22 September 2013

USS Yorktown (CV-5) Lists After Two Torpedoes

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Date: Thursday, 4 June 1942
Place: Midway, Oceania
Photographer: Unknown

After the 4 June mid-morning U.S. Navy attacks on the Japanese carrier force, only the Hiryu remained operational. Shortly before 1100 she launched eighteen dive bombers, escorted by six fighters, to strike a retaliatory blow. At about noon, as these planes approached USS Yorktown (CV-5), the most exposed of the three American aircraft carriers, they were intercepted by the U.S. combat air patrol, which shot down most of the bombers. Seven, however, survived to attack, hitting Yorktown with three bombs and stopping her. While Yorktown's crew worked to repair damage and get their ship underway, a second force left Hiryu, this one consisting of ten torpedo planes and six fighters. Though the U.S. carrier was moving again by 1430, and even launched more fighters, the Japanese aircraft penetrated heavy air and gunfire opposition to hit Yorktown with two torpedoes, opening a huge hole on her midships port side. The stricken ship again went dead in the water and took on a severe list. Concerned that she was about to roll over, her Captain ordered his crew to abandon ship. On 6 June 1942 the Japanese submarine I-168 scored another two torpedo hits on the crippled aircraft carrier and she sank on 7 June. Destroyers spent an entire day seeking out the Japanese submarine that sunk the Yorktown and her escort destroyer, USS Hammann (DD-412), but failed to sink I-168. The submarine was finally sunk by the USS Scamp (SS-277) on 27 July 1943.

U.S. Navy photo 80-G-17062; National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 2003.001.223

First Ledo Road Convoy to Reach Kunming, China

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Date: Monday, 5 February 1945
Place: Kunming, Yunnan, China
Photographer: Unknown

US Army Corps of Engineers General Lewis A. Pick leads 113 vehicles of the first convoy to use the new Ledo (Stillwell) Road to reach Kunming. Leaving Ledo, Assam, India on January 12, 1944, they arrived in Myitkyina, Burma on January 15, where they were held up by Japanese resistance until January 23. Crossing the Chinese border at Wanting, China on January 28, they had traveled 1,079 miles to reach Kunming. A representative of every engineering company that worked on the Ledo Road accompanied the convoy. Pick was assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations in October 1943 and oversaw construction of the Ledo Road in India and Burma.  His driving force enabled the difficult task to be completed in 2½ years.  His men nicknamed the road "Pick's Pike".  After his return to the United States in 1945, he served again as Missouri River Division Engineer.  On March 1, 1949, President Truman appointed him Chief of Engineers.  Pick was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.  He died December 2, 1956, in Washington, D.C.


Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi Displays Clothes to Guam Police


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Date: Monday, 24 January 1972
Place: Talofofo, Guam, Marianas
Photographer: Unknown

