THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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ARCHIVED READS > 2019 - February - History of Armed Forces in WW2

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Jan 25, 2019 02:16PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments This months theme read is on any book or books of your choice that covers the history of any armed force that participated in WW2. That could be a national army, navy or airforce. For example; British or British Commonwealth, American, Japanese, German, etc. or a particular army, eg: German 6th Army, British 8th Army or US Eighth Air Force, etc.


message 2: by Dan (new)

Dan Jezeski | 3 comments I was going to read Bloodstained Sea as it's free through kindleunlimited. Will this meet the criteria Rick?


message 3: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Dan Jezeski wrote: "I was going to read Bloodstained Sea as it's free through kindleunlimited. Will this meet the criteria Rick?"

Yes, that should be a good fit for the theme Dan as it covers a specific unit involved in WW2. Keep us posted.


message 4: by Dipanjan (new)

Dipanjan (bengali) | 62 comments I am currently reading Tobruk by peter Fritzsimmons which deals with the siege of Tobruk and the contribution of the Australian army.


message 5: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Dipanjan wrote: "I am currently reading Tobruk by peter Fritzsimmons which deals with the siege of Tobruk and the contribution of the Australian army."

I hope you enjoy the book Dipanjan :)


message 6: by Paul (last edited Jan 25, 2019 09:42PM) (new)

Paul (paul_gephart) | 364 comments It might be a little too broad for the topic, but my next book in the Time-Life series (which I committed to read about 20 years ago but am only on about the 20th book) is this one:

The Nazis by Robert Edwin Herzstein The Nazis by Robert Edwin Herzstein (for Time-Life Books). I probably won't be able to read it all in February - short month, busy with my school, work, and family obligations, etc., but it's a good excuse to start it.


message 7: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Paul wrote: "It might be a little too broad for the topic, but my next book in the Time-Life series (which I committed to read about 20 years ago but am only on about the 20th book) is this one:

[bookcover:The..."


Give it a go and see how things pan out :)


message 9: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments I am going to start with Just Americans How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad by Robert Asahina Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad by Robert Asahina about the Nisei 442 Regimental Combat Team.


message 10: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments Mike wrote: "I am going to start with Just Americans How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad by Robert AsahinaJust Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad by [..."

Nice Mike! Always love a niche story, I'll look forward to your posts.


message 11: by John (new)

John Lomnicki, | 5 comments Having just read: History of US Naval Operations in WWII, 15 Vols (Hardcover) by Samuel Eliot Morison and just acquired the Green books and read a few of those, I would hope to join this quest too. Will be intermittently reading additional volumes on British participation.


message 12: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4430 comments I may get to this later in the month --

The Best Little Army In The World The Canadians in Northwest Europe 1944–1945 by J.L. Granatstein The Best Little Army In The World: The Canadians in Northwest Europe 1944–1945 by J. L. Granatstein.

It's the story of the 1st Canadian Army in NW Europe from D-Day until the surrender.


message 13: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments Chantal wrote: "The best I could find today at Half Price Books was
Das Reich The March of the 2nd SS Panzer Division Through France, June 1944 by Max Hastings[book:Das Reich: The March of the 2nd SS Panzer..."


Usually can't go wrong with Sir Max. Good pick.


message 14: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Some excellent books popping up already, should be a good theme month!


message 16: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Liz V. wrote: "Will be reading Bloody Skies: U.S. Eighth Air Force Battle Damage in World War II by Nicholas A. Veronico."

Another interesting book to add to the mix Liz V.


message 17: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments Can't beat a bit of Mighty Max Chantal, I'll be interested to hear how you found it.

If I get a chance I'll read
Monty's Men The British Army and the Liberation of Europe by John Buckley Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe
I've been liking over my notes from Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944; I'd like to follow up on it


message 18: by Derek (new)

Derek Nudd | 243 comments Manray9 wrote: "I may get to this later in the month --

The Best Little Army In The World The Canadians in Northwest Europe 1944–1945 by J.L. Granatstein [book:The Best Little Army In The World: The Canadians i..."


