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SOME WW2 FACTS..........The Germans had an aircraft carrier called “Graf Zeppelin” that never left port due to lack of finishing. After the war, the USSR used it to learn ways to sink Western carriers. The USSR had limited experience in naval combat during WW2 and was seeking ways to learn about carrier combat..........The invasion of Okinawa was larger than that of D-Day..........The US & UK actively worked on ways to assist their own POWs to escape prison camps. The United Kingdom had a very interesting method – Send care packages via the Red Cross that contained maps. The maps were made out of cloth Monopoly boards and contained secret codes..........Thousands of American servicemen were killed off the coast of the United States by the German submarines. In fact, this is the reason the saying “Loose Lips Sink Ships” became so popular. The US government’s intention wasn’t to avoid ship route information being leaked to the Germans (Granted, that certainly could have been a side benefit). The primary reason was to prevent American morale from faltering if Americans knew that German submarines were operating in as little as a few hundred yards off the coast. Sinking ships and killing American sailors who had very little defense. An etimated 609 American ships were lost during the ‘Second happy time’ for a total loss of 22 German U-boats..........The first Tiger tanks could actually act as submarines. Each tank was fitted with a snorkel that would allow the tank to operate underwater as long as it could reach fresh air. This was intended to allow tanks to drive through deep rivers in Russia. Eventually the parts were dropped in favor of making the tanks easier to produce..........Between December 7th 1941 and September 22nd 1945 it was illegal to sell a new car in the United States. In fact, new cars simply wouldn’t be produced during the entire war period. Any individual caught storing or selling new cars risked imprisonment..........Nickel was so valuable in the United States that the metal was actually removed from the 5-cent piece during the war. It was substituted with silver, which was considered less valuable for war. If you happen to find a nickel minted between 1942 and 1945, it most likely contains 35% silver content, which is worth anywhere between $1 and $2 depending on market prices. Pennies in Canada and the United States were also stripped of their copper content and replaced with galvanized steel..........Although making up around 2% of total naval tonnage, the United States submarine force accounted for more than 50% of enemy ships destroyed..........A battalion of Japanese Americans liberated the Dachau prisoner camp. Initially American soldiers in the camp feared that soldiers from the Empire of Japan were there to kill them. The soldiers quickly realized they were mistaken when the soldiers spoke English and started passing out cigarettes..........On November 11, 1940, Molotov met with Ribbentrop in Berlin, where the German Foreign Minister insisted that Britain was “finished.” Then an air raid alarm blared, and everybody went to the shelter, and waited out the bombing. Molotov asked acidly, “If the British are finished, why are we sitting here, and whose bombs are falling on us?” Ribbentrop had no answer..........Pearl Harbor was bombed a total of three times during ww2. Twice on December the 7th, 1941, and again on March 4th 1942. The first two attacks resulted in significant devastation to the US navy. The third attack resulted in no American casualties, the bombs dropped by the Japanese however did damage some private property..........The French government recruited SS and former Wehrmacht prisoners to fight against the Vietnamese in the French-Indochina war..........A total of 236 submarines were used by the United States during WW2. A total of 52 were destroyed, resulting in a 22% casualty rate, the highest of any branch during WW2..........Nicknamed the “White Mouse”, a Australian citizen by the name of Nancy Wake led a one-woman army through occupied France and parts of Germany. She managed to kill (by some estimates) dozens of German soldiers while blowing up no less than one munitions factory..........Source: KnowledgeGlue

AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN THE PACIFIC: WW2

The true mettle of an American soldier was thoroughly tested by the formidable Japanese soldier during WW2. He emerged with flying colors. It established the image of an American soldier as of a tough, easy-going but very mean fighting machine.



U.S. Marines in the jungles of Vella Lavella, Solomon Islands. September 13, 1943

SOLOMON ISLANDS CAMPAIGN


The Solomon Islands campaign was a major campaign of the Pacific War of World War II.

 The campaign began with Japanese landings and occupation of several areas in the British Solomon Islands and Bougainville, in the Territory of New Guinea, during the first six months of 1942. The Japanese occupied these locations and began the construction of several naval and air bases with the goals of protecting the flank of the Japanese offensive in New Guinea, establishing a security barrier for the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain, and providing bases for interdicting supply lines between the Allied powers of the United States and Australia and New Zealand. 

The Allies, in order to defend their communication and supply lines in the South Pacific, supported a counteroffensive in New Guinea, isolated the Japanese base at Rabaul, and counterattacked the Japanese in the Solomons with landings on Guadalcanal (see Guadalcanal Campaign) and small neighboring islands on 8 August 1942. These landings initiated a series of combined-arms battles between the two adversaries, beginning with the Guadalcanal landing and continuing with several battles in the central and northern Solomons, on and around New Georgia Island, and Bougainville Island.

 In a campaign of attrition fought on land, on sea, and in the air, the Allies wore the Japanese down, inflicting irreplaceable losses on Japanese military assets. The Allies retook some of the Solomon Islands (although resistance continued until the end of the war), and they also isolated and neutralized some Japanese positions, which were then bypassed. The Solomon Islands campaign then converged with the New Guinea campaign.

American amphibious tracked vehicle LVT-1 in the jungle.

American and Canadian troops on Kiska (Aleutian Islands). 1943.

THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS CAMPAIGN


The Aleutian Islands Campaign was a struggle over the Aleutian Islands, part of Alaska, in the Pacific campaign of World War II starting on 3 June 1942. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, but the remoteness of the islands and the difficulties of weather and terrain meant that it took nearly a year for a far larger U.S. force to eject them. The islands′ strategic value was their ability to control Pacific Great Circle routes. This control of the Pacific transportation routes is why U.S. General Billy Mitchell stated to the U.S. Congress in 1935, "I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world." The Japanese reasoned that control of the Aleutians would prevent a possible U.S. attack across the Northern Pacific. Similarly, the U.S. feared that the islands would be used as bases from which to launch aerial assaults against the West Coast.

