24 March 2013

Pre-Attack Mosaic of Hiroshima

Image size: 1600 x 915 pixel. 333 KB
Date: Friday, 13 April 1945
Place: Hiroshima Prefecture, Chūgoku-chihō, Japan
Photographer: Staff Sergeant Darwin L. Hull

View of Hiroshima from 33,000 feet (10,058 meters) taken during Mission #141 on April 13, 1945 by Staff Sergeant Darwin L. Hull (August 11, 1916 - May 31, 1984) in F-13A-50-BW 42-24811 of the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. This flight of unnamed plane #811, piloted by Lieutenant George J. Benedict (April 19, 1921 - April 17, 1994) and navigated by MacKenzie "Mac" H. Hyman (August 25, 1923 - July 17, 1963) left Depot Field on Guam at 1616 Hours Zebra Time (Greenwich Mean Time, 0216 Guam Time) on April 12, 1945, began climbing to 33,000 feet over the Pacific at 2225 Hours, and made landfall over the coast of Kyushu, Japan at 2334 Hours. #811 proceeded to Kokobu (now part of Kagoshima) at 2345 Hours. The plane appeared over Hiroshima at 0038 (0938 Hours Japan time). Staff Sergeant Hull effected 100% coverage of all primary targets including Hiroshima with little cloud coverage to obscure the city. Hiroshima Prefectural Police noted the approach of a B-29 (actually an F-13A, the photo reconnaissance version of the B-29) at 0938 hours. Yoko Moriwaki (c. 1932 - August 6, 1945), a 13-year-old student at Hiroshima Prefectural Girls High School Number 1, wrote in her diary for April 13, 1945: "Today I saw one of those hated B-29s for the first time. It left a long, beautiful smoke trail, circled once in the sky above Hiroshima and then left. I felt really sad. The air raid signal went off again and we went home at noon." Nobuko Ohshita (c. 1932 - August 6, 1945), also a student at Hiroshima Prefectural Girls High School Number 1, wrote in her diary on April 13, "Today we had another air-raid drill during first period at school. We practiced, doing everything as we had been told yesterday. At the start of the second period, even though no air-raid alert had been issued, B-29s were invading the air over Hiroshima." #811 diverted to Iwo Jima for fuel, landing at 0345 Zebra Time and leaving at 0610. Four and half ours later, the plane landed back at Guam. The film was processed by the 35th Photographic Technical Unit; This unit provided the quantitative reproduction of photographs required by XXI bomber command. It also performed detailed interpretations of the photographs for these units. Strips of film taken by Staff Sergeant Hull were arranged together into an uncontrolled mosaic. An uncontrolled mosaic is formed by joining several overlapping vertical photographs taken at different camera positions. The term is generally applied to an assembly of one or more vertical strips. When the several photographs are oriented with respect to each other, the result is an "uncontrolled mosaic." This provides a good pictorial representation of the ground, but will have errors in scale and azimuth. This view shows the rivers of Hiroshima and vibrant life of the city prior to the atomic attack. Areas indicated are 1.) Hiroshima Bay; 2.) Yamate River; 3.) Fukushima River, filled in in the 1960s; 4.) Temma River; 5.) Hon River; 6.) Motoyasu River; 7.) Kyobashi River; 8.) Enko River; 9.) Ota River; 10.) Epicenter of the August 6, 1945, atomic attack; 11.) Hiroshima Castle, constructed in the late 1500s and the Imperial Army Headquarters, reconstructed in 1958. Both Yoko Moriwaki and Nobuko Ohshita perished in the atomic attack, along with 295 other staff and students of Hiroshima Prefectural Girls High School Number 1. Moriwaki was exposed cleaning up debris from houses destroyed as preventative firebreaks in the Dobashi District, about two thirds of a mile (1 kilometer) from the epicenter. Dying, she was taken to the rubble of her school and died that night. Ohshita was also exposed while cleaning debris from firebreaks and was severely burned. She and a friend crossed three rivers before arriving at Koi School, which became a relief station. Ohshita was taken home to Otake, a nearby city, by a relief worker and died there at midnight. This view was included in the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) in a report by the Physical Damage Division in May 1947. The Navigator for mission #141, "Mac" Hyman, went on to write the successful book "No Time For Sergeants" satirizing the Air Force. The book was made into a stage play and film starring Andy Griffith. Later a television series of the same name ran for one season in the Fall of 1964. Thanks to Jeff Rohling, 3rd Photo Recon Yahoo Group, B-29 Superfortress Yahoo Group, and the Hiroshima Peace Museum for their assistance researching this photo. 

