26 December 2013

Sasebo Relocation Center for Japanese Returnees


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Date: Friday, 20 December 1946
Place: Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Julian Wilson

Forcibly returned from Manchuria, these Japanese at Sasebo Relocation Center are awaiting transport to other camps or a place with friends or relatives. Between October 1, 1945 and December 31, 1946, 5.1 million Japanese, civilians and soldiers, returned from Manchuria, China, Formosa, the Pacific, Okinawa and Asia. Another 1.1 million returned in 1947. 676 Japanese decided to return from the United States, either because they rejected their US citizenship after internment or because they were Japanese citizens. To accomplish this, the remnants of Japan's shattered fleet and liberty ships and LSTs operated by 100,000 US Navy personnel were used to transport them home. Many were processed in Sasebo, a camp operated by the US Army. The returnees would carry the ashes of the dead from overseas or who died along the way in small white boxes. If they did not have a place to go, they were housed in camps like Uraga Relocation Center in Tokyo Bay. Food, clothing and medicine were scarce, and death from starvation or dysentery was frequent. Since many of the repatriated Japanese had lived outside of Japan their whole lives, reintegration into Japanese society was difficult. Often they were treated as foreigners and denied housing, education and employment. Sasebo now has a monument to the 6.2 million repatriates. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1100

Japanese Americans Queue for Transport to Santa Anita Assembly Center


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Date: Monday, 6 April 1942
Place: San Francisco, California, USA
Photographer: Dorothea Lange

The first 664 Japanese Americans to receive orders to relocate to the temporary facility, Santa Anita Assembly Center, gather under military escort at 2020 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. Their belongings are stacked up against the curb. They were taken by bus to the train station under armed guard. vacuees were instructed to bring with them sufficient blankets, bed linen and towels; toilet articles, soap, comb and mirror; adequate clothing; knives, forks, spoons, plates, bowls, cups; other small incidental property which can be carried easily. When they arrived, their baggage was searched. Japanese language books, magazines, and religious tracts were confiscated. Santa Anita was still under construction when they arrived, and some internees were housed in unclean horse stalls. After staying at the race track until the permanent detention camp was ready, they were moved to Manzanar Camp in Owens Valley, California. Santa Anita was in operation from March 27 - October 27, 1942. 

Source:
http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/japanese-relocation/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1102

Oberst Walther von Hünersdorff Discussing Strategy


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Date: January 1943
Place: Novo Marjewka, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Oberst Walther von Hünersdorff (right), Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 11 / 6.Panzer-Division - and of the division from 7 February 1943 to 14 July 1943 - holds a front-line orders group during a January 1943 attack on the Soviet position known as "Rabbit Farm". During the costly fighting between the Don and the Donets that winter Von Hünersdorff commanded Kampfgruppe (armoured battle-group) of 6. and 7. Panzer-Division and Army reserve assault artillery units. Not satisfied with their victory at Stalingrad, the Soviets plunged southwestward in an attempt to cut off Heeresgruppe A (Army Group A) in the Caucasus and collapse the entire German southern wing on the Ostfront, perhaps ending the war in early 1943. But German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein implemented a bold plan to first slow and then reverse the Soviet thrust. In two brutal battles in January at Tatsinskaya and Novo Marjewka the 6. Panzer-Division succeeded in stopping the Soviet thrust between the Don and Donets Rivers. Later, the depleted division still played a key role in the counteroffensive that re- took Kharkov in March.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://www.blowtorchscenarios.com/Baeke%20Battles_Der%20Mensch%20on%20the%20Ost%20Front/Baeke_Battles_Der_Mensch_In_The_East_series.htm

Panzergrenadiers with the Wrecked T-34


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Date: December 1942
Place: Verkhne-Kumskiy, Volgogradskaya Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Near the Don, winter 1942-1943: the costly fighting following the attempt to open a corridor to the trapped 6. Armee at Stalingrad. A wrecked Soviet T-34/76, with some of its ammunition spilled on the snow, is surrounded by the curious Panzergrenadiers of 6. Panzer-Division dressed in the reversible combat suit. Operation Winter Storm (German: Unternehmen Wintergewitter) was a German offensive in World War II in which the German 4th Panzer Army failed to break the Soviet encirclement of the German 6th Army during the Battle of Stalingrad. In late November 1942, the Red Army completed Operation Uranus, encircling some 300,000 Axis personnel in and around the city of Stalingrad. German forces within the Stalingrad pocket and directly outside were reorganized under Heeresgruppe Don (Army Group Don), under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein. Meanwhile, the Red Army continued to allocate as many resources as possible to the eventual launch of the planned Operation Saturn, which aimed to isolate Heeresgruppe A (Army Group A) from the rest of the German Army. To remedy the situation, the Luftwaffe attempted to supply German forces in Stalingrad through an air bridge. When the Luftwaffe proved incapable of carrying out its mission and it became obvious that a successful breakout could occur only if launched as early as possible, Manstein decided on a relief effort. Originally, Manstein was promised four panzer divisions. Due to German reluctance to weaken certain sectors by redeploying German units, the task of opening a corridor to the German 6th Army fell to the 4. Panzerarmee (4th Panzer Army). The German force was pitted against several Soviet armies tasked with the destruction of the encircled German forces and their offensive around the lower Chir River. The German offensive caught the Red Army by surprise and made large gains on the first day. The spearhead forces enjoyed air support and were able to defeat counterattacks by Soviet troops. By 13 December, Soviet resistance slowed the German advance considerably. Although German forces took the area surrounding Verkhne-Kumskiy, the Red Army launched Operation Little Saturn on 16 December. Operation Little Saturn defeated the Italian 8th Army on Army Group Don's left flank, threatening the survival of Manstein's entire group of forces. As resistance and casualties increased, Manstein appealed to Hitler and to the commander of the German 6th Army, General Friedrich Paulus, to begin the 6th Army's breakout; both refused. The 4th Panzer Army continued its attempt to open a corridor to the 6th Army on 18–19 December, but was unable to do so without the aid of forces inside the Stalingrad pocket. Manstein was forced to call off the assault on 23 December and by Christmas Eve the 4th Panzer Army began to withdraw to its starting position. Due to the failure of the 6th Army to breakout and the attempt to break the Soviet encirclement, the Red Army was able to continue the destruction of German forces in Stalingrad.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Winter_Storm

Hermann Göring and His Lion Cub


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Date: Sunday, 5 April 1936
Place: Carinhall Castle, Berlin, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

Hermann Göring (Oberbefehlshaber der Luftwaffe) with his pet lion cub, Cäsar (some sources said as Mucki), pictured in his grandiose Carinhall castle, 5 April 1936. Göring and his wife Emma Sonnemann (known as Emmy Göring after married) lived in a castle outside Berlin named Carinhall after Göring’s first wife Carin Fock (imagine being Emmy and living in that house!). Göring’s lavish possessions there included a bowling alley, a train set appraised at $265,000 — and a private zoo that “required enough meat to feed a village"! In that zoo was a lion, or, rather, several lions, including the one in the picture. Therein lies another clue about Göring and the lion: Göring maintained close ties with zoologists and animal lovers, particularly those interested in big game animals, around Germany. Partly, this was because he was a big game hunter. But Göring’s love of animals went beyond his desire to kill them. In fact, Göring was a humanitarian when it came to large animals. He personally protected a herd of several dozen Polish bison, two thirds of whom survived the war as a direct consequence of Göring’s actions. In 1945, Berlin Zoo keeper Fritz Schneider complained that Göring had offered to evacuate the entire zoo to Carinhall in case of bombing, but had failed to do so (in fact, Göring couldn’t have saved the animals, since he’d already dynamited his castle). In addition, this website claims that Göring reintroduced buffalo and elk to German grasslands and threatened to send local townspeople to concentration camps if they killed large animals around Carinhall, including wild boars! We find ourselves at a surprising, but inescapable conclusion: Hermann Göring, the butcher of European Jewry, showed surprising tenderness, if not love, toward his pet lions. What are we to make of this? It’s easy to conclude that the strange difference in behavior is merely an example of Göring’s villainy, or, following Hannah Arendt, that it reflects “the banality of evil.” Alternately, we could agree with art curator Nancy Yeide, who concludes that the lions reflect a love of excess inherent in Göring’s character. Certainly, ownership and close contact with big cats is regarded today as a sign of extreme decadence.

