Today is Veterans day. When I was a kid, it used to be called Armistice day, because on this day, at 11 am in 1918, the Armistice that ended the fighting in WWI went into effect. The guns fell silent, and the killing stopped.
Almost 21 years later, tyranny raised its ugly head and another, far more brutal war started , and spread throughout the world. My dad, Jack Gershon, fought in that one, as did my uncles and many of my cousins. Thankfully, my dad made it back safe and sound, or I would not be typing this! :p
On this day, I have always saluted the Vets, and I continue to do so. But I feel its time for an American Edjumication from me. I hope everyone reads this and remembers.
MIDWAY, LEYTE GULF, AND HEROISM ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL
In mid-1942, America was slowly beginning to recover from the devastation at Pearl Harbor, and the loss of Wake Island, Guam, and the Phillipines. President Roosevelt had directed the Navy to attack Japan, and, in one of the most amazing examples of brilliant flying, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle had led a squadron of US medium bombers taking off from the carrier Hornet on a raid on the Japanese home islands. Only 6 months after the start of the war, American bombs were falling on Tokyo! This had to be stopped.
The Japanese naval commander, Admiral Yamamoto, decided to launch an assault on the US-held island of Midway. He would send in Admiral Nagumo with 4 of the 6 carriers that had hit Pearl Harbor, and he himself would follow with the Japanese battleships. If the US Admiral, Nimitz, responded, Yamamoto was confident that he would pulverize the US fleet.
But something went wrong. With the aid of a brilliant codebreaking team led by Joe Rochefort, Nimitz knew when and where the Japanese would attack. He secretly snuck in 3 carriers and their support ships to a position where they could ambush the Japanese. And that's what happened. Our forces sank all four of the Japanese carriers, and killed many of their irreplaceable pilots. We lost the carrier Yorktown, but it was a smashing victory that stopped Japanese expansion, wrecked their naval aviation force, and started us on the road to victory.
But it wasn't that simple. Carrier aircraft in those days fell into 3 catagories: fighter, dive bomber, and torpedo bomber. Because of different speeds, you had to launch them at different times so they would all arrive at the same place at the same time. And, the Americans were flying a slow, obsolete torpedo bomber, the Devastator. They had to fly a long, low and slow approach to get close enough to launch their torpedoes at the Japanese ships. Without fighter protection, they were sitting ducks. And that's what happened. The fighters from the Hornet took the wrong heading, and some of those from the Yorktown and Enterprise ran out of fuel and had to ditch. So without fighers protecting them, these magnificent men emulated the Charge of the Light Brigade and launched a series of suicidal attacks on the Japanese carriers. VT8 from the Hornet was the first to go in. All 15 of the Devastators were shot down by Japanese combat air patrol fighters. Only one pilot out of the squadron survived.(these were two man planes;pilot and rear gunner) VT6 from Enterprise and VT3 from Yorktown went in and fared no better. They each lost ten planes, Amazingly, some actually dropped their torpedoes before being shot down, None hit. In a few minutes of madly brave, suicidal conflict, our carriers had lost 35 out of 41 planes.
But these men did not sacrifice in vain. They had drawn down all the Japanese combat air patrols to sea level. And just as the last devastator crashed into the sea, Japanese lookouts were horrified to see two squadrons of American dive bombers screaming down at their carriers. The Japanese were caught with their decks full of planes reloading and gassing up, and they exploded like torches when they were hit. Its called the "five minutes of Midway" for good reason. In five minutes 3 out of the four Japanese carriers were sunk, and with them went Japan's hopes of winning the war.
The second incident occurred in 1944, when our forces invaded the Philippines. The Japanese navy reacted with Operation "Sho" (which means victory) It was a 3 pronged assault on the invasion at Leyte Gulf. One prong was composed of all the carriers they had left. However, they had very few planes. they were a decoy force to draw Admiral Halsey and his massive 5th fleet of carriers and battleships away. A second prong was to go thru the Surigao straits and head in to attack. But the main prong was Admiral Kurita and just about every battleship and heavy cruiser the Japanese had left. They were to enter Leyte gulf via the San Bernardino straits and pound the invasion transports into flame and smashed metal.
Halsey took the bait. The commanders of the invasion fleet and gunfire support forces thought Halsey had left the Battle Line (the US battleships) to guard san Bernardino, but Halsey took them and didn't tell anyone. So the two biggest battleships ever built, the Yamato and Musashi, followed by other battleships and cruisers were steaming right at the US transports . All that stood in their way were a few squadrons of escort carriers (carriers built on merchant hulls with about 20 planes to support island invasions) these carriers were screened by a few destroyers and destroyer escorts. Seeing the Japanese coming out of the mists, the carrier squadron commander, Admiral "Ziggy Sprague", ordered his carriers to launch planes, and his destroyers and escorts to make smokescreens and attack the Japanese battleships. So the destroyer Johnston, with its 5 inch guns, and followed by the Hoel, the Heerman, and the Samuel B Roberts, turned and attacked the Japanese fleet! The battleship Yamato alone had 9 eighteen inch guns. Each one of its gun turrets weighed more than the Johnston. The US armor piercing round for a five inch gun weighed about 57 pounds. The Japanese armor piercing round for an 18 inch gun weighed about 3200 pounds. No that's not a misprint.
