US Troops moving equipment, Peleliu

US Troops moving equipment, Peleliu

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Sledge, E B. With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1996 (Reprint).

Guam, at 212 square miles (543 square kilometers), is the largest island of the Marianas, with a length of 32 miles (52 km) and a width ranging from 12 miles (19.31 km) to four miles (6.44 km) at different points of the island. [1] [4] : It had been a United States possession since its capture from Spain in 1898 until it was captured by the Japanese on 10 December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. During the Japanese occupation of Guam, it was not as heavily fortified as the other Mariana Islands such as Saipan that had been Japanese possessions since the end of World War I. But by 1944, Guam had a large Japanese garrison.

The Allied plan for the invasion of the Marianas, Operation Forager, called for heavy preliminary bombardment, first by carrier aircraft and USAAF bombers based in the Marshall Islands to the east, then once air superiority was gained, close bombardment by battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. [1] : 22 Saipan, Tinian, and Guam were chosen as the targets due to their size and suitability as a base for supporting the next stage of operations toward the Philippines, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands. The seaport at Apra Harbor was suitable for the largest ships and air bases for Boeing B-29 Superfortresses could be built from which to bomb Japan. B-24 Liberators from the Marianas could also bomb Iwo Jima and the Bonin Islands, such as Chichi Jima. [1] : 22

The invasion of Saipan was scheduled for 15 June 1944, with landings on Guam tentatively set for 18 June. [1] : 22 The original timetable was optimistic, however. A large Japanese carrier attack and stubborn resistance by the unexpectedly large Japanese garrison on Saipan led to the invasion of Guam being postponed for a month. [1] : 25

U.S. naval and air bombardments lasted from 11 to 13 June 1944, involving 216 carrier aircraft and land-based B-24 bombers from the Marshall Islands. On 12 and 13 June, 12 Japanese cargo ships and several fishing vessels were sunk. On 27 June, U.S. Navy battleships and cruisers started shelling the island, joined by a U.S. carrier group on 4 July, and two more on 6 July. [1] : 42

Expeditionary Troops (Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith, USMC)
Approx. 48,200 officers and enlisted

Overall command: Lt. Gen. Takeshi Takashina (KIA 28 July)
Thirty-First Army: Lt. Gen. Hideyoshi Obata (seppuku 11 August)
Approx. 19,000 officers and enlisted

Before landing, US forces sought to ensure both air and naval superiority. A total of 274 ships, which fired 44,978 shots from 2-inch and 5-inch guns supported the landing. In addition, a total of 13 aircraft carriers participated in the air raid and a total of 4,283 bombs (weighing a total of 1,310 tons) were dropped from 18 to 20 July, the day before disembarkation. The heavy bombardment burned all the palm trees on the beach and destroyed every building that could be seen. Experience gained by the Japanese from the invasion of Saipan was used to try to mitigate the effects of the bombardment. Despite this, the bombardment far exceeded the expectations of the defending forces which were dug in along the coast as they were on Saipan. Many of the bases and guard towers were also destroyed. However, artillery pieces entrenched in dense forests, caves, trenches and locations four kilometers or more from the coast were able to escape destruction and became a source of heavy Japanese resistance. Guam, ringed by reefs, cliffs, and heavy surf, presents a formidable challenge for any attacker. [1] : 14 Underwater demolition teams reconnoitered the beaches and removed obstacles from 14 to 17 July. [1] : 43 Despite the obstacles, on 21 July, the American forces landed on both sides of the Orote Peninsula on the western side of Guam, planning to secure Apra Harbor. [1] : 23 The 3rd Marine Division landed near Agana to the north of Orote at 08:29, and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade landed near Agat to the south. [1] : 24,44 Japanese artillery sank 30 U.S. LVTs and inflicted heavy casualties on the landing troops, especially of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, but by 09:00 marines and tanks were ashore at both beaches.

By nightfall, the U.S. Marines and soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division had established beachheads about 6,600 feet (2,000 m) deep. [5] Japanese counterattacks were made throughout the first few days of the battle, mostly at night, using infiltration tactics. The Japanese penetrated the American defenses several times but were driven back with heavy losses of men and equipment.

The U.S. Army's 77th Infantry Division had a more difficult landing on 23–24 July. [1] : 17 Lacking amphibious vehicles, they had to wade ashore from the edge of the reef where the landing craft dropped them off. The men stationed in the two beachheads were pinned down by heavy Japanese fire, making initial progress inland quite slow. Supply was very difficult [6] for the landing troops on Guam in the first days of the battle. Landing ships could not come closer than the reef, several hundred yards from the beach, and amphibious vehicles were scarce.

The 1st Provisional Brigade blocked off the Orote Peninsula on 25 July, and that same night Japanese Lt. General Takashina counterattacked, coordinated with a similar attack against the 3rd Division to the north. [1] : 56 The next day, General Obata reported, "our forces failed to achieve the desired objectives." [1] : 61 Lieutenant General Takeshi Takashina was killed on 28 July, and Lieutenant General Hideyoshi Obata took over the command of the Japanese defenders. [1] : 65 On 28 July, the two beachheads were linked, [1] : 17 and by 29 July, the Americans secured the peninsula. [1] : 64

The Japanese counterattacks against the American beachheads, as well as the fierce fighting, had exhausted the Japanese. At the start of August, they were running out of food and ammunition, and they had only a handful of tanks left. Obata withdrew his troops from southern Guam, planning to make a stand in the mountainous central and northern part of the island, "to engage in delaying action in the jungle in northern Guam to hold the island as long as possible". [1] : 65

After ensuring that no significant Japanese forces operated in the southern portion of Guam, Marine Major General Geiger started an offensive north with the 3rd Marine Division on the left flank, and the 77th Infantry Division on the right, liberating Agana on the same day. [1] : 70 The Tiyan Airfield was captured on 1 Aug. [1] : 72

Rain and thick jungle made conditions difficult for the Americans, but after an engagement with the main Japanese line of defense around Mount Barrigada from 2–4 August, the Japanese line collapsed. [1] : 73–74 The 1st Provisional Brigade formed up on the left flank of the 3rd Marine Division on 7 August because of the widening front and continued casualties, in an effort to prevent the Japanese from slipping through the American gaps. [1] : 75–76 The Japanese had another stronghold at Mount Santa Rosa, which was secured on 8 August. [1] : 74,81

On 10 August, organized Japanese resistance ended, and Guam was declared secure, but 7,500 Japanese soldiers were estimated to be at large. [1] : 81 The next day, Obata committed ritual suicide at his headquarters on Mount Mataguac after he had sent a farewell message to Japan. [1] : 81


The word "logistics" is derived from the Greek adjective logistikos meaning "skilled in calculating". The first administrative use of the word was in Roman and Byzantine times when there was a military administrative official with the title Logista. At that time, the word apparently implied a skill involved in numerical computations.

Historically supplies for an army were first acquired by foraging or looting, especially in the case of food and fodder, although if traveling through a desolated region or staying in one place for too long resources could quickly be exhausted. A second method was for the army to bring along what was needed, whether by ships, pack animals, wagons or carried on the backs of the soldiers themselves. This allowed the army some measure of self-sufficiency, and up through to the 19th century most of the ammunition a soldier needed for an entire campaign could be carried on their person. However, this method led to an extensive baggage train which could slow down the army's advance and the development of faster-firing weapons soon outpaced an army's ability to supply itself. Starting with the Industrial Revolution new technological, technical and administrative advances led to a third method, that of maintaining supplies in a rear area and transporting them to the front. This led to a "logistical revolution" which began in the 20th century and drastically improved the capabilities of modern armies while making them highly dependent on this new system. [2] [3]

5th to 15th century Edit

The De re militari, written by Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus in the late 4th-century, is an authoritative text which Illuminates the logistics, strategies and tactics, as well as the training regimen for soldiers at the end of the Roman Empire, some of which was maintained and modified throughout the medieval period. It became used widely as a military guide during the medieval period and demonstrates the medieval inheritance and adaptation of the Roman military infrastructure.

One of the most significant changes in military organization after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century was the shift from a centrally organized army to a combination of military forces made up of local troops. According to the De ordine palatii—composed in the late 9th century as a reflection of the organization of courts under Louis III of France and Carloman II—local troops often worked within the household during peace time and were provided food and drink from the high officials in the house. The magnates of the households drew upon their own resources for their men, and during Charlemagne's reign and the reign of the Ottonian dynasty in Germany, some heads of house built permanent storages and dwellings to house men or supplies. [4]

While on campaign, soldiers through the medieval period (the 5th to 15th century in Europe) were responsible for supplying themselves, either through foraging, looting (more common during sieges), or purchases from markets along the campaign route. Even so, military commanders often provided their troops with food and supplies, but this would be provided in lieu of the soldiers' wages if they worked within the king's household, or soldiers would be expected to pay for it from their wages if they did not work in the king's household, either at cost or even with a profit. [5]

Some early governments, such as the Carolingians in 8th century, required soldiers to supply their own food for three months, but would feed soldiers thereafter for free if the campaign or siege was ongoing. Later, during the German civil war in the early 1070s, Saxon soldiers were required to bring supplies enough for the entire campaign. [6]

As for food transportation for soldiers and the beasts which accompanied the army on the campaigns, approximately 2,500 kilograms of food supplies were needed for the soldiers, roughly 9,000 kilograms of food for horses and 19,000 kilograms (nearly 1/2 of which was grain), and 19,000 kilograms was needed for other beasts of burden (donkeys and oxen, for example) per day. [7] Commanders could also bring along herds of cattle to provide their men with fresh meat while traveling. A herd of roughly 1,000 cattle could feed 14,000 or so men for roughly ten days. [8]

Beasts of burden were used as vehicular transport for the food and supplies, either by carrying the supplies directly on their backs—the average medieval horse and mule could carry roughly 100 kilograms—or by pulling carts or wagons, depending on the weather conditions. [9] Commanders also made use of water transport throughout the medieval period as it was often more efficient than ground transport. Prior to the crusading period, mid-scale sea vessels could carry several dozen tons of supplies. Cargo ships were also used, and were most commonly of the Nordic-type, the Utrecht-type, or the proto-cog crafts. Similar to the proto-cogs, river boats resembling simple log-boats were also used, as the larger crafts could carry up to 15 metric tons of supply and animal cargo. These ships made transporting supplies, and often soldiers, much easier and more reliable for the commander but, the ability to use water transport was limited by geographic location, weather, and the availability of such ships. [10]

