Perhaps the best post I have made in many months; many battles contained herein. Please pass this on. “X”
Of War and Remembrance
Ordinarily, America’s Memorial Day is the beginning of our summer holidays. We often observe the day by having local Scout troops place small American flags on the graves of fallen warriors. Many of us make sure to tell our children about service members’ sacrifice and use this time to explain to them the price of liberty. Freedom is not free, we tell them. And so, while we are grateful for a holiday, for extra time for family cookouts, church picnics, sports and games, for auto races, or sailboat regattas, we also recognize a somber undertone to the day.
Today, our observance of Memorial Day must be tempered with a real disquiet. For the first time in 238 years of American arms, that shield of the republic, our all-volunteer military, is itself a target.
In the last few months, militant atheizers have gained privileged access to our Defense Department. They are getting a sympathetic hearing from many there. These atheizers boast that they have made progress toward their goal of completely suppressing open expression of Christian faith in our armed forces. They want this and much more. They demand that anyone in uniform who shares his faith, who dares to proselytize, be court-martialed for treason and sedition.
This anti-American demand is deeply offensive to tens of thousands of our soldiers serving today. To the great World War II generation, it would have seemed we had fallen under a hostile occupation. If you visit the American Cemetery in Normandy, you will see why this is so. There, you can see row upon row of white crosses. They stand like sentinels, on guard. It’s been called “the silent bivouac of the dead.” Especially poignant are the white Stars of David among those crosses.
Those Jewish soldiers of World War II were doubly motivated to fight the evils of Nazism. They fought bravely for their country and they fought for their fellow Jews who were in danger of extermination. Seeing their headstones among the crosses is a powerful experience. It’s as if our Christian brethren are saying to the world: You’ll have to come through us to get at them.
Consider the contrast: For years, a Jew-hating army psychiatrist was allowed to sound off about jihad. Maj. Nidal Hasan openly advocated Islamist violence against his fellow Americans, against those serving in the military with him. Those officers who protested against this were ordered to be silent. They were the ones whose careers were at risk.
If Nidal Hasan had not acted out his murderous theology and taken the lives of fourteen innocent human beings (including one unborn child) at Fort Hood, he would presumably have been permitted to continue spewing his hateful ideology yet today. And he would not have been charged with proselytizing. His actions were sedition. They were treason. But Hasan’s brazen violations of his Oath of Office were condoned, excused, and even protected.
And because someone opened the gates to real sedition and treason, mass murder stole into Fort Hood.
The atheizers were not there to silence Nidal Hasan. We never hear them protesting about his rants. Political correctness doesn’t work that way. But the atheizers are trying to suppress the faith of Christians.
That’s why we initiated a petition to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and started the American Hero Defense Fund. Our friend and colleague, retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, is spearheading this Family Research Council drive to defend the religious freedom of those in our armed forces who have so ably defended our freedom.
I hope you and your family will truly remember on this Memorial Day. Please remember the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform over the centuries. Let’s remember those patriot graves. And pass along to the next generation the accounts of their selfless service and valor.
But this year, please do one thing more: Won’t you join our Christian defense ministry? Give us your prayers, your voice, your support. Write letters to local newspapers. Call in to local talk shows. Make sure your elected representatives know where you stand. Encourage your church’s leader to speak, to engage the culture. Let’s stand with our troops for God and country.
FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS Narrated by Lou Diamond Phillips
PRODUCER & DIRECTOR
This is the story of a group of elite US Army soldiers who fought America’s first major ground battle of the Second World War. They were General MacArthur’s best soldiers at the start of the conflict. They were credited with being widely responsible for the prolonged siege of Bataan, an action that drained so much time and resources from Imperial Japan that it prevented the Japanese invasion of Australia. Half of them were killed in action and in captivity. Only a few survive today. This documentary will honor these gallant men who gave so much for the cause of freedom. They were the United States Army’s Philippine Scouts, America’s FORGOTTEN SOLDIERS.
The Battling Bastards of Bataan
They were starving, sick. Many were untrained. Their weapons were obsolete. And their top general lived elsewhere. Bataan’s defenders were truly on their own.
