Meanwhile the 1st Marine Division was to be transported to the target beaches. The main assault was to be led by Combat Team C based on the 7th Marines, which was to come ashore at Borgen Bay a short distance from Cape Gloucester on the north-west coast of the island. Once a beachhead perimeter had been secured Combat Team B, centred on the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 1st Marines, had the task of advancing on a nearby Japanese airfield.
The 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, was to conduct a landing at Tauali some 19km 12 miles away on the opposite side of Cape Gloucester and then establish blocking positions on the main road to prevent any Japanese troops on the cape escaping or halt any reinforcements attempting to reach them. The opening assault on 26 December by Combat Team C was expected to be opposed but the commander of the Japanese forces in western New Britain, General Shinjiro Komori, had few men in the area of Borgen Bay as he believed the local terrain behind the beaches — dense jungle and swamp — was all but impassable.
The marines found the going tough; men disappeared up to the thighs in the mud and water or became entangled in root systems hidden below the surface. The supporting bombardment only churned up the ground more and brought rotten trees crashing to the ground — the first US fatality of the landings was a man crushed by a falling tree. The marines struggled through the swamp in the face of only sporadic enemy fire and were able to establish a perimeter on dry ground some metres yards inland.
Combat Team B now began to move out from the perimeter and the 1st Marines almost immediately ran into the first serious resistance, which centred on a complex of four bunkers connected by camouflaged trenches. The position proved difficult to neutralize as bazooka rounds simply ploughed into the soft earth without detonating, while flamethrowers were rendered ineffective by the dampness. An accompanying tracked landing vehicle was sent against the position but stuck fast between two trees and two of its crew were killed.
The driver kept his head, freed the vehicle, and crushed the bunker under its tracks. The accompanying marines then cleared the rest of the complex with their rifles and grenades. Twenty-five Japanese soldiers were killed in the brief firefight but the marines also recorded seven dead and an equal number wounded. The 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, had an easier time landing at Tauli. Preceded by fire from warships, aircraft and rocket-firing landing vessels, the landings were unopposed. Several abandoned enemy bunkers were checked as the marines pushed inland and established a perimeter some m yards inland that severed the coast road by nightfall.
However, the battalion was not immediately able to inform Rupertus of its success as radio transmissions to Borgen Bay were inhibited by the intervening Mount Talawe. Radio communications were set up by the morning of the 27th and the other battalions of the 1st Marines were allowed to begin their push on the enemy airfield. By the onset of darkness they had advanced some 5km 3 miles along the line of the coast road toward the objective.
Although their response to the initial landings had been uncoordinated and generally weak, Japanese resistance steadily grew in intensity. The marines prevented any penetration of their perimeter and killed around of the Japanese. On the 28th the marines at Borgen Bay began their move against the Cape Gloucester airfield. Around midday, as the 1st Marines were moving on the objective, they were hit by intense machine-gun and mortar fire from a road block of a dozen well-concealed bunkers manned by around Japanese troops. The attackers deployed three tanks to shatter the bunkers one by one at close range and then individual squads of marines dealt with the survivors.
For nine men killed and 36 wounded, the marines had killed some of the Japanese and dealt with the only major obstacle between them and the airfield. On the 29th the main assault against the airfield was launched. Erupting out of the dense jungle along the eastern edge of the airfield the marines were able to deploy in textbook fashion across an expanse of grassland. Supported by armour and artillery fire, the marines swept across the target zone, meeting minimal opposition.
The airfield soon fell; just three marines had been wounded in taking the key target. The fighting to secure the airfield fully was far from over. Troop training for the 33rd was carried out at its staging area, Finschhafen. The remaining divisions on the program were given refresher training only, since they had all had basic amphibious work and had been in at least one amphibious operation. These ships were not satisfactory, but no other were available since other transports under control of Commander Seventh Amphibious Force were engaged in combat operations.
Davits could not take the LCVP without extensive conversion. Cleanliness and sanitation were not up to the standards maintained by ships of the United States Navy. None were available for training. As in previous training, the units involved were required to form Shore Parties from organic elements of the division. Again, the lack of mechanical equipment and sufficient engineer troops hampered complete and efficient Shore Party training. The most common source of Shore Party personnel was from one of the regiments not in training.
This assignment was rotated among the three regiments of the division. During the period August, , forward observers of the 31st, 33rd, and 43rd U. Infantry Divisions and th, th, and th Field Artillery Battalions received training at Aitape with a destroyer division furnishing gunfire. Training was coordinated with combat missions of the 43rd Infantry Division operating in the Aitape sector. In this manner forward observers not only gained experience in working with firing ships, but found "live" targets and performed under combat conditions.
During the period of the Leyte and Lingayen operations, troop training was at a standstill since nearly all combat units were being employed in the Philippine Campaign. However, it was deemed essential to commence refresher amphibious training as early as practicable in preparation for the eventual invasion of Japan. Because most Army units would have a considerable number of officer replacements since their last amphibious operation, it was directed that a Staff and Command Course and Specialists School for officers be conducted prior to troop training of each division.
The organization for this training was to be along the same lines as that used during the training in New Guinea - officer schools at the Center and troop training in the staging areas conducted by Mobile Training Units. In early April the Amphibious Training Center, Subic Bay, was placed high on the construction priority list so that the first course could start by 12 June The completed installations at Subic Bay included facilities for the Amphibious Training Base, Headquarters Amphibious Training Group, lecture halls and class rooms for the Staff and Command and Specialists Schools, and quarters and mess for officers.