Outside of food and fodder, commanders and soldiers also carried with them their arms and armor. In a letter from Charlemagne to Abbot Fulrad, the king states that horsemen must come prepared with their own arms and gear: including, "a shield, lance, sword, dagger, bow, and quivers with arrows". [11] Likewise, according the Visigoth legal code (c.680), soldiers were required to come equipped for campaign with armor and shields. This practice was common throughout the pre-crusading period. Soldiers could often obtain the needed supplies from local craftsmen: smiths, carpenters, and leather workers often supplied the local militia troops with cooking utensils, bows and arrows, and horse shoes and saddles. [12] Archaeologists have also found evidence of goods production in excavations of royal houses, suggesting that the Roman infrastructure of central arms and equipment factories was inherited, even if such factories were more decentralized. Further, all estates during Charlemagne's reign were required to have carpenters staffed to produce weapons and armor, according to the Capitulare de villis. [13]

The construction of large-scale weapons systems, particularly those designed for siege warfare, was also an important part of military logistics. In the pre-crusading period, Vikings and Saxons would often use lever-action stone-throwing technology but, the torsion-powered spear-throwing ballistae was also common, though it required much more technological expertise to build. The most difficult of the large-scale weapons systems to construct was the siege tower, which was meant to provide besieging soldiers with the ability to shoot at the level of their opponents in the tower or allow them to roll up to the tower itself and climb over the wall, breaching the fortress. The first recorded construction of a siege tower is in 984 during King Lothair IV's siege of Verdun. These siege engines were often constructed on site, rather than being constructed before the campaign and transported with the soldiers. In the 11th century, Emperor Otto III ordered siege engines to be built only once he had arrived at the fortress of Tivoli to begin his siege, and Emperor Henry II did the same upon arriving at Troia. It is generally assumed that the materials for the siege engines were transported along with the food, fodder, and arms and that specialized craftsmen from the military households travelled with the army to build the engines on site. [14]

In 1294, the same year John II de Balliol of Scotland refused to support Edward I of England's planned invasion of France, Edward I implemented a system in Wales and Scotland where sheriffs would acquire foodstuffs, horses and carts from merchants with compulsory sales at prices fixed below typical market prices under the Crown's rights of prise and purveyance. These goods would then be transported to Royal Magazines in southern Scotland and along the Scottish border where English conscripts under his command could purchase them. This continued during the First War of Scottish Independence which began in 1296, though the system was unpopular and was ended with Edward I's death in 1307. [5]

Starting under the rule of Edward II in 1307 and ending under the rule of Edward III in 1337, the English instead used a system where merchants would be asked to meet armies with supplies for the conscripts to purchase. This led to discontent as the merchants saw an opportunity to profiteer, forcing conscripts to pay well above normal market prices for food. [5]

As Edward III went to war with France in the Hundred Years' War (starting in 1337), the English reintroduced the practise of foraging and raiding to meet their logistical needs. This practice lasted throughout the course of war, extending through the remainder of Edward III's reign into the reign of Henry VI. [5]

16th century Edit

Starting in the late sixteenth century, armies in Europe greatly increased in size, upwards of 100,000 or more in some cases. This increase in size came not just in the number of actual soldiers but also camp followers — anywhere from half to one and a half the size of the army itself — and the size of the baggage train — averaging one wagon for every fifteen men. [15] However, very little state support was provided to these massive armies, the vast majority of which consisted of mercenaries. Beyond being paid for their service by the state (an act which bankrupted even the Spanish Empire on several occasions), these soldiers and their commanders were forced to provide everything for themselves. If permanently assigned to a town or city with a working marketplace, or traveling along a well-established military route, supplies could be easily bought locally with intendants overseeing the exchanges. In other cases an army traveling in friendly territory could expect to be followed by sutlers, whose supply stocks were small and subject to price gouging, or a commissioner could be sent ahead to a town to make arraignments, including quartering if necessary. [16]

When operating in enemy territory an army was forced to plunder the local countryside for supplies, a historical tradition meant to allow war to be conducted at the enemy's expense. However, with the increase in army sizes this reliance on plunder became a major problem, as many decisions regarding where an army could move or fight were made based not on strategic objectives but whether a given area was capable of supporting the soldiers' needs. Sieges in particular were affected by this, both for any army attempting to lay siege to a location or coming to its relief. Unless a military commander was able to implement some sort of regular resupply, a fortress or town with a devastated countryside could be effectively immune to either operation. [16]

Conversely, armies of this time had little need to maintain lines of communication while on the move, except insofar as it was necessary to recruit more soldiers, and thus could not be cut off from non-existent supply bases. Although this theoretically granted armies freedom of movement, the need for plunder prevented any sort of sustained, purposeful advance. Many armies were further restricted to following waterways due to the fact that what supplies they were forced to carry could be more easily transported by boat. Artillery in particular was reliant of this method of travel, since even a modest number of cannons of the period required hundreds of horses to pull overland and traveled at half the speed of the rest of the army. [17]

17th century Edit

The first half of the seventeenth century saw the Thirty Years' War devastate large parts of Europe where waves of large invading armies repeatedly plundered the same locations for supplies. [18]

By the mid-seventeenth century, the French under Secretary of State for War Michel Le Tellier began a series of military reforms to address some of the issues which had plagued armies previously. Besides ensuring that soldiers were more regularly paid and combating the corruption and inefficiencies of private contractors, Le Tellier devised formulas to calculate the exact amount of supplies necessary for a given campaign, created standardized contracts for dealing with commercial suppliers, and formed a permanent vehicle-park manned by army specialists whose job was to carry a few days' worth of supplies while accompanying the army during campaigns. With these arrangements there was a gradual increase in the use of magazines which could provide a more regular flow of supply via convoys. While the concepts of magazines and convoys was not new at this time, prior to the increase in army sizes there had rarely been cause to implement them. [19]

Despite these changes, French armies still relied on plunder for a majority of their needs while on the move. Magazines were created for specific campaigns and any surplus was immediately sold for both monetary gain and to lessen the tax burden. The vehicles used to form convoys were contracted out from commercial interests or requisitioned from local stockpiles. In addition, given warfare of this era's focus on fortified towns and an inability to establish front lines or exert a stabilizing control over large areas, these convoys often needed armies of their own to provide escort. The primary benefits of these reforms was to supply an army during a siege. This was borne out in the successful campaign of 1658 when the French army at no point was forced to end a siege on account of supplies, including the Siege of Dunkirk. [19]

Le Tellier's son Louvois would continue his father's reforms after assuming his position. The most important of these was to guarantee free daily rations for the soldiers, amounting to two pounds of bread or hardtack a day. These rations were supplemented as circumstances allowed by a source of protein such as meat or beans soldiers were still responsible for purchasing these items out-of-pocket but they were often available at below-market prices or even free at the expense of the state. He also made permanent a system of magazines which were overseen by local governors to ensure they were fully stocked. Some of these magazines were dedicated to providing frontier towns and fortresses several months' worth of supplies in the event of a siege, while the rest were dedicated to supporting French armies operating in the field. [20]

With these reforms French armies enjoyed one of the best logistical systems in Europe, however there were still severe restrictions on its capabilities. Only a fraction of an army's supply needs could be met by the magazines, requiring that it continue to use plunder. In particular this was true for perishable goods or those too bulky to store and transport such as fodder. The administration and transportation of supplies remained inadequate and subject to the deprivations of private contractors. The primary aim of this system was still to keep an army supplied while conducting a siege, a task for which it succeeded, rather than increase its freedom of movement. [21]

18th century Edit

The British were seriously handicapped in the American War of Independence by the need to ship all supplies across the Atlantic, since the Americans prevented most local purchases. The British found a solution after the war by creating the infrastructure and the experience needed to manage an empire. London reorganized the management of the supply of military food and transport that was completed in 1793–94 when the naval Victualling and Transport Boards undertook those responsibilities. It built upon experience learned from the supply of the very-long-distance Falklands garrison (1767–72) to systematize needed shipments to distant places such as Australia, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone. This new infrastructure allowed Britain to launch large expeditions to the Continent during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and to develop a global network of garrisons in the colonies. [22]

19th century Edit

Napoleon Edit

Before the Napoleonic wars, military supply was based on contracts with private companies, looting and requisition (legal taking of whatever the army needed, with minimal compensation). Napoleon made logistical operations a major part of French strategy. [23] During the Ulm Campaign in 1805, the French army of 200,000 men had no need for time-consuming efforts to scour the countryside for supplies and live off the land, as it was well provided for by France's German allies. [23] France's ally, the Electorate of Bavaria, turned the city of Augsburg into a gigantic supply center, allowing the Grande Armée, generously replenished with food, shoes and ammunition, to quickly invade Austria after the decisive French victory at Ulm. [24] Napoleon left nothing to chance, requesting the Bavarians to prepare in advance a specified amount of food at certain cities such as Würzburg and Ulm, for which the French reimbursed them. [25] When French demands proved excessive for the German principalities, the French army used a system of vouchers to requisition supplies and keep the rapid French advance going. [26] The agreements with French allies permitted the French to obtain huge quantities of supplies within a few days' notice. [27] Napoleon built up a major supply magazine at Passau, with barges transporting supplies down the Danube to Vienna to maintain the French army prior to the Battle of Austerlitz in combat readiness. [24] In 1807, Napoleon created the first military train regiments—units entirely dedicated to the supply and the transport of equipment.

The French system fared poorly in the face of guerrilla warfare by Spanish "guerillos" that targeted their supply lines during the Peninsular War, and the British blockade of French-occupied ports on the Iberian Peninsula. The need to supply a besieged Barcelona made it impossible to control the province and ended French plans to incorporate Catalonia into Napoleon's Empire. [28]

The first theoretical analysis of this was by the Swiss writer, Antoine-Henri Jomini, who studied the Napoleonic wars. In 1838, he devised a theory of war based on the trinity of strategy, tactics, and logistics.

Railways Edit

Railways and steamboats revolutionized logistics by the mid-19th century.

In the American Civil War (1861–65), both armies used railways extensively, for transport of personnel, supplies, horses and mules, and heavy field pieces. Both tried to disrupt the enemy's logistics by destroying trackage and bridges. [29] Military railways were built specifically for supporting armies in the field.

During the Seven Weeks War of 1866, railways enabled the swift mobilization of the Prussian Army, but the problem of moving supplies from the end of rail lines to units at the front resulted in nearly 18,000 tons trapped on trains unable to be unloaded to ground transport. [30] The Prussian use of railways during the Franco-Prussian War is often cited as a prime example of logistic modernizations, but the advantages of maneuver were often gained by abandoning supply lines that became hopelessly congested with rear-area traffic. [31]

20th century Edit

World War I Edit

With the expansion of military conscription and reserve systems in the decades leading up to the 20th century, the potential size of armies increased substantially, while the industrialization of firepower (bolt-action rifles with higher rate-of-fire, larger and more artillery, plus machine guns) was starting to multiply the potential amount munitions each required. Military logistical systems, however, continued to rely on 19th century technology.