Excerpt; much more at: http://www.americainwwii.com/articles/the-battling-bastards-of-bataan/
By Richard Sassaman
The 75,000 defenders of Bataan, while technically part of the US Army, were three-quarters Filipino. Unfortun-ately, with the exception of the highly skilled scouts of the Philippine Division, the bulk of the soldiers were untrained, unequipped, and (as the fighting at the beaches had showed) uninterested in hanging around once a battle started. “These people, you could be with them and the next thing you’d be by yourself,” one private said. A corporal added, “The native infantry had a bad case of the runs. They had a million excuses” to leave the front lines. While retreating, he said, they would pass holding up two fingers in a V for Victory gesture. Americans referred to the gesture as “V for Vacate.” A division commander reported that the native troops did only two things well: “one, when an officer appeared, to yell attention in a loud voice, jump up and salute; the other, to demand three meals per day.”
Communication between the troops was difficult. “Over sixty-five dialects are spoken in the Islands,” wrote Morton. “In many units there was a serious language barrier, not only between the American instructors and the Filipinos but also among the Filipinos. The enlisted men of one division spoke the Bicolanian dialect, their Philippine officers usually spoke Tagalog, and the Americans spoke neither.”
To make matters worse, the Filipinos’ weapons and munitions dated from World War I. Only one in three mortar shells would explode, and maybe one in five of the hand grenades. Many rifles had broken extractors, so after each bullet was fired, the shell case had to be pushed out of the gun with a piece of bamboo. The more modern M-1 rifles “became highly undependable” when dirty, said one private. “We got tired of pulling the trigger and having nothing happen.”
One more misfortune for the defenders of Bataan was the weather. It was the dry season in the Philippines, and the lack of rain, choking dust storms, temperatures usually above 90 degrees, and near 100-percent humidity made for an unpleasant environment even when the enemy wasn’t attacking, especially when combined with the tropical snakes, rats, and swarming insects.
The Japanese entered Manila on January 2, their invasion mostly unopposed. Things had gone so well for Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma, head of the Japanese 14th Army, that he became overconfident and started making mistakes. Intelligence reports indicated that only a ragged army of 25,000 remained to defend Bataan, so Homma allowed 15,000 of his finest troops, the 48th Division, to be transferred to the Dutch East Indies. Their replacements, the 6,600 men of the 65th Brigade, were an untested, poorly trained reserve unit.
Homma also had a new opponent to fight—the peninsula itself, more than 75 percent impenetrable jungle. “Bataan is ideally suited for defensive warfare,” Morton wrote. “It is jungled and mountainous, cut by numerous streams and deep ravines, and has only two roads adequate for motor vehicles.” The peninsula was a breeding ground for numerous diseases—malaria, dysentery, typhoid, dengue fever—that attacked both sides without prejudice.
By January 7, the Allied main defense line had been thrown up from Mauban on the west coast to Abucay on the east, anchored in the middle by the 4,222-foot-high extinct volcano Mt. Natib. The terrain around Natib was so rugged that the Allies left a five-mile gap in the center of their line, thinking the Japanese could never get through. When the Japanese finally did slog through several weeks later, the Allies retreated and reformed across a narrower section of the peninsula, from Bagac on the west to Orion on the east.
Battle forces moved slowly forward and back—not unlike the trench warfare of World War I. In one instance, Philippine scouts fought for four days to gain 40 yards of territory. It was hard even to tell the armies apart. Donald Young wrote in his book The Battle of Bataan (1992) that the Japanese 141st Infantry was attacked by soldiers of the Japanese 9th Infantry, who, “after seven days in the Natib forest, like a blind, hungry rattlesnake, were striking at anything that moved.”
On January 22, as the Bagac-Orion line was being established, the Japanese also launched an invasion down the west coast of Bataan. Ordered to converge on Caibobo Point, behind enemy lines, the 1,200 men—mostly seasick, sailing in overcrowded barges in the dark, without proper maps—became separated into two groups. One group landed 7 miles south of its target, and the other, 10.