In accordance with General Headquarters' directive, a two-weeks Staff and Command and Specialists School proceeded all troop training. Increased emphasis was placed on such subjects as air support, naval gunfire support, and communications. While this required some changes in technique, the basic doctrine was the same as previously taught in the Southwest Pacific Area. Troop training was accomplished by sending Mobile Training Units to the divisions concerned rather than attempting to transport all divisions to Subic Bay.
The transport division commander was also the commanding officer of the Mobile Training Unit. Because of the limited time for training, it was necessary to handle up to three divisions at once. Again the transports and landing craft had to be split three ways. The shipping allocated each training unit was only sufficient to lift one RCT. Thus exercises involving the embarkation and landing of an entire Army division could not be accomplished. Following is a list of the units scheduled for training, including dates and location of training:.
On 10 June , Rear Admiral J. HALL, Jr. He succeeded Captain R. The cessation of hostilities brought about the cancellation of all amphibious training since the troop units concerned were required for the occupation of Japan and Korea. At this time the 81st and American Divisions had completed their course of training; the 1st Cavalry, 40th and 33rd Infantry Divisions had finished the Command and Staff and Specialists Schools and were midway in their troop training, and officers of the 25th, 41st, and 43rd divisions had started the Command and Staff and Specialists School.
At its end the Amphibious Training Group was embarked on one of the most extensive amphibious training programs of the war; initially the training of eight army divisions for the assault on Kyushu and later the same program for ten divisions for operations against Honshu. This support consisted of bringing forward both reinforcements and resupply, and generally continued until the landing force had captured and developed an air field from which fighters and medium bombers could operate.
Thereafter the responsibility for support of the operation would be assumed by U. Movements of amphibious shipping in the Southwest Pacific were not by large convoys as was the practice elsewhere, but rather by small groups, sailed in frequent echelons. There were several reasons for employing such a system:. The jungle vegetation along the New Guinea coast offered few landing beaches with satisfactory exits and disposal areas. Swamps often were located back of the beaches and clear areas and roads were almost non-existent. In addition the heavy jungle limited intelligence which could be derived from air photographs.
Employment of scouts and periscope photographs from submarines also produced insufficient information. There were few white men with a knowledge of the area and these had no appreciation of the military problems involved. Their reports were usually too optimistic. As an example, what they would describe as a "good road" was never able to support our heavy equipment. Consequently, one of the assumptions in every plan had to be that poor unloading conditions would prevail.
Under such handicaps, the movement of supplies in the assault and early echelons exposed both the supplies and ships carrying them to serious danger of attack and destruction. Nevertheless, there was always a tendency for Army planners to demand too large a proportion of equipment and supplies in the assault and early echelons. This was a natural tendency brought on by a a desire to be able to exploit any initial success and b fear that supply lines would be interrupted. Such concern was never warranted by experience.
Echelons always arrived as scheduled and delivered supplies and equipment when needed. Japanese aircraft presented a constant threat to supply lines into the combat areas. Later along the north coast of New Guinea the Japanese air bases were to the westward, whereas our fighters. This meant that the Japanese were free to launch late afternoon attacks practically free from the danger of fighter interception. It was therefore necessary that amphibious shipping and their escorting ships be exposed to this constant threat in as small numbers as possible and for as short of time as possible.
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Subsequent practice was to proceed to the objective area during darkness, unload in the early hours of daylight and move out of the objective area by This allowed more expeditious and efficient operations while substantially reducing the threat of enemy air attack. The echelon system of reinforcement and resupply with its fast unloading, frequent turn-arounds and the relatively few ships employed required close timing and attention to detail by staff personnel planning these operations and exact execution by the operating personnel. It was necessary that loading time be limited and much mobile loading be done to obtain maximum use of few ships.
Ships were scheduled to depart from the staging area at times and by routes best calculated to avoid enemy aircraft and to obtain maximum protection from our own land based cover. Plans were carefully made for ships to arrive in the objective area at the most propitious time, to be unloaded quickly and to depart before the Japanese reconnaissance discovered their presence. It was seldom that an LST remained more than 6 hours in the objective area.
Sometimes when unloading did not progress satisfactorily, ships even departed with cargo still on board rather than to expose ship and cargo to danger of loss by air attack. In the later Philippine and Borneo campaigns the majority of amphibious ships were required for the numerous operations scheduled and therefore were not available for resupply functions. The reduction of the Japanese air threat in the Philippines made early use of merchant shipping for resupply feasible and it was successfully employed.
Amphibious shipping was normally used for assault and for one turn-around. Some personnel had been temporarily assigned to beach party duties. The difficulties in the latter case were caused by lack of prior training, poor beaches and insufficient equipment. Soundings were taken by Engineer Shore Brigade boats and landing craft direction was under Army supervision. Beaching control was unsatisfactory during the assault and also for the resupply landings. Beaches were not adequately marked, communications were poor, and liaison between ships and shore activities was practically non-existent. The unsatisfactory conditions on the beaches in the early landings indicated the need for trained beach parties to perform purely naval duties on the beach and to act as direct liaison between Army Units and the Naval Commanders.
In organizing such parties it was evident that some variations from FTP and was required. Such parties were to be especially trained to meet the conditions expected to be found in amphibious landings in the Southwest Pacific Area. Beach Party No. Inexperience and personnel shortage in the Beach Party, an untrained shore party, and the inexperience of Army Boat Control Officers caused this first beach operation to be poorly conducted.
