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…

View original post 386 more words

Christmas in January 1943

Pacific Paratrooper

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.”

View original post 989 more words

An Unusual Tale

Pacific Paratrooper

Crusader Crusader

Story brought to us by Ian from Welcome to My World and Aussie Emu.

The Time a Fighter Pilot Ejected Into a Thunderstorm and Rode the Lightning

Marine Corps Lt. Col. William H. Rankin had flown combat flight operations in both World War II and the Korean War, but it wasn’t enemy fire that came closest to killing him during his military flying career. It was a summer thunderstorm over the east coast of the United States.

Lt.Col. William Rankin Lt.Col. William Rankin

On July 26, 1959 Rankin and his wingman, 1st Lt. Herbert Nolan, were flying a pair of F-8 Crusaders from South Weymouth, Mass back to their home base at Beaufort, S.C. when they encountered a line of severe thunderstorms over North Carolina. Shortly after the fighters climbed up to 47,000 feet to go over the growing cumulonimbus clouds, Rankin heard a loud grinding noise followed by a loss of power from…

View original post 1,012 more words

Current News

Pacific Paratrooper

Marines come home. Marines come home.

Remains of Missing WWII Veterans Return

Story courtesy of KHON.com & info from “Goodbye Darkness” by William Manchester

PEARL HARBOR (KHON2) — 39 U.S. marines who were missing in action during World War II were honored in a ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam on July 26th.

These veterans were reunited with their families after 72 years as unidentified remains. After the Battle of Tarawa during World War II the marines were considered to be missing in action.

Crews of scientists, historians, and surveyors from the non-profit History Flight have combed through Tarawa for the past decade. This is considered to be the largest recovery of missing in action veterans ever recorded.

Four of the veterans received the Medal of Honor; including 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr.  Bonnyman, an engineer officer, along with 5 of his men, were responsible for approximately 200 enemy KIA, including the commanding…

View original post 732 more words

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.

51KgN7bTlSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

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…

View original post 468 more words

Fepows

Pacific Paratrooper

F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft

Fepows – Far Eastern POWs

Countless films and books concerned with the Second World War have, through the decades, concentrated on Europe and the Holocaust and the Far East prisoners of war have barely been mentioned.  The official 5 volumes of British history for this war include only 10 pages devoted to the subject, compared to the Australian history with 170 pages.

sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand

Japan’s army conquered the Far East in 1941-42.  Prisoners were taken from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Ambon, New Britain, Celebes, Guam and the Philippines.  According to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Japan took more than 50,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore alone; 42,000 Dutch (N.E.I.); 10,000 British in Java and 25,000 Americans in the Philippines and then transported to the mainland camps.

The Japanese government made…

View original post 563 more words

Japanese Eye Witness Account

Pacific Paratrooper

Captain Mitsuo Fuschida Captain Mitsuo Fuschida

Capt. Mitsuo Fuschida, Imperial Japanese Navy, pilot

Fuchida was the first pilot to fly over Pearl Harbor when the attack of 7 December occurred – here he describes his view of the Battle of Midway from the deck of the IJN Akagi;

“The first enemy [U.S.] carrier planes to attack were 15 torpedo bombers.  When first spotted by our screening ships and combat air patrol, they were still not visible from the carriers, but they soon appeared as tiny dark specks in the blue sky, a little above the horizon, on Akagi’s starboard bow.  The distant wings flashed in the sun.  Occasionally one of the specks burst into a spark of flame and trailed black smoke as it fell into the water.  Our fighters were on the job and the enemy again seemed to be without fighter protection.

IJN Akagi IJN Akagi

“Presently a report came in from a Zero…

View original post 795 more words

Eye Witness Account (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

rearden200x231

The following has been condensed from an article by author Jim Reardon.

In the raid of 4 June, 20 bombers blasted storage tanks, a warehouse, hospital, a hangar and a beached freighter, while 11 Zeros strafed at will.  Chief Petty Officer Makoto Endo led a 3-plane Zero group whose pilots were Flight Petty Officers Tsuguo Shikada and Tadayoshi Koga, 19 years old.  Koga’s Zero, serial number 4593, was light gray, with the Imperial Rising Sun insignia on its wings and fuselage.  It had left the Mitsubishi Nagoya aircraft factory on 19 February, only 3½ months earlier, so it was the latest design.

Tadayoshi Koga Tadayoshi Koga

Earlier that day, soldiers at an US Army outpost had seen 3 Zeros shoot down a lumbering Catalina amphibian.  Most of the 7-member crew climbed into a rubber raft and began paddling to shore.  The soldiers watched in horror as the Zeros strafed the crew until…

View original post 671 more words

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.

main-qimg-c8274766cbe1722fbb2ee93b1ac1b403

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…

View original post 416 more words

The wars over the War

stillness of heart

Courtesy of David D. Robbins Jr. Courtesy of David D. Robbins Jr.

Nine key books and articles taken together can explain what led to the first sparks of civil violence and how those sparks ignited what evolved into the bloodiest and most important war in U.S. history. A review essay by Fernando Ortiz Jr.

*****

Works reviewed in this essay:

Alcott, Louisa May. Hospital Sketches. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004.

Berlin, Ira. “Who Freed the Slaves? Emancipation and Its Meaning.” Union & Emancipation: Essays on Politics and Race in the Civil War Era. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1997.

Dew, Charles B. Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2001.

Fleche, Andre. The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 2012.

Gallagher, Gary W. The Union…

View original post 2,370 more words