Most of the defenders onshore, under the command of Brigadier General Clyde Selleck, had no infantry training. They included airmen with no planes to fly, members of a naval battalion without ships to sail, and former native policemen. Many of the men were, as one captain put it, “just remotely acquainted with their rifles.” One carpenter’s mate second class explained that the Filipinos “didn’t even know which end of the gun to fire. The rest of us didn’t know how to fire a gun if the safety was on.”
For the next three weeks, as the Japanese reinforced their original landing parties, the fledgling Filipino infantrymen fought along Bataan’s southwest coast on headlands named Longoskawayan, Quinauan, Anyasan, and Silaiim, in combat that became known as the Battle of the Points. They used a patchwork collection of weapons. Young described “two air-cooled .50-caliber machine guns that had been salvaged from a wrecked P-40 [US fighter]. Since there were no mounts for the bulky weapons, each gun was first loaded and then strapped to the back of a man, who, in turn, was followed closely down the trail by the gunner. To go into action, the man carrying the 95-pound .50 literally became a human gun-mount, dropping to all fours and then aiming himself in the general direction of the enemy. The gunner, in the meantime, would crawl up behind and begin firing.”
The Japanese had come so far south that even the guns on Corregidor could be used against them, making this the first time a major coastal battery had seen action since the American Civil War. In the end, the defenders, on higher ground, obliterated the invaders. By February 13, only about three dozen of the 2,000 Japanese soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Points were still alive.
Note: Enlarged font my emphasis; these are but a few of several reasons I have repeatedly referred to “But Not In Shame” by John Toland. “X”
While the fighting raged on the southwest coast, the main Japanese force attacked the reserve battle line just below the Pilar-Bagac Road. That line now was the main point of defense in what would be called the Battle of the Pockets.
The Allies now had 50 percent less territory to defend and, with no volcano in the middle of their line, manned a continuous barrier across the entire peninsula for the first time. About 1,000 Japanese broke through the line anyway, but soon got outflanked and trapped in three different places (the Little, Big, and Upper pockets). By February 17, when the Orion–Bagac line reformed after three weeks of bitter fighting, fewer than 400 of the invaders had made it back to their own side alive. Also by then, Homma had decided that enough was enough. In just over a month, almost 3,000 of his men had been killed, at least 4,000 more were wounded, and as many as 12,000 were sick or dying from malaria, beriberi, and dysentery.
At a staff meeting on February 8, Homma asked his staff for advice. One senior officer said their forces should be attacking on the relatively flat east coast of Bataan instead of the rugged west coast. Lieutenant General Masami Maeda, Homma’s chief of staff, pointed out that they didn’t really have to do anything, since the defenders were running out of food and soon would be starved into submission. “Although there may have been some merit in Maeda’s proposal,” wrote Richard Connaughton in his book MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines (2001), “it would have led to an inglorious and hollow victory.” Homma, already “having failed to achieve his mission in time…, faced up to the embarrassment of asking Tokyo for reinforcements.” As Homma awaited the arrival of fresh troops, Japanese attacks on the Bataan front ceased for the next six weeks. Incredibly, the unprepared, outgunned, starving defenders were winning the struggle.
THIS FOREVER STICKS IN MY CRAW. THEY COULD HAVE BEEN REINFORCED. We’d been sending Britain lend-lease supplies; FDR and his “Hitler first” stance condemned these brave men. “X”
A Personal History of the Battle for Guadalcanal.
Guadalcanal August 7, 1942: “The jungle is thick as hell. The Fifth Regiment landed first and marched to the airport. We went straight through and then cut over to block the escape of the Japs. It took three days to go six miles. Japs took off, left surplus first day, which was done away with.”
“The second day was murder. All along the way were discarded packs, rifles, mess gear and everything imaginable. The second night it rained like hell and the bugs were terrific. The Second Battalion (First Regiment) had reached the Lunga River…”
“The third day we came back. The Japs had beat us in their retreat. We took up beach defense positions. We have been bombed every day by airplanes, and a submarine shells us every now and then. Our foxholes are four-foot deep. We go out on night patrols and it’s plenty rugged. We lay in the foxholes for 13 to 14 hours at a clip and keep firing at the Japs in the jungle. As yet, there is no air support. The mosquitoes are very bad at night. The ants and flies bother us continually. The planes strafed the beach today. A big naval battle ensued the second day we were here, which resulted in our ship, the Elliott, being sunk. All of our belongings were lost.”