With the experience gained at ARAWE, it performed well, and the beach operations, despite a difficult landing, were good.
The performance of Beach Party No. These beach parties were trained by the ships themselves independent of the other beach parties. In these operations the beach parties performed well with a Navy beachmaster in full charge of beaching ships and craft at each beach. The personnel in these parties were all selected volunteers and as an incentive it was planned to grant leave in Australia after every third operation.
For the first time they operated with APA beach parties and with a large number of small craft. The situation was handled by assigning certain beaches to APA landing boats and other beaches to large amphibious craft. This system was used because of the rapid turnover of transport beach parties.
With sufficient equipment and a workable procedure between the two types of beach parties in effect, the beach operation was well conducted. New beach parties were formed from B4D Port Director units arriving from the United States until by 1 January there were eleven in all. They worked again in conjunction with APA beach parties with good results. The RAN units performed their duties with proficiency and enthusiasm. Pacific Fleet. A new type of beach party known as the Beach Party Transfer Team consisting of 2 officers and 10 men was to be organized in the Amphibious Forces Pacific.
These teams were to perform overall beach party functions beyond capabilities of APA Beach Parties and to provide for continued beach party responsibility which was not possible with constant turnover of APA beach party personnel. In addition Force Beachmaster staff was organized, to assist that officer in controlling the beaches over which a full Corps would be landed from an Amphibious Force.
The staff consisted of one LST officer, one LSM officer, one LCT officer, all with experience in previous operations, two experienced beachmasters and one or more Civil Engineer Corps officers experienced in pontoon causeway and barge management. This training was in charge of Commodore M. Each platoon had sufficient equipment to care for one assault beach. This trained personnel with the Force Beachmaster staff, all under Captain C.
They performed the new and unusual beach party tasks required in these landings with much credit. Catoctin to form a nucleous of a beach party organization of Amphibious Force, U. Atlantic Fleet. This variation was designed to meet the geographical and operational conditions existing in this area and to service the type of shipping used. Beachmaster Lt. He was responsible for a hydrographic reconnaissance of the beach; for small craft salvage; for issuing instructions to landing craft and landing ships with regard to beaching, unloading, evacuation of wounded and retracting, and for liaison with the Army Shore Party.
This liaison was extremely important as the shore party furnished bull dozers for building sand ramps, trucks and working parties for unloading cargo and it was the function of the beach party to relay Army requests for priorities. During the assault phase of an operation all naval boats and amphibious craft on leaving the line of departure came under the control of the senior beachmaster at the designated beach and followed his instruction concerning beaching, unloading, evacuation of wounded and retracting.
This control continued as long as Navy ships were unloading in the objective area. It applied however, to the Engineer Special Brigade boats only during the assault unloading and when these boats were assigned to unload amphibious craft in resupply echelons. The Engineer Special Brigade was an Army organization, especially created to support amphibious operations of Army troops.
Its principle missions were:. To provide boat and shore teams for subsequent shore-to-shore operations of combat forces after the initial landing from naval assault shipping. To provide landing craft lighterage for the unloading of heavy shipping during landing operations. The Engineer Special Brigades are being considered in this history because of the close relations which these Brigades necessarily had with the SEVENTH Amphibious Force, both in shore party work and in the joint operation of amphibious craft.
The successful coordination effected was based on mutual understanding and respect of each for the others' problems. The organization of the Engineer Special Brigade had been subject to continuous change and modification since its conception at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts in In the European Theatre the boat battalions were not employed as such, but were absorbed into the shore battalion organization.
In the Southwest Pacific Area where these brigades were employed more extensively than anywhere else, the boat battalions remained intact. However, considerable change was effected in the internal organization of both the shore and boat battalions, to suit conditions in this area. Brigade as used in the Southwest Pacific. Appendix 2 indicates the composition of Engineer Special Brigade Task Groups which were formed to operate with the various sizes of landing forces. The Engineer Special Brigade units were only the nucleus of the shore party organization and were augmented by labor and service troops.
The number of additional troops required depended entirely upon the size of the landing force and the mission, but included any or all of the following type units: Engineer Combat Battalion, Quartermaster Service Companies, Port Companies, Truck Companies, Amphibian Truck Companies, Military Police, and Ordnance Ammunition Companies.
When the Landing Force command post moved forward, control of the service command area the immediate beachhead area was then vested in the Brigade or Task Group Commander. When a higher echelon of command, such as an Army Service Command, assumed control of the beaches; the ESB Task Group passed to the control of this higher command.
The Boat Battalion transported and landed troops, supplies and equipment, evacuated prisoners and wounded, and effected resupply. These functions were performed either as a ship-to-shore or a shore-to-shore operation. The Shore Battalion facilitated the movement of troops, supplies and equipment across the beach and into bivouac and dump areas, assisted in the evacuation of wounded and prisoners, and provided a perimeter defense for the immediate beach area. These Battalions were especially trained in the organization and development of beachheads and the handling of cargo and had the necessary equipment to perform these duties.
The personnel were mostly machinery operators, mechanics, checkers and supervisors. Semi and unskilled labor came from the attached labor and service units. Appendix 3 illustrates the layout of an Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment for beach operations. In all ship-to-shore operations, boats and personnel of the Boat Battalions were lifted to the target area in transports, LSDs, and LSTs which left their regularly assigned boats temporarily in the rear area. Control was effected in the same manner as though the boats were navy-manned, through the Beachmasters, Landing Craft Control Officers, Transport Division and Squadron Commanders.
Usually Commanding Officers of ships carrying these boats placed a coxswain aboard each army manned boat to interpret signals and to ensure that boats reported to the control ships and returned to the correct ship for subsequent loads. A portion of these boats were then available for shore-to-shore movements, supply of outposts along the coast and various administrative duties.
The balance of the boats remained in a pool to be used for lighterage to unload heavy shipping of subsequent echelons. Control of the navy craft was maintained through the Landing Craft Control Officer. Some Army Commanders believed that this Navy lighterage should have been under ESB control after the assault phase, but it was believed that ESB personnel did not have sufficient understanding of hydrographic conditions, seamanship, handling and maintainence of these larger craft to warrant such a transfer of control.
Therefore, after the assault phase, lighterage requirements were jointly determined and agreed upon by the ESB unit commander concerned and the Landing Craft Control Officer in that area. These Landing Craft Control Officers were not always designated as such. In the later stages of an operation when only heavy shipping under army control was being unloaded, liaison was maintained directly between ESB personnel and the LCT Flotilla or Group Commander.
The Engineer Special Brigade or the Shore Battalion of the Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment is believed to be the best solution developed for the still unsolved shore party problem in amphibious operations. Throughout the New Guinea and Philippines campaigns these units performed their missions well.
With sufficient service troops attached, they have always been capable of accomplishing the main task of a shore party - the expeditious movement of supplies across the beaches. The successful completion of each Amphibious assault meant the immediate establishment and development of a new base of operations. He retained this responsibility until other naval agencies, usually Service Force or the various Sea Frontier Commands had their equipment brought forward and were in a position to relieve him.
In the early stages of the New Guinea Campaigns, this period lasted for several months. As Sea Frontier Commands became better organized, they were able to assume these duties within a shorter period of time after the completion of a landing, and did so in later campaigns within a month of the initial landings. This was the usual period required for one turn-around of amphibious shipping. To effect control of these ports and to control the amphibious shipping which continued to operate therein, Commander SEVENTH Amphibious Force would appoint an officer to directly represent him there.
The officer designated was usually one who had had a part in the assault operation. Their duties consisted in the operation of the port so long as Commander SEVENTH Amphibious Force had this responsibility, and in addition, providing services for amphibious vessels and maintaining liaison with the local Army authorities.
An important duty of the landing craft control officer during the New Guinea campaign was the direction of landing craft in the assault landings.
At Cape Gloucester the LCCO was made responsible for the safe passage of the landing craft through the navigational dangers in the assault area and for guiding the craft. The outstanding success of this landing attested to the merits of this system which was used thereafter throughout the Southwest Pacific Area and became standard doctrine in all amphibious operations, i. Other officers on the staff also performed this duty in addition to their regular duties. Later during the Philippines and Borneo Campaigns when the size of the force had materially increased, it was sometimes practicable to assign flotilla or group commanders to the duty as SEVENTH Amphibious Force Representatives in various ports for short periods.
Landing Craft Control Officers and SEVENTH Amphibious Force Representatives not only routed amphibious ships but also performed such administrative duties for them as was necessary, especially in connection with maintenance and supplies. Manoora was the first ship converted and conformed to the British plan of mess decks and hammocks for troops aboard. Troop capacity was limited to about and the hammocks did not prove to be satisfactory. Troop capacity was thereby increased to , and results were so satisfactory that Manoora was then returned to the Navy Yard at Sydney where similar alterations were made.
These ships carried U. These missions were accomplished with credit to the ship and its commanding officer. These ships were:. The design and material condition of the British LSIs made them unsuitable for use in assault operations and they were assigned to the Amphibious Training Group for duty. These ships carried the British type LCA and it was not practicable to alter them to accommodate the U. Capacity was limited to about troops and cargo space was extremely limited.
Mine sweeping operations in the Philippines began on 17 October in preparation for the assault landing on LEYTE which took place three days later. Typhoon weather rendered the work more difficult and so seriously damaged the YMS 70 that she was later abandoned and sunk. In order to complete the operation within the scheduled time, a narrower channel was swept than had originally been planned, but all ships of the two amphibious forces engaged in the landing passed through without loss. One destroyer of the support force was damaged by a mine but managed to make port. Minesweepers in both operations were under air attack but none were hit.
In three days only two mines were cut in sweeping square miles of the Gulf of Lingayen despite advance intelligence that a large mine field was located there. The explanation was supplied later by a report that Filipinos, acting independently, had cut mines in the Gulf during a six-weeks period before the sweeping commenced.
The ships conducting the pre-assault bombardment and minesweeping at Lingayen were subjected to the full strength of the enemy air forces of the Philippines and Formosa, including suicide attacks, and sustained heavy losses. After assuming operational control of the minesweeping group, the Commander Seventh Amphibious Force moved damaged vessels to the rear for repairs, and begun the gradual release of the large number of vessels temporarily assigned from the PACIFIC Fleet.
Although protected by fire support of cruisers and destroyers, several minesweepers were hit by gunfire from shore. One AM and two destroyers were damaged by mine explosions but reached port. This was a large and difficult task, which began on 24 February and continued until the middle of April. Numerous sunken hulks interfered with sweeping and in the inner harbor LCVPs fitted with small boat sweeping gear worked around the sunken hulks.
