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African-American Soldiers of the Pacific War – Intermission Story (16)

Marines boarding a Coast Guard transport, February 1944

Marines boarding a Coast Guard transport, February 1944

MacArthur was one of the few theater commanders who welcomed black troops into his command.  However, “colored” units in the Pacific were almost never employed in a combat role. One exception was 93rd Division.  Despite the skepticism of many senior commanders, the division had performed satisfactorily in training and in the Texas-Louisiana maneuvers of 1943.  The 93 Division was ordered to Hawaii in December 1943 , in order to free a white division for combat.  However, its orders were changed almost at once to send the division to New Georgia.

93rd Infantry Division, Bougainville, 1 May 1944

93rd Infantry Division, Bougainville, 1 May 1944

From Munda a single battalion from the division, 1/24th Regiment was deployed to the Bougainville perimeter in January 1944, and elements of the battalion reached the front line in March. For the most part, the battalion performed well in combat, but on 6 April a single inexperienced company from the battalion panicked when it came under fire during a routine patrol. Discipline broke down, troops from one platoon mistakenly fired on another platoon, and the company returned to the perimeter in considerable disorder. Such conduct was hardly unknown among inexperienced soldiers of any race, but the mistakes and confusion among the black troops was widely reported in the media, and rumor inflated the failure of a single company into an impression of poor performance by the entire division. 93 Division saw very little combat thereafter.

Most black troops in the Pacific were employed as service troops. These were certainly needed and made an invaluable contribution to ultimate victory.  About a third of the troops working on the Alaska-Canada Highway and the Burma Road were black. Other blacks served in amphibious tractor battalions.

1st Sgt. Rance Richardson, veteran of 2 world wars - 4 April 1944

1st Sgt. Rance Richardson, veteran of 2 world wars – 4 April 1944

In 1942, there was a mutiny at Townsville by African-American troops of 96 Engineer Battalion, who responded to abuse by two white officers by machine gunning the officers’ tents. At least one officer was killed and several others wounded, and Australian troops had to be called in to put down the riot. Future president Lyndon B. Johnson visited the base for three days, apparently to defuse the situation. The mutiny was subsequently covered up and did not come to light for seventy years.

The Navy had been largely integrated, at least among its enlisted men and petty officers, until the First World War. The Wilson administration adopted policies that all but excluded blacks from the Navy, even replacing black mess stewards with Filipinos. It was not until the 1930s that blacks began to be quietly recruited into the Navy again. Though most served as mess specialists,  there are no noncombatants on a warship, and segregation is difficult to enforce. Black sailors eventually won grudging respect from their white crew mates, opening the door a little wider to eventual desegregation of the armed forces.

Howard Perry, 1st to enlist in the USMC, 1 June 1942

Howard Perry, 1st to enlist in the USMC, 1 June 1942

The Marines were very reluctant to accept black recruits. However, once the necessity was forced on them, they quickly adapted.  A black Marine was still a Marine.  Although attempts were made to restrict black Marines to defense battalions and support services, black ammunition carriers served with distinction under fire at Saipan and began appearing in the front lines at Peliliu. (Sloan 2005):

As the men of the supply unit picked up their weapons and fell into line behind their sergeant, Mulford tried to discourage them. “Nothing you people have seen this beach is gonna prepare you for the hell you’re gonna face if you go with us,” he said. “So don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“We can take it,” the black sergeant assured him.

For the rest of the day, the African-American Marines made dozens of trips between the front lines and rear areas. They carried dead and wounded in one direction and hauled back ammo, food, and other supplies on their return trips. That night, they moved into vacant foxholes along the line and helped fight off a Japanese counterattack. The next morning, in several hours of bloody fighting, they charged and took an enemy-held hill shoulder to shoulder with what was left of I Company.

recruits at Camp Lejeune, April 1943

recruits at Camp Lejeune, April 1943

A formation of black Marines, 8 Field Depot, helped turn back the final Japanese counterattack on Iwo Jima on 4 April 1945. Regrettably, the Marines would revert to a heavily discriminatory racial policy after the war.

