Friday, July 25, 2014

Deaths: Trained Montford Marines

From July 22, 2014, TDN.com (Oregon) "Officer who trained black Marines laid to rest" by Christina George.

Major Joseph Giesel, 94, of Doreen died June 20.  He had served four years in 1942 when President FDR directed that blacks be given the opportunity to join the U.S. Marines.

White officers trained them at Montford Point, North Carolina, near present-day Camp Lejeune.  Because of this, Mr. Giesel received a Congressional Gold Medal.  He served in the Corps for 21 years and was in the Pacific theater, at Okinawa and the Korean War.

Born in 1920, he enlisted in the marines on August 24, 1938 and served on the USS Indianapolis for two years.  He was transferred to Washington, D.C. where he became a drill instructor.

Nearly 20,000 black Marines trained at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949 when the camp was deactivated by President Truman when he was integrating the military.

--GreGen

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Other North Carolina Units

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

North Carolinians also served in the Fourth and Eighteenth Infantry Divisions.  Soldiers in the Fourth were the first Americans to enter Paris after liberation.  The Eighteenth liberated many German  concentration camps.

The Sixty-fifth General Hospital in England was sponsored by Duke University in Durham.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

North Carolina's "Old Hickory" Division

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

The largest group of North Carolinians  involved in one organization during the war were in the Thirtieth Division, nicknamed the "Old Hickory" Division after President Andrew Jackson.  It was composed of troops from North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, states which have Jackson connections.

The division had fought during World War I and then served as a National Guard unit in the interim until recalled into service in 1940.

Under the command of General Leland S. Hobbs, it took part in the invasion of Normandy and engagements throughout France and Belgium before meeting the Russian forces at the Elbe River on 8 May 1945.

The division earned many medals and citations.

--GreGen




Saturday, July 19, 2014

HMAS Perth, Sunk at Battle of Sunda Strait

From the Feb. 28, 2012 Australian Government Dept. of Defence.

Seven survivors of the HMAS Perth attended a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.  The Perth was sunk Feb. 28, 1942, with a loss of 351 dead at the Battle of Sunda Strait.  The American cruiser USS Houston also was sunk by Japanese forces that day with a loss of 638.

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs attended the ceremony and presented the Perth survivors with images of the two ships.

--GreGen

U-172-- Part 2: The Final Battle

The U-172 was sunk 13 December 1943 in the mid-Atlantic Ocean after a 27-hour fight.  It was depth-charged and had Fido-homing torpedoes dropped from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft from the escort carrier USS Bogue.

A destroyer task group consisting of the USS George E. Badger, Clemson, Osmond Ingram and DuPont dropped 200 depth charges on the U-171.

There were 13 dead and 46 survivors from the submarine.

--GreGen

U-172-- Part 1

From u-boat.net.

This was the first submarine to sink poor old Farris Burton and had quite an eventful career and end.

Commissioned 5 November 1941 and went on six war patrols, sinking 26 ships with a total tonnage of 152,000.

ATTACKS MADE ON THE U-172

8 Oct 1942:  Depth-charged by HMS Rockrose with only slight damage

10 Oct 1942  At periscope depth just after sinking the Orcades (troop transport ).  The U-172 had torpedoed the ship and sunk it.  Loss of 45 dead and 1022 survivors).  An aircraft dropped three depth charges.  No damage, but had to leave area.

28 March 1943:  Attacked Convoy RS-3; damaged.

7 April 1943:  Two B-24 Liberator bombers dropped 12 depth charges.  The U-172 stayed on the sirface and fought it out, receiving no damage.

11 August 1943: Attacked by aircRaft while rescuing crew of U-604 following her scuttling.

-- GreGen

HMS Rockrose (K-51)

From uboat.net.

This was the ship that initially rescued Farris Burton after he was torpedoed and sunk on the SS Firethorn.

Commissioned 4 November 1941.  Sent to the South African Navy in 1947 and broken up in 1967.

