27 May 2013

Luftwaffe Ace Gerhard Tyben Receiving The Knight's Cross

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Date: Friday, 22 December 1944
Place: Libau/Liepāja, Kurland/Courland, Latvia
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Stachelscheid (Prop.-Kp. Wm Kb. Abt. Luftwaffe)

Oberleutnant Gerhard "Gerd" Thyben (24 February 1922 – 4 September 2006) on the day he received the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) at Libau in 22 December 1944 as an Oberleutnant and Staffelkapitän of 7.Staffel/III.Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 54. Thyben was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot who flew 385 feindflug (combat missions) and claimed 157 fliegerabschüße (aerial victories). He claimed 152 victories on the Eastern Front, including 28 Il-2 Sturmoviks and five victories on the Western Front. He also flew 22 fighter-bomber missions on which he claimed two aircraft and seven trucks destroyed on the ground! He received the Ritterkreuz after destroyed 116 of his opponents in the sky. The award ceremony was held days after the actual announcement (6 December 1944), and Thyben would racked his kills in the months ahead that he also got the more prestigious award: Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes #822 in 8 April 1945. On 8 May 1945 he claimed his last victory over the Baltic Sea. He shot down a Petlyakov Pe-2 that was almost certainly looking for German refugee ships escaping from the besieged Courland Pocket. Thyben caught the reconnaissance Pe-2 at 07:54 and achieved what very well might have been the last Focke-Wulf Fw 190 victory of World War II! The Pe-2 crew, consisting of Starshiy Leytenant Grigoriy Davidenko, Kapitan Aleksey Grachev, and Starshina Mikhail Murashko were all killed in the engagement. Thyben surrendered to the British on touching down. Following his release in 1946 he traveled to Spain and Argentina before serving as an instructor with the Colombian Air Force.

Bundesarchiv  Bild 183-2007-1218-500. Prop.-Kp. Wm Kb. Abt. Luftwaffe Film-Nr. L419/22 Bildberichter: Stachelscheid Text: dto. Ort: Libau Datum: 22.12.44

25 May 2013

26th QMC War Dog Platoon on Biak

Image size: 1600 x 1316 pixel. 701 KB
Date: Tuesday, 18 July 1944
Place: Biak, New Guinea
Photographer: Unknown

Canines of the QM War Dog Platoon were used on Biak Island, off the coast of New Guinea, to track down Japanese hidden in caves and jungle fastness. One of these dogs is seen here, at the order to attack, straining at the leash. The 26th Quartermaster Corps War Dog Platoon, attached to the US Army's 41st Infantry Division, has six war dogs for patrolling the front lines. The dogs could detect the Japanese presence at 75 yards (69 meters) giving confidence to soldiers and allowing them to move more quickly through the jungle without fear of ambush. The 26th QMC war dogs were in active combat throughout the Pacific War. Initially American GIs were distrustful of the dogs, fearing they would give away their position, but they soon realized how valuable the dogs were. They saved many lives. Beginning on March 13, 1942, the Quartermaster Corps ran the Army's so-called "K-9 Corps" and undertook to change these new recruits into good fighting "soldiers." At first more than thirty breeds were accepted. Later the list was narrowed down to German Shepherds, Belgian Sheep Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Farm Collies and Giant Schnauzers. In all, a little over 19,000 dogs were procured between 1942 and 1945 (about 45% of these were rejected as unsuited for training). The capture of Biak Island cost the Americans 474 killed, and 2,400 wounded, the Japanese lost 6,100 killed and 450 captured. 

NARA (National Archives) Identifier 531196. Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985 (ARC identifier: 440). Series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, compiled 1754 - 1954 (ARC identifier: 530707). NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-111-SC-191760

Coast Guard LST Heads for Cape Gloucester with Elements of 1st Marine Division

Image size: 1408 x 1600 pixel. 381 KB
Date: Friday, 24 December 1943
Place: Cape Glucester, New Britain, Solomon Islands
Photographer: Unknown

"Crammed with men and material for the invasion, this Coast Guard-manned LST nears the Japanese held shore." Troops shown in the picture are leathernecks from the 1st Marine Division. On Decembert 26, 1943, two days later, the 1st Marine Division landed on Cape Gloucester, New Britain using Coast Guard-manned LST’s 18, 22, 66, 67, 68, 168, 202, 204, and 206, and many other US Navy ships. The LST-22 shot down a Japanese "Val" dive bomber while LST-66 was officially credited with downing three enemy aircraft. Two of her crew were killed by near misses. LST-67 brought down one Japanese dive bomber while LST-204 shot down two and the gunners aboard LST-68 claimed another. The LST-202 claimed three enemy planes shot down. 76 LSTs were crewed by the Coast Guard during World War II. 