Information from: The Pacific War online.  Pictures from: The History Place

Click on images to enlarge.

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SHOUT OUT !!!

I live in Florida, as many of you know, and could possibly be in the path of Hurricane Irma.  I fully expect to lose power at some point.  PLEASE be patient and I will eventually return to catch up on your posts and answer questions and reply to comments.

Do NOT feel obligated to respond to this Shout Out, it is merely an informative reminder.

Thank You.

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Military Humor – 

Speed limit enforced by aircraft.

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Brian Aldiss – Dereham, ENG; British Army, WWII, CBI, Royal Signals, (author)

Martin ‘Butch’ Beechler – Palm Beach Gardens, FL; US Army, Vietnam, 31st Infantry

Meredith Cooper – Linton, IN; US Air Force, Korea

Final Mission

Harold Evans – Spokane, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, E/188th/11th Airborne Division

Dick Gregory – St. Louis, MO; US Army, (comedian)

James Johnson – Glendale, CA; US Navy, pilot (Ret. 22 yrs.)

Adrian Marcuse – Glen Cove, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 18th/13th Air Force

Jeannie Rousseau – Saint-Brieuc, FRA; Allied Agent, WWII, ETO, POW

Gordon Thompson – Moccasin, MT; USMC, WWII, PTO, “Cactus Air Force”, LT. pilot, KIA

John Winner – MD; US Army, Korea

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September 1944 (1)

Bonin and Volcano Islands

Bonin and Volcano Islands

31 August → 2 September – US carrier aircraft started an intense 3-day bombing on the Bonin and Volcano Islands.  The Japanese suffered heavy losses of matérial.  A US Navy communiqué lists the enemy damages as : about 50 ground and airborne planes destroyed; around 15 ships sunk and damage to installations, hangers, ammo and fuel dumps.

 

1 September – the American submarine, Narwhal landed men on the eastern coast of Luzon in efforts to become logistics-ready for the Philippine invasion.

USS Narwhal

USS Narwhal

2 September – Wake Island, the most isolated post for the Japanese Empire, received bombardments from the Task Force of one aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers.  The island would not be invaded; it would remain in Japanese hands until the end of the war.  The main Allied advance was planned for the Philippine and Ryuku Island groups.

In China, the enemy-held airfield of Hengyang was bombed along with gun positions, and areas with apparent troops in the Changning areas.  A bridge at Yangtien was also damaged.

3 September – the Japanese ‘hell ship’ Shinyo Maru left Mindinao carrying 750 American prisoners.  She was torpedoed by the USS Paddle four days later, killing 668 of the POWs on board.

 
6 → 11 September – a massive naval force of 16 aircraft carriers, numerous cruisers and destroyers attacked Yap, Ulithi and the Palau Islands in the Carolines.  The 5th Fleet became the 3rd Fleet when the Battleship USS New Jersey arrived flying Adm. Halsey’s flag.  This started the air bombings of the Philippine Islands, Mainly Mindinao and Luzon.

liuchowmap
In the CBI, in China, railroad yards, troop occupied areas, and trucks were hit north of Lingling.  While 45 Allied aircraft attacked troops, warehouses shipping and communication targets in the Hukow area Pengtse areas.

8 → 11 September – Adm. Mitscher’s TF-38 hit industrial, naval and aviation positions around Mindinao.  The airfields at DelMonte, Valencia, Cagayan, Buayan and Davao were the targets.  On the first day of the attack, 60 enemy aircraft were destroyed.

12 September – Halsey signaled Admiral Nimitz after the attacks on Mindinao that it appeared enemy strength had been wiped out.  There was “no shipping left to sink” and “the enemy’s non-aggressive attitude was unbelievable and fantastic.”  He recommended that Leyte be the next invasion, but Nimitz refused to call off the pre-planned invasion of Peleliu. (Operation Stalemate).