This ship had quite a busy October 1942.

8 OCTOBER:  Picked up 42 survivors of the SS Chickasaw City, torpedoed and sunk 7 October by U-172 about 85 miles from Cape Town, South Africa.

8 OCTOBER:  Picked up 28 survivors of SS Firethorn, torpedoed and sunk the previous day by U-172 near Cape Town.

10 OCTOBER:  Picked up 5 survivors from Pantellis sunk two days earlier by U-172 by Cape Town.  Wikipedia says there were 28 rescued.

29 OCTOBER:  British merchant ship Ross torpedoed and sunk by U-159 near Cape Agulhas, South Africa.  39 survivors picked up by the HMS Rockrose.

--GreGen

Sunk Twice By Torpedoes-- Part 3

Continuing With Farris H. Burton's war experiences.

There were 18 survivors from Chickasaw City, 8 from the Firethorn, 17 from the Swiftsure, 21 from the Examelia and 15 from the Coloradan.  Two boats with 106 survivors were picked up five days later, Nov. 7th, by the U.S. Gulfstate.  Two later died.

One boat with 60 survivors made it to land near Barrcirinhas, Brazil.  Two later died.

Three from the Zaandam were unaccounted for, including one from the Firethorn.  Their boat was picked up by the USS PC-576, 84 days after the Zaandam sank.  They were adrift on the sea in an open boat after being that way for one of the longest periods of time in maritime history.  They spent six weeks in a hospital.

The U-174 was sunk April 23, 1943, south of Newfoundland after being depth-charged by U.S. aircraft.

--GreGen

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sunk Twice by Torpedoes-- Part 2

The survivors of the Firethorn, Chickasaw City, Swiftsong, Examelin and Coloradan boarded the MV Zaandam on October 21, 1942 and departed Cape Town for the United states.

The MV Zaandam was built in Holland in 1938, weighed 10,000 tons and was a 502-foot passenger/cargo ship capable of 16 knots and converted to transport use in 1942.  On November 2nd, it sailed into Brazillian waters where it encountered the German submarine U-174, which had just recently sunk two ships on October 31st and November 1st.

On November 2nd, the Zaandam was hit by two torpedoes, 400  miles north of Brazil and sank in two minutes.

Of the 299 aboard, 139 were killed.  Farris H. Burton was one of the survivors.

Back in the Water Again.  --GreGen

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sunk Twice by Torpedoes-- Part 1

From Maritime Quest and Nov. 10, 2011, West Virginia Gazette.

Farris H. Burton, 88, of West Virginia, enlisted because of a torpedo and nearly ended his military career with two others.

He recounts that one of his best buddies, Bud Woody, was killed on the USS Reuben James when it was torpedoes by the Germans on October 31, 1941, before Pearl Harbor.  He and several other local boys enlisted in the U.S. Navy to avenge it.  Farris, however did not join until his 17th birthday, April 26, 1942.

Six months later, he had quite an ordeal of his own against German torpedoes.

On October 7, 1942, the German U-172 sank the SS Chickasaw City, a U.S. merchant ship.  It sank in less than five minutes.  The survivors were rescued by the HMS Rockrose.

A few hours later, the  Panamanian-flagged, U.S.-owned SS Firethorn, Farris Burton's ship, was hit by two torpedoes from the U-172 and sank in two minutes.  It had been carrying Sherman tanks and other supplies from New York to the Suez Canal.

There was no time to launch boats, but the 49 survivors of the 60 crew members were able to recover several life boats that floated free of the ship before it sank.

The same HMS Rockrose picked six men up on October 8th and the rest the following day and carried the survivors of both ships to Cape Town, South Africa to recover.

--GreGen

The Sullivans and Bixbys

From February 4, 2012, Madison County (NY) Courier "Correcting the Record: The Sullivans and the Bixbys" by Hobie Morris.

A Civil War letter to Mrs. Bixby about her five killed sons is featured in the movie "Saving Private Ryan."

