76 years ago today – Wake Island

The first landing attempt by the Japanese on 11DEC was driven off by the Marines manning the coastal batteries (6 – 5″/51 cal naval rifles removed from the USS Texas during a refit in the mid-1920s) and the F4F-3 Wildcats of VMF-211 and cost the IJN 2 destroyers.

The Hayate was hit in the magazine by 1 or 2 shells from Battery L on Peale Islet at a range of approximately 4,000 yds.  She broke in two and sank within 2 minutes with only 1 survivor being picked up.

The Kisaragi was hit during the withdrawal by the Wildcats of VMF-211.  She caught a bomb which took out most of the bridge and possibly set off the depth charges.  She went down with all hands in about 5 minutes.

After what could be qualified as a disaster, the IJN was in no mood to play around on the second landing attempt.  They detached Sōryū and Hiryū from the returning Pearl Harbor force and upped the number SNLF troops from 450 to almost 2,000.

The second landing attempt started around 0235 following a pre-landing bombardment with fighting continuing into the mid-afternoon before the garrison surrendered.

Per Wikipedia:

The US Marines lost 49 killed, two MIA, and 49 wounded during the entire 15-day siege, while three US Navy personnel and at least 70 US civilians were killed, including 10 Chamorros, and 12 civilians wounded. 433 US personnel were captured. USMC History estimates that 125 Japanese were killed in ground combat with another 125 wounded. It also estimates 92 killed and 195 wounded from damaged ships.[13] At least 28 land-based and carrier aircraft were also either shot down or damaged. The Japanese captured all men remaining on the island, the majority of whom were civilian contractors employed by the Morrison-Knudsen Company.[14]

Of those captured, 98 American civilian workers were kept on the island as forced labor.  On 07OCT43 the Japanese garrison commander, fearing an attempt by the US to re-take the island, ordered them executed.  97 were executed by machine gun with 1 unknown worker escaping and carving “98 US PW 5-10-43” into a large coral rock near the mass grave of the executed.  This unknown American was recaptured and personally executed by the garrison commander.  After the war the garrison commander was tried and hanged for war crimes.

Wake Island was surrendered by the Japanese to a detachment of US Marines 04SEP45.

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The 98 rock

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The Wake Island exhibit at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Virginia, United States, 15 Jan 2007 ww2dbase
Photographer
Bryan Hiatt

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A destroyed Japanese patrol boat (#33) on Wake.

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5″/51 caliber gun on Texas 1914.

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KAMIKAZE-class profile (IJN Hayate) via http://www.combinedfleet.com/hayate_t.htm

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MUTSUKI-class profile (IJN Kisaragi) via http://www.combinedfleet.com/kisara_t.htm

 

 

9 Photos of Dogs in the Pacific Theater during World War II

I meant to reblog this when IHRA first posted it earlier in the year but I got sidetracked and forg…oh look!  A butterfly just went by!  Wait, what was I talking about?

Anyway, I remembered it after I posted this the other day, so here ’tis.

Source: 9 Photos of Dogs in the Pacific Theater during World War II

We thought we’d do something a little different this week and show you some of the furry, four-legged friends that were adopted by various men as pets during their stay in the Pacific Theater.

Lt. Robert L. Mosely at Hollandia with dog

In 1944, 1/Lt. Robert L. Mosely of the 89th Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group stands in front of his A-20G, RAPID ROBERT, in Hollandia. The name of the dog is unknown. (Robert L. Mosely Collection)

 

Ralph Cheli with a Puppy

Sometime during the 38th Bomb Group’s stay in New Guinea in 1943, this picture of Ralph Cheli sitting in a Jeep with a puppy was taken. We do not know to whom the puppy belonged. (Garrett Middlebrook Collection)

 

Taking a Breather

1/Lt. John D. Cooper, Jr., pilot, 1/Lt. Raymond Bringle, navigator, and Capt. Franklin S. Allen, Jr., pilot–all from the 19th Squadron–and Blondie, the Squadron bulldog who flew many missions. The men are resting on a gas tank after a mission to Buna on August 27, 1942.

 

The 13th Squadron Mascot

At some point during the war, the 3rd Bomb Group’s 13th Squadron adopted this dog as their mascot. (Joseph Brown Jr. Collection)

 

Lt. Phillip B. Baldwin and Duffy

Lieutenant Phillip Baldwin poses with his dog Duffy for a picture in October 1945 at Fukuoka, the 38th Bomb Group’s final base in Japan. (Phillip Baldwin Collection)

 

B-17 Ground Crewmen with Dog

These men in front of the 43rd Bomb Group B-17 nicknamed BLACK JACK/JOKER’S WILD have a cute addition to their ground crew sitting on someone’s shoulders. The names of all four are unknown. (Charles R. Woods Collection)

 

