Alright so I am slightly confused about this entry. Researching online about a naval battle at “Marianas” on June 23, 1944 there is multiple things that come up. The most notable being the battle of the Philippine Sea, nicknamed “Marianas Turkey Shoot”. Which lasted until June 29th of that same year. Parts of this battle took place on the Marianas Islands. This is the only large naval battle that comes up for this date. Leading me to think he was referring to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. What is very odd about this entry in particular is that he only wrote five words, and for something this big you would expect more. It leads me to believe he saw / possibly did some very horrific things this day, which he probably did not want to write or talk about (like possibly killing a Japanese soldier or seeing a lot of death / explosions). If he was referring to this then below you will find more information and some websites you can check out about it. If he was referring to another naval battle please feel free to correct me by leaving a comment down below, and if that is the case I sincerely apologize.
So this battle was one of the most important battle’s of WW2. It was the United States versus Japan. The United States won which stopped Japan from conducting large scale naval missions afterwards. Meaning it stopped Japan from sending Navy towards America and Europe, potentially stopping the Axis powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) from winning the war. It also gave the United states control of the Philippine Sea which was major in our effort against fighting Japan. This was the largest aircraft carrier battle in history, and one of the largest naval battles of WW2.
(The black scribble is digital only, I did it to cover up the next entry.)
More information on the Battle of the Philippine Sea:
“June 20 – Senick got shot by our own guards at Biak, everybody is trigger happy. Still hear gun blasting away at Japs. Our planes go over to bomb them everyday.” Alright so we are very confused as to what or who “Senick” is. We are guessing it is someone in his unit that he knew, as to why he got shot or the context of this we know nothing. He does not mention “Senick” or anything about this day in other entries. So apologies from us that we can not tell you any more about this.
Don’t worry the part that looks colored is not actually colored, it is digital to cover up the next entry.
“(OWI) June 16 – APO 920 – Moved from Biak to neighboring island of Owi, reason was that planes couldn’t operate from Biak, engineers built strip on Owi in five days. Could hear artillery booming all night long. Japs dug in caves. Owi is a very small island, about 2 1/2 miles long and a mile wide but is a nice place. While at Biak we thought we’ed be attacked by Japs, were on alert all night. Dug my first slit trench.” Alright so “OWI” is an island right near Biak island, formally known as Pulau Owi Island. Like mentioned in the journal an air strip was built there, the reason being to give the Army Air Force a better place to operate from. It was built under General MacArthur’s command. A “slit trench” also known as an individual prone shelter, is just what it sounds like, a small, narrow slit dug into the ground. Typically big enough for one soldier to lay inside to protect themselves form any fire and fragments from explosions (although sometimes they are made bigger to accommodate more soldiers).
Here is an illustration of what a slit trench looks like:
“(BIAK) June 11 – Unloaded liberty boat on to Lst’s and arrived at Biak Island June 14. Had plenty of alerts but no raids while un – loading. Got quite a scare, artillery was still on beach and Japs not far away. Strips were still in Jap hands.” “Lst’s” are landing ship tanks, the amphibious vehicles military uses that can go in water and then land on the shore to deploy troops, vehicles and supplies. When he said he “had plenty of alerts but no raids” he means he had alerts that the Japanese were going to attack (whether it be by bombing or a ground attack) but they did not. Artillery is weaponry used by the military to fire munitions with more power and range than guns can provide. When he says “Strips were still in Jap hands” he means the air strips were still controlled by the Japanese at the time.
Alright so we think that Mike’s unit was a part of the 162nd Infantry Regiment, because from what were are finding online the 41st Infantry Division arrived to the battle first then the only other troops to arrive later on in the battle were part of the 162nd Infantry Regiment, leading us to believe he was part of it.
“April 16 – Boarded Liberty ship Lyman Beecher and went to Finshafen to pick up convoy. This is advance echelon. We then went to Humboldt Bay and stayed there till June 11. Couldn’t get off boat, worst trip we ever had. Nothing to do but eat and sleep. Supposed to go to Biak which was invaded May 27.”
Alright so there is quite a lot to go over for this entry, so if you don’t like reading I apologize. So “Liberty ship Lyman Beecher” was a supply ship named after the famous Presbyterian Minister who lived during the 1800’s (at least we think it was, if it was named after another ‘Lyman Beecher’ feel free to leave a comment down below correcting us). Liberty ships were another name for supply ships and troop transport ships.
“Finshafen” is a town in the Huon Peninsula in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea (which is where he was at this time). He either spelled the name of this town incorrectly or that might have been what American troops called it at the time, because the town is actually spelled as ‘Finschhafen’.
When he says that they went “to pick up convoy” he means that they went there to get more troops, supplies, and vehicles to go with them. We are not entirely sure what he means by “advance echelon” we think he means that it was a special, advanced formation of him and the rest of the troops he was with (if it means something else feel free to leave a comment below correcting us).
“Humboldt Bay” also known as Yos Sudarso Bay, was a small bay on the Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea.
“Biak” is a small island in the Cenderawasih Bay in the Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea. As he mentioned it “was invaded May 27” by 12,000 American troops to fight the Japanese troops controlling the island. This became known as the Battle of Biak. It was fought from May 27th – July/August ? 1944 (every website says a different end date so i’m not sure which one is correct). It was done under General MacArthur’s command, meant to clear Papua New Guinea of Japanese troops so the U.S. could have a better position to invade the Philippines. When he arrives there, the battle is still going on (which you will more about that out in the next entry).