Entry #77

“Oct 12 – Aussies put on a very good stage show for us. Alas new movie. 4 hours of solid entertainment.”

Entry#77(2)

This entry is a very different change of pace compared to the last few. Mike does not mention any of the usual things that occur, like raids, bombings, or alerts. This might mean that none happened this day or he just choose not to write about them.

Mike starts this off by writing “Aussies put on a very good stage show for us.” An “Aussie” is a slang term for someone from Australia. During the war the United States and Australia were allies , so it would make sense that they were together for this.

“stage show” could have been any number of things: singing, dancing, comedy, plays, etc. It was most likely a mix of a few. I wrote about these type of performances for soldiers back in Entry #44 , so if you’re interested in that aspect of the war feel free to go back and read it.

Mike finishes this entry off by writing “Alas new movie. 4 hours of solid entertainment.” I would imagine this was a very large morale boost and a fairly relaxing day for them, as it took their mind off the realities of war.

Entry #76

“Oct 11 – Had raids at 3 and 4 A.M. They hit gas dump first run. Lit up whole sky.”

Entry#76(2)

This one starts off fairly similar to the previous entry, as Mike wrote he “Had raids at 3 and 4 A.M.” To the best of my recollection this is the earliest any raid as taken place so far for Mike. I can’t imagine being woken up to that.

Mike goes on to write “They hit gas dump first run.” A gas dump is essentially a separate tank or trailer (it can also just be a lot of barrels) where excess gas is stored. It could be stored because it’s unusable or just because it’s extra that is not needed at the time. This was most likely hit on purpose by the Japanese. Not only would it create a massive explosion and could potentially cause a lot of casualties, but if it was extra gas, destroying that would be extremely beneficial for the Japanese.  As it would setback Mike and the other soldiers a lot.

Mike then wrote “Lit up whole sky”. Now he is either referring to the explosion generated by the gas dump or in general all the bullets in the air from the Japanese forces and the Allied forces there. My best guess is a combination of both. Either way this is a very poetic and eerie sounding line.

Entry #75

“Oct 10 – 6:15 A.M. P-47 on takeoff nosed into ocean and burned but pilot got out okay.”

Entry#75(2)

This entry starts off very early in the morning, at “6:15 A.M.” when Mike wrote “P-47 on takeoff nosed into ocean”.

“P-47” is officially known as the Republic P-47 Thunderboltand was a fighter aircraft used between 1941 and 1945 by the United States.

p47thunderbolt

Here is an example of what a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt looks like.

It was one of the largest, heaviest and most expensive aircraft’s used by the United States during the war. It specialized in high – altitude combat and taking out enemy bombers at low altitude. Since the aircraft was so heavy the frame was built very sturdy, allowing it to take a decent amount of damage and continue to fly. It was also one of the most common aircraft’s used by the United States in all the fronts (Pacific, Eastern, etc) during the war.

fairchildp47

The above image is a Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt IIIt is the modern version of the P-47 Mike wrote about in this entry.

Alright so let’s get back on course, Mike said the “P-47 on takeoff nosed into ocean and burned”. What he means by “nosed” is that the aircraft nose dived into the ocean and then started to burn. Now if you remember Mike is currently on an island, meaning he is very close to the water. So I doubt the pane flew very far before diving into the war, as this happened on takeoff”. The reason it started to burn probably has to do with the engine and fuel leaking out into the water. Fuel (gasoline) is less dense than water, so it floats on top, which if caught fire, will burn.

As for why the plane nose dived or how quickly any of this happened, I am not sure. My best guess is that the plane was damaged from the events that occurred in Entry #73 and Entry #74. Then again this is only a guess, and there is no way for me to know exactly what happened. If you have any other ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Mike finishes this entry off by writing “but pilot got out okay.” This was incredibly lucky, and I can’t imagine what was going through the pilot’s head.


Where I found the image of the  A-10 Thunderbolt II: The Warthog

Entry #74

“Oct 9 – Had raid at 6 A.M. dropped bombs on beach.”

Entry#74(2)

This entry was written on a Monday, two days after the previous entry. I would imagine Mike and the other soldiers had a lot of cleaning up to do after the bombing that took place, two days prior to this.

Mike starts off this entry by writing “Had raid at 6 A.M.” This is interesting because it’s the same time the bombing happened in the previous entry, but up until that point they were occurring in the evening / night. So maybe the Japanese have changed the time they will conduct these raids at.

Mike then wrote “dropped bombs on beach.” Now would Mike have considered himself to be on the beach, or was there other soldiers / objects (vehicles, buildings, weapons, etc) on the beach? That I am not sure of, but when he says “beach” I am guessing it was the area where there was not any soldiers. If you have any other idea feel to leave it in the comments below.

 

Entry #73

“Oct 7 – Had raid at 6 A.M. Plane dropped string of bombs some landing in our area. Blew up our latrine which is about 150 feet from my tent. Shrapnel all over. Two of the bombs were duds. One hit our gasoline trailer but didn’t go off, we were very lucky. Two infantry boys killed, their camp was next to ours. Everybody thought it was a night fighter.”

Entry#73(2)

Before we get into this, I would like to warn you this post will probably be very long, as this particular entry is a lot longer than usual. I feel like there is a lot in this that needs to be explained and talked about, so thank you if you stay and read all of it.

So Mike starts off by talking about a “raid at 6 A.M.” that occurred, this is pretty interesting as up until this point they have been normally occurring in the evening .