Col. Davies and Pappy Gunn with a dog

Colonel Jim Davies and “Pappy” Gunn give this happy dog some attention at Charters Towers in early 1942. (Alexander Evanoff Collection)

 

Maj Marzolf and Ack Ack

Here, Major George Marzolf sits in a 38th Bomb Group B-25 at Lae with his dog Ack Ack in 1943. (George Marzolf Collection)

 

Butch the dog

Pilots on leave in Australia might return to New Guinea with dogs as pets. Butch, a German shepherd belonging to 1/Lt. John D. Field of the 89th Squadron, was a favorite of the pilots, especially Robert L. Mosley. Once, Mosley even took Butch on a medium-altitude mission to Manokwari when he was the pilot of the B-25 leading the A-20s over the target. Butch was fine until he was startled by the noise from the bomb bay doors opening and he began barking. Butch’s antics helped to relieve the tension, claims Mosley. “Here I was getting shot at, trying to blow up a bunch of airplanes and people below … and I’m in hysterics, looking back at Butch and his antics. The only dying that went on that day was me dying laughing at Butch. The bombs probably went into the ocean. We used to call that ‘bombing the sea plane runway’”. [sic] (Robert L. Mosley Collection)

We’ve been fishing all day

And all we caught was this Kingfisher.  And some netting…

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OS2U Kingfisher aircraft being recovered by battleship USS Texas, off Iwo Jima, at 1700 on 16 Feb 1945; note netting of recovery sled hooked on pontoon’s recovery hook
Source United States National Archives Identification Code 80-G-309140

Thunderbolt Thursday

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RAF P-47 Thunderbolt MkIIs

I don’t know if this is a wartime picture or postwar.  They appear to have non-SEAC roundels and fin flash (for those that don’t know, South East Asia Command did away with the standard red in the national markings to avoid being mistaken for the Hinomaru of Japan)  but from what I’ve read, other than an Operational Training Unit in Egypt very few Jugs were used by the RAF outside of the PTO.  And the ones used in the PTO were primarily used in Burma.

A Zombie that Almost Lived up to its Name

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The 64th Squadron struck the Ring Ring coconut plantation near Gasmata, New Britain on November 24, 1943. On the way home, Henry J. Domagalski and crew, in the B-24D #42-40913, ZOMBIE, were attacked over the Dampier Strait by 12 Japanese Zeros.

For a short time in November 1943, the 43rd Bomb Group was flying missions to a Ring Ring, a coconut plantation near Gasmata. Although these weren’t the most exciting missions, the area was being prepared for a December ground invasion, which made the mission necessary. It was observed in the 43rd’s Group History that, “Our combat crews don’t seem to think much of this type of target, preferring to hit something that will blow up with a loud noise and a satisfactory amount of flame and smoke, but the Army seems quite pleased with the results of our bombing and apparently considers the destruction of these targets essential.”

Flying from Port Moresby to Ring Ring on November 24th was 1/Lt. Henry J. Domagalski and his crew in their B-24 nicknamed ZOMBIE. Their mission was an armed reconnaissance to the area, with the crew running into no trouble as ZOMBIE’s bombs were unloaded over Garove Island. As the B-24 flew over the Dampier Strait, the crew encountered a formation of nine Japanese “Lily” bombers accompanied by 12 “Oscar” fighters returning to Wewak from a mission to Finschhafen.

Head over to A Zombie that Almost Lived up to its Name for [Paul Harvey]the rest of the story. Gooood day![/Paul Harvey]

The Same Places, 70+ Years Apart—Six More WWII Bases Then and Now

Rabaul, New Britain

Located on the coast of a natural harbor on the eastern coast of New Britain, an island in the Southwest Pacific, Rabaul was a German colony in the 1900s that was captured by the Australians in World War I. Two nearby volcanoes, Vulcan and Tavurvur, erupted violently in 1937, destroying most of the city. After World War II started, it was captured by the Japanese in January 1942, after which it was transformed into a major stronghold with approximately 97,000 troops that would easily fend off Allied attacks until October and November 1943. While the Allies continued to advance towards Japan, they cut off Japanese supply routes to Rabaul and continued to bomb the city and surrounding area. It was officially surrendered at the end of the war. After the war was over, the city became a trading hub until Tavurvur erupted in 1994, once again destroying a large part of the city. Developments closest to the volcano were never rebuilt.

Source: The Same Places, 70+ Years Apart—Six More WWII Bases Then and Now

USS Wasp – 74 Years ago today

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Wasp burning and listing after being torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-19 in the South Pacific, 15 Sep 1942 ww2dbase

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The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Wasp (CV-7) burning after receiving three torpedo hits from the Japanese submarine I-19 east of the Solomons, 15 September 1942.