I'll be interested to hear your views. 1st Canadian Army included (at least) Polish tankers, American and British infantry (104th 'Timberwolves' & 49th West Riding 'Polar Bears') and not least British artillery in the form of my Dad's 60th Heavy AA, used mainly in field role. (OK, he didn't actually own it).

He developed a very healthy respect for the Canadians. In his own words,

“The Canadians say ‘Let’s get this Goddam business over and get back to a decent country and we don’t mean yours’. They have very dim views of spending any more time in Britain.”
“… I like the Canadians too. I’ve never met a bunch yet who looked sour or dispirited and God knows they have cause to. Sometimes during a shoot they are on the same wavelength as us and the informality is highly diverting. ‘Report when ready, report when ready’ (to fire) then ‘Say, give us just one minute, just one minute’. ‘That is OK by us, that is OK by us’ and so on. I was having a meal on the bonnet of a Jeep once when a Canadian major jumped in, said ‘Sorry to disturb yer feed feller’ and was gone – and very nearly with my plate.”

(From Armageddon Fed Up With This)


message 19: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Jonny wrote: "Can't beat a bit of Mighty Max Chantal, I'll be interested to hear how you found it.

If I get a chance I'll read
Monty's Men The British Army and the Liberation of Europe by John Buckley[boo..."


That's a good choice as well Jonny, I forgot I had a copy of that book hidden away somewhere in my library.


message 20: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Jan 27, 2019 08:08PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments I'm currently reading "Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich" as my theme book. I quite enjoyed this statement in regards to the French campaign in 1940"

"As one French general commented after the campaign, the French had used their three thousand tanks in a thousand packets of three, whereas the Germans had used their three thousand tanks in three packets of a thousand."

Hitler's Soldiers The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H. Shepherd Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H. Shepherd


message 21: by Manray9 (last edited Jan 27, 2019 08:22PM) (new)

Manray9 | 4430 comments Derek wrote: "Manray9 wrote: "I may get to this later in the month --

The Best Little Army In The World The Canadians in Northwest Europe 1944–1945 by J.L. Granatstein [book:The Best Little Army In The World:..."


Derek: It will be later in Feb before I get to it.


message 22: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "As one French general commented after the campaign, the French had sued their three thousand tanks in a thousand packets of three, whereas the Germans had used their three thousand tanks in three packets of a thousand."..."

Some learned that "Quantity has a quality all its own"


message 23: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Well put Mike!


message 24: by Dimitri (last edited Jan 28, 2019 03:25AM) (new)

Dimitri | 1322 comments I can contribute something not avaliable (yet) in a translation from Danish to English. It promotes itself as a very multinational look at the Waffen-SS, by two writers who previously covered their own country's volunteers.
De Waffen-SS het Europese leger van de Nazi's by Claus Bundgård Christensen De Waffen-SS : het Europese leger van de Nazi's[Europas nazistiske soldater] by Claus Bundgård Christensen


message 25: by KOMET (new)

KOMET | 369 comments Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in the Second World War by Patrick G. Eriksson

Alarmstart The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in the Second World War by Patrick G. Eriksson

I'm now in the midst of reading this highly fascinating book. The author spent the past 30 years interviewing surviving Luftwaffe fighter pilots who had flown in the West (from 1939 to 1944), as well as a few who had flown in the invasion of Poland and subsequently were assigned to the West.

"Alarmstart" (Scramble!) constitutes what is likely to be one of the last books of its kind in which Luftwaffe veteran pilots are able to share their stories, because the ranks of surviving pilots is thinning out very quickly. Many of them are now dying off. It is a book that also benefits from containing photos never before released, as well as primary documents, diaries, and flight logs.


