World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series.

Pacific War - Allied powers

Allied and American soldiers in the Pacific Theater.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Kamikaze Pilots, Battle of Iwo Jima, Battle of Okinawa, WW2 Flags, Medal of Honor Heroes, WWII Burma, Battle of Midway.

After years of suffering, a 3-week battle ended Japanese occupation of Guam
Although the Battle of Guam officially lasted for 21 days, those were the final three weeks in a brutal military occupation that CHamorus had endured for more than 2-1/2 years. In the months and weeks immediately before the Americans invaded Guam, life got harder for the CHamorus on the island. From the initial occupation of the island until early 1944, the Japanese Navy and a civil administration managed government affairs on Guam. But in April 1944, the Japanese Army returned to defend the island against an American invasion.

Bringing colour to the bloody battle of Tarawa
These previously unseen colourised photos show the lengths which US soldiers went to during America's attempts to capture several Pacific Islands from the Japanese during the Second World War. The images were published today to mark the anniversary of the America's drive across the region, showing the successful assault and capture of the Tarawa Atoll in November 1943.

The savage fight for Guadalcanal: Jungle, crocodiles and snipers during World War II
The Marines began lining the rail of the troop ship before dawn to peer at the distant shape emerging from the ocean. War correspondent Richard Tregaskis remembered that it was so quiet that morning 75 years ago he could hear the swish of the water as the vessel steamed toward the rugged silhouette outlined against the sky. It was 6:14 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7, 1942, eight months to the day after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. `I saw the red pencil lines of the shells arching through the sky, saw flashes on the dark shore … where they struck.` It took a second for booming sound of the guns to reach him, and when it did, he jumped. They were the opening salvos of the epic World War II battle for the island of Guadalcanal.

Battle for Guadalcanal launched American path to World War II victory in Pacific
On August 7, 1942, U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal and two other islands in the Solomons in America's first Pacific offensive of World War II. The epic, six-month struggle for Guadalcanal would prove to be a turning point in the war against Japan as Allied forces from that point on would be on the attack as their enemy steadily retreated. Capturing Guadalcanal would deny the Japanese a base to attack supply routes between the U.S. and Australia, forestall an invasion of Australia, and provide a jumping-off point for future American offensives.

Pacific War brought to life in colour photos
Horrors of Pacific War brought to life in colour photos: US troops battle Japanese soldiers trained to fight to the death. The Pacific War, triggered by an unexpected Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, was fought over a vast area that included the Pacific Ocean and islands, the Southwest Pacific, Southeast Asia and China.

Five things Japan could have done differently, for a better chance of Winning in WWII
It`s probably true to say that that there was no single course of action that was going to lead to a Japanese victory. Their military leaders needed to act more strategically and less tactically. What follows are five possible ways Japan could have won World War II. They are not exclusive. Actually, Japan`s best chances lay in adopting all five strategies. True, some of them are a lot more obvious in hindsight than they would have been to Japan`s leaders at the time, but we can debate their plausibility later.

The latest campaign on Conflict-Series: Battle of Saipan 1944 is out now!
If you like classic strategy board games check out Battle of Saipan from Conflict-Series. American troops continue their Pacific island hopping campaign with Operation Forager - Capture of Saipan. You are in command of the American Army and Marine forces, tasked with seizing the control of the island from which Japanese home island would be within the range of the new Boeing B-29 Superfortress long-range bomber. League of Nations gave Japan a mandate to rule Saipan after the First World War, and the huge Japanese population meant the island was considered to be part of Japan proper. The ensuing battle saw both the largest Japanese tank battle and the biggest banzai attack of the Pacific war.