 

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Military Humor – 

funny-fails-army-24-high-resolution-wallpaper

seriously

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard G. Adams – Newbury, ENG; Royal Army Service, WWII, ETO, (beloved author)

Frederick Campbell – Bellingham, WA; USMC, WWII, Korea & Vietnam

John Carver Jr. – Preston, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Undersecretary of the DOI, Lt. 120507-m-0000c-005

Earl Cumpiano – Santa Barbara, CA; US Navy, WWII, fireman striker

Allen Farington – Montreal, CAN; RC Navy

Luther Kimbler – Louis City, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 411th Bomber Squadron, SSgt.

Donald McEvoy – N.Platte, NE; USMC, WWII

Edward O’Soro – Wakefield, MA; USMC, WWII, 1st Marine Division

Isadore Pette – Lakewood, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 675th Medical/11th Airborne Division

Scott Sherman – Fort Wayne, IN; US Navy, USS Eisenhower, A-7 pilot

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June 1944 (1)

 Scene of devastation at Naga village near Kohima taken after fierce resistance from the Japanese, by the 7th Indian Division. IND 3709 Part of WAR OFFICE SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit

Scene of devastation at Naga village near Kohima taken after fierce resistance from the Japanese, by the 7th Indian Division.
IND 3709
Part of
WAR OFFICE SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION
No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit

1-3 June – on the first of the month, the 7th Indian division overran the Japanese positions in Naga Village, Burma.  The USS Herring, a Gato-class submarine was shelled and sunk off Matsuma, Kuril Islands, by Japanese shore-based artillery with the loss of all 60-man crew.  The 5th Brigade accomplished outflanking the enemy around Aradura.

Burma

Burma

5 June – the first mission by B-29 Superfortress bombers occur as 77 of them hit the Japanese railway facilities in [what today is known as] Bangkok, Thailand.

6-8 June – 2 US light carriers were damaged after a Japanese air attacks in the waters off Biak Island.  Despite the lack of reinforcements for the enemy, the island would take 8 more weeks to be subdued.

Finding the air now free of enemy planes, American B-25’s dived to the attack, reporting the convoy as 2 light cruisers and 4 destroyers. Initially, it was claimed that 1 destroyer was sunk, 2 were left sinking, and the fourth was damaged.  A few days later, destruction was reassessed as 4 destroyers sunk and 2 light cruisers chased to the northwest. These claims were exaggerated.

IJN Harumsame

IJN Harumsame

One destroyer, the IJN Harusame, was holed by a near miss and sank rapidly, the bulk of its crew being saved. Another destroyer was damaged by a bomb and took some water; two others were slightly damaged by strafing. Neither speed nor navigation was impeded for any of the three. The two light cruisers reported by the Allied planes were, of course, the other two destroyers. These two might have taken some evasive action by heading northwest for a short time, but as soon as the Harusame crew had been rescued and the Allied planes had disappeared, the convoy reformed and continued on toward Biak.

USS Tang

USS Tang

On the 8th alone, the submarine, USS Tang sank IJN ships, Tainan Maru, Tamahoko Maru, Kennichi Maru, and the Nasuasan Maru.  This was a good day, but such sinkings were becoming quite common.  The American subs were taking a grievous toll on the enemy’s merchant and military shipping.  [ U. S. submarines sank 468 Japanese ships during the first 11 months of 1944, according to Navy Department communiqués. This total includes four light cruisers and 17 destroyers. Forty‑three tankers, 377 cargo ships and transports were sent to the bottom.]

Japanese bunker at the base of Kangu Hill.

Japanese bunker at the base of Kangu Hill.