Bill Ball of Fredericksburg was a friend of the five Sullivan boys of Waterloo, Iowa, and was killed at Pearl Harbor.  All five:  Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George, sons of Tom and Alleta, enlisted in the Navy together, insisting that they serve together.

This was not a policy of the Navy, but men were desperately needed, so they granted it.

On November 14, 1942, the Sullivan boys were on the light cruiser USS Juneau when it was torpedoed, broke in half and sank quickly.  Out of 700 men aboard, only ten survived.  Four of the Sullivans died quickly.  George, the oldest, died at sea four or five days later.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cumberland University (Tennessee) Seeks to Honor Veterans Who Trained There

From the Feb. 4, 2012, Nashville Tennessean" by Matt Anderson.

Planes flew over Lebanon, Tennessee, soldiers fought across the Cumberland River, artillery fire abounded and the night skies were lit up like a 4th of July.

Thosands of U.S. soldiers came to be trained in Middle Tennessee.

Cumberland University wants to have a ceremony on May 8, 2012 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.  This will also mark the 70th anniversary of the simulated training on the campus and elsewhere in Middle Tennessee..

From 1941 to 1944, some 25 U.S. Army divisions participated in seven large-scale maneuvers in  Middle Tennessee to prepare for operations in Europe.  Some 850,000 soldiers participated in Davidson County and 25 others around it.

Forces were divided into Red and Blue groups.  landings were made similar to the ones they would experience in Europe.

On the last river crossing during the last of these maneuvers, a boat overturned in the Cumberland River between Hartsville and Lebanon, killing 21.  The last of the bodies was found two months later, 81 miles downstream on Lower Broadway in Nashville.

During maneuvers, Saturday nights were quite the thing with as many as 100,000 soldiers on leave in Nashville.

--GreGen

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Flew Off the USS Tennessee

From the March 1, 2012, Rosemount (Mn) Town Pages "Framing Memories" by Emily Zimmer.

Louis Damiani, 88, was a Navy pilot during World War II, serving on the battleship USS Tennessee in the South Pacific.

He lost just about all of his belongings in a fire last March.

His plane was catapulted off the ship and he directed the ship's fire from overhead.

Of course, he could not return and land on the ship, so would have to wait for the ship to pick him up with its crane.  Once, he had to wait in his plane on the water when the ship had to leave and he was stranded for several days before being picked up.

His mother received a MIA letter.

He was at the invasion of Guam. and has a photo of the remains of a Japanese kamikaze on the deck of the Tennessee.  He was also at Iwo Jima and the signing of the Japanese surrender.

Sadly, his health is failing.

--GreGen

What Happened to Glenn Miller-- Part 6

Yet another theiry is that Glenn Miller disappeared due to a combination of circumstances: a pilot untrained to fly by instrumentation, plane failure and worsening weather.

The plane was not given permission to fly that day, December 15, 1944.  The weather was bad and getting worse all over Europe.  Denial for the flight came from Paris, where the plane was headed.    Hitler used the next day as a launch for what became known as the Battle of the Bulge, partly because the bad weather would take away Allied air superiority.

Norseman planes had a particularly bad problem in cold weather where they experienced engine failures. There was a particular situation with the carburetor icing causing the engine to fail.   Plus, the pilot had a lack of experience flying with instrumentation.

The PBS History detectives arrived at this as being the best possibility for Miller's disappearance.  I agree with them.

--GreGen

Monday, July 14, 2014

What Happened to Glenn Miller?-- Part 4

Then, there is a conspiracy theory saying that Glenn Miller was on a secret mission to overthrow Adolf Hitler.  Miller was really good friends with David Niven, actor who had returned to England to help with the war effort.  Niven was involved in very top secret activities.