NARA (National Archives) Identifier 513188. Record Group 26: Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1785 - 2005 (ARC identifier: 355). Series: Activities, Facilities, and Personalities, compiled 1886 - 1967 (ARC identifier: 513164). NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-26-G-3056

Johannes-Rudolf Mühlenkamp with his Fox Terrier dog

Image size: 1232 x 1600 pixel. 381 KB
Date: Thursday, 3 September 1942
Place: Caucasus, Soviet Union
Photographer: Helmut Möbius

SS-Sturmbannführer Johannes-Rudolf Mühlenkamp with his Fox Terrier dog (with the name Heide). This is actually a professionally shot propaganda photo. The picture of Mühlenkamp (known as "Hannes" to his comrades, but referred to as "Rudolf" in most official documents into 1943) was taken by SS-PK Mann Helmut Möbius which took the photo in the Caucasus in September 1942, just after Mühlenkamp received his Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross) as the commander of SS-Panzer-Abteilung 5/5.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division "Wiking"/LVII.Armee-Korps/1.Panzerarmee/Heeresgruppe A . The photo then appeared in German newspapers. Note the Army eagle (Heeres hoheitszeichen) on his crusher's cap (knautschmütze)! At the eve of the war, Mühlenkamp was the Divisional Adjutant of the SS-Verfügungstruppe Division, until December 1940, when he was given the command of the Reich Division Reconnaissance Battalion. Mühlenkamp was seriously wounded in the head by artillery shrapnel near Jelnja, Russia. Hospitalized between October and February 1942, Mühlenkamp missed the first Russian winter of the war. On his release from hospital, Johannes Mühlenkamp was assigned to the 5. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking, as Panzer Battalion commander, until March 1943. When the number of soldiers from the battalion have been increased, the battalion was converted into a regiment. On August 1944, Mühlenkamp was given the command of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. He commanded this unit until October 1944. Then, Mühlenkamp was promoted Inspector of Waffen SS Panzer troops in the SS-Führungshauptamt. His last command was the 32. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division from January 1945 to February 1945.


24 May 2013

Launching of US Submarine USS Robalo (SS-273)

Image size: 1600 x 1245 pixel. 475 KB
Date: Sunday, 9 May 1945
Place: Manitowoc, Wisconsin, United States
Photographer: Harry Berns, Official photographer of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI

USS Robalo (SS-273) hits the water with a huge splash, during her launching at Manitowoc Shipyards, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Note the inclination gage mounted on her hull side. USS Robalo, a 1525-ton Gato class submarine, went into commission in late September 1943 and transited to the Pacific during the last part of that year. Her first war patrol, during the first months of 1944, began at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It produced no sinkings and terminated at Fremantle, Australia. Robalo left Fremantle in April 1944 to conduct her second patrol, this time targeting Japanese tanker traffic in the South China Sea. Her new Commanding Officer, Manning M. Kimmel, attacked several ships and was credited at the time with sinking one, though postwar review failed to confirm this. In return the submarine was near-missed by enemy bombs that damaged her periscopes. Repaired after returning to Fremantle, she left for another patrol in June, en route back to the South China Sea. On the night of July 26, 1944, while passing through the Balabac Strait, near Palawan, she apparently struck a mine and quickly sank. A few of her men swam ashore and were captured by the Japanese. However, either due to deliberate action by the enemy or through the hazards of war, none of Robalo's crew survived to the end of the conflict!

