Blog Archives

The Japanese and German Alliance / What once was….

L:Japanese ambassador Kintomo Mushakoji and foreign minister of Nazi Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop sign the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936.R: Matsuoka with Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (centre) and ambassador Heinrich Georg Stahmer (right) at a reception in the Japanese embassy in Berlin on 29 March 1941

Alliances during a war can change the outcome, but the alliance between Japan and Germany is one that baffles many people. Most people can understand why Japan went to war with America, but why did the Imperial nation join forces with Nazi Germany? To understand the Tripartite Pact which created the Axis Powers, a look further back in history is needed.

Both Germany and Imperial Japan arrived on the international stage in the mid-1800s. Japan was forced out of isolation and started rapid westernization in 1854. Germany had been a number of city-states before Prussia won the Franco-Prussian war and united all of them in 1871.

A Japanese lithograph depicting Japan’s troops attacking the German colony of Tsingtao in 1914

Before Germany became a country of its own, Prussia and a newly open Japan had a very friendly relationship. Prussia had been going through a modernization effort with the speed and efficiency that the Germans are known for. This led Japan to view them as a good role model, as Japan wanted to modernize in a similarly effective manner.

To this end, Japan hired many Prussian and German advisers to help them with modernization. These advisers brought the militaristic approach to modernization which worked in Prussia, and later Germany, to Japan.

As German ambassador in Tokyo from 1920 to 1928, Wilhelm Solf initiated the re-establishment of good German–Japanese relations. Bundesarchiv,

However, this cozy relationship ended when both nations decided to follow the other major powers and look for colonies.

The problem that Germany faced with its colonization efforts was the fact that the Age of Exploration was coming to an end.

The other major powers of the time had been colonizing the world for years, so all the areas Germany would have considered first were already colonized. This led Germany to turn east and start colonizing different areas of Asia.  At the same time, Japan was also looking for colonies and saw their best options in East Asia. This was the same area the Germans were operating in and led to a cooling of the relationship between these nations.

“Good friends in three countries”: Japanese propaganda poster from 1938 promoting the cooperation between Japan, Germany and Italy

Japan also started to become friendly with Great Britain at this time, which would affect the relationship between Japan and Germany during World War I.

When WWI broke out in 1914, Japan allied with Britain. After the Allies won the war, Japan was quick to take over the former German colonies in Asia.

While this would normally sour relationships between countries, Japan and Germany’s friendship would reignite in the post-WWI world.

Japanese foreign minister Yōsuke Matsuoka visits Adolf Hitler in Berlin in late March 1941.

After the war, Germany was not in a good place and was forced to sign an incredibly harsh treaty by the Allied Powers. This led to the crash of the government and economy as well as the rise of the Nazi Party.

In addition, the newly formed League of Nations was unpopular in Germany, and Japan was not a fan of it either.

The League of Nations was not very fair to Japan. Japan would often be punished by the league for its actions against its neighbors.

This sowed the seeds of discontent because the leaders of the League, France and Great Britain, often conducted the same actions against their own colonies. This hypocrisy would lead to Japan withdrawing from the League of Nations.

Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States on 11 December 1941 in the wake of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

As the Nazi Party gained power, Hitler created strong ties with China. However, he changed course and started to view Japan as a more strategic partner in Asia.  For its part, Japan wanted to continue expanding, and saw rebuilding its relationship with Germany as beneficial to this goal.

The renewed relationship between Japan and Germany was still fragile when WWII broke out. In the early stages of the war, Japan was strongly allied with Germany, but not involved militarily in the war.

The I-8 arriving in Brest, France, in 1943, on a “Yanagi” mission to exchange material and personnel with Nazi Germany

Their relationship was one of mutual benefit rather than a complete alliance, since Japan was more focused on exerting its influence in East Asia.

The true alliance of Japan and Germany would only come about when Japan entered the war. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and other American bases, it led to America declaring war on the Imperial nation.

