Pearl Harbor remembered 70th anniversary!

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Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 8, 2012 - 03:11pm PT
Remember John Finn too.


http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1180199&msg=1180199#msg1180199
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2012 - 04:52pm PT
I did not expect so much controversy over Pearl Harbor. That was not my intention. It seems to me that some events should be remembered because of their historical significance. That said I will give my two cents on the subject.

Pearl Harbor for better or worse changed the course of the United States forever, we could no longer hide behind our self-imposed isolation. While Europe had been at war for several years we endeavored to stay out of the conflict. If we had not been attacked by the Japanese it might have taken us much longer to step up and help stop Hitler from taking over the world. I personally could not imagine a world ruled by the Nazis, because of Pearl Harbor we don't have to even imagine such a thing.

There is no doubt that Pres. Roosevelt wanted to join in the fight to save Great Britain, but he could not alone sway the country to join in the fight. Before FDR was president of the United States he was the assistant secretary of the Navy. I don't believe for a moment he would've wanted his Navy to be destroyed. That would be the last thing he would've wanted to happen. Yes, I believe he expected the Japanese to attack our bases in the Philippines, that seemed to be a natural progression in their quest to control the Far East.

That is very different from thinking that he expected or could even imagine, an armada of airplanes attacking and bombing Pearl Harbor. Their attack was a complete surprise, audacious to say the least. Just as the attack on 9/11 came as a complete surprise.

At work yesterday, I mentioned Pearl Harbor, a twenty something looked at me and said tell me again what happened at Pearl Harbor!

The same group of young people could tell me chapter and verse about any NFL player or team, but they often do not know even the basics of American history. I find this to be a very sad commentary, especially when it's so easy for anyone to look up the basics on their computers or even cell phones.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:32pm PT
I personally could not imagine a world ruled by the Nazis, because of Pearl Harbor we don't have to even imagine such a thing.

No, it was because of the Red Army, they beat the Nazis. We beat the Japanese.
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
Gary,

I believe that Eisenhower would've disagreed with you on the point.
I'm pretty sure he thought that we had done our share to beat the Germans.

My late husband Peter Stern was a B 26 bomber pilot in Europe. It's his picture I posted, he's was in France at the time waiting for with the weather to clear so that he could fly is 66th bombing mission.

Like Tens of thousands of others he volunteered the day after Pearl Harbor.

Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:59pm PT
I believe that Eisenhower would've disagreed with you on the point.
I'm pretty sure he thought that we had done our share to beat the Germans.

That's very true. However, by the time we invaded France, the issue had already been decided. Even at the height of our fighting in the west, 77% of the German Army was engaging the Russians.

One important contribution we made to ending that war was that the Germans couldn't surrender fast enough to us and the British, while they fought to the last bullet against the Russians.

Your husband must have been a very plucky lad. How old was he when he enlisted?

This is my favorite photo from Pearl Harbor. It's amazing how young these kids are. They didn't remain kids for long.



Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
Peter was 20 years old about to graduate from engineering school when the war started. He was lucky that it took almost a year for him to be called up after he'd volunteered and another year to be trained. The men that went out in 1942 in 1943 really took the brunt of the war. Our planes were not the best and the B 26 became known as the widow maker for good reason.

By the time Peter became a pilot two things contributed to his making it through the war. They added several feet to the wings of the B 26 so it flew better and the Norton bomb site was being used this changed the odds of the men coming home from the missions they flew.

I've been able to do a great deal of research about my husband's bomb group and I can see that he was extremely lucky to a been called up even a few months later in the war.

He always said that the guys flying out of Great Britain had at the worst they encountered more flak and fighter planes thus having many more losses.

Early in the war if you made 25 missions you were sent home. As the odds improved the missions went up 40 and then to 60 at the end the war.

My husband volunteered to stay after his time was up and fly the brass behind the lines in the last months of the war.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 8, 2012 - 07:44pm PT
As horrible a price we paid battling the Third Reich, the Soviets lost 19 times as many.

I love that photo of the Ward crew. They actually fired the first shot, period, on December 7.
Perfectly justified though. Too bad word of it was slow to reach command.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 08:45pm PT
john toland is no ordinary "conspiracy theorist".
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 09:27pm PT
No impartial analyst can deny that the Soviets won the European War. The
German Army and Air Force we faced was a hollow shell of what invaded Russia.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 8, 2012 - 09:28pm PT
This is my favorite photo from Pearl Harbor. It's amazing how young these kids are. They didn't remain kids for long.

The USS Lane Victory does several fund raiser cruses out to Catalina every summer.

The deck guns are outfitted with propane / oxygen simulators and manned by teenaged Sea Scouts when the mock aerial attacks come in from Chino.

The general reaction is "why are the kids playing with the cannons"

But it's completely historically accurate.

http://www.lanevictory.org/

If you have the cash to spare it's well worth the day and all the money goes to the upkeep of the ship.

Later dates are better.

The early ones are subject to June gloom fog.

edit: I just noticed on the dates they've shifted everything a month forward to avoid that. Also, tickets are usually sold out by January
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
Dec 8, 2012 - 09:39pm PT
By the time Peter became a pilot two things contributed to his making it through the war. They added several feet to the wings of the B 26 so it flew better and the Norton bomb site was being used this changed the odds of the men coming home from the missions they flew.

Just FYI, it's "Norden" bombsight.