9-11 June – the Japanese bases at Fangelawa Bay, New Ireland, was bombarded by Pacific Fleet destroyers.  Carrier aircraft from TF-58 struck the enemy air-power on Saipan, Tinian, Rota, Pagan and Guam in the Marianas.  Installations, defense positions and parked planes were bombed and strafed.  Approximately 150 [up to 200 in other resources] Japanese aircraft were destroyed, with an Allied loss of 11.  On Bougainville, P-39’s of the 13th Air Force flew 44 sorties against occupied areas at Komai, Kakaura, and Quaga, AA guns at Kangu Hill and plantations at Arigua and Tsirogei.   The 868th Bombardment Squadron B-24’s went on a “snooper” bombing mission and hit hit Truk.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – fng_081805

a80baabf34a96d5f8ac64580abe8cbcb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Earl Angell – Providence, RI; US Navy, WWII & Koreaeagle-flag

Mary Byers – Orangeburg, MO; US Army WAC, PTO

Kenneth Davis – Augusta, GA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Leo Gray – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO 100th Fighter Sq/332nd Fighter Group, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Tuskegee pilot

Sidney Hughes – Rhondda Valley, So. Wales, NZ; RNZ Army # 14201034, WWII, 1st Battalion, CBI

Winston Johnson – Las Cruces, TX;US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, C-47, pilot

Joseph Kursur – Miami, FL; US Army, WWII

Joseph Locke – Hiseville, KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, minesweeper

Arnold Palmer – Latrobe, PA; US Coast Guard, (pro champion golfer)

Frederick Wiessing – Springfield, IL; US Army, 11th Airborne Division, Sgt.

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Tribute – Ernest V. Plantz, USN

Ernest Plantz

Ernest Plantz

GROTON, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — A standing-room-only crowd of veterans, family, friends and fellow shipmates in the U.S. Navy jammed the Noank Baptist Church on Saturday to remember the life of Ernest V. Plantz, a recipient of a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and his “love, strength and courage.”  Plantz, one of the first inductees to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame, died on Dec. 19 at his Gales Ferry home at age 95.

He spent three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp after he and others on the crew of the USS Perch were captured.  Plantz weighed just 80 pounds when he was freed and needed 10 months in a Navy hospital to recuperate, yet went on to serve for 30 years in the Navy as soon as he was able.

He retired at the rank of lieutenant as director of advanced engineering at the Naval Submarine School in Groton.

“Ernie was a bullheaded, stubborn person, yet he was filled with love for all,” Jack Gallimore, base chaplain of the U.S. Submarine Veterans Groton Base, told an overflow crowd at the church.  Gallimore said he always made it a point to get a hug from Plantz whenever he could.

“I will miss that,” Gallimore said.

Two dozen submarine veterans in uniform stood in Plantz’ honor at the front of the church. Trumpeters played “Taps” and “Reveille.”

Caroline Plantz, Ernie Plantz’ wife, said she thought her husband had suffered some hard knocks in life, but “he always said that he had a good life,” she said.

Plantz’ daughter, Nancy Grant, remembered her father as a humble, thoughtful and loyal dad who loved to garden, paid homage to his southern roots while cooking and delighted in a good prank.

She recalled how his hugs let his children know they were loved, and that when things were tough, “Dad always believed that things would get better.”

The Rev. Kevin Bedford, of Progressive Baptist Church, described how Plantz touched his life. Bedford recalled he once considered resigning the Navy, and told Plantz.  “I gave him my resignation, and he ripped it up and said, ‘Call me when you make commander,’” Bedford said. So Bedford did, and called Plantz.

Then, when Bedford’s father died, Plantz said to him, “I bet you didn’t know you had a second dad.”

 Capt. Paul F. McHale described how Plantz, known as “the kid” for being the youngest man on the USS Perch, returned to the Navy despite his suffering as a prisoner of war.
USS Perch, first submarine sunk by the Japanese.

USS Perch, first submarine sunk by the Japanese.

The Perch was on its second war patrol when a Japanese destroyer escort forced it to submerge and was joined by other Japanese ships that dropped depth charges on it.