Battle of Leyte Island 1944 - Classic Strategy Game for Android from Conflict-Series
When withdrawing from Philippines in 1942 General Douglas MacArthur made a promise: The US would be back! In Octobor 1944 American forces made a bold amphibious landing on the island of Leyte, surprising the Japanese defenders who were expecting a safe landing on one of the southernmost islands. The surprising timing (before Monsoon season) and location (Leyte is located in the middle of Philippines) guaranteed U.S. forces easy first weeks. However, Japanese HQ made the decision to settle the fate of Philippines on the Leyte and started transporting in all the reinforcements they could spare from the nearby islands. The combat on Leyte escalated into massive battle requiring U.S. to commit all their reserves to stay true to their promise.
(Google Play)

The Battle for Hell`s Island` - Book on Guadalcanal battle focuses on Navy dive-bombers
The Battle of Hell's Island: How a Small Band of Carrier Dive-Bombers Helped Save Guadalcanal. By Stephen L. Moore. Guadalcanal was one of World War II`s biggest slugfests, a battle fought in the skies, in the seas, and in the malarial jungles of the Pacific. For the Japanese, Guadalcanal served as a foothold in the nation`s quest to expand its defensive perimeter, one that followed the disastrous naval defeat at Midway in June 1942 that had cost four aircraft carriers. American war planners, in contrast, viewed the island as a vital means of keeping communication lines open between the U.S. and its ally Australia.

The Remnants of War: A Meditation on Peleliu (long article)
During WWII`s Pacific theater of operations, the coral of Peleliu was harvested, carted, crushed, and laid at the feet of foreign militaries that took turns stripping Peleliu from the inside out. The Japanese landed first, evacuating locals and engineering a complex network of 500 natural and man-made caves, bunkers and tunnels that still make up the island underground. Next, the Americans came in waves, and died in waves. In September, 1944, the first boats struck reef, forcing soldiers to sprint knee-deep for shore, where the Japanese waited undercover. For better aerial views, the U.S. experimented with a new technology: Corsairs rained napalm bombs from the sky, stripping the island naked. To win the battle, Americans used flamethrowers to trap the Japanese in their hives, then sealed off the entrances.

War at the End of the World recounts the battle for New Guinea
Even comprehensive single-volume histories of World War II tend to spare only a page or two, sometimes only a paragraph or two, for the fighting that happened 8,300 miles from London on the beaches and in the steamy jungles of New Guinea. The Japanese landed thousands men there in January of 1942, and the Allies responded by sending thousands of troops (shored up by additional thousands of Dutch, Australian, and New Guinea forces) under the command of one of the best-known American generals of the entire war. The fighting lasted for almost four years, and all of its commanders considered it a crucial turning point in the war, and yet the entire operation is often relegated to also-ran status in broader historical accounts.

History review: The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944, by Ian W. Toll
In this impressive second volume of a planned trilogy, historian Ian W. Toll again demonstrates his mastery at depicting World War II naval, air and land combat in the Pacific. The Conquering Tide is heavily researched and spans nearly 600 pages. Yet Toll`s absorbing text flows smoothly and quickly, helped along by anecdotes and stories involving combatants and political leaders on both sides. Toll`s well-regarded first book in the trilogy, Pacific Crucible, covers the Pacific War`s early stages, from Japan`s attack on Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway six months later, a major American victory. The Conquering Tide focuses on the grim battles to retake key islands, from Guadalcanal to Guam.

The Battle of Nauru - Nazi Germany`s Forgotten Foray into the Pacific
In late 1940, the tiny tropical island of Nauru seemed about as far from the bloody battlefields of the Second World War as one could get. Also known as Pleasant Island, the 21 sq. km paradise sits 3,000 km due east of New Guinea and 5,000 km southwest of Hawaii – a long way from Europe and North Africa indeed. Yet by December of that year, German warships would carry to the fight against the Allies to the very shores of Nauru. The ensuing battle would represent the only Nazi military action of World War Two to take place in the South Pacific.

Edwin Price Ramsey, who led the last horse-mounted cavalry charge in the history of the U.S. Army, dies
An era in U.S. military history came to a close with the death of a genuine American war hero. Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Price Ramsey was a First Lieutenant in the United States Cavalry at the beginning of World War II, stationed in the Philippines. On January 16, 1942, he led a Troop of the 26th Mounted Cavalry Regiment in a successful attack on the Japanese-held town of Morong on the West Coast of Bataan. It was the last horse-mounted cavalry charge in the history of the United States Army.