Rear Admiral Jisaku Uozumi signs the surrender of Penang aboard the battleship HMS Nelson on 2 September 1945. He fainted shortly afterwards and was rushed to hospital. Note the Distinguished Service Cross ribbon on Uozumi’s uniform, which he had earned from the British during the alliance

In response, Germany declared war on America, and thus further strengthened their relationship with Japan. The Tripartite Pact created the Axis Powers, allying Germany, Japan, Italy and a number of smaller countries.

The alliance between Japan and Germany during WWII may seem strange and an odd pairing which did not yield much in terms of results. 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Andrew Benjock – Pittsburgh, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO/CBI, Korea, radioman, Master Gunnery Sgt. (Ret. 31 y.)

Allan Brown – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

Dan Darden – Montgomery, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ralph Esposito – Mahopac, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII

Margaret Fish – CA; US Women’s Marine Corps, WWII

Murphy Neal Jones Sr. – Baton Rouge, LA; US Air Force, Vietnam, POW (6½ y., Hanoi Hilton)

Fred Knodle – Cincinnati, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 187/11th Airborne Division, Medical unit

Robert Messel – Vincennes, IN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, West Point grad

Jack O’Neil – North Haven, CT; US Army, WWII & Korea, Chief Warrant Officer 4

Jocelyn Todd – Aiken, SC; US Army WAC, WWII

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August 1945 – James Fahey’ Diary

USS Montpelier

From: The Secret Diary of an American Sailor, Seaman First ClassJames J. Fahey aboard the USS Montpelier :

2 August – All hands rose at 4:30 am because of storm warnings, the ships turned back 110 miles from Shanghai.  A typhoon is heading towards our position.  We will then travel south and patrol around until the danger passes.  The sea was full of enormous swells today.

3 August – It was very chilly on the midnight to 4 am watch.  The sea was very rough.  All hands were up for sunrise General Quarters at 4:30 am.  We were to refuel the destroyers today but could not because of the condition of the ocean.

The radio reported that 820 B-29 super forts hit Japan — 819 planes returned to their home bases.  It was the largest raid in history.  They dropped 6600 tons of bombs.

Clement Attlee defeated Churchill in the election for Prime Minister of England.  The Detroit Tigers are in first place by 3 games in the American League.  A B-25 medium bomber crashed into the Empire State Building in NYC.  Fourteen were killed and many suffered injuries.

The weather cleared and we headed up the China coast again.  Capt. Gorry spoke over the loudspeaker informing us that we were 140 miles from Shanghai.  We will advance north of the mouth of the Yangtze River and then proceed to the one fathom curve.  The battle cruisers, Guam and Alaska will not go up as far as us..  We will return and join the cruiser at approximately 2:30 am.

It will be a very dangerous mission because of the many reefs we could be grounded upon.  I wonder what Fleet Admiral Nimitz has in mind when he made plans to send us up there.  This is a very bold undertaking.

4 August –  We cruised up the Yangtze River in the heart of Jap-held territory.  The only ship we came across was a Chinese fishing schooner.  It was very chilly on watch again.  During the day we patrolled about 150 miles from Shanghai.  We refueled a destroyer in the morning.  In the afternoon we fired at sleeves that were towed by our carrier planes.

5 August – We left the Yangtze River.  Last night we came close to ramming a 1000-pound mine, but we detected it in time.  A destroyer blew it up with machine-gun fire.  The explosion was terrific.

Our practice was interrupted today because of Jap airplanes.  Our CAP combat air patrol planes from our carriers went after them.  The Japs dropped their bombs in the water and ran for home, but our fighters caught up to one and shot it down.  Our fighters shot down a couple more around 4:30.   It must have burned the Japs to see us having practice in their own backyard.  Sunday mass was held in the crew’s lounge.