Source:
http://herbertcroly.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/goerings-lion/
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002716250/

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23 December 2013

Leutnant Helmut Ritgen Collecting his Lunch from Field Kitchen


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Date: 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Leutnant Helmut Ritgen (10 March 1916 - 7 February 2013) from 6. Panzer-Division collecting his lunch from a field kitchen (feldküche) mounted on the reliable 2½-ton 6 x 6 diesel lorry built by MAN, Henschel, Büssing-NAG, Magirus and Faun. The uncropped photograph shows, low on the right rear body of the truck, the white marking 'GI' (Gefechtstross I or Forward Battle Train). Until 1944 each company had its own "battle train", including a field kitchen; subsequently these were incorporated into the supply companies of each battalion. Ritgen would be awarded the coveted Deutsches Kreuz in Gold in 30 December 1944 as a Hauptmann in Panzerlehr-Regiment 130 / Panzer-Lehr-Division. He ended the war as an Oberst.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen

Front-Line Conference of Wolfram von Richthofen and Richard Koll


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Date: Autumn 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

The close support given to the armour by the ground-attack aircraft of the Luftwaffe is symbolised by this snapshot of General der Flieger Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen (Kommandierender General VII. Fliegerkorps), the renowned Air Corps commander of the Stuka squadrons, after he had landed his Fieseler Fi 156 Storch liaison aircraft for a front-line conference with Oberst Richard Koll (Kommandeur Panzer-Regiment 11 / 6.Panzer-Division) in autumn 1941. The fire of combat rises only 200 yards beyond! Just visible on Von Richthofen's right forearm is the rare and prized cuff-title commemorating service with the First World War fighter wing commanded by his cousin, "The Red Baron" Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen

Cheerful Divisional Personnel Pose with a Wrecked Soviet T-28B tank


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Date: July 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Cheerful divisional personnel from 6. Panzer-Division pose with a wrecked Soviet T-28B tank in the first weeks of the Russian campaign. This 25-ton Russian derivative of the British Vickers A6E1 design was armed with a 76.2mm main gun and three MGs, and was first unveiled at a parade in October 1932. Note soldier clowning with 76.2mm round! Also unidentified brigade and battalion markings on turret. In the Operation Barbarossa, the 6th Panzer-Division fighting at first under Heeresgruppe Nord (Army Group North) for Leningrad but soon transferring to Heeresgruppe Mitte (Army Group Center), where it fought in the Battle of Moscow and the Rzhev-Vyazma Salient. 

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Panzer_Division_(Wehrmacht)

22 December 2013

Messerschmitt Bf 109 of JG 5 at Norway


Image size: 1600 x 960 pixel. 443 KB
Date: May 1945
Place: Lister/Lista Airfield, Farsund, Norway
Photographer: Unknown

Pictures of aircraft of IV.Gruppe / Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG 5) are rare. This one shows Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-14 “gelb 4” of 15.Staffel / JG 5 on Lister airfield (Norway) shortly before the capitulation early May 1945. Note the unusual shape of the tactical number and the black/yellow fuselage band of JG 5. The aircraft was marked with a wavy line behind the Balkenkreuz, but this is not the normal gentle wavy line for IV. Gruppen, but the more curved wavy line used by III. Gruppen until the end of 1943. This also can be seen within IV./JG 26, where the same strong wavy line was used. This aircraft has an Erla-hood and a Flettner-rudder. Note the red/white ribbons attached to the clamps between the elevators and rudder. The ribbons were used to make sure that removal of the clamps was not forgotten.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002

PK Cameraman Made a Footage of Fw 190


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Date: September 1944
Place: Krefeld-Linn airfield, Rheinland, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

In spite of the critical situation on all fronts in September 1944, the cameramen of the Propagandakompanien continued to shoot their “shoulder to the wheel” footage for the Die Deutsche Wochenschau. Oberfähnrich Erich Schneider of 3.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 26 prepares his Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-8 “gelb 12” for a fast roll out from his camouflaged revetment at Krefeld-Linn airfield. The aircraft is very filthy and Balkenkreuz and tactical number can hardly be seen. Notice the battery of the cameraman, which was carried over the shoulder and provided power for the camera.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002

Messerschmitt Bf 109 of Feldwebel Hans Döbrich


Image size: 1600 x 1090 pixel. 505 KB
Date: January 1943
Place: Alakurtti, Kandalakshsky District, Murmansk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

One of the specialists of 6.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG 5) at the Eismeer Front during the winter of 1942/1943 was, beside the more well known Oberleutnant Horst Carganico, Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Müller and Leutnant Heinrich Ehrler: Feldwebel Hans Döbrich. This picture shows his brand-new in winter camouflage Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2 “gelb 10” with 2cm gondola mounted cannon (Rüstsatz R6 = Gondel MG 151/20) in the spring of 1943. Because the “Eismeerjäger” encountered mostly slower Russian Hurricanes, the reduction of top speed caused by the gondola mounted cannon was of no negative influence. The aircraft has the four leaf clover as emblem for II.Gruppe / JG 5 as well as a personal emblem of Feldwebel Döbrich. Notice also the oil leakage of the oil cooler and that the markings of Stammkennzeichen under the wing are not painted over. Picture was probably taken at Alakurtti.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002

21 December 2013

A Rider Delivers Mail to Nashorn Crew


Image size: 1600 x 1064 pixel. 580 KB
Date: 1944
Place: Russia
Photographer: Unknown

Panzerjäger (tank hunter or destroyer) Hornisse (Hornet) or Nashorn (Rhino) Sonderkraftfahrtzeug (military special purpose vehicle) SdKfz 164 receives communication from a dispatch rider. This Nashorn is equipped with standard tracks with grousers attached (trapezoidal teeth mounted to the track). By December 1941 it was obvious that only heavy artillery could defeat the armor of the Soviet T-34. While designs for new tanks and tank destroyers progressed, a 88mm Pak 43 gun was fitted to a new chassis design that used components from both panzer III and panzer IV tanks. With an under-armored, high silhouette, soft steel open box for the gun, the Hornisse's crews suffered through all the elements. Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler ordered a second version, with minor changes, that became the main production version. 474 Nashorns and 20 Hornisses were made between February 1943 and March 1945, designed by Alkett and produced by Deutsche Eisenwerke in Tieplitz-Schonau. The first 100 units equipped the 655 schwere Panzerjäger-Abteilung on May 12, 1943 in time for the Kursk Offensive. While under-armored and open toped, they could fight heavy tanks like the T-34 and M-26 Pershing. Six schwere Panzerjäger Abteilungens (560, 655, 525, 93, 519 and 88) were engaged in combat during the war. Each unit was equipped with 30 Nashorns. Date and location estimated. 