Timeline: World War II in the Philippines
Dec. 8, 1941: Japanese bomb the Philippines, destroying many aircraft at Clark Field. --- Dec. 22, 1941: About 43,000 Japanese troops begin the main invasion of Luzon; American and Filipino troops begin to amass on Bataan. --- March 12, 1942: Gen. Douglas MacArthur evacuated to Australia from Corregidor. --- April 9, 1942: Gen. Edward King surrenders Bataan; death march begins.

Rusting tanks, wrecked aircraft and live shells - Welcome to the tiny island of Peleliu
World War II ravaged the tiny island of Peleliu in 1944 as American and Japanese forces clashed in one of the fiercest battles of the Pacific campaign. Rusting tanks, wrecked aircraft and live shells strewn across the island continue to attract battlefield tourists to this beautiful but dangerous place. "The Americans landed here on Orange Beach on Sept. 15, 1944," says Des Matsutaro. The 36-year-old tour guide fetched the group of tourists at the quayside and took them to the beach. His company Peleliu Adventures offers WWII tours.

World War Two veteran Robert Nicks recalls service in Pacific theater
Robert Nicks didn't help raise the flag on Iwo Jima, but he was there, a mile and a half north of the famous site. That was just one of the places Nicks saw action during his 4 years as a U.S. Marine and one of the two sites where he was wounded. One incident Nicks recalls didn't make the newspapers: "On May 21, 1944, we pulled into Hawaii to pick up supplies at Oahu. At 3 p.m., there was a terrific explosion on the LST (landing ship, tank) that was two ahead of the one I was on. Someone was loading ammunition and dropped a big shell. It exploded and blew that LST out of the water. I ran out on the bow of the ship and I saw a piece of metal coming down - but it wasn't metal, it was part of a body."

Sanford H. Winston, wounded in the hand and both knees, grasped an automatic rifle and charged the enemy
Sanford H. "Sandy" Winston, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a highly decorated WWII hero and later served as a spokesman for the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare, has passed away at 90. On May 12, 1945, Col. Winston - then 1st Lt. Sanford Weinstein - was ordered to lead two rifle platoons in a frontal assault on a fortified hill on a formation known as Skyline Ridge. Japanese forces opened fire at close range with mortars, rifles and machine guns. Despite being wounded in the hand and both knees, Winston threw aside his carbine and "grasped an automatic rifle from one of the dead and dashed forward through intense hostile fire to close with the enemy. Firing from the hip as he ran, he reached a point 25 yards from the attackers and, standing upright despite the withering enemy fire which tore his helmet from his head and cut his canteen from his belt, killed at least ten of the enemy including the crew of a machine gun which he destroyed with a grenade."

GIs worked in atomic blast sites without safety gear: Their hair fell out and their bodies were covered in sores
The first large group of American soldiers arrived in Nagasaki September 23 and in Hiroshima two weeks later. They were part of a force of 240,000 that occupied the islands of Honshu and Kyushu. Marines from the 2nd Division took Nagasaki while the US Army's 24th and 41st divisions seized Hiroshima. No one was urged to take precautions. Some bunked down close to ground zero, even slept on the earth and engaged in cleanup operations without protective gear. When a marine named Sam Scione returned to the U.S. a year later, his hair fell out and his body was covered in sores. He suffered a string of ailments but never was awarded service-related disability status.

John Lewis earned a Bronze Star in Saipan, and Silver Star in Iwo Jima
Missing one eye but not one bit of memory, John Lewis is a Marine's Marine. He earned a Bronze Star for heroism during the fighting at Saipan and a Silver Star for gallantry on Iwo Jima. Add two purple hearts and a bevy of other medals, and Lewis is as highly decorated as any Marine who fought in the Pacific wars. Lewis remembers how civilians on the island of Saipan killed themselves by jumping off cliffs: "We had people with loudspeakers who tried to tell them we wouldn't hurt them, but the Japanese soldiers told them to jump. And if they didn't, the soldiers threw them over the cliff."