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph USNHC # 69262, courtesy of the Manitowoc Submarine Memorial Association, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, 1970

General Douglas MacArthur and General Jonathan Wainwright Greet Each Other at the New Grand Hotel

Image size: 1102 x 1600 pixel. 475 KB
Date: Friday, 31 August 1945
Place: Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Photographer: Unknown

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright greet each other at the New Grand Hotel, Yokohama, Japan, in their first meeting since they parted on Corregidor more that three years before. TIME Magazine, September 10, 1945: "The thin, tired man who had seen the Stars & Stripes pulled down in the Pacific went on to see it raised over the home islands of Japan. At Yokohama's New Grand Hotel he was embraced by his old commander, sat down to dinner served by bowing Japanese. There was a pistol at his hip. To U.S. correspondents on Japanese soil "Skinny" Wainwright said: "It's good to be back a free man and an American soldier wearing a gun again." On May 6, 1942, in the interest of minimising casualties, Wainwright surrendered Corregidor and Luzon. By June 9, Allied forces had completely surrendered. Wainwright was then held in prison camps in northern Luzon, Formosa, and Manchuria until his liberation by a team of O.S.S. operatives led by Major Robert H. Helm in August 1945. He was the highest-ranking American POW, and despite his rank, his treatment at the hands of the Japanese was not pleasant. After witnessing the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri (BB-63) on September 2, together with Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival he returned to the Philippines to receive the surrender of the local Japanese commander, Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita. Dubbed by his men a "fighting" general who was willing to get down in the foxholes, Wainwright won the respect of all who were imprisoned with him. He agonized over his decision to surrender Bataan all during his captivity, feeling that he had let his country down. Upon release, the first question he asked was "How am I thought of back in the states?" He was amazed when told he was considered a hero. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor. During Wainwright's imprisonment, General Douglas MacArthur wrote a memorandum that derided Wainwright's leadership abilities, implied that he was both a coward and an alcoholic, and concluded that Wainwright should be denied the Medal of Honor. He forwarded this to Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall. Ironically, MacArthur was widely scorned for leaving the Philippines and many felt his Medal of Honor was more of a publicity ploy by President Roosevelt because, unlike General Wainwright, MacArthur as army commander did not have the opportunity visit the front lines as often as he wished. Yet, despite the attitudes present at the time and later, Wainwright and MacArthur were two commanders who held off the Japanese onslaught for months, while other countries and allies were falling often with token resistance or by disastrous mistakes. After General Wainwright was released MacArthur embraced and extended every courtesy to Wainwright, even providing him a place of honor at the surrender ceremony. It was because of MacArthur that Wainwright assumed command of an army corps. Even after learning of MacArthur's criticisms, Wainwright still remained friends with the man and even supported him in his Presidential bid in 1952. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "Distinguished himself by intrepid and determined leadership against greatly superior enemy forces. At the repeated risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in his position, he frequented the firing line of his troops where his presence provided the example and incentive that helped make the gallant efforts of these men possible. The final stand on beleaguered Corregidor, for which he was in an important measure personally responsible, commanded the admiration of the Nation's allies. It reflected the high morale of American arms in the face of overwhelming odds. His courage and resolution were a vitally needed inspiration to the then sorely pressed freedom-loving peoples of the world." On September 5, 1945, shortly after the Japanese surrender, he received his 4th star. In January 1946, Wainwright became the commander of the 4th Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He retired in August 1947. He died in 1953 and is buried in Arlington Cemetery. 

NARA (National Archives) Identifier 531310. Record group: Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985 (ARC identifier: 440). Series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, compiled 1754 - 1954 (ARC identifier: 530707). NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-111-SC-210621

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Signs the Declaration of War Against Japan

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Date: Monday, 8 December 1941
Place: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Photographer: Abbie Rowe

After Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress and gave his famous “Day of Infamy” speech. In this photograph, taken by National Park Service photographer Abbie Rowe on December 8, 1941, President Roosevelt signs a declaration of war against Japan, leading the United States into World War II.. He is wearing a black armband in memory of his recently deceased mother, Sara Ann Delano Roosevelt. Early in the afternoon of December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his chief foreign policy aide, Harry Hopkins, were interrupted by a telephone call from Secretary of War Henry Stimson and told that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. At about 5:00 p.m., following meetings with his military advisers, the President calmly and decisively dictated to his secretary, Grace Tully, a request to Congress for a declaration of war. He had composed the speech in his head after deciding on a brief, uncomplicated appeal to the people of the United States rather than a thorough recitation of Japanese perfidies, as Secretary of State Cordell Hull had urged. President Roosevelt then revised the typed draft—marking it up, updating military information, and selecting alternative wordings that strengthened the tone of the speech. He made the most significant change in the critical first line, which originally read, "a date which will live in world history." Grace Tully then prepared the final reading copy, which Roosevelt subsequently altered in three more places. On December 8, at 12:30 p.m., Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress and the Nation via radio. The Senate responded with a unanimous vote in support of war; only Montana pacifist Jeanette Rankin dissented in the House. At 4:00 p.m. that same afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the declaration of war.

