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Military Quotes

A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.

-- General George Patton Jr

War Stories: World War II

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War II The details of the following story are based on an actual happening, and have never before been related. It is a tale of tragedy at sea, and of the heroism displayed by men thrown together in a common lot by the fortunes of war. The setting is in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic", that frigid gray expanse of the North Atlantic in the land of the midnight sun, a hundred miles south of the polar ice packs.
Note: by Robert T. Shaffer, 1/c R Division  8684 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The 29th Field Artillery Battalion, along with the 8th Infantry Regiment, made up the 8th Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, whose mission was to make the H-Hour landing on Utah Beach. A, B, and C batteries had been equiped with M-7 armored 105mm howitzers, instead of conventional truck-drawn artillery pieces which were standard issue for infantry divisions. Each gun battery was equipped with 4 guns.
Note: by Irving Smolens, B Bty, 29th FA Battalion  6886 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We set off at dawn from our base, West Island, Cocos, in a 356 Squadron Liberator on our flight to Malaya carrying a great load of medical supplies and comforts for PoWs and civilians. With the Japanese surrender, there are no bombs this time. Guns and armament have been stripped from the aircraft to provide more lift, and the cavernous bays which normally house 500 and 1,000-pounders, now contain dozens of large drop-canisters strapped to chutes.
Note: by John Behague, RAF, 99 Squadron  10089 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 11, 1945. We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas. 2000 hours. I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, which is our main radio room in the Island structure, and had started walking aft on the flight deck. My rack, and also my GQ battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Note: by V.J.Verdolini RM2/c, U.S. Navy  9856 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The [heavy cruiser USS] Indianapolis [CA-35] had come to the Navy Yard, Mare Island [in San Francisco Bay] in early May 1945, to get heavy underwater damage repaired from a Kamikaze [Japanese suicide aircraft] hit that she took in [the Battle of] Okinawa on 30 March [1945]. We had more time there than anticipated and knew that we were due back in the forward area at the earliest practicable date.
Note: Recollections of Captain Charles B. McVay, III, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).  7544 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Monday, 8 December.
Report made by Capt. B. d. Godbold, Commanding "D" Battery F.D.R. 0700 two officers, Capt. Godbold, F.B.D. and Lt. Grealy with enlisted men moved to the battery position by truck as ordered. In addition to his duties as battery commander, Capt. Godbold acted as Peale Island Strong Point Commander. 0730 Battery reported manned and realy, to Island Commander, C.P. Director, height finder, power plant. 3 guns manned, 4 gun directors, power plants, and 02 sandbagged prior to occupation of position.
Note: by Captain B. D. Godbold USMC, Battery D, 1st Defense Battalion
  12830 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Somebody got the bright idea that I should go to a summer camp--- a summer military camp-- in June 1939, conducted by the U. S. Army. In due course I was enlisted/enrolled in the Basic program of the Citizens Military Training Camps at Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington. That was where my training as an infantry foot soldier began at age 15. We spent 30 days there in Vancouver and underwent intensive basic infantry training provided by soldiers of the Regular Army 3rd Division.
Note: by Charles W. Crary  24377 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Laffey was built in Bath, Maine and was commissioned in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Navy Yard on February 8th, 1944. After a brief shakedown period, the ship participated in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, after which she took part in the Cherbourg bombardment on June 25th, 1944 and suffered an eight-inch hit which fortunately did not explode.
Note: by Commander Frederick Julian Becton, USN, Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724).  7531 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Shortly after joining up we saw this notice on the notice-board looking for volunteers for a "suicide mission." Some brilliant officer had come up with the idea that he would like to form a unit that would go behind the enemy lines at night and blow up the German's tanks while they slept. Imagine that!
Note: by Ronald Arthur Tee, 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, 78th "Battleaxe" Division of the British 1st. Army, 1941-1946.
  6447 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I landed about twenty-five feet from a road and before I could get my rifle assembled, I heard a motorcycle approaching. I remained still as I did not have time to assemble my rifle, and watched two German soldiers pass by. After they passed and I had my rifle together I found other paratroopers and our equipment bundle and set off for the bridge over the Merderet River.
Note: by Marcus Heim  9429 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  16934 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Pearl Harbor occurred about six months after I graduated from High School. I believe we all were aware it would change our lives and the things we believed in but none of us knew how much. It placed restraints on our lives. We wanted to keep on working and enjoying our new found freedom of being out of school and yet we were all moved by feelings of duty to the country and many of my friends joined the service.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  8667 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  10440 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 10, '45 was my sixtieth mission. From now on I'd be eligible for rotation home. It was a happy prospect. What wasn't was a 2,000' ceiling and 5,000' thick cloud cover by no means great weather to be flying combat in. Since I'd joined the 36th Fighter Group on August 1, 1944, a lot of good friends in the Group hadn't made it as far as I had. They'd either been killed or were missing in action.
Note: by 1st. Lt. Philip N. Wright, Jr., 36th Fighter Group, 23rd Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force  10016 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II It became known as the "Spearhead Division and I joined it, the Third Armored Division, at Camp Polk, Louisiana in early 1942, less than a year after it was formed. This account is of me telling of my day on the "Spearhead", how I got there, what happened, and how it ended.
Note: by Ray Reeder, 3rd Armored Division, 33rd Armored Regiment, Recon Company  17495 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1916: The Russians force the Turkish 3rd Army back to Erzurum.

1942: General MacArthur repels the Japanese in Bataan.

1943: The deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the concentration camp at Treblinka is resumed-but not without much bloodshed and resistance along the way.

1945: The German Army launches its second attempt to relieve the besieged city of Budapest from the advancing Red Army.

1950: Peoples Republic of China formally recognizes the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam and agrees to furnish it military assistance.

1951: China rejected the U.N. cease-fire proposal as the Eighth Army re-entered Wonju without opposition.

1953: U.S. Navy carrier aircraft hit targets at Wonsan, Songjin, Hungnam and Changyon on the North Korea's east coast while surface elements fired on Sinchon and Kosong targets.

1953: The U.S. Coast Guards were dispatched from Sangley Point to save the crew of a Navy Lockheed P2V reconnaissance plane. They landed in 12-foot seas, risking their own crew to save their Navy counterparts. The Coast Guard fished 11 survivors from the wrecked plane. Tragically the Coast Guards port engine failed during take off, slamming the plane back into the cold waters of the South China Sea. Seven of the rescued Navy fliers survived this second crash; however, most of the Coast Guard crew was lost.

1962: The United States begins spraying foliage with herbicides in South Vietnam, in order to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas.

1985: For the first time since joining the World Court in 1946, the United States walks out of a case. The case that caused the dramatic walkout concerned U.S. paramilitary activities against the Nicaraguan government.