Source:
http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/190289-wintermud-tracks-for-pzkpfw-iiiiv-and-variants/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii110

Japanese Envoys Escorted to Hong Kong Government House


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Date: Sunday, 16 September 1945
Place: Victoria, Hong Kong, China
Photographer: Unknown

UK Royal Navy Commander Carr escorts Japanese envoys to Government House. They surrendered the Japanese forces in China on September 16, 1945, in Hong Kong. The instrument was signed by Imperial Japanese Army Major General Umekichi Okada, Imperial Japanese Navy Vice Admiral Ruitaro Fujita and UK Royal Navy Rear Admiral Cecil H. J. Harcourt. The 10,000 Japanese soldiers of the Hong Kong garrison were held at Shamshuipo barracks, like the Allied prisoners of war who survived the invasion of Hong Kong in 1941. Within a few months, all the Japanese, except for 271 suspects of the Japanese Secret Police (Kempeitai) who were held for investigation of the International Military Tribunal. Several surviving officers of the 23rd Army, which conquered Hong Kong in 1941, were also found in Japan and flown out to Hong Kong for investigation and trial.

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1098

20 December 2013

2nd Mixed Brigade Field Hospital Surrenders on Iwo Jima


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Date: Thursday, 5 April 1945
Place: Iwo Jima, Bonin Islands, Japan
Photographer: Unknown

Major Masaru Inaoka leads Japanese survivors into captivity. The US Army's 147th Infantry Regiment organized a systematic mop-up in April and May. An officer and ten men, Nisei who spoke Japanese, accompanied by prisoners who lent themselves to this work, broadcast invitations to surrender through loud-speakers, promising the Japanese good usage and plenty to eat and drink. These methods netted 867 more prisoners and killed another 1602. Army troops also stumbled upon the field hospital of the 2nd Mixed Brigade, located 100 feet underground on eastern Iwo Jima. A language officer appealed to the Japanese to come out. The senior medical officer, Major Inaoka, called for a vote. The ballot turned out 69 for surrender, three opposed. Of the three nays, Corporal Kyutaro Kojima immediately committed suicide. The others came out, including the two officers, Captain Iwao Noguchi and Lieutenant Hideo Ota. During the battle, Japanese defense plans for Iwo Jima had made no provision for the evacuation of any wounded. They either crawled back or were carried to aid stations behind the lines. There, they might be placed in niches in the walls of tunnels, where their comrades would look after them as best they could. Some of the Japanese bound up their wounds and remained with their units, either to fight again if physically able or else perform other work behind the lines. Repeated appeals were made for surrender. Some propaganda leaflets were dropped from planes and fired in artillery shells, but the most frequently used method was voice appeals. Language officers, Nisei Japanese-Americans and volunteer prisoners participated in this last form of persuasion. Out of 65 captured Japanese who had some contact with United States propaganda, 53 were influenced and gave themselves up as a direct result. The remaining twelve stated that fear of their own officers and fear of trickery on the part of the Marines had deterred them. These last did not surrender, but were captured under other circumstances. After the war, Captain Noguchi, beset by remorse that he had lived while so many died, later emigrated to Brazil. He was unable to accept life in Japan. 

Source:
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-fall-of-imperial-japan/100175/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1099

Services in Hiroshima's Nagarekawa Church

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Date: Monday, 1 October 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Max Desfor

Minister leads services in Nagarekawa Methodist Church of Christ. The building, which was totally destroyed in the bombing, was only insured for 150,000 yen, about $500 in 1945 dollars ($5425 in 2005 dollars). Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto bartered, traded and cajoled donations of money and supplies to start rebuilding. When he wasn't doing that, he and four other ministers would walk around Hiroshima preaching to the community, which was angry at both the occupation and the Japanese government for the bombing and the terrible conditions that plagued Hiroshima for years afterward. An Emory University alumni, he contacted his friends in the United States for help. He visited the United States in 1948, touring Methodist congregations and telling about his efforts to minister to the Hiroshima community. This resulted in thousands of dollars in donations and a car. He began social services for people, especially women, who were disfigured by the bomb, and an orphanage. He brought the "Hiroshima Maidens" to the United States for surgery to treat their scars and wounds in 1955. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1094

Southern Hiroshima After Atomic Bomb


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Date: Wednesday, 5 September 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Max Desfor

View looking south at Miyajima Island between Tenma and Ota Rivers, with the Hiroden streetcar line in the direction toward Eba Station. Municipal Fukuromachi Elementary School is visible next to the train tracks. Some 160 students and faculty were killed in the initial attack. Because of the condition of the school, it became a relief hospital. The relief station remained in operation after October 5, 1945 when most relief stations closed. The school reopened in 1946. Many people came here to post written messages about their missing loved ones on the school's chalkboards. A section of one chalkboard, still written with names, was discovered in 1993. Hiroshima's 70 streetcars were all in operation at the time of the attack. Only three were fit for service after the explosion. On August 9, 1945, using the undamaged Hatsukaichi transformer for power, one section of the line between Koi Station and the Tenma-cho stop 4600 feet long (1.4 kilometers) began running, driven by 16-year-old Maso Yamasaki. Many citizens, still digging out their dead and cremating them in maskeshift open pits, saw the streetcar as a sign that the city would survive. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1095

19 December 2013

"Little Boy" Bomb Explodes Over Hiroshima


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Date: Monday, 6 August 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Technical Sergeant George R. "Bob" Caron (US Army)

Explosion of "Little Boy" Atomic bomb on Hiroshima. For the strike, four 509th Composite Group aircraft were used. Straight Flush, piloted by Major Claude R. Eatherly (B-29-36-MO 44-27301, victor number "Dimples" 85) was assigned to weather reconnaissance. The Great Artiste, piloted by Major Charles W. Sweeney (B-29-40-MO 44-27353, victor number "Dimples" 89) carried blast measurement instrumentation, dropping four canisters of radio measurement equipment. Necessary Evil, Captain George W. Marquardt (B-29-45-MO 44-86291, victor number "Dimples" 91) was assigned to strike observation and photography, including a Fastax Camera that shot 10,000 frames per second operated by Physics Professor Bernard Waldman. Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets (B-29-45-MO-44-86292 Victor 82) delivered the bomb. Several fixed "official" cameras were mounted on the planes, and film cameras in several planes. The 509th's photography officer, Lieutenant Jerome Ossip, asked Enola Gay's tail gunner, Technical Sergeant George R. "Bob" Caron, to carry handheld a Fairchild K-20 Camera. After the mission, Ossip developed the photos, but found that the fixed cameras were unable to record anything, and Waldman's film was mishandled in developing. The last camera, Caron's, was able to take this photo. Another handheld 16mm film camera on "Great Artiste" captured the only known motion film of the explosion. 

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boy
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1093

Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall


Image size: 1600 x 1200 pixel. 859 KB
Date: Friday, 5 October 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Shigeo Hayashi

Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, Sarugaku-cho District. 500 feet (160 meters) from the hypocenter of the atomic attack. Photographed from the roof of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commerce Association in Moto-machi District 850 feet (260 meters) from the hypocenter. Czech architect Jan Letzel (April 9, 1880 – December 26, 1925) designed the building, constructed in 1915 as Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall. In 1921, the name changed to Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall and again in 1933 to Industrial Promotion Hall. Besides displaying and selling products from around the prefecture, it also served as a history and art museum. As the war intensified, these roles withered and various government offices took over the space, including the Chugoku-Shikoku Public Works Office of the Home Ministry and the Lumber Control Corporation. The atomic bombing killed everyone in the building. Because the bomb exploded virtually overhead, it retained the distinctive feature that earned it the name "Atomic Bomb Dome" after the war. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1089

Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the "Atomic Bomb Dome"


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Date: Friday, 7 September 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Stanley Troutman

American Survey Team Member pauses in front of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The 4 square miles of densely built-up area in the heart of the city — residential, commercial, and military — contained three-fifths of the total population. If there were about 245,000 people in the city at the time of the attack, the density in the congested area must have been about 35,000 per square mile. Five completed evacuation programs and a sixth then in progress had reduced the population from its wartime peak of 380,000. In Hiroshima the dwellings were of wood construction; very few were more than two stories. There were no masonry division walls. Large groups of dwellings clustered together. The type of construction, coupled with antiquated fire-fighting equipment and inadequately trained personnel, made even in peacetime a high possibility of conflagration. Nearly seven percent of the residential units had been torn down to make firebreaks, but the firestorm jumped the human-made breaks and the rivers as well. Many buildings were of poor construction by American standards. The principal points of weakness were the extremely small tenons, the inadequate tension joints, and the inadequate or poorly designed lateral bracings. Reinforced concrete framed buildings were not uniform in design and in quality of materials. Some of the construction details (reinforcing rod splices, for example) were often poor, and much of the concrete was definitely weak; thus some reinforced concrete buildings collapsed and suffered structural damage when within 2,000 feet of the hypocenter, and some internal wall paneling was demolished even up to 3,800 feet. Other buildings, however, were constructed far more strongly than is required by normal building codes in America, to resist earthquakes. Since the 1923 earthquake, construction regulations in Japan have specified that the roof must safely carry a minimum load of 70 pounds per square foot (708 kilograms per square centimeter) whereas American 1945 requirements did not normally exceed 40 pounds per square foot (405 kilograms per square centimeter) for similar types. Though the regulation was not always followed, this extra strong construction was encountered in some of the buildings near ground zero at Hiroshima, and undoubtedly accounts for their ability to withstand atomic bomb pressures without structural failures. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1091

14 December 2013

Rivers of Hiroshima After Atomic Bombing


Image size: 1600 x 1265 pixel. 595 KB
Date: Wednesday, 5 September 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Unknown

The (top to bottom) Koi, Tsukishima, and Tenma tributaries of the Ota River (Japanese: "Ota Gama") frame the devastation of Hiroshima looking West to Koi Station. The city is located on the broad fan-shaped delta of the Ota River, whose seven mouths (today six) divide the city into six islands which project fingerlike into Hiroshima Bay of the Inland Sea. These mouths of the river furnished excellent firebreaks in a city that is otherwise flat and only slightly above sea level. A highly developed bridge system, with 81 major bridges, joined the islands. A single kidney shaped hill in the eastern part of the city, about one-half mile long and rising to an elevation of 221 feet, offered some blast protection to structures on the eastern side opposite the point of fall of the bomb. Otherwise, the city was uniformly exposed to the spreading energy from the bomb. Because of the flat terrain and circular shape of the city, Hiroshima was uniformly and extensively devastated. Practically the entire densely or moderately built-up portion of the city was leveled by blast and swept by fire. A firestorm developed in Hiroshima: fires springing up almost simultaneously over the wide flat area around the center of the city drew in air from all directions. The inrush of air easily overcame the natural ground wind, which had a velocity of only about 5 miles per hour. The "fire-wind" attained a maximum velocity of 30 to 40 miles per hour for hours. The "fire-wind" and the symmetry of the built-up center of the city gave a roughly circular shape to the 4.4 square miles which were almost completely burned out. The surprise of the attack, the collapse of many buildings, and the conflagration contributed to an unprecedented casualty rate. Seventy to eighty thousand people were killed, or missing and presumed dead, and an equal number were injured. The magnitude of casualties is set in relief by a comparison with the Tokyo fire raid of 9-10 March 1945, in which, though nearly 16 square miles were destroyed, the number killed was no larger, and fewer people were injured. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1090

American Survey Team Member in Hiroshima


Image size: 1600 x 1306 pixel. 501 KB
Date: Saturday, 8 September 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Stanley Troutman


Original caption: "This section of Hiroshima looks like nothing more than a work pile. Radiators from buildings that disappeared from face of the Earth after blast of the atom bomb lie peculiarly in foreground". A member of the first American Survey Team explores the devastation near the financial district. Note radiators that survived fires in foreground, and complete destruction as a result of the firestorm. The first Americans arrived in Hiroshima on September 4, 1945, and immediately reported radiation sickness to scientists on Saipan. However, while radiation was expected, the possibility of overdose was discounted. US Army General Leslie Groves, manager of the Manhattan Project, ordered Brigadier General Thomas F. Farrell to proceed to Hiroshima with scientists and a medical team. They arrived on September 8 and immediately began to measure the city to determine the impact hypocenter by measuring the angle of the shadows of the people and objects incinerated by the bomb. Cooperation with Japanese scientists was marked by mutual distrust and discounting of the abilities of each side, complicated by the lingering war animosity. The Nagasaki physicians ordered their surviving nurses to hide, fearing they would be raped by the Americans. The teams were limited by the available transportation, which had to be flown or shipped by sea as the rail lines were jammed with refugees. Through 1947, American scientific teams examined Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but little effort was made to provide medical support to radiation poisoned survivors. A high death rate continued for several years, as radiation, injury, and poor diet and sanitation combined to kill thousands of people who survived the initial attack. Eventually the Japanese and Americans set up the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) at the end of 1945, but with most records destroyed, who had a legitimate claim to assistance remained in dispute. Survivors, known as hibakusha ("explosion-affected people") are still struggling with their injuries and cancers.  

Source:
http://www.corbisimages.com/Search#pg=troutman
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1088

13 December 2013

Prototype 37mm Flakpanzer IV "Möbelwagen"


Image size: 1600 x 1091 pixel. 357 KB
Date: Saturday, 1 April 1944
Place: Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Photographer: Unknown

Prototype 37mm FlaK auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen IV (Sf) nicknamed "Möbelwagen." Intending to produce a unit with four 20mm guns, Krupp built this "interim solution" armed with 37mm Flak 43 L/89 cannon to combat Allied aircraft.The Möbelwagen was built on Panzer IV chassis that had been damaged on the Eastern Front and returned to the factory for repair. These were fitted with an open-top superstructure that provided the gun mount. Around the gun were mounted four hinged 20 mm armored plates. These plates had two basic operating positions: they could be lowered for full 360 degree traverse, allowing flat or low-level firing, or they could be half-closed, being pinned together to hang slightly open. In this position, they had notches that allowed the gun full rotation, but only for firing at airborne targets. Still, both of these positions left the crew extremely vulnerable. The fully closed position was only used for transport, when the plates would give the crew some protection from small arms fire and shrapnel. Production began in March 1944 by Deutsche-Eisenwerke and BMM. On April 7, 1944, the first twenty were completed and were put in service with Panzer Divisions on the Western Front by June 15. All of the 250 production units of the Möbelwagen went to the Western Front, because it proved to be an adequate interim solution while purpose-built Flakpanzers with better crew protection were being designed. Though the Möbelwagen was intended to be a stopgap, it served the anti-aircraft platoons of the Panzer Divisions extremely well on the Western Front, manufactured until March 1945. Date Estimated. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii109

Nakajima-hon-machi District in Hiroshima After Atomic Bombing


Image size: 1600 x 1399 pixel. 786 KB
Date: Saturday, 1 September 1945
Place: Hiroshima, State Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Unknown

