Friday, January 31, 2014

Back to the Fulton Shipyard

From Shipbuilding history site. //// The Fulton Shipyard in Antioch, California, along with all the APcs, also launched six minelayers from December 19, 1941, to April 14, 1942. They were all 205 tons. //// AMc-86 INDUSTRY, launched 19 Dec 41 Wrecked in a typhoon off Okinawa 1945. Hulk sunk. //// AMc-87 LIBERATOR-- luanched 22 Feb 42. Later reclassified IX-202, sold 1946 //// AMc-88 LOYALTY-- launched17 Jan 42, destroyed 1946 //// AMc-89 MEMORABLE-- launched 9 Mar 42, sold 1948 //// AMc-90 MERIT, launched 28 Mar 42, To Fish & Wildlife Service 1947 //// AMc-91 OBSERVER, launched 14 April 42 Sold 1947. //// The Cavaliere, 1935 was sold to the USN in 1942 as the YP-307 and returned in 1946. The Leslie J. Fulton, 1936, was sold to the USN in 1941 as the Waxbill AMc-15. Returned in 1945. //// Building and Buying Ships. --GreGen

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The USS John Penn (APA-23)

Then, in 1943, the Penn was transferred to the Pacific and in January sent to Guadalcanal where it picked up 1,003 enlisted and 63 officer survivors from the USS Chicago after it was sunk January 29th. ////It spent the next six months delivering supplies, equipment and men to Guadalcanal. It was later reclassified as HPA-23. //// On August 13tgh, the Penn came under attack by Japanese planes. It shot one down which crashed into the ship's mainmast and minutes later, the ship was hit by a torpedo from another plane and sank in 30 minutes. Thirty-five crew members were rescued by the USS Apc-25. //// Today the ship is a popular dive spot.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The USS John Penn (APA-23)-- Part 1

From Wikipedia. //// A civilian ship launched in 1931 and one of the American Export Line's Four Aces. Originally named the Excombion. Acquired by the Navy 8 January 1942, and the only one of the John Penn-class. It was classified as an attack transport. //// Participated in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. October-November, it loaded and crossed the Atlantic and landed cargo under heavy enemy shore nattery fire and shot down an attacking plane. //// Two of its fellow Four Aces, the Joseph Hewes AP-50 (formerly the Excalibur) and Edward Rutledge AP-52 (formerly the Exeter) were sunk by German U-boats during Operation Torch. //// --GreGen

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

USS Durik (DE-666)

From Wikipedia)

John Catrano was executive officer on this ship. Kind of an interesting number with 666. Wonder if any of its crew wondered about it? The ship was built at Neville Island near Pittsburgh, Pa..

Commissioned 24 March 1944 and served primarily on convoy duty and also was a training ship for destroyer escort crews.

Decommissioned 15 June 1946 and sold for scrap30 January 1967.


John D. Catrano: APc-25's Commander

From Wikipedia.

John D. Catrano: The APc-25's Commander, was born April 4, 1909, and died July 19, 2005. American lawyer and Seattle, Washington, civic leader. Grew up in Seattle, graduated from the Univ. of Washington and received his law degree from Harvard. Founded the law firm Catrano, Boker & Chapmen where he worked for 40 years.

During World War II, he rose to the rank of lt. cmdr. and served in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. In 1943, he was given command of the APc-25. He received the Navy and Marine Corps medals "for heroism displayed in the rescue of approximately thirty-five survivors from a burning transport" August 13, 1943, in the Solomon Islands (the USS John Penn).

After that, he was executive officer on the USS Durik in the Atlantic 1944-1945. The ship escorted Liberty Ships across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. After Germany's surrender, the ship was ordered to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Were APcs Named?

Quite a few smaller U.S. Navy Ships (well, even LSTs which are big) do not have names and are just known by their type (LST, APc) and the number.

But, I have to wonder if the men who served on them had names they used to refer to their ship?

Just Wondering. --GreGen

Some More on the USS APc-25

From Wikipedia.

The U.S. Navy Special Collections & Archives has two declassified Ship Action Reports regarding the APc-15 dated from August 1943.

The first report, dated 15 August 1943 pertains to the rescue work of the APc-25 following the sinking of the USS John Penn on 13 August 1943.