James Fahey

6 August – The weather was very clear and sunny as we went to General Quarters.  Jap bombers were overhead at 30,000 feet.  We held our fire.  They looked like little white spots in the sky.  It took some time to locate them.  They were directly overhead and remained there for some time.  But as they positioned themselves in formation, they headed away from the fleet.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

“AND WHAT’S MORE, YOU CAN EXPECT A PRETTY STRONG LETTER FROM MY MOTHER, SO THERE!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Walter Ashley – Bristol, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-26 tail gunner, 320th Bomb Group

Arthur Bleecher – Denver, CO; Merchant Marine, WWII, radio operator / US Army, Korea, Antiaircraft , Bronze Star

Malcolm Foster – Milford, DE; US Army, WWII

Clarence Helgren – Elgin, TX US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co G/511/11th Airborne Division

William Matthews – Brewster, MA; US Navy, WWII

Wendell O’Steen – Meigs, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter / Korea

William Pollard – Pleasantville, KY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., antiaircraft

Kenneth Stetson – CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-29 pilot

Charles Troeller – Lehigh Acres, FL; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Thomas Zinglo – Hollywood, FL; USMC, Korea

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“Flying Pancake” – Vought V-173

Flying Pancake, V-173

Flying Pancake, V-173

The Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake” was an American experimental test aircraft designed by Charles H. Zimmerman and was built as part of the Vought XF5U “Flying Flapjack” World War II United States Navy fighter aircraft program.

Both the V-173 and the XF5U featured a rather unorthodox “all-wing” design consisting of flat, somewhat disk-shaped bodies (hence the name) serving as the lifting surface. Two piston engines buried in the body drove propellers located on the leading edge at the wing tips.

The original prototype, designated the V-173, was built of wood and canvas and featured a regular, fully symmetrical aerofoil section. Designed as a “proof-of-concept” prototype, the initial configuration V-173 was built as a lightweight test model powered by two 80 hp Continental A-80 engines turning F4U Corsair propellers.

These were later replaced by a pair of specially modified 16 ft 6 in three-bladed units. A tall, fixed main undercarriage combined with a small tailwheel gave the aircraft a 22° “nose-high” angle.

Ground testing of the V-173, c. 1942
Ground testing of the V-173, c. 1942

The disc wing design featured a low aspect ratio that overcame the built-in disadvantages of induced drag created at the wingtips with the large propellers actively cancelling the drag-causing tip vortices.

The propellers were arranged to rotate in the opposite direction to the tip vortices, allowing the aircraft to fly with a much smaller wing area. The small wing provided high maneuverability with greater structural strength.

In January 1942, the Bureau of Aeronautics requested a proposal for two prototype aircraft of an experimental version of the V-173, known as the VS-135.

The development version, the Vought XF5U-1, was a larger aircraft with all-metal construction and was almost five times heavier than the first prototype.

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Diagram of the complicated powertrain

The first flight of the V-173 was on 23 November 1942 with Vought Chief Test Pilot Boone Guyton at the controls. The aircraft’s most significant problem concerned its complicated gearbox that routed power from the engines to its two long propeller shafts.

The gearbox produced unacceptable amounts of vibration in ground testing, delaying the aircraft’s first test flight for months.

Vought V-173

Vought V-173

Charles Lindbergh piloted the V-173 during this time and found that it was surprisingly easy to handle and exhibited impressive low-speed capabilities.

On one occasion, the V-173 was forced to make an emergency landing on a beach. As the pilot made his final approach, he noticed two bathers directly in his path. The pilot locked the aircraft’s brakes on landing, causing it to flip over onto its back.

Maiden Flight for the V-173

Maiden Flight for the V-173

Remarkably, the airframe proved so strong that neither the plane nor the pilot sustained any significant damage.

The developmental V-173 made its last flight 31 March 1947. In 131.8 hours of flying over 190 flights, Zimmerman’s theory of a near-vertical takeoff and landing-capable fighter had been proven.

The V-173 is now part of the Smithsonian collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland.

V-173 on display

V-173 on display

It was restored at the Vought Aircraft plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, as of April 2012 it is on loan to the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas.