Dennis Anderson and 2 other Marines were the only platoon members who survived 4 campaigns without being killed or wounded
Guadalcanal. Bougainville. Peleliu. Okinawa. These were strange names to 17-year-old Dennis Anderson, who was preparing to go to war as a Marine after his graduation from high school in 1943. Dennis and two other Marines were the only platoon members who came through four major WWII campaigns without being killed or seriously wounded. For example, 7,000 Marines lost their lives on the tiny island of Peleliu in 1943 because the Japanese had fortified bunkers atop a tall mountain on the 3-mile wide, 10-mile long island. "They were looking right down on us, you know. There wasn't any cover for us."

WWII Marine Harry Hopkins recalls mortar attack and Japanese scare tactics
Within the first hour of his arrival in Okinawa, Japan, Harry Hopkins, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, came across an armed Japanese soldier. "I absolutely froze. I couldn't move an inch." The enemy never fired a shot and upon closer investigation, Hopkins learned that the Japanese soldier was already dead. It was just a scare tactic. "Someone had placed that dead soldier in a shooting position, lining him up for a target. It sure fooled me."

Japanese Army continued to gear up for combat after a-bombs, but Soviet attack forced them to surrender   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In spite of the atomic bombings the Japanese Imperial Military Command thought it could resists an Allied invasion if it had Manchuria and Korea, which provided the resources for war. In August 1945, 1.6 million Soviet troops attacked on the Japanese army in eastern Asia - and within days the Imperial army in the area collapsed. It was a key turn on the Pacific war, completely overshadowed in the history books by the atomic bombs. Now a new WWII book - Racing the Enemy by professor Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - reinforces the view that the Soviet attack was at least as effectively as the A-bombs in ending the war.

Victor J. Croizat : Marine combat commander in World War II
Marine Col. Victor J. Croizat, a combat commander in some of the fiercest World War II battles and later a military advisor and diplomat to emerging nations in Africa, the Caribbean and Far East, has passed away at 91. As a second lieutenant, he commanded a company of Marines that landed at Guadalcanal on Aug. 7, 1942. In one 2-hour stretch, Japanese battleships hit Marines with 918 rounds from 14-inch guns. "It seemed like it lasted forever, day after day of getting bombed, shelled, shot at... But nobody was going to drive us out... We were there to stay. You're damned if you're going to let the Marine Corps down."

110 World War II photographs from the Pacific theater
110 WWII photos from the Pacific, including: A picture, taken by a Japanese photographer, shows how U.S. ships are clustered together before the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor -- Wreckage of a Japanese torpedo plane salvaged from the bottom of Pearl Harbor -- A B-25 Mitchell bomber takes off from the USS Hornet for the air raid on Tokyo -- General Douglas MacArthur pushing through New Guinea jungles in a jeep -- U.S. Marines stand beside their tank on Guadalcanal -- A Marine's tank crew take a rest, overhauling their machine guns -- Navajo Indians, of the 158th U.S. Infantry, on a beach in the Solomon Islands.

Jim Mariner: British World War II serviceman who fired the first shots against Japanese
Jim Mariner, who first fired on Japanese forces during WW2, has passed away at 90. He was on board the gunboat HMS Peterel when he claimed his place in military history on Dec 7, 1941. The vessel was in Shanghai Harbour and the crew had been issued with cutlasses (short heavy curved sword) and told to be prepared to die defending the ship. It was the last commissioned Royal Navy craft on the Yangtze River and lacking weapons. She had a minimum crew and was in no position to fight when a larger Japanese cruiser pulled alongside. After HMS Peterel was fired on at point blank range, Jim was first to fire back with a Lewis machine gun.

Forgotten Army: The suffering and courage of British WW2 soldiers fighting in the Burmese jungle
The British might not have underestimated their enemies had they heard a Japanese general issue his Order for the Day: "Continue in the task till all your ammunition is expended. If your hands are broken, fight with your feet... Lack of weapons is no excuse for defeat." The British campaign to push the Japanese out of Burma was the longest and bloodiest of the Second World War. As the Japanese attacked British Empire, the biggest in the world's history, the first British reaction was to dismiss these Orientals. At first British soldiers laughed at these "dwarf-like figures under their medieval helmets, their mongol faces..."