The second report dated 18 August 1943 deals with enemy aircraft attacks on the ship.

These reports are written by the ship's commander, John D. Catrano.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Star-Spangled Banner in World War II

I've been writing about Francis Scott Key and the Star-Spangled Banner in my War of 1812:  Not So Forgotten blog.

I found out that during World War II, the flag was removed from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., for safe-keeping in a storage facility in Virginia.

Way too important of an object to be destroyed.


Friday, January 24, 2014

The Fulton Shipyard in Antioch, California-- Part 2

The Fulton Shipyard launched the minesweeper USS Industry on 19 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor. In short order, the minesweepers Liberator, Loyalty, Memorable, Merit and Observer were delivered from January to April 1942.

Besides the APc-25, the shipyard built 18 others: APcs 23-32, 101-107 and two ????.

In addition, the Navy contracted for six ATR tugs, 23-28 and two patrol craft YP-619 and 620. In 1954, two more minelayers AM-426 and 427 were built for the Navy. After the war, four civilian ships were launched: 1955, 1961, 1965 and 1992.


The Fulton Shipyard in Antioch, California-- Part 1

From the Shipbuilding History Site.

In my last post, I mentioned the APc-25 being built in the Fulton Shipyard. Since I'd never heard of it, I looked it up and found that it was located in Antioch, California, and established in 1918 and closed in 1919, located on Fulton Shipyard Road in downtown Antioch.

That is in Contra Costa County and in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay. (I also read something about submerged wrecks in the area as well as some environmental concerns.)

During its existence, they primarily built ships for the U.S. Shipping Board and the U.S. Navy.

During World War I, it built eight cargo ships for the U.S. Shipping Board: Yehama, Catawba, Mono, Waneyande, Wenakee and three unnamed ones (these might not have completed due to the war ending)

During the inter-war years, they built eight civilian ships.

World War II Next. --GreGen

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


From Wikipedia.

The ship was commissioned 19 November 1942, decommissioned May 1946 and sold in 1947.

100 tons, 103 feet, 21 crew and two 20 mm guns. Was a coastal transport vessel and carried supplies, munitions and personnel in the Southern Solomon Islands.

On 19 January 1942, the Naval Authority ordered the construction of 50 AMc coastal minesweepers. In April the classification was changed to radar transports, AP, for use in the South Pacific.

The APc-25 was built at the Fulton Shipyard in Antioch, California, after being ordered 19 February 1942. Keel laid 11 May 1942, launched July 11 and commissioned November 19th. The Fulton Shipyard also built 9 other APcs ordered in February and March 1942.

More to Come. --GreGen

Japanese Soldier Who Fought On After the War Dies-- Part 2

The Japanese government looked for them but finally declared them officially dead after a nine-year search. In 1972, Onodo and the other surviving soldiers got into a shoot-out with Philippine troops and the others were killed.

Onodo escaped.

This made big news in Japan and his family members went to the Philippines to talk him into surrender, but Onodo continued to fight on, believing it was all lies.

It wasn't until his former commander returned in 1974 and ordered him to surrender, that World War II was finally over for Hiroo Onodo. He related, "I was just carrying out my orders." He became quite a hero in Japan.

No Surrtender Onodo. --GreGen

The Japanese Soldier Who Fought On After the War Dies-- Part 1

From the Jan. 17, 2014, Yahoo! News, AFB "Japan World War II soldier who hid in the jungle until 1974 dies" by Hiroshi Hiyama.

Hiroo Onoda hid in the Philippines jungle for three decades after Japan surrendered, refusing to believe that the war was over until his former commander returned and ordered him to surrender.

Lubang Island is near Luzon and Onodo and three others continued to wage a guerilla campaign.

There were several other Japanese holdouts after August 1946 across Asia. The four on Lubang fought on and their existence became known in the 1950s when one of them emerged from the jungle and returned to Japan. The three remaining continued to spy and attack Phillipine troops and residents.

No Surrender Onodo. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Deaths: Russell Johnson "Gilligan's Island" and World War II Aviator

From Wikipedia.

I was saddened to hear this morning that we had lost two of my favorite actors from favorite TV sitcoms on Jan. 16th. Dave Madden played manager Reuben Kincaid on the "Partridge Family." Russell Johnson played the professor, Roy Hinckley on "Gilligan's Island" as his obituary said, always "within a coconut of finding a way off the island."