American flamethrower in action. The Battle of Tarawa. 1943

The American gunners in New Guinea. May 17, 1943.

NEW GUINEA CAMPAIGN


The New Guinea campaign (1942–1945) was one of the major military campaigns of World War II. Before the war, the island of New Guinea was split between: 

  • Territory of New Guinea, the north-eastern part of the island of New Guinea and surrounding islands, controlled by Australia under a League of Nations Mandate; 
  • Territory of Papua the south-eastern part of the island of New Guinea, an Australian colony and; 
  • Dutch New Guinea, the western part of the island (later known as West Papua). 


New Guinea was strategically important because it was a major landmass to the immediate north of Australia. Its large land area provided locations for large land, air and naval bases. 

Fighting between Allied and Japanese forces commenced with the Japanese assault on Rabaul on 23 January 1942. Rabaul became the forward base for the Japanese campaigns in mainland New Guinea, including the pivotal Kokoda Track campaign of July 1942–January 1943, and the Battle of Buna-Gona. Fighting in some parts of New Guinea continued until the war ended in August 1945. 

General Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander in the South West Pacific Area, led the Allied forces. MacArthur was based in Melbourne, Brisbane and Manila. 

The Japanese 8th Area Army, under General Hitoshi Imamura, was responsible for both the New Guinea and Solomon Islands campaigns. Imamura was based at Rabaul. The Japanese 18th Army, under Lieutenant General Hataz┼Ź Adachi, was responsible for Japanese operations on mainland New Guinea.

American marines with the body of their colleague. Peleliu Islands.

BATTLE OF PELELIU

The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September–November 1944 on the island of Peleliu, present-day Palau. U.S. forces (originally consisting of only the 1st Marine Division, but later relieved by the Army's 81st Infantry Division), fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island. 

Major General William Rupertus—commander of 1st Marine Division—predicted the island would be secured within four days. However, due to Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted over two months. In the United States, it was a controversial command decision because of the island's questionable strategic value and the high casualty rate, which was the highest for U.S. soldiers of any battle in the Pacific War.

 The National Museum of the Marine Corps called it "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines"

U.S. Marines camp at Guadalcanal, flooded with rain water.

American soldiers firing the 37mm gun

U.S. Marines shelling Japanese soldiers from the 37-mm anti-tank gun from the position at the top of Mount Tapochau, Saipan, Mariana Islands

MOUNT TAPOCHAU

Mount Tapochau is the highest point on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. It is located in the centre of the island, north of San Vicente village and northwest of Magicienne Bay, and rises to a height of 474 m (1554 ft). The mountain offers a 360 degree view of the island. Mount Tapochau was vital in World War II as a result of this.

U.S. Marines in the jungles of Bougainville Island (Solomon Islands). In January 1944

U.S. Marines are close to Japanese positions on Okinawa.

American troops landing at Guadalcanal: U.S. soldiers from the 160th Infantry Regiment, prepare to disembark from landing craft in preparation for landing on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, in March 1942.

GUADALCANAL CAMPAIGN

The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific of World War II. 

The Allied campaign was launched about the same time in late July as the Australian defenders set out to block the Japanese advance over the mountains from Buna in the Battle for the Kokoda Track and both had the same purpose: prevent the Japanese from adding new strategically important air fields to their vast networked base system in defense of the Sea lines of communication (SLOC)— so as to protect Australia from being cut off from the Americas, from India, and from invasion by the enemy. 

While organized (and manned) by different Theatre commands —both were Allied actions to check expansion of the Japanese, when the Japanese were still unaware they'd already won their last victory of expansion on 21 July—their landings at Gona and Buna on the northcoast Papua peninsula. 

The landings at Guadalcanal was the first major offensive launched by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.On August 7, 1942, Allied forces, predominantly American, landed on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands with the objective of denying their use by the Japanese to threaten the supply and communication routes between the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. 

The Allies also intended to use Guadalcanal and Tulagi as bases to support a campaign to eventually capture or neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul on New Britain. The Allies overwhelmed the outnumbered Japanese defenders, who had occupied the islands since May 1942, and captured Tulagi and Florida, as well as an airfield (later named Henderson Field) that was under construction on Guadalcanal. Powerful U.S. naval forces supported the landings. 

Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November 1942 to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five nighttime surface actions and two carrier battles), and continual, almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November 1942, in which the last Japanese attempt to bombard Henderson Field from the sea and land with enough troops to retake it was defeated. 

In December 1942, the Japanese abandoned further efforts to retake Guadalcanal and evacuated their remaining forces by February 7, 1943 in the face of an offensive by the U.S. Army's XIV Corps, conceding the island to the Allies. The Guadalcanal campaign was a significant strategic combined arms victory by Allied forces over the Japanese in the Pacific theatre. 

The Japanese had reached the high-water mark of their conquests in the Pacific, and Guadalcanal marked the transition by the Allies from defensive operations to the strategic offensive in that theatre and the beginning of offensive operations, including the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and Central Pacific campaigns, that resulted in Japan's eventual surrender and the end of World War II.

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Points To Ponder

WHY WAS THE FIGHTING ON THE RUSSIAN FRONT SO FIERCE DURING WW2?

It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


Quotes....

"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong

Quotes....

"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill

Quotes....

"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."
--Voltaire

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck

Quotes....

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering

Quotes....

"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito