Wednesday, February 24, 2010

quaking with fear

Thurs. Nov. 26, 1942

"Thanksgiving"

We landed at "Tulagi" this morning at 4 A.M. Had reville at 5 A.M. Went up on deck and brought the barge in by hand. We then left Tulagi and headed for Guadalcanal & then went down to eat. As I sit here now I can see nothing but jungles. I think before this day is over, we will see plenty of action. We could see the flash of lights in the distance from the big guns.



Fri. Nov. 27, 1942



We stayed at Tulagi all night unloading a few supplies, etc It looks very peaceful now. All the Japs (Tojo) have been wiped off. The Solomons here are a very beautiful place. It reminds me of Panama. In 2 or 3 places the tree tops have been cut off by the Japs from shelling the beach. Also, they blew up the docks, so we had to anchor a good ways out.

In some places it stinks awful from the bodies of the dead Japs. The first landing party of Marines which was 800 men; the Japs killed 792 of them. There was a beautiful moon out tonight and they had another bombing on Guadalcanal. The Japs are being pushed back into the sea. All of them are in the mountains now.



Sat. Nov. 28, 1942



We are now 10 degrees below the equator here & it's plenty hot. We shoved off for Guadalcanal this morning around 5 A.M. accompanied by our 2 cans (destroyers). This is 27 miles across the bay from Tulagi. Upon arriving here, we could see where the Japs have shelled the beach, cutting the trees away. We are now unloading the boat of bombs, food & material for the airfield (Henderson).

Jimbo, Sgt. Irwin, Capnok, etc are now on the ship. They came over to see us. We are burying all our ammo by the airport. Some of these big, brave fellows who came over first have been quaking with fear, I hear. Maybe I will, too. At least I didn't shoot off my mouth that I wanted to see action. Some of the fellows are worrying themselves sick thinking about it. Though I'm not trying to be brave or anything, I'm not worried too much. If I get it, I just get it. That's all. There's not much sense in worrying about it, until you're sick.



Heard they were expecting a task force of 50 ships to come in. They brought 5 sailors on the Alchiba here yesterday who were in the Naval Battle here a week ago. Some of them looked as if they were dead. One fellow nearly had his you-know-what shot off. It probably seems funny to some poeple in a case like that, but I imagine it's not so funny.



___________________________



This is Harry's War Diary.



Harry's arrival at Guadalcanal is marked by his observation of the peaceful and beautiful place in stark contrast to the death and destruction that is the nature of war. He's reunited with his Ordinance company and learns of their fearful reactions to the situation. What Harry describes as worrying themselves sick, is what we would call 'anxiety' today.

Guadalcanal Satellite Map


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

mosey up on deck



Solomon Islands
Fri. Nov. 21, 1942


We are still at anchor in the harbor. "Gig" went up this morning to have a tooth pulled and Pete Berringer is on KP today. They started painting the boat a solid color gray yesterday. I understand this boat has already made 2 trips to the Solomons.



Around 9:30 all hands were ordered back to "aft of the weld deck" (the deck above ours) where we gave 3 cheers each for the battleship Helena & the cruiser San Fransisco as they came into the harbor. They are returning from the Solomon Battle. The cruiser attacked a big Jap battleship and sunk it. And the Helena had it's bridge shot away. We made our cheers long & loud. They are now anchored just a short distance away from us.



Around 1 P.M. we had orders to "pack up" that we were going to get on another boat. So, around 3 P.M. we all loaded into one of the "big" landing boats & headed for the harbor (52 of us and 48 of quarter master). The ride in was pretty nice, except for the salt-water splashing in our faces.



When arriving at the docks, we were put on a freighter the USS Alchiba and pulled away from the docks around 6:30 P.M. We also took part of the dock with us when the ship gave a hard pull, yanking one of the boards from the dock with it. "Gig" and I laughed about this "ole tub" as we called it. Though our sleeping quarters, etc are not as elaborate as the P-11, our meals are just as good. We pulled out into the harbor opposite the battleship Idaho & Washington and anchored there for the night.




