Kamikaze Special Attack Force (1944)

The KAMIKAZE Special Attack Force Makes a Sortie Imperial Headquarters Naval Information Deparment ...And so, you who strive day and night on the ramparts of production behind the guns must remember that even one plane more is a sacred plane which rushes to destroy the enemy, when that one plane has aboard the sacred spirit of a member of the KAMIKAZE Force.  The young eagles of the KAMIKAZE Special Attack force who dare to dash headlong and happily to the destruction of the enemy are waiting anxiously for that plane to fly to the front lines, saying to  themselves, I…
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Op-Ed

World War II Ended Again Today

Just had a message from Germany saying an old friend died today, aged 85. His death marks another ending to the world’s greatest and most terrible war. He used to tell a terrific story about the comic horror of his own brief wartime experience. His story says a lot about the terrifying question that war asks each of us. I want to tell it to you. Nearly at the war’s end, his entire school class of fourteen-year old boys was hauled before a visiting Wehrmacht recruiting officer to be drafted into the Hitler Youth. They were to be armed and…
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Today is June 6 and So What?

It’s June 6 and no one’s noticed. I see nothing about the date in newspapers or on TV or the net. Seventy-one years ago this day marked the beginning of the end of the colossal world war against fascism and imperialism, the Second World War. We Americans fought in that war beside Allies who, like us, knew that to lose the war was to lose everything we had and maybe everything we hoped for ourselves. We fought for our lives against two gigantic evils, fascism in Europe and imperialism in the Pacific. Against enemies who were better prepared for war,…
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WW2

POW Postscripts (1944)

Dorothy Parker, Portland, Oregon (General George )  We quote:  "Again, I want to do some reporting for your splendid little paper which is bringing so much information and cheer to all of us.  I have received two broadcasts from the Tokyo radio comforting part of these two broadcasts is that George has received four letters from me and my cable of February 1943.  These messages were read by a Japanese woman announcer and gave George's serial number, which is the first time that has ever been done.  It all sounded authentic but of course one never really use messages as…
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WW2

The Well-Dressed Airman (1945)

Pacific Ocean Area CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT   ...It will be found that "travel light" is a good rule for AAF personnel.  (Such items as steel helmets, weapons and gas masks will not, of course, be discarded to apply this rule.)  Climatic dampness causes clothing to mould rapidly and extra items should be aired frequently.  A few coat hangers are useful for this purpose. 3.  DESIRABLE ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT: a.  All Personnel: Raincoat, House slippers, Cigarette lighter, Swimming trunks, Bath clogs (a must), Talcum powder, Mirror, Nail clippers or file, Fountain pen and pencil, Sewing kit, Short wave radio, Extra insignia,…
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WW2

Getting Artillery Right (1944)

It is unnecessary to tell an experienced foot-slogging dog-face how important artillery support is to him when he needs it.  When he runs up against a Jerry strongpoint that is too tough to crack with infantry weapons the proper thing to do is yell for artillery.  He's got to be sure, however, that the target he sees is worth tossing a lot of cannonballs at because cannonballs are the only reserve the artillery has and they cost sweat and blood.  A single Heinie sunning himself on an Eyetie mule and cart is not worth an artillery concentration.  There will most…
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WW2

Rescue by Periscope, How to (1945)

7.  SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: …c.  Where a submarine is unable to approach a survivor on the surface because of the proximity of enemy shore batteries or strafing by enemy planes, the submarine may attempt to pick up the survivor by approaching submerged and towing him by periscope to a position where it can surface. The submarine should perform the operation at not more than three knots. It should approach the survivor from upwind and, if possible, on such a course that the survivor will not be towed closer to the enemy shore before the retirement course is set. In the early…
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Op-Ed

Counting the Dead, Again

The Battle of the Bulge ended 69 years ago yesterday and I had a buddy in the movie made 20 years after the battle.  Great battle, great film.  True, he only had a bit part, but that included one line up there on that big Cinerama screen, just him and one of the movie’s stars.  A couple of years later, he and I were in Vietnam doing pretty much what he had playacted in the movie – trying to keep alive.  But what is keeping alive? The battle’s anniversary made me turn to some casual reading in an outdated copy…
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WW2

The War Ends in a Hotel in Capri (1945)

Interview with Dr. Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, an early Nazi and German Minister of Economics and then a political prisoner of the Nazis, conducted at the Hotel Eden-Paradise, Capri, Italy: ...And then Schacht reverted to his favorite theme -- his innocence of all blame for war. "I always talked against war, and exerted all my influence in the only way I could to prevent war.  I knew what British and American industry could do.  I had seen it happen in the last war.  I knew that by blitz, we can win campaigns, but you cannot win a long war by…
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Military Trivia and Its Hard Meaning

An email chain making the rounds of my office:  -----Original Message----- From: X Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014 To: ALL Subject: Trivia This trivia question is tailor-made for W.  Not because his gray hair says he could have been there but because he reads military history at lunch – What was the Allied military offensive in World War II whimsically codenamed “Chattanooga Choo Choo?”  I have no idea. -----Original Message----- From: W Sent: Friday, February 27, 2014 To: X Subject: RE: Trivia Never heard of it so looked it up (but no spoilers).  Being the resident stuffy BOVV (Bitter Old…
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Private Holidays – V-J Day

Everyone has some private holidays - besides commemorations such as the birth of a child or the wedding day - that may mean a lot or a little to the outside world but which are very special to that one person.  V-J Day is one of my private holidays but it didn't start out that way.  Now, with its commemoration just past, I'd like to tell you how it became special to me. I'm a baby boomer and admit that V-J Day - Victory over Japan, September 2, 1945 - meant little to me growing up.  Oh, I relished the…
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Op-Ed

Too Many Heroes

I don’t understand how we could have so many heroes today. I knew a hero in the Vietnam war.  He died rescuing wounded.  I knew another in the first Gulf War.  She was killed by friendly fire.  But, today, every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine who returns from a combat zone is called a hero.  I don’t quite understand that. Audie Murphy was a hero, no question.  Ernest E. Evans of the destroyer USS Johnston attacking a Japanese battle fleet was a hero.  Chuck Yeager was a hero.  So was John Basilone on Guadalcanal.  It’s great to think but hard…
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WW2

Christmas Gift – Photo of a Man Who Fought for Us All (1943)

  New Georgia.  Pvt. Lloyd Culuck, Co. A, 1st Bn., 172nd Inf, gets chow from a can of Ration B on New Georgia Island, SW Pacific.  He uses the can lid in lieu of fork or spoon.  On the island since the first beachhead was established, he hasn't changed clothes in 12 days.  (Jul 43)  Army Signal Corps Photo: 161-43-2537 Source:  Signal Corps Collection, Record Group #111, Still Picture Branch, National Archives at College Park MD Originally posted 23 December 2013
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WW2

The Chaos of Victory

Clip:  "In the week following the Emperor's order to cease hostilities, planes on photo-reconnaissance missions over Japan were twice attacked by enemy interceptors.  On 17 August, four B-32s were attacked over Tokyo by an estimated 10 Japanese fighters, of which two were probably destroyed and a third damaged. The same day, three other photo planes over Yokosuka and Miyakonojo were met by antiaircraft fire. On the 18th, two unescorted reconnoitering B-32s over Tokyo were attacked by 14 enemy fighters. An aerial photographer in one plane was killed, two of the crew were wounded, and both planes were heavily damaged. Our…
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Medal of Honor Citation

Bertoldo, Vito R. Master Sergeant, Army, Company A, 242d Infantry Division Hatten, France, 9-10 January 1945 Citation: He fought with extreme gallantry while guarding 2 command posts against the assault of powerful infantry and armored forces which had overrun the battalion's main line of resistance. On the close approach of enemy soldiers, he left the protection of the building he defended and set up his gun in the street, there to remain for 12 hours driving back attacks while in full view of his adversaries and completely exposed to 88-mm., machinegun and small-arms fire. He moved back inside the command…
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A British Assessment of US Army in Sicily, 1943

The particular features of troops, their equipment, extraordinary mobility, and general artillery methods, require special study if they are to be employed to the best advantage together with, and alongside, British troops in an Allied operation. It cannot be assumed that the armies of both Nations will fulfill similar tasks equally well: each has its peculiar characteristics suiting it, on the one hand, for wide and very speedy manoeuvre across difficult country, great elasticity and powers of improvisation, and extremely rapid concentration of fire power; and, on the other hand, for dogged fighting, resolute attack against prepared positions, stubborn defence,…
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WW2

Camouflaging the South Pacific (1943)

Clip:  I saw jeeps driven along the beach within plain view of the CAPE ENDAIADERE and the Japanese, and with one of our headquarters located in a native village just back from this beach. I saw men paddling collapsible Australian assault boats in the same area without any military reason, this all in broad daylight and much Japanese air activity, and with the knowledge of their officers and under their observation. USS Missouri, Korea, 1950  Image Wikimedia Commons HEADQUARTERS ARMY GROUND FORCES Army War College Washington, February 20, 1943 SUBJECT: Observer's Report. CHRISTMAS ISLAND was the best example that I…
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Watching Movies with the Enemy

Bougainville had been secured, but there were still about 20,000 Japanese on the other side of the island. There had been no major engagement since the 'Battle of Hill 700,' a victory for the 37th that secured the island. The just lived on their side of the island, and we lived on ours with a well-established perimeter defense. Sometimes a couple of them would slip into our open-air theater and watch movies, or scrounge for food. They were more or less harmless. Their supply lines were hopelessly cut and pilots destroyed their gardens. They were slowly starving. Source: Lynn L.…
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