NARA (National Archives) Identifier 520053 

06 May 2013

Luftwaffe Ace Hauptmann Rolf Pingel

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Date: Saturday, 14 September 1940
Place: Wissant, Pas-de-Calais, France
Photographer: Unknown photographer from Heinrich Hoffmann Firma

Informal portrait of Hauptmann Rolf Peter Pingel, a Messerschmitt 109 ace pilot from Germany, in 14 September 1940 at Wissant, France, in the day he received Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross). Rolf Pingel was born on 1 October 1913 at Kiel. Following completion of his flying training, Leutnant Pingel was posted to the newly formed I./JG 134 based at Wiesbaden-Erbenheim on 15 March 1937. Pingel served in the Spanish Civil War with the Condor Legion from September 1937. Leutnant Pingel was assigned to 2. Staffel of J 88. He recorded six victories, flying some 200 missions, during his service in Spain. He was awarded the Spanienkreuz in Gold mit Schwerten for his achievements in that conflict. On his return to Germany, Pingel was appointed Staffelkapitän of 2./JG 334 on 1 October 1937. On 1 November 1938, 2./JG 334 was redesignated 2./JG 133 and  2./JG 53 on 1 March 1939. Oberleutnant Pingel shot down a French Mureaux 113 army reconnaisance aircraft over Saarlautern on 10 September 1939 for his first victory in World War 2. On 30 September, he led 2./JG 53 in a successful interception of five RAF Battle single-engine bombers attempting a reconnaisance over the Saarbrücken-Merzig area. Four of the bombers were shot down, including one claimed by Pingel, and the fifth crash-landed on its return to base and was destroyed. On 5 June 1940, Hauptmann Werner Mölders was shot down by French fighters to become a prisoner of war. Hauptmann Pingel was temporarily placed in command of III./JG 53 to replace Mölders. On 11 June, Pingel shot down two French Morane fighters to record his 7th and 8th victories of World War 2. Pingel relinquished temporary command of III./JG 53 to Hauptmann Harro Harder (22 victories, killed in action 12 August 1940) in July 1940. He returned as Staffelkapitän to 2./JG 53. On 22 August 1940, Hauptmann Pingel reported to JG 26 to take up the role of Gruppenkommandeur of I. Gruppe. He was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 14 September for 15 victories. On 28 September, Pingel shot down a RAF Hurricane fighter over Maidstone but his own aircraft, Bf 109 E-4 (W.Nr. 3756), was badly damaged in the combat. He ditched near Hastings and was rescued by the German air-sea rescue services. It is thought that Pingel’s victim in this engagement was the South African ace Albert Lewis (16 destroyed, 2.5 probable and 2 damaged victories) of 249 Sqn, RAF who baled out badly burned. It is also thought that Pingel was, in turn, shot down by British ace John Beard (6 destroyed, 1 probable and 3 damaged victories) of 249 Sqn, RAF. Pingel achieved his 20th victory of World War 2 on 22 June 1941, when he shot down a RAF Spitfire fighter near Dunkirk in an engagement with the British Circus No. 18 attacking Hazebrouck. The British Circus No. 42 targeted Chocques on 10 July 1941. Three RAF Stirling four-engine bombers, accompanied by their fighter escort, were intercepted by Pingel’s I./JG 26. Pingel followed a damaged Stirling bomber back to England, further damaging its tail section. However, the gunners’ return fire hit his Bf 109 F-2 (W.Nr. 12 764) “<< +” in the engine. He descended to low altitude but was intercepted by Spitfires. He force-landed his aircraft in a grain field near Dover and was taken into captivity. He was promoted to the rank of Major during his imprisonment. Rolf Pingel was credited with 28 victories in 550 combat missions, including 200 flown during the Spanish Civil War. Included in his total are six victories gained during the Spanish Civil War. All his World War 2 victories were recorded over the Western front. Awards : Ritterkreuz (14 September 1940)