Sat. Nov. 21, 1942


We pulled out of the harbor around 6 A.M. and headed for the high seas once again. They have hooked a barge and we are now towing it, which cuts down our speed some. Our convoy consists of only 4 ships (the P-11 that we got off of, and 2 light cruisers). I notice there are quite a few torpedo boats in the harbor. (T-boat = 60 mi. an hr.) "Gig" and I were put on guard in the "brig" this morning from 8 A.M. to 12 P.M. The prisoner was a sailor who overstayed his leave in Samoa. He gets bread & water twice a day and every 3rd meal he gets a "good meal". His sentence is up Monday.



We are now well out to sea & all the lookouts are scanning the skies for Japanese planes (subs & ships). There is a lookout directly above me now with dark glasses looking for planes. This ship just narrowly missed disaster on the last trip to the Solomons.



Nov. 23, 1942

We are now well out to sea, this being the fourth day of our trip. We started painting the ship. I worked with "Gig" and DeRoberts up on the boat deck. This ship will be a solid color grey. They fired the 20MM cannon, shoothin two small balloons down for target practice. "Gig", Berringer & myself skipped detail this evening and got away with it, for once. Have just taken a shower. Think I will mosey up on deck.



Tues. Nov. 24, 1942

I has been terribly hot today, in fact it was so hat in the mess hall we could hardly eat. We were given our first quinine tablets at 3:30 P.M. We will take some more tomorrow when we 'muster' out on deck. "Gig, Pete & myself played "hearts" practically all day. A "Flying Fortress" came over this morning.





Wed. Nov. 25, 1942

Today we had our "Thanksgiving" dinner on the boat, and what a dinner is was. Turkey and all the trimmings. The best meal I've had since I left the States. We passed the island of Saint Custabul this afternooon. Heard that we were expecting a gas attack when we hit the Solomons.


_________________________________________________




Harry and Gig get a big laugh out of the ship taking part of the dock away. And the Army troops are enjoying the quality of food onboard. Harry and his sidekick Gig pull guard duty in the brig. Some of the fellows skip their chores and get away with it...for once.


There's alot of speculation about the entering the Solomon Battle. There's a noticeable sense of danger in the area.






Monday, February 22, 2010

half a notion



New Caledonia

Nov. 12, 1942



Today is Nov. 11 back in the States and I have officially been in a year. Went on guard at 4 AM as usual. There were 20 men sent in to help us, because some of our fellows have already left for the Solomons. I was in the hosp. when they were picked, otherwise I might have went, too. Rec'd a letter from Mom today dated on Oct 25. Tonight (or rather at 4 PM)


"Gig" & Kruse had a fight over the gun. I think "Gig" got the best of the deal. Now we have no pistol. Heard tonight at chow that "Vicky" France has declared War agaist Germany and that Tokyo was bombed for 11 hrs. Gosh, that's wonderful news. Sure hope it continues.




Sat. Nov. 14, 1942



"Skull" came up around 8:30 & told "Gig", Frank & I to pack our things, that we were going to leave with the bunch from camp. So, I finished my ring in a hurry (50% piece) and now I won't be able to have it engraved. So, we said "goodbye" to our horses "Duke", "Jim" & "Bob" and said farewell to the corral. We sure hate to leave them.







I sure am going to have a load to carry with my full field pack: rifle, barracks boy, etc. "Gig" and I went swimming before we changed into our uniforms of green pants (tweed) etc. We stand around all evening. Just before supper Harry Falgo said we might be here 3 or 4 days yet. I understand there's a big naval battle going on at the Solomons and we have to wait until it's over. So, I guess that is where we are going.





Sun. Nov. 15, 1942


Well, today is my birthday and I'm not so very happy happy. I hope to have many more. I hear our boat is in the harbor, so I guess we will be shoving off any minute. I can hardly write this morning because I hit the bottom of the creek while diving. My finger has become infected, it's swollen twice it's size. I suppose I should go to the hospital with it. It's paining me now something awful. My hand is shaking terribly. Think I will close for now and see if I can get some iodine.








Mon. Nov. 16, 1942






This afternoon at 11:00 A.M. we were told to be ready to leave in an hour, so at 2 P.M. we got on the trucks with our new **** helmets, heavy packs, guns and barracks bag and headed for Noumea and the docks. We boarded a Navy transport (the P-11) which is sure a beautiful boat inside. Much, Much better than the one we came over on. We have nice bunks and don't even have to use our mess kits to eat out of.