Plus, Miller was staying in Bedford, England, a center for covert operations.  It is known that despite tghe war and Nazi attempts to censure Glenn Miller's music, there were still a lot of German youth who were avid followers of American swing and jazz music.  Some of these youth were even rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

And, speaking of top secret stuff, German V-1 rockets which rained death and destruction on Britain, were in full swing at this time.  The building Miller's orchestra was staying in was hit by one shortly after they left it.

This seems Like the Most-Far-Fetched Possibility.  --GreGen

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 2

JULY 6, 2014, A PICNIC IN THE PARK: 1942--  July 1942.  Washington, D.C.. "A Sunday in Rock Creek Park" by Marjory Collins, Office of War Information (OWI).  Life goes on, even in wartime.

JULY 4, 2014, HECK RANCH: 1943--  Feb. 1943, Moreno Valley, New Mexico.  "William Heck ranch.  Mrs. Heck preparing supper."  By John Coller, OWI.

JUNE 27, 2014, FARM TABLE: 1943--  July 1943.  "Rockville, Maryland (vicinity).  Private Harvey Horton visiting at the N.C. Stiles' dairy farm while on furlough from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, at dinner with the family."  By Ann Rosener, OWI.  A comment said that Norman Rockwell's "Thanksgiving" painting appeared the same year.  Perhaps this photo influenced him?

--GreGen

Shorpy World War II Photos-- Part 1

From the Shorpy photograph site.

Someone could definitely make a great book on the home front in the United States using these photos.

JULY 10, 2014,  SMOKE SIGNAL, 1943:--  March 1943 "Ash Fork, Arizona (vicinity).  Passing an eastbound freight train on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad between Winslow and Seligman, Arizona, Route 66.  By Jack Delano, Office of War Information (OWI).   Railroads played a huge role in movement in the U.S. during the war.

JULY 8, 2014, PLANE JANE:, 1942--  1942 "Melbourne, Australia.  Beaufort torpedo bomber final assembly plant, OWI.  Planes were being made for the war in other Allied countries.  The girl appeared to be doing a final inspection, but oddly enough, was wearing a fancy dress and high heel shoes, something I would not expect.

JUNE 30, 2014, MEET THE MUNTZES, 1943:  Feb. 1943--  Moreno Valley, Colfax Co., New Mexico. Dinnertime at george Muntz's ranch, the 4th photo of the family in Shorpy.  By John Collier, OWI.  This one reminds me of the famed Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting.

--GreGen


PBS History Detectives Look for What Happened to Glenn Miller-- Part 4

Glenn Miller and the other two men took off from Twinwood, England, in a C-66 Norseman single-engine plane and flew to Paris.

British planes would jettison unused bombs in a particular area southeast of England on their return from missions.  This area was right along   the flight path Miller's plane was top take.  That day, 100 British Lancaster bombers were returning from a mission scrubbed because of the bad weather and carrying huge 4,000 pound Blockbuster bombs.

A few years back, one of the men in the planes reported that he recognized the shape of a Norseman plane below the bombers and believes that a blast from one or more of the jettisoned bombs caused it to crash.

He is not sure if it was from a direct hit blast or from the shock waves.

Miller's Norseman was the only such plane in the air and was in the area.

As such, it is possible that Miller was killed by "Friendly Fire."

Plus, there is an airplane spotter's log book that turned up on the "Antique Roadshow" that noted on December 15, 1944, that he had spotted a Norseman plane near where the Lancaster bombers were.

--GreGen

Friday, July 11, 2014

PBS History Detectives Look for What Happened to Glenn Miller-- Part 3

Earning $10,000 to $20,000 a week as the leader of his band, Glenn Miller nevertheless volunteered for service during World War II.  It was decided to have him lead his band to play for the Armed Forces to boost morale.    He was in England as Christmas approached and was scheduled to have a radio broadcast in newly liberated Paris at Christmas and wanted to go ahead of his band to make sure things were in order.