Book explores Japan's connection to Guam
Many Guam residents know about the cruelty endured by Chamorros during the Japanese occupation during World War II, but the 1 million Japanese tourists who visit the island each year often are oblivious to that history, says Makoto Yamaguchi. He hopes to change that with the release of "Guamu to Nihonjin" ("Guam and Japanese"), which explores the historical ties between the island and Japan, recounting the forced labor, torture and killings during the Japanese occupation, from December 1941 to July 1944. Yamaguchi's book is just one in a series of texts from publisher Iwanami Shoten that tells of Japan's "true history."

Adventurer Justin Taylan focuses on World War II wrecks
Justin Taylan writes on his site,, that his fascination with World War II began with war stories told to him by his grandfather, "who was a combat photographer and soldier in the Pacific." Taylan went on to write book "No Place for a Picnic," about his grandfather, after touring WWII locations with him. Yet Taylan's interest goes farther, maybe because WWII is not long gone - wrecks from the war still sit in their final resting places. "This project has brought me in contact with people from all over the world, including WWII Pacific veterans, their relatives, descendents, historians, travelers, authors and explorers."

Guadalcanal battles turned tide of World War II
Fought over 7 months, from August 1942 to February 1943, the campaign was a series of land, sea and air battles that changed the direction of WWII in the Pacific. Before then, the fortunes of war had been in the grasp of the Japanese Empire. After Pearl Harbor the Japanese swept through the south and west Pacific in an unprecedented land-sea offensive trying to knock America out of the war before it could recover. The U.S. was determined to reverse the tide of war. Military planners decided that Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where Japan was constructing an airfield whose planes could cut off links to Australia, was to be the target.

Don Jones dodged bullets carrying U.S. flag in World War Two
On Nov. 7 1942 Don Jones was part of the landing on Fedala, North Africa. As they got closer to the beach, Jones heard someone call his name. "It was the lieutenant, and he told me he wanted me to carry the American Flag onto the beach. I ... knew that I was going to be an immediate target. The water was just about to my shoulders... but I managed to keep the flag above the water the entire time." As he reached the beach, Jones planted the flag in the sand. "A reporter ran up to me and asked if I would do it again. He had taken a picture... but was afraid that he didn't get a good enough shot."

Forgotten submarine caves - Jeju Island could have become another Iwo Jima   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Finding the Alddreu airfield was no easy task. Now Alddreu is a potato field, unrecognizable as the military installation that the Japanese built in the 1930s during the colonial period (1910-1945). The small hills stuck out of the land like green pimples. Each had an entrance shaped like a thick cross and was large enough for a small plane to fit inside, which had been the purpose once upon a time. It's not easy to id these abandoned hangars: the Japanese military worked hard to camouflage the area. Located on the seashore are 16 caves cut into the grey cliffs - launching bases for special mini submarines.

Operation Downfall - The planned massive Allied attack on Japan
Once the war against Nazi Germany ended, the Allies planned a massive attack on Japan: "Operation Downfall". In Nov. of 1945 an attack on the island of Kyushu, Operation Olympic, would take place. If that went ok, an attack on the island of Honshu, Operation Coronet, would start in March of 1946. The whole Marine Corps and various Army units would make up the landing units: 1.5M soldiers. When bombing runs had been made there were few attacks by Japanese aircraft, and it was believed the planes had been destroyed. It turned out the Japanese had risked the bombing, saving fuel and planes in underground hangars.

Book: Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: True Reports of War   (Article no longer available from the original source)
"Pain and Purpose in the Pacific: True Reports of War" is a 363-page account of some of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War. Richard Carl Bright said the book was intended to recount the battles on Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa as he retraced the travels tof a Marine from the farmland of Minnesota to Japan and back. "I have been blessed to travel and to spend time at many of the places..." He said his book is for the younger generation so that they will not forget the sacrifices and sufferings of those who fought for the freedom.