However, reading about him in Wikipedia, he was a decorated World War II aviation veteran.

He served in the war as a 2nd lieutenant and flew 44 combat missions on B-25 Mitchell twin engine medium bombers.

While navigating a B-25 in the 100th Bombardment Squadron, 42nd Bombardment Group, 13th Air Force, his plane and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines in March 1945 and ditched off the port of Zamboanga. He broke both his ankles and the radio man next to him was killed.

He received a Purple Heart for that, but also received the Air Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and three service stars and was discharged November 22, 1945. He was friends with Audie Murphy and appeared in three of his films.

The Island Will Never Be the Same. Nor Will Maryanne (I Always Hoped They'd get Together.)  . --GreGen

World War II's APc Class and USS APC-15

From the Shipscribe Site.

A follow up on last week's entries on the finding of the wreck of the wreck of the USS APC-15 in British Columbia.

The APc (or APC) Class were 103-foot long ships, a 21 foot beam with crews of 21 and capable of ten knots.

The class originally was classified as AMc, coastal minelayers. The APC-15 was ordered February 19, 1942, along with 14 other of the class. It was one of four built at Camden Ship Builders in Camden, Maine (along with the APC-16 to 18).

The keel was laid 6 April 1942 and was launched 18 July 1942. Commissioning came 27 October 1942 and decommissioning 19 March 1946. It was stricken from the Navy List on 28 March 1946 and MA sale 13 Jan 1947.

I wonder if there are any surviving examples of the class.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

World War II and the Winter Olympics

From Wikipedia.

The Winter Olympics started in 1924 and were held every four years until 1936. After that, they were cancelled until 1948 because of World War II.

The 1940 Olympics were originally to be at Sapporo, Japan, but that was rescinded in 1938 because of the Japanese invasion of China. The Winter Olympics were then moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, but the German invasion of Poland in 1939 cancelled that. It was then decided not to have them.

The 1944 Winter Olympics were scheduled to be in Cortina-D'Ampezzo, Italy, but that too was cancelled.

The games started again in 1948 and were held at St. Moritz, Switzerland. That country's neutrality during the war had protected it from damage and the venues from the 1928 Winter Olympics were still largely in place.

Athletes from Germany and Japan were not allowed to participate in the 1948 games.


USS APc-15 (La Belle)-- Part 3

It was built at Camden Ship Building and Marineway in Camden, Maine, and was launched 9 July 1942 and commissioned 27 Oct 1942.

The APc-15 served in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater of operations and took part in the Bismarck Archipelago Operations.: Arawe, New Britain, 17-18 and 25-26 December 1943.

It was armed with four single 20 mm antiayrcraft guns.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mystery Shipwreck in Canada Turns Out to Be USS APc-15-- Part 2

The USS APC-15 earned one World War II Battle Star and was also used as a coastal minesweeper. The letters APC (or APc) refer to the U.S. Navy designation for small coastal transport.

Its first postwar service was under the name of Gulf Trader in 1947, but the name was changed to La Belle in 1948.

In 1962, it was sold to Capital Iron and Metals in Victoria. Its engine was removed and in 1963 it became an unpowered sailing vessel with the name Black Trader. It had several owners after that before capsizing and sinking in the slough where it remains today.


Mystery Ship in Canada Turns Out to Be USS APc-15-- Part 1

From the Jan. 10, 2014, Delta (British Columbia) Optimist "Duddy solves mystery of sunken ship" by Jessica Kerr.

The remains of the tug La Belle, a former World War II ship, were found in Deas Slough. George Duddy of White Rock is retired and spends much of his time researching old warships.

He was looking for the remains of the Audrey B when he found the remains of another sunken ship which can be seen at low tide in Deas Slough.

Through measurements, he knew it wasn't the Audrey B.

After World War II, Vancouver tugboat companies started buying surplus vessels. Vancouver Tug Boat Company purchased the USS APc-15 from the United States and renamed the ship the La Belle. They also bought seven others and used them as tugs, fish packers and herring seiners.

A Boat of Many Colors. --GreGen

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Return of USS Houston Artifacts

From the Jan. 3, 2014, Naval History Blog "Return of USS Houston Artifacts to NHHC." NHMC is the Naval History & Heritage Command.