This 3-minute video shows the model and actual plane flying.

 

Article is from War History online.

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Military Humor –

funny-speed-enforcement1

Speed limit enforced by aircraft.

Watch out for speed traps !!

Watch out for speed traps !!

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Lee Alexander – Ashton, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Atereiti Blair – NZ; NZ Air Force, WWII, nurse

Rufus Britt – Gassville, AR; US Navy, WWII, electrician, USS O’Toole

John Cotton – Broad Channel, NY; US Navy, WWII

Richard Ennis – WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, POW

Roland Hayes Jr. – Shelbourne, NH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Nelon “Tex” LaCount – Syracuse, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO / Korea, Sgt.

Georges Loinger (108) – Strasbourg, FRA; French Army, POW (escaped), French Resistance

Victor Mellen – W. Pelham, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt., navigator

Stephen O’Brien – Dubuque, IA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Doris (Gradwell) Plagenhoef – Scarbourgh, ME; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, nurse

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A New Year !

 

READERS Thank you for making 2018 a very good year !!

 

Military New Years

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New Year Humor – 

READERS Let’s see some smiles out there – we made it another year !!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Everything on my bucket list was canceled out by my new year’s resolutions.”

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Sheila Athorn – ENG; Woman’s Royal Air Force, WWII, Drill Sgt.

David Burgoyne – Tom’s River, NJ; US Navy, WWII, Signalman

Robert Diltz – Dayton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Paul Girard Jr. – Hammond, LA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Irving Karp – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW, Purple Heart

Milton Maurer – Alexandria, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PT-boat service

Richard Overton (112) – Austin, TX; US Army, WWII, PTO, technician 5th grade, 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion

Robert Persinger – Wever, IA; US Army, WWII, 3rd Cavalry

Kerby Sims – Bullhead , AZ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 82nd Airborne/ 9th Air Force

Mitchell Woods Jr. – Millcreek, UT; US Navy, WWII / US Air Force, Korea

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CBI – July 1945

From: the CBI Roundup – the Major has no wish to go home…..

Among the 10th Air Force *wallahs it is highly doubtful which is the better known story, that of Maj. George E. Williams or the crashing, smashing glorious finale of Little Audrey.
We can’t tell you the Little Audrey yarn, for the chaplain would probably raise hell, but we can and will tell you the sad history of “Hard Luck” or “Good Luck” Williams, depending on whether you look at it from your own or his attitude.

Williams is Quartermaster for the 10th, and scheduled to return shortly to the States. He is currently trying to avoid flying Stateside, so before we begin the sad saga of Williams, if anyone knows of a nice, comfortable boat with a fearless skipper who doesn’t ask questions, please inform the major.

Williams, according to the 10th AF PRO, is an affable soul, healthy as anyone can be who has sweated out about two years over here and is a moderately happy-go-lucky Air Corps *wallah. Unfortunately there is no one in the entire 10th who will knowingly ride in a plane with him.

Shortly after his arrival in the then CBI Theater the major had to be piloted to the Arakan. He arrived safely. On the takeoff the B-25 failed to rise fast enough and after hitting a tree the only part left intact was the fuselage which skidded along the ground to a dead stop amidst a huge puddle of gasoline.

The gasoline failed to ignite and out stepped William and the entire crew – unscratched.  Williams then entered into the full stride of his “accident” career. Included were several L-5 crackups, getting lost while flying less than 50 miles over flat country on a perfectly clear day, another B-25 mishap and an episode in a C-46 over The Hump.

It was the second B-25 adventure which soured Williams’ associates on flying with him anywhere for any known reason. After completing a tour of Burma bases, he had to be flown back over the little hump into India. The B-25 took off without incident and the plane flew towards the tricky Ledo Pass. But before crossing over into India, Williams found he could get off at a Burma strip just this side of the Burma side of the pass and complete his business.