When World War I started, the capabilities of rail and horse-drawn supply were stretched to their limits. Where the stalemate of trench warfare took hold, special narrow gauge trench railways were built to extend the rail network to the front lines. The great size of the German Army proved too much for its railways to support except while immobile. [32] Tactical successes like Operation Michael devolved into operational failures where logistics failed to keep up with the army's advance over shell-torn ground. [33]

On the seas, the British blockade of Germany kept a stranglehold on raw materials, goods, and food needed to support Germany's war efforts, and is considered one of the key elements in the eventual Allied victory in the war. [34] At the same time, Germany's unrestricted submarine warfare showed the vulnerability of shipping lanes despite Allied naval superiority.

World War II Edit

The mechanization of warfare, starting at the tail end of World War I, added increasing ammo, fuel, and maintenance needs of tanks and other combat vehicles to the burden on military logistics. The growing needs of more powerful and numerous military ships and aircraft increased this burden even further. On the other hand, mechanization also brought trucks to logistics though they generally require better roads and bridges, trucks are much faster and far more efficient than fodder-bound horse-drawn transport. While many nations, including Germany, continued to rely on wagons to some extent, [35] the US and UK readily switched to trucks wherever possible.

Military logistics played a significant role in many World War II operations, especially ones far from industrial centers, from the Finnish Lapland to the Burma Campaign, limiting the size and movement of any military forces. In the North African Campaign, with a lack of rail, few roads, and hot-dry climate, attacks and advances were timed as much by logistics as enemy actions. Poor logistics, in the form of Russia's vast distances and its state of road and rail networks, contributed to the fate of Germany's invasion of the USSR: despite many battlefield victories, the campaign lost momentum before the gates of Moscow.

Breaking the logistics supply line became a major target for airpower a single fighter aircraft could attack dozens of supply vehicles at a time by strafing down a road, many miles behind the front line. Air superiority became critical for almost any major offensive in good weather. Allied air forces took out German-controlled bridges and rail infrastructure throughout northern France to help ensure the success of the Normandy landings, but after the breakout from Normandy, this now limited the Allies' own logistics. In response, the Red Ball Express was organized—a massive truck convoy system to supply the advance towards Germany. During the Battle of Stalingrad, Supplying by air, called an airbridge, was attempted by Germany to keep its surrounded 6th Army supplied, but they lacked sufficient air transport. Allied airbridges were more successful, in the Burma Campaign, and in "The Hump" to resupply the Chinese war effort. (A few years after the war, the Berlin Air Lift was successful in supplying the whole non-Soviet half of the city.)

At sea, the Battle of the Atlantic began in the first days of the war and continued to the end. German surface raiders and U-boats targeted vital Allied cargo ship convoys supplying British, American, and Russian forces, and became more effective than in World War I. Technological improvements in both U-boats and anti-submarine warfare raced to out-do each other for years, with the Allies eventually keeping losses to U-boats in check.

Logistics was a major challenge for the American war effort, since wartime material had to be supplied across either the Atlantic or the even wider Pacific Ocean. Germany undertook an aggressive U-boat campaign against American logistics on the Atlantic, but the Japanese neglected to attack shipping in the Pacific, using their submarines to fight alongside the surface Navy in large-scale battles. [36] [37] [38]

Long logistical distances dominated the Pacific War. For the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese required numerous oiler ships to refuel the attacking fleet at sea on-route. Massive numbers of transports, including thousands of US Liberty ships, were required to sustain the Allied forces fighting back towards the Japanese homeland. As in the Atlantic, submarine warfare accounted for more losses than naval battles, with over 1,200 merchant ships sank. [39]

Gulf War Edit

During Operation Desert Storm, US forces faced the daunting task of keeping over 500,000 American military personnel supplied in a geographically remote harsh environment with no pre-existing presence or basing arraignment. [40] This challenge was only further underscored by the logistical needs of the forces involved. A typical US armored division was composed of 350 tanks, 200 Bradley fighting vehicles and 16,000 soldiers. Together their daily supply requirement could amount to 5,000 tons of ammunition, 555,000 gallons of fuel, 300,000 gallons of water, and 80,000 meals. To meet these needs the division was equipped with nearly a thousand trucks carrying cargo, fuel and ammunition, and 3,500 of the division's soldiers had logistical responsibilities. Despite these resources though, the division could only sustain itself for three to five days before requiring resupply from an external source. [41] Likewise, a typical squadron of 24 fighter aircraft would require the equivalent of 20 C-141 Starlifters carrying supplies to support its initial deployment and operational capability. [42]

21st century Edit

After 2016, as the counterinsurgency operations in CENTCOM were drawing down, the US Department of Defense began to prepare for large scale combat operations (LSCO) against near-peer adversaries. [43] These adversaries are expected to be capable of integrated, coordinated, near-simultaneous operation in multiple domains (MDO) —air, space, land, sea, and cyber (that is, robotic, computer-driven, even automated competition/crisis/conflict). [43] The preparation of a Joint Warfighting Concept is expected. [44] Four sub-concepts are: °contested logistics, [45] °fires, °command and control (C2), and °information advantage. [46] [43]

In conditions approaching total war, top-down prosecution of a war may no longer be possible, as headquarters themselves become front-line units, which must remain on the move in order to survive conflict. [45] "By 2035, sustainment nodes are be survivable" and capable of rapidly moving materiel to the fight. [43] [44]

Going Ashore

Returning to the Marianas in July, Geiger's underwater demolition teams scouted the landing beaches and commenced removing obstacles along Guam's west coast. Supported by naval gunfire and carrier aircraft, the landings moved forward on July 21 with Major General Allen H. Turnage's 3rd Marine Division landing north of the Orote Peninsula and Brigadier General Lemuel C. Shepherd's 1st Provisional Marine Brigade to the south. Encountering intense Japanese fire, both forces gained the shore and began moving inland.

To support Shepherd's men, Colonel Vincent J. Tanzola's 305th Regimental Combat Team waded ashore later in the day. Overseeing the island's garrison, Lieutenant General Takeshi Takashina began counterattacking the Americans but was unable to prevent them from penetrating 6,600 feet inland before nightfall (Map).


The American Civil War was the first war where railroads were a significant factor in moving troops and supplying forces in the field. The United States Military Railroad organization was established to coordinate this new capability for the Union Army. The USMRR organization benefited from the appointment of experienced railroad men from the private sector. Thomas A. Scott, vice-president of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), served as an Assistant Secretary of War during the period 1861–1862. [3] In January 1862 Scott prepared a report on military transportation that anticipated the creation of the USMRR. [4] Daniel C. McCallum, former general superintendent of the New York and Erie Railroad, [1] was appointed as Military Director and Superintendent of U.S. Railroads. [5] Herman Haupt, former chief engineer of the PRR, was appointed as Chief of Construction and Transportation in the Virginia theater. [3] The departments in the USMRR tended to operate autonomously, although micromanagement from the Secretary of War and overlapping authority between departments did affect their operations. [6] Over time the USMRR would buy, build or capture 419 locomotives and 6,330 cars [1] beyond the rolling stock that was requisitioned from the various Northern railroads. When Col. McCallum was first appointed the USMRR system consisted only of 7 miles of the Washington and Alexandria Railroad [7] however, by war's end the USMRR exercised control over a network of more than 2,000 miles [8] of military railroads and captured Southern rail lines.

Northern Virginia: 1862 Edit

The Virginia Central Railroad and Orange and Alexandria Railroad were the principal supply lines for the Confederate and Union forces, respectively.

Gettysburg Campaign Edit

Chattanooga Campaign Edit

In the fall of 1863 the Confederate railroads, acting as interior lines of communication, transferred two divisions and an artillery battalion of Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s I Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, by railroad from Virginia to Georgia to reinforce General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. The troops began arriving at the Catoosa Platform, Georgia on September 19, [9] having begun their journey from Virginia on September 9. [10] Ultimately, only 5 of Longstreet’s 10 infantry brigades arrived in time to participate in the Confederate victory at Chickamauga. [11] Following their defeat, the troops of MG William Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland fell back to Chattanooga, Tennessee where they were surrounded by the Confederates who occupied the heights surrounding the town.

On the evening of September 23, 1863, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton convened a meeting with President Lincoln, Major General Henry Halleck, Secretary of State William Seward and Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase [12] to review plans to reinforce and relieve the Army of the Cumberland with troops from other Union departments. Major General William T. Sherman, with 4 divisions of the Army of the Tennessee, was already moving east from the vicinity of Vicksburg, Mississippi and expected to arrive in about 10 days. [12] Stanton proposed that reinforcements be sent from the then idle Army of the Potomac, his initial recommendation was to move 30,000 troops in just 5 days to the vicinity of Bridgeport, Alabama. [13] Much debate surrounded the proposal. Halleck opined that such a movement would require at least 40 days [13] and even the President doubted that the troops could reach Washington in 5 days. [13] [14] Daniel McCallum of the USMRR was summoned to the meeting and given a basic outline of the plan. After making some quick calculations McCallum declared that the proposed operation could be completed within 7 days. [15] The President ultimately gave the order to begin the transfer of troops from the Army of the Potomac to the west, starting the largest troop rail movement of the war. In 12 days the USMRR moved approximately 25,000 men over 1,200 miles overshadowing the Confederacy's earlier movement of 12,000 men over 800 miles in 12 days. [16]

On September 24 the men summoned to plan the rail movement arrived in Washington to work out the details. Secretary Stanton telegraphed them asking for their assistance even before the President approved the plan: John W. Garrett, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) Thomas Scott of the PRR S. M. Felton, President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad William P. Smith, Master of Transportation for the B&O and McCallum. [14] [17] [18] The men at the conference worked out the detailed route planning, a task complicated by the different gauges of railroad track in use at the time. The initial movement of troops from Virginia was allocated to the USMRR under McCallum's direction. Garrett and Smith would supervise the movement from Washington, D.C. to Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Scott would travel west to supervise the move from Louisville, Kentucky, to Bridgeport, Alabama. [19] As finally settled, the movement involved 9 different railroads in order get the troops from Virginia to Bridgeport. The USMRR, operating on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Bealeton, Virginia to Washington, passed the movement off to the B&O from Washington to Benwood, West Virginia. [20] At Benwood, the troops crossed the Ohio River via a pontoon bridge [21] and boarded Central Ohio Railroad trains to move from Bellaire, Ohio to Columbus. From Columbus, troops moved via the Columbus and Xenia Railroad, Little Miami Railroad, and the Indiana Central Railroad to reach Indianapolis, Indiana. From Indianapolis the route used the Jeffersonville Railroad to return to the Ohio River. [22] The troops crossed the Ohio River to Louisville and boarded trains using the tracks of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to reach Nashville, Tennessee. From Nashville the final leg of the trip used the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad to deliver the troops to Bridgeport. [23]