The bloody battle of Tarawa, 1943
Tarawa is an atoll 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. The military importance of Tarawa in World War II was in its strategic location at the gateway of the American drive through the central Pacific. It was only the second time the U.S. was on the offensive in the central Pacific region (the Battle of Guadalcanal was the first). The Battle for Tarawa was designed to seize an airfield on Betio Island. The Second Marine Division had been training for the assault for months. The Marines were to be pitted against a Japanese force of 5,000 seasoned troops. The price paid in dead and wounded shocked the nation: 990 Marines had been killed and 2,296 were wounded.

You might think Iwo Jima was the hardest battle, but it was Saipan
Gordan Bien's children don't know much of his story in the U.S. Marine Corps. He wears two hearing aids, thanks to the 105mm howitzer he manned. They know he has a basement full of memorabilia after 4 major campaigns in 13 months (Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima). You might think Iwo Jima was the battle that hit Bien hardest, but it was Saipan. Once he found a Japanese naval officer dead in a bunker. He and his buddies collected souvenirs, but they were wary of booby traps, and one guy used a string to retrieve the dead officer's samurai sword. Bien took a messenger case that contained a Japanese military training manual and a photo album.

Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-1945 by Max Hastings
Three years after Armageddon, his history of the battle for Nazi Germany 1944-1945, Max Hastings has produced a sister-book, Nemesis, about the battle for Japan 1944-1945. Apart from the time-frames nothing seems to connect them, right down to the weaponry used. Hastings points out how dissimilar the war in Europe was from the war in Asia: Germans were surrendering at the rate of 50,000 a month in late 1944- and the Japanese were fighting on to the last man. In July 1941 Foreign minister Yosuke Matsuoka resigned because he wanted to attack Russia when Hitler unleashed Operation Barbarossa - It was a classic turning point where history failed to turn.

Japanese Military Strategy in the Pacific War: Was Defeat Inevitable
In book "Japanese Military Strategy in the Pacific War: Was Defeat Inevitable?" historian James Wood challenges the conventional wisdom that Japan's defeat in the Pacific was historically inevitable. Although the economics of the war in the Pacific were in America's favor, "the defeat of Japan took such a long, arduous, and uncertain road raising fundamental questions about the possibility of alternative outcomes and suggesting that the ... end date of the Pacific War may have been more ... changeable than usually thought." His book traces the active strategic imperatives that Japan focused on and contrasts them with those Japan could have chosen.

Marines honor 65th anniversary of landing at Guadalcanal
U.S. service members, World War II veterans, govt officials and Solomon Islanders gathered Aug. 7 to honor the 65th anniversary of the battle of Guadalcanal. The ceremony was held at the Guadalcanal American Memorial, which overlooks the South-Pacific Ocean as well as the jungle terrain where 7,000 Americans and 30,000 Japanese lost their lives during WWII. The 1942 Guadalcanal campaign was the first major American WWII Pacific campaign, and the first time the 1st Marine Division conducted combat operations as a division. "I'm more scared here addressing you all than I was out in the bush in 1942," said Owen Miller, a U.S. Army veteran of 147th Infantry Regiment.

3 US war vets travel back to relive top-secret submarine missions   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Their hair have gone gray but these old soldiers smile the smile of the young for they have travelled back to the place where they became men. 3 U.S. war veterans with compelling memories of a forgotten episode of World War II in the Philippines quietly slipped into the country on what may well be their last mission here—to tell their story. In 1944, before General Douglas MacArthur`s celebrated return, three young soldiers took part in a series of top-secret submarine missions by the US Navy to provide arms, ammunitions, radio gear and supplies to Filipino guerrillas fighting the Japanese.

WWII heroism in the Solomons
In early 1942, Japan invaded the Solomons. The U.S. followed later in the year, with Marines landing Aug. 7 on Guadalcanal. On that same day, Vouza rescued a naval pilot from the USS Wasp and met U.S. Marines for the first time. He volunteered to scout behind enemy lines. 3 weeks later he was captured and found to be carrying a small American flag in his loincloth. Having it was foolish, but he could not bring himself to part with this tiny memento. He was tied to a tree and bayoneted. But he said nothing, his tormentors gave up, leaving him tied to the tree. Vouza chewed through his ropes, fled the enemy, and walked miles through the jungle to reach our Marines...