The NHHC's Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) received a ceramic cup and saucer and a trumpet from the wreck of the USS Houston. These items were taken from the wreck in an unsanctioned removal.

Unfortunately the article didn't go into how these items were acquired.

The items will now undergo documentation, research and conservation treatment at the UAB Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory.

The USS Houston was a Northampton-class heavy cruiser which had the nickname "Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" which fought at the Battle of Makassar Strait and the Battle of the Java Sea. On March 1, 1942, it was sunk along with the HMAS Perth at the Battle of Sunda Strait. Seven hundred crew died.


Pearl Harbor Survivor Louis Conter

From the Jan. 9, 2014, redlands Daily Facts.

Louis Conter was quartermaster on duty on the USS Arizona that day and he was the one who sounded the call to battle stations.

He managed to get off the ship and he and another sailor spent the next two days in longboats patrolling the harbor and picking up other survivors.

Afterwards, he was sent to the NAS Pensacola Flight School and flew a PBY in the Pacific rescuing downed flight crews and looking for Japanese submarines.

He also flew jet fighters in the Korean War.

He was visiting the Arizona and took part in the placing of one of his shipmates' remains in the hull.

It Is Always Nice to Write About a Living Survivor With All of Them Dying Now. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Laying USS Arizona Survivors to Rest on the Ship

From the Jan. 8, 2014, Yahoo! News Politics Confidential "Laying veterans to rest in the watery graves of Pearl Harbor."

Daniel Martinez, chief historian at Pearl Harbor has been spending the last 30 years interring survivors of the attack into the waters of Pearl Harbor. He says there are still 3-4 Japanese pilots alive from the attack and just 9 from the USS Arizona, all of whom want to buried on their old ship.

He helps fulfill dying veterans' last wishes to be buried with their shipmates. When the end came for the Arizona, 1,178 officers and men were killed and 900 are stll on it "serving the ship" as Martinez says.

The most recent USS Arizona interrment was Chief Warrant Officer Edward Wentzlaff in December.

Mr. Martinez has been very involved in collecting oral histories of Pearl Harbor survivors. While in college, he interviewed his grandfather who was there and less than a quarter mile from the Arizona when it blew up. He said he felt the concussion. However, his grandfather had to leave the table four times during the interview.


Monday, January 13, 2014

USS Roper (DD-147)-- Part 2: The Rest of the War

On April 29, 1942, the USS Roper rescued 14 survivors of the British merchant ship Empire Drum which had been sunk by the U-135 five days earlier. On May 13th, it rescued another 13 from the same ship.

After that, the Roper primarily was involved with escorting convoys between Key West to New York until 1943. Then, it was off to Caribbean and Mediterranean sea convoys.

On 20 October 1943, the ship was reclassified APD-20, high-speed transport and sent to the Mediterranean Sea. It landed elements of the French Army in Italy then served off France.

In 1945, the Roper went to the Pacific and was hit by a kamikaze on May 25, 1945. It was decommissioned 15 September 1945 and sold.

The Rest of the Story. --GreGen

USS Roper (DD-147)-- Part 1: The U-85 Incident

From Wikipeia.

Wickes-class destroyer commissioned at the end of World War I, 1090 tons, 314-feet long, 101 crew four 4-inch and two 3-inch guns.

Named for Lt. Cmdr. Jesse M. Roper who died during the Spanish-American War while rescuing his crew. First U.S. warship to sink a German U-boat in World War I. After commissioning and during the inter-war period, served in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and along the U.S. west coast.

Immediately before U.S. entry into World War II, the Roper was part of the Neutrality Patrol and then escorted convoys after Pearl Harbor.

On the night of April 13-14, 1942, made contact with a surfaced U-boat off the coast of North Carolina, chased the U-85 and sank it with gunfire.

In 2002, former U-boat commander Helmut Schmoeckel wrote a book suggesting that the USS Roper not rescuing the U-85's crew after they abandoned the submarine was a war crime.

The Roper reported that after initial contact with the U-85, it was almost hit by a torpedo. After sinking it, the Roper's commander delayed rescue operations until morning and the arrival of air support from a PBY Catalina and another ship for reasons of fear of another U-boat possibly operating in the area.