So begins my father’s firsthand account of his grueling experience on the island of Guadalcanal.
He wrote his Guadalcanal Journal in 1942 when he was a 21-year old Marine.
But more than a half-century would go by before my brother and sisters and I got to read it. For years the brown leather Journal lay buried in a bureau drawer. The miniscule words had faded and were hard to decipher. Then, last July, not long after my father’s death, my mother found a typed transcript of the diary among his papers. My dad had never talked much about Guadalcanal when he was alive. Now we know why.
“While we were giving the one cruiser hell, the Japs landed a battalion of men on Red Beach, but we did not know about it. The next night 12 of us went on patrol and took up positions on our side of the Lunga River. About 3 a.m., hell broke loose and the Japs started to cross the stream. I want to forget all about it. My buddies being shot and blown apart…”
Much more at http://guadalcanaljournal.com/
BATTLE OF SAIPAN
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June – 9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was launched. The U.S. 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito.
Bombardment of Saipan began on 13 June 1944. Fifteen battleships were involved, and 165,000 shells were fired. Seven modern fast battleships delivered twenty-four hundred 16 in (410 mm) shells, but to avoid potential minefields, fire was from a distance of 10,000 yd (9,100 m) or more, and crews were inexperienced in shore bombardment. The following day the eight pre-Pearl Harbor battleships and eleven cruisers under Admiral Jesse B. Oldendorf replaced the fast battleships but were lacking in time and ammunition.
The landings began at 07:00 on 15 June 1944. More than 300 LVTs landed 8,000 Marines on the west coast of Saipan by about 09:00. Eleven fire support ships covered the Marine landings. The naval force consisted of the battleships USS Tennessee and California. The cruisers were USS Birmingham and Indianapolis. The destroyers were USS Norman Scott, Monssen, Colahan, Halsey Powell, Bailey, Robinson and Albert W. Grant. Careful Japanese artillery preparation — placing flags in the lagoon to indicate the range — allowed them to destroy about 20 amphibious tanks, and the Japanese strategically placed barbed wire, artillery, machine gun emplacements, and trenches to maximize the American casualties. However, by nightfall the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions had a beachhead about 6 mi (10 km) wide and 0.5 mi (1 km) deep. The Japanese counter-attacked at night but were repulsed with heavy losses. On 16 June, units of the U.S. Army’s 27th Infantry Division landed and advanced on the airfield at Ås Lito (which is now the location of Saipan International Airport). Again the Japanese counter-attacked at night. On 18 June, Saito abandoned the airfield.
The invasion surprised the Japanese high command, which had been expecting an attack further south. Admiral Toyoda Soemu, commander-in-chief of the Japanese Navy, saw an opportunity to use the A-Go force to attack the U.S. Navy forces around Saipan. On 15 June, he gave the order to attack. But the resulting battle of the Philippine Sea was a disaster for the Imperial Japanese Navy, which lost three aircraft carriers and hundreds of planes. The garrisons of the Marianas would have no hope of resupply or reinforcement.
Without resupply, the battle on Saipan was hopeless for the defenders, but the Japanese were determined to fight to the last man. Saito organized his troops into a line anchored on Mount Tapotchau in the defensible mountainous terrain of central Saipan. The nicknames given by the Americans to the features of the battle — “Hell’s Pocket”, “Purple Heart Ridge” and “Death Valley” — indicate the severity of the fighting. The Japanese used the many caves in the volcanic landscape to delay the attackers, by hiding during the day and making sorties at night. The Americans gradually developed tactics for clearing the caves by using flamethrower teams supported by artillery and machine guns.
The operation was marred by inter-service controversy when marine General Holland Smith, unsatisfied with the performance of the 27th Division, relieved its commander, army Major General Ralph C. Smith. However, General Holland Smith had not inspected the terrain over which the 27th was to advance. Essentially it was a valley surrounded by hills and cliffs under Japanese control. The 27th took heavy casualties and eventually, under a plan developed by General Ralph Smith and implemented after his relief, had one battalion hold the area while two other battalions successfully flanked the Japanese.
