Battles of The Pacific
The large two-page photo from The Pacific review on page 69 in the May/June issue depicts four attacking marines, one with a flamethrower and three with M-1 rifles. Two of the marines, the ammo carrier and the prone marine closest to him are carrying rifles which are empty, as the operating rods are clearly locked into the rearward position. Is there a tactical reason for this, or was this an oversight of the military advisors?
Capt. Dale Dye, senior military advisor on The Pacific, responds:
I watched every moment of the entire sequence very carefully. You’re seeing one snapshot in time. The man on the ground rolled over to grab another clip for his empty M-1 from his ammo belt. In the photo he’s about to reload. The ammo-humper is responding to screams from a machine gunner forward of him to get that damn ammo up here in a hurry. He’ll reload when he’s delivered the ammo to a weapon that’s more important at the moment than his rifle. Carry on.
Having shared Melbourne with the 1st Marine Division while I was training in the RAAF late 1942 to early 1943 when they arrived on furlough from Guadacanal, I was particularly interested in how Hanks and Spielberg handled their impact on that very conservative city. Apart from some minor nit picking they got the details right.
I was pleased to see the blue diamond shoulder badge with“Guadalcanal”super imposed on “1” and the stars of the Southern Cross prominent on dress uniforms. This badge was bestowed to them by a grateful Australian government, for denying the Japanese the use of Henderson Field from which long-range bombers could strike our northeast coast.
PAMBULA BEACH, AUSTRALIA
In reading the last issue of magazine, and in newspapers and other World War II publications, about The Pacific, one can get the impression that the marines won the war in the Pacific against Japan. The marines certainly did their part, but the U.S. Army made considerably more landings in the Pacific than the Marine Corps. America’s combat deaths at Okinawa total 5,521 army, 5,191 navy, 3,263 marine, and 30 civilian, as inscribed on the black marble panels of the Cornerstone of Peace Monument in Okinawa.
SUN PRAIRIE, WISC.
Winter in Alsace
I received my first subscription issue, the May/June 2010 edition. As a World War II veteran I hoped there might be at least one article concerning one of the areas in Europe where I served. Imagine the pleasant surprise when I saw the travel piece about Alsace—we called it Alsace-Lorraine.
The author wrote about “difficult reconnaissance…maneuvering artillery… particularly in the icy conditions….” We went through Strasbourg, and we had to dig in the feet of our 105mm howitzers in the frozen turf, so that the recoil would not move the entire piece.
My first subscription issue was worth the annual fee. I look forward to future issues.
When I saw the pinup of Paulette Goddard in the May/June issue it brought to mind an article I found in the local Pittsburgh paper some time ago. The actress was married to Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front. After his death in 1970, she found a bill for 60 deutsch marks among his papers. It was a demand for payment from the Gestapo for the cost of executing his younger sister, who was beheaded for remarking that Hitler would not win the war.
FRANK F. PATRONIE JR.
C RANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PENN.
In the Wake of the Mosquito Fleet
During January 1945 in the Philippines, I would watch the PT boats leave every evening and return in the early morning and wondered what they were up to. It was obvious by their condition when they returned that they had been up to no good to the Japanese navy. And now with your issue I finally got to see exactly what they were up to, and what a bang-up job they did.
Thank you for the Mosquito Fleet story and pictures. It is the very first truly accurate portrayal I have yet seen of “how it was.”
My PT boat might have been the only one with a sawmill painted on the conning tower. We were sent up the Koetei River in Borneo one night to destroy the sawmill where the Japanese were building barges. We fired the 37mm, but the sawmill was made of bamboo and the shells did not explode. The beach was smooth, so we fired a torpe do at the mill. It stopped right under the mill so slowly it didn’t detonate. So, we hit the torpedo with the 37mm, and thus the painting. At 91 years of age, I can still hear those Packard engines.
G. E. COLE
The brief article in the May/June 2010 issue of World War II regarding the Vichy leader portrait hanging in a small town in Normandy reminded me of what I ran into while visiting France in 1967. Upon entering the front door of a home south of the Seine in Normandy, I passed through an entry hall covered with framed photographs of the German officers who had been billeted at the chateau during the war.
On another occasion, I was asked what my plans were for the upcoming week end. When I said I planned to visit Rouen, the reply was, “Ah, Rouen, Rouen. A beautiful city until the Americans bombed it.”
HILTON HEAD, S.C.
PT boats were armed with 50 caliber machine guns, not 50mm guns as stated on page 46 of the May/June issue in the portfolio, “The Mosquito Fleet.”
Originally published in the October 2010 issue of World War II Magazine. To subscribe, click here.