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

 

 

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Thank a Veteran today

Happy Veteran’s Day to my fellow Vets and as @laststandonzombieisland says:

Remember, today is not about how much you can save on bedding

When I see Dad today, I’ll ask him if Valley Forge was as cold as the books claimed…

American troops preparing to sail home from Russia after World War I. Credit via the Library of Congress

M4 Sherman tank fitted with a bulldozer blade supporting US Marine infantry on Iwo Jima, Mar 1945.

M4 Sherman tank fitted with a bulldozer blade supporting US Marine infantry on Iwo Jima, Mar 1945.

 

But it’s a dry heat…

At 0700 it’s 80*F with humidity to match.  Today should top out around 97*F but we haven’t cracked 100*F yet this year.  Just another north Texas summer.

These guys didn’t have as much humidity to deal with but a dry heat is still hot.  Add in a little breeze and it’s like standing in front of a blow dryer or convection oven.

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Crusader Mk II 14 July 1942, possibly around El Alamein

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A Humber Mk II armoured car in the Western Desert, 14 July 1942.

149 years ago today – General John A. Logan’s Memorial Day Order

Today is about the members of our military who gave their lives for our country, not saving on household goods.

General Order
No. 11

Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic
Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude,–the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.

By command of:
JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief

N. P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant-General

81 years ago today – T.E. Lawrence

6 days after coming off his Brough Superior motorcycle in a crash while avoiding two boys bicycling on a road T.E. Lawrence, aka Emir Dynamite for his skill in railroad and bridge demolition dies, never having regained consciousness.

Here’s a very good article worth checking out: The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia

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The long walk back from Chihuahua

100 years ago today, the end of the Punitive Expedition:

In the image above, a column of 6th and 16th Infantry regiments, are shown en route back to the States, between Corralitos Rancho and Ojo Federico, Jan 29th, 1917. Co. A, 16th Inf. in the foreground. Note the “Montana” campaign hats and Springfield 1903s.

Read the rest here: The long walk back from Chihuahua