Saturday, April 21, 2018

Poland Marks 75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising-- Part 1


From the April 20, 2018, Chicago Tribune.

Sirens wailed, church bells tolled and yellow paper daffodils of remembrance dotted the crowd as Polish and Jewish leaders extolled the heroism and determination of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising  fighters on the 75th anniversary of their ill-fated rebellion.

Polish President Andrzej Duda and World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said the hundreds of young Jews who took up arms in Warsaw in 1943 against the might of the German Army fought for their dignity but also to liberate Poland from the occupying Germans.

People stopped in the streets and officials stood at attention as sirens and church bells sounded at noon to mourn the Jews who died in the uprising, as well as the millions of others murdered in the Holocaust.

--GreGen

Battle of Peleliu in the Pacific


From the April 13, 2018, U.S. Department of Defense  "U.S., Japan commemorate World War II Vattle of Peleliu.

The U.S. Navy, marines and Japanese Self-Defense Force laid wreaths at Peleliu Peace Memorial Park.  members of the Royal Navy and Royal Australian Navy were also in attendance.

The Battle of Peleliu is considered the bitterest fought one in the Pacific for the Marines, who landed on the island September 15, 1944.  The expected four-day battle lasted more than two months.  It resulted in a higher U.S. casualty rate than all of the Pacific Theater of operations.

The 1st Marine Division and later the Army 81st Infantry Division fought in  it.  The objective was the capture of an airstrip.

--GreGen


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bits of War: Oldest Pearl harbor Vet Turns 106-- New Book on Dorie Miller-- Another USS Oklahoma Unknown ID'd


1.  OLDEST PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR--  Ray Chavez of San Diego turns 106.

2..  NEW BOOK ON DORIE MILLER--  There is a new biography on Doris "Dorie" Miller called "Pearl harbor and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement" by Thomas W. Cutrer and T. Michael Parrish

3.  ANOTHER USS OKLAHOMA UNKNOWN IDENTIFIED--  3-19-18--  Navy Fireman 1st Class Jarvis G. Outland.

Sure Glad They Are Identifying the Unknowns of the Oklahoma.  --GreGen


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Researchers Mark Death of Pearl Harbor Mastermind Yamamoto


From the April 11, 2018, Fox News by Chris Carola, AP.

A group of U.S. and Japanese researchers have gone to a site in Papua New Guinea where U.S. fighters shot down a Japanese bomber carrying Yamamoto, who is credited with planning and executing the attack on Pearl Harbor.

U.S. codebreakers learned of his planned route for a tour of Japanese bases in the Solomon Islands.

He was shot down April 18, 1943, 75 years ago today.

--GreGen

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Radio Londres-- Part 3: D-Day Is Here


Beginning in June 1944, the Allies innundated the radio network with messages.  On June 1 alone,  Radio Londres broadcast 200 messages..

Shortly before D-Day, it broadcast the first stanza of Paul Verlaine's poem "Chanson d'automine" which meant that the invasion was to begin within 24 hours.

Allied victory in Europe meant the end of Radio Londres.

--GreGen

Radio Londres-- Part 2: "Jean Has a Long Mustache"


The occupying German forces quickly prohibited listening to the radio broadcast.

Over it, French General Charles de Gaulle called for such protests as emptying Paris' streets for an hour, demonstrations, preparations for D-Day, "V" for Victory.  he told the French to paint Vs on walls.

Sometimes the Germans were able to jam the signals.

The station also sent coded messages, often an obscure personal one like "Jean has a long mustache" or "There is a fire in the insurance agency."  Sometimes it even meant absolutely nothing, but the Germans would think something was in the works.

--GreGen


Monday, April 16, 2018

Radio Londres-- Part 1: "This Is London"


Last week, I wrote about the death of Franck Bauer, the last known broadcaster of Radio Londres.

From Wikipedia.

From 1940 to 1944, the BBC in London broadcast to German-occupied France in French.  It was operated by the Free French who had escaped.  This was done to counter the Nazi propaganda broadcast of the German-controlled Radio Paris of the French Vichy government.