War Department. U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. Pacific Survey. Physical Damage Division
National Archives (NARA) ARC#540225 Record Group:243

Japanese Imperial Army During The Advance On Luzon

Image size: 1600 x 1055 pixel. 605 KB
Date: Thursday, 1 January 1942
Place: Route 5, Baliuag, Luzon, Philippines
Photographer: Unknown

 Japanese Imperial Army Type 89b tanks of the 3rd Company, 7th Tank Regiment, 14th Imperial Japanese Army, during the advance on Luzon, probably on Route 5 moving towards Baliuag. The 7th Tank Regiment's companies landed thirty-four Type 89 tanks and fourteen Type 95 tanks at Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941. They destroyed the American half-tracks armed with M1897 75mm (3-inch) anti-tank guns at the beach and proceeded towards Manila on Route 5. At Baliuag on December 31, 1941, the United States Army's 192nd Tank Battalion armed with half-track guns and M3 light tanks engaged the Japanese forcing them to withdraw. The Americans claimed eight tanks destroyed but Japanese records only admit one loss. The 7th Regiment moved around Baliuag but were unable to prevent the withdrawal of the Philippine 51st Infantry. The 7th Tank Regiment was commanded by Colonel Seinosuke Sonoda (1895-April 6, 1942) who assumed overall command over Lieutenant Colonel Shoji Kumagaya's 4th Tank Regiment, armed with 38 Type 95 tanks. Feeling optimistic about the conquest of the Philippines, the 4th Tank Regiment was removed to Indonesia. Sonoda was killed in action on April 6, leading the assault on Mount Samat. Two of the United States Army's 31st Infantry Regiment's 37mm (1.46 inch) anti-tank guns opened fire on Sonoda's six tanks, killing him three days before the Bataan garrison surrendered. Before Bataan's surrender, and faced with superior maneuverability and firepower from the American tanks, the Japanese rushed two Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha tanks to the Philippines in time to land them, and a captured M3, on Corregidor. The sight of the 7th Tank Regiment on Corregidor convinced Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright to surrender. Sonoda's death was reported in the April 14, 1942 Asahi Shimbun. 

Imperial Japanese Army Propaganda Corps 

20 March 2013

LSSAH Troops Crossing the River Meuse Near Mook

Image size: 1600 x 1031 pixel. 381 KB
Date: Monday, 13 May 1940
Place: Mook, Limburg, Netherlands
Photographer: Unknown

Troops belonging to the SS-Division "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" crossing the river Meuse near Mook, 13 May 1940. From "The Leibstandarte" by Rudolf Lehmann and Ralf Tiemann, Vol 1 page 136 (english edition), we have the following: "13-5-1940, 06:00 hours, the reinforced Regiment (minus the reinforced III. Bataillon) marched via Goch, Mook, and Grave to reach Hess, its first march objective, around noon. Here it was subordinated to the XXXIX AK and received orders to move toward Gertruidenberg so as to reach it before nightfall. The reinforced III. Bataillon (formerly Schnelle Gruppe Mitte) moved from Zutphen via Mook, came once more under orders from the Regiment, and was moved to Dongen, sixteen kilometers southeast of Gertruidenberg". Now, just to confirm that these are LSSAH vehicles, the number plates of the two nearest BMW R12s are 816 and 814 and the Horch 1500 has the number plate 933, so they all come from the range SS-501 to SS-2000, which was assigned to the LSSAH. The Horch comes from 6th Kompanie, (II. Bataillon) so this is a shot of the first group mentioned above.


19 March 2013

Panthers of Wiking Division in Maciejewo

Image size: 1600 x 890 pixel. 335 KB
Date: May-June 1944
Place: Maciejewo, Gmina Maszewo District, Goleniów County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland
Photographer: Unknown

A soldier from SS-Panzer-Division "Wiking" speaking through feldfernsprecher 33 (field telephone), while behind him the Panthers hit the dusts. The Panthers in the background are "II 011" (SS-Untersturmführer Manfred Renz, Zugführer/platoon leader) and "II 014" belonging to the Panzer-Regiment 5 "Wiking". The photo was most probably taken near Maciejewo (South-East of Warsaw) in May/June 1944. according to the book "Viking Summer: 5.SS-Panzer-Division in Poland" by Dennis Oliver, Panthers II011, II012, II013 and II014 were 2nd Battalion's reconnaissance platoon, commanded by Manfred Renz. Remaining Stab Panthers were numbered R01, R02, R03 and II00, II01, II02 and II03. BTW, very interesting camo on the Panther!