While the railroad men planned the movement of reinforcements to the west, Halleck began issuing the orders that assigned actual units to the move. Major General Joseph Hooker, former commander of the Army of the Potomac, was assigned to command the eastern reinforcements. Major General George Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, was directed to prepare the XI and XII Corps for movement beginning September 25. At the time the XII Corps’ two divisions were on picket duty along the Rappahannock River and had to be relieved by the I Corps before it could move to the railroad. The XI Corps’ remaining two divisions were deployed to the army's rear guarding the Orange and Alexandria railroad which simplified their preparations to move. [19] Meade initially ordered the XII Corps to march to Brandy Station, but the corps was directed to march 10 miles further up the railroad to Bealeton where there were better arrangements for loading the trains. [24] McCallum directed the XI Corps infantry to move to Manassas Junction, Virginia, to board trains, but had the corps’ artillery march to Alexandria, where the best facilities to load the guns were located. [25]

By the end of operations on September 25, 1863, 5,800 of the 7,500 soldiers in the XI Corps were on trains headed for Bridgeport. [25] By the morning of September 27, 12,600 men, 33 cars of artillery and 21 cars of baggage and horses were in motion. [26] [27] [28] By 10:30 PM September 30, the first 4 trains of troops reached Bridgeport. [29] By October 3 Major General Hooker was able to report that all of the XI Corps’ troops were at Bridgeport and the XII Corps was passing through Nashville to begin the final leg of the trip. [29] Moving the troops and artillery did not complete the job. On September 27 the railroads began loading the camp baggage, wagons, ambulances, horses and mule teams that were part of the corps. The XI Corps had 261 six mule teams, 75 two horse ambulances, 3 spring wagons and the XII Corps needed 150 four horse teams and 156 six mule teams moved. [30] The last regiment of troops passed through Indianapolis on October 6 and reached its destination October 8, 1863, ending the 1,233 mile troop movement. [31] By October 12, the USMRR and civilian railroads completed the movement of both corps and all of their artillery, transportation, and baggage. [21] From Bridgeport, Hooker marched his force towards Chattanooga to participate in the fighting to relieve the Army of the Cumberland.

Atlanta Campaign Edit

Petersburg Campaign Edit

At the conclusion of the Overland Campaign in 1864, LTG Grant directed MG Meade to transfer his Army of the Potomac to the south side of the James River in effort to capture the Confederate rail center of Petersburg and sever Richmond’s supply lines. The Union did not capture Petersburg before the city's defenders were reinforced by troops from General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The continual Union movement towards the Confederate flanks gave way to digging as siege operations to isolate the Confederate capital began in earnest.

LTG Grant established his headquarters on the grounds of Appomattox Manor overlooking the confluence of the Appomattox and James rivers. City Point, Virginia, modern day Hopewell, became the principal logistical base for the Virginia theater supplying the troops of both Meade's Army of the Potomac and MG Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James. In all the United States Military Railroad supplied more than 100,000 troops and more than 65,000 horses and mules with food, equipment and supplies from the waterfront docks on the navigable portion of the James River at City Point. [32]

Initial railroad operations began when the USMRR rebuilt and restored service along 9 miles of the Petersburg and City Point Railroad’s line. [32] [33] As the Union Army steadily extended its siege lines to the south and west, the USMRR construction corps followed in the Army's wake extending rail service from City Point to positions behind the new Union left flank. Eventually the USMRR added 21 additional miles of track which partially encircled Petersburg from the east to the southwest. [32] Parts of the USMRR extension are preserved today within the borders of Fort Lee, Virginia, where a series of four historic markers show the route that the railroad followed behind the Union lines. [34] When Petersburg was eventually abandoned in 1865 the 25 engines and 275 pieces of other rolling stock had logged a grand total of 2,300,000 operating miles. [32]

US military in Germany: What you need to know

A decision to move US troops out of Germany would mark a major change in the defense relationship between the two countries and reshape the basis of American military presence in Europe since World War II.

The Federal Republic of Germany has been a vital part of United States defense strategy in Europe ever since the end of World War II, when US forces were part of a 10-year Allied occupation of the country. Though troop numbers have fallen drastically since those days, the US military still maintains a major presence and over the intervening decades, US military communities have formed around a handful of German towns.

Germany's strategic importance for the US is reflected by the location of US European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in the southwestern city of Stuttgart, from which it serves as the coordinating structure for all American military forces across 51 primarily European countries.

The mission of EUCOM is to protect and defend the US by deterring conflict, supporting partnerships such as NATO and countering transnational threats. At its command are the US Army Europe, the US Air Forces in Europe, and the US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, all of which have installations in Germany.

In fact, Germany hosts the largest portion of US troops in Europe — roughly 38,600, though the numbers vary as troops are regularly rotated to other countries. This is also more military personnel than the US keeps in any other country except Japan.

However, the numbers have fallen in recent years. German government figures show that between 2006 and 2018, the number of US troops stationed in Germany more than halved, from 72,400 to 33,250, as the US military responded to a shifting and increasingly complex global security situation.

Marines, soldiers and airmen

Germany is home to five of the seven US Army garrisons in Europe (the other two are in Belgium and Italy), and the US Army Europe is headquartered at the garrison in Wiesbaden, a city close to Frankfurt in central western Germany.

Figures provided to DW by the US military show that these five garrisons, each consisting of various installations at different locations, currently comprise around 29,000 military personnel. This number includes the US Marine Corps Forces of Europe and Africa, which are headquartered in Böblingen, southwestern Germany, as part of the US Army Garrison Stuttgart.

In addition, roughly 9,600 US Air Force personnel are spread across various locations in Germany, including the two US Air Force bases of Ramstein and Spangdahlem.

US military in Germany: More than troops

Because US military installations also employ American civilians, and servicemen and women can sometimes bring their families with them overseas, sizable civilian communities can form around bases. In fact, some US bases in Germany, such as the one near Ramstein, are small towns in themselves. They include not only barracks, airfields, exercise terrain and material depots, but also their own American shopping malls, schools, postal services and police force. Sometimes the only legal tender is the US dollar.

Meanwhile, the US Army Bavaria Garrison, headquartered at Grafenwöhr, near Bavaria's border with the Czech Republic, is the largest overseas US Army base in the world, both in population and acreage, covering over 97,000 acres (390 square kilometers).

Bases also often employ significant numbers of local nationals and serve as an economic boost for the surrounding German communities, whose businesses provide goods and services. Past installation closures, such as the army garrison at Bamberg in 2014, took a toll on the local economy, and many Germans living near active US military installations have expressed opposition to potential troop reductions.

The training area at Grafenwöhr in Bavaria is one of the US Army's largest in Europe

But the extent of US military presence in Germany is not limited to personnel: The US also keeps planes at other non-US air force bases in Germany. Additionally, thanks to NATO's nuclear sharing arrangement, an estimated 20 nuclear weapons are believed to be kept at Germany's Büchel Air Base in western Germany — something which has attracted much criticism from Germans.

Another contentious arrangement is the fact that the Ramstein Air Base is used as a control center for drone strikes in Yemen and elsewhere.

Allied postwar occupation and its legacy

The US military presence in Germany is a legacy of the post-WWII Allied occupation, which lasted from 1945 to 1955. During this time, millions of US, British, French and Soviet troops were stationed in Germany.

The northeastern part of the country, which officially became East Germany in October 1949, fell under Soviet control.

In West Germany, the occupation was regulated by the Occupation Statute, signed in April 1949, when the country was founded. The statute allowed France, the UK and the US to keep occupational forces in the country and maintain complete control over West Germany's disarmament and demilitarization.

When the military occupation of West Germany officially ended, the country regained control of its own defense policy. However, the Occupation Statute was succeeded by another agreement with its NATO partners. This deal, known as the Convention on the Presence of Foreign Forces in the Federal Republic of Germany, was signed in 1954 by West Germany. It allowed eight NATO members, including the US, to have a permanent military presence in Germany. The treaty still regulates the terms and conditions of the NATO troops stationed in Germany today.

The number of US military personnel has been declining ever since the end of the Cold War in 1990, when, according to the German government, there were an estimated 400,000 foreign troops stationed on German soil. Roughly half of these were US military personnel, but they were gradually withdrawn as tensions with what was left of the Soviet Union eased, and conflicts elsewhere, such as the first Gulf War in Iraq, drew more US military away.

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US Troops moving equipment, Peleliu - History

Rabaul the perimeter would extend westward to northwestern New Guinea and would encompass the Indies, Malaya, Thailand, and Burma. Japan thought that the Allies would wear themselves out in fruitless frontal assaults against the perimeter and would ultimately settle for a negotiated peace that would leave it in possession of most of its conquests. (Map 42)

The Japanese were remarkably successful in the execution of their offensive plan and by early 1942 had reached their intended perimeter. But they miscalculated the effect of their surprise attack at Pearl Harbor which unified a divided people and aroused the United States to wage a total, not a limited, war. As a result Japan lost, in the long run, any chance of conducting the war on its own terms. The Allies, responding to their defeats, sought no negotiated peace, but immediately began to seek means to strike back. In February and March 1942 small carrier task forces of the Pacific Fleet hit the Marshalls, Wake, and Marcus, and bombers from Australia began to harass the Japanese base at Rabaul. In April Army bombers, flying off a naval carrier, delivered a hit-and-run raid on Tokyo. Meanwhile, the United States began to develop and fortify a line of communications across the southern Pacific to Australia and to strengthen the defenses of the "down-under" continent itself. These new bases, along with Alaska, Hawaii, and India, also strengthened during the period, could become the launching points for counteroffensives. And once the Allies became strong enough to threaten the Japanese defensive perimeter from several directions the Japanese would lose the advantage of interior lines, and with it the strategic initiative, for Japan did not have and could not produce the means to defend and hold at all points.