message 26: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments The purpose of Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe is to attempt a reexamination of the British Army's performance in Europe from June 1944 onwards. In the introduction he makes the following point on the relative effectiveness of the British and Germans:
"To many, despite the ultimate disaster that consumed the Third Reich in 1945, it is the German Army of the Second World War that remains held in high esteem, much more than the forces that defeated it. Yet the image is one based on a fairly narrow definition of what constitutes effectiveness, one that focuses solely on close- combat capability. At this German soldiers often proved adept, for a variety of reasons ranging across ideological motivation, tactical doctrine and, most importantly, greater experience. The ability of soldiers and units to engage the enemy in direct combat is obviously the most crucial element in defining fighting power, but it is not the only criterion by which it can and should be measured. An army's effectiveness is defined by a range of capabilities incorporating intelligence, logistics, planning, firepower, medical support, liaison, communications and engineering, in addition to close- combat tactics, and all such elements have to be brought together in a modern army in order to achieve battlefield objectives. Although the German Army may have attained considerable capability in close- combat tactics, it proved much less capable in these wider aspects of military activity. In the Second World War artillery again proved to be the most lethal weapon on the battlefield, as it had been in the Great War, but it was Allied artillery, particularly British artillery, that gained a fiercesome reputation in the second half of the war. German troops complained bitterly that they were unable to operate properly because British artillery held the battlefield in its grip, strangled manoeuvre and prevented concentration. The British Army paid much greater attention to all the elements supporting the infantry and armour, and considered that maintaining plentiful supplies of equipment and ordnance in the field was pivotal to success in battle. In contrast, German forces lived a hand- to- mouth existence, often because planners failed to accept logistical realities."
He further lays out the realities facing British strategists:
"The British Army in 1944 existed in an era in which dwindling national military and economic power had to be balanced against the requirements of defeating the Third Reich. But the British Army also had to be seen to be playing a fully committed and active role in fighting the Germans in order to maintain the status of a great power. To complicate matters still further, the British had limited human resources to devote to the army's war in Northwest Europe in 1944, with so many personnel deployed in the bomber offensive, maintaining the Atlantic shipping lanes, fighting in Italy and combating the Japanese in Asia, as well as retaining a grip on the rest of the empire. Such troops as were available were mostly untested in battle, and though they would be well equipped and supported, they would be confronting an enemy with great depths of bitter and brutal combat experience. The British Army would also have to win without too many casualties in order to be in a position to deliver the conditions for a sustainable peace. It was not simply a matter of winning battles: the army had to deliver victory both in the war and the ensuing peace."
"Most importantly, a policy of heavy attritional fighting against the Germans was politically, economically and strategically unacceptable; Britain simply did not have the manpower and resources to sustain the bloodletting that had accompanied the military effort of the First World War and had epitomised the war on the Eastern Front between the Germans and the Soviets since 1941. British efforts for much of the war had been directed towards large- scale strategic and tactical air forces, the Battle of the Atlantic, the Far East, and to maximising production in key areas. As the bulk of the British Army had spent the years after Dunkirk in training and preparation in the UK, priority had naturally been given to those areas where action had been both immediate and imperative. Until December 1941 Britain had had to confront the prospect of defeating Germany by means other than direct sustained land operations, as the British Army alone could never be big enough to deliver a victory against the much larger German Army in this way. After the fall of France in the early summer of 1940, this meant taking the war to Germany through bombing, blockade and subversion as the only potential route to success. In this scenario the army's role would be to act as a small, technically proficient, well- equipped force ready to spring into action and deliver a knock- out blow against an already collapsing and reeling Third Reich, undermined by economic and psychological warfare. When the USA was drawn into the war fully by 1942, the grand strategy of the Allies obviously shifted to a more direct approach, but by then the British were faced with fighting a global war with dwindling resources, particularly in personnel terms. It was just as well that the British Army was fighting alongside powerful and plentiful Allies."
It'll be interesting to see this argument developing.


message 27: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Excellent post Jonny, the author of my book has been making the same points in regards to the German's tactical ability and how that provided the edge to their battlefield successes however their lack of strategical awareness proved their downfall. The author also highlights the same point in regards to British artillery dominance on the battlefield.


message 28: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments KOMET wrote: "Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in the Second World War by Patrick G. Eriksson

[bookcover:Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in t..."


Sounds like an excellent book Komet, keep us posted on your progress.


message 29: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1459 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "KOMET wrote: "Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in the Second World War by Patrick G. Eriksson

[bookcover:Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot's E..."


Once you finish that one, there's the second book in the series dealing with the air war on the Eastern Front.


message 30: by Derek (new)

Derek Nudd | 243 comments Jonny wrote: "The purpose of Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe is to attempt a reexamination of the British Army's performance in Europe from June 1944 onwards. In the in..."

Echoing Aussie Rick, Thanks for this excellent post.

Just to add a couple of thoughts, the British forces involved in Normandy and NW Europe were stiffened by many veterans of North Africa and Dunkirk. Many of those who had not seen active service before had been training with steadily increasing intensity for the previous two years. Also, two badly-mauled infantry divisions (59th and 50th) had to be disbanded to provide replacements elsewhere. Some AA gunners were reassigned to infantry as mixed batteries were brought over to the mainland. There were simply no more troops where they came from.


message 31: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments Running toward the end if the Normandy Campaign: a few comments on the closing operations of Normandy:
"There is no doubt that Montgomery's principal aim of fixing the Germans’ heavier units in place around Caen had succeeded. In the days after GOODWOOD and by the time of COBRA (25 July), the British and Canadians were confronted by over 600 tanks, including the heavy Tiger tank battalions, whilst the Americans faced just 100 tanks from one and a half panzer divisions. The repeated set- piece battles launched by the Anglo- Canadian forces around Caen drew in enemy units as they arrived in Normandy and wore them down to such a degree that German forces were stretched to breaking point by the last week of July. GOODWOOD itself had contributed only partially to this process, as material losses inflicted on the Germans were significant rather than shattering. More importantly, it seriously undermined the will of the German leadership in Normandy and their resolve crumbled. Already reeling from the loss of Rommel from air attack just before GOODWOOD and the failed Stauffenberg plot on Hitler's life of 20 July, the generals in Normandy had to confront a bleak reality. General Sepp Dietrich, whilst arguing that the position had been held around Caen, stated: The position has inevitably deteriorated, as we have lost a good deal of ground, and this can only be to the enemy's advantage. I see their next effort as being the most crucial for them and us."
And deployment of "that miracle if engineering that is the wonder of the world (or words to that effect - some bits of A Bridge Too Far stuck better than others):
"by the end of 26 August British units were firmly established on the heights and woods overlooking the Seine from the east bank. Below them the Royal Engineers worked furiously through the day and night, despite all opposition, to complete the bridges and rafts, and during the following day these rafts transported two squadrons of tanks across the river to support the infantry. The first bridge completed was a lightweight folding- equipment Class Nine bridge capable of supporting nine tons. They also began reconstruction of roadways to make up for the damage the heavy vehicles had caused to the existing network. Two Goliath Class Forty bridges, each 840 feet long and capable of carrying forty tons at 80- feet intervals, were in operation by the end of 28 August, the first taking just twenty- eight hours to complete, to support the advance being prosecuted by the British forces already across the river. By nightfall tanks of 11th Armoured Division began pouring across the Seine to begin the next stage of the advance. As the vehicles surged across, the engineers considered it to be ‘a wonderful and rewarding sight’. Speed, efficiency and forward planning had contributed to the success of the operation, alongside the drive of the infantry in the initial assault. The British Army’s ability to keep their forces moving forward at a pace across major obstacles, even when the enemy had blown or damaged existing bridges, was fundamental to the speed of the advance from Normandy to the borders of Germany in less than a month."
Monty's Men The British Army and the Liberation of Europe by John Buckley Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe


message 32: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Feb 07, 2019 12:13PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Great post Jonny, sounds like "Monty's Men" is a pretty interesting read. I may try and get around to my copy later this month if I can.

The author of "Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich" quoted Hans von Luck when detailing the British offensive during Operation Charnwood. I found von Luck's account very descriptive:

"The Allied bombardment inflicted fearful losses upon the Germans, but the Germans exchanged like for like against Dempsey's armour and their line held. 'The 8.8cm cannons were firing salvo after another,' wrote Hans von Luck, recalling the performance of a flak battery at Cagny. 'One could see the shots flying through the corn like torpedoes … In the extensive cornfields to the north of the village stood at least 40 British tanks on fire or shot up … Becker's assault guns had also joined in the battle. From the right flank they shot up any tanks that tried to bypass the village'."

Hitler's Soldiers The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H. Shepherd Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H. Shepherd


message 34: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Great post Jonny, sounds like "Monty's Men" is a pretty interesting read. I may try and get around to my copy later this month if I can.

The author of "Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the T..."


Buckley mentions von Luck at Cagny as well Rick;
"In an incident now so much a part of the mythology of the battle that it has become iconic, Major Hans von Luck of 21st Panzers, who had rushed forward into the battle area upon returning hastily from Paris that morning, intervened at Cagny. Cagny, unlike Le Mesnil, had been targeted by the bombing but was only partially neutralised. On his arrival von Luck noted a battery of Luftwaffe 88mm guns pointing at the skies awaiting aircraft to shoot at whilst a stream of Allied tanks swept by to the west between Cagny and Le Mesnil Frémentel. Von Luck asked the Luftwaffe battery commander to move his guns and train them on the British tanks, but he refused, at which point von Luck later recalled, ‘I drew my pistol levelled it at him and said: “Either you're a dead man or you can win yourself a medal.” ’Unsurprisingly, according to the legend, the officer acquiesced and very soon C Squadron of the Fife and Forfars was under heavy and destructive fire from the now supposedly repositioned Luftwaffe 88s in Cagny. Major von Luck's account of how the situation developed, colourful and enthralling though it may be, is largely unsubstantiated, however. There is in fact no evidence, either documentary or photographic, that there were any Luftwaffe guns in Cagny at that time; indeed their presence there would be extraordinary given the known dispositions of other Luftwaffe batteries that day. It may well be that von Luck's role was less important than he made out and his pivotal place in the battle was largely a product of his fanciful memoirs and of the publicity derived from the British Army's battlefield tours conducted from 1947 onwards, in which von Luck was a regular, popular and controversial feature. But there is no doubt that heavy anti-tank gunfire from in and around Cagny began to account for British tanks.
Most of C Squadron was knocked out in very short order. Jack Thorpe recalled: 'Along the column of tanks I see palls of smoke and tanks brewing up with flames belching forth from their turrets. I see men climbing out, on fire like torches, rolling on the ground to try and douse the flames. The tank twenty yards away from us is hit, flames shoot out of its turret, I see a member of its crew climbing out through the flames, he is almost out, putting one foot onto the rim to jump down, he seems to hesitate and he falls back inside. Oh Christ!'
Soon C Squadron was effectively eliminated as a fighting force and Lieutenant Colonel Alec Scott, commanding 2nd Fife and Forfars, was forced to abandon his original plan of using A and B Squadrons to push forward and then have C Squadron exploit through the opening created and seize their regimental objectives on the Bourguébus Ridge. Still, by 1030 the leading elements of 3 RTR and 2nd Fife and Forfars were probing towards the villages in and around Bourguébus. The rolling artillery bombardment had ceased and the armour was now deploying in formations more appropriate to fire and manoeuvre tactics. By this time the British had expected to be through the main German positions and be driving largely unopposed deep into open country. Yet the villages around them, Soliers, Four and Bourguébus itself, appeared to be actively defended and resistance began to stiffen.
"
Looks like you've a wealth of options for later in the month, looks like it'll be a tough call!


message 35: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Great post Jonny, very interesting about von Luck!


message 36: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (last edited Feb 09, 2019 02:51PM) (new)

Mike | 2993 comments The divisions between the kotonks, i.e., mainlanders versus the buddhaheads, i.e., Hawaiian islanders was stark. The Japanese Americans on the islands were not relocated, even though by the rationale of Roosevelt's order, the Hawaiians were more of a threat than the mainlanders. However, Hawaii could not operate without the Japanese Americans, they were over 1/3 of the population. Recruiting for the 442nd expected 3,000 would volunteer from the stateside camps--only 1,208 did. The Hawaiians were limited to 1,500 but over 10,000 volunteered.

The turmoil faced by the stateside volunteers:
(view spoiler)

Just Americans How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad by Robert Asahina Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad


message 37: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (last edited Feb 09, 2019 02:49PM) (new)

Mike | 2993 comments Three Medals of Honor on one day for the 100th battalion/442nd Regiment (not awarded until 2000):

Right after Thanksgiving, on November 29, the battalion ran into a fierce firefight at Hill 841, near Cerasuolo. A heavily armed contingent of Germans attacked the left flank of B Company, where a platoon including Sgt Allan M. Ohate and Pvt. Mikio Hasemoto made a heroic stand. The two men killed twenty of the charging Germans with Hasemoto emptying four magazines of his BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) before it was damaged, by enemy fire. Disregarding his own safety, Ohata ran fifteen yards to cover Hasemoto’s dash to pick up an M1 and, with Ohata, took out another ten Germans. Hasemoto and Ohata held their ground against yet another assault, shooting seven more enemy soldiers. The two then charged against the remaining Germans and captured three prisoners.

https://themedalofhonor.com/medal-of-...

https://themedalofhonor.com/medal-of-...

In an A Company offensive on Hill 841 during the same day, Pvt. Shizuya Hayashi made a one-man attack “in the face of grenade, rifle, and machine gun fire,” according to a citation issued later. “Firing his automatic rifle from the hip, he charged and overtook an enemy machine-gun position, killing seven men in the nest and two more as they fled.” After a German 88 opened up on his platoon, Hayashi returned fire and singlehandedly killed nine Germans, took four prisoners, and forced the remaining troops to retreat.

https://themedalofhonor.com/medal-of-...

Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad


message 38: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Pretty amazing feats of courage, thanks for those details and the links Mike, much appreciated.


message 39: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments Hard to imagine the difficulty of fighting for your life against the German army while this was going on back home:

Though nighttime brought some respite from combat, many of the men of the 442nd found little comfort in thoughts of home. In another foxhole in the black woods, an F Company infantryman was “quietly sobbing” after reading a letter he had just received from his parents in a “relocation camp” stateside. They had learned their house left behind in rural California “had been burned down by the people of the community,” according to lst Sgt. Jack Wakamatsu. “We often wondered who our real enemies were, and why we were fighting here in France for a little town we’d never heard of ,” Wakamatsu wrote later, “risking everything trying to free this place from the enemies of freedom, while our own people in America imprisoned our families and now were destroying our homes there.”

Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad


message 40: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1988 comments I knew US Senator Daniel Inouye (D) Nisei from Hawaii, MOH recipient. I interviewed him and Sen. Robert Dole (R), who was also wounded in the mountain fights as they were assisting the 442nd. I compared their stories with those interviews I conducted with the German paratroops they fought against, especially near Monte Cassino. Good stories indeed.


message 41: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments Mike wrote: "Hard to imagine the difficulty of fighting for your life against the German army while this was going on back home:

Though nighttime brought some respite from combat, many of the men of the 442nd..."


That's just the kind of news from home you don't need Mike. Speaks volumes about those guys strength of character that they were able to crack on. Might need to pick up a copy of this myself in the future.


message 42: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments That's a terrible story Mike, it would be hard to keep motivated under those circumstances. Those men showed great character to continue the fight.


message 43: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (last edited Feb 10, 2019 01:02PM) (new)

Mike | 2993 comments Speaking of Senator Inouye (D), his fight:

(view spoiler)


message 44: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments The 522nd Field Artillery was also a Nisei unit and was separated from the 442nd after the battles in the Vosges Mts. The 522nd helped liberate some of the satellite camps of Dachau. As the Allies approached, many of the camps were emptied and the prisoners forced to march away. Here was the experience of one of the camp inmates:

A young woman named Yanina Cywinska recalled being herded out of the camp and “standing with a blindfold on, waiting to be shot, but the shot didn’t come.”

So I asked the woman next to me, “Do you think they’re trying to make us crazy, so we’ll run and they won’t have to feel guilty about shooting us?” She said, “Well, we’re not going to run. We’ll just stand here.” So we stood and stood, and suddenly someone was tugging at my blindfold. . . . I saw him, and I thought, “Oh, now the Japanese are going to kill us.”

It was, of course, an American soldier, a member of the 522nd, who eventually managed to convince Cywinska that she was free.



message 45: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments Mike wrote: "Speaking of Senator Inouye (D), his fight:


On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in Washington, D.C. When news of his death reached the 442nd, 2d Lt. Daniel K Inouye recalled ..."


That's a pretty impressive account Mike, certainly took a lot of guts to do what he did, thanks for posting the details.


message 46: by Liz V. (new)

Liz V. (wwwgoodreadscomlizv) | 534 comments GR is highlighting the release of Learning to See by Elise Hooper, which the description says includes photojournalist Dorothea Lange's documentation of the internment. Executive Order 9066: The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans


message 47: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments Some of Dorothea Lange's Photographs of the internment camps:

https://anchoreditions.com/blog/dorot...