Well, honey...this may be my last voyage because a battle is going on just a ways from here, but I'm trusting to God we get through. The sailors heard today that we sunk two airplane carriers and also that Noumea was bombed (Japanese Propagnada) with the loss of 11,000 American soliders. We have the same type boats that the Marines used in landing on the Solomons (Higgins boat) also small motor boats.







Tues. Nov. 17, 1942




We pulled away from the docks at 8 A.M. and pulled out into the harbor next to a tanker to take on 1,000 barrels of diesel oil. Was talking to some of the fellows on the tanker, they said the airplane carrier "Enterprise" was our only aircraft carrier left in the the Pacific. She is now opposite us in the harbor. They also said the troopship "Coolidge" was sunk off the Hebrides when she ran into one of her mines a few days ago.





Just made an announcement over the loud speaker that in the Solomons Battle (which is now going on) we sunk 30 of their ships, and we lost 8 (2 light cruisers & 6 destroyers) It looks pretty bad for us, I sure hope our P-11 isn't sunk. The tanker that we are alongside now has to return to the States because she has 60,000 barrels of aviation gas onboard and no aircraft carriers to give it to. They have been here in the harbor 47 days. I have half a notion to jump aboard the tanker and go home, but I'll see this through, if it costs my life in doing so. I hear our other fellows have landed safely at Guadalcanal. The real name of this ship is the USS Barnette but has the Navy name of the P-11.






Wed. Nov. 18, 1942






Was just on a detail at 8 A.M. this morning carrying rations up from the hold, up one deck to the kitchen. Ten of us have it permanently and it has to be done twice a day. I understand this ship has made one trip to the Solomons. The gun crew has shot down a number of Jap planes. One they shot down, the Jap pilot aimed it at the bridge tearing it to pieces and killing the Captain. Had my hair cut by frost this morning and bought some Futch shampoo and Vaseline hair tonic at the PX.




Late yesterday evening a cruiser and a battleship came in from the Solomons battle. We are still anchored in the harbor. Harry Falgo, our 1st Sgt, was operated on this morning for hemorroids. Was issued a little package of Sulfanilamide (sterilized) 5 grams for Tropical use, and a small box (like an aspirin box) of the sulfanilamide tablets (12). We are to take 2 tablets every 5 minutes if we are injured or wounded. This is to prevent infection.




We have just had an "Abandon ship" drill. The Capt. told us (if we had an abandon ship call) we would all jump overboard and "Good luck to you". We also had a boat drill today. After the Captain finished talking, he said "lay aft" and everyone stood there with a blank look on their faces. Finally he said "Dammit, move back".








Thurs. Nov. 19, 1942




We are still in the harbor. The Marines are pulling the guard duty on the boat, because there is more of them than Army. "Gig" was put on the same detail with me today. The news on today's commisque was very encouraging towards the Solomon Battle. They are expecting a 2nd attack, however it said that 14,000 Japs were drowned from 6 destroyer transports.



__________________________________









This is Harry's War Diary




Harry's buddies argue over their Army issued pistol, and as a result, the sidearm is taken away from them. Harry must have been working on making a ring as a memento, and is disappointed when he wont' be able to finish it. They go through a cycle of hurry-up-and-wait but they're certain that their time on New Caledonia is over.




Harry is pleased with the interior of their transport ship, and the flow of mis-information begins immediately. Up until now, their 'news' is filtered down and not much information actually makes it to their camp. But onboard the Navy ship, they hear rumors that travel fast.



The Abandon Ship Drill entry is my favorite story so far.



As for some actual accounts of the Solomon Battle: Nov 13th a Japanese cruiser force attempts to obliterate Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal. The cruisers are attacked offshore, resulting in 12 out of the 13 American ships involved sunk. However, not one shell hit Henderson Field.



Nov 14th Jap troop vessels attempting to land on Guadalcanal are sitting ducks for the Cactus Air Force. Out of the fully loaded landing vessels, only 2,000 Japanese soliders make it onto the island alive.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

it's CATurday!


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

wordless wednesday


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