Intermission Story (8) – Jimmy Stewart | Pacific Paratrooper

Jimmy Stewart suffered such extreme PTSD after being a bomber pilot in World War II that he acted out his mental distress during ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.  Stewart played George Bailey in the classi…

Source: Intermission Story (8) – Jimmy Stewart | Pacific Paratrooper

Intermission Story (4) – A Japanese Ace | Pacific Paratrooper

“In the ocean of the military, reflective of all distinguished pilots, an honored Buddhist person.”  So translates the name awarded to Japanese pilot Hiroyoshi Nishizawa following his death i…

Source: Intermission Story (4) – A Japanese Ace | Pacific Paratrooper

Filipina Heroine | Pacific Paratrooper

Cpl. Magdalena Leones

The Silver Star is the third-highest honor for gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces. Previous recipients include Audie Murphy, Chuck Yeager, and Norman Schwartzkopf. But few people have heard of Magd…

Source: Filipina Heroine | Pacific Paratrooper

Defending Wellington: The Home Guard at Makara – History Geek

Braithwaite, a young member of No. 12 Platoon, Makara Battalion, New Zealand Home Guard, 1942. Lemuel Lyes Collection.

These previously unpublished photographs of the Home Guard offer a rare candid view of an often-overlooked part of New Zealand’s experience during the Second World War. Far from being a safe sidesh…

Source: Defending Wellington: The Home Guard at Makara – History Geek

Floating Docks of WWII | Pacific Paratrooper

The United States Navy, during World War 2, decided to create a temporary forward base utilizing service stations; these stations meant the United States Navy could operate throughout the huge Paci…

Source: Floating Docks of WWII | Pacific Paratrooper

Two Bloggers Tackle WWII – Book Reviews | Pacific Paratrooper

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death.While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit. Fortunately these moving letters have been…

Source: Two Bloggers Tackle WWII – Book Reviews | Pacific Paratrooper

Making Maps Under Fire: Surveying New Guinea in World War II | The Rant Foundry

HMAS Whyalla in camouflage in New Guinea

The part played by the Hydrographic Surveying Services of the Royal Australian Navy was acknowledged by the Allied leaders of the Southwest Pacific Area as an integral factor contributing to the su…

Source: Making Maps Under Fire: Surveying New Guinea in World War II | The Rant Foundry

February 1943 (2)

Pacific Paratrooper

"Warm Reception" by Jim Dietz of the Guadalcanal Cactus Air Force. “Warm Reception” by Jim Dietz of the Guadalcanal Cactus Air Force.

7-18 February – Chiang Kai-shek agreed to use his forces in the Burma campaign, but as usual, this was in exchange for a promise of even more US financial aid.  Mahatma Gandhi started his 21-day hunger strike in India in his non-violent opposition to British policies in his country.

Chindits 1943 Chindits 1943

The 47th and 55th Indian Brigades were beaten back at Donbaik in the Arakan peninsula.  The Chindits opposed the enemy for the first time on the 18th in Burma and advanced.  They managed to cut the Japanese railroad line between Mandalay and Myitkyina.

New Guinea New Guinea

12 February – the Allies initiated the Elkton Plan; a campaign designed by MacArthur to eject the Japanese from New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomons.  This would isolate the enemy headquarters at Rabaul.  (The original plan included capturing Rabaul, but was scrapped…

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Christmas in January 1943

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Cabanatuan Prison Camp Cabanatuan Prison Camp

Commander Melvin H.McCoy of the U.S.Navy had survived the Bataan death march on the Philippines and was now in the notorious Davao Prison camp on Mindanao. Like most prisoners of the Japanese they were on starvation rations and men were dying on a daily basis.

On 29th January 1943 they got a lucky break. For whatever reason the Japanese had for once decided to hand over the Red Cross parcels that had been sent from the States. This was a very irregular event. Many prisoners of the Japanese never saw any of them.

Red Cross parcel Red Cross parcel

The importance of such support from home could never be underestimated:

“It’s Christmas, Commander McCoy!” he shouted. “It’s Christmas!”

I was well aware that Christmas had already passed, practically without notice, so I asked him to explain his excitement.

“Stuff from home,” he babbled. “Boxes from the States. Red Cross boxes.”

