Trench Art
I was visiting my parents recently and came across this match striker box my grandfather (born in 1900, in Kobe, Japan) picked up around 1920 when he visited China. I have discovered it was very common for soldiers to create trench art. I met a veteran who suggested I subscribe to a military history magazine that might be able to give me a bit more information about the box. I chose your magazine, as it covers an amazing amount of information as well as a diversity of stories about the wars throughout the world.

Denise Jackson
Lingle, Wyo.

Editor responds: Denise, you’ve come to the right place, as in the July 2014 issue we featured a portfolio, “Art From the Trenches,” of similar creative works wrought amid the chaos of war. The armored car depicted on the cover of your grandfather’s brass match striker box—likely rendered from a spent artillery shell casing—looks to be either a British Rolls-Royce or a French Delaunay-Belleville. Both saw service with the British Royal Naval Air Service during World War I. Just who crafted the match striker box your grandfather discovered in postwar China or how it arrived there (perhaps traded by a passing sailor?) remains a mystery worth looking into.

The armored car depicted on the cover of your grandfather’s brass match striker box—likely rendered from a spent artillery shell casing—looks to be either a British Rolls-Royce or a French Delaunay-Belleville

Proximity Fuze
Michael W. Robbins’ article “Close Enough,” in your September 2020 edition, about the development and operational use of the proximity fuze against Axis forces is an outstanding story. However, the section describing the May 11, 1945, account about kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa is in error. That section notes:

The fighter director tally later revealed that the little group of ships and planes had to oppose a total of 156 enemy planes.…At the end of the first half-hour the Evans had been hit four times by suicide planes, each ablaze from the AA fire. The Hadley had knocked down a dozen enemy planes, and the Evans had accounted for 23 before she had to retire from the fight.

In actuality it was USS Hugh W. Hadley (DD-774), a Sumner-class destroyer, that shot down the 23 kamikazes, earning it the all-time gunnery record of any ship in a single engagement, when its gunners fired 801 rounds of 5-inch/38-caliber, 8,950 rounds of 40 mm and 5,990 rounds of 20 mm in that one hour and 40 minute engagement. It was subsequently hit by three kamikazes, one 500-pound bomb and one smaller bomb before the damage took it out of action.

The National Museum of the Pacific War showcases a memorial plaque donated by the USS Hugh W. Hadley reunion group. Additionally, the Battle of Okinawa section of the museum’s Bush Gallery showcases a video about Hadley in this engagement.

Wayne D. Slaughter
Docent, National Museum of the Pacific War
Fredericksburg, Texas

Editor responds: Thank you for calling attention to the error and giving credit where due. As noted by Robbins, the battle account you cite comes directly from a 1945 report in the wartime Bureau of Naval Personnel bulletin All Hands. On review of that report it appears All Hands reversed the kill totals for Hadley and Evans. A battle account we’ve since found credits Evans with two additional kamikazes, for a total of 14 kills that day.

A Waco CG-4 and four Horsa gliders bear distinctive invasion stripes. (PhotosNormandie)

Invasion Stripes
Just received the July 2020 issue and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was especially interested in Dave Kindy’s article [“Warplanes of a Different Stripe”] about invasion stripes, but I was also a little confused. On P. 61 Kindy states gliders were one type of aircraft exempted from Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s striping order, but on P. 63 there is a picture (at right) of Horsa and Waco gliders with invasion stripes. Is this an error, or is the picture from a later operation, perhaps Market Garden?

Douglas Ault
Chipley, Fla.

Editor responds: Author Kindy was correct when he wrote of Operation Memorandum No. 23 “Distinctive Markings—Aircraft” that gliders (and four-engine bombers, transports, night fighters and seaplanes) were exempt. However, follow-on orders added gliders to the list of British and American aircraft slated to carry the distinctive markings—a decision that likely saved additional lives on June 6, 1944, and afterward.

 

Send letters via email to militaryhistory@historynet.com or to Editor, Military History, 901 N. Glebe Road, Fifth Floor, Arlington, VA 22203. Please include name, address and phone number.