During the remaining period in which the minecraft operated in the Seventh Amphibious Force, minesweeping operations were of two general types: 1 Sweeping in advance of amphibious operations and 2 Clearing Philippine waters for shipping in areas already secured. Operations of the second type had not been completed when the Seventh Amphibious Force relinquished minesweeping responsibility to Commander Philippine Sea Frontier on 15 July Until the BORNEO Operations, where influence mines were encountered for the first time, minesweeping in support of amphibious landings was not difficult of accomplishment, and only one minesweeper YMS 71 at Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago was sunk by mine explosion.
However the large number of landings added to other minesweeping commitments placed a heavy burden on the ships engaged. The personnel were subjected to long operations without respite and there was insufficient time for complete overhaul of vessels. A later exploratory sweep was made of the area to assure that this field was cleared. Mine sweeping for the Borneo Campaign was more extensive and difficult than any undertaken in the Philippines subsequent to the Manila Bay Operation. Both magnetic and moored sweeping was conducted in the approach to the harbor and for fire support areas outside the harbor.
The landings were to be made inside the harbor and that whole area as well as the entrance around the north end of the island were swept, and 89 mines cut. One destroyer was mined but succeeded in making port. The AM, Salute , was mined and sunk during these operations. Surface ships could have passed over this minefield with safety. There were almost Allied magnetic mines, the water was shallow and filled with navigational hazards, and.
The area in which Allied mines had been sown extended for about seven miles along the beach and five miles out. In addition, enemy moored mines in the entrance channels were reported. Minesweeping operations commenced sixteen days before the assault date of 1 July It was not planned to complete the clearing of all danger areas before the assault, but only those required to be safe for the operations. Magnetic sweeping consumed most of the time since each ship could sweep a path of only about yards.
To reduce the danger of loss, the wooden hulled YMSs were selected to do the magnetic minesweeping, and were carefully readied by a degaussing officer. Moored mine sweeping was started by 16 YMSs on 15 June , a day in advance of the commencement of magnetic sweeps. No mines were uncovered until 18 June when YMS 50 was sunk by exploding a magnetic mine. On 19 June shore batteries opened upon the minesweepers, and, because of the continuing danger of mines, fire support vessels did not dare approach near enough to counter the fire.
The continued harassment by shore batteries obliged the minesweepers to take evasive action, and many jettisoned their magnetic tails in order to escape the zone of fire. Loss of gear, and frequent engine and mechanical break-downs severely handicapped the ships which were serviced by only one minesweeper tender, an LSM, carrying limited spare parts and equipment. However, by 23 June there was reason to believe that the magnetic mines did not constitute as great a menace as had been feared.
A more optimistic note appeared in reports of the commanders. That day several more minesweepers arrived to join in the task, while two destroyers and the Dutch Cruiser Tromp moved into the swept area to render much needed fire support to the harried minesweepers.
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The supporting fire dealt effectively with the shore batteries, and was a major factor in the successful completion of the minesweeping operations. At that night the minesweeping group was attacked with torpedoes launched by four enemy aircraft, but no hits were sustained. Three enemy planes were shot down. The following day a total of 11 moored and 6 magnetic mines were destroyed, but YMS 39 and YMS struck mines and were lost during the course of the work.
On 27 June one influence mine was swept and several of the jettisoned cables and magnetic tails were recovered. On 28 June, two magnetic mines were swept, one of which exploded and badly damaged YMS 47 , but the minesweeping commander was able to report that by F Day, 1 July, a channel would be cleared to the assault beaches reasonably safe for large ships.
One more magnetic mine was swept on 30 June. The method by which the Japanese had previously disposed of a large number of these mines is not known. In several operations the senior YMS commanding officer doubled as commander of the minesweeping unit.
During the Philippines and Borneo operations it is estimated that the Seventh Fleet minecraft swept miles of sea area. Approximately mines were cut or otherwise destroyed. About mines were cut by native divers. These bases were established as rapidly as possible in order to provide the logistic support for Army and Navy elements involved in amphibious operations. The speed of advance was such that many so-called forward area bases were far in the rear before they could become either established or operative. Nevertheless these bases, as concentration areas from which troops and supplies could be staged forward, were vital to the success of the strategy of the campaign.
However, each base established required a complement of service personnel for its operation, and due to the fact that strong forces of enemy troops were by-passed in the advance of our forces, each base also required the assignment of combat units for its protection. As a result of these factors, thousands of combat and service troops and tons of military supplies were scattered along the line of advance when MANILA was finally occupied and the task begun to make it a major base for further operations against Japan.
It was most important that the troops and their equipment be moved forward as rapidly as possible to the Philippine area, especially to LUZON. The critical problem was to get sufficient shipping not engaged with other commitments, to make these important troop movements. Forward movements of supporting troops, including Army Service units for air and ground forces, and Naval base units continued from the time of the capture of Manila until the end of the war.
These troops should not be confused with those sent forward as part of operations to develop a new base. Their primary functions were to increase the capacity of already established bases. The movement of such troops was customarily by ships other than amphibious. But because of the accelerated tempo of operations, some amphibious shipping, with quick turn-around capability, was used for these movements. In so far as naval amphibious shipping is concerned, these movements may be grouped into two general classes:. In February , General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, ordered the expeditious movement of Service troops, both ground and air into the Luzon area.
The movement was considered of sufficient importance that all possible amphibious shipping was made available, even to the extent of curtailing ship assignments to scheduled operations. Additional LSTs and LSMs and LCIs were assigned from time to time as they were temporarily available for lifts in this operation, but the basic number was maintained until the operation neared its completion. The operation was completed about 1 June Some were taken directly from New Guinea to Okinawa, but the majority were transported to the Philippines.