The sub was badly damaged but not destroyed because it sank into a muddy bottom. But the attack continued.

Then later, when the sub surfaced, the crew realized it could not submerge again. Plantz found himself in the water with his 59 shipmates, McHale said.

Seeing the USS Perch sink for the final time was, in Plantz’ words, “like watching your house burn,” McHale said.

Yet even after the misery that followed Plantz’ capture, he returned to service on submarines.  “The man had a huge heart,” McHale said.  McHale said his oldest son interviewed Plantz for an English course once, and asked Plantz a question: Knowing he would be captured, spend three years in a POW camp and be tortured, would he still have joined the Navy?

Plantz told him absolutely.

Ernest Plantz

Ernest Plantz

d.straszheim@theday.com

©2016 The Day (New London, Conn.)
Visit The Day (New London, Conn.) at http://www.theday.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

Remains of Korea War MIA to be buried

After 75 years, remains of 5 USS Oklahoma sailors are identified

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 Military Humor – 

KirkQM_Div (640x341)

comics-WUMO-submarine-517526

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Farewell Salutes – 

Everett Armstrong – Vona, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Leslie Beck – Oklahoma City, OK; US Army, Vietnam

Stephen ‘Skip’ Bignell – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 47003 & 44904, WWII, J Force Squadron

Gerard Fromm – Juno Beach, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWIItribute

Virgil Lanpher – Thorntown, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers/11th Airborne

Warren McDonough – Central City, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Kenneth Olsen – Windsor, CAN; Canadian Merchant Navy, WWII

Donald Reeve – Oakdale, MN; US Navy, WWII

David Stewart – Auburn, AL; US Air Force, Korea, Distinguished Flying Cross

Ken Williamson – Gympie Qld., AUS; RA Air Force # 022971, Squadron Leader

Try to keep in your thoughts that this year is the 25th Anniversary of the Gulf War.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War

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August 1943 (1)

IJN Amagiri & PT-109; US Navy painting

IJN Amagiri & PT-109; US Navy painting

1 August – The Japanese destroyer, Amagiri rammed the US Naval fast patrol boat, PT-109, and 2 seaman were killed.  All members, including John F. Kennedy, were reported as missing.  After 3 days, the US Navy rescued the survivers after receiving word from friendly neighbors of their location on a near-by island.

The Japanese, as an advancement ploy of their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, announced that Burma was an independent nation.  The puppet-leader, Dr. Ba Maw, immediately declared war on the Allies.

5-7 August – The US 43rd Division made their way to conquer the vital Japanese base at Munda in the Solomon Islands.  The engineers began their work immediately to repair and enlarge the airfield to be used as a forward base for the Solomon Campaign.  An enemy supply convoy headed for Kolombangara came in contact with 6 US destroyers in the Vela Gulf.  With no US losses, the Japanese suffered 1210 KIA and 3 destroyers sunk.

USMC-II-II (640x284)

 11 August –  as the 43d Division widened its cleanup efforts around the airfield, a patrol confirmed reports of Japanese activity on Kolombangara. The following day, a company-sized unit moved by landing craft to the island. As the soldiers disembarked, a withering fire from the jungle felled about half of the force and forced its withdrawal. Two days later, while an artillery barrage from 155mm guns hastily-emplaced at Munda paved the way, two battalions of the 169th made an unopposed dawn landing on the shore opposite the site of the ill-fated assault of the 12th. As the infantrymen moved inland, crossing the island from east to west, resistance stiffened. An estimated 400 Japanese manned a strong line of hastily-built fortifications blocking the advance.

Kolombangara Island

Kolombangara Island

 16 August – two battalions of the 172d Regiment went to Baanga to reinforce the attack. As more artillery units (including the 155mm gun batteries of the 9th Marine Defense Battalion) moved into position at Munda and on the offshore islands, and systematically knocked out every known enemy gun emplacement, resistance dwindled. Increased barge traffic on the night of 19 August indicated that the Japanese were withdrawing. The following day, the southern part of the island was quickly occupied, and two battalions then moved north along opposite coastlines. Only scattered stragglers were encountered; the enemy had abandoned Baanga. The 43d Division lost 52 men killed and 110 wounded in the week-long battle.