No charges were filed against the Roper's crew or commander, Lt. Cmdr. Hamilton W. Howe. Howe received a Navy Cross medal for the action and retired in 1956 as a rear admiral.

War Crime Or Not? --GreGen

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Action Report of the USS Roper Against the U-85

From the

I've shortened it considerably so you should go to the site and read the whole thing.

The USS Roper was following a ship on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras, NC, and when within 300 yards, the searchlight showed it to be a submarine.

Machine guns cut down the sub's crew rushing to man their gun and a direct hit was made on its cunning tower by the 3-inch gun and then the sub appeared to begin to sink, apparently scuttled. Soon, there were 40 of the crew on the sub's deck.

A barrage of 11 depth charges were dropped, but no wreckage seen (evidently, the submarine was now underwater and the crew in the drink). The Roper twice passed near the survivors but made no effort to rescue them for fear that there might be another U-boat in the area (as they often work in pairs or packs).

A PBY plane came and at 0717, rescue operations began after another depth charge attack. Nineteen bodies were recovered and two others allowed to sink after their clothing was searched.

Some of this report definitely has me wondering.

War Crime? --GreGen

Friday, January 10, 2014


From Wikipedia. Type V1CB U-boat laid down in 1939 and launched 10 April 1941, commissioned in June and assigned to the 3rd U-boat Flotilla. Completed four war patrols and sank three ships, totalling 15,060 tons.

FIRST PATROL-- Departed Trindheim in Norway 28 August 1941. Sank one ship. Returned to St. Nazaire, France, on the Atlantic coast 18 September 1941.

SECOND PATROL-- Started and ended in Lorient, France.

THIRD PATROL-- Sank one ship northeast of St. John, Newfoundland, 9 Feb 1942.

FOURTH PATROL-- Left St, Nazaire 21 March 1942. Probably sank a ship April 10th. Sunk with all hands 14 April 1942. It was the first German U-boat loss in Operation Drumbeat.


Were the Deaths of the U-85 Sailors an American War Crime?

As I continued with my research on the U-85 sailors and USS Roper, there is the possibility that all this might be an American war crime. Perhaps these Germans died unnecessarily.

Wikipedia said in its article on the USS Roper that one German thinks it was exactly that and, after reading the action report of the USS Roper which I found in the U-boat net, does raise some questions.

You Be The Judge. --GreGen

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Greman U-boat U-85 Sailors Buried on American Soil

From U-boat Archives.

Back on Dec. 23, 2013, I wrote about the 28 crew members of the U-95 being buried at the Hampton National Cemetery in Virginia. Here is a follow up on the story.

The U-85 was sunk by the destroyer USS Roper in a night surface action off the coast of North Carolina during the Battle of the Atlantic off the coast of the United States on April 14, 1942.

It had been attacked several months earlier by a VP-82 PBO-1 Hudson flown by AMM1c Donald L. Mason on 28 Jan 1942. At the time, Mason had reported back to his base at Argentia, Newfoundland, "Sighted sub, sank same."

Twenty-nine sailors of the U-85 were buried at Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia, with military honors, secretly on the evening of April 15, 1942. Fifty-two German prisoners from Fort Monroe prepared and later filled the graves. At 2000, the burial service was read by the Catholic Chaplain, followed by the Protestant Chaplain. Twenty-four U.S. seamen fired three volleys and Taps was sounded. This burial was kept secret for fear of enraging the American public that German sailors had been buried on American soil.

Doing Their Duty. --GreGen

Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 5

DEC. 8, 2013, FROSTED TRUCK: 1943-- March 1943. "Between Lockport and Joliet, Illinois, along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe." By Jack Delano OWI (Office of War Information). Railroads played an important role in moving equipment and personnel from coast to coast.

DECEMBER 7, 2012, THE MORNING AFTER: 1941-- San Francisco. "The corner of Montgomery and Market Streets, Monday, the morning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Photo by Jack Colizi. Newstand with all the papers bearing the headlines.

DECEMBER 6, 2013, SHOVE IT: 1943-- March 1942. Virginia Beach, Virginia. "Fort Story coast defense. A tough job for soldiers is shoving a breech block of the giant howitzer into place. The screw threads help the block to withstand millions of foot-pounds of pressure caused by the exploding charge." By Alfred Palmer, OWI Followed by some very interesting and informatice comments. You should always read the comments on these photos.