The period between the completion of operations in Okinawa, Philippines and Borneo and the commencement of active preparations for the planned campaign against Kyushu was to be used for this movement. All shipping that could be made available was to be employed. LSTs released from active operations were overhauled and assigned to roll-up duties. These ships made one or two lifts, depending on the time they were made available. LSMs were employed for redistribution of troops between Philippine bases, especially divisions which required concentration for training in preparation for the invasion of Japan.
Commander Task Force 78 was given the task of operating all the naval shipping in "roll-up" movements within the Southwest Pacific Area. This officer was also designated as the loading agency for naval ships. In order to effect the closest possible coordination, a liaison officer from the Chief Regulating Officer's Staff was assigned to the Staff of Commander Task Force The limiting date on "roll-up" operations was set at 15 September However, with the ending of the war all "roll-up" operations were canceled.
As fast as the movements then underway could be completed, shipping was assigned to the CAMPUS operation which was the movement of occupation forces to Japan. It is to be noted that during the period that naval shipping was used to transport troops, equipment and supplies from rear. The concentration of operational control of all amphibious shipping under Commander Task Force 78 furnished the only means by which the often conflicting requirements could be satisfactorily met. These operations also furnished many examples of the splendid results that can be accomplished in amphibious operations by close coordination and effective liaison between Army and Navy Commands.
Two major problems confront military medical services - the first, treatment of wounded men and their return to duty - the second, illness. Since seasoned and well-trained soldiers and sailors are of inestimably greater value than raw recruits, and since manpower is always limited, it is imperative that the medical services shorten the healing process and return to duty, and effect hygienic, preventive and epidemiologic measures to reduce casualties from disease.
Warfare in the Southwest Pacific involving island to island moves presented difficult problems in addition to the task of caring for combat casualties. The area abounded with hazards to the health of combatant and non-combatant personnel alike, the most prominent being malaria, scrub typhus, enteric diseases and tropical skin afflictions. And that was, that was great. It was-I went over, and in fact I had done a painting. I've forgotten how, how it came about, but the Company Commander of the First Marine Division, whatever, whoever it was that I was with-oh, I know, I guess, George Hunt, because I was in, in Regimental Intelligence then-gave me the time to do a, a full color, sort of, a mural of the, the painting, I'd done the print, the prints of, of the Battle of the Tenaru.
Somebody you, you only heard of, it was Joey Brown, the comedian, he came out. And we-when we were in Melbourne, we stayed in the Melbourne Cricket Grounds, which at that time was the largest stadium in the world, it accommodated a hundred thousand. And we were up in the stands, the covered stands in, in double bunks.
That was our home. When Melbourne, itself, was a mile at the most. We were in the, in the heart of Melbourne. And we had a great time there. And somehow or other Regimental Intelligence got-we got the choice place in, in, in Melbourne. That's great, that's great. Now, you mentioned that you-when I talked with you on the phone before we, we came here today, or I came here today, that you had a book that you had written about your experience; is that right?
Did you-. But I scribbled down, I scribbled down-I have a, have a little book, I don't know where, I used to keep it somewhere around here, but I have a little green book with all kinds of stuff in it. Oh, I'll find it later. So, no, they, they, I guess they, what they didn't want is if we were captured to have the Japanese find out any secrets about where we were or what we were doing and all that. I think that was it. We captured Japanese diaries though. And we had one of our, one of our men in our company, intelligence group, was named Johansson, and he, he had gone to Japanese language school, and he, he was the one who looked through the diaries and could interpret the whole thing.
And we also had some captured Japanese prisoners who did the same thing. The-you mentioned when the war ended that you were on Guam and everybody was quite excited. What happened after that, you came back to the states? No, actually, I, I had to stay there because I had joined for four years. Something about my mentality when I joined the Marine Corps told me that, well, if the war is over in six years, and if you join for four, you'll get out in four. But I joined for four years for a hitch. And so when the war was over I was stuck on Guam for about three or four months. So I didn't come home until later on, and I finally-they needed Marines to stay in if they could.
And everyone was getting out. I was in charge of the guard at the, at the gate. Right, so I was close to home, and I went home on weekends and things like that. But they just kept me in. I joined in February of '42 and got out of the Marine Corps in, in March of ' And went to New York and was quite successful, and worked for Collier's magazine and did illustrations for them, and advertising for Madison Avenue accounts.
And then in , I walked into Sport's Illustrated with my paintings and, and for 30 years I was a major contributor for Sport's Illustrated, from '54 to ' When the Art Director retired, I semi-retired. How did you, and maybe I have a false impression of an, of an artist, and a sensitivity, and an appreciation of things of beauty, and, and you've mentioned that, you know, Guam was a beautiful island, or Guadalcanal was a beautiful island. How do you-how did you manage the juxtaposition of that part of yourself with the horror from the realty of war? Was that, was that hard for you or-?
No, not really. And, I, you know, I, it, I guess it depends on your temperament and a lot of other things. But you hear about people, and maybe, you know, really justifiably who can't sleep, and wake up in the middle of the night and think of bombs coming down and all that. And, I don't recall ever, ever doing that. I, I can't say I haven't hadn't, had a sleepless night for some reason or another, but that wasn't one of them. So I, I didn't, I didn't carry the war with me when it was all over. I was very, I just felt very lucky to be alive really.
