni.

18th June – the 8th Marines moved into the line contribute their fresh, full strength to the slow drive.  Army Gen. Buckner decided to leave the outpost he was at and found himself on a hill which afforded him a view of what was actually going on up at the front.  He paused to watch for a few moments.

Oroku Peninsula where Japanese base force made their last stand

By this time, the Japanese artillery had been reduced to next to nothing, no shells had fallen in that area all morning.  However, by some devious quirk of fate, a lone gun somewhere in the shrinking ranks of the enemy let go a few rounds.  The first one felled the general, but no one else near him was injured.  He died before they could evacuate him.

Gen. Geiger took over the command and followed what his late chief would have done.  This was the first instance of a Marine officer commanding an Army unit of that size, though in WWI, MGen. Lejeune had commanded the Army’s Second Division in several operations.

Ambulance jeep, Okinawa

Although Allied land forces were entirely composed of U.S. units, the British Pacific Fleet (BPF; known to the U.S. Navy as Task Force 57) provided about a quarter of Allied naval air power (450 planes). It comprised many ships, including 50 warships of which 17 were aircraft carriers, but while the British armored flight decks meant that fewer planes could be carried in a single aircraft carrier, they were more resistant to kamikaze strikes. Although all the aircraft carriers were provided by the UK, the carrier group was a combined Commonwealth fleet with British, Canadian Australian  and New Zealand ships and personnel. Their mission was to neutralize Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Islands and provide air cover against Japanese kamikaze attacks.

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Current News – 

Information on the upcoming events of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society….

http://bataanlegacy.org/future-events.html

Information contributed by Nasuko

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert J. Andrews – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 31 y.)

Rosetta Brobst – Laceyville, PA; WWII, US Army, nurse

Athol Currin – Wanganui, NZ; RSA # 816777, J Force 22nd Batt/42 Squadron

Robert Dole – Pearl City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 665th Ordnance Co.

Dennis Garbis – Falls Church, VA; Vietnam, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 20 y.), Bronze Star

John McCain – Alexandria, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, pilot, USS Forrestal, POW / US Senator

Miriam Olsen – Eugene, OR; US Army, WWII, nurse

Ronald Setniker – Biwabik, MN; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

James Tisdale – Goshen, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, Bronze Star

John Waite – Clarkston, WA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

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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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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.

Click on images to enlarge.

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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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11th Airborne Division, May 1945

Japanese Army areas of responsibility, WWII

Shobu Group had lost one of the three legs of its defensive triangle, but the battle on northern Luzon was far from over. Until the end of the war, Sixth Army forces continued to push Gen. Yamashita’s men farther into the mountains, taking heavy casualties in the process. The 32d Division, which had also seen heavy fighting on Leyte, was worn down to almost nothing, but the defenders suffered even heavier battle casualties as well as losses to starvation and disease.  By the end of the war, the Japanese were still holding out in the rugged Asin Valley of the Sierra Madre in north-central Luzon, enduring the drenching summer monsoons.

1 May 1945, the recon platoon found a company-sized unit of the enemy in the 187th’s zone of responsibility. The 2d battalion, along with 81mm mortars and LMGs (light machine guns) spread out to attack the enemy on three sides. F Company had a kill count of 92 Japanese versus one man of theirs missing the following day. From 3 May on, the fighting was considerable. 10 May, with the situation easing, the division left the area to be patrolled by Filipino guerrillas and was once again united and prepared to set up their base camp among the ruins of Lipa.

Lipa, Luzon ruins, WWII

During the month of May, a new T O & E (Table of Organization and Equipment) was put into effect as replacements finally arrived. A battalion was added to each glider regiment. The 188th Infantry and the 674th Field Artillery became parachute units. The 472d Field Artillery Battalion was added to Division Artillery and the 187th became a Para-Glider Infantry Regiment. For the first time since their creation, the 11th A/B totalled 12,000 men.

7 May 1945, the war in Europe was over, the famous V-E Day, and the men of the 11th Airborne were very happy for their counterparts in the ETO, but they knew the Japanese would remain solid and faithful in their convictions. The fighting in the Pacific would continue, it was a matter of honor. My father, Smitty, had told me of the hatred the G.I.s felt for the enemy and granted, he wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of getting shot at, but he said he had to have respect for their patriotism and tenacity. (Yamato damashii – Japanese spirit and Bushido – the way of the warrior.)  Now, the troopers began to wonder if they would receive ample reinforcements. Rumors began to fly.

Gen. Yamashita Tomoyuki

10 May, the 11th A/B Division regrouped outside Lipa.  If a soldier was not at an outpost or out on patrol, he was helping to build a camp in the coconut groves with those all too familiar pyramidal tents.  Bamboo and steel matting was used to raise the tents up about a foot since it was about to become rainy season once again.  Between two mountains, USO shows and movies began to arrive and a jump school and glider classes were held for the “green” replacements.

11 May, was the first span of 24 hours in a total of 101 days that no one from the 11th Airborne Division had killed one of the enemy. Their average before that had been 93.8 Japanese per day and during that time General Swing was unable to afford even one company to be in reserve.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pete Acuff – Olvey, AR; US Army, WWII,  driver

Stewart Barnett – AUS; D COY 4 RARNZ Battalion, Pvt. # 5715206, Vietnam, KIA

Clifford Doer – Milwaukee, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO & Korea, 11th Airborne Division

Harlan Ellison – Cleveland, OH; US Army / (sci-fi author)

David Franklin – Lake Worth, FL; USMC

Larry Hickman – Winston-Salem, NC; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Robert Keown – Decatur, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 2nd LT., P-38 pilot, KIA

Brian Monks – Hampton, NZ; INZ Regiment, Vietnam, Colonel # 35187

Lawrence Sweet – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

George VanArsdale – Hugo, CO; US Navy, WWII

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