The United States At War. --GreGen

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Two Local Pearl Harbor Survivors Die Over the Past Year-- Part 2

David Roessler was born June 17, 1921, and grew up in Shoshone. He joined the Army at age 18 and served in the Pacific in the Army's 24th Division Signal Office as chief clerk at the Schofield Barracks.

In 2008, he told the Times-News that he was awakened that day by the sound of a plane going down and ran out of his barracks and saw about 16 two-seat Japanese planes bombing Wheeler Field about two miles away.

He ran across an open field to his duty station and emptied his 45-caliber handgun at a Japanese plane just 50 feet above him and said, "You knew it wouldn't do any good. But, it made you feel better."

There are only about 1,000 Pearl Harbor survivors still alive as of December 7, 2012.

Sorry to Be Losing Them. --GreGen

Actually, In the Last Post, It was the USS Northampton

I looked up the cruiser USS Hampton that David Ray Mohlenbrink served on at Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid and was sunk at Iron Bottom Sound and could find any mention of a cruiser by that name.

Most likely, he was serving on the heavy cruiser USS Northampton which was not at Pearl Harbor during the attack but at sea with the USS Enterprise, but entered the harbor soon afterwards. It also was on both the Doolittle Raid and sunk in Dec. 1942. Perhaps the crew of the Northampton just referred to it as the 'Hampton.

Clears That Up. --- GreGen

Two Local Pearl Harbor Survivors Die Over the Last Year-- Part 1

From the dec. 7, 2013, Twin Falls (Idaho) Happy Valley Times-News.

GALE DONALD MOHLENBRINK, 89, of Buhl died July 7th and DAVID RAY ROESSLER, 91, of Gooding died March 21st.

Mohlenbrink was born Feb. 23, 1924, in Lowell, Wyoming, and grew up in Oklahoma and Idaho before joining the Navy in February 1941. He survived Pearl Harbor and saw further action in the Pacific.

The heavy cruiser he was on, the USS Hampton, was part of the Doolittle Raid and was sunk in Iron Bottom Sound Dec. 1, 1942 where he survived shark-infested waters before being picked up by a destroyer.

After that, he served on the destroyer USS Edison and served in the Atlantic. After the German surrender, his ship returned homr to Pearl Harbor where it began preparing for the invasion of Japan.

The Greatest Generation. --GreGen

Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 4

DEC. 13, 2013-- FEMININE PROPENSITIES: 1942-- August 1942: "Testing small diameter, high-speed twist drills, these women employed by Republic Drill & Tool,Chicago, roll the drills down a slight incline to determine if they are acceptable." All part of the War Machinery being made at home.

DEC. 10, 2013-- READ ALL ABOUT IT: May 1942 "Southington, Ct. Where Southington folk buy their magazines" by Fenno Jacobs, OWI.

DEC. 9, 2013-- MATHLETES: 1943: October 1943, Washington, DC "A mechanical drawing class at Woodrow Wilson High School" by Esther Bubley, OWI.

DEC. 8, 2013 THE IN CROWD: 1943-- Oct. 1943 "Sally Dessez talking with some friends near her locker at Woodrow Wilson High School" By Esther Bubley, OWI (Office of War Information).

And Schooling Goes On, As Does Locker Chatter. --GreGen

Monday, January 6, 2014

Parts of New York City Built On Ruins of English Cathedrals

From the Dec. 28, 2013, Gizmode/Australia by Geoff Manaugh.

Here is one aspect of the war you never consider, what happened to all the buildings that were destroyed by bombing?

Parts of Manhattan are built on the ruins of English towns, especially London, that were destroyed by the German Luftwaffe. The rubble was shipped across the Atlantic as ballast on ships returning from Europe.

New York City's FDR Drive was built along the east side of Manhattan, much of it English rubble fill.

So much in fact was dumped, that one area between 23rd and 34th streets became known as the "Bristol Basin," though it was primarily from London.

So, the "ruins of another city" are under a part of New York City. What makes this even more interesting is that NYC is not just another city built on top of a pre-existing city like many of the world's cities.

Just Something I Never thought About. --GreGen

Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 3

These are just ones from December 2013.