Perceiving their danger, the Japanese in a second phase offensive tried to sever the Allied lines of communications to Australia and to expand their perimeter in the Pacific. In the spring of 1942 they pushed southeast from Rabaul to Guadalcanal and Tulagi in the Solomons, and seized Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians. But they failed in their main effort to take Midway Island, northwest of Hawaii, and in the naval battles of the Coral Sea and Midway in May and June they lost the bulk of their best naval pilots and planes. Midway was the turning point, for it redressed the naval balance in the Pacific and gave the Allies the strategic initiative. The Japanese, with the mobility of their carrier striking forces curtailed, abandoned plans to cut the Allied South Pacific life line and turned instead to strengthening their defensive perimeter, planning to wage a protracted war of attrition in the hope of securing a negotiated peace.

Guadalcanal and Papua: The First Offensives

After Midway the U.S. Joint Chiefs, responsible for direction of the war in the Pacific, almost naturally turned to the elimination of the threat to their line of communications in the south as the objective of their first offensive. In so doing, they gave to American strategy in the Pacific a twist unanticipated in prewar planning, which had always presupposed that the main offensive in any war against Japan would be made directly across the Central Pacific from Hawaii toward the Philippines. The Joint Chiefs on July 2 directed Allied forces in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas to begin a series of operations aimed at the ultimate reduction of the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul on New Britain Island, thus establishing Allied control of the Bismarck Archipelago.

The campaign would consist of three stages or tasks. In Task One, forces of the South Pacific Area (under Vice Adm. Robert L. Ghormley until November 1942 and thereafter under Admiral William F. Halsey) would seize base sites in the southern Solomons. In Task Two, South Pacific forces would advance up the ladder of the Solomons while Southwest Pacific forces (under General MacArthur) would move up the north coast of New Guinea as far as Lae and Salamaua. In Task Three, the forces of the two theaters would converge on Rabaul and clear the rest of the Bismarck Archipelago. Task One was to be conducted under the general supervision of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, whose vast Pacific Ocean Areas command included the North, Central, and South Pacific Areas as subtheaters. Tasks Two and Three would be executed under the strategic direction of General MacArthur. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, reserving to themselves final control of the assignment of tasks, allocation of resources, and timing of operations, would provide, in effect, unified command over Nimitz and MacArthur.

The offensive began on August 7, 1942, when the 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal and nearby islands in the southern Solomons. The Japanese, taking full advantage of interior lines from their bases at Rabaul and Truk, reacted vigorously. Six times from August to the end of November they challenged American naval superiority in the South Pacific in a series of sharp surface engagements. Air battles were almost daily occurrences for a month or more after the landings, and the Japanese sent in strong ground reinforcements, gambling and ultimately losing substantial air and naval resources in the effort to hold Guadalcanal. The Americans had to reinforce heavily, deploying naval power, planes, soldiers, and marines in the battle at the expense of other theaters. Before the island was secured in November, another Marine

Map 43: The New Guinea Area

division (the 2d), two Army divisions (25th and Americal), and one separate regiment, to mention only the major ground combat elements, had been thrown into the battle. The last act came in February 1943, when the 43d Division moved into the Russell Islands, thirty-five miles northwest of Guadalcanal. On Guadalcanal and in the Russells, American forces then began to construct major air and logistical bases for further advances.

A Japanese overland drive toward Port Moresby in New Guinea had meanwhile forced General MacArthur to begin an offensive of his own--the Papua Campaign. (Map 43) During the late summer the Japanese had pushed across the towering Owen Stanley Mountains toward Port Moresby from the Buna-Gona area on New Guinea's northeastern coast, and by mid-September were only twenty miles from their objective. Australian ground forces drove the

Japanese back to the north coast, where they strongly entrenched themselves around Buna and Gona. It took 2 Australian divisions, 1 U.S. Army division (32d), and another U.S. Army regiment almost four months of bitter fighting to dislodge the Japanese. Casualties were high, but as at Guadalcanal the Allied forces learned much about jungle fighting, the importance of air power, and the need for thorough logistical preparation. They also discovered that the Japanese soldier, though a skillful, stubborn, and fanatic foe, could be defeated. The myth of Japanese invincibility was forever laid to rest in the jungles of Guadalcanal and Papua.

After Papua and Guadalcanal the tempo of operations in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas slowed while General MacArthur and Admiral Halsey gathered resources and prepared bases for the next phase. The Japanese, in

Search for a Strategy

Meanwhile, in the spring and summer of 1943, a strategy for the defeat of Japan began to take shape within Allied councils. The major Allied objective was control of the South China Sea and a foothold on the coast of China, so as to sever Japanese lines of communications southward and to establish bases from which Japan could first be subjected to intensive aerial bombardment and naval blockade and then, if necessary, invaded. The first plans for attaining this objective envisioned Allied drives from several different directions--by American forces across the Pacific along two lines, from the South and Southwest toward the Philippines and from Hawaii across the Central Pacific and by British and Chinese forces along two other lines, the first a land line through Burma and China and the second a sea line from India via the Netherlands Indies, Singapore, and the Strait of Malacca into the South China Sea. Within the framework of this tentative long-range plan, the U.S. Joint Chiefs fitted their existing plans for completion of the campaign against Rabaul, and a subsequent advance to the Philippines, and developed a plan for the second drive across the Central Pacific. They also, in 1942 and 1943, pressed the Chinese and British to get a drive under way in Burma to reopen the supply line to China in phase with their Pacific advances, offering extensive air and logistical support.

The North Pacific line running from Alaska through the Kuriles to the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido also beckoned in early 1943 as a possible additional avenue of approach to Japan. The Joint Chiefs decided, however, that although the Japanese perimeter should be pushed back in this area, the foggy, cold North Pacific with its rock-bound and craggy islands was not a profitable area in which to undertake a major offensive. In May 1943 the U.S. 7th Division went ashore on Attu and, after three weeks of costly fighting through icy muck and over wind-swept ridges in a cold, almost constant fog, destroyed the Japanese garrison. In August a combined American-Canadian expedition landed on Kiska, some distance away, only to find that the Japanese had evacuated the island three weeks earlier. With the Japanese perimeter pushed back to the Kuriles the Allied advance stopped, and further operations

were limited to nuisance air raids against these Japanese-held islands. Ground forces used in the attacks on Attu and Kiska were redeployed to the Central Pacific, and some of the defensive forces deployed in Alaska were also freed for employment elsewhere.

Prospects of an advance through China to the coast faded rapidly in 1943. At the Casablanca Conference in January the Combined Chiefs agreed on an ambitious operation, called A NAKIM , to be launched in the fall of 1943 to retake Burma and reopen the supply line to China. A NAKIM was to include a British amphibious assault on Rangoon and an offensive into central Burma, plus an American-sponsored Chinese offensive in the north involving convergence of forces operating from China and India. A NAKIM proved too ambitious even limited offensives in Southeast Asia were postponed time and again for lack of adequate resources. By late 1943 the Americans had concluded that their Pacific forces would reach the China coast before either British or Chinese forces could come in through the back door. At the S EXTANT Conference late in 1943 the Combined Chiefs agreed that the main effort against Japan should be concentrated in the Pacific along two lines of advance, with operations in the North Pacific, China, and Southeast Asia to be assigned subsidiary roles.

In this strategy the two lines of advance in the Pacific--the one across the Central Pacific via the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Carolines, and Palaus toward the Philippines or Formosa (Taiwan) and the other in the Southwest Pacific via the north coast of New Guinea to the Vogelkop and thence to the southern Philippines--were viewed as mutually supporting. (Map 44) Although the Joint Chiefs several times indicated a measure of preference for the Central Pacific as the area of main effort, they never established any real priority between the two lines, seeking instead to retain a flexibility that would permit striking blows along either line as opportunity offered. The Central Pacific route promised to force a naval showdown with the Japanese and, once the Marianas were secured, to provide bases from which the U.S. Army Air Forces' new B-29 bombers could strike the Japanese home islands. The Southwest Pacific route was shorter, if existing bases were taken into consideration, and offered more opportunity to employ land-based air power to full advantage. The target area for both drives, in the strategy approved at S EXTANT , was to be the Luzon-Formosa-China coast area. Within this area the natural goal of the Southwest Pacific drive was the Philippines, but that of the Central Pacific drive could be either the Philippines or Formosa. As the drives along the two lines got under way in earnest in 1944, the choice between the two became the central strategic issue.

Cartwheel: The Encirclement of Rabaul

In June 1943 MacArthur and Halsey resumed their offensive to reduce the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul--a prerequisite to further advances along the Southwest Pacific axis toward the Philippines. The plan for the campaign provided for a carefully phased series of operations in each theater, each designed to secure a strategic position where air cover could be provided for further advances. The first of the series started in late June when MacArthur landed American troops on the Woodlark and Kiriwina Islands off eastern New Guinea and at Nassau Bay on the New Guinea coast, and Halsey's forces made their first landings on the New Georgia group in the Central Solomons. From these beginnings the operations proceeded up the ladder of the Solomons, along the coast of New Guinea, and across the straits to New Britain Island generally as scheduled, despite strong Japanese reaction.

In the Solomons by early August Army forces under Halsey had secured New Georgia with its important Munda airfield, but the campaign was not completed until October when U.S. and New Zealand troops occupied Vella Lavella, between New Georgia and Bougainville. At the end of October, New Zealanders and U.S. marines landed on Treasury and Choiseul Islands to secure bases for the assault on Bougainville that assault got under way on November I when marines landed, followed soon after by the Army's 37th Division. In each phase of the Solomons campaign, the Japanese sought unsuccessfully to contest Allied air and naval supremacy, to land reinforcements, and to launch strong counterattacks against Allied beachheads, losing in the effort both planes and combat ships they could ill afford to spare. Air and naval losses suffered in the Solomons crippled the Japanese Fleet for months to come and helped to pave the way for the successful Central Pacific drive that got under way in November. With the repulse of the Japanese counterattack on Bougainville, by the end of November security of the American beachhead on that island was assured, permitting the development of a major American air base. With the taking of Bougainville, the main part of the South Pacific Area's task in Operation C ARTWHEEL was completed.

MacArthur's forces meanwhile continued their offensives, with Australian troops carrying most of the burden in New Guinea. In early September the U.S. Army's 503d Parachute Regiment, in the first airborne operation of the Pacific war, seized an airfield at Nadzab, inland from Lae and Salamaua. Australian troops cleared Lae and Salamaua by mid-September and, flown into Nadzab, moved on to the Huon peninsula. Elements of the U.S. 32d Division landed-at the western end of the peninsula in January 1944 in an attempt to trap

a large Japanese force, but by the time Australian and American units had sealed the western exits to the peninsula most of the Japanese had escaped northwest to Hansa Bay and Wewak.

