Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The List 4864


The List 4864

To All

I hope that your week has started well. I am off to spend Thanksgiving in Idaho with son and his girls. Will return on Monday but taking the computer so will try to get the list out each day.



This Day in Naval History

Nov. 20

1856—During the Second Opium War, 287 Marines and Sailors from U.S. Navy ships Levant, Portsmouth, and San Jacinto land at Canton, China, under the command of Cmdr. Andrew Foote. This action opens up diplomatic relations with China and the U.S. gains neutrality.

1933—Lt. Cmdr. Thomas G. W. Settle and Maj. Chester I. Fordney set a world altitude record at 61,237 ft. in a balloon flight into the stratosphere at Akron, OH.

1943—Vice Adm. Raymond A. Spruance's 5th Fleet lands Marine Corps and Army forces on Tarawa and Makin Atolls in the Gilbert Islands during Operation Galvanic.

1943—PBY aircraft sink Japanese cargo vessel Naples Maru off New Ireland.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:
Today's national headlines include coverage of the California wildfires, a federal Judge barring enforcement of the Trump administration's asylum ban, and a shooting at a Chicago hospital. USNI News reports that the USS Harry S. Truman has returned to the Mediterranean Sea following its participation in Trident Juncture and a month long stop in Norfolk demonstrating dynamic force employment. The South China Morning Post reports that China has obtained the same war room mapping software used by NATO and the United States. Additionally, the USS Green Bay departed Port Moresby on Nov 19 after supporting security efforts during the APEC summit.

Today in History

November 20


Diocletian is proclaimed emperor of Numerian in Asia Minor by his soldiers. He had been the commander of the emperor's bodyguard.


Zumbi dos Palmares, the Brazilian leader of a 100-year-old rebel slave group, is killed in an ambush.


Sweden's 17-year-old King Charles XII defeats the Russians at Narva.


In Cheyenne, Wyoming, 42-year-old hired gunman Tom Horn is hanged for the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell.


Bulgaria proclaims its neutrality in the First World War.


Mrs. Glen Hyde becomes the first woman to dare the Grand Canyon rapids in a scow (a flat-bottomed boat that is pushed along with a pole).


Japan and China reject the League of Council terms for Manchuria at Geneva.


U.S. Army and Marine soldiers attack the Japanese-held islands of Makin and Tarawa, respectively, in the Central Pacific.


The Nazi war crime trials begin at Nuremberg.


Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) marries Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey.


U.S. troops push to the Yalu River, within five miles of Manchuria.


The Maryland National Guard is ordered desegregated.


President John F. Kennedy bars religious or racial discrimination in federally funded housing.


U.S. census reports the population at 200 million.


The United States announces it will give Turkey $35 million for farmers who agree to stop growing opium poppies.


The United States files an antitrust suit to break up ATT.


South Africa backs down on a plan to install black rule in neighboring Namibia.


Microsoft Windows 1.0 released.


Fire in England's Windsor Castle causes over £50 million in damages.


First module of the International Space Station, Zarya, is launched.


Dow Jones Industrial Average sinks to lowest level in 11 years in response to failures in the US financial system.


There is a Book “The Pacific By Ambrose that is a must read. It follows the careers of 5 Marines and one Navy pilot through the battles in the Pacific. All of the Marines except one who was lost at Tarawa after being awarded the MOH at Guadalcanal eventually wrote books about what they went through. They are gritty to say the least. This article describes the conditions that these men lived in while literally stopping the Japanese in their tracks at their furthest expansion in WWII. The waters around Guadalcanal were a graveyard of ships both American and Japanese. New H-Grams from Admiral Cox continue to provide descriptions of these engagements. The entire collection can be found here: https://www.history.navy.mil/about-us/leadership/director/directors-corner/h-grams.html

By Roy H. Elrod
Winter 2019 • MHQ Magazine

As they moved through the jungle, Roy H. Elrod and his men experienced some of World War II’s most savage combat conditions.

Roy H. Elrod was born in 1919 and grew up on a farm near Muleshoe, Texas, that his widowed mother operated. He managed to save enough money, even during the Great Depression, to attend Texas A&M, but in 1940 he dropped out of college to enlist in the Marine Corps, where he rose through the ranks rapidly. By the time his 8th Marine Regiment was sent to Guadalcanal in November 1942 he was commanding a platoon of 37mm antitank gunners.