We then get into the part where Mike wrote “Plane dropped string of bombs some landing in our area”. This immediately sticks out because he never really talks about the specifics of these bombings that occurred almost every day, so right after reading this line, I figured it would be different. What he means by “string of bombs” is that the plane flew overhead, probably fairly low and dropped a lot of bombs, in a line, like a “string”. They were also very close together, almost on top of each other, because of the frequency in which they were dropped, which made them appear as a “string”.

stringbombing

Here is an example of string bombing.

The next part starts out with Blew up our latrine which is about 150 feet from my tent. Shrapnel all over.” A latrine is another word for their bathrooms. So whether or not it was intentional for the Japanese to destroy this, they did. The reason there is shrapnel everywhere is because once the bombs explode the outside shell is broken into tiny pieces which shoot everywhere. Not only does the initial explosion cause damage but the shards of metal from the bomb (shrapnel) also do, as they could wound / kill people. There is also shrapnel from any objects (vehicles, buildings, etc) that are destroyed.

The part of this line that sticks out is the distance the latrine was from his tent, which Mike wrote as “150 feet” . This is an extremely small distance to be from a bomb, as it’s about the same length as half a football field (50 yards). Which if you think about, is a fairly small distance to be from an explosion and shrapnel.

150feetToYards

Mike next wrote Two of the bombs were duds.” What this means is that out of all the bombs dropped, two did not explode upon contact with their target. In military terminology dud explosives are referred to as unexploded ordnanceThere would be no way for me to even guess why these two did not go off, as it could be a number of reasons. I also do not have any knowledge on how aerial bombs worked during WWII so I don’t want to give incorrect information either.

Unexploded bombs are a very common thing throughout the world, especially in the Middle East and Africa, although they are usually in the form of landmines, making them even more dangerous, as they are often buried underground. But unexploded bombs from WWII are also fairly common. Here is an interesting BBC News article talking about the danger of these bombs and how there are still thousands from WWII all across Europe, Africa, and the Pacific theater. It’s pretty interesting, so I would recommend reading it if you were not aware of this.

Alright so let’s get back to the entry, Mike wrote One hit our gasoline trailer but didn’t go off, we were very lucky.” I had to read over this line multiple times, to be sure I wasn’t seeing things. A bomb hit their gasoline trailer but did not explode. I have no idea how something like that would even be possible, and I’m sure Mike and the other soldiers were thinking the same thing, as if it did explode the gasoline trailer it would’ve been a massive explosion along with oil everywhere, starting a fire. Mike was a very religious man, as were a lot of young men serving in this war, so in his mind, he probably thought this was a bit more than luck.

fueltrailerww2

To help you picture this better, here is an example of a gasoline trailer from WWII. It would’ve been attached to the back of a larger truck.

In the next line Mike wrote Two infantry boys killed, their camp was next to ours.” The first interesting part is how Mike referred to them as “boys”, leading me to believe they were very young or either looked very young. This is incredibility sad but a notable part of this journal, as to the best of my recollection, this is the first time Mike mentions anyone in specific being killed. Leading me to also believe he may have knew these two people, at least more than others. But maybe not, it could just be he decided to include that because this day was very catastrophic and he wanted to write everything down that happened. Mike wrote “their camp was next to ours” , this means more people may have died, as their camps were probably very close to each other. Then again there is no way for me to be certain. I’m sure those two infantry soldiers are resting in Valhalla now.

We are now on the final part of this entry. Mike wrote Everybody thought it was a night fighter.” In the previous entry , I wrote about night fighter’s and explained their significance throughout the first and second World Wars. If you do not know what they are I highly recommend go reading that. The reason the soldiers thought it was one, is most likely because this occurred very early in the morning, meaning it was low light, most likely with fog. Night fighters specialized in bombing during poor visibility conditions, so it would only make sense.

After this happened I would imagine Mike and the other soldiers spent all day cleaning up and rebuilding, preparing for more bombing that may occur that same day or the next day. This was probably one of the most horrific days that Mike has experienced so far.

Thank you so much to anyone who actually read all of this, hopefully you learned something or found some of it interesting.


Where I found the image of string bombing

Where I found the image of a gasoline trailer

Entry #72

“Oct 6 – Had alert at 4:00 A.M. Night fighter shot plane down before he could do anything.”

Entry#72(2)

This entry starts off fairly standard, by having a raid in the evening.

We then move onto to the next part, which is fairly interesting and needs a bit of explaining. Mike starts this part off by saying “Night fighter shot plane down”. You might not know what a “Night fighter” is so I will try and explain it.

night fighter was a type of aircraft used during WWI and WWII. It was an aircraft specialized for use in any type of weather, night, or any time with low visibility, hence the name. A lot of them would have radar and other specialized detection systems on board, which would help them detect enemies in poor visibility. They were also commonly used for reconnaissance (searching for the enemy and specific objectives without them knowing), especially during the night.

BlackWidowNightFighter

Here is an example of what one looked like. This one was a P-61 Black Widow. It was mainly used for bombing during the night by axis and allied forces.

So hopefully you have a better idea of what a night fighter is, so the rest of this entry could make more sense. Mike then wrote “shot down plane before he could do anything.” This means that their night fighter shot down a Japanese plane extremely quickly, most likely some time after 4:00 P.M. that day.

If their night fighter shot down the Japanese plane quickly it was most likely already in the sky patrolling, and probably saw an incoming Japanese plane on it’s radar.


Where I found the image of the P-61 Black Widow

Entry #71

“Oct 5 – Fist quiet night.”

Entry #71(2)

This entry is very simple, so there is not a whole lot for me to say. In the previous entry I talked about how  Mike did not mention any raids or alerts. Meaning that they either did not take place that day or he just choose not to write about it.

This entry leads me to believe some raids or alerts did take place, as this was the first quiet night.