Shoichi Yokoi shows his clothes at a police station in Guam. Reporters who saw Yokoi's clothing were amazed. They were unable to determine from what sort of materials they had been made. He even had home-made buttons! His clothes were made by beating the bark of the pago tree into flat pieces of fabric. The pago tree is very common in the mountains of Guam. He then beat pieces of brass in order to create a needle shape, and gradually drilled holes in his sewing needle using an awl. His thread also came from the beaten bark of the island's pago trees. He wove cloth from the beaten fibre, and sewed the pieces together to make a total of three "suits" during his 28 years on the island. By the way, Yokoi had been a tailor before the war, a craft that served him well. His 3 sets of pants and shirts were hand-made and then he would constantly repair them to keep them serviceable. On each of his shirts, he made outside pockets for carrying things. His pants even had belt loops! And he took plastic from a flashlight and fashioned buttons, button-holes and all. He manufactured one belt by weaving the pago fibres, and onto the belt he had a hand-made buckle that he'd fashioned from wire. According to Yokoi, obtaining necessary food was "a continuous hardship." His diet included mangoes, various nuts, crabs, prawns, snails, rats, eels, pigeons, and wild hog. Though he had no salt for flavoring or as a preservative, he boiled coconuts in coconut milk. He built little traps and caught shrimp and eel from the river. He put grated coconut into the traps to serve as bait. He would then skewer the eel and shrimp and grill them over his fire. Yokoi had fashioned a rat trap from wire, based on a design that was formerly very common in Japan. Yokoi's trap measured about 10 by 6 by 4 inches, and just the slightest touch of the bait causes the lid to shut. He said he liked rat meat, especially the liver. However, he added that he could not afford to be concerned with whether or not he "liked" any of the food he obtained. He ate it all. Yokoi lived in different shelters during his 28 years. One of his shelters was a small house made from rushes he collected. He also lived in a hole that he dug under a bamboo grove. Yokoi said that he chose that particular site because it was well hidden and because the ground is more solid under a grove of bamboos. Officials had reported that it was nearly impossible to see the opening to his cave even when you were right next to it. The entire cave was dug with a trowel that Yokoi fashioned from an old cannon shell. He carried the excavated soil, handful by handful, to a nearby grassy area and scattered it so that no one would notice. After one month of digging, he was able to move in, even though he continually expanded the interior space. The opening to his cave was about two foot square, which he kept well-camouflaged. A bamboo ladder led eight or nine feet into the inside. The inside of this cave, even at its highest point, was still just slightly more than three feet tall, which meant that Yokoi always had to squat. Inside, he had a toilet hole so well designed that it would flow off naturally to the river below. Many other Japanese were hiding in islands formerly occupied by Japan. Yokoi was one of the last to be found. Many who returned to Japan had trouble adjusting to their surroundings; most of Japan was destroyed during the war, and the modern cities that rose form the ashes looked nothing like what they were accustomed to. 


Generalleutnant Carl Rodenburg Photographed at Stalingrad

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Date: Sunday, 31 January 1943
Place: Stalingrad, Stalingrad Oblast, Soviet Union
Photographer: Unknown

Generalleutnant Carl Rodenburg (17 May 1894 - 5 November 1992) was a German general who commanded the 76.Infanterie-Division / VIII.Armeekorps / 6.Armee / Heeresgruppe Don during the Battle of Stalingrad. He was also a recipient of the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub (Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Carl Rodenburg was taken prisoner by Soviet troops on 31 January 1943, during the Battle of Stalingrad. He was held until 1955. This photo was taken on the morning of the surrender when he had been presented with the Eichenlaub #189 to his Ritterkreuz at Stalingrad by Generalfeldmarschall Friedrich Paulus (Oberbefehlshaber 6. Armee) and the photo was flown out with one of the last aircraft to leave. His wife was simultaniously presented with his "real" Eichenlaub in formal ceremony in Berlin. This was then sent to Richard Kimmel by his daughter upon his passing. For many years Kimmel had contact with the General, as he was from the same town in Germany, Lübeck , where Kimmel's family were came from after they moved from East Prussia.


21 September 2013

Mess Attendant Doris Miller Receives the Navy Cross from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

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Date: Wednesday, 27 May 1942
Place: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States
Photographer: Unknown

Doris Miller, Mess Attendant Second Class, US Navy, Receives the Navy Cross from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, at an awards ceremony held on the flight deck of USS Enterprise (CV-6) at Pearl Harbor. Miller was commended by the Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox on April 1, 1942, and on May 27, 1942 he received the Navy Cross, which Fleet Admiral (then Admiral) Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet personally presented to Miller on board aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) for his extraordinary courage in battle. Speaking of Miller, Nimitz remarked: "This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race and I'm sure that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts." The medal was awarded for heroism on board USS West Virginia (BB-48) during the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941. Doris ("Dorie") Miller was born in Waco, Texas, on October 12, 1919. He enlisted in the Navy in September 1939 as a Mess Attendant Third Class. On December 7, 1941, while serving aboard USS West Virginia (BB-48), he distinguished himself by courageous conduct and devotion to duty during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions on this occasion. An effort to award him the Medal of Honor was not approved and some suspected racism. Doris Miller served aboard USS Indianapolis (CA-35) from December 1941 to May 1943. He was then assigned to the escort carrier Liscome Bay (CVE-56). Cook Third Class Miller was lost with that ship when she was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-175 on November 24, 1943, during the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. Missing in action, he was declared dead on November 25, 1944. 


Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. Waves from the Enola Gay Before Takeoff

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Date: Monday, 6 August 1945
Place: North Field, Tinian, Marianas
Photographer: Private First Class Armen Shamlian

Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group, waves from the Enola Gay (B-29-45-MO Superfortress, serial number 44-86292, victor number 82) at 0245 Hours on August 6, 1945 prior to takeoff. Enola Gay was assigned to the USAAF's 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. The plane was one of 15 B-29s with the "Silverplate" modifications necessary to deliver nuclear bombs. A Boeing design, Enola Gay was built by the Glenn L. Martin Company at its Omaha, Nebraska, plant and personally selected by Tibbets on May 9, 1945 while still on the assembly line as the B-29 he would use to fly the atomic bomb mission. The airplane was accepted by the USAAF on May 18, 1945, and assigned to Crew B-9 (Captain Robert Lewis, aircraft commander), who flew the plane from Omaha to the 509th's base at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, on June 14, 1945. Thirteen days later it left Wendover for Guam, where it received a bomb bay modification, and flew to Tinian on July 6. It was originally given the victor number 12 but on August 1 was given the circle R tail markings of the 6th Bomb Group as a security measure and had its victor changed to 82 to avoid misidentification with actual 6th BG aircraft. After flying eight training missions and two combat missions during July to drop pumpkin bombs on industrial targets at Kobe and Nagoya, Enola Gay was used on July 31 on a rehearsal for the actual mission, with a dummy Little Boy assembly dropped off Tinian. On August 5, during preparation for the first atomic mission, Tibbets had the plane named after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets. Captain Lewis was unhappy to be displaced by Tibbets for the important mission, and furious when he arrived at the aircraft on the morning of 6 August to see it painted with the now-famous nose art. Tibbets himself, interviewed on Tinian later that day by war correspondents, confessed that he was a bit embarrassed at having attached his mother's name to such a fateful mission.

NARA (National Archives) Record Group 208: Records of the Office of War Information, 1926 - 1951 (ARC identifier: 535). Series: Photographs Depicting "Life in the United States", compiled 1942 - 1946, documenting the period 1881 - 1946 (ARC identifier: 535735). NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-208-LU-13H-5. Select List Identifier: WWII #162. 208-LU-13H-5

16 September 2013

Adolf Hitler Visiting His Adjutant Heinrich Borgmann

Image size: 1600 x 1055 pixel. 421 KB
Date: Tuesday, 1 August 1944
Place: Karlshof hospital, Rastenburg, Ostpreußen/East Prussia
Photographer: Unknown

Adolf Hitler at the bedside of Oberstleutnant i.G. (im Generalstab) Heinrich Borgmann (5 August 1912 - 5 April 1945), his Army adjutant. He was severely injured during the asassination attempt on Hitler on 20 July 1944 (known under the name Operation Valkyrie), but then recovered. He died on 5th April 1945 in Magdeburg hospital of his wounds inflicted during a dive bomber attack. Borgmann is the recipient of the coveted Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes #141 (as Oberleutnant and Chef 9.Kompanie / Infanterie-Regiment 46 / 30.Infanterie-Division / 6.Armee / Heeresgruppe B) and Eichenlaub zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes #71 (as Hauptmann and Kommandeur III.Bataillon / Infanterie-Regiment 46 / 30.Infanterie-Division / 16.Armee / Heeresgruppe Nord). On 20 July 1944 he was standing at the end of the conference table close to von Stauffenberg's briefcase bomb. Generalmajor Rudolf Schmundt and Oberstleutnant Heinz Brandt who were standing to his left and stenographer Heinich Berger to his right were all killed by the explosion, but Borgmann survived with serious injuries. After recovering he was posted to an infantry division as an Oberst.

Fotos aus dem Führerhauptquartier - Hermann Historica München