As he and his fellow marines moved through the jungles of Guadalcanal on January 15, 1943, Elrod engaged a particularly deadly Japanese machine gun emplacement and disabled it by crawling to the front of the nest and jerking the red-hot barrel out of the enemy’s hands. He then killed both gunners. For his combat leadership, he received a Silver Star and a battlefield promotion to lieutenant colonel.

Elrod died in 2016 at age 97. The narrative that follows is adapted from Elrod’s posthumously published memoir, We Were Going to Win, or Die There—With the Marines at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan (University of North Texas Press, 2017), which was edited by Fred H. Allison, a retired Marine Corps officer who since 2000 has been the Marine Corps’ oral historian.

Nighttime was a spooky time along the perimeter. It could be the blackest black, and the jungle made strange noises with the numerous critters that populated it—big spiders, crabs, and whatnot. There was always in the back of our minds the knowledge that the Japanese liked nothing better than to sneak into a foxhole and cut a marine’s throat. There would be shouting back and forth, mutual insults passed with the Japanese. Of course, their English was very poor. Some might have spoken good English, but all of them had problems with Ls and Rs. For passwords we would try to get a word that had letters that would be difficult for them to repeat. We always had a password and a countersign. I told my men not to fire unless they were certain it was a real threat. To do so gave away our position, and it caused the other marines to awaken and go on alert, thus depriving them of sleep.

I soon discovered that worse than the Japanese were the living conditions on Guadalcanal. We were really living like animals. If it rained, we got wet. If the sun came out, we got dry. If you were close to a river and you could keep from being exposed to sniper fire, we would take a bath in the river. Of course, we watched for alligators and crocodiles. If there was no river, we didn’t bathe. We would be desperate to be clean, though, so if it started raining, and we were clear of snipers, we’d strip, and soap up. If it stopped raining before you got rinsed off, then you just had a layer of soap on you until the next time it rained.

Living on the front line, we had no tents. There was nothing in front of us but the Japanese. We lived in holes, but we dug our holes so when it rained, the water would run to one side. We could [then use] our helmets [to] bail the water out. That kept us from having to actually sleep in the water. That didn’t keep the rain from falling on you. Sometimes we tried to rig a shelter half over the hole but there was no real way to stay dry.

Occasionally, when we would have one of the fold-up stretchers around, I would open one up and sleep on it, and this would keep my body an inch or so above the ground. We all wanted to have as light a load as possible, and so I had a half-blanket. I slept on that and we would usually cover ourselves with a poncho or something to ward off as much rain as possible. We quit trying to stay dry. If you had something that you wanted to keep dry, you’d keep it under your helmet on top of your head. Marines put letters or pictures, or the people who smoked would put their cigarettes there. I never smoked.

It didn’t take long for my marines to get sick. I developed a case of malaria after only about a week…along with dysentery and diarrhea. I remember one night I sat on this box over a slit trench streaming with diarrhea, shaking with malaria, and throwing up. At the same time, Japanese mortar rounds were landing behind me, and as I sat there in the pouring rain and with mosquitoes biting me, I said to myself, “I wonder why they can’t get one of those rounds in here where it will do some good?” That was the low point.

But everyone was sick, everybody had malaria, and diarrhea was very common. It just amazed me, though, the endurance that the marines showed. As time went by, and as marines were evacuated because of disease or combat wounds, the word went out that unless you had a fever over 104, you weren’t allowed to go to sick bay. The corpsman would have to do what he could to medicate you, but you were not leaving.

So the longer we stayed, the more the men suffered. It wasn’t just sickness. We were ridden with jungle rot and skin infections. We had to be very careful with any kind of skin abrasion or cut because with the sweat and body oils, the mud and the dirt, and the dripping humidity, you had an excellent chance of getting an infection. I got fungus in my ears. I found that 100 percent pure alcohol would reduce the fungus, so one of the old chief pharmacist’s mates gave me a little bottle that would fit right in one of the ammo pouches on my belt.

We received a new drug called atabrine, and it was supposed to help prevent malaria. It had a strange side reaction, though. It turned the skin yellow, and the whites of the eyes would turn canary yellow. The scuttlebutt began that this was going to destroy male virility. I told my marines, “Look, there isn’t a woman within 2,000 miles of here….Take the damned pill!”

I had the section sergeants, the corpsman, platoon sergeant—and I did it myself—follow along to make sure each man took his atabrine. I am not sure how well it worked. Even though we had lots of losses to malaria, it probably would have been much worse without the atabrine. All I can say is at least enough of us survived to finish the campaign.

