Total War ~ WWII in the Pacific ~ 1942 ~ 45

American supplies being landed at Iwo Jima
Pacific February 1942 – July 1945
Episode 23 – The World At War
American supplies being landed at Iwo Jima
American supplies being landed at Iwo Jima
37mm Gun fires against cave positions at Iwo Jima
37mm Gun fires against cave positions at Iwo Jima
 Injured US Marines being treated on the sand, at an aid station on Iwo Jima (Iwo To), one of the Japanese volcanic islands, in 1945
Injured US Marines being treated on the sand, at an aid station on Iwo Jima (Iwo To), one of the Japanese volcanic islands, in 1945
US Marines capture Japanese flags on Pacific Island of Iwo Jima in the War in the Pacific in February 1945
US Marines capture Japanese flags on Pacific Island of Iwo Jima in the War in the Pacific in February 1945
U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima circa 23 February 1945 (Joe Rosenthal)
U.S. Marines  raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima February 1945

 

 Lt Walter Chewning, a catapult officer, is shown climbing up the side of a F6F to help the pilot, Ens. Byron Johnson, out of the flaming cockpit, after a crash landing on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise. The vessel was en route to attack Makin Island in the Pacific, November 1943
Lt Walter Chewning, a catapult officer, is shown climbing up the side of a F6F to help the pilot, Ens. Byron Johnson, out of the flaming cockpit, after a crash landing on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise. The vessel was en route to attack Makin Island in the Pacific, November 1943 
 American soldiers pictured alongside a rescued Japanese child in Saipan, July 1944
American soldiers pictured alongside a rescued Japanese child in Saipan, July 1944
 Working cautiously near heavily damaged tanks, a California National Guardsman methodically sweeps for mines
Working cautiously near heavily damaged tanks, a California National Guardsman methodically sweeps for mines
 Emerging with his hands held in the air, this man was the first of 20 Japanese to come out of a cave on Iwo Jima, on April 5, 1945. The group had been hiding for several days
Emerging with his hands held in the air, this man was the first of 20 Japanese to come out of a cave on Iwo Jima, on April 5, 1945. The group had been hiding for several days
 Pictured in July 1944, troops and vehicles en route for the invasion of Cape Sansapor, New Guinea
Pictured in July 1944, troops and vehicles en route for the invasion of Cape Sansapor, New Guinea
 The Battle of Okinawa in April-June 1945: US Marines take cover while a Bazooka operator looks for a target
The Battle of Okinawa in April-June 1945: US Marines take cover while a Bazooka operator looks for a target
 Flamethrower troops engulf a barren hillside with fire
Flamethrower troops engulf a barren hillside with fire
 Battle-weary Marine: Relieved from the front lines after 12 days of fighting the enemy in Okinawa is Marine Private First Class Harry Kizierian, June 2, 1945
Battle-weary Marine: Relieved from the front lines after 12 days of fighting the enemy in Okinawa is Marine Private First Class Harry Kizierian, June 2, 1945

Before the start of the war in the Pacific, Japan attacked Peal Harbor, the American military base located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, because America had stopped trade of oil and other materials to Japan. After this surprise attack, the US declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941 – one day after the attack – and joined the conflict. This marked the beginning of World War II in the Pacific Theatre.

A demolition crew from the 6th Marine Division watches dynamite charges explode and destroy a Japanese cave. Okinawa, May 1945
A demolition crew from the 6th Marine Division watches dynamite charges explode and destroy a Japanese cave. Okinawa, May 1945

In 1942, the Japanese Empire was operating at the peak of its powers, attacking and occupying positions throughout the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Alaska to India. In a bid to stem the Japanese advance, the US military decided on a strategy of ‘island-hopping’ – fighting for control of strategic islands along a path toward the Japanese home islands, bringing American bombers within range and preparing for a possible invasion. The battles were bloody and conditions for prisoners-of-war were woeful. Japanese soldiers fought the island landings fiercely, killing many Allied soldiers and sometimes making desperate, last-ditch suicidal attacks. By early 1945, leapfrogging US forces had advanced as far as Iwo Jima and Okinawa, within 340 miles of mainland Japan, at a great cost to both sides. On Okinawa alone, during 82 days of fighting, about 100,000 Japanese troops and 12,510 Americans were killed, and somewhere between 42,000 and 150,000 Okinawan civilians died as well. Eventually the war would cease after the US detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. It was the first time atomic weapons were used in warfare and resulted in the death of about 200,000 people (although estimates vary widely).