“Cabin in the Sky” 10th Air Force

Our hero was safely deposited on terra firma and gaily waved goodbye to the B-25 crew as they headed for India. The plane was never heard of again.

Williams’ final air chapter came on a C-46 trip over The Hump. Unable to hold his altitude, the pilot ordered the passengers to bail out. Williams was number two in the parachute line. As number one stood hesitating to gather his courage before leaping, the pilot suddenly changed his mind and decided he could hold the plane in the air.

Williams, keeping his parachute on and gloomily reflecting that he would probably have to jump anyway, “sweated out” the rest of the trip until the plane put its wheels down. “Well, we made it,” commented the pilot, with a grim look at the dejected Williams.
So Williams is now awaiting transportation back to the States. And all things come to him who waits. Or do they?

 

*wallah – slang for a chap or fellow

HQ., NORTH BURMA AIR TASK FORCE – He is the oldest member of the 10th Air Force, having served three years both in the headquarters of the 10th and its units; he has been in service for more than five years, four and a half of which have been spent overseas, both in North Africa and the India-Burma theaters; but he is not a member of the USAAF nor does he wear an American uniform. He is Squadron Leader W. B. Page, of the RAF, serving as liaison officer with headquarters of Brig. Gen. A. H. Gilkeson’s North Burma Air Task Force, a 10th Air Force combat unit.

Page’s long tour with the 10th began just three years ago when he worked with the Seventh Bombardment Group. From there it was a jump to the original India Air Task Force, under Brig. Gen. Caleb V. Hayes and then to the headquarters of the 10th under the command of Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson.
Page is a natural for the job of liaison between the USAAF and the RAF. Although born and raised in England he lived in New Jersey and worked in New York City prior to entering the British forces five years ago.

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Military C.B.I. Humor – 

“Shome dirty shon-of-a-gun shawed my bed in half_____

“THE FOLKS ARE AWAY AND WE CAN HAVE THE SOFA TO OURSELVES.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Thomas Braatz – Kenosha, WI; US Army, All-Star Football Team

William V. Fuller – Hadley, ENG; RAF

Albert Madden (100) – Hyannis Port, MA; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Bugler 9th Infantry Division

Jason M. McClary – Export, PA; US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt., KIA

Richard Murphy Jr. – Silver Spring, MD; USMC, WWII, PTO, SSgt., KIA (Saipan)

Dennis Norling – MN, TX, & FL; USMC, Vietnam, 2 Purple Hearts

Robert Patten – Holllywood, FL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 1st Sgt.

Raymond Plank – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, bomber pilot

Leonard Segal – Bourne, MA; US Army, radio operator

Edward Shapiro – Schenectady, NY; US Army, 2nd. Lt., Dentist

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Submarine Warfare – July 1945

Submarine tender, USS Anthedon, Australia 1945

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

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

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

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

Welcome sign for Subic bay, estab. July 1945

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

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

British XE-Midget submarine

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

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

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

Japanese midget subs in dry dock, 1945

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

Herbert Davidson – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, corpsman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PT Boat report – July 1945

New Guinea, July 1945

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

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

Mindanao, 1945, PT-150 in foreground

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

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

PT Advance Base, Brunei Bay, Borneo 1945

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenneth Sanborn – Macomb County, MI; US Air Force

Gillis Wilder – Corbin, KY; US Navy, WWII

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my-war.jpg

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

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

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

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

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11th Airborne Paratrooper – Melvin Garten

Col. Melvin Garten

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Media’s self-importance never dies

An Associated Press photographer died. He was the fellow who took the picture of a fully armed paramilitary immigration enforcement officer taking a screaming child of six by force who was hiding with an adult in a closet, as the Clinton administration had no compunction about separating a Legal Immigrant from his family on American soil.

The Associated Press ran a 749-word obituary on the photographer, Alan Diaz. It was an interesting story — AP hired him after he took the SWAT team-crying kid photo.

But the story was a bit much, and a reminder of the media’s overblown sense of importance. The word iconic appeared four times.