Adolf Galland Waiting for the Führer

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Date: Tuesday, 24 December 1940
Place: Château de Bonnance, Port-le-Grand, Abbeville, Picardie, France
Photographer: Unknown

Oberstleutnant Adolf "Dolfo" Galland, Kommodore of JG/Jagdgeschwader 26 (26th Fighter-Wing) "Schlageter" with his officers waiting for the Führer Adolf hitler one day before Christmas 1940 at château de Bonnance in Abbeville. In the background are three Gruppenkommandeur, from left to right: Hauptmann Gerhard Schöpfel (Kommandeur III.Gruppe/JG 26 "Schlageter"), Hauptmann Walter Adolph (Kommandeur II.Gruppe/JG 26 "Schlageter"), and Hauptmann Rolf Pingel (Kommandeur I.Gruppe/JG 26 "Schlageter"). Hitler arrived at the castle Point-de-Briques at 16.05 hours. There he visited the squadron Galland and he joined the Christmas activities of the squadron there. At 16.50 hours he was back at his train in Abbeville. From there he was taken to Laboissière. The train left at 19.15 hours and arrived at 21.15 hours


P-40E Warhawk of 11th Fighter Squadron

Image size: 1270 x 1600 pixel. 521 KB
Date: Friday, 1 May 1942
Place: Dutch Harbor, Alaska, United States
Photographer: Unknown

Curtiss P-40E "Warhawk" with "Aleutian Tiger" markings of the United States Army Air Corps 11th Air Force, 28th Composite Group, 11th Fighter Squadron. Commanded by USAAC Major Jack Chennault, the 11th Fighter Squadron arrived in Anchorage, Alaska in January 1942. A secret airfield was built on the island of Umnak near the strategic base at Dutch Harbor, and on June 2-3, 1942, Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero-Sen fighters and Aichi D3A Type 99 dive bombers began bombing both the airfield and Dutch Harbor. 11th Fighter Squadron P-40Es rose to meet the invaders, and shot down five Japanese aircraft. One was recovered almost intact and provided the Allies with important technical information about the Japanese Zero. 

Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8b08001

05 May 2013

USS Shaw (DD-373) Destroyed in Floating Drydock YFD-2

Image size: 1600 x 1284 pixel. 592 KB
Date: Sunday, 7 December 1941
Place: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States
Photographer: Unknown

USS Shaw (DD-373) wrecked in floating drydock YFD-2 on December 7, 1941, with fires were nearly out but structure still smoking. Her bow had been blown off by the explosion of her forward magazines, after she was set afire by Japanese dive bombing attacks. In the right distance are the damaged and listing USS California (BB-44) and a dredge. Raised out of the water in drydock, along with the old harbor tug Sotoyomo (YT-9), Shaw attracted the unwelcome attention of several dive bombers of the second strike wave. These hit her with three bombs at about the same time as they were attacking the then-nearby battleship USS Nevada (BB-36). These bombs all hit the forward portion of the ship. The resulting fires proved uncontrollable, and Shaw was ordered abandoned. As efforts were underway to flood the drydock about a half-hour after she was hit, her forward ammunition magazines detonated in a spectacular blast, completely removing her bow. The blast also punctured YFD-2 and Sotoyomo. Both soon sank, the drydock partially and the tug completely, leaving Shaw's after portion afloat, with an intense fire raging at its front. 

NARA (National Archives) Identifier 196078

Japanese American Grocery Proclaims "I Am An American" as they Sell The Store Prior to Internment

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Date: Friday, 13 March 1942
Place: Oakland, California, United States
Photographer: Dorothea Lange

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Masuda Family, owners of the Wanto Grocery, posted a sign on their business that said "I AM AN AMERICAN" at their business, 401 8th Street and Franklin Street in Oakland, California. After the relocation order 9066 was signed by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Masudas were forced to sell and were interned. NARA Caption: Oakland, California. Following evacuation orders, this store, at 13th and Franklin Streets, was closed. The owner, a University of California graduate of Japanese descent, placed the "I AM AN AMERICAN" sign on the store front on Dec. 8, the day after Pearl Harbor. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War Relocation Authority centers for the duration.


"Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels" Watch American Wounded Rest Before Carrying Them to the Rear

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Date: Tuesday, 1 December 1942
Place: Coconut Grove, Buna, Oro, New Guinea
Creator: Unknown

Wounded American soldiers of the 32nd Division are carried to the rear by "fuzzy wuzzy angels" the name for Papua New Guinea natives who helped the Allies by bringing up supplies and carrying back wounded. The battle for Buna, Gona, and Sanananda was a learning process for MacArthur's command, and he relieved US Army General Edwin F. Harding on December 2, 1942, replacing him with General Robert L. Eichelberger. MacArthur famously told him, "Bob, I'm putting you in command at Buna. Relieve Harding ... I want you to remove all officers who won't fight. Relieve regimental and battalion commanders; if necessary, put sergeants in charge of battalions and corporals in charge of companies ... Bob, I want you to take Buna, or not come back alive ... And that goes for your chief of staff, too." Eichelberger reorganized the dispirited Americans, and with superior air cover from the Fifth Air Force and additional troops of the 163rd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division, The Allies cleared the last Japanese resistance on January 22, 1943. The natives were invaluable during the Kokoda and Buna campaigns, carrying much of the supplies in and the wounded out. An Australian soldier is reported to have said: "They carried stretchers over seemingly impassable barriers, with the patient reasonably comfortable. The care they give to the patient is magnificent. If night finds the stretcher still on the track, they will find a level spot and build a shelter over the patient. They will make him as comfortable as possible fetch him water and feed him if food is available, regardless of their own needs. They sleep four each side of the stretcher and if the patient moves or requires any attention during the night, this is given instantly. These were the deeds of the 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels' – for us!" 

US Army Signal Corps, Library of Congress

"Wake - Beach of Bayonets" Propaganda Poster

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Date: Monday, 10 August 1942
Place: Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Creator: Unknown

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress on the State of the Union on January 6, 1942. He called for building 125,000 aircraft and 75,000 tanks in 1943. He also called for national unity, patience and fortitude throughout a conflict that looked like it had no end. He cited Wake as a heroic battle, saying: "There were only some 400 United States Marines who in the heroic and historic defense of Wake Island inflicted such great losses on the enemy. Some of those men were killed in action; and others are now prisoners of war. When the survivors of that great fight are liberated and restored to their homes, they will learn that a hundred and thirty million of their fellow citizens have been inspired to render their own full share of service and sacrifice." With a public desperate for good news, Wake was held up as a shining example of defense, and entered the public consciousness as a symbol of defiance. The Battle of Wake was the only time an amphibious invasion was repelled during the war. Poster by Office for Emergency Management, Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch, Bureau of Special Services. Released on August 10, 1942. 


Major A.S. "Jack" Kenworthy Escorts Lt. General Tomoyuki Yamashita to Trial

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Date: Monday, 29 October 1945
Place: Manila, Luzon, Philippine
Photographer: Unknown

Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the "Tiger of Malaya," is arraigned before the War Crimes Commission in Manila, pleading not guilty. He will be confined at New Bilibid Prison until his trial, October 29, 1945, in Manila. Here, Major A. S. "Jack" Kenworthy, Military Police prison officer, delivers Gen. Yamashita to the residence of the Philippine High Commissioner, where Yamashita was held for arraignment in the first step of the war-crime trials to be held in the Pacific. The arraignment was open to the public. Yamashita was brought from his cell in New Bilibid Prison in an ambulance for security reasons. The legitimacy of the hasty trial has been called into question by many, as considerable evidence pointed to the fact that Yamashita was either not aware of the atrocities that were committed, or was unable to properly control his soldiers due to communication disruption caused by the U.S. Army during their offensive. One of the atrocities in Manila was even carried out by a unit that disobeyed his orders to retreat. Following the Supreme Court decision, an appeal for clemency was made to President Truman. The President, however, declined to act and thereby left the matter entirely in the hands of the military. In due time, General MacArthur announced that he had confirmed the sentence of the Commission and on February 23, 1946, at Los Banos Prison Camp, 30 miles south of Manila, Tomoyuki Yamashita was hanged.