By 7 July, the Japanese had nowhere to retreat. Saito made plans for a final suicidal banzai charge. On the fate of the remaining civilians on the island, Saito said, “There is no longer any distinction between civilians and troops. It would be better for them to join in the attack with bamboo spears than be captured.” At dawn, with a group of 12 men carrying a great red flag in the lead, the remaining able-bodied troops — about 3,000 men — charged forward in the final attack. Amazingly, behind them came the wounded, with bandaged heads, crutches, and barely armed. The Japanese surged over the American front lines, engaging both army and marine units. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th Infantry Regiment was almost destroyed, losing 650 killed and wounded. However, the fierce resistance of these two battalions, as well as that of Headquarters Company, 105th Infantry, and supply elements of 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Artillery Regiment resulted in over 4,300 Japanese killed. For their actions during the 15-hour Japanese attack, three men of the 105th Infantry were awarded the Medal of Honor — all posthumously. Numerous others fought the Japanese until they were overwhelmed by the largest Japanese Banzai attack in the Pacific War.
By 16:15 on 9 July, Admiral Turner announced that Saipan was officially secured. Saito — along with commanders Hirakushi and Igeta — committed suicide in a cave. Also committing suicide at the end of the battle was Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo — the naval commander who led the Japanese carriers at Pearl Harbor and Midway — who had been assigned to Saipan to direct the Japanese naval air forces based there.
In the end, almost the entire garrison of troops on the island — at least 30,000 — died. For the Americans, the victory was the most costly to date in the Pacific War. 2,949 Americans were killed and 10,464 wounded, out of 71,000 who landed. Hollywood actor Lee Marvin was among the many American wounded. He was serving with “I” Company, 24th Marine Regiment, when he was shot in the buttocks by Japanese machine gun fire during the assault on Mount Tapochau. He was awarded the Purple Heart and was given a medical discharge with the rank of Private First Class in 1945.
Iwo Jima Memorial – U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial
By Rachel Cooper, About.com Guide
Iwo Jima Memorial
Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The Iwo Jima Memorial, also known as the U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial, honors the Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775. The Iwo Jima Memorial is located near Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
The 32-foot-high sculpture of the Iwo Jima Memorial was inspired by a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of one of the most historic battles of World War II. Iwo Jima, a small island located 660 miles south of Tokyo, was the last territory that U.S. troops recaptured from the Japanese during World War II. The Iwo Jima Memorial statue depicts the scene of the flag raising by five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman that signaled the successful takeover of the island. The capture of Iwo Jima eventually led to the end of the war in 1945.
The figures of the Marines in the Iwo Jima Memorial statue erect a 60-foot bronze flagpole from which a cloth flag flies 24 hours a day. The base of the memorial is made of rough Swedish granite which is inscribed with the names and dates of every principal member of the U. S. Marine Corps. Also engraved are the words “In honor and in memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775.”
The American Military Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer holds 9,387 American graves. Most of the soldiers buried here were involved in the Normandy D-Day Landings and the battles that followed. The cemetery is on the site of the temporary St Laurent graveyard, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944. Among the first casualties were those of the U.S. 82nd and 101st Divisions landing by glider along with the British 6th on the Normandy beaches. Also here are those from the U.S. 4th Infantry Division at Utah Beach and the U.S. 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions from Omaha Beach.
Start at the Visitor Center and an exhibition that shows Operation Overlord and the lives of some of the soldiers who fought and died. Don’t miss the extremely moving film Letters which reveals the lives of some of the young soldiers through the words and memories of their mothers, fathers, girlfriends and friends.
The cemetery itself is huge, covering 172.5 acres. To get there, walk down a path to a plaque which shows you the battle and offers a panoramic view of the sweeping sandy beach below. In the cemetery itself, the white headstones on a gentle slope stretch into the distance, seemingly into infinity. At one end stands the Memorial; in the middle there’s a chapel and at the end two huge statues representing the United States and France.
“Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams
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Uploaded on Aug 5, 2011
In honor of the soldiers who give us the freedoms we have today. American Cemeteries around the world and the number of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Support the troops.