10 March 2013

14th Engineers (Philippine Scouts) Wire Railroad Bridge For Demolition

Image size: 1236 x 1600 pixel. 648 KB
Date: Thursday, 1 January 1942
Place: Luzon, Philippines
Photographer: Unknown

Philippine soldiers of the 14th Engineers, Philippine Scouts, United States Army Forces Far East (USAFFE), prepare a railroad bridge for destruction. Lieutenant Colonel Hugh J. Casey (July 24, 1898 – August 30, 1981), USAFFE Chief Engineer, on December 18, 1941, ordered Lieutenant Colonel Narciso L. Manzano (February 20, 1897 - September 15, 1986) to assist Lieutenant Colonel Harry A. Skerry (May 25, 1888 - October 16, 1978) commander of the 14th Engineer Regiment (Philippine Scouts). They jointly led civilian miners, Bureau of Public Works employees and the Philippine Army in preparing all major highway bridges from the Agno River to the Tarlac River and Cabanatuan. This is probably the special detail consisting of a Second Lieutenant and three miners that Casey sent to the North Luzon Force to prepare the large railroad bridges for destruction. After the Japanese landed in Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941, North Luzon Force began retreating to the Bataan Peninsula. Because there were few planes left to interfere with the enemy's progress and because the untrained Philippine troops could not withstand the powerful Japanese onslaughts, Wainwright had to rely heavily on his engineers. It was they who had to keep open roads and bridges ahead of the retreating columns—not an easy task in view of the Japanese supremacy in the air. It was the engineers, too, who had to prepare all bridges for demolition and assure their destruction after friendly troops had passed over. By December 31, Manila was abandoned; as civil engineers blew up stores there to deny them to the enemy, Wainwright's forces were retreating across the Calumpit Bridge. The last units of the USAFFE's two corps crossed by 0500 Hours on January 1, 1942. Skerry delayed blowing the bridge as Manzano's engineer elements were dispersed between Calumpit and Manila. At 0615 Hours North Luzon Force Commander Major General Jonathan M. "Skinny" Wainwright IV (August 23, 1883 - September 2, 1953), who was on site, ordered the Calumpit Bridge to be blown. Manzano was behind the lines working to destroy six bridges between Manila and Bataan. An American engineer, Captain A. Mitchell Major (January 8, 1893 - August 28, 1942) attached to the 202nd Engineer Regiment (Philippine Army) was slightly wounded by Japanese machine gun fire as the sixth bridge blew. Manzano, who was born in the Philippines, could have abandoned Major and blended into the civilian population, but he stuck with the wounded man. They stripped off their uniforms and folded them; carrying them on their heads, they requisitioned a Filipino boat in Manila to get back to American lines. After three months of clearing roads, building fortifications, and fighting the Japanese, Manzano and Major were captured when the Bataan garrison surrendered. Major survived the Bataan Death March but died at Cabantuan. Manzano was trucked to Camp O'Donnell as part of MacArthur's command staff and was appointed Personnel Officer of the Filipino camp at O'Donnell. He risked his life falsifying records to hide large numbers of escaping Filipinos. When he was paroled, he set up an intelligence network in Manila. On January 25, 1944, as Manzano was delivering documents to Mindanao, the Japanese Kempeitai arrested Manzano's wife Rosario G. "Charo" Manzano (October 2, 1906 - October 14, 2001) imprisoning her for the rest of the war. Manzano himself avoided capture and gathered intelligence on Mindanao. His operations assisted MacArthur, with whom he linked up when the Americans landed on Leyte in Octber 1944. Manzano was instrumental in gathering intelligence for the Americans when they landed in Lingayen Gulf in January 1945. After the war, Charo and Narciso Manzano moved to the United States. Special thanks to Allen Manzano and Chris Schaefer for their assistance with this photo. 

Library of Congress LC-USZ62-106361 

Japanese Tanks on Corregidor

Image size: 1600 x 1204 pixel. 417 KB
Date: Wednesday, 6 May 1942
Place: West Entrance, Malinta Tunnel, Fort Mills, Corregidor, Philippines
Photographer: Mukai (possibly)