Foot problems were rampant. With the leather field shoes we had and the amount of humidity and mud and rain, our feet were rarely dry. I had my men take their shoes off and massage their feet, turn their socks wrong side out and put them on the other foot.

Food was always in short supply. We were truly on starvation rations. Everyone was losing weight. I dropped down to about 165 pounds from over 190. Many times we had nothing but a little captured Japanese rice, but it kept us alive. We had plenty of ammunition, though. We never lacked for 37mm rounds. Although it seemed we were always short of hand grenades. We had to conserve them. Also mortar ammunition was in short supply.

I saw it as one of my main jobs as a lieutenant to know my marines. One of them, I noticed, never shaved. He did not need to; he had no beard. This raised my suspicion. One day I asked him, “How old are you?”

“Oh, I’m 17, lieutenant.”

I said, “Dammit, I’m not going to do anything to you. Tell me the truth—how old are you?”

“I will be 15 my next birthday.”

I did not bother him about it. He was probably the best Browning automatic rifleman that I ever saw. He could play a tune with it. I said, “How did you get into the Marine Corps?”

He said, “I stole my brother’s birth certificate.”

So here he was, a 15-year-old boy, but really a good marine. He was not the only one—there were numerous underage marines—and I often wondered if those who came in under false names ever got their records straight.

While the sickness took many marines, we also had many killed and wounded. I didn’t think any of my marines ever suffered casualties from the Japanese naval shelling or their air attacks. Most of our casualties were from Japanese mortar rounds or rifle bullets—mostly rifle bullets, because I think they were having supply problems probably even worse than ours. One of my marines got hit by a sniper round; it hit right near the crotch, in his groin. The round had ripped a gaping hole in him. The flesh was torn back and bubbly yellow fat was evident. A main artery was severed, and every time his heart beat, blood spurted three or four feet in the air. He was mostly worried about his “plumbing” though. I told him, “It’s in good condition. You’ve just got a hell of a hole in your thigh.” I had the corpsman ride back with him to the aid station for fear that the tourniquet would slip off. We were using a rubber tube tourniquet, and when it got blood soaked it would slip. After that, I acquired a strap bandage tourniquet and carried that in my belt for the rest of the war.

Along the perimeter we maintained an aggressive defense, and that meant lots of patrolling. We would try to find out where the Japanese might be massing for another attack. They used the trails in the interior of the island to move from one area to the next. By checking these trails we could see signs of Japanese troop movement; there would be tracks or abandoned gear and equipment. These indicated troop movement and direction.

Although we were a 37mm gun crew, we were regarded as infantry, and we went on patrols. Of course, we left our 37mms in their positions and carried infantry weapons on these patrols. As a lieutenant I was expected to lead patrols.

Our patrols were various types, and you had an assigned mission for each patrol. I was never sent out to engage the enemy. You were sent out either to look at a specific area or to find a particular thing. Sometimes we would go out for just a few hours, other times longer.

The technique we used when we were going out was to find a spot where the Japanese had little, if anyone, present. We [would sneak] out in that area and go deep enough behind them to be able to move inland behind their lines. We never came back in through the route that we went out. I always made sure to get in touch with the commander of the unit where I would be reentering the lines. I didn’t want my patrol to get shot up by our own marines.

If we were going to be out overnight, we would pick a good defensive position and dig in, and as soon as it was real dark, we would move to our real position and set up there. I never spent the night at the place we were when the sun went down.

You had to be very quiet—no talking, no noise—and move very stealthily. On several patrols I actually saw Japanese. Sometimes we heard them, and sometimes we smelled them, or [both]. I was expected to observe the enemy but not be seen. There were occasions where patrols were ambushed. That never happened to me. I think maybe that was luck. Who knows?

It was just a matter of continual movement, continual hunger. People were ragged. I don’t think there was ever a time when the marines on Guadalcanal were adequately supplied. When the First Division landed, the navy pulled out with a lot of the supplies. It never got any better. [But] morale was pretty good. Oh, people bitched about food. When you became really hungry, food became ever-present in your mind. This was one of the few times when you would hear marines talking about food rather than women.

We had an attitude about the Japanese that began when we were briefed by the First Marine Division liaison officer, who had visited when we were on Samoa. We became convinced that the Japanese were a merciless foe, and we went there with the idea of killing them all. We maintained that attitude for the entire war. MHQ

This article appears in the Winter 2019 issue (Vol. 31, No. 2) of MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History with the headline: A Marine at Guadalcanal


Thanks to Dutch R.