Our ships went in, launching torpedos and firing their 5 inch guns. The Japanese responded with gunfire from all their ships. But instead of coordinating his fleet, Kurita ordered "General attack" (in other words, every ship for itself. By this time, American planes were flying all over, dropping bombs, torpedos, and even depth charges against the Japanese. (the squadrons on these "jeep" carriers were ground attack squadrons, so they didn't have a lot of antiship munitions. Some of them flew numerous strafing runs on the Japanese ships) Sadly, the Johnston, the Hoel, and the Samuel B Roberts were all sunk. But their fearsome defense of those small carriers, and the American air attacks, convinced the Japanese Admirals that they were up against much of Halsey's fifth fleet and they decided to retreat, just minutes before breaking into the gulf. Just imagine, if you will, the sight of the Johnston, about 300 plus feet and barely 2000 tons, firing its five inch guns at the 70.000 ton Yamato!
I will close by paraphrasing something Herman Wouk wrote in his magnificent "War and Remembrance" ......These incidents show how Americans can fight when they do not have the advantage of numbers or materiels. Our Schoolchildren should learn of them, and our enemies should ponder them.
Have a wonderful veterans day, and God Bless all who serve or who have served.
cool stuff, Doc. I saw War and Remembrance as well as the Winds of War when I was a kid (read them later on), later I started delving into the hows and whys of the Pacific Theater as part of a historical fiction project I had to write in middle school. At the time I lived in Houston which happily enough is also the home berth of the USS Texas, which saw action in both theaters of WW2 in addition to action during WW1. My parents grabbed a bunch of information there (no internet back then, you young whippersnappers) on the ship, which I then put together with some stuff on the USS Phoenix and a couple of other ships and turned it into a Winds of War style story. The Texas had an interesting run and a very fortunate one - only one casualty taken in all of her service in both world wars.
If you ever want a giggle, look up the history on the USS Lexington (note, this is not the same ship, CV-2, that sank at Coral Sea; it is the Essex class successor that came online later in the Pacific theater), now berthed in Corpus Christi as a museum ship. It was nicknamed the Blue Ghost, due to the blue paint job and the fact that the Japanese thought it sunk on something like five occasions only to see it show up at the next battle.
Awesome edjumications, Doc. I have always been interested in history and love it's telling or retelling. I hope you had a wonderful Veteran's Day!
If you haven't seen it, War and Remembrance's take on this is pretty epic.
Good evening, folks... hope everyone is doing fine. I'm finally getting back to enjoying normal work weeks and catching up on all the things I pushed off over the past few months - quite a strange feeling, actually. I've actually been getting more of this thing they call sleep and it's strange, to say the least.
Unfortunately, there is still enough of a workload at work that the time I'm there is often crazy, but that's a much better problem to have.
Have a good night!
Good morning, Landrovalrim.
Just thought I would say hello. We are having a rash of computer troubles around here, which is made extra frustrating because we pre-ordered Helm's Deep. I can play on this machine, which is my daughter's old laptop, but the graphics are...less than amazing. My desktop machine looks to be beyond hope. I may slap in a new hard drive, or I may just cripple on for a while and buy a new one in the spring. Owed's desktop died at about the same time, and the laptop we bought him a couple years ago is possessed. I took it to a local exorcist/repair shop yesterday. Hoping it comes back functional in time for launch.
Anyway, the kids are doing well enough, the animals are thriving, the amazing hubby is still putting up with me, and I am trying to stay as sane as possible, so things are pretty normal around here.
Hope Thursday treats you all well.
And Leo, the equally spoiled sink cat. =D
spoiled cat is a redundant phrase, imo. :D I luvs me some sink cat.
Nice pet Pics Gweann!
And Doc, I was fascinated by tales of Midway when I was a kid. In fact, I remember one of my very first computer games was the Battle of Midway on my old TRS-80... Thanks for the edjumications, and /salute.
Had a great five day visit to New York, Camden (NJ) and Pennsylvania, including a lunch with Welby and a lunch with Delaney. It was great to see Welby again and awesome to meet Delaney for the first time. Next time out, it would be nice to meet the rest of the east coasters (Pastor, and LBJ?)
And Doc, one day, I insist, we have to go to a Canucks - Hawks game. Got to make that happen!
oh, and work has been busy. I had an inkling this was coming, but was officially confirmed and announced today..."Slamfist" Manager, Engineering Vancouver is promoted toRegional Manager, BC Mining Environmental Group. I was promoted today!
Just a quick hi to everyone.
Val, glad you are feeling better.
Slammy grats on the trip and mega grats on the promotion. Undoubtedly well deserved.
OBJ, good as always to see you.
Gweanne, that's quite a pair of animals you have. Kitsi is just adorable.