Dec. 19, 2013 PHELPS-DODGE: 1942-- Part of the copper concentrating plant of the Phelps-Dodge Mining Company at Morenci, Arizona. The plant supplied great quantities of the copper so vital to the war effort.

12-16-13 TRAFFIC CHANNEL CONTROL: 1942-- June 1942, Washington, D.C.. "U.S. Office of Defense Transportation System of port control and its traffic channel control." Photo by Albert Freeman, OWI (Office of War Information.) These were card punch machines like early computers. Of course, with all the ships carrying supplies and troops overseas, this was quite the busy place.

12-15-13-- BELL LABS: 1942-- March 19, 1942 at the birthplace of the transistor. "Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey. Drafting room designed by architects Voorhees, Walker, Foley & Smith.

Showing All Aspects of the War On the Homefront. --GreGen

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Germany's Monsun Gruppe Wolfpack

Back on Dec. 6, 2013, I also mentioned that the U-168 was a member of Germany's Monsun Gruppe of submarines, something else I had never heard of before.


The Monsun Gruppe (or Monsoon Group) was a German U-boat operation in the Pacific and Indian oceans. The site crefers to it as "perhaps the most special 'wolfpack' in the war as they operated very far away from Germany, mainly in the Indian Ocean out of Japanese provided bases in Indonesia." The submarines operated out of bases at Panang, Jakarta and Sabang from 1943-1945.

The group's 1943 operations were often referred to as "The Happy Days" because shipping in the Indian Ocean operated as if in peacetime, providing lots of targets.

Finding Out All Sorts of Things. --GreGen

HMS Salviking Sunk By the U-168

Some information of the Royal Navy's Salvage Ship Salviking taken mostly from the Otherwise, there is not much information on this ship.

It was built in either 1942 or 1943, weighed 1440 tons and 217-feet long. When hit by three torpedoes from the U-168 (one of which was a dud), it was enroute from Colombo to Addu Atoll. The wreck is southeast of Ceylon.

It was one of 13 ships in the Britain's King Salvor class and evidently the only one to be sunk in the war.

Its main defense were four 20 mm anti-aircraft guns.

That's All I Could Find. --GreGen

Follow Up on the U-168-- Part 2

Continued from my Dec. 6. 2013, entry. This all came about because of the November 2013 announcement that the wreck of the U-168 had been found off the coast of Indonesia. I was a bit surprised by this an I was unaware of German submarines operating in the Indian and Pacific oceans. I needed to do some more research.

From Wikipedia.

FIRST PATROL: In the North Atlantic, arrived at Lorient in Occupied France May 18, 1943.

SECOND PATROL; Was moved to the Indian Ocean and sank the British ship SS Haiching off Bombay Oct. 2, 1943. Attacked by a Catalina flying boat 3 Nov. when four 250 pound depth charges were dropped. Survived and arrived Penang, Malaya 11 November.

THIRD PATROL: Most successful patrol. Left Panang 7 Feb. 1944 and fired three torpedoes at the HMS Salviking (a salvage ship) off Ceylon on the 14th and sank it. On the 15th, the U-168 sank the Greek ship Epaminonas C. Embincis off Maldives. It damaged a Norwegian ship on the 21st with its last torpedo, surfaced, but couldn't sink it because there was no ammunition left for the deck gun. Returned to Jakarta 24 March.

FOURTH PATROL: Left Jakarta Oct. 5, 1944. The next day, the U-168 was torpedoed by a Dutch submarine and lost 23 men and 27 were captured. (You also rarely hear of Dutch naval forces in the war.)

In late 2013, divers found the wreck, though it might possibly the U-183.


The Doolittle Raiders 2012 Reunion

From the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in 2012.

At the time, there were five remaining Raiders and all five were well enough to attend the 70th anniversary of the Raid in April 2012. They are:

LT. COL. ROBERT E. COLE, co-pilot of No. 1 (Doolittle's plane)
MAJOR THOMAS C. GRIFFIN, Navigator of No. 9
LT.COL. ROBERT L. HITE, Co-pilot of No. 16
LT. COL. EDWARD J. SAYLOR, engineer and gunner on No. 15
MASTER SGT. DAVID J. THATCHER, Engineer/gunner on No. 7.