Why island-nations in the Pacific are grateful to Americans
Duayne Schunk understands why island-nations in the Pacific are grateful to Americans. He witnessed the results of Japanese occupation while serving with American forces in the Pacific Theater in World War II. "We saw how they treated the civilians, cutting them up with swords..." --- At one point, Russell Butterfield's unit made a river crossing and occupied an important location. "It was full of salt water alligators and snakes." But the group had to retreat about 30 miles south. Half dozen men were left behind, to hold off the Japanese. They were to be sacrificed. But Butterfield survived the battle with the others. "The commanding officer was surprised..."

Commanders tell story of 1941-1945 Pacific in World War II
"Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945" by Evan Thomas joins my list of great WWII books. This history of the Pacific naval battles is told through the careers of 4 commanders, 2 American and 2 Japanese. Never again will great fleets of battleships face each other as they did in the Pacific. Nowadays the aircraft carrier and the submarine are the star weapons, not the huge battleships. The author brings alive fleet commander William "Bull" Halsey; Commander Ernest Evans; an enigmatic battleship commander Admiral Takeo Kurita, and Admiral Matome Ugaki who epitomized what Americans thought of as the fanatic warrior.

Sea of Thunder - Book Chronicles Pacific World War II
A few sentences near the start of Sea of Thunder, the new book by Evan Thomas are a reminder of the ferocity that made World War II the worst war ever. They are in a concise paragraph describing the audacious bombing raid on Japan by Army B-25s from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet in April 1942, just 4 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bombing caused light damage and the planes crash-landed in China, where 3 fliers were captured by Japanese soldiers and executed. 67 crewmen were rescued by the Chinese and smuggled out of Japanese-occupied territory. The Japanese retaliated by killing 250,000 Chinese civilians.

Japanese journal from WWII battle of heavily fortified Saipan   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Art Beltrone was rooting through a junk box at a gun show when he discovered a six-page gem of World War II history. It turned out to be a Japanese soldier's diary covering 29 days of the bloody battle for Saipan, a heavily fortified island. In the weeks before the assault in mid-June, 1944, the island was bombarded from the air and by naval gunfire. So the diary of Tarao Kawachi, a Japanese medic, confirms in a very detailed way. "Same as before, the enemy bombing was carried out in large pattern bombings..." The diary was found by US troops on July 19, 1944, and distributed to commanders to furnish an insight on the character of the Japanese soldier.

World War II Military Intelligence Service vets given their due
They did their World War II service in secrecy. For decades after, their work was classified, and they were forbidden to tell anyone. Veterans of the Military Intelligence Service got a bit of long overdue recognition: a plaque honoring the work done by more than 7,000 Japanese Americans who formed the unit. The MIS members were an key part of the U.S. victory in the war in the Pacific. They often ended up walking into caves and bunkers, armed with nothing more than a knowledge of Japanese culture, to convince soldiers to surrender. Gen. Charles Willoughby, intelligence chief for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, once said their work shortened WWII by two years.

Anti-tank division: "but the Japanese didn't have any tanks"   (Article no longer available from the original source)
George Pellett was a member of the 160 Infantry Regiment, 40th Division: "I was in anti-tank division, but the Japanese didn't have any tanks in the Philippines, at least we didn't see any. So we were attached in intelligence work and also helped with the wounded." His regiment then traveled to Inchon, Korea, Seoul and on to Pusan. "We were a regiment of 1,000 soldiers sent to expedite and process 500,000 Japanese troops. The Japanese had built a fort on a hill there with turrets and 18-inch rifles, bigger than anything we had. We only had 16-inch rifles on our battleships."

George Codrea - Marine infantry platoon leader at Guadalcanal
After joining the Marine Corps, George Codrea was assigned as an infantry platoon leader with the 1st Marine Division and took part in the invasion of Guadalcanal on Aug. 7, 1942. After two weeks of minor battles, a Japanese infantry brigade attacked in the battle of Tenaru River. The young second lieutenant held his ground, according to his Navy Cross citation. To reinforce the firing line, he placed each man in a position to deliver the most effective fire. Despite being wounded twice he remained at the front until being ordered to be treated. After recuperation he returned for the final months of the campaign.

