amphibious assault

Mar

2

1944

German propaganda seeks to divide the Allies

A variation on the theme of " over-sexed, over-paid, and over-here" that was sometimes used to characterise US troops in Britain.

The ‘accomplishments’ of this American leadership are indeed typically American: operations were insufficiently prepared and led to the most dreadful reverses for your troops. Your picked units were carelessly thrown into the battle. CERTAINLY, THE YANKS PLAYED YOU A NASTY TURN.

Feb

3

1944

Mopping up the last Japanese on Kwajalein

Men of the 7th Div. using flame throwers to smoke out Japs from a block house on Kwajalein Island, while others wait with rifles ready in case Japs come out. February 4, 1944.

One tank was way out in front of all the others, too far out front. About ten Japs ran out of a blockhouse and surrounded it, throwing hand grenades at it. The tank would have been done for except that another tank a good way behind could see what was going on through a break in the trees and wiped out the Japs with light machine gun fire.

Jan

31

1944

Operation Overlord is put back by a month

A fleet of Landing Craft Assault passing a landing ship during exercises prior to the invasion of Normandy.

This promise of a month’s delay came as good news to the airmen, for the additional weeks would enable us to soften the enemy still more by bombing. Even the far-off Russians welcomed the change in plan. By June, spring thaws on the Eastern front would have dried sufficiently to permit resumption of the Red Army offensive.

Jan

25

1944

The Germans begin to contain the Anzio beach head

Men of the Middlesex Regiment dig in at Anzio, with Private H Carpocciama in the foreground.

My Colonel returned with the tale that he had stood at the front surveying the terrain; all was quiet and the Alban Hills beckoned and it seemed he could have taken his walking stick and strolled towards them. It seemed that nothing in the world could stop a quick advance to seize the Alban Hills at a small price and that our objective would be achieved and consolidated. Everyone was geared up for the big race.

Jan

2

1944

US Marines at Cape Gloucester are dive bombed

Marine mortar in action. Supporting the attack on Cape Gloucester, Marine mortarmen behind their riflemen buddies, form a bucket brigade line to pass the ammunition as they fire into Japanese positions with their 81mm mortar.

Navar and I had been a little way from the gun position when we got the condition: “RED”. Our radar had picked up some incoming dive-bombers. You could always tell the Japanese bombers as they had a different sound to their engines and we ran over to our gun section. Everyone was in the slit trench and Navar and I couldn’t get in for lack of space. The bombs were starting to fall very close.

Dec

29

1943

The smell of death in the paradise of Bougainville

ROUTE STEP…MUD – Marines moving up to the Bougainville front lines ran afoul of General Mud.  Here some of the Marines demonstrate carious forms of footwork for muddy going.  The leader (right) is recovering his balance after a misstep, the third Marine from the end lifts his feet high, while the other Leathernecks just plow right through.

I always hated the feeling that we were destroying something really beautiful. Sometimes, when I was resting, I’d see monkeys come down from the trees. We men would feed them. During quiet periods, I often thought about those wonderful animals and flowers and wondered how they were going to survive the war. As a Navajo, I’d been taught to respect the earth, and the devastation made me feel sick.

Nov

22

1943

Tarawa – the fight for ‘Bonnyman’s Hill’

Lt Bonnyman has been indicated by an arrow, right of centre, as he leads his men in another assault.

Withdrawing only to replenish his ammunition, he led his men in a renewed assault, fearlessly exposing himself to the merciless slash of hostile fire as he stormed the formidable bastion, directed the placement of demolition charges in both entrances and seized the top of the bombproof position, flushing more than 100 of the enemy who were instantly cut down, and effecting the annihilation of approximately 150 troops inside the emplacement.

Nov

21

1943

The second desperate day on Tarawa

Sprawled bodies on beach of Tarawa, testifying to ferocity of the struggle for this stretch of sand.  November 1943.

0600: One of the fresh battalions is coming in. Its Higgins boats are being hit before they pass the old hulk of a freighter seven hundred yards from shore. One boat blows up, then another. The survivors start swimming for shore, but machine-gun bullets dot the water all around them. Back of us the Marines have started an offensive to clean out the jap machine guns which are now firing at our men in the water.They evidently do not have much success, because there is no diminution of the fire that rips into the two dozen or more Higgins boats.

Nov

20

1943

The U.S. Marines begin their assault on ‘Bloody Tarawa’

Marines take cover behind a sea wall on Red Beach #3, Tarawa.   November 1943.  (Marine Corps)

Also, from some point I couldn’t see, a mortar was dropping bursts ahead of us and slightly to our right. I saw no Marines on the beach, only blasted boats where they had stopped. Two of them were on fire. Beyond, a stout coconut-log barricade ran like a fence parallel to the whole shore. Then I got down as low as I could, with only my helmet showing, and began to crawl and duck-walk through the water, which was hardly three feet deep, even though we were almost a half mile out. I was heading for the right-hand flank, but just why, I couldn’t say myself… .