Plans for the Reunion:

TUESDAY, APRIL 17-- 7:30, Arrival of B-25s. Open for inspection 10 to 6 PM.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18TH-- "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" film shown. 1 PM-- B-25 Flyover. 1:30 to 3 PM Memorial Service.
THURSDAY, APRIL 19TH-- 2-4 PM autograph session.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20TH-- 10- 11:15 AM Education Program. 2-4 PM Autograph Session.


Wilmington, NC, in 1942-- Part 3: War Comes to Wilmington

DECEMBER 7, 1941: The Star-News included more photos of the launching of the Liberty Ship Zebulon Vance and had another headline "F.R. Addresses Message to Japanese Emperor Amid Darkening War Clouds." (Very prophetic.)

DECEMBER 8, 1941: Headlines: "U.S. Declaration Expected By Noon;" "War Stirs City; All Flay Japs; Time To Get It Over With; Consensus on Streets of Wilmington." More headlines: "Wilmington Placed on Alert Against Sabotage; Page Calls Urgent Meeting of New Hanover Group to Map Defense Plan; Utilities Guarded."

DECEMBER 9, 1941: "Wilmingtonians Doff Peace Era for All-out War." Wilmington was transformed from a quiet, but bustling peace-time city to one dedicated to all-out-war policy.

War Comes to Wilmington. --GreGen

Wilmington, NC, in 1942-- Part 2: Liberty Ships and Housing

From the Jan. 10, 2012, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then" by Scott Nunn.

DECEMBER 6, 1941:

The NC Shipbuilding Company launched its first Liberty Ship, the Zebulon B. Vance, named after NC's Civil War governor. Notice the date, the day before Pearl Harbor. The war had a huge impact on Wilmington and one of the reasons the city is seeking the name as National World War II City.

In 1935, Wilmington's population was 35,000. By 1943, this shipyard, home of today's NC State Port, alone had 20,000 workers.

Today's (Dec. 6, 1941) newspaper headlines "Wilmington's Answer to Hitler's Challenge" and "Ships, More Ships, Spell Nazi Doom."

All these workers were going to need places to live, which were in very short supply despite the Wilmington Housing Authority having already built Greenfield Terrace for white workers and Hillcrest for black workers. Lake Place, for whites, was nearing completion. There were also 3 other projects underway to house 900 more workers and their families.

Wilmington Preparing for War. --GreGen

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 2

12-5-13 NIGHT SERVICE: 1942-- CIRCA 1942, VICINITY OF WASHINGTON, DC "CONSERVATION OF FUEL OIL." A very important aspect of the war effort and rationing.

12-24-13 SECRET SANTA: 1942-- December 1942 New York City R.H. Macy & Co. Santa Claus was actually two Santas concealed from each other to keep the lines moving. Even in wartime, Santa must come for a visit.

12-23-13 ASSET MANAGEMENT: 1942-- Washington, DC "Demonstration of the correct procedure in applying street makeup at Woodrow Wilson High School. Kids continued to go to school during the war. Of course. many of these girls' boyfriends would be going into the service upon graduation.


Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 1

Taken from the Shorpy historical photo blog. Most every month, has several pictures taken during World War II. These are some you might be interested in looking at, and if you do, make sure you check out the comments as the blog has many dedicated followers who greatly add to the picture's background. These are blog dates and headlines.

12-6-13: SOUTH PARK: 1945-- The Pine Ford Acres Community Building in Middletown, Pennsylvania. This was part of a 450-unit residential development on 51 acres for the Federal Works Agency and Federal Public Housing Authority. The workers in war industries needed places to live and a huge construction boom began, I have written a lot about the public housing in my Wilmington, N.C.,  entries in this blog.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Beginning Third Year of This Blog

This marks the 922nd post in this blog and the beginning of its third year.

This was the sixth of my seven blogs and grew out of my Cooter's History Thing Blog because I was writing so much about World War II in it. I figured I might as well just start a new blog, although with five already (and eventually a 7th on the War of 1812), I didn't really want to because I was already spending way too much time on the existing ones.

Plus, we are marking the 70th anniversary of the war and we sadly are losing huge numbers of these old warriors.

I have definitely learned a lot about the war and am a big buff of it now. Sadly, though, I grew up with these veterans (born in 1951) and, until now, never thought much about it. They were just always there.

But Now I Am Definitely Hooked. --GreGen