7-15 August – There was so much fighting between the Nationalist and Communist troops in China that the Japanese took advantage of the situation and launched an offensive.  The Nationalist LI Corps was nearly destroyed.

Gen. Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief India, proposed no further British offensives in Burma, but rather concentrate on air supplies to China.

13-24 August – Upon Churchill’s arrival to the States, he and FDR had a private meeting.  The Prime Minister wished to urge the president to make the next step in Europe, the Balkans and Norway.  He was unaware that the influential Secretary of War, Henry Stimson already urged FDR to hold to his promise to Stalin and invade France, thereby creating a “Second Front.”

Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac

The military conference “Quadrant” at the Château Frontenac overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, the usual heated debates transpired.  In regards to the CBI, VAdm. Louis Mountbatten was made head of the South East Asia Command (SEAC) which covered Burma, Malaya, Sumatra, Thailand and Indochina.  The objectives for the SEAC: draw Japan out of the Pacific and assist China.  There were no strategic decisions made.  For the SW Pacific areas, any future ideas would depend heavily on the progress in New Guinea and MacArthur was notified of this, in so uncertain terms, by Gen. Marshall.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

Joint efforts to locate WWII airmen lost in Malaysia…

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Military Island Humor – 

where-ever-i-roam-576x354

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Farewell Salutes – 

Victor Bean Sr. – Juneau, AK; US Army, Vietnam

Howard Coble – Greensboro, NC; US Coast Guard (Ret. 29 years), US Congressmane9dd0162494da2d1aba873c634610321

Melvin Garten – Oswego, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Div.

Nicola Goddard – CAN, brn: New Guinea; RC Army, Afghanistan, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Capt.; first Canadian woman killed in combat

Barbara Hawkins – Long Beach, CA; US Navy Waves

Robert Meacham – Traverse City, MI; US Air Force (Ret. 20 years), Lt.Colonel

Alfree Nabob – Middletown, DE; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Infantry Div., Purple Heart

Albert Palko – Cleveland, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Purple Heart & Korea

Tibor Rubin – Garden Grove, CA; US Army, Korea, Medal of Honor

Frank Surridge – Lower Hutt, NZ; RNZ Navy # 3065, WWII

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September 1942 (1)

SeaBees wade through a flood on Guadalcanal

SeaBees wade through a flood on Guadalcanal

1 September – the Naval Construction Battalion (CBs), better known as the “SeaBees” and famous for their swift and ingenious engineering work while under combat conditions, landed on Guadalcanal. [A coverage of the SeaBees will appear in the Intermission Stories between 1942 and 1943].

SeaBees building the airfield, Guadalcanal

SeaBees building the airfield, Guadalcanal

3 September – Gen. Roy Geiger arrived on the island to command the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing – nicknamed the Cactus Air Force, after the codename for the Guadalcanal operation.  When Hideki Tojo replaced Togo as Japan’s Foreign Minister, there was no longer any civilian personnel in the Japanese government – the military was in complete control of the country.

3-11 September – Japanese reinforcements landed at Bana, New Guinea.  But, the Special Navy Landing Force were compelled to withdraw from Milne Bay due to the heavy defense of the Australian 7th Brigade and the 18th Brigade of the 7th Division.  The defeat of the amphibious force cost Hyakutake’s force a loss of over 1,000 men [another source says 2,000 men], leaving only about 600 surviving.  The enemy rescue destroyer Yayoi was sunk by a US 5th Air Force B-17.  General Horii’s battalions did break through the Gap, but with RAAF support, the enemy was defeated.