Argentine navy submarine found 2,600 feet deep in Atlantic one year after disappearing



Thanks to Dutch and our best to Admiral Taylor for a full recovery

With our thanks to THE BEAR at www.rollingthunderremembered.com

AND with our prayers for his full and rapid recovery -


November 18, 2018Bear Taylor




Thanks to Clyde

Subject: 4 POW's

Interesting Video about 4 Aviators who flew in the era of Vietnam, and became ‘docents’ on San Diego’s USS Midway.

Watch in "Full Screen" w/"Sound On'!



Thanks to Frank ….and Dr. Rich

F-105 pilots of the Vietnam War. Most flew on missions to Laos and North Vietnam from air bases in Thailand.

“We soon realized there was no plan… no exit strategy. There was no intention of ending or winning. We were just there waiting for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to give us the target of the day. No end in sight. This was where I wanted to be, except now I was a 28-year old Captain, with a family. Yeah, I wondered if I’d made a stupid mistake.”

Click here, or on the screenshot above: http://cademartin.com/overwar/


I love it when you folks have things to add to the history in the list

Thanks to Clyde and Bill

Nov 14th, 1910: The first aeroplane flight from a ship was made by Eugene Ely <http://www.aerofiles.com/bio_e.html> from the bow of the scout cruiser Birmingham, anchored at the Hampton Roads Yacht Clubhouse at Willoughby Spit. His runway was 83 feet long, with a five degree slope, but because the plane itself was 57 feet long, the available runway for takeoff was only 26 feet. He then flew through fog and rain to Hampton Rapids, Virginia. For his effort, he won a $5,000 prize offered by John Barry.


The rest of the story...since the Birmingham had to heave to twice because of bad weather Ely was becoming impatient..a common trait of all naval aviators... so while the Birmingham lay at anchor he started the engine, did his roll down the deck and lacking sufficient wind over the deck he settled and got a prop strike thus he had to land on Willowby Spit rather than NOB, his true destination. No, the rescue helo was not on station.

Did you know that Capt Chambers was looking for the famous aviator, Glenn Curtis, to make this event but when they got to the airshow he was performing at in NY he had left so they met Ely and he agreed to do the flight...

Further...did you know that the Hamburg-American company was going to do the same evolution of the liner Pennsylvania on November 12 by a pilot J.D. McCurdy ( former Curtis test pilot) but he got a prop strike and had to cancel. Their purpose was ostensibly to enhance mail delivery but Chambers felt that the German navy was behind the effort.

That's the end of "did you know".



Thanks to Dutch

Subject: Fw: It is volcanoes.

thanks to GM

What? It was not cow farts nor SUVs!


Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’ | Science | AAAS


Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’ By Ann Gibbons Nov. 15, 2018 , 2:00 PM. Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he's got an answer: "536."


Thanks to Admiral Cox

H-Gram 023: Special World War I Victory Edition

15 November 2018

World War I Victory Medal: Obverse and ribbon of the medal awarded to all personnel of the armed forces for honorable service during World War I. Bronze clasps added to the medal's ribbon (bronze stars when worn on a ribbon bar) denoted specific campaigns and actions (80-G-K-13412).

I tried to get this out by 11 November, the 100th Anniversary of the World War I Armistice, but my day job kept getting in the way!

Back issues of H-grams (enhanced by photos and charts) can be accessed here.


The Contribution of the U.S. Navy During World War I

U.S. Navy Personnel Awarded the Medal of Honor During World War I

100th Anniversary of World War I

At 1057:30 on 11 November 1918, Battery 4 of the U.S. Navy Railway Gun Unit fired a 14-inch shell timed to hit a German target over 20 miles away seconds before the cease-fire went into effect at 1100that same day, thus bringing an end to the bloodiest, costly, and destructive war in human history, to that point. Between the time the Armistice was signed—around 0500 that morning—and when the cease-fire went into effect at 1100, over 3,000 soldiers on both sides were killed and over 8,000 wounded as bitter fighting continued right up until the end. The last soldier to fall in action before the cease-fire was U.S. Army Private Henry Gunther, killed at 1059 while single-handedly charging a German checkpoint despite German efforts to wave him away.

The exact number of people killed and wounded in World War 1 will never be known, particularly those who were killed on the Eastern Front before Czarist Russia collapsed and the Bolshevik government dropped out of the war. Estimates vary widely depending on the source, but somewhere on the order of nine to ten million military personnel died during the war and another seven to eight million civilians perished. France, Germany, Russia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire all lost more than a million soldiers, and the United Kingdom lost almost a million (more than a million if Commonwealth countries are added). The United States suffered 53,402 combat deaths, the vast majority of them U.S. Army personnel in the final three months of the war; in terms of casualties per month, this was the bloodiest period in U.S. military history. Of the U.S. battle deaths, the U.S. Marine Corps suffered 2,461 killed (and 9,520 wounded) and the U.S. Navy suffered 431 killed in action and 819 wounded in action. The U.S. Coast Guard, which came under the U.S. Navy during the war, lost over 121 men in action, thereby suffering proportionately the greatest loss of any U.S. Service. The U.S. Navy would lose an armored cruiser (to a submarine-laid mine), a destroyer (to a submarine torpedo), and a number of armed transports and smaller vessels to enemy action during the war. Of the 178 German submarines lost during the conflict, only one was confirmed sunk by the U.S. Navy, although numerous others were damaged or, more importantly, driven away from convoys of troops and critical war materiel by U.S. destroyers, submarine chasers, and, late in the war, aircraft.

The most significant contribution of the U.S. Navy during World War I was the escort and transport (with significant British Royal Navy assistance) of two million U.S. soldiers to France, the great majority in the last six months of the war, with almost no loss to German submarines. By July 1918, U.S. troops were arriving in France at a rate of about 10,000 per day, roughly half in U.S. shipping and half in Allied shipping. Although the U.S. Army had significant success on the battlefield (and after four years of war the immense sacrifice of the French and British armies had bled the Germans white), it was the German High Command's realization that there was nothing they could do to stem the tide of an overwhelming number of U.S. troops that caused the Germans to sue for an armistice. In short, the Germans did the math and knew they could not win. Although the German army had been pushed back in 1918, neither it nor the German navy had been decisively defeated yet. This led to a sense amongst German soldiers (including Corporal Adolph Hitler) of being "stabbed in the back" by their own government, which would be the genesis for the events that led to the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II (along with a host of other contributing factors). (For more on the contribution of the U.S. Navy in World War I, please see attachment H-023-1)

Navy Medals of Honor in World War I

Of 21 Medals of Honor awarded to U.S. Navy personnel during World War One, five were awarded for direct combat against the enemy at sea or the result of combat at sea:

Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond K. Ingraham, USN, (posthumous) on 15 October 1917 for attempting to jettison depth charges when his ship was hit by a torpedo.

Ensign Daniel Augustus Joseph Sullivan, USNRF, on 21 May 1918 for securing a live depth charge that had come loose during an attack on a German submarine.

Lieutenant Edouard Victor Michel Izac, USN, on 21 May 1918, when he was captured by a German submarine and subsequently made multiple escape attempts before succeeding and bringing important intelligence back.

Ensign Charles Hazeltine Hammann, USNRF, on 21 August 1918 for landing his aircraft at sea to rescue another pilot who had been shot down.

Lieutenant Commander James Jonas Madison, USNRF, on 4 October 1918 as commanding officer of armed transport USS Ticonderoga, who, despite severe wounds, valiantly fought an hours-long battle with a German submarine before his ship finally sank.

(For more on U.S. Navy personnel who were awarded the Medal of Honor in World War 1 please see attachment H-023-2)

Previous H-grams on World War I

H-Gram 022/H-022-1: The Worst Killer of All: The Spanish Influenza, 1918–19

H-Gram 021/H-021-3: U.S. Navy in World War I–First Naval Aviation Medal of Honor, First Ace, Railway Artillery, Heaviest Loss, and Only Surface Action, August–October 1918

H-Gram 020/H-020-4: The Fog of War: USS AL-2 Versus UB-65, 10 July 1918

H-Gram 019/H-019-5: “Black Sunday” and the Battle of Orleans–World War I Comes to American Waters

H-Gram 018/H-018-4: Dental Valor

H-Gram 016/H-016-4: The Disappearance of USS Cyclops

H-Gram 013: The Loss of USS Jacob Jones, 6 December 1917, and H-013-5: U.S. Navy’s Battleship Division Nine in European Waters, 7 December 1917

H-Gram 012: Meanwhile, Back in World War I (U-58 sinking)

H-Gram 010/H-010-6: Attacks on the United States Mainland (German saboteurs)

H-Gram 008/H-008-1: 100th Anniversary of World War I

H-Gram 004/H-004-1: The First Shot/SMS Cormoran II, and H-004-2: “We Are Ready Now, Sir” (Sort of)

H-Gram 002/H-002-1: The Zimmerman Telegram: Early Cyber Warfare?

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