So I, I-just let it go at that, that I'm quite grateful to be around. And I really, I think, was very fortunate in the work that I, I did. And, and I've always loved sports, I played hockey as a, as a young boy in Melrose, and, and played a lot of tennis, and my great love in sports was skiing. And when Sport's Illustrated and the Art Director would say, you know, why don't you paint the best ski runs in America, and go and ski them; it was a dream. So I really had a dream job, freelancing for Sport's Illustrated. Go to Sun Valley, why don't you go out to Pebble Beach, or go down to Augusta, and, you know, do a painting of Amen Corner, or the 18th of Pebble, or why don't you go ski Sun Valley, you know-.
Sally, I met Sally at Pratt Institute. I'd never even heard of Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. And, at that time, it was one of the finest art schools in the country. So I went over there and looked across the cafeteria one day, and I saw this pretty girl in glasses-and I'd never dated a girl in glasses before, but, I, she's-anyway to make a long story short, Sally and I started dating.
And then she-I've forgotten my dates here-but shortly after that she entered a contest. And Sally entered a contest called "10 Girls of Taste" for Glamour magazine, it was a national contest. And they publicized it in Glamour, and Sally won it. So which meant that she went to Europe for a month, to Paris, London. Gilbert Orcel gave her hats or, and Schiaparelli gave her a beautiful blouse. She was, here she is in Paris living it, living it up and I went to-what was then "Idlewild"-you know, Kennedy Airport-to see her plane off. And in those days she flew over in a triple-tail constellation.
But lot of us were there to see her off, so it was quite a big thing. And when Sally came home-her name is Virginia, but nickname is Sally-when she came home I asked her to marry me, and so-. As we were coming out of the, out of the, out of the church-I'll have to show you that photograph-as we were coming out of the church, a bus, a bus, tour bus came by, and on a megaphone, "Ladies and Gent-"-guys had yelled, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we had a real live Bride and Groom," well, the two of us broke up.
And so anyway we were-that was , and 56 years later, well-. That's great. Have you been in touch with any of the, the men that you served with, are they still-? Judy, it's-that's a tough one. One of my, my closest friends died, oh, I guess it was about ten years ago. In fact, I owe another one an e-mail, want to know why I hadn't heard from him.
And one of my, actually one of my best, my best friends moved down to North Carolina, I, I don't know why. He adores children. But he and his wife moved down there. He likes horseback. Of course they've got some horses down there. We-Stan and I played tennis a lot. And I'd come home and Sally would always ask, you know, how we did. We always won, and we had a lot of fun. So, yea, I had, I had some, some old friends. Anyway, it's, it's always fun to get together with these guys.
Oh, they have reunions, in fact I just got a letter from another friend who was in a reunion. The trouble is, well, I think when you join-I call it the plus club, I'm and when you, you get up there, your, your friends, either go some place or they, they don't make it. So the, the, the number's are diminishing. And you go to these reunions, and your lucky if you know one person in the whole group. So I don't, I don't go anymore. I, I went to a few of them and we had a great time and all that, this was 10, 20 years ago. We had one in Nashville, and, and another one in Richland, and they were great.
But as you get older there just aren't that many people that you know anymore. Oh, I don't know. The, the things that you-I think it changes, it changes you when you go through the Marine Corps experience, when you go through the training, and you survive all the, the battles and all that.
It just gives you a different outlook on life. And, and I guess sometimes you, you feel a head taller than somebody else. It's kind of a dumb statement. Anyway you, you-there's a, there's an esprit de corps, which is-. And, in fact, a couple of the guys-no, I, a couple of, all of my friends', George Schafer's out in Michigan-you always sign off your letters with Semper Fi.
So it's something that, something that you get. And I think it changes the way-and I can't tell you why-but it changes the way you think about things. And, and, I, there's a, there's a wonderful satisfaction of just being alive because you've been through this sort of, at times, a hell. So whatever they say about it, it's, it's true. Our, our son, Don, who's 54, is a-has his own firm, MossWarner Communications. And they-their in graphic arts and Don's a designer. As a hobby, he, he creates a, he has a wonderful knack with Adirondack furniture, only it's, it's more contemporary.
We have a beautiful piece that he gave us for our 50th anniversary in our, in our living room, a round table that he made. And he shows around, he goes up to the Adirondack, the Adirondack's every September; they have a show up there. And Don sells some of his things up there and he's becoming known at that. But that's his hobby. During the day his office is in Trumbull, and, and they do all kinds of industrial graphic designs.
So that's what Don does. Elizabeth, who is going to be I can't believe it, next month-is, is a painter. And-but she has a massage therapy business in Collinsville and she does very, very well at it. Her paintings sell and she has-she gets commissions for them. They're totally unlike her father's; they're very fanciful. And people absolutely love them, or they look at them, and, you know, it's-that's the way with, I think any of us.
But Liz does very well with that. She's single. And anyway, Margaret, is our youngest daughter, and she has three children: a daughter, Kate, and two boys. They're about-I've forgotten their ages and 14, something like that. And, so, Margaret is, is a writer. She's, she graduated from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. And so Marg is currently with the New Britain Hospital and doing all their write.
So we have Margaret and Elizabeth and, and Don. And they're all-the reason we moved up here was-to Farmington was to be close to all of them. We formally lived in Richview. So we love it up here. We like the neighborhood, we like the houses, we like, you know, everything. Most of the people in this community have kind of all been there, done that sort of thing.