map-of-kokoda-track

Kokoda Track, New Guinea

Despite the History Channel’s claim that the US poured ample power to the Pacific, the Allied generals and admirals needed, throughout the war, to fight and plead with Washington for everything they received. [Note – this is NOT my opinion, but that of every resource I’ve visited.]  At this point, Adm. King’s request for more planes was again refused.  The Joint Chiefs also refused to support the Burma plans because the Royal Marine Division was re-routed to Madagascar and the CBI was not in the US area of responsibility.  But – despite Madame Chiang’s admission of American funding being pocketed by corrupt officials, FDR sent even more money to Chiang, who proceeded to use it fighting Chinese Communists rather than Japan.  [How much more could have been done if used for King’s planes?].

USS Gregory, in finer days

USS Gregory, in finer days

5 September – As the USS Gregory and Little left Savo Island from delivering the 1st Raiders, they came upon 4 enemy ships, enroute to their home naval base at Tulagi.  A Navy pilot, believing he had seen flashes from a submarine, dropped 5 flares.  This silhouette the US ships against the black sky.  Immediately the Japanese opened fire and within 3 minutes, the Gregory began to sink.

8 September – Gen. Kawaguchi tried a 3-prong attack to capture Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.  Clemens’s scouts forewarned the Americans and Col. Edson’s Raider Battalion were sent out to establish advanced defenses on the high ground.

10 September – after extensive work by the engineers to block the marshes of Kuhlak, Alaska, the 73rd Bomb Squadron had an airfield to land on.  The 42nd Troop Carrier Squadron landed the following day.

Stringing barbed wire on Edson's Bloody Ridge, 1942

Stringing barbed wire on Edson’s Bloody Ridge, 1942

12-18 September – the first wave of the Japanese 25th Brigade (~ 6,000 men), attacked from the jungle, with support from their naval units, in an area of Guadalcanal that would become known as “Edson’s Bloody Ridge”.  At first the Raiders were cut off and the waves of the enemy kept coming. But, this was merely a prelude, nightfall brought the “Banzai”* attacks.  Chants of : “U.S. Marines be dead tomorrow.” repeatedly came up from the jungle.

To be continued…

Click on images to enlarge.

* – “Tenno Heika Banzai” (天皇陛下萬歲?, “Long live the Emperor”),

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Military Humor – army (1)

oldsalt

Look for these and others at Muscleheaded!

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ernie Barndt – Eagle River, AL; US Army (Ret. 28 years), Vietnam, Bronze Star

Norman Cleaver – Calgary, CAN; Canadian Forces, Warrant Officer (Ret.)ANZAC-Day-wreath-1

John Durak – Bayonne, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co.K/104th Inf. Reg./26th Division

James Gilman – Westfield, MA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Batt/26th Division

James Hoff – Saginaw, MI; US Army, Vietnam, Military Police

Edna Morgan – Rincon, GA; Civilian aircraft spotter, WWII

Clyde Orr Jr. – Florence, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, navigator, 94th Bomb Group

Herman Ponty – Madison, WI & CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Lt., 100th Division, Bronze Star

Lloyd Sime – San Diego, CA; US Navy (Ret.), WWII, Korea, Vietnam & Pentagon

Adolph Alfred Taubman – Bloomfield Hills, MI, US Army, WWII

Robert Wilfling – Colorado Springs, CO; US Army, Military Police

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March 1942 (1)

Japanese in N.E.I.

Japanese in N.E.I.

The arrival of Japanese units on Java gave the enemy the important naval base at Surabaya and access to the valuable assets of oil, rubber, bauxite and rice.  This positioning would aid the operations targeting assaults on Australia.