National Archives (NARA) Identifier 292615

03 May 2013

The crew of B-29 Superfortress 42-24598 "Waddy's Wagon"

Image size: 1600 x 1289 pixel. 684 KB
Date: Friday, 24 November 1944
Place: Isley Field, Saipan, Marianas
Photographer: Unknown

The crew of B-29 Superfortress 42-24598 "Waddy's Wagon", 20th Air Force, 73rd Bomb Wing, 497th Bomb Group, 869th Bomb Squadron, the fifth B-29 to take off on the first Tokyo mission from Saipan on November 24, 1944, and first to land back at Isley Field after bombing the target. Crew members, posing here to duplicate their caricatures on the plane, are : Plane Commander, Captain Walter R. "Waddy" Young, Ponca City, Oklahoma, former All-American end; Lieutenant Jack H. Vetters, Corpus Christi, Texas, pilot; Lieutenant John F. Ellis, Moberly, Missouri, bombardier; Lieutenant Paul R. Garrison, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, navigator; Sergeant George E. Avon, Syracuse, New York, radio operator; Lieutenant Bernard S. Black, Woodhaven, New York, Flight Engineer; Sergeant Kenneth M. Mansie of Randolph, Maine, Flight Technician; and gunners - Sargeants Lawrence L. Lee of Max, North Dakota; Wilbur J. Chapman of Panhandle, Texas; Corbett L. Carnegie, Grindstone Island, New York; and Joseph J. Gatto, Falconer, New York. All were killed when "Waddy's Wagon" was shot down attempting to guide a crippled B-29 back to safety during a mission against the Nakajima aircraft factory in Musashino, Japan on January 9, 1945. 

National Archives (NARA) Identifier 292576

Crew of C-47 "Early Delivery"

Image size: 1289 x 1600 pixel. 638 KB
Date: Sunday, 14 February 1943
Place: New Guinea
Photographer: Unknown

Crew of the "Early Delivery" tail number 41-38658 that supply the ground forces in New Guinea with equipment and foodstuffs. They are members of the USAAF's 5th Air Force, 347th Troop Carrier Group, 33rd Troop Carrier Squadron. This aircraft arrived in Australia on January 9, 1943, was assigned RAAF tail code VH-CGN and then was sent to Port Moresby. Left to right: Second Lieutenant Preston Holden, pilot, of West Union, West Virginia; Second Lieutenant John W. Foltz, pilot of Lima, Ohio; Corporal Emil W. Erickson, engineer, of Middle River, Minn.; and Private Clifford C. Fawn, radio operator, of Lewis Center, Ohio. On February 6, 1943, "Early Delivery" was one of three C-47s that took off from Jackson Air Base (7-Mile), Port Moresby at 0920 Hours on a routine flight to Wau. While the flight was circling Wau preparing to land, it was attacked by a number of enemy aircraft. The other two C-47s evaded them and landed, "Early Delivery" was shot down by Zeros and was missing in action. Discovered in August 1988 by Grant Malensek, a Canadian geologist with Australian mining company CRA Explorations. Crew remains were recovered by a team from Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) in 1989. 

National Archives (NARA) Identifier 292572

Captain Robert L. Faurot, 39th Fighter Squadron, US Army Air Corps

Image size: 1600 x 1296 pixel. 647 KB
Date: Wednesday, 20 January 1943
Place: Schwimmer Base, Laloki, Port Moresby, New Guinea
Photographer: Unknown

Captain Robert L. Faurot (1917-1943) of Columbia, Missouri, flew Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter-bombers with the 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, Fifth Air Force. On September 21, 1942, Faurot was attempting to engage an A6M2 Zero-Sen over Lae, New Guinea, and discharged his two 500-pound bombs. The bombs exploded over the Zeke, crashing it to the ground. USAAC General George Kenney awarded him an air medal for the first Pacific kill by a P-38. Faurot was killed on March 3, 1943 during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Here he is photographed after his second kill in front of his P-38F tail number 42-12633 #16 at Schwimmer Air Base ("14 mile") Laloki, New Guinea. 