Take care everyone.
Always nice to see cute animal pics :)
Let me know next time you're in the area! I'd love to meet you sometime (or anyone in the coffee house)!
Hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday... I'm going to a Brazilian Steakhouse tonight - my first time at one, believe it or not. Wish me luck!
Not much new to report here. I discovered that my computer's hard drive was not actually dead, but that there was a corrupt system file. After multiple repair attempts failed, I finally re-installed windows, and the machine is up and running again. I am doing a happydance. Now, if Owed's laptop comes back from the shop in working order, we will be ready for the delayed release of HD! Keep your fingers crossed!
Fingers and toes crossed for you, Gweann.
Since I am feeling much better, today has been spent cooking some beef, onion, cabbage with spices concoction the Polish Robo Hubs has requested! I certainly don't remember the official name of this, so I can't tell you. LOL But it does look pretty good, which I will finish cooking soon with a tomato based sauce soon.
But it is all good as I have made a German friend who is reminding me of my roots and encouraging me to deutsch sprechen....hehehe, or speak German again! Anybody for some German food?!
Hey LBJ / OBJ - I thought afterwards that somehow that didn't look right!!! too funny.
Thanks for the well wishes. I'm now in the transition phase. The lovely thing is that now, not only do I get to attend all my old meetings, I also have to attend a whole new slate of meetings, while I'm transitioning between the two positions. Just lovely...
I hate meetings.
Hey Gombur, Slamfist is getting mighty ticked off - did you see the bogus call last night, the Canucks got ripped off! Took away a goal, cost us the game. We need to get back on track and soon, or else the Blackhawks might not get to meet the Canucks in the playoffs this year...
Val - yummmm German food! Can I put in an order for some spaetzle?
Gweann - good luck with the computer!
So much to catch up on.
I remember when Gweanne first got Kitsi and decided on her name. Three years? Wow, time does fly by.
Congratulations Slammy, Way to go.
I hope things are improving for you Doc.
and everyone else too.
Not much new here. I will not complain. As my Grandma once said "I was told not to worry, it could be worse. So I didn't and sure enough..it got worse." :p
*Hugs and Muffins Everyone*
Oh, by the way, 11/11 in Germany and Austria is the start of carnival season, which lasts until the Monday (Germany) and Tuesday (Austria) right before Ash Wednesday.
Anywho, whilst reheating said Golabki's I am listening to this, from the Walking Dead. :) I adore that show! I guess I am particularly fond of it because I was born and raised in the Atlanta area where they are filming.
Good morning, Landrovalrim.
Today promises to be a long one. I need to work on cleaning the clutter in the dark corners of the kitchen so our new visitor has fewer hiding places. We discovered a couple of nights ago that we have a mouse in the kitchen. Leo seems to understand the theory of catching it, but his execution is....lacking. What he lacks in ability, he makes up for in enthusiasm, though. The first night, we did not get much sleep because it sounded like the kitchen was being ransacked. I spent the morning just picking up the stuff he knocked all over the place.
This evening, we get to crowd into the school gym for turkey bingo. It is a typical elementary school bingo game, with the prizes being donated by PTA members and local grocery stores. Maybe we can win a turkey so I don't have to buy one. =D
Owed and I both have working computers and we have done the first bits of Helm's Deep content, but I keep getting punted from the game. Apparently lotroclient is the laziest file on my computer, because it very frequently stops working. lol I will be tinkering with my system today too, to see if I can get lotroclient to stay motivated.
Have a great Thursday, coffee people!
Howdy alles. I tried making a post yesterday but the forums and the space-time continuum conspired against me. Alas. I've got a fair bit of catching up to do though. Lots of blurbs to link (I'm not going to cross-post them because there's lots and some are pretty long) and other posts to read. I was glad to hear about your promotion Mr. Slammy and it sounds like you've got some antics about your kitchen Ms. Gweann.
I've been poking at DDO this week every so often since we've started playing that instead of Incarnum and that's been enjoyable. Incarnum was fun too, especially in the building and designing of a new setting (that's usually my favorite part) but writing an adventure and then translating it into an online format was a frustrating and time consuming process that never really seemed to work -quite- right. The DDO is turning out to be much more practical and I suspect there's more fun being had with a consistent and reliable set of mechanics that can be equally understood by all parties.
I'm aware of Helm's Deep, and I've even downloaded it and got it ready to go, but I think it'll be awhile before I log into it. Partly because I like to wait awhile after any expansion is released before diving in so I don't run into all the launch day kinks (things like unique items disappearing from chests). Partly because I've been so busy lately I haven't really had time available to devout large swaths of to any particular MMO. When I get into Helm's Deep I want to be able to give it a good long playthrough and focus for a good while.
Anywho, speaking of busy, I'd best deposit some links and get back to work. Ya'll have a good 'un!
Autumn Door Ornament
Refurbished Coffee Mug
Beardly Bison Bag
Sheepskin Grandma Handbag
Cradle Peg Lanyard
Grandma's Sheepskin Belt