HMAS Yarra

HMAS Yarra

2-4 March – The HMAS Yarra arrived at Tjilatjap with the depot ship Anking, the tanker Francol and the minesweeper MMS-51, the sloop was ordered to escort the other 3 ships to Freemantle.  A day later, the ship rescued forty survivors of the Dutch ship Paragi from their life rafts.  By the 4th, the convoy encountered an enemy fleet with the cruisers Atago, Takao and Maya and 4 destroyers.  Despite the gallant efforts of the Yarra, all 4 ships were pursued and sunk.  There were originally 34 survivors, but rescue did not arrive until the 9th and there were only 13 remaining. Holland_Japanese_IndonesiaA_280x196 JapBikes 9 March –  prisoners of war were rounded up nearing 98,000 and two days after the last Allied troops surrendered on Java, Emperor Hirohito warned Marquis Kido, Lord Privy Seal, “The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly.”  It was his 42nd birthday.  As the Japanese Empire grew in size each day, they were faced with the problems of defending and administering to their newly acquired territories. By this time, Churchill made even more demands of the US for tanks, aircraft and troops to be shipped to Britain.  But, with the added concern of protecting Australia and New Zealand, FDR warned him that the original build-up plan must be cut for the emergency status in the Pacific.  This gave Admiral King the opportunity to try to push his “Pacific-First” campaign.

a 1942 sample of war news. Click on to read.

a 1942 sample of war news.
Click on to read.

The Director of War Plans, BGen. Eisenhower, insisted on (A) maintenance of the United Kingdom; (B) retention of Russia in the war; (C) maintenance of the Indian-Middle East area to prevent a junction of the Axis enemies. [C- was actually a misconception here as Japan felt no attachment to Germany other than one old trade agreement.  It was the Allied powers that created the “link” between the 2 nations.].  King continued to argue that the US priority was the Pacific, while Ike called him “an arbitrary and stubborn type with too much brain…”  Marshall put forward a compromise, which went into effect, favoring the Atlantic.

Japanese soldiers teach New Guinea villagers songs as part of their indoctrination.

Japanese soldiers teach New Guinea villagers songs as part of their indoctrination.

8-17 March – on New Guinea, Japanese forces invaded with 2 battalions at Lae and Salamaua in the Huon Gulf.  Two days later, the enemy started their air raids on Port Moresby as the Allies sent aircraft to strike the Japanese positions.  Enemy forces secured the northern coastline with a landing at Finschafen.  The US cruisers Enterprise & Lexington launched major air raids against enemy shipping and landing parties.  The US Navy reported 2 enemy heavy cruisers, 5 transport vessels, 1 light cruiser and possibly 3 destroyers sunk; 1 destroyer and 1 cruiser damaged.  Those included the Armed Merchant Cruiser Kongo Maru, aux. minelayer Tenyo Maru [that broke in 2 pieces before sinking] and the transport Yokohama Maru.  The USS Yorktown was credited with the destruction of seaplane tender Kiyokama Maru. Click on images to enlarge and read. ################################################################################## MILITARY  HUMOR – Pin-ups became VERY popular – 

Vivian Austin

Vivian Austin

Ann Miller, Yank Magazine

Ann Miller, Yank Magazine

################################################################################## BENEFITS FOR TODAY’S VETERANS – submitted by Sheri DeGrom, we both hope these links will assist any veteran! www.va.gov military advantage VA Registry  ################################################################################## Farewell Salutes –  James Biden – El Paso, TX; US Army, Korea & Vietnam

Michael Davison – Vernon, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETOBN91311

John Eldridge Jr. – Fairbanks, AK; US Army (Ret. 20 years), Vietnam, Bronze Star

Gordon Jones – NH, MA & FL; US Navy, USS Cecil J. Doyle, navigator

Peter Kassig – Indianapolis, IN; US Army, Ranger, Iraq

Kenneth Leisy – Sun Lakes, AZ; US Army Major (Ret.), WWII John McEwing – Dargaville, NZ; RNZ Army #443847, WWII, Lance Cpl.

Terry Sato – Denver, CO; WWII internee Paul Tidwell Jr. – Delray Bch, FL; US Air Force, Korea ##################################################################################

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