He boarded a small, single-engine C-66 Norseman plane, took off on December 15, 1944, and was never heard from again.  The flight to Paris was not supposed to happen because of bad weather there.  As a matter of fact, the weather was bad all over Europe that day.  As a matter of fact, the Germans used the bad weather that kept Allied planes grounded, to launch their offensive that became known as the Battle of the Bulge the next day.  The pilot was ordered not to fly, but a superior officer, also going on the flight, overruled the order.

Glenn Miller was noted for his fear of flying, so it is not likely he would have wanted to take off under such conditions.

--GreGen


Thursday, July 10, 2014

PBS History Detectives Look for Glenn Miller-- Part 2

What really happened to noted American musician Glenn Miller?  He took off from England December 15, 1944, on a flight to Paris where he was going to do a holiday concert in the newly liberated  City of Lights,  Neither he or his plane ever arrived.  What happened is still unknown and probably will remain so until the wreckage is actually found.

Theories abound.

Was he really a spy on a mission to overthrow Hitler?

Was he killed by friendly fire from the British?

Did his plane experience problems causing it to crash into the English Channel?

These are things the three history detectives are going to investigate.

--GreGen


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

PBS' History Detectives Try to Find What Happened to Glenn Miller-- Part 1

July 8, 2014, PBS, WTTW Chicago.

These last two weeks I have really enjoyed watching this series.  Last week, they looked into the horrific explosion of the SS Sultana in the Mississippi River in the waning days of the Civil War, the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history with over 2,000 dead.  I'll be writing about that in my Saw the Elephant Blog.

Last night's episode was on what happened to world renowned bandleader Glenn Miller December 15, 1944, when he took off from England on his way to a concert in Paris and his plane was never heard from again.

They investigated three theories as to what happened:  downed by friendly British fire; killed in a secret mission and plane crash.

More to Come.  --GreGen

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fate of Italian-Canadians in the War

From the March 2, 2012, Vancouver (Can,) Courier  "Friend and Foe" by Cheryl Rossi.

Luigi "Lou" Moro served in the Canadian Navy in World War II, despite being classified as an "enemy alien" by his government.

He had arrived in Canada 12 years earlier as a pre-teen in 1929 and had become a sports hero..

Forty-four Italian-Canadians were interred in British Columbia also enlisted to get out of internment.

There is a new book by Ray Culos "Injustice Served"  It covers the story of those 44 as well as up to 700 Italians across the country who were interred without charges after Italy joined forces with Germany on June 10, 1940.

Another 1800 men of the 4,500 Italians living in Vancouver were designated "Enemy Aliens" and had to report to the police once a month.  These men carried financial and emotional scars for the rest of their life.

There were three categories of "Enemy Alien" in Vancouver:  Italian nationals, Italian immigrants who arrived during Mussolini's dictatorship and members of the Circolo Giu lio Giordani Italian Club.

Japanese-Canadians were also interred.

--Brock-Perry


Monday, July 7, 2014

Memphis Belle at Air Force Museum-- Part 3

When the Memphis Belle and its 10-man crew were recalled to the United States, they were big attraction.  They went on a three-month-long war bond and morale-boosting tour.  Altogether, they made stops at 33 cities, factories and military airfields, including the one at Patterson Airfield in Dayton.

Everyone wanted their autographs.
Restoration work on the Belle began in 2005.  Persons signing up for the museum's 3-hour "Behind the Scenes Tour" offered on most Fridays can get a sneal look at it.

--GreGen

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The War Continued 70 Years Ago on July 4th, 1944

From "The Pacific War: Day By Day" by John Davison.

JULY 2, 1944:  AIR WAR, IWO JIMA

US carrier aircraft attack Japanese forces in Iwo Jima, shooting down 16 Japanese aircraft and destroying 29 on the ground.

JULY 4, 1944:  AIR WAR, Bonin Islands/Iwo Jima.

US carrier-based aircraft have a good day hunting Japanese shipping around the Bonin Islannds and Iwo Jima.  Backed by a bombardment from US cruisers and destroyers, they help sink four destroyers and several transport vessels.