 African American Marines, attached to the Third Ammunition Company, in Saipan. Riding the captured bicycle is Pfc. Horace Boykin with, from left, Cpl. Willis T. Anthony, Pfc. Emmitt Shackelford, and Pfc. Eugene Purdy in June 1944. The Battle of Saipan was the first time black US Marines saw action in World War II
African American Marines, attached to the Third Ammunition Company, in Saipan. Riding the captured bicycle is Pfc. Horace Boykin with, from left, Cpl. Willis T. Anthony, Pfc. Emmitt Shackelford, and Pfc. Eugene Purdy in June 1944. The Battle of Saipan was the first time black US Marines saw action in World War II
 Injured prisoners shown surrounded by American troops
Injured prisoners shown surrounded by American troops
 A Japanese tank and soldiers. Honour-bound, many Japanese soldiers fought to the death rather than surrender
A Japanese tank and soldiers. Honour-bound, many Japanese soldiers fought to the death rather than surrender
 Heads bowed at the burial of Private First Class Mike Fenton, Okinawa, in May 1945. Fenton was killed in a Japanese counterattack
Heads bowed at the burial of Private First Class Mike Fenton, Okinawa, in May 1945. Fenton was killed in a Japanese counterattack
 A ruined Japanese tank smoulders in the background
A ruined Japanese tank smoulders in the background
 US troops hold a Japanese flag captured in July 1944 during the Battle of Saipan
US troops hold a Japanese flag captured in July 1944 during the Battle of Saipan
 USS Tennessee bombards Okinawa with her enormous guns, as troops are carried to the invasion beaches
USS Tennessee bombards Okinawa with her enormous guns, as troops are carried to the invasion beaches
 Tanks on Okinawa work with the 96th Infantry Division on April 1, 1945. The battle was gruesome but paved the way for an allied victory in the region
Tanks on Okinawa work with the 96th Infantry Division on April 1, 1945. The battle was gruesome but paved the way for an allied victory in the region
U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima circa 23 February 1945 (Joe Rosenthal)
U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima circa 23 February 1945 (Joe Rosenthal)

Source: Media Drum Images/ Royston Leonard

 

America & the WW2 Air-war over Europe

The USAAF WW2 'Airwar over Europe' Boeing B17 Flying Fortress bomber
The USAAF WW2 ‘Air-war over Europe’ The Boeing B17 Flying Fortress American bomber

The English speaking Allied air-raid bombing of Germany by ’44 reached in excess of 1000 bombers per raid in endless and successive waves, both day and night, in a-all-out total land and air war in Europe post-44. With 1000s and 1000s, both military and non-military, Axis targets attacked and destroyed-a-day in all the occupied territories of Europe and, most destructively in Germany itself. In huge air raids – 1000s of bombers and 1000s of fighters at a time.
The Americans in their Boeing B17 Flying-Fortress and P51 Mustang fighter escorts by day – and the British RAF pilots in their Lancaster and Halifax bombers with night fighter escorts during night air raid missions.
These missions, however, carried a high price, especially for the American USAAF Eighth Air Force stationed in southeastern England.
Half of the U.S. Army Air Force’s casualties in World War II were suffered by Eighth Air Force (more than 47,000 casualties, with more than 26,000 dead). Seventeen Medals of Honor went to Eighth Air Force personnel during the war. By war’s end, they had been awarded a number of other medals to include 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. Many more awards were made to Eighth Air Force veterans after the war that remain uncounted. There were 261 fighter aces in the Eighth Air Force during World War II. Thirty-one of these aces had 15 or more aircraft kills apiece. Another 305 enlisted gunners were also recognised as aces.

The Biggest Bombing Raid of World War II: USAAF 8th Air Force Sent 1000 B17 Bombers to Destroy Berlin
The Biggest Bombing Raid of World War II: USAAF 8th Air Force Sent 1000 B17 Bombers to Destroy Berlin

Some say, controversially..,  that the losses hitting civilian targets next to the German Nazi war machine industrial targets were far too great. Yet, as crucial to the defeat of Hitler and the evil Nazis as the land war in the East. The English speaking Allied land war as seen soon after D-Day June, 1944 often faltered. In Normandy, northern France and in the Low countries especially on their home soil of the Fatherland, it was so bitterly fought over by the German Eastern Front battle hardened fanatical SS soldiers and co. it often thwarted, advanced no more than a mile or two a day.., or ended in retreat – or, even defeat. In the Rhineland for example in enemy held territories it ended in defeat and forced the British at least into a humiliating retreat. British Field Marshal Monty’s Operation: ‘Market Garden’ Arnhem, Holland in September ’44 .., regardless of the brave actions by the men of the British Parachute Regiment, the British army went a Bridge-too-Far  and it remains one of the worst military ‘British Blunders’ of WW2. Failing to capture an intact bridgehead over the River Rhine into Germany and an open road to Berlin.
The ongoing ariel bombardment of Berlin and industrial heartlands of the Nazi Fatherland, such as the Ruhr by the USAAF 8th Air Force and the RAF British Bomber Command under Harris ensured the English speaking Allies appeased and paid their very considerable burdens in men and materials in the inevitable destruction of Hitler and the Nazi war machine as well as the American and British armies commitments & considerable sacrifices on the Post-D-Day Second Front land war.
Ensuring Roosevelt and Churchill avoided the venomous wraith and ever worsening threat of continued hostilities after V. E. Day by Russia. The enormous threat of violence of the oldest enemy of the west: The Russian – ‘Great Bear.’ Then under the full control of that evil tyrant, leader of the Communist party, Hitler’s old foe: Josef Stalin. Whom we pacified by the combination of the English speaking Allied land War. And, crucially by America’s ‘Air-war over Europe’ and some say brutal bombing of Nazi Germany in WW2.

Continue reading “America & the WW2 Air-war over Europe”

D-Day

maxresdefaultAs we in the West celebrate and pay tribute to the remaining veterans, possibly for one of the last times, of ‘Operation Overlord’ the invasion of Normandy, the 6th. of June 1944,  which took place 75 years ago today..,  let’s look back and see why many historians of world affairs include this as an extremely important episode in the fight against the pure destructive evil force of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi war machine. And why if not for the sacrifices made by so many Allied troops and considered so acutely important the Allied leaders and their military advisers planned the largest land, sea and air combined military operation the world has ever seen so meticulously and with such amazing fore thought and brilliance that nothing was left to chance and everything, well nearly everything as a consequence went exactly as it were planned.
An outstanding successful military operation that even today we here in the West 75 years on, democracy and freedom still thrives here in the UK and in most of Europe and the rest of the democratic nations of the modern world (be it often threatened) ‘So much owed by so many to so few.’

d-day-invasion-map
D-Day invasion map 6th of June 1944

I visited Normandy during the 70th anniversary of D-day and the invasion of the Normandy beaches 5 years ago. My mother, God bless her soul, treated me to an all expenses paid trip of a lifetime to see the battlefields around Caen, Bayeux and the Normandy coast.The beaches of Normandy is where on June the 6th., 1944, the British, American, Canadian, French and Polish troops stormed into Europe in an invasion that included 3 million men and 100’s of 1,000’s of 1,000,000’s of dollars worth of equipment in what was history’s most ambitious battle and the biggest ever amphibious and aerial invasion the world has ever seen.It became clear on my trip to France, clear that the ‘Invasion of Normandy’ – ‘D-Day,’ the 6th. of June 1944, was Britain’s and America’s finest moment in military history.
Epic! Historical! Legend!
It will be told for centuries as the time when the English speaking world made its dramatic entrance into Europe and displayed its ultimate superiority and dominance in both military action and economic might.

German SS HMG - Heavy Machine Gunner soldiers in typical 1944 combat battledress
German SS HMG – Heavy Machine Gunner soldiers in typical 1944 combat battledress

The poor bloody Germans! We totally annihilated them! We completely outwitted the foolish Prussian and German Generals.

‘The Desert Fox’ – Rommel

Erwin Rommel: The Old ‘Desert Fox’ was completely checkmated in minutes by Eisenhower and Montgomery. It was strategically and militarily a superb success. From the very outset of D-Day, 6th of June 1944, we had the upper hand.

6th. June 1944: ‘Pegasus Bridge,’ Normandy, Northern France.
The very first troops in. Three British Horsa gliders crash land onto marshy backwater land adjacent to the bridge over the river with pinpoint accuracy. Even pitching the nose of the first lead Horsa glider right under the barb wire perimeter defences surrounding the heavily guarded and really important strategic location. The British soldiers took the key strategic ‘Pegasus Bridge’ in just minutes, and held on to it for all of the next day, until they were relieved by the English and Scottish seaborne troops. Who landed on Sword beach many hours later.

The three British Horsa gliders with the distinctive B&W striped markings 6/06/1944 at Pegasus Bridge, Caen Normandy
The three British Horsa gliders with the distinctive B&W striped markings crash land at 0000 hours 6/06/1944 at Pegasus Bridge, Caen Normandy

Continue reading “D-Day”

The Irishman

Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’
The Irishman release date

It seems like every few months we learn a little more about Martin Scorsese‘s ambitious inter-generational gangster movie, The Irishman, and a little less about when this film will finally come out. Since rumblings about the film first started happening in 2010, Scorsese fans have waited with bated breath for The Irishman release date to be announced.

When Netflix picked up the drama, the end appeared to be in sight. Then 2017 passed us by. Then 2018. And not a word about this film has been spoken since the new year started — but now actors and crew have started to drum up anticipation for the Robert De Niro, Al Pacino gangster movie with new details about the film’s de-aging technology and (finally) a possible release date.

Continue reading “The Irishman”