Archive for the 'World War II' Category

Aug 8

The 1st Marines on Bloody Nose Ridge

Thursday, August 8, 2019 12:01 AM

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On 15 September 1944, the 1st Marine Division landed on Peleliu with its commander, Major General William H. Rupertus, confidently predicting the Japanese-held island would be in U.S. hands within four days. But the grueling Battle of Peleliu would last 73 days, with the U.S. Army’s 81st Infantry Division eventually taking over operations. Two key factors contributed to the battle stretching so long: The Japanese abandoned large-scale assaults in favor of attritional, defensive warfare, and they had ideal terrain in which to implement their new tactics—the rugged coral and limestone Umurbrogol Mountain, which Marines nicknamed “Bloody Nose Ridge.”

 
Jul 30

Racism, Mutiny, and Exoneration-The Port Chicago Disaster

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 11:53 AM

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The date is 17 July 1944. It’s nearing half past 10 PM, and the 24-hour cycle of munitions and cargo loading at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine, California is in full swing. Two merchant ships, the SS Quinault Victory and the SS E.A. Bryan, sit at the pier. The SS Quinault Victory is empty, the SS E.A. Bryan holds over 4,000 tons of ammunition, and sixteen railcars sitting on the pier contain 429 tons of ammunition. Hundreds of cargo handlers, munitions handlers, crewmen, and officers swarm the area, working tirelessly to load the two vessels with explosives, bombs, depth charges,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 25

We All Scream For Ice Cream: World War II and America’s Sweet Tooth

Thursday, July 25, 2019 12:01 AM

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It’s late July, and in Maryland and most of the United States, this month provides one certainty: it is hot. There are plenty of ways to combat the heat, from taking a swim to just staying indoors in the relative protection of air conditioning, but there’s one form of cooling off that never gets old for me, and that’s having an ice cream. Something about that first taste always transports me – if I don’t get a brain freeze – to other sunny afternoons and happy days, and I can never eat an ice cream on a hot day without… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 12

Stan the Navy Man Musial

Friday, July 12, 2019 10:27 AM

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Some shards of memory gleam back from long ago with a special sparkle that keeps them ever fresh in mind. For my brother Mark and me, a cluster of such memories assembled one hot summer evening, 27 August 1954, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. We had been captivated by bubble-gum baseball cards and Harry Caray’s exciting radio broadcasts of Cardinal games. For months we had been begging our parents to take us to our first big-league game. The magic evening arrived. Alas, the Brooklyn Dodgers won the game 8–4, but we were hooked. Our hero, then and since, was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 10

That Time the Navy Learned the Way to Beat a Zero is to Catch a Zero

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 7:41 AM

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Japanese Zero crashed in marsh.

During the Cold War air-to-air warfare was alive and well. The Soviets had a huge air force, and their fighters were a viable threat to NATO aircraft. As a result, American fighter crews trained extensively in matters pertaining to shooting down other airplanes. Among the air-to-air training programs was a super-secret one called “Constant Peg.” In the late ’70s the U.S. Air Force came into possession of a few Soviet aircraft (MiG 21s and 23s) that Israel captured from Syria. Over the years that inventory grew to more than a dozen airplanes acquired from places like Pakistan and China. The… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 19

Marianas Turkey Shoot—Plus Seventy-Five

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 12:01 PM

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Air Battle Of The Philippine Sea by John Hamilton

An Allied armada hoisted anchor on 6 June 1944 and departed its base to force a landing on a hostile shore. The result would prove decisive to the outcome of the World War II and would free an enslaved population from years of brutal oppression. That day the world’s attention was focused on the north coast of France, where Allied troops were pushing inland in the largest-ever amphibious assault. While Operation Overlord would become the one and only D-Day in the public’s mind, in truth there were many other D-Days, many other H-Hours on many beaches throughout the world. From… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 2

This Day in Naval History: June 2 – FIRST Aircraft Escort Carrier

Sunday, June 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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Aerial port broadside view of USS Long Island (CVE-1) underway.

On June 2, 1941, the USS Long Island (AVG-1) was commissioned as the first Auxiliary Aircraft Escort Carrier. The design led to more experimentation, turning merchant ships into aircraft carriers. By the end of World War II, there were more escort carriers than aircraft carriers. You are probably wondering what is an escort carrier? Don’t you mean an aircraft carrier? Wasn’t the first carrier called the Langley? Yes, the aircraft carrier came before the escort carrier. During World War II, there was a shortage of aircraft transport vessels. As a result, the escort carrier was created out of merchant ships… Read the rest of this entry »

 
May 2

Tenth Patrol of the USS Silversides (SS-236)

Thursday, May 2, 2019 12:01 AM

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RADM John S. Coye Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)

In this audio excerpt from his oral history, Rear Admiral John Coye describes the tenth war patrol of the USS Silversides (SS-236) and the sinking of three Japanese ships off the Marianas in May 1944. After graduation from the Naval Academy in 1933, Admiral Coye served in the cruiser USS Northampton (CA-26) and destroyer Monaghan (DD-354). Submarine school in 1937 was followed by service in the submarine USS Shark (SS-174) as engineer until 1941. He then helped put the mothballed submarine USS R-18 (SS-95) into commission and succeeded to command during patrols off Panama. The highlight of his career came during… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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