Preliminary preparations for the attack on Iwo Jima were underway.

--GreGen





Memphis Belle at Air Force Museum-- Part 2

There have been two films made about the famous warbird.  The was a 1944 documentary "the Memphis Belle" and a 1990 movie of the same name.

The Bel;le was part of the 324th Bomb Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group (Heavy) based at Bassingbourne, England, during the war.  Its missions began in November 1942 and were often unescorted. on its 25 missions.

Of the 12,800 B-17s produced as part of the massive U.S. war effort, there are only a few more than fifty left in the world.  The Air Force Museum has one on display, two under restoration and 13 on loan elsewhere.

The name "Memphis Belle" came from the girlfriend of Army Air Force Lt. and pilot, Robert Morgan, Margaret Polk of Memphis, Tennessee.

--GreGen

Memphis Belle At Air Force Museum-- Part 1

From the Feb. 2012 Springfield (OH) News-Sun "WWII bomber to be displayed at Air Force Museum" by Barrie Barber.

The Memphis Belle, a B-17F flew over France and Germany and is being restored.  It is famous as being the first bomber to complete 25 missions over Europe before returning stateside.

The restoration crew at the National museum of the United States Air Force are working on it and have a tentative 2014 unveiling for it in the World War II gallery.  (I visited the museum in November 2013 and didn't see it so that would explain why.  Just something else to see in that vast museum.)

They are carefully cataloging every crew signature etched on the inside.

The Restoration Division has 20 full-time staff and 64 volunteers.

Restoration is not easy as the plane has been out of production for 70 years.  Some of the parts had to be fabricated and others borrowed from other bombers.

--GreGen

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Navajo Code Talkers

It is always sad to see the last member of any group die, but this group was an extraordinarily special one.  Their service saved untold American lives and hastened the end of the war in the Pacific.  The group definitely deserved Gold Stars.

And, these 29 were the ones who actually developed the code.  Other Code Talkers followed them, but used what the originals had made.

And, considering what the United States had done to their people, their service is all the more to be admired.  They could have just told the American government to drop dead and sat out the war, but yet they fought and risked their lives for "their Country."  And, then, there was always the tremendous prejudice against them from their white comrades.

I wonder how many of the other Code Talkers are still alive.

Sorry to Lose Mr. Nez, Definitely One of the Front rank of the Greatest Generation.  --GreGen

Deaths: Last of the Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers-- Part 4

Chester Nez and his fellow Navajo recruits were classified as communications specialists by the U.S. Marines and were taught Morse Code, semaphore and "blinker," a system using lights to send messages between ships.

The code they developed substituted Navajo words for military terms.  CHAY-DA-GAHI, which translates to "turtle," came to mean tank while a GINI, "chicken hawk" in English, became a dive bomber.  America was NE-HE-MAH, "our mother."

Code Talkers served in all six Marine Divisions and 13 of the original 29 were killed in the war.

Mr. Nez was born Jan. 23, 1921 and was sent to a government boarding school when he was about 9 to learn English.  If he dared speak Navajo at that school he would be punished.

After World War II, he volunteered to serve two more years during the Korean War and retired in 1974 after a 25-year career as a painter for the Veterans Administration hospital in Albuquerque, NM.

--GreGen

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Deaths: Last of the 29 Navajo Code Talkers-- Part 3: Chester Nez

The president of the Navajo Nation, Ben Shelly, ordered flags to be flown at half mast in his honor.  He said: "It saddens me to hear the last of the original Code Talkers has died.  We are proud of these young men in defending the country they loved using the Navajo language."

Last November, the American veterans Center honored Mr. Nez, awarding him the Audie Murphy Award for his service.

Mr. Nez remarked at the time, "I was very proud to say that the Japanese did everything in their power to break that code,. but they never did."