On Tuesday, 15 September 1942, the carriers Wasp and Hornet and battleship North Carolina with 10 other warships were escorting the transports carrying the 7th Marine Regiment to Guadalcanal as reinforcements. Wasp was operating some 150 nautical miles (170 mi; 280 km) southeast of San Cristobal Island. Her aircraft were being refueled and rearmed for antisubmarine patrol missions and Wasp had been at general quarters from an hour before sunrise until the time when the morning search returned to the ship at 10:00. Thereafter, the ship was in condition 2, with the air department at flight quarters. The only contact with the Japanese that day had been a Japanese four-engined flying boat that was downed by one of Wasps F4F Wildcats at 12:15.

About 14:20, the carrier turned into the wind to launch eight F4F Wildcats and 18 SBD Dauntlesses and to recover eight F4F Wildcats and three SBD Dauntlesses that had been airborne since before noon. Lt. (jg) Roland H. Kenton, USNR, flying a F4F-3 Wildcat of VF-71 was the last aircraft off the deck of Wasp. The ship rapidly completed the recovery of the 11 aircraft before turning to starboard, heeling slightly as it did so. At 14:44 a lookout reported “three torpedoes … three points forward of the starboard beam”.[1]

A spread of six Type 95 torpedoes were fired at Wasp at about 14:44 from the tubes of the B1 Type submarine I-19. Wasp put over her rudder hard to starboard to avoid the salvo, but it was too late. Three torpedoes struck in quick succession about 14:45; one actually broached, left the water, and struck the ship slightly above the waterline. All hit in the vicinity of the ship’s gasoline tanks and magazines. Two of the spread of torpedoes passed ahead of Wasp and were observed passing astern of Helena before O’Brien was hit by one at 14:51 while maneuvering to avoid the other. The sixth torpedo passed either astern or under Wasp, narrowly missed Lansdowne in Wasps screen about 14:48, was seen by Mustin in North Carolinas screen about 14:50, and struck North Carolina about 14:52.[9]

There was a rapid succession of explosions in the forward part of the ship. Aircraft on the flight and hangar decks were thrown about and dropped on the deck with such force that landing gears snapped. Aircraft suspended in the hangar overhead fell and landed upon those on the hangar deck; fires broke out in the hangar and below decks. Soon, the heat of the intense gasoline fires detonated the ready ammunition at the forward anti-aircraft guns on the starboard side, and fragments showered the forward part of the ship. The number two 1.1 in (28 mm) mount was blown overboard.

Water mains in the forward part of the ship had been rendered inoperable meaning no water was available to fight the fire forward, and the fires continued to set off ammunition, bombs, and gasoline. As the ship listed 10-15° to starboard, oil and gasoline, released from the tanks by the torpedo hit, caught fire on the water.

Captain Sherman slowed to 10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h), ordering the rudder put to port to try to get the wind on the starboard bow; he then went astern with right rudder until the wind was on the starboard quarter, in an attempt to keep the fire forward. At that point, flames made the central station unusable, and communication circuits went dead. Soon, a serious gasoline fire broke out in the forward portion of the hangar; within 24 minutes of the initial attack, there were three additional major gasoline vapor explosions. Ten minutes later Sherman decided to abandon ship as the firefighting was ineffectual. Survivors would have to disembark quickly to minimize loss of life.

After consulting with Rear Admiral Leigh Noyes, Captain Sherman ordered “abandon ship” at 15:20. All badly injured men were lowered into rafts or rubber boats. Many unwounded men had to abandon ship from aft because the forward fires were burning with such intensity. The departure, as Sherman observed it, looked “orderly”, and there was no panic. The only delays occurred when many men showed reluctance to leave until all the wounded had been taken off. The abandonment took nearly 40 minutes, and at 16:00 Sherman abandoned the ship once he was satisfied that no survivors were left on board.

Although the submarine hazard caused the accompanying destroyers to lie well clear or to shift position, they carried out rescue operations until Laffey, Lansdowne, Helena, and Salt Lake City had 1,946 men embarked. The fires on Wasp, drifting, traveled aft and there were four violent explosions at nightfall. Lansdowne was ordered to torpedo the carrier and stand by until she was sunk.[1] Lansdownes Mark 15 torpedoes had the same unrecognized flaws reported for the Mark 14 torpedo. The first two torpedoes were fired perfectly, but did not explode, leaving Lansdowne with only three more. The magnetic influence exploders on these were disabled and the depth set at 10 feet (3.0 m). All three detonated, but Wasp remained afloat for some time, sinking at 21:00.[10] 193 men had died and 366 were wounded during the attack. All but one of her 26 airborne aircraft made a safe trip to carrier Hornet nearby before Wasp sank, but 45 aircraft went down with the ship. Another Japanese submarine, I-15, duly observed and reported the sinking of Wasp, as other US destroyers kept I-19 busy avoiding 80 depth charges. I-19 escaped safely.[1][11]