 A captured M-3 light tank and two Type 97 Kai medium tanks of the Matsuoka Detatchment, 7th Tank Regiment (Sensha Rentai in Japanese) outside the West Entrance of Malinta Tunnel after the surrender on Corregidor. Note captured Navy Dodge ambulance with Japanese Kanji (probably "Mukai Photo" but unclear if that is on the vehicle or added later). When the Japanese landed in Lingayen Gulf in December 1941, Colonel Seinosuke Sonoda (1895-April 6, 1942) the commander of the 7th Tank Regiment quickly alerted his superiors in Japan that the 57mm (2.24 inch) main gun on the Type 89b tanks were inadequate to defeat the armor on the American M-3 light tank. Sonoda was aware of the Type 1 47mm (1.85 inch) anti-tank gun produced in 1941, and urged that it be mated to a new tank design. As a stopgap measure the Japanese put the Type 1 gun into a new turret for the Type 97 Chi-Ha ("Medium [Tank] Third [Design]) from 1937. The turret was redesigned and manufactured by Mitsubishi and the new tank was accepted into service at the Akabane Arsenal, which delivered the new tank to the 2nd Tank Regiment. The new tank was designated the Type 97 Kai ("Restoration") and later the Shinhoto ("New Turret"). In early March 1942, a composite unit of personnel from the 2nd Tank Regiment and the Chiba Tank School were rushed through a familiarization course with the Type 97 Kai and left Japan on March 20, arriving in the Philippines nine days later. Major Hisashi Matsuoka (died June 5, 1942), the detachment commander, affected the link up with the main body of the 7th Tank Regiment on April 1, just in time to assist with the final assault on the Allies' Bataan garrison. Sonoda himself was killed in action on April 6 and Matsuoka took command. He was quickly invalided - most of the 7th Tank Regiment had dysentery or dengue fever - and sent to the hospital. The actual landing on Corregidor on the night of May 5, 1942, fell to the commander of the 2nd Chutai (squadron), Captain Hideo Ho. Ho selected a captured American M-3 tank as his mount while Lieutenant Shigeo Tsuchida and Lieutenant Takahisa drove Type 97 Kais. The Matsuoka Detachment embarked from Lamao. Type 95 light tanks under Lieutenant Akio Waizaumi never made it to the beach. Private First Class Silas K. Barnes of the 4th Marines heard the boat motors from his machine gun position on Infantry Point and for a few moments was able to hit the approaching landing craft that were illuminated by the search lights. He effectively enfiladed Cavalry Beach and cut down many of the Japanese soldiers as they came ashore. The Japanese struggled in the layers of oil that covered the beaches from ships sunk earlier in the siege and experienced great difficulty in landing personnel and equipment. Barnes's gun and one other machine gun position were all that remained of thirteen machine guns from Infantry Point to North Point. The rest had been destroyed by the Japanese bombardment. Tank commander Teruo Izami, in one of the other Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks, later told the Domei New Agency that his tank was hit over 200 times before a "huge shell struck the port side of our boat forcing it to settle gradually. As there was no time to lower our tank, our crew, armed with pistols, swords, and hand grenades plunged into the water." Izami and his crew were wounded and exhausted; they were evacuated to Bataan the next day. Only Captain Ho's three tanks - his one M-3 and two Type 97 Kais - made it ashore. The beach was very rocky and faced a steep cliff. The infantry quickly moved on to engage the Americans. The Type 97s could not climb the cliff, but the American M-3 could. Once Captain Ho's tank surmounted the cliff, he pulled the two Type 97 Kais up by 0830 Hours. At 0900, Master Gunnery Sergeant John Mercurio reported to Malinta Tunnel the presence of enemy armor. Mercurio would die a prisoner of war during the bombing of the "hell ship" Enoura Maru on January 9, 1945. At 1000 4th Marines on the north beaches watched as the Japanese began an attack with their tanks, which moved in concert with light artillery support. Barnes fired on the tanks with his machine gun to no effect. He watched helplessly as they began to take out the American positions. He remembered the Japanese tanks' guns "looked like mirrors flashing where they were going out and wiping out pockets of resistance where the Marines were." The Marines had nothing in operation heavier than automatic rifles to deal with the enemy tanks. Barnes was bayoneted in his position and captured, but he would survive the war as a prisoner of the Japanese. Captain Ho and his tanks began to methodically eliminate American positions with direct fire from their tanks. The Type 97 Kais engaged American soldiers at the Japanese-designated "Sakura position" near Water Tank Hill. They began to climb towards Malinta Tunnel and the Japanese tankers could see Topside and Mile Long Barracks. Allied General Jonathan M. Wainwright had decided to surrender at 1200 Hours. Wainwright agonized over his decision and later wrote, "It was the terror vested in a tank that was the deciding factor. I thought of the havoc that even one of these beasts could wreak if it nosed into the tunnel, where lay our helpless wounded and their brave nurses." Men in Malinta Tunnel were told that tanks were about to breach the complex. Signal Corps radio operator Irving Strobing (March 24, 1920 - July 8, 1997) later wrote, "Someone said a Jap tank was coming up the road to the tunnel, and we all figured he would just drive down the main part of the tunnel and turn the turret from side to side and shoot down and kill us all. So I went to the back of Lateral 12 to take cover. But then they said the tank wasn't coming, and we were called out into the main tunnel for the surrender formalities, and some Jap officers appeared." Strobing survived the war. The disposition of the tanks landed on May 5-6, 1942 is not known. This image appeared in Hitō Hakengun ("Philippine Expeditionary Force") a pictorial history of the Japanese invasion published in Manila in 1943. 930 Type 97 Kai medium tanks were built through 1943. They engaged American M4 Shermans during the Marianas battles in June 1944 and again on Luzon in 1945. The Type 97 Chi-Ha Shinhoto were no match for the American M4 Sherman tanks of the United States Army and Marines. Thanks to www.axishistory.com for their assistance researching this photo!