And we have a men's lunch group and we have a book club, and-. I've forgotten-oh, what was the last one. I don't know, I, I like, I like biography's; mainly, as far as my own taste is concerned. I like nonfiction. My favorite book is about Lewis and Clark. That really intrigued me. The-I could read that again tomorrow. So that's my favorite. But I couldn't wait to come back and, and, you know, find out more about him, because he's a, he was not only a great artist, but he was a genius. The, the prolific part is to turned out an incredible amount of work.
Well, at first glance, yes. But, he-I, I guess, yea, but he was-his paintings-he just floored-I told my brother-in-law, we were looking at a couple in a gallery up there. There must have been, oh, I don't know, maybe four by six feet, that wasn't the size, it was just the painting itself, the oil. But they're just magnificent. I looked at my brother-in-law, I said, and said, you know, not even hardly even kidding, What have I've been doing all my life.
I'm not Winslow Homer. Well, you know, actually since we're here in your studio, was it-before we-I want to show some of the pictures that you've take-that you've made-. Is there anything else about your experience with being a Marine, or in your experience in World War II that we haven't talked about that you want to share?
It's just that I feel fortunate that I've been very lucky to-the way things have worked out. To have met Dick Engles sp? We'd go out for lunch and Dick would say, How would you like to go to Sun Valley, or how would you like to go, you know, to Idaho, or why don't you, what would you think of going down to Florida and doing such-and-such. Do you think he accorded you a respect as a disciplined person because of your Marine experience? He was-we used to talk about our experiences because Dick flew P's in Europe, and I, I had my experiences in the Pacific.
So yea, we, we, we talked about them once in a while at lunch. But it was more that-I, of all his artist-most illustrators lock into one technique or one style, and you can tell it immediately.
If Dick needed something a little bit out of the ordinary, or he wanted me to go down to-where, Saint Louis, like say where GE had a big plant and do a, a painting of a turbine engine. I'd get the engineers down there all together, and we'd-they'd discuss it and tell me what it was like, and I'd-the next thing you know there's a double spread of this big turbo shaft engine. So golf courses, I did an awful lot of them around the country. The PGA and the USGA courses and-Dick-I think, I think anything, no matter what, what your profession is, if you, if you can, if somebody can give you an assignment for anything and you don't have to worry about it.
So you were saying about your experience with being a professional and working person and how that led to where your career with, with the work that you were able to do, that there was that trust. Oh, yes, yes. But also the-I don't know, the chance to get around the country and, and visit some great places. I'm a Life Member of the Society. And I, I was the vice president there for quite awhile, and I turned down the job of president because of commuting from, from Ridgefield to New York, was, was, wow, and time to have a responsible job where you have to be on deck for formals and everything.
So I, I didn't do that, but I was very involved in the Society, and I was the chairman of different programs. But when the Air Force Art Program came up, I went around the world to-the Air Force has about 24 of may paintings, in the Pentagon, in different places-and they would give us, whatever, a month in Europe or a month in the Orient. And the idea was when you came back you would do a painting of that experience. So some of us had some wonderful experiences just traveling. And so there's, there's quite a bit there. And I did, oh, they say probably about two-dozen paintings over a period of several years.
The, the painting over on the left of the barn, in almost mauve colors, was done fairly recently. And it's a, it's a barn down in Ridgefield. The one below it is, is winter at, at Beaver Dam and Avon, near the Avon old farm school. The one in the bottom center is, is the guest house, sort of-at Weir Farm in Ridgefield.
History of the 475th Fighter Group
Alden Weir was a famous painter, and he had, must be 30 acres there. And the one above it is-if you look very hard, there's a little white dot or something in the background. It's our summer house on Fire Island. And I did a whole series of watercolors out there and, and sold them. I designed our, our Fire Island summer house, it was very contemporary.
And Alcoa put up, gave us all the aluminum in the house for it. The pointillilsm paintings of two of, of a group of about eight or ten Sport's Illustrated commissioned of the Champion's Course out in, in Dallas-Houston, pardon me. And the one above it, with the plane, was the Cape Gloucester, New Britain. I was asked to do a first-aid cover, U.
So that's the, the, the, the one with the, that's a Par 3 at Cyprus Point. And it's one of the, one of the trickiest Par 3's and it's very short, but you cut the head over this gulch. Actually, I, I took a few balls and got up early there-. That's a Par 5, pardon me, par 4. Your tee is right in the lower left foreground and the, and the green is up in the top left.
That's, that's probably, that and the 12th of Augusta, which I don't have up on the wall here, that painting, are two of the most famous golf holes in the country. So I-. That's a very tricky hole because the green is so narrow, And you've got to hit over that, sort of a moat of water. Whiteface Mt. And what happens is skiers go down through there going 70 miles an hour. And then turn left and then you go back down the trails beyond that. It's a great run. It was a lot of fun. I didn't do quite 70 miles an hour, but-.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this, to record this with us, we really appreciate it. And I think I got all of the information that-the only thing I just remembered I didn't ask you was when were you born? So you have a birthday not to far away than. Well thank you again so much, I really appreciate it.
Donald Moss: Well, in, in, in , shortly after we were attacked by the Japanese, I was very upset about everything, as a lot of the young people were at that time. Judi Houpert: Okay. Donald Moss: The Japanese called it the "Island of Death," because they had-we had taken over their-the airfield there, which was very, very, important to us. And after the four years, I served a hitch, which is- Judi Houpert: Mm-hmm. Donald Moss: -four years in the Marine Corps. Donald Moss: No, I only went there for a few years.
Donald Moss: I'm sorry? Judi Houpert: Was the Moss any relation to your family or just a coincidence? Donald Moss: No, it was a big printing company in Boston.