Archive for the 'World War II' Category

Dec 4

Innovation In Difficult Times

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 12:01 AM

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Japanese Bombard Wanping ca. 1937

In 1868, the Meiji Restoration in Japan began a fundamental shift in Japan’s conception of its place in the world.[i] This shift was catalyzed by the “gunboat diplomacy” of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who demonstrated the power of the U.S. Navy to secure expanded trading rights between the United States and Japan.[ii] The Meiji Restoration was characterized by an effort to modernize and globalize Japan economically and militarily in order to ensure that Japan would not be subjugated by a foreign power.[iii] Shimazu Nariakira, a powerful feudal lord during the period, stated that “if we take the initiative, we can… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 29

The Spirit and the Fortitude of the 39th Battalion

Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:01 AM

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Members of the 39th Battalion 6 September 1942 (Australian War Memorial)

In his war commentary, Bellum Gallicum, Julius Caesar wrote, “In war great events are the results of small causes.” History is replete with examples of this dictum; stirring sagas of courage under fire; gallant stands by a handful of men against overwhelming odds; small battles that disproportionally influenced the outcome of major wars; epic chronicles that inspire us to this day. This article will address the lesser known but equally deserving Battle of the Kokoda Trail in 1942 which saved Australia and profoundly influenced the War in the Pacific. In the spring of 1942 Allied prospects were grim. Rommel was… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 20

Day 7- March 23- Guam

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:01 AM

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(Courtesy of the Author)

Lieutenant Leroy Fadem recently revisited sites in the Pacific where he saw action in the Navy during the tumultuous years of the War in the Pacific over 70 years ago. This is a journal of that recent trip as kept by his son, Steven Fadem, who accompanied Lt. Fadem on that journey of rediscovery. The day started with a brilliant rainbow. It also started out with a potentially amazing discovery. I previously noted in our program that one of the WWII vets, Marine Frank Campisano, served in Nagasaki. I located him in the lobby this morning and was inquiring as… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 16

Scuttlebutt: Thanksgiving 1943

Friday, November 16, 2018 12:09 PM

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USS Hermitage: Scuttlebutt's Thanksgiving edition - 1943

The Naval Institute Archive was recently the recipient of a lucky find by Bill Foley of Boston who came upon some USS Hermitage (AP-54) papers left behind in an attic of a house that a friend of his purchased. Among those papers was a stack of “Scuttlebutt” newspapers, which kept the crew up to date on news around the world and included lighter pieces that were presented in an entertaining way. “Scutttlebutt” was published daily, and I’m sure it was appreciated much as our modern day sailors enjoy digital content to connect them to the world beyond their ship at sea.

 
Nov 13

USS Lakatoi – A Short, but Heroic Life

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 12:01 AM

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USS Lakatoi (Australian War Museum)

If there were a contest to find the U.S. Navy ship with the shortest career from commissioning to sinking, USS Lakatoi, with just six days, would certainly be a serious competitor. Its career was so short the ship never received a hull number. I would never have heard about the ship if not asked to find out the truth behind a “sea story.” The sea story began with an improbable premise – a U.S. Navy midshipman assigned to duty at Guadalcanal during the desperate days of 1942. After extensive research, I found two of the four officers of USS Lakatoi,… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 6

Damage Control on the USS Houston (CL-81)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:24 AM

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RADM George H. Miller

In this selection, future RADM George H. Miller recounts the torpedoing of the USS Houston (CL-81) in October of 1944, off the coast of Formosa, Japan. Miller, then a damage control officer, describes a harrowing attack, leaving the ship severely damaged and flooding rapidly. While assessing the damage, Miller determined the ship had “more water on board in comparison with our displacement than any other ship that survived in World War II.” Miller’s early years in the Navy included service in the USS California (BB-44), Tuscaloosa (CA-37), Zane (DD-337), Goff (DD-247), Gilmer (DD-233), St. Louis (DD-233), and Houston (CL-81). Miller was XO of the Houston the latter period of the war. Later tours were:… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 18

Day 5- March 21- Tinian

Thursday, October 18, 2018 12:01 AM

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IMG_0444

Lieutenant Leroy Fadem recently revisited sites in the Pacific where he saw action in the Navy during the tumultuous years of the War in the Pacific over 70 years ago. This is a journal of that recent trip as kept by his son, Steven Fadem, who accompanied Lt. Fadem on that journey of rediscovery. Most of you know I serve on the Governing Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, an organization created at the end of WWII by Einstein, Fermi and other ”Manhattan Project” scientists who were concerned about the potential consequences of their work. As noted in our… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Oct 16

ACTION REPORT: HMAS Australia off Luzon

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:38 AM

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The heavy cruiser HMAS Australia in late August 1942. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

In October 1944 near the Philippine island of Leyte, Japan unleashed a powerful, unforeseen weapon against enemy warships—the kamikaze. During the next few months, the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia, received more than her share of attention from the deadly suicide planes. According to Australian sources, the cruiser became the first Allied ship hit by a kamikaze when on 21 October a D3A “Val” bomber struck her foremast, killing 7 officers—including her commanding officer—and 23 sailors. (Other sources deny the attack was a preplanned suicide attack.) That was just a taste of what was in store for the Australia during the January 1945 operation… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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