And here is the view of one Nisei soldier on guard duty in Italy:

“A lot of people don’t realize we could have failed,” Shiro “Kash” Kashino reflected after the war. “If we weren’t at the right place at the right time, I think we would have never made a name for ourselves.” Guarding German POWs in Italy, Kashino still a private, never having regained his rank as staff sergeant after being court-martialed for that bar brawl in southern France-had a disconcerting sense of déja vu as he looked at the barbed wire, armed guard towers, and rows of huts. “This was exactly what they had built for us in Idaho,” he said. The layout of the POW compound was almost identical to that of the Ninidoka Relocation Center, where Kashino had volunteered for the 442nd two long years before.


message 48: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18057 comments This sentence really makes you think about the patriotism of the Nisei and how they must have been conflicted at times:

Guarding German POWs in Italy, Kashino still a private, never having regained his rank as staff sergeant after being court-martialed for that bar brawl in southern France-had a disconcerting sense of déja vu as he looked at the barbed wire, armed guard towers, and rows of huts. “This was exactly what they had built for us in Idaho,” he said. The layout of the POW compound was almost identical to that of the Ninidoka Relocation Center, where Kashino had volunteered for the 442nd two long years before.

Great post Mike, thanks for sharing with the group.


message 49: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1861 comments Wrapped up my read on the British Army in NW Europe this afternoon; a couple of quotes, the first on making yourself popular:
"Liberation of towns and villages still brought enthusiastic civilians on to the streets with pleasing results. Gunner John Mercer noted the comments of a recently liberated civilian, who stated: When the Germans were here and we encountered them on the pavement we had to get out of the way always. But with your soldiers it is they who move out of the way and get into the road. This may seem trivial to you, but to me it is a mark of a civilised nation."
and a little compare and contrast on the important subject of medical services:
"A most significant fillip to soldiers’ outlook and morale remained survivability in the field, even if wounded, and here the British Army supported its troops particularly well, a factor recognised by front- line troops: I think there’s no doubt the RAMC [Royal Army Medical Corps] is doing a magnificent job in the forward areas, under very difficult conditions. Despite everything there must be many thousands of people who owe their lives to their initial treatment. Time and again they make remarks like ‘Thank God we’ve got such a medical service.’ Even when operating in poor weather conditions that might otherwise have precluded medical support or increased levels of sickness, the British Army served its troops well. In Operation BLACKCOCK in January 1945, despite the adverse weather and extreme cold, one division in action reported only twenty- five medical cases per day, with no evidence of any wounded man suffering from exposure in the battle. The extreme cold slowed down blood loss, and excellent medical support and attention, coupled with efficient evacuation in trying conditions, helped to limit death resulting from wounds to less than 2.5 per cent...
In contrast, medical support in the German Army, already inferior to the British, deteriorated markedly once order had broken down. Owing to the collapse in German medical support the numbers of PoWs with infected wounds increased dramatically in quantity in August and September. The German Army was generally both unable and unwilling to devote resources and effort to maintaining adequate, modern medical support to its soldiers with the consequence that survivability was much lower than in Western Allied armies. This weakened the chances of troops being returned to active service quickly, if at all, at a time when diminishing reserves of personnel, more than anything else, was undermining the German war effort. It also demonstrated the moribund and casual attitude to welfare inherent in the German armed forces and indeed in the Third Reich, not only to those around them, but to their own soldiers. The Germans resorted to enforcing discipline through fear. Whereas the death penalty had been withdrawn by the British Army in the 1930s for crimes other than murder and similar, the German Army enforced severe repression and coercion of its own troops, executing a staggering 13,000 to 15,000 of its own soldiers in the Second World War. In turn, German soldiers, brutalised and infected with a corrupt and distorted ideology, inflicted suffering on those around them all too often. An army that failed to recognise or appreciate battle exhaustion and treated individuals with such contempt was not an army to admire.
"


message 50: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2993 comments Excellent observations Jonny. Life was either precious or cheap, I know where I'd want to serve.


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