National Archives (NARA) Identifier 292571

02 May 2013

Hans-Ulrich Rudel at the Honor Goblet Presentation

Image size: 1216 x 1600 pixel. 441 KB
Date: Monday, 20 October 1941
Place: Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Oberleutnant (First Lieutenant) Hans-Ulrich Rudel (Staffelkapitän 9.Staffel/III.Gruppe/Sturzkampfgeschwader 2/Luftflotte 1) drinks from his Goblet after the presentation of the Luftwaffe Honor Goblet (Luftwaffe Ehrenpokale für Besondere Leistungen im Luftkrieg) in 20 October 1941. Established in February 1940, the Ehrenpokal was awarded by the authority of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring to Luftwaffe personnel "for special achievement in the airwar". This was an award for aircrew only. Funding for the production of the goblet was provided by the German Aviation Industry. Hans-Ulrich Rudel (2 July 1916 – 18 December 1982) was a Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War II. The most highly decorated German serviceman of the war, Rudel was one of only 27 military men to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, and the only person to be awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten), Germany's highest military decoration! Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions claiming a total of 2,000 targets destroyed; including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery pieces, 70 landing craft, nine aircraft, 4 armored trains, several bridges, a destroyer, two cruisers, and the Soviet battleship 'Marat'! He actually received the Honor Goblet from 20 September 1941, but the mentioning in the "Ehrenliste der Deutschen Luftwaffe" (and also award ceremony) happened on October 20th, 1941.


Renzo Kita, Last Moment of Admiral Yamaguchi

Image size: 1600 x 1152 pixel. 685 KB
Date: Friday, 5 June 1942
Place: Midway, Pacific, Hawaii, United States
Painter: Kita Renzo

'Last Moments of Admiral Yamaguchi' painting by Kita Renzo, 1942; Captain Tomeo Kaku, with moustache, is next to Yamaguchi in the painting. Tamon Yamaguchi was born in the Shimane prefecture in Japan in 1892, and graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1912. In 1918, as a navigation officer, he was exposed to naval aviation while escorting German submarines en route to be delivered as repatriation payments. Between 1921 and 1923 he studied American History at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, though did not pursue a formal degree; instead, he returned to Japan and completed his studies at the Naval Staff College in 1924. However, he was described as enthusiastic about the American university. After participating in the London Naval Conference in 1929, the diplomatic Captain Yamaguchi was Japan's last naval attaché to Washington D.C., which lasted from 1934 to 1937. He returned to Japan for sea-bound service once again, filling the role of Chief of Staff to the Japanese 5th Fleet from 1938 to 1940. In 1940, he was promoted rear admiral and assigned the 2nd Carrier Division which consisted of the Hiryu and the Soryu. By this time, he was often understood as the successor to Isoroku Yamamoto for the position of the commander of the Combined Fleet. Commonly credited as being perhaps Japan's most gifted carrier admiral, Yamaguchi was astute, aggressive, and ambitious. Unfortunately for Japan's war effort, he was also heavily steeped in the Bushido Code, which meant that he was pretty much obligated to do away with himself after having lost his carrier Hiryu during the closing stages of the Battle of Midway. "He was, in short, the epitome of the traditional samurai - hot tempered, aggressive to a fault; a man who valued honor as the ultimate virtue", as described in the book Shattered Sword; or as Japanese navy officer Masatake Chihaya said, the "Oriental Hero Type". When he determined that Hiryu was unsaveable, he gathered the 800 men who were still aboard the ship, including the wounded, on the flight deck near the bridge, and led them in yelling banzai three times toward Tokyo, followed by the playing of the national anthem. After the ceremony, the order to abandon ship was issued. It was recorded that Yamaguchi and Tomeo Kaku (Hiryu's captain) had this exchange as they shared naval biscuits and water while the ship being abandoned, the exchange signifying how much the two officers had in common.
"Let us enjoy the beauty of the moon", Yamaguchi said to Kaku.
"How bright it shines," Kaku responds.
"It must be in its 21st day."
The foundation of the decision to go down with the ship probably was established when his top pilot Joichi Tomonaga bravely headed off to attack the carrier Yorktown in a damaged torpedo plane that carried too little fuel for a return trip. "I will gladly follow you", Yamaguchi said to Tomonaga before the pilot boarded the plane. He probably could have saved himself to fight another day, but that was not the Bushido way. His idealistic devotion to Bushido was likely one of the key reasons why Japan, after three fleet carrier on the verge of sinking (and eventually would sink), was unable to steer Hiryu from the same fate. Yamaguchi placed Hiryu in increasingly more dangerous positions by sailing toward the enemy, therefore eventually sacrificing assets for his personal honor instead of preserving the strength for his country in a later fight.

Book "Nihon Kaigun, the Pacific Campaign, Shattered Sword", Wikipedia, World War II Plus 55.