Rangers Battalion played heroic role in camp liberation
By the end of Jan 1945, as Allied forces advanced against Japanese positions, the writing was on the wall for any Japanese military leader who cared to read it. But as US forces neared PoW camps, it became more dangerous for the men. That fact was shown at Palawan when more than 150 Allied POWs were herded into air raid shelters, doused with gasoline and burned alive to prevent them from being liberated. Concerns grew about the 512 survivors of the Bataan Death March. A daring raid by an volunteer force consisting of 120 members of 6th Ranger Battalion, a dozen Alamo Scouts and more than 200 Filipino guerrillas was formed to rescue the POWs.

Milne Bay Battle helped turn tide of Pacific War
The victory at Milne Bay was a critical turning point for the Allied forces in the Pacific War during WWII, when a garrison of predominantly Australian Infantry and Royal Australian Air Force Fighter Squadrons successfully halted and turned back a Japanese invasion force of approximately 1,900 men. The first Australian soldiers arrived at Milne Bay towards the end of June 1942. Their task was to defend a new airfield being constructed by a company of American engineers.

Maori Battalion Voices Heard Again - Historic CD
It could have been called 'the singing Battalion'! When the soldiers of the Maori Battalion sailed for the Second World War, they took with them songs that embodied the love and prayers of those at home. The National Library of New Zealand will soon release an historic CD featuring recordings of the Battalion while it was overseas. Also included are rare recordings by the Battalion's 1st Reinforcements during a farewell concert, including a message previously not known to have existed from Princess Te Puea Harangi.

Okinawa - Often overlooked final battle of World War II
Veterans of all military branches gathered to celebrate what they all had in common: memories of the Battle of Okinawa, an 82-day battle in which more than 250,000 civilians and troops lost their lives. "Once a Marine, always a Marine. The love for (my) comrades and our nation keeps me returning every year," William Henry Honchell said. L-Day was the day 183,000 US troops stormed the beaches of Okinawa. A faked landing by the Second Marine Division drew Japanese troops to the southern tip of the island. One problem during the 82-day battle was rain: 10 inches fell in 10 days during early May. The thick mud meant many supplies had to be delivered hand-over-hand.

Yankee Samurai who was wounded during a kamikaze attack   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In Jan 1942 Spady A. Koyama walked into Selective Service office, and was told: "Go home. We're at war, you know." He was told that he "looked like the enemy." Koyama was allowed to enlist when the Army learned that he wrote and spoke Japanese fluently. He went into Army intelligence and he interrogated Japanese prisoners in General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters. He became a member of the "Yankee Samurai," U.S. soldiers of Japanese descent in WWII. In 1944, Koyama took part in the invasion of the Philippines and was badly wounded during a kamikaze attack.

The only Filipino soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor
During WWII, the only Filipino soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor was Sgt. Jose Calugas. His award reads: "For conspicuous gallantry and interpidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy at Culis, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands. When the battery gun position was shelled and bombed until one piece was out of action and casualties caused the removal of the remaining canoneers to shelter, Sergeant Calugas, voluntarily and on his own accord proceeded 1,000 yards across the shell-swept area to the gun position and joined the volunteer gun squad which fired effectively on the enemy."

Second Marine Division Were Warriors
Bob Cary remembers their wartime stories of weathering artillery fire and howling bombs, of antics activated in the name of survival, and the firm friendships formed among the fearless fighters. Once his battalion was overlooked for food supplies: There was no way to requisition supplies through the Army, so Cary was recruited to devise a solution. With two trucks, smeared with mud to hide their identity, Marines set out on their looting mission. Approaching the supply docks, Cary improvised, stating they were with the 33rd Engineers. The trucks were soon filled with canned beef, corn, beans and peaches.

The first American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima
A WWII hero whose accomplishments were forgotten for years may soon have a veterans' health clinic named in his honor. Lindberg helped raise the first American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. His accomplishment was later overshadowed when a replacement flag was raised a few hours later.