In the meantime, MacArthur and Halsey had assembled the forces to launch a final offensive toward Rabaul, but the Joint Chiefs decided that the actual seizure of that objective would be too costly in terms of men, equipment, and time. They preferred to encircle Rabaul, neutralize it by air bombardment, and push on to seize an offensive base farther west, in the Admiralty Islands. A new series of operations toward these ends started in MacArthur's theater on December 15, 1943, when U.S. Army units landed on the south coast of western New Britain, and on the 26th, the 1st Marine Division landed on the north coast. In mid-February 1944 New Zealand troops of the South Pacific Area secured an air base site on Green Island, north of Rabaul, and on the last day of the month MacArthur began landing the 1st Cavalry Division (an infantry unit retaining its former designation) on the Admiralties, closing the western and northwestern approaches to Rabaul. Marines under Halsey seized a final air base site on Emirau, north of Rabaul, on March 20, while Marine and Army units under MacArthur secured additional positions in western and central New Britain from March to May 1944. The major Japanese base at Rabaul, with its 100,000-man garrison, was as effectively out of the war as if it had been destroyed. In the process of encircling Rabaul, the Allies had also left to wither on the vine another important Japanese base at Kavieng on New Ireland, north of Rabaul.

In the last phase of the campaign against Rabaul, a pattern developed that came to characterize much of the war in the Pacific. The Allies would mount no frontal attacks against strongly entrenched Japanese forces if they could avoid it they would not advance island by island across a vast ocean studded with myriad atolls and island groups. Rather, they would advance in great bounds, limited only by the range of land-based air cover or the availability of carrier-based air support. The Allies would deceive and surprise the Japanese they would bypass major strongpoints and leave them reduced to strategic and tactical impotence.

The Central Pacific Drive Begins

Fleet. Around these new carriers Admiral Nimitz built naval task forces tailored in each case to the particular operation at hand. The task forces consisted of a mix of carriers, destroyers, cruisers, battleships, submarines, minesweepers, and support craft. In the broad expanses of the Central Pacific, these air carrier task forces could provide both air and naval support for far longer leaps forward, while the entire Pacific Fleet stood ready to confront the main Japanese Fleet at any time it chose to give battle.

The Central Pacific drive got under way on November 20, 1943, when Nimitz sent Army and Marine forces to the Gilbert Islands to seize bases from which to support subsequent jumps into the Marshalls. Troops and supplies for the Gilberts loaded at Hawaii on newly developed assault shipping and sailed more than 2,000 miles to be set ashore by specially designed landing craft and amphibian vehicles. Makin, the Army objective, fell to the 27th Division after four days of hard fighting. Tarawa, where the ad Marine Division went ashore, proved a bloody affair that provided a stiff test for American amphibious doctrine, techniques, and equipment. Naval gunfire vessels and carrier-based aircraft-provided support during and after the assault.

The advance to the Gilberts disclosed that U.S. forces had not entirely mastered certain aspects of amphibious warfare, especially naval gunfire support, co-ordination of air support, and ship-to-shore communications. But valuable lessons were learned that, added to the earlier experiences of the South and Southwest Pacific Areas, established a pattern of island warfare which represented one of the major tactical developments of the war. First, air and naval forces isolated an objective and softened its defenses simultaneously, joint forces would attack or feint toward other islands to deceive the Japanese. The approach of convoys carrying the ground assault forces to the main objective signaled the opening of final, intensive air and naval bombardment of the landing beaches. Whenever practicable, small forces occupied neighboring islands as sites for land-based artillery. Under cover of all these supporting fires, the landing forces moved from ship to shore in echelons, or waves, rocket-firing landing craft in the lead and amphibian tanks and tractors following to carry the assault troops directly onto the beaches and inland. Finally came landing craft with more infantry and with tanks, artillery, and supporting troops. Supplies followed rapidly as the assault forces secured and expanded the beachhead. Amphibious techniques were refined and modified to some extent after the Gilberts, but the lessons learned there made it unnecessary to effect any radical changes in amphibious doctrine throughout the rest of the war.

The Japanese did not react strongly to the loss of the Gilberts, and at the end of January 1944 Nimitz' Army and Marine forces moved into the eastern

Acceleration of the Pacific Drive

General MacArthur had also pushed forward the Southwest Pacific Area's timetable. Having landed in the Admiralties a month ahead of his original schedule, he proposed to cancel operations against Hansa Bay and Wewak on the northeast coast of New Guinea in favor of a jump to Hollandia and Aitape, on the north-central coast, in April, two months earlier than previously planned. He would then continue northwestward along the coast in a campaign entailing the steady extension of land-based air cover by the seizure of successive air base sites until he reached the Vogelkop, at the eastern end of New Guinea, and then proceed to Mindanao, southernmost of the Philippine Islands.

The Joint Chiefs, quickly seizing the fruits of their strategy of opportunism, on March 12, 1944, rearranged the schedule of major Pacific operations. They provided for the assault by MacArthur's forces on Hollandia and Aitape in April with the support of a carrier task force from the Pacific Fleet, to be followed by Nimitz's move into the Marianas in June and into the Palaus in September. While Nimitz was employing the major units of the Pacific Fleet in these ventures, MacArthur was to continue his advance along the New Guinea coast with the forces at his disposal. In November, he was again to have the support of main units of the Pacific Fleet in an assault on Mindanao. Refusing yet to make a positive choice of what was to follow, the Joint Chiefs directed MacArthur to plan for the invasion of Luzon and Nimitz to plan for the invasion of Formosa early in 1945.

The March 12 directive served as a blueprint for an accelerated drive in the Pacific in the spring and summer of 1944. On April 22 Army forces under MacArthur landed at Hollandia and Aitape. At neither place was the issue ever in doubt, although during July the Japanese who had been bypassed at Wewak

launched an abortive counterattack against Aitape. Protected by land-based aircraft from Hollandia, MacArthur's Army units next jumped 125 miles northwest on May 17 to seize another air base site at Wakde Island, landing first on the New Guinea mainland opposite the chief objective. A ground campaign of about a month and a half ensued against a Japanese division on the mainland, but, without waiting for the outcome of the fight, other Army troops carried the advance northwestward on May 27 another 180 miles to Biak Island.

As this point the wisdom of conducting twin drives across the Pacific emerged. The Japanese Navy was preparing for a showdown battle it expected to develop off the Marianas in June. MacArthur's move to Biak put land-based planes in position to keep under surveillance and to harry the Japanese Fleet, which was assembling in Philippine waters before moving into the Central Pacific. Reckoning an American-controlled Biak an unacceptable threat to their flank, the Japanese risked major elements of their fleet to send strong reinforcements to Biak in an attempt to drive MacArthur's forces ok the island. They also deployed to bases within range of Biak about half their land-based air strength from the Marianas, Carolines, and Palaus--planes upon which their fleet depended for support during the forthcoming battle off the Marianas.

After two partially successful attempts to reinforce Biak, the Japanese assembled for a third try enough naval strength to overwhelm local American naval units but just as the formidable force was moving toward Biak the Japanese learned the U.S. Pacific Fleet was off the Marianas. They hastily assembled their naval forces and sailed northwestward for the engagement known as the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Having lost their chance to surprise the U.S. Navy, handicapped by belated deployment, and deprived of anticipated land-based air support, the Japanese suffered another shattering naval defeat. This defeat, which assured the success of the invasions of both Biak and the Marianas, illustrates well the interdependence of operations in the two Pacific areas. It also again demonstrated that the U.S. Pacific Fleet's carrier task forces were the decisive element in the Pacific war.

Army and Marine divisions under Nimitz landed on Saipan in the Marianas on June 15, 1944, to begin a bloody three-week battle for control of the island. Next, on July 21, Army and Marine units invaded Guam, 100 miles south of Saipan, and three days later marines moved on to Tinian Island. An important turning point of the Pacific war, the American seizure of the Marianas brought the Japanese home islands within reach of the U.S. Army Air Forces' B-29 bombers, which in late November began to fly missions against the Japanese homeland.

At Biak Japanese resistance delayed capture of the best airfield sites until late June. On July 2, MacArthur's Army forces moved on to Noemfoor Island, ninety miles to the west, in a combined parachute-amphibious operation designed to broaden the base of the Southwest Pacific's air deployment. On July 30 the 6th Division continued on to the northwestern tip of New Guinea to secure another air base, and on September 15 MacArthur landed the reinforced 31st Division on Morotai Island, between New Guinea and Mindanao in the Philippines. On the same day Nimitz sent the 1st Marine Division ashore on Peleliu in the southern Palaus, and on the 17th the 81st Division from Nimitz' command landed on Angaur, just south of Peleliu. A regimental combat team of the 81st Division secured Ulithi Atoll, midway between Peleliu and the Marianas, without opposition on September 23.

With these landings the approach to the Philippines was virtually completed. The occupation of Morotai proved easy, and the island provided airfields for the support of advances into the Philippines and Indies. The Pacific Fleet employed Ulithi as a forward anchorage. Hard fighting dragged on in the Palaus through November, but as the result of another acceleration in the pace of Pacific operations these islands never played the role originally planned for them.

In twin drives, illustrative of the principles of maneuver, objective, economy of force, surprise, and mass, the Allied forces of the Pacific had arrived in mid-September 1944 at the threshold of their strategic objective, the Luzon-Formosa-China coast triangle. In seven months MacArthur's forces had moved forward nearly 1,500 miles from the Admiralties to Morotai in ten months Nimitz' forces had advanced over 4,500 miles from Hawaii to the Palaus. The time had now arrived when a final choice had to be made of the main objective in the target area.

The Decision To Invade Luzon

render air support for these advances. The arguments for Formosa were cogent enough. Its strategic position made it a better island steppingstone to the China coast or the Japanese home islands, a position from which Japanese communications to the south could be cut more effectively than from Luzon, and a closer-in position from which to conduct strategic bombardment. But it also could prove to be a more difficult position to take, and Nimitz did not have in his theater sufficient Army supporting and service troops, without reinforcement, to sustain a land campaign on the island. It might be difficult, too, to mount an invasion of Formosa as long as the Japanese could, from strong positions on Luzon, interfere with the Allied line of communications. Another consideration involved the real value of a foothold on the China coast. By the early fall of 1944, air base sites in east China Prom which the Allies had hoped to support Pacific operations and bomb Japan appeared irretrievably lost, and the Marianas already provided bases for the B-29's almost as close to Tokyo as Formosa. The need to seize and develop a port on the China coast thus lost much of its urgency, and the argument that Formosa was the best steppingstone to China became less compelling. Then, too, a successful invasion of either Luzon or Formosa required some concentration of forces from the two theaters. It was far easier to shift highly mobile naval resources in Nimitz' theater to the Philippines than it was to redeploy Army troops from the Southwest Pacific to support Nimitz' invasion of Formosa and the jump to the China coast with which he hoped to follow it.