Which brings me to a story I read about Melvin Garten, a real hero. His death brought no AP obituary because he never got a byline:

Toby Harnden, the Times of London reporter who has covered war with the troops and United States politics with equanimity, tweeted on May 6, 2015: “Trumpeter, food blogger, actress, golfer get New York Times obits today, but this man has his death notice paid for by family.”

The man whose family had to pay for his obituary was Melvin Garten, the most decorated and forgotten soldier at the time of his death.

Heroes are born and made. Melvin Garten was born May 20, 1921 in New York City, where he became another smart Jewish boy attending City College of New York.  Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, greatly altered his immediate plans. Upon graduation from CCNY, he joined the Army and became a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division.  He then married his girlfriend, Ruth Engelman of the Bronx, in November 1942. She was a war bride. Everyone said the marriage wouldn’t last, and they were right because the marriage ended on January 9, 2013 — the day she died.

Melvin and Ruth Garten

Melvin went off to the Pacific Theater of the war, where he participated in what can only be described as an audacious airborne raid of Los Banos in 1945, rescuing more than 2,000 U.S. and Allied civilians from a Japanese prison camp. He was a highly decorated soldier, earning the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, a Presidential Unit Citation and the Purple Heart with three Oak Leak Clusters for his wounds in battle. He was tough and handsome and courageous.

As would war. At dawn on Sunday, June 25, 1950, with the permission of Stalin, the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel behind artillery fire. Melvin was back in combat. Captain Garten proved his mettle again as commander of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.  President Eisenhower awarded him the Distinguished Service Cross.

The citation reads: “Captain Garten distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Surang-ni, Korea, on 30 October 1952. On that date, observing that assault elements of Companies F and G were pinned down by withering fire on a dominant hill feature, Captain Garten voluntarily proceeded alone up the rugged slope and, reaching the besieged troops, found that key personnel had been wounded and the unit was without command. Dominating the critical situation through sheer force of his heroic example, he rallied approximately eight men, assigned four light machine guns, distributed grenades and, employing the principle of fire and maneuver, stormed enemy trenches and bunkers with such tenacity that the foe was completely routed and the objective secured. Quickly readying defensive positions against imminent counterattack he directed and coordinated a holding action until reinforcements arrived. His inspirational leadership, unflinching courage under fire and valorous actions reflect the highest credit upon himself and are in keeping with the cherished traditions of the military service.”

Pork Chop Hill

Having served at Luzon and Pork Chop Hill, Captain Garten came home and the family moved around. Ruth took care of her men.

“I never even bought my own clothes,” Melvin told Mike Francis of the Oregonian a few months before her death. “I never went shopping. It was not a part of my life. As an Army wife, she took care of those things.”

Their sons were in their teens when the Vietnam War erupted. Melvin earned his Combat Infantry Badge for the third time — perfect attendance as those men with that distinction of serving in those three wars called their service. The Army put him in command of the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry in 1968 and he reinvigorated the unit, calling it the No Slack battalion.

Just as he almost completed the turnaround, his jeep ran over a Vietcong mine, sending shrapnel to his leg and to his head. Another war, another Purple Heart, only this time it cost him his leg. The military sent him to Walter Reed to recuperate.

Ruth went alone, shielding her sons from the news, as they were in college. She wanted to see how he was. Melvin was in horrible condition. His head wound was more serious than their sons realized. For nearly a year, he worked to recover from the explosion. Melvin wanted to stay on active duty as a one-legged paratrooper. She supported his decision. They had to appear before a medical board. Ruth told the Oregonian, “When I got there, they wanted to know only one thing. ‘Was he as difficult a man before was wounded as he is now?’ one board member asked. ‘No difference,’ I answered. And he passed.”

His assignment was as post commander of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the Airborne and Special Operational Forces, a nod to his sterling and exemplary service under fire.