Nakajima-hon-machi District debris from the blast wave and the heat wave after atomic attack. Koa Fire Insurance Building, 1300 feet (400 meters) from the hypocenter, is top left. Near downtown Hiroshima, the Ota River divides into two branches, becoming the Hon and the Motoyasu rivers. Today, known as Nakajima-cho District, it is occupied by the Peace Memorial Park; no one lives there. But before the bombing, Nakajima was home to about 4,400 people living in 1,300 households in six distinct neighborhoods: Nakajima-honmachi, Zaimoku-cho, Tenjin-machi, Motoyanagi-machi, Kobiki-cho, and Nakajima-shinmachi. Jisenji-no-hana Park, a popular gathering place, was also there. Immediately after the bomb, the burned and injured sought to cool themselves in the water, and when the firestorm hit, everyone tried to seek shelter in the rivers. Most were too injured to swim. Thousands of people drowned or suffocated to death. The sheer number of corpses led to a huge health emergency, with rats and flies infesting the wounds of the living. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1087

12 December 2013

US Marines Disembark from LVT-1 Amtrac at Guam Landing Training


Image size: 1600 x 1267 pixel. 377 KB
Date: Friday, 12 May 1944
Place: Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Photographer: Unknown

US 3rd Marine Division leathernecks disembark on the beach from an LVT-1 of the 3rd Amphibious Tractor Battalion during training for the invasion of Guam on Cape Esperance, Guadalcanal during the week of May 12, 1944. The "alligator" was developed as a disaster rescue vehicle after a number hurricanes caused severe damage to Florida in the late 1930s. Developed and, in part, financed by its inventor, Donald Roebling, grandson of the Brooklyn Bridge builder, it came to the attention of the US Navy when it was featured in the October 4, 1937, issue of LIFE Magazine. After refinements paid out of his own pocket, and the refusal of the US Navy to purchase the available version, the US Marine Corps took over the project. A combat version was designed in 1940 and tested and accepted by the Marine Corps. This LVT-1 had welded steel instead of aluminum, a more powerful engine, and provisions for one or two .30 caliber Browning machine guns. The first of the production LVTs would roll off the Food Machinery Corporation's (FMC) assembly line in July 1941. LVT-1 Alligator Amtracs (Amphibious Tractors) were first used at Guadalcanal in August 1942 and made a combat landing under heavy fire during the invasion of Tarawa on November 21, 1943. Their last combat operation was the invasion of Cape Gloucester, New Guinea in December 1943. The 3rd Amphibious Tractor Battalion upgraded to the LVT-2, which had improved armor and could carry more cargo. The unit had 180 LVT-2 Amtrac when it landed the 3rd Marine Division on July 21, 1944 on the beaches of Asan Point, Guam. 

Source:
https://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/World%20War%20II/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=1130
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1083

Showa Emperor (Hirohito) at his coronation 1928


Image size: 1232 x 1600 pixel. 518 KB
Date: Thursday, 11 October 1928
Place: Kyoto, State Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: 宮内省(Imperial Household Agency)

On December 25, 1926, upon the death of his father Yoshihito, he succeeded him to the throne. The Taishō era ceased at once and a new era, the Shōwa era (Enlightened Peace), was proclaimed. The deceased emperor was posthumously renamed Emperor Taishō a few days later. He was crowned emperor on November 10, 1928 in Kyoto. A million people thronged the streets around the palace while the rites were observed. The Festivities took 16 days and travelled from Tokyo to Kyoto. Japan spent $16 million dollars on the Coronation ($182.6 million in 2005 dollars). Starting a year in advance, extensive preparations, timed to the second, included clothing, transportation, food, furniture and more specifically gathered just for the Coronation. Over four million US dollars ($45.6 million in 2005 dollars) was spent on new equipment for railways, illumination, telegraphs, telephones, telephoto and radio alone. The Emperor promised to cultivate the friendship of all nations and work for world peace. A nation-wide cheer of three "banzais," (literally 10,000 years) the salute for royalty, was led by radio immediately after the enthronement at 1500 Hours. The new emperor had the distinction of being the first Japanese monarch in several hundred years whose biological mother was his predecessor's official wife. During his whole reign, the new emperor was never referred to by his given name, but rather was referred to simply as "His Majesty the Emperor" (tenno heika), which may be shortened to "His Majesty" (heika). In writing, the Emperor was also referred to formally as "The Reigning Emperor" (kinjo tenno). 

Source:
Library of Congress
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1084

Captain Allen Leading a Group of Guadalcanal Natives in the Rendition of a Hymn in Pidgin


Image size: 1600 x 1191 pixel. 601 KB
Date: Friday, 11 May 1945
Place: Henderson Field, Lunga Point, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Photographer: Unknown

Captain Allen leading a group of Guadalcanal natives in the rendition of a hymn in pidgin. Captain Spencer M. Allen was formerly associated with WGN Radio, Chicago. The eight Armed Forces Radio Services (AFRS) stations set up in the south Pacific were called the Mosquito Network of the American Expeditionary Stations (AES). These stations were: WVUQ Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands (1000 watts, 690 kilohertz, second & key station); WVUS Noumea, New Caledonia (1000 watss, 975 kilohertz, first station); WVUR Esperitu Santo, New Hebrides (1000 watts 1040 kilohertz); WVUT Nandi, Fiji (50 watts 660 kilohertz); WVTI Cebu City, Philippines 500 watts (1340 kilohertz); WVTM Manila, Philippines 1000 watts (1300 kilohertz); WVUV Pago Pago, American Samoa 50 watts (1270 kilohertz); and Navy Radio Tutuila, Samoa 10 watts (1270 kilohertz). At Guadalcanal, the radio station studio and transmitter sites were in a coconut grove about one-half mile from Lunga beach. A dallas hut was divided into a control room and a studio. There was a large plate glass window and some sound proofing between the two rooms. AES staff dubbed their small studio shack in the coconut grove, Radio City, an ironic reference to the imposing headquarters of the NBC network in New York City.Mosquito's weekly broadcasting included 13 hours of U.S.-made AFRS transcriptions and 28 hours of decommercialized U.S. network shows—flown in from the States. The rest was local material, ranging from the reading of war correspondence in the area to burlesques such as McGoo's Booze Hour ("Next time you visit your PX take home a handy family-size container of McGoo's Old Man in the convenient 60-gallon drum") or the Atabrine Cocktail Hour to encourage the taking of anti-malarials. On the evening of March 2, 1944, AES-Guadalcanal, first broadcast a test signal. Regular broadcasts started March 13 and lasted throguh 1946. Two days before this photo was taken, WVUQ broadcast news of the German Surrender.\ Of the 300 AFRS stations in operation worldwide in 1945, only 60 remained in 1949. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1082

11 December 2013

US Marine Mortar Squad on the Matanikau


Image size: 1600 x 1272 pixel. 601 KB
Date: Sunday, 1 November 1942
Place: Matanikau River, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Photographer: Unknown