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Japanese Views

Pacific Paratrooper

'Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm' by Tosuke S. ‘Shrine Entrance in Snowstorm’ by Tosuke S.

Despite some common belief and wartime propaganda, not all the Japanese people wanted war with either America or England.  Here are some quotes located to help clarify that misconception.

The following quotes have been taken from Saburo Ienaga’s “Pacific War” (Taiheiyo senso) translated by Frank Baldwin.

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In the midst of the excitement and successful sinking of the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, Onozuka Kiheiji, former president of the Tokyo Imperial University, whispered to a colleague, “This means that Japan is sunk too.” ___ Ienaga Miyako

Onozuka Kiheiji Onozuka Kiheiji

This was true for even those members of the political elite who belonged to the cautious school of thought, made their point of view at the Senior Statesmen’s Conference by, Wakatsuki Reijiro: “Do we have adequate resources for a long war or not?  I am concerned about this problem.”  Yonai Mitsumasa added, “In attempting…

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Intelligence

Pacific Paratrooper

The Dozier Family in Japan, circa 1920's The Dozier Family in Japan, circa 1920’s

The Japanese altered their pre-war message codes after the Coral Sea (6 May 1942), and a few weeks before the Aleutians and Midway ( June 1942).  The changes were enough to send US Naval Intelligence in Honolulu scrambling.

The Secret Service brought in a well-known Southern Baptist missionary who had recently arrived in Hawaii after being booted out of Japan along with the other undesirable westerners.  Reverend Edwin Burke Dozier, who became part of the Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu, was the son of S.B.C. missionaries from Georgia.  He had been born and raised in Japan – the Nagasaki-Fukuoka area of Kyushu’s west coast.

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Rev. Dozier’s masterful ear for the Japanese language discerned that the enemy was using Japanese baby-talk in the key parts of their altered code.  These were not words found in any dictionary and a person would have had to…

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Eye Witness Account (1)

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Doolittle_Painting_Final

The Doolittle Raid was launched on the morning of 18 April 1942, 150 miles further from mainland Japan than originally planned. At 0843 hours, Lt. Ted William Lawson took flight in “The Ruptured Duck” B-25B # 40-2261, of the 95th Bomber Squadron/17th Bomber Group.

Lt. Ted W. Lawson Lt. Ted W. Lawson

“A Navy man stood at the bow of the ship with a checkered flag.  He gave Doolittle [the lead plane] the signal to begin racing his engines again.  Doolittle gave his engines more and more throttle until I was afraid he’d burn them up.  A wave crashed at the bow and sprayed the deck.

leaving the USS Hornet leaving the USS Hornet

“The man with the flag was waiting, timing the dipping of the ship for it’s take-off.  The man gave a new signal.  Navy boys pulled the blocks from under the wheels.  We watched him like hawks, wondering what the wind would do to him…

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A bucket of shrimp

Fix Bayonets!

They say old folks do strange things. At least, I think that is what young people say about us when they talk about us at all —which isn’t all that often. I think this is because we old folks are a bother. I think this must explain why younger people want to place us in nursing homes.

In any case, this story unfolded every Friday evening, almost without fail, when the sun resembled a giant orange and was starting to dip into the wide blue ocean.

Seagull Feeding 001Old Ed came strolling along the beach to his favorite pier. Clutched in his bony hand was a bucket of shrimp. Ed walks out to the end of the pier, where it seems he almost has the world to himself. The glow of the sun is a golden bronze now. Everybody has gone, except for a few joggers on the beach. Standing out on…

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East and West (3)

Pacific Paratrooper

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940 FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

If Manchuria was controlled, the Japanese felt they would have the advantage over Russia.  Since the Chiang Nationalist government did wish to spend the money or the energy to combat Japan – but – still have communism squelched in the country, Manchuria was given up.

When the US started economic sanctions in 1939, Japan required new territories to supply their resources.  They issued a request to the French  for permission to enter Indo-China.  In September 1940, the Vichy government agreed.  The southeast portion of Asia was occupied, without incident, by the Japanese on 27-29 July 1941.

Vichy government, 1939 Vichy government, 1939

The US was incensed and proceeded to convince other countries to freeze Japan’s assets; the ABCD, (American, British, Canada, Dutch), power’s economic blockade began.  By mid-1941, relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper…

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