Gen. Eichelberger (C) w/ Gen. Swing (R) planning the raid of Los Banos

Melvin retired as the most decorated man in the Army at the time with the Distinguished Service Cross, four Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, five Purple Hearts, two Legion of Merits, two Joint Service Commendations, a Combat Infantry Badge for each of three wars, and a Master Parachutist Badge with two combat jump stars. Melvin paid dearly for those awards, but so did Ruth. She was one of the few women to receive five telegrams over the years informing her that her husband was wounded in combat. And by few, I mean I do not know of another.

But his retirement in Florida began three wonderful decades for them. In 2000, Ruth and Melvin moved to Oregon to live near their son,  Allan. Doctors diagnosed her as having Parkinson’s. Mike Francis interviewed Melvin and their sons 11 months before her death. Melvin said, “All these things she put up with. All the things she did for the family. She kept our lives going for 70 years. ”

Following her death on January 9, 2013, the family buried her in Arlington, where all our military heroes belong. He joined her there following his death on May 2, 2015.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Para-Toast.

‘I count only four parachutes. Where’s Mr. Simms?’

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Bettinson – Pelly, CAN; RC Air Force/RAF, WWII, ETO

John Carberg – New London, CT; USMC

Robert Daughtery – Clinton, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO, 3rd Signal Battalion

Paul Fournier – Cleveland, OH; US Navy, WWII

John Graziano – Elkridge, MD; US Air Force, Captain, 87th Flying Training Squadron, KIA

Hank Kriha – Oshkosh, WI; US Army, WWII, PTO, 32nd Red Arrow Division

George McClary – Pueblo, CO; US Coast Guard, WWII, USS El Paso

James Ruff – Summitt, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Harold Sullivan – Morriston, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO / Korea, Purple Heart

John Yordan – Detroit, MI; US Army

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WWI Centenary

This is a site for the Pacific War, but we must not overlook the 100th Centennial of WWI.

On Nov. 11, 1918, after more than four years of horrific fighting and the loss of millions of lives, the guns on the Western Front fell silent. Although fighting continued elsewhere, the armistice between Germany and the Allies was the first step to ending World War I. The global reaction was one of mixed emotions: relief, celebration, disbelief and a profound sense of loss. The armistice centennial offers the chance to look back and assess its continued significance today.

This video was contributed by:

https://gregoryno6.wordpress.com/

 

When World War I began in August 1914, few expected the conflict to last beyond Christmas. Over the course of the next few months, however, it was clear this would not come to pass. The conflict, already expanded beyond Europe, included great movements of imperial colonies in Africa and Asia. As it progressed, further independent nations like Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, China and Japan joined the fighting.

Not until 1918 would the war’s end be in sight. In October of that year, an armistice between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies ended fighting in the Middle East. Only days later, the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian Empire signed an armistice with Italy.

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WWI Military Humor – 

“DEAR MOM, WE ARE CURRENTLY STAYING ON A FARM…..”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Robert Brown – Brunswick, GA; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

James Dunn – Colchester, VT; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Gloria (Atkinson) Enfinger – Pace, FL; FBI, WWII

Louis Gay Jr. – Edgecombe County, NC; US Army, WWII, 490 Quarter Master Deport/101st Airborne, Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Walter Haden – Whangarei, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 416258, WWII, 14th Fighter Squadron

Kathleen Johnson – Birmingham, ENG; British Army, WWII, SSgt., Signal Corps

Stanley (lee) Lieber – NYC, NY; US Army, WWII, Signal Corps

Frank Pinnock – Rigby, ID; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Donald Rutledge – Henderson, KY; US Army, Korea, 101st Airborne Divsion

George Shopp – Tucson, AZ; US Army, WWII, Technician 2nd Class

Morton Whyte – Toronto, CAN; RC Air Force. WWII, CBI, 436th Squadron

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Home Front – A Weed Went to War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click on images to enlarge.

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Home Front Political Cartoons –

Sioiux City Times

Rochester Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chattanooga Times, the overburdened railroads

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Farewell Salutes – 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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