1st Marine Division Mortar crew prepares for action during final offensive to take the Matanikau area. The Matanikau River on Guadalcanal was the scene of several engagements during the campaign. The First Battle of the Matanikau (August 19, 1942) annihilated a Japanese reconnaissance in force that was scouting before the main force arrived for the Battle of the Tenaru River. The Second Battle of the Matanikau (September 23-27, 1942) resulted in the near destruction of 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, which was cut off and had to be withdrawn under fire by US Coast Guard landing craft. The Third Battle of the Matanikau (October 7-9, 1942) trapped the Imperial Japanese Army's 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry in a wooded ravine. 700 were killed. Once Henderson Field was secured after the destruction of the Imperial Japanese Army's 29th and 16th Infantry Regiments under 17th Army's Lieutenant General Harukichi Hyakutake (October 23–26, 1942) the Marines began an offensive to clear the Matanikau area completely. In addition to two Japanese crossings built over the shallow river, American engineers built four personnel and one vehicular bridge by November 1. Three bridges were built overnight on October 31. The 2nd and 5th Regiments of the 1st Marine Division were detailed for the offensive. They crossed the Matanikau on November 1 and encircled the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Army's 2nd Division the next day. Artillery, mortars, and half-tracks mounting 75mm howitzers opened fire on the trapped Japanese on November 3. Two 70mm field pieces, sixteen 37mm antitank guns, and almost forty machine guns were captured and 28 officers and 201 enlisted soldiers were killed, including a colonel commanding the regiment. Another Japanese unit was also annihilated. Meanwhile a Japanese convoy with reinforcements landed, and the accompanying naval units fired on Marine positions, causing heavy casualties. However the Matanikau was cleared, and the Americans were now able to go over to the offensive as the 2nd Marine Division and the US Army's Americal Division began to land in strength. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1080

Vickers Light Tank Mark III


Image size: 1600 x 1154 pixel. 360 KB
Date: 1934
Place: United Kingdom
Photographer: Unknown

Vickers Light Tank Mark III. The series of light tanks; or tankettes; built by Vickers during the 1930s directly influenced the Carden-Lloyd weapons carrier that saw ubiquitous service with British and Commonwealth forces during World War II. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities the design was a successful component of English colonial rule in India. Vickers light tanks saw action in North Africa; East Africa and France; but they were poorly used against German tanks; and offered poor infantry support. Huge losses resulted. Some of the armored sides of the tanks could be pierced by the fire of a German MG34 machine gun. Their engine power and suspension often inhibited off-road use. Vickers Mark III tanks; like the one in this view; were only used in combat during the East African Campaign by the 1st South African Light Tank Company of the South African Tank Corps; which served in the 1st South African Division. They operated Vickers Light Tanks Mark IIa; Mark III and Mark IV during the 1940-1941 operations to liberate Somaliland. Most vehicles in the United Kingdom were used for training until 1942; when they were replaced by more advanced models. The Mark III was built in 1934 and quickly supplanted by the Mark IV. Mark IIIs carried one .303 Vickers machine gun; weighed 4.5 tons; and could move 30 miles per hour. Only 36 were built. 

Source:
http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205197561
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii108

Crew of B-24J 44-40783 Photographed in Front of "Tough Titti"


Image size: 1600 x 1139 pixel. 355 KB
Date: 1944
Place: Liuchow, Guangxi, China
Photographer: Unknown

Crew of B-24J 44-40783 photographed in front of "Tough Titti," a B-24J-155-CO serial number 44-40296. On the evening of August 31, 1944, ten crew members of the 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 375th Bomb Squadron, lifted off in a Consolidated B-24J-180-CO Liberator serial number 44-40783 from a base in Liuchow, China, on a mission to bomb Japanese ships anchored in Takao Harbor, Formosa. Intercepted by an A6M3 Model 32 Zero-Sen fighter piloted by Chief Petty Officer Takeo Tanimizu of the Tainan Air Group, who shot down B-24J 44-40831 and damaged 40783. On its return flight, it was diverted to an alternate field because Liuchow was under air attack. On its way to the alternate strip, it crashed into Mount Arisan (known as Mount Maoer or Kitten, 6000 feet, 1829 meters) and tumbled into a deep ravine. All aboard were killed. The crew: Pilot, Second Lieutenant George H. Pierpont (Salem, Virginia); Co-Pilot, Second Lieutenant Franklin A. Tomenendale (Shabbona, Illinois); Navigator, Second Lieutenant Robert Deming (Seattle, Washington); Bombardier, Second Lieutenant George A. Ward (Jersey City, New Jersey); Engineer, Staff Sargeant Anthony DeLucia, age 24 (Bradford, Pennsylvania); Radio, Sargeant Ellsworth V. Kelley (Newark, Ohio); Radarman, Private Fred P. Buckley (Garden City, Kansas); Gunner, Staff Sargeant William A. Drager (Washington, New Jersey); Gunner, Sargeant Robert L. Kearsey (McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania); Gunner, Private Vincent J. Netherwood (Kingston, New York), age 20, engaged to be married. On October 2, 1996 two Chinese farmers discovered the crash site 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Gualin, Guangxi Province. Jiang Zemin, president of the People's Republic of China, presented President Clinton with five identification tags and a video of the crash site during a state visit the next month. The names on the military dog tags included: Buckley, Kelley, Netherwood, Tomenendale and Ward. Four times between 1997 and 1999, a joint U.S.-Chinese team excavated the crash site, recovering numerous pieces of wreckage, personal effects and remains. Using DNA, they identified the crew. Six were buried in Arlington and three in their hometowns.  

Source:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sunday/2013-07/28/content_16842543.htm
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1076

09 December 2013

British Former Prisoners of War Rest on USS Block Island


Image size: 1600 x 1457 pixel. 446 KB
Date: Tuesday, 11 September 1945
Place: Manila, Luzon Island, Philippines
Photographer: Unknown

 Two British survivors rest on USS Block Island (CVE-106). Before Japanese units on Formosa had formally surrendered, a multinational task force consisting of the USS Block Island (CVE-106), USS Brister (DE-327), USS Finch (DE-328), USS Kretchmer (DE-329), USS Santee (CVE-29), and USS Thomas J. Gary (DE-326) from the United States; from Great Britain were the HMS Argonaut, HMS Barle, HMS Belfast, HMS Bermuda, HMS Colossus, HMS Helford, HMS Tumult, HMS Tuscan, HMS Tyrian and the Tanker San Amado; from Australia was the HMAS Quiberon; and from New Zealand was the HMNZHS Maunganui docked offshore of the port of Kiirun on September 5, 1945. the task group launched all available aircraft in case of trouble. The smaller ships docked and began to take on passengers to take out to the larger ships. Some 1500 American, British, Australian and New Zealand prisoners of war, held in various camps all over Taiwan, made their way by train to embark for Manila and medical care before going home. It took four days to embark everyone, and the hangar decks of the two carriers were turned into makeshift hospitals. Many of the former prisoners had to be carried on. The task force crews were stunned at the emaciated condition of most of the survivors. Maurice Cunningham, held since October 1942, said "Those sailors were marvellous, they helped every way they could, transferring us to boats by harness, then taken to aircraft carrier where as we crawled up gangway steps they manned every step of the way to help us up. I remember as I neared the deck hearing a band playing welcoming us aboard, each one of us individually, I almost burst into tears. I had never felt like this before. I was determined not to cry, I don't know how I managed. All I knew the Americans were to us like mothers to babies, they were on guard all night manning steps to latrines to make sure we were OK. It was there I saw myself in a mirror and scared myself." US Navy Pharmacist's Mate First Class Bennie G. Owens said, "I have never worked so hard in my life as we did to prepare these men for transport to the DE’s and then to the Carriers and then to hospitals in Manila. We had less than 24 hours to prepare them for transport. The condition of the POW’s remains in mind to this day almost 60 years later. If anyone has any doubt as to the treatment that POW’s at the hands of the Japanese, I can tell you that it was horrible." It took four days for the Allied navies to load all the men, leaving the worst cases to be stabilized and flown out. Many of these men were carried on board in their weakened state. USS Block Island's orchestra welcomed the prisoners with renditions of "God Save the King" and "Rum and Coke-Cola." Despite the best efforts of medical staff on board, some of them still died in transit as a result of their internment. A muffled cheer went up as the ships cleared Kiirun. Arriving in Manila on September 11, many of the men needed mental as well as medical treatment, but to avoid stigmatizing the victims, mental services were not made available. Many of the survivors suffered from post-traumatic stress for many years. 

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1072

1st Marine War Dog Platoon and 2nd Marine Raider Regiment on Bougainville


Image size: 1600 x 1430 pixel. 509 KB
Date: Monday, 10 January 1944
Place: Cape Torokina, Bougainville, Solomons
Photographer: Unknown

The 1st Marine War Dog Platoon served with the 2nd Raider Battalion, 2nd Marine Raider Regiment on Bougainville. The platoon consisted of 48 enlisted men working in pairs as handlers for the 21 Dobermans and three Shepherds, plus six enlisted instructors and headquarters personnel. It was under the command of First Lieutenant Clyde A. Henderson, a Cleveland high school teacher, who had been an amateur Doberman trainer for a decade before the war. According to Lt. Henderson, "We felt lost when we came out here, everyone looked on us as a curiosity and wondered what we were supposed to do. We weren't too sure ourselves." Lieutenant Colonel Alan Shapley's 2nd Raiders was billeted near 1st War Dog on Guadalcanal before the invasion. One day, the Colonel saw a dog exhibition and asked that the platoon be attached to his Raiders. After weeks of training, and overcoming the skepticism of the Marines, combat handling of the dogs was developed. The dogs were trained not to bark.The 1st Marine Dog Platoon landed on Bougainville November 1, 1943. The First Marine Dog Platoon was sent ashore just one hour after the first Marines hit the beach, under heavy mortar and rifle fire and were dispatched to various companies according to prearranged plans. On D+2, the Japanese began firing at the dogs. Caesar, who carried the first war dog message of the war, was hit twice, once close to the heart. Privates First Class John Kleeman and Rufus Mayo were Caesar's handlers and he saved their lives by alerting them to a Japanese attack. On D+7, Jack, a German Shepherd messenger, and one of his handlers were hit. Despite receiving severe back wounds, Jack reached his other handler with a message asking for medics. With the phone lines cut, Jack was the only means of communications the advance party had that day. Four dogs were injured on Bougainville. Six dogs were recognized for heroism.In an interview with Captain Wilcie O'Bannon long after the war, Captain John Monks, Jr., gained an insight into one of the least known aspects of Marine tactics. It was an added asset that the official Marine history called "invaluable": war dogs. O'Bannon, the first patrol leader to have them, related: "One dog was a German Shepherd female, the other was a Doberman male, and they had three men with them. The third man handled the dogs all the time in the platoon area prior to our going on patrol--petting the dogs, talking to them, and being nice to them. The other two handlers--one would go to the head of the column and one would go to the rear with the female messenger dog . . . If the dog in front received enemy fire and got away, he could either come back to me or circle to the back of the column. If I needed to send a messenge I would write it, give it to the handler, and he would pin it on the dog's collar. He would clap his hands and say, 'Report', and the dog would be off like a gunshot to go to the third man in the rear who had handled him before the patrol." The war dogs proved very versatile. They ran telephone wire, detected ambushes, smelled out enemy patrols, and even a few machine gun nests. The dog got GI chow, slept on nice mats and straw, and in mud-filled foxholes. First Lieutenant Clyde Hnderson with one of the dog platoons recalled how the speed and intelligence of dogs was crucial in light of the abominable communications in the jungle, where sometimes communications equipment was not much better than yelling.

Source:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-NSol/
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1070

07 December 2013

Victory Marking of U-155

Image size: 1600 x 1079 pixel. 485 KB
Date: Tuesday, 15 September 1942
Place: Lorient, Brittany, France
Photographer: Unknown

Victory marking were seen far less frequently on the deck guns of U-boats than on Army or Air Force weapons, which were often adorned with rings or silhouettes to represent successes. Our photographs prove that this did, take place on occasion. The submarine is the U-155, which in September 1942 “booked” two sinkings by its 105mm gun in the form of ship silhouettes on the barrel. Commanded by Kapitänleutnant Adolf Cornelius Piening, the IX C boat achieved these sinkings on its third patrol (9 July – 15 September 1942), which took place in the Caribbean. First the Dutch coastal motor ship “Draco” crossed U-155’s path on 5 August 1942. The small freighter (389 GRT) had no chance to escape and apparently was not worth a torpedo to Piening. The freighter was therefore quickly dispatched by the deck gun after the crew had taken to the lifeboats. Five days later U-155 engaged the Dutch “Strabo”, another small ship of just 383 GRT. Piening remained true to his rule, sinking the vessel with its 105mm gun. All told, the U-155 sank ten ships on this patrol totaling 43,514 GRT. Also visible in the photo are two emblems on the conning tower: the first is the emblem of the sponsor city of Schwelm, introduced under Kapitänleutnant Piening. The second the emblem of the 10. Unterseebootsflotille (10th Submarine Flotilla), a type IX boat against a Balkenkreuz (bar cross). This reflected the fact that the 10th Flotilla was equipped exclusively with type IX boats.

Source:
"U-Boot Im Focus" edition no.2 - 2007


27 November 2013

Marine War Dog and Handler


Image size: 1600 x 1098 pixel. 425 KB
Date: Friday, 14 January 1944
Place: Cape Torokina, Bougainville, Solomons
Photographer: Unknown

1st Marine War Dog Platoon's Private First Class John Kleeman and Caesar, serial 05H, an 87-pound (39.4-kilogram) German Shepherd. Growing up in the Bronx, Caesar's natural skill was enhanced by his runs to the store for his owners, three brothers. They turned him over to the Dogs for Defense program the same day they signed up. The dog was recruited into the US Marine Corps and trained at Camp Lejune, the Corps's dog handling training center. Caesar trained with Kleeman and Private First Class Rufus Mayo. They landed with the 1st Marine War Dog Platoon on Bougainville on November 1, 1943. On November 2, Caesar ran eleven runs, totaling 31 miles (50 kilometers) under fire between a 250-patrol of 2nd Marine Raider Regiment's Company M and the Regimental Command Post. Torrential rains had knocked out the radios, and telephone wire had yet to be run. On D+3, Mayo had control of the dog at the front line, and Kleeman was back at the Regimental Headquarters. Caesar leapt from Mayo's foxhole where he was sleeping and charged approaching Japanese infiltrators. Mayo called him back, and the Japanese shot Caesar, one bullet close to the heart. A firefight broke out and Caesar ran, wounded, all the way to Kleeman at headquarters. The surgeon decided to leave the bullet near the heart as an operation would be too risky. Caesar returned to duty in three weeks. 1st Marine War Dog Platoon left Bougainville on January 23, 1944. His story was widely and incorrectly reported as attacking a Japanese soldier with a grenade. Caesar was sent on a bond tour stateside where he was embraced by actress Heddy Lamar. The photo is most likely staged.

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1071

Italian Troops March Past Mussolini Poster in Ethiopia


Image size: 1600 x 931 pixel. 317 KB
Date: Wednesday, 1 January 1936
Place: Ethiopia
Photographer: Unknown

Italian troops march past billboard of Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini during 1936 invasion. Humiliated by a defeat at Adwa by Ethiopian troops in 1896, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was one of the few African leaders who ruled without European colonial interference. Yet, Ethiopia was heavily influenced by Italy. Fueled by the need for revenge and expansion by colonization, Mussolini sent his newly mechanized legions under the command of Comando Supremo (Itallian Army) Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani across the Abyssinian border from Italian Somaliland and Eritrea on October 3, 1935. In 3 days Adwa was engulfed. By November Italians were 80 miles into Abyssinia. Resistance was heavy throughout the country. Graziani destroyed the Intelligentsia, and killed many Coptics in reprisal for partisan attacks. Field Marshal Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956) took command later in 1935 and immediately ordered gas attacks to quell the unrest. On May 5, 1936, the Italian army marched into the capital of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia surrendered. On June 30, 1936, Selassie, who escaped the invading Italians, spoke before the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in protest of the attack, despite Italian attempts to interrupt his speech. "It is us today. It will be you tomorrow." he warned. The League of Nations condemned Italy's aggression and imposed minor economic sanctions in November 1935. Under the Neutrality Act, the United States stopped arms trade with both sides on October 5 and tried to limit exports of oil and other materials to normal peacetime levels on February 29, 1936. On October 9, 1935, the United States, not part of the League, refused to cooperate with any League action. The League sanctions were lifted on July 4, 1936 when Italian East Africa, Africa Orientale Italiana (AOI), was formed by Italy. in 1940, AOI was virtually isolated from Italy: the maritime transports were totally cut off, and supplies could arrive only from air, although always in dismal quantities. On March 27, 1941 the stronghold of Cheren was captured by the British troops after a strenuous defence from general Orlando Lorenzini. Eritrea was lost when the town of Massaua surrendered on April 8. The war was effectively lost on May 1941, when the Fascists at Amba Alagi under viceroy Amedeo di Savoia surrendered in face of overwhelming Allied troops. The last Italian force under General Guglielmo Nasi at Gondar surrendered on November 28, 1941.

Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii107

Allied Prisoners of War Sort Confiscated Equipment on Bataan


Image size: 1600 x 1295 pixel. 777 KB
Date: Saturday, 11 April 1942
Place: Mariveles, Philippines
Photographer: Manuel Alcantara

Japanese guards supervise American and Filipino prisoners of war sorting through captured equipment confiscated by the Japanese at Mariveles Airfield. Although Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma's 14th Army had expected 25,000 prisoners of war, they were greeted by more than 75,000 (66,000 Filipinos and 11,796 Americans) starving and malaria-stricken captives at Bataan. During the battle, only 27,000 of these men were listed as "combat effective" despite rampant malaria. The Japanese army met great difficulties in transporting these prisoners from the beginning. Most Allied prisoners were forced together either on the airfield or at the Little Baguio motor pool, and were frisked for their valuables. Some lost food and canteens; others retained them. Some lost hats and helmets, which would have Any japanese money or manufactured goods resulted in death or violence. Beatings for no apparent reason were commonplace, and all witnessed varying degrees of wanton cruelty. Counted off in ranks of four and marching companies of one hundred, their ordeal began on April 10, 1942. The road from Mariveles on the tip of Bataan to Orani was unimproved, deep in dust and excrement. Pitifully few of the wounded survived, falling by the wayside, bayoneted or beheaded, or ground into pulp beneath enemy tanks and trucks. Distributing food was also almost impossible as many were fed nothing, and the Allied prisoners were already hungry from lack of food during the battle. 4,000 sick or wounded captives had to stay behind to be treated by the Japanese at Bataan.


Source:
http://www.worldwar2database.com/gallery3/index.php/wwii1069

26 November 2013

Oberst Richard Koll in his Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6'


Image size: 1600 x 1108 pixel. 561 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

October 1941: Oberst Richard Koll (7 April 1897 - 13 May 1963), commanding officer of Panzer-Regiment 11 / 6.Panzer-Division, and at that period the combined tank strength of both 6. and 7. Panzer-Division, in a confident pose in the cupola of his Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6' - note detail of frame aerial. At the right is the CO's signals officer (Nachrichtenoffizier), wearing earphones (kopfhörer). A pole aerial rises behind the Gefreiter standing at the left. Koll received Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) in 15 July 1941. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Richard Koll was captured by British troops in 1945 and was released in 1946. His last rank is Generalleutnant.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Koll

25 November 2013

Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 of Feldwebel Fritz Dinger


Image size: 1600 x 958 pixel. 389 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Sologubowka, Leningrad, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Both photos on this page show the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-4 “Weiss 4” Werknummer 7187 of Feldwebel Fritz Dinger of 4.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 53 (Ritterkreuz 23 December 1942, KIA 27 July 1943 by shrapnel). On October 5th 1941, after sustaining damage in aerial combat, Feldwebel Dinger belly landed his aircraft near Sologubowka, 40 kilometres south-east of Leningrad, not far from Mga. This happened before the first snow had fallen. Because the aircraft was not recovered fast enough, it was covered with snow when the winter set in mid October. This was of course a welcome sight for troops passing by and therefore several pictures exist of Feldwebel Dinger’s belly landed aircraft. Interesting is that, due to lack of direct sunlight, the picture above doesn’t clearly show the yellow engine cowling and fuselage band. The picture below, taken with sunlight, clearly shows these details. Notice also the unusual shape of the aircraft’s tactical number. On the rudder the 10 victory bars (fliegerabschüsse) can be seen which Feldwebel Dinger had accumulated since the beginning of the Russian campaign.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002


Damaged Aircraft of Feldwebel Heinrich Klöpper


Image size: 1600 x 1153 pixel. 639 KB
Date: Saturday, 26 July 1941
Place: Smolensk, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

On July 26th 1941, at the beginning of the Russian campaign (Unternehmen Barbarossa), Feldwebel Heinrich Klöpper of 11.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 51 belly landed his Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2 “rote” in the Smolensk area. Note the cross as IV. Gruppe symbol, only used by IV./JG 51. At this time only eight victory bars could be seen on the vertical stabilizer. This number would rise soon. Heinrich Klöpper achieved 94 victories until his death on November 29th 1943, at that time Staffelkapitän of 7.Staffel / Jagdgeschwader 1. 82 of his victories were achieved by JG 51 (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes on 4 September 1942). It is not clear if the report of a belly landing of Bf 109 F-2, Werknummer 8945 of 11./JG 51 with 80% damage on 27 July 1941 is identical with the belly landing of Feldwebel Klöpper on 26 July 1941. The picture does not show an 80% damage.

Source:
Luftwaffe im Focus - Edition No.1 2002


23 November 2013

Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6' of Oberst Richard Koll in a Russian Village


Image size: 1600 x 1068 pixel. 412 KB
Date: Thursday, 2 October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Panzerbefehlswagen III 'RO6' of Oberst Richard Koll (Kommandeur of Panzer-Brigade Koll) on 2 October 1941, advancing towards a bridge in a typical of Russian village. Modellers are recommended to study details of buildings and roadbed! During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945, Vyazma became a battlefield between the Red Army and the Wehrmacht during the Battle of Moscow. It became the centre of a Red Army pocket after it was encircled by the 3rd and 4th Panzer armies. Vyazma was occupied by the German army between October 7, 1941 and March 12, 1943.

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vyazma

6. Panzer-Division Panzer Convoy


Image size: 1600 x 1019 pixel. 609 KB
Date: October 1941
Place: Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Ritgen

Blurred but interesting shot of 6. Panzer-Division's second echelon passing through the supply convoys of the first echelon - the large number of vehicles visible in this photograph is the reminder of the enormous logistic 'tail' necessary to keep an armoured division moving. The Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) on the right carries air recognition flag draped over the crew bedrolls on the rear deck. Note wooden stakes marking the edges of the rollbahn!

Source:
Helmut Ritgen photo collection
Book "The 6th Panzer Division: 1937-45" by Oberst a.D. Helmut Ritgen