Curt
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 09:46pm PT
Curt, I'm sure he meant the one that Norton invented with Jackie Gleason. ;-)
jstan

climber
Dec 8, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
The story I have heard in the aerospace community is that the cross hairs of the Norden sight were hairs. One of the ladies working on the line had hair perfect for that application. Presumably she was bald by the end of the war.
Gary

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Dec 8, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
Park Rat, thanks for the story. It was an extraordinary time filled with ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

We and the Russians won for the same reason. Resources. We had them, Germany and Japan did not.

The German Panther tank was said to be the best tank in the world into the 1950s. IIRC, and I may not, they produced 5,000 of them. The Russians produced 35,000 T-34s. We produced over 50,000 Shermans. Attrition is a relentless thing.

I wonder how our tankers felt about this.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
Park Rat, with all due respect the Norden didn't increase your chances of coming back from a mission it only increased the chances that you would hit the target you were sticking your neck out for. The B-26 was a pilot's plane. It didn't have the big fat forgiving wing design of the B-17 or B-24 so it was not conducive to low-timers' sloppiness. But it was a terrific design.
Robb

Social climber
It's Ault or Nunn south of Shy Annie
Dec 9, 2012 - 05:42am PT
The B-26....it was'nt called "One a day in Tampa Bay" for nothing.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Dec 9, 2012 - 07:01am PT
I have to agree with karl baba above. The Japanese set out to copy the West after Admiral Perry shot his way into their consciousness, and they realized they would have to compete or become a western colony like China, Indo China and the Phillipines. They modeled their army on the Prussians and their Navy on the British. Repeatedly they were told that to be taken seriously as a world power they would need an empire. The British in particular trained them to aspire to that.

America later hypocritically set out to block their efforts decrying colonialism while we occupied the Phillipines and backed the British, French and Dutch in Indo China along with the treaty ports in mainland China. We welcomed Chinese and Japanese laborers to Hawaii and the West Coast and then passed the Oriental Exclusion Act, something they still resent.

As for Pearl Harbor, a student of mine told me over 30 years ago that her father was a sailor stationed in Honolulu just before Pearl Harbor and the rank and file were placing bets in the bars on their off time as to when they would be attacked. They were only surprised by the ferocity and thoroughness of it all.

Seeing how young our sailors on the deck of the USS Ward looked, I was reminded of teaching last term at a Marine Corps expeditionary base on Okinawa up by the jungle warfare training area. Those guys looked just as young as he WWII sailors, even though many of them have done two or three tours in the Middle East already. Some of these veterans were so easily distracted by the giggly young female Marines in the class that I had to make the girls sit on one side and the easily distracted guys on the other. Married marines occupied the middle. War heroes and kids all at the same time. It never changes.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 9, 2012 - 11:02am PT
I wonder how our tankers felt about this.

The M4 Sherman was known as the "Ronson" (lights every time) "Tommycooker" and "Burning Grave"

The low velocity 75 mm gun was only effective against German tanks from the side or rear.

http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=40
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2012 - 11:56am PT
Lt, Peter Stern circa 1944
Lt, Peter Stern circa 1944
Credit: Park Rat


(Park Rat, with all due respect the Norden didn't increase your chances of coming back from a mission it only increased the chances that you would hit the target you were sticking your neck out for.)

The reason I mentioned the bomb site was that it did save many lives.

Each time the men went out on a mission if they failed to reach the target or the bombs were off target two things could happen.

If they failed to reach the target they would have to be sent out again on another mission. If they reached the target but failed to hit the intended target, often a rail yard or bridge they would have to go back on a second mission to complete the job.

If the the bombardier had trouble lining up his drop site, as they did before the Norten came along. The bomb group would be forced to go around the target and make his second run. It was this second runs that often proved the most fatal, as the gunners on the ground now were prepared to shoot down the incoming bombers.

Every second over a target that is shooting at you can be fatal. That is why I mentioned the Norten it really did save lives because it was so accurate that the men did not have to risk their lives on a second or third go-round.

I hope that explains why I mentioned it. If you would like to know more about my husband's bomb group. See the 320th bomb group website. His squadron was the 442. There were four squadrons stationed together to make up 320th.

I'm including some pictures from the website. The 4 ship box picture was something my husband talked a great deal about. He felt it was the safest formation to be an during the combat. The closer the planes flew together the safer they were. because they could cover each other with their guns if they were attacked by fighter planes.

This was called a four ship box.
This was called a four ship box.
Credit: Park Rat
The 26, the Martin marauder, also known as the flying prostitute, as i...
The 26, the Martin marauder, also known as the flying prostitute, as it was said not to have any visible means of support.
Credit: Park Rat
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
Dec 6, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
Tomorrow is Decmber 7th.

I saw recently,SCUBA divers, went down to a shipwreck of a tug that had sunk 3 days before and found a man alive and brought him to the surface alive.

It brought me to mind of the USS OKLAHOMA. After the attack, there were silors alive inside, banging away, they couldn't get at all of them, eventually the banging stopped.

During the war, they raised the vessel they recovered the bodies, they found a diary, I read somewhere it was scratched into the hull. After the war, they towed the ship and lost it. Last I heard, it's still on the top ten list of WW2 wrecks as yet not found.

What I can't seem to find, is a rocord of the diary. Seems like it should be an important part of the memorial.
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