More to Come.  --GreGen

Deaths: Last of the 29 Navajo Code Talkers-- Part 2

The Navajos' skill, speed and accuracy under fire in the Marshall islands to Iwo Jima is credited with saving the lives of thousands of U.S. servicemen and helping to shorten the war.  The 2002 movie "Windtalkers" featured their effort.

In his memoirs, Mr. Nez noted: "I reminded myself that my Navajo people have always been warriors, protectors.  In that there was honor.  I would concentrate on being a warrior protecting my homeland.."

In 2001, Mr. Nez and the surviving Code Talkers were invited to Washington, D.C. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their service.   At that time he noted that things didn't always go smoothly for them.  "Quite a few Navajo guys were mistaken for Japanese.

The death in 2011 of Lloyd Oliver made Mr. Nez the last surviving member of the unit.

--GreGen

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Deaths: Last of the 29 Navajo Code Talkers-- Part 1

CHESTER NEZ (1921-2014)

From Reuters.

"Group credited with helping Allies win World War II" by Joseph Kolb.

The last of 29 Navajos who developed an unbreakable code that helped Allied forces win World War II died June 4, 2014, in New Mexico at age 91.

Chester Nez was the last survivor of the original group of Native Americans recruited by the Marine Corps to create a code based on their language that the Japanese could not crack.  Eventually some 400 Code Talkers used their unique battlefield cipher to encrypt messages sent from field telephones and radios throughout the Pacific theater.

Since the language of the Navajos was only spoken in the American southwest and known only to fewer than 30 non-native and had no written form.

More to Come.  --GreGen

World War II's "Crimson Route"

From Wikipedia.

Back on June 21st, I wrote about the remains of a World War II airman which were found two years ago in a Canadian River.  he died as a result of a crash during an operation called "Crimson Route."  I'd never heard of it, so research was in order.

The "Crimson Route was a set of joint U.S.-Canadian planned for ferry planes and material from North America to Europe.  It ended in 1943, never being fully developed.

In 1940, with the Fall of France and the Battle of Britain, Americans feared that Britain might fall which would move the Axis closer to our shores.  Even thought the United States was not then at war, it had adopted a "hemispheric defense" and began planning air fields and air routes in the Arctic.

When Denmark fell in April, the U.S. took control of Greenland

The first route went from Newfoundland to Labrador, Greenland, Iceland to Britain.

The passage of the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, meant that large numbers of American aircraft were to be transferred to Britain.  The urgency increased as losses at sea multiplied as Hitler's U-boat campaign took hold.  Eventually, three routes were selected.

--GreGen

"Get the Hell Out of My Way!": Last Member of "Whitley's Rangers"

From the August 3, 2012, Henry (Ga.) Daily Herald "90 year-old WWII vet served with Gen. Patton" by Jason Smith.

Ellis "Ruby" Robertson is the last surviving member of "Whitley's Rangers" whose mission in World War Ii was to provide reconnaissance for the Army, recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

He served in the Army from 1942 to 1945, and recalled his first meeting with his commander, General George S. Patton, "He said, 'Get the hell out of my way!!"  He was quite a character according to Robertson.

--GreGen

Ships Sunk Off NC Coast: July 1942

Things were changing off the coast of North Carolina entering the seventh month of the year.  U-boats were having a field day during the first six months, but the odds were evening up and pickings weren't as good and two of the ships sunk were U-boats. 

July 7th:  U-701, submarine, aerial depth charges, sunk off Cape Hatteras, 36 killed
July 15th:  SS CHILORE,  bulk carrier, torpedoed and sunk by U-576
July 15th:  SMV Bluefields, Nicaraguan freighter, torpedoed and sunk by U-576 off Cape Hatteras
July 15th:  U-576, submarine, aerial bombed and sunk, 45 killed of Cape Hatteras.  Aerial depth charges and gunfire from SS Unicol.
July 19th:  USS KESHENA, tug, struck Allied mine and sank, 2 killed.

The U-576 had quite a day on July 15, 1942.

--GreGen