Hito Hakengun 

Banzai Celebration of Japanese Forces at Bataan

Image size: 1063 x 1600 pixel. 498 KB
Date: Thursday, 9 April 1942
Place: Orion, Bataan, Philippines
Photographer: Unknown

Imperial Japanese Army soldiers, probably of the Nagano Detachment, cheer the capture of Orion, Bataan, sometime around April 9, 1942. Orion, on the shore of Bataan facing Manila Bay, formed the east anchor of the main line of resistance opposite Bagac on the western shore. After falling back from from Layac Line in early January 1942, the Abucay Line on January 22, and the Mauban Line after that, the United States Army Far East (USAFFE) established the Orion-Bagac Line in late January. Japanese thrusts in February 1942 occurred even before the defensive positions were completed. The offensive was contained and destroyed in battles known as the "pockets." Few Japanese escaped back to their lines. Imperial Japanese Army General Masaharu Homma, commander of the 14th Army, was forced to ask for reinforcements. A lull in the fighting resulted; during that time USAFFE food and medicine supplies dwindled and both the soldiers and the civilians began to starve. During the latter part of February and throughout the month of March Japanese reinforcements poured into the Philippines. Orion, in George Marshall Parker, Jr.'s (April 17, 1889–October 25, 1968) II Corps area, was defended by the 31st Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Army (PA) in Sector A from the beach to 2,500 yards (2300 meters) inland, and by the American Provisional Air Corps Regiment made up of ground personnel from the Army Air Forces in Sector B just southeast of Orion. Japanese forces launched an attack against the Bagac–Orion Line at 0900hrs on April 3 with a massive artillery barrage. Homma hoped the six-hour barrage would smash American defensive positions and artillery batteries.On April 4, 1942, Homma alerted Major General Kameichiro Nagano's Detachment of the 21st Division to prepare to assault Orion. The Japanese infantry and armor moved out on the heels of the artillery preparation, hitting the Filipino troops before they could recover from the effect of the shelling. First to cross the San Vicente River was the Nagano Detachment which, at 0730 Hours, struck the 32nd Infantry (PA) on the right of Sector C west of Orion, then turned east to strike the Provisional Air Corps Regiment in Sector B. Supported by tanks, Nagano's men advanced rapidly into the area held by the grounded airmen who, lacking antitank weapons to oppose the armored point of the attack, fell back without a fight. The 31st Infantry (PA) in Sector A withdrew in disorder after a heavy air and artillery attack, leaving the Japanese in control of the last remaining portion of II Corps' original main line of resistance. On April 7, General Jonathan M. Wainwright, on Corregidor and commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) ordered General Edward P. King Jr. (July 4, 1884 - August 31, 1958), in command on Bataan, to counterattack and regain the Orion-Bagac Line. General King regretfully had to disobey the order as his men were not only starved and out of medical supplies and ammunition but he no longer had any room to maneuver. King's soldiers were demoralized; counterattacks failed and without antitank weapons, Allied units withdrew south. General Douglas MacArthur, exercising overall command from Australia, urged I and II Corps to counterattack, and Wainwright transmitted those orders to King. It was too late. At 0300 Hours Colonel Everett C. Williams (May 9, 1891 - June 20, 1972) of the 45th Infantry (PA) and Major Marshall H. Hurt, Jr. (June 26, 1908 - April 3, 1945) volunteered to go forward under a white flag to request an interview for General King with the Japanese commander. This photograph was from a newsreel still that was probably taken after the surrender. Later, this image appeared in Hito Hakengun ("Philippine Expeditionary Force") a publication celebrating the Japanese victory. 

NARA (National Archives) NWDNS-111-SC-334265