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Never do an enemy a small injury-- Machiavelli
War Stories: World War IIWar Stories published under this topic are as follows:
On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
As the time for the attack on Hitler's Europe approached, General Omar Bradley gathered in Exeter in southern England, the officers of the U.S. divisions that were to make the assault landings in Normandy. Bradley's purpose, no doubt, was to let us meet the man who would command the American ground forces.
The morning of December 7, 1941 was typical of any Sunday morning aboard the battleship USS CALIFORNIA. My billet for meals was the Marines' casemate #8(an armored enclosure for a gun) located port side midship, just where the forecastle breaks and a ladder leads down to the quarter-deck.
I have read several articles written recently regarding Sandakan and Australian prisoners of war held by the Japanese, and also the Death Marches carried out. Never once have I come across any mention of the further Australian action concerning our landing on Sandakan in Sept/Oct 1945.
A week or so before the December 31, 1943, mission, my crew, the Mendelsohn crew, was breaking apart. Our navigator, Bill Borellis, was promoted to the exalted position of 91st Bomb Group navigator; our bombardier, Harold Fox, (later to be killed in action over Hamburg) had applied for special training as a navigator and was leaving the crew, and the pilot, Stuart Mendelsohn, had been designated, but not yet officially installed, as the new operations officer of the 324th squadron. And I had just been checked out as first pilot and was about to take over what remained of our original crew.
From her launching in 1942 the Pringle was assigned to convoy duty with the Atlantic Fleet. In late 1943 after a grueling year in the North Atlantic providing antisubmarine protection for supply ships carrying war material to England and Russia the Pringle was assigned to the Pacific Fleet for duty that would lead to her demise.
8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
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.
One more time I realize there is that pesky flashlight in my face, and I hear the invitation for breakfast at five and briefing at six. I lay there dragging my eyes open and getting my thoughts together, little did I know how the reality of this fateful day would end. This will be mission number four. I wonder what hellish target is on that map in the Briefing Room? We've been to Cologne, Bremen, Kassel and flew as a Spare yesterday. If nothing else we are surely learning the geography of Germany.
With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
One reason people born after World War II find it difficult to understand why the final days of the war were so destructive is that they do not realize how angry we Allied soldiers had become - and to some extent still are. Once our forces crossed the Rhine, it was clear that Germany was doomed. But Hitler, in his madness, vowed to fight on. Generals and admirals, whatever they thought, supported him. Soldiers and sailors continued to fight in the misguided belief that they were defending their fatherland.
This is a talk on an action which took place in the North Atlantic on Easter Sunday. I'll give you some background before I go into that part of the story. I will give you a general idea of what we were doing. We were Task Group 21.12 operating as a so-called killer group. Our mission was to sink submarines and we attempted to stay at sea in the areas where the submarines were concentrating.
Note: Recollections of Lieutenant Commander Dudley S. Knox, USNR, on destroyer escort USS Chatelain (DE-149). These actions occured the 9th and 10th of April 1944. 9687 Reads
I got a very low draft number, so I was sure to be called. Instead of waiting to be called and being put into whatever anybody decided to do for me, I decided to try to guide my own destiny a bit. I enlisted in the Navy out of Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station, which was a reserve air station in Brooklyn, New York....I didn't want to be in the Army because I remembered all the stories and the movies about World War I were about people living in trenches.
Berlin, or Big "B", as we called it, was a target that no one wanted to go to and a target that everyone wanted to go to. It seemed that everyone wanted to participate in a raid on Berlin because bombing big "B" was really striking at the heart of Nazi power and it was, in a way, retribution for the bombing of London, Rotterdam and other major cities.
The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50 yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, Commanding Officer of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force 'O'. 7176 Reads
1818: President James Monroe proclaims naval disarmament on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain.
1916: British declare martial law throughout Ireland.
1919: Les Irvin makes the first jump with an Army Air Corps parachute.
1945: Benito Mussolini, and his mistress, Clara Petacci, are shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee to Switzerland.
1953: French troops evacuate northern Laos.
1965: U.S. troops land in the Dominican Republic.
1970: President Richard Nixon gives his formal authorization to commit U.S. combat troops, in cooperation with South Vietnamese units, against communist troop sanctuaries in Cambodia.
1972: The North Vietnamese offensive continues as Fire Base Bastogne, 20 miles west of Hue, falls to the communists. Fire Base Birmingham, 4 miles to the east, was also under heavy attack.