The broadcast also appealed to the French to rise up against the Germans plus coded messages were sent to the French Resistance.

The first transmission was in 1940 and started "Ici Londres!  Les Francais parlent aux Francais...."  translated  "This is London!  The French speaking to the French..."

This is now a famous quote in France.  It was the Voice of thye Free French Forces under Charles de Gaulle.  On 18 June 1940 he made his famous Appeal of 18 June, inviting his countrymen to resist and rise up against their occupiers.

--GreGen

German POW Camp in Wilmington, N.C.


From the April 2, 2018, Wilmington (NC) News-Journal "Rotary learns about local prison camp" by Wilmington Rotary.

Kay Fisher from the Clinton County History Center spoke about the World War II German POW camp in Wilmington.  German prisoners included Nazis and some who opposed the Nazi doctrines.  There were also Italian  and Japanese prisoners.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed 155 prison camps and 511 branch camps across the United States (actually a lot of those were camps previously used by the CCC).  Anywhere between 250 to 750 prisoners were in each camp.

In Wilmington, the POW camp was on the Hubert Barrett property on Doan Street.  It housed 250 prisoners who were guarded by 50 U.S, military personnel.

There was fear that if enemy prisoners were mistreated that would lead to American prisoners receiving the same treatment.  Actually, from what I have read, if you had to be a prisoner in World War II, being held in a prison in the U.S. was not bad at all.  Indeed, many former German prisoners, on release, returned home, settled their affairs and moved to the United States.

German prisoners were first processed in Casablanca.  U.S. POW camps ended October 13, 1945.

--GreGen

Friday, April 13, 2018

Elden Baxter, Q-C's Last Known Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies-- Part 2


Mr. Baxter said: "The first Jap bomber I saw flew over the USS Arizona, and the pilot waved at us.  That's how close he was.  I saw the first torpedo about 300 yards off.  They just kept coming."

His parents were notified that he was killed in the attack.  He has had a funeral and will be buried on December 7, the 76th anniversary of the attack at Rock Island National Cemetery.

--GreGen

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Eldon Baxter, Quad-Cities' Last Known Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies-- Part 1


From the December 4, 2017, Quad-City Times by Bob Ickes.

He died December 4 and was shooting to hit the age 100.  He used to tell "The Pearl" at the local Elks Club over a couple beers.  When the attack came he was a storekeeper on the USS West Virginia, on which 106 died.

For the 72nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor in 2003, the Vietnam Vets Assoc. Chapter 299 paid for him and Alvis "Al" Taylor to return for the ceremony.  Mr. Taylor died this past January 16 at age 91.

--GreGen

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Ici Londres": Franck Bauer Underground Radio Announcer Dies-- Part 2


The broadcast that French citizens secretly listened to with wireless radios gave news of the free world, countered Nazi propaganda and transmitted coded instructions to resistance fighters.

"Ici Londres"  --  "This is London" -- became a code word after Charles De Gaulle's appeal for armed resistance in June 1940.

--GreGen

"Ici Londres.": French Underground Radio Broadcaster Dies-- Part 1


From the April 9, 2018, Chicago Sun-Times  "French radio broadcaster sent underground messages in WW II" AP.

Franck Bauer was the last living announcer of a radio broadcast in French by the BBC in London from 1940 to 1944.  The French listened secretly with wireless radios.

Frank Bauer, a French radio broadcasters who transmitted coded messages to underground networks in France during the German occupation, has died at age 99.  He died April 6, 2018.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that Mr. Bauer's voice "guided so many perilous operations that led to victory" during World War II.

--GreGen


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

B-17 G Stats


Type:  Heavy Bomber

Crew:  8-10

Length:  76 feet

Wingspan:  105.4 feet

Engines:  Four Wright Cyclone with 1,200 hp each.

Maximum Speed:  300 mph at 15,200 feet

Service Ceiling:  39,700 feet

Range:  3,750 miles without bombs.  1,095 with bombs.

Weaponry:    12 X 0.5-in Browning machine guns

Impressive.  --GreGen


Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


From the book "Weapons of WW II."

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is one of the best-known American combat craft of the Second World War, second only to the P-51 Mustang.  Along with the B-24, the B-17 carried out the majority of bomber attacks on occupied Europe with the 8th US Air Fleet.  The prototype of the B-17 made its maiden flight on July 18, 1935

Originally planned for use along the American coast, it was redesignated as the B-17E  and redesigned with stronger armor and heavier firepower for bombing in Europe, making its maiden voyage on September 5, 1941.

--GreGen

Monday, April 9, 2018

Even Ducks Getting Into War Effort



From the April 4, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Even ducks are becoming interested in war work.  At least that is the impression gained by Mrs. Walter Joslin of north west DeKalb, who found a duck egg, bearing a perfect "V," which under present circumstances means only one thing, "V for Victory."

"The "V" in the duck egg is formed in a lighter color and is about three-eighths of an inch high.  The egg is being displayed at the Quality Feed and Supply Store at the present time.?

Thanks Winston.

I Wonder What Happened to the Egg?    --GreGen

DeKalb High School Making Model Planes for War Effort


From the April 4, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1943, 75 Years Ago.

"Excellent progress is being reported  from the DeKalb Township High School on the task of constructing model planes for use of the United States government in its defense training efforts.

"The planes are made to an exact scale and when viewed from a distance of about 35 feet appear similar to an actual plane at about 5,000 feet in elevation.  They are used in training civilian air watchers and men in the armed services for spotting and training guns."

Even the high schools getting into the war effort.

Hey, There Goes a Japanese Nakajima KI-27 Setsu  (Kate)!!  --GreGen

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Antisubmarine Platforms


In the last post, I mentioned that B-17s were used as antisubmarine platforms as well as bombers.

I looked up anti submarine platforms and Wikipedia, under Antisubmarine Warfare listed antisubmarine platforms as being both air, sea and underwater.  And it was the use of mines and torpedoes.

So, a B-17 encountering an enemy submarine would drop torpedoes or mines on it.

That is an antisubmarine platforms.

--GreGen

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Mighty Eighth-- Part 3: Who's the "Kayo Katy?"


In addition to its role as a bomber, the B-17 was also employed as a transport, antisubmarine warfare platform, drone controller and search-and-rescue aircraft.

Although this composition is generic, it has the look of the 384th Bomber group at Grafton Underwood, which had a Kayo decorated in this style.  There were at least three Flying Fortresses in the Eighth Air Force named "Kayo" (playing off of the boxing term, K.O., or knock-out) and two named "Katy", hence Kayo Katy.

I did not know they had drones in World War II.  Not sure how a plane would be an antisubmarine platform either.  I'll have to research these two items.

--GreGen

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Mighty Eighth-- Part 2: B-17s, Quite the Strategic Weapon


The U.S. Eighth Air Force (based at many airfields in southern England) and the Fifteenth Air Force (based in Italy) complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime bombing in the Combined Bomber Offensive to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for the invasion of France in 1944.

Touted as a strategic weapon, the B-17 was a potent, high-flying, long-range bomber that was able to defend itself and to return home despite extensive battle damage.  Its reputation quickly took on mythic proportions, dropping more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II (640,000 metric tons).

When I think of World War II bombers, the one that pops up immediately in my mind is the B-17 Flying Fortress.

--GreGen

The Mighty Eighth, 8th Air Force-- Part 1: Coming Home Meant You Were Lucky


The April 2018 Calendar of Paralyzed Veterans of America is COMING HOME / ENGLAND, 1943.

The painting shows the crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber leaving their plane, the Kayo Katy  You can sure see why these planes are called Flying Fortresses with all the machine guns.

Back in 1943, if you happened to be a crewmember on a B-17 Flying Fortress, coming home was a very special  occasion indeed.  You were, to put it plainly, one of the "lucky ones."

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was primarily employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign in World War II against German industrial and military targets.

--GreGen