At the time of the Morotai and Palaus landings, MacArthur's plans for invasion of the Philippines called for a preliminary assault in southern Mindanao on November 15, 1944, to secure air bases for the support of a larger attack at Leyte, in the east-central Philippines, on December 20. He would follow this with a large-scale assault on Lingayen Gulf in February 1945. Nimitz meanwhile planned to mount an invasion of Yap in the Carolines in October 1944 and then would prepare to launch his attack on Formosa as soon afterward as the elements of the Pacific Fleet required for operations in the southern and central Philippines could be returned. Obviously, there had to be a choice between Luzon and Formosa, for the Pacific Fleet would be required to support either operation.

The course of events went far to dictate the final choice. In mid-September Admiral Halsey's carrier task forces providing strategic support for the Morotai and Palaus operations struck the central and southern Philippines. Halsey found Japanese air strength unexpectedly weak and uncovered few signs of significant ground or naval activity. On the basis of Halsey's reports, MacArthur and Nimitz proposed to the Joint Chiefs a move directly to Leyte in October,

bypassing Mindanao. Nimitz agreed to divert to the Leyte invasion the 3-division corps then mounting out of Hawaii for the assault against Yap. The Joint Chiefs quickly approved the new plan, and the decision to invade Leyte two months ahead of schedule gave MacArthur's arguments to move onto Luzon almost irresistible force. MacArthur now reported that he could undertake the invasion of Luzon in December 1944, whereas all the planners' estimates indicated that resources for an invasion of Formosa--particularly service troops and shipping-- could not be readied before February 1945 at the earliest. Nimitz proposed to shift the Central Pacific attack northward against Iwo Jima in the Bonins in January 1945 and then against Okinawa and other islands in the Ryukyus early in March. On October 3, Admiral King bowing to the inevitable, accepted the new plans and the Joint Chiefs issued directives to MacArthur for the invasion of Luzon on December 20 and to Nimitz for the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa early in 1945.

Pacific strategy had been cast into almost its final mold. In the end, the China coast objective disappeared entirely from planning boards. Final plans for the defeat of Japan envisaged gradual tightening of the ring by blockade and bombardment from the Marianas, Philippines, and Ryukyus with an invasion of the home islands to be mounted from these bases.

The Philippines Campaign

The main assault at Leyte took place on October 20, 1944, as four Army divisions landed abreast in the largest amphibious operation yet conducted in the Pacific. Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid, MacArthur's naval commander, controlled the amphibious phases, including naval gunfire support and close air support by planes based on escort carriers. Ground forces were under Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, commanding the U.S. Sixth Army land-based air forces of the Southwest Pacific Area in general support were commanded by Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney. MacArthur himself exercised unified command over the air, ground, and naval commanders. The fast carrier task forces of the Pacific Fleet, providing strategic support, operated under the control of Admiral Halsey, who reported to Nimitz, not MacArthur. There was no provision for unified naval command, and Halsey's orders were such that he could make his principal mission the destruction of the Japanese Fleet rather than the support of MacArthur's entry into the Philippines.

The Japanese had originally planned to make their stand in the Philippines on Luzon, but the invasion of Leyte moved them to reconsider, since they now decided that the entire Philippine Archipelago would be strategically lost if the

Unloading Supplies on a Leyte Beach

U.S. Army secured a foothold in the central islands. They therefore began sending ground reinforcements to Leyte increased their land-based air strength in the Philippines in the hope of destroying Allied shipping in Leyte Gulf and maintaining local air superiority and dispatched their remaining naval strength to Leyte Gulf to destroy Kinkaid's invasion fleet and to block Allied access to the Philippines. The ensuing air-naval Battle of Leyte Gulf was the most critical moment of the campaign, and proved one of the most decisive actions of the Pacific war.

Admiral Halsey, without consulting MacArthur or Kinkaid, pulled the bulk of his carrier forces northward to intercept part of the Japanese Fleet, leaving Leyte Gulf open to other Japanese Fleet units. Gallant, desperate action by Kinkaid's old battleships and escort carrier planes turned back the Japanese in the gulf, assuring the safety of the landing forces. It had been a close thing, clearly demonstrating the dangers of divided command. In the end, however, the combined operations of Kinkaid's and Halsey's forces virtually eliminated the Japanese Navy as a factor in the Pacific war.

With the Leyte beaches secure, U.S. Army units proceeded to destroy the Japanese ground forces. Miserable weather bogged down the pace of operations, made supply difficult, delayed airfield construction, curtailed air support, and permitted the Japanese to continue to ship reinforcements to the island. The reinforcement program came to a sudden halt early in December when the 77th Division executed an amphibious envelopment on Leyte's west coast,

General MacArthur and Members of His Staff Wading Ashore at Leyte

and by late December the Sixth Army had secured the most important sections of the island, those required for air and logistical bases. Japanese troops in the mountains of northwestern Leyte continued organized resistance well into the spring of 1945, occupying the energies of large portions of Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger's newly formed Eighth Army.

While the fight on Leyte continued, MacArthur's forces moved on to Luzon only slightly behind schedule. The first step of the Luzon Campaign was the seizure of an air base in southwestern Mindoro, 150 miles south of Manila, on December 15, 1944, two Army regiments accomplishing the task with ease. The invasion of Luzon itself started on January 9, 1945, when four Army divisions landed along the shores of Lingayen Gulf. Command arrangements were similar to those at Leyte, and again fast carrier task forces under Halsey operated in general support and not under MacArthur's control. Within three days five Army divisions, a separate regimental combat team, two artillery groups, an armored group, and supporting service units were ashore and had begun a drive down the Central Plains of Luzon toward Manila. The Japanese were incapable of naval intervention at Lingayen Gulf, and their most significant reaction was to throw a number of kamikaze (suicide plane) attacks against Kinkaid's naval forces for four days.

General Tomoyuki Yamashita, commanding Japanese forces in the Philippines, did not intend to defend the Central Plains--Manila Bay region, the strategic prize of Luzon. Knowing he would receive no reinforcements and

believing the issue in the Philippines had been decided at Leyte, he sought only to pin down major elements of MacArthur's forces in the hope of delaying Allied progress toward Japan. For this purpose he moved the bulk of his troops into mountain strongholds, where they could conduct a protracted, bloody defensive campaign. But Japanese naval forces on Luzon, only nominally under Yamashita, decided to ignore this concept in favor of defending Manila and Manila Bay. Thus, when U.S. Army units reached Manila on February 3, it took them a month of bitter building-to-building fighting to root out the Japanese. Meanwhile, operations to clear Manila Bay had begun with a minor amphibious landing at the southern tip of Bataan on February 15. The next day a combined parachute-amphibious assault, involving two Army regiments, initiated a battle to clear Corregidor Island. Other forces cleared additional islands in Manila Bay and secured the south shore. By mid-March the bay was open for Allied shipping, but an immense salvage and repair job was necessary before the Allies could fully exploit Manila's excellent port facilities.

The reinforced 38th Division had landed meanwhile near Subic Bay and had cut across the base of Bataan peninsula to prevent the Japanese from holing up on Bataan as had MacArthur's forces three years earlier. The 11th Airborne Division undertook both amphibious and parachute landings in southern Luzon to start clearing that region, and the 158th Regimental Combat Team made an amphibious assault in southeastern Luzon to secure the Bicol peninsula. Turning against the Japanese mountain strongholds, MacArthur continued to pour reinforcements onto Luzon, and the land campaign there ultimately evolved into the largest of the Pacific war. MacArthur committed to Luzon ten divisions, two regiments of another division, and three separate regimental combat teams. Guerrillas also played a large role. One guerrilla unit came to substitute for a regularly constituted division, and other guerrilla forces of battalion and regimental size supplemented the efforts of the Army units. Moreover, the loyal and willing Filipino population immeasurably eased the problems of supply, construction, and civil administration.

Except for a strong pocket in the mountains of north central Luzon, organized Japanese resistance ended by late June 1945. The rugged terrain in the north, along with rainy weather, prevented Krueger's Sixth Army from applying its full strength to the reduction of this pocket. Eichelberger's Eighth Army took over responsibility for operations on Luzon at the end of June and continued the pressure against Yamashita's force in the last-stand area, but they held out there until the end of the war.

While Sixth Army was destroying Japanese forces on Luzon, Eighth Army ultimately employed five divisions, portions of a sixth division, a separate

U.S. Paratroopers Dropping on Corregidor

regimental combat team, and strong guerrilla units in its campaign to reconquer the southern Philippines. This effort began when a regimental combat team of the 41st Division landed on Palawan Island on February 28, 1945. Here engineers built an air base from which to help cut Japan's line of communications to the south and to support later advances in the southern Philippines and the Indies. On March 10, another regimental combat team of the 41st, later reinforced, landed near Zamboanga in southwestern Mindanao, and soon thereafter Army units began moving southwest toward Borneo along the Sulu Archipelago. In rapid succession Eighth Army units then landed on Panay, Cebu, northwestern Negros, Bohol, central Mindanao, southeastern Negros, northern Mindanao, and finally at Sarangani Bay in southern Mindanao, once intended as the first point of re-entry into the Philippines. At some locales bitter fighting raged for a time, but the issue was never in doubt and organized Japanese resistance in the southern Philippines had largely collapsed by the end of May. Mopping up continued to the end of the war, with reorganized and re-equipped guerrilla forces bearing much of the burden.

The last offensives in the Southwest Pacific Area started on May 1 when an Australian brigade went ashore on Tarakan Island, Borneo. Carried to the beaches by landing craft manned by U.S. Army engineers, the Australians had air support from fields on Morotai and in the southern Philippines. On June 10

Iwo Jima and Okinawa

Since slow-base development at Leyte had forced MacArthur to delay the Luzon invasion from December to January, Nimitz in turn had to postpone his target dates for the Iwo Jima and Okinawa operations, primarily because the bulk of the naval resources in the Pacific--fast carrier task forces, escort carrier groups, assault shipping, naval gunfire support vessels, and amphibious assault craft--had to be shifted between the two theaters for major operations. The alteration of schedules again illustrated the interdependence of the Southwest and Central Pacific Areas.

The Iwo Jima assault finally took place on February 19, 1945, with the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, supported by minor Army elements, making the landings. The 3d Marine Division reinforced the assault, and an Army regiment ultimately took over as island garrison. The marines had to overcome fanatic resistance from firmly entrenched Japanese, who held what was probably the strongest defensive system American forces encountered during the Pacific war, and it took a month of bloody fighting to secure the island. In early March a few crippled B-29's made emergency landings on Iwo by the end of the month an airfield was fully operational for fighter planes. Later, engineers constructed a heavy bomber field and another fighter base on the island.

The invasion of the Ryukyus began on March 26 when the 77th Division landed on the Kerama Islands, fifteen miles west of Okinawa, to secure a forward naval base, a task traditionally assigned to marines. On April 1 the 7th and 96th Divisions and the 2d and 6th Marine Divisions executed the assault on the main objective, Okinawa. Two more Army divisions and a Marine infantry regiment later reinforced it. Another amphibious assault took place on April 16, when the 77th Division seized Ie Shima, four miles west of Okinawa, and the final landing in the Ryukyus came on June 26, when a small force of marines went ashore on Kume Island, fifty miles west of Okinawa. Ground forces at Okinawa were first under the U.S. Tenth Army, Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner commanding. When General Buckner was killed on June 18, Marine Lt. Gen. Roy S. Geiger took over until General Joseph W. Stilwell assumed command on the 23d.

The Japanese made no attempt to defend the Okinawa beaches, but instead fell back to prepared cave and tunnel defenses on inland hills. Bitterly defending

every inch of ground, the Japanese continued organized resistance until late June. Meanwhile, Japanese suicide planes had inflicted extensive damage on Nimitz' naval forces, sinking about 25 ships and damaging nearly In more in an unsuccessful attempt to drive Allied naval power from the western Pacific. Skillful small unit tactics, combined with great concentrations of naval, air, and artillery bombardment, turned the tide of the ground battle on Okinawa itself. Especially noteworthy was the close support that naval gunfire vessels provided the ground forces and the close air support furnished by Army, Navy, and Marine aircraft.

Capture of Okinawa and other positions in the Ryukyus gave the Allies both air and naval bases within easy striking distance of Japan. By early May fighter planes from Okinawa had begun flights over Japan, and as rapidly as fields became available bombers, including units from the Southwest Pacific Area, came forward to mount attacks in preparation for the invasion of the home islands. The forward anchorages in the Ryukyus permitted the Pacific Fleet to keep in almost continuous action against Japanese targets. The Ryukyus campaign had brought Allied forces in the Pacific to Japan's doorstep.

The American Effort in China, Burma, and India

While American forces in the Pacific, under the unified direction of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made spectacular advances, the Allied effort in Southeast Asia bogged down in a mire of conflicting national purposes. The hopes Americans held, in the early stages of the war, that Chinese manpower and bases would play a vitally important role in the defeat of Japan were doomed to disappointment. Americans sought to achieve great aims on the Asiatic mainland at small cost, looking to the British in India and the Chinese, with their vast reservoirs of manpower, to carry the main burden of ground conflict. Neither proved capable of exerting the effort the Americans expected of them.

Early in 1942 the United States had sent General Stilwell to the Far East to command American forces in China, Burma, and India and to serve as Chief of Staff and principal adviser to Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of Nationalist China and Allied commander of the China theater. Stilwell's stated mission was "to assist in improving the efficiency of the Chinese Army." The Japanese conquest of Burma, cutting the last overland supply route to China, frustrated Stilwell's designs, for it left a long and difficult airlift from Assam to Kunming over the high peaks of the Himalayas as the only remaining avenue for the flow of supplies. The Americans assumed responsibility for the airlift, but its development was slow, hampered by a scarcity of transport planes, airfields, and

trained pilots. Not until late in 1943 did it reach a monthly capacity of 10,000 tons, and in the intervening months few supplies flowed into China. The economy of the country continually tottered on the brink of collapse, and the Chinese Army, although it was a massive force on paper, remained ill organized, ill equipped, poorly led, and generally incapable of offensive action.

Stilwell thought that the only solution was to retake Burma and reopen the land supply line to China, and this became the position of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. To achieve the goal Stilwell undertook the training and equipping of a Chinese force in India that eventually consisted of three divisions, and sought to concentrate a much larger force in Yunnan Province in China and to give it offensive capability. With these two Chinese forces he hoped to form a junction in north Burma, thus re-establishing land communications between China and India. Stilwell's scheme became part of the larger plan, A NAKIM , that had been approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the Casablanca Conference. Neither the British nor the Chinese, however, had any real enthusiasm for A NAKIM , and in retrospect it seems clear that its execution in 1943 was beyond the capabilities of forces in the theater. Moreover, Chiang was quite dilatory in concentrating a force in Yunnan Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, commanding the small American air force in China, urged that the Hump air line should be used to support an air effort in China, rather than to supply Chinese ground forces. Chennault promised amazing results at small cost, and his proposals attracted President Roosevelt as well as the British and the Chinese. As an upshot, at the T RIDENT Conference in May 1943, the amphibious operation against Rangoon was canceled and a new plan for operations emerged that stressed Chennault's air operations and provided for a lesser ground offensive in central and northern Burma. Under this concept a new road would be built from Ledo in Assam Province, India, to join with the trace of the old Burma Road inside China. The Americans assumed responsibility for building the Ledo Road in the rear of Chinese forces advancing from India into Burma.

Logistical difficulties in India, however, again delayed the opening of any land offensive and kept the airlift well below target figures. Until the supply line north from Calcutta to the British and Chinese fronts could be improved--and this job took well over a year--both air and ground operations against the Japanese in Burma were handicapped. In October 1943 Chinese troops under Stilwell did start to clear northern Burma, and in the spring of 1944 a U.S. Army unit of regimental size, Merrill's Marauders, spearheaded new offensives to secure the trace for the overland road. But Myitkyina, the key point in the Japanese defenses in north Burma, did not fall until August 2 and by that time the effort in Burma had been relegated to a subsidiary role.

After the S EXTANT Conference in late 1943, in fact, the American staff no longer regarded it as probable that the overland route to China could be opened in time to permit Chinese forces to drive to the coast by the time American forces advancing across the Pacific reached there. While the Americans insisted on continuing the effort to open the Ledo Road, they now gave first priority to an air effort in China in support of the Pacific campaigns. The Army Air Forces, in May 1944, started to deploy the first of its B-29 groups to airfields in East China to commence bombing of strategic targets in Korea, Manchuria, and Japan. At the same time, Chennault's Fourteenth Air Force was directed to stockpile supplies for missions in support of Pacific forces as they neared the China coast. Again these projects proved to be more than could be supported over the Hump air line, particularly since transports had also to be used to supply the ground effort of both British and Chinese forces. Then the Japanese reacted strongly to the increased air effort and launched a ground offensive that overran most of the existing fields and proposed air base sites in east China. Both air and ground resources inside China had to be diverted to oppose the Japanese advance. The B-29's were removed to India in January 1945, and two months later were sent to Saipan where the major strategic bombing offensive against Japan was by that time being mounted. In sum, the air effort in China without the protection of an efficient Chinese Army fulfilled few of the goals proclaimed for it.

To meet the crisis in east China, President Roosevelt urged Chiang to place his U.S. supported armies under the command of General Stilwell Chiang eventually refused and asked for Stilwell's recall, a request the President honored. In September 1944, Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer replaced Stilwell as Chief of Staff to Chiang and commander of American forces in the China Theater a separate theater in India and Burma was created with Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan as its commanding general. The command issue was dropped and the American strategy in China became simply one of trying to realize at least something from previous investments without additional commitments.

Ironically enough, it was in this phase, after the Pacific advances had outrun those in Southeast Asia, that objects of the 1942 strategy were realized, in large part because the Japanese, hard-pressed everywhere, were no longer able to support their forces in Burma and China adequately. British and Chinese forces advanced rapidly into Burma in the fall of 1944, and, on January 27, 1945, the junction between Chinese forces advancing from India and Yunnan finally took place, securing the trace of the Ledo Road. To the south, the British completed the conquest of central Burma and entered Rangoon from the north early in May. The land route to China was thus finally secured on all sides, but

the Americans had already decided that they would develop the Ledo Road only as a one-way highway, though they did expand the airlift to the point where, in July 1945, it carried 74,000 tons into China.

With increased American supply support, Wedemeyer was able to make more progress in equipping and training the Chinese Army. Under his tutelage the Chinese were able to halt the Japanese advance at Chihchiang in April 1945, and, as the Japanese began to withdraw in order to prepare a citadel defense of their home islands, Wedemeyer and the Chinese laid plans to seize a port on the Chinese coast. The war came to an end, however, before this operation even started and before the training and equipping of a Chinese Army was anywhere near completion. Chiang's forces commenced the reoccupation of their homeland still, for the most part, ill equipped, ill organized, and poorly led.

The Japanese Surrender

During the summer of 1945, Allied forces in the Pacific had stepped up the pace of their air and naval attacks against Japan. In June and July carrier-based planes of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Army Air Forces planes from the Marianas, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa struck the Japanese home islands continuously. During July Pacific Fleet surface units bombarded Japan's east coast, and in the same month a British carrier task force joined in the attack. Planes from the Philippines hit Japanese shipping in the South China Sea and extended their strikes as far as Formosa and targets along the South China coast. American submarines redoubled their efforts to sweep Japanese shipping from the sea and sever the shipping lanes from Japan to the Indies and Southeast Asia. Throughout the war, in fact, submarines had preyed on Japanese merchant and combat vessels, playing a major role in isolating Japan from its conquests and thereby drastically reducing Japan's ability to wage war.

After Germany's surrender in May the United States embarked upon a huge logistical effort to redeploy more than a million troops from Europe, the United States, and other inactive theaters to the Pacific. The aim was to complete the redeployment in time to launch an invasion of Japan on November I, and the task had to be undertaken in the face of competing shipping demands for demobilization of long-service troops, British redeployment, and civil relief in Europe. By the time the war ended, some 150,000 men had moved directly from Europe to the Pacific, but a larger transfer from the United States across the Pacific had scarcely begun. In the Pacific, MacArthur and Nimitz had been sparing no effort to expand ports and ready bases to receive the expected influx and to mount invasion forces. The two commanders were also completing plans

Atomic Cloud Over Nagasaki

for the invasion of Japan. In the last stage of the war, as all forces converged on Japan, the area unified commands were replaced by an arrangement that made MacArthur commander of all Army forces in the Pacific and Nimitz commander of all Navy forces.

By midsummer of 1945 most responsible leaders in Japan realized that the end was near. In June, those favoring peace had come out in the open, and Japan had already dispatched peace feelers through the Soviet Union, a country it feared might also be about to enter the war despite the existence of a non-aggression treaty between the two nations. As early as the Tehran Conference in late 1943 Stalin had promised to enter the war against Japan, and it was agreed at Yalta in February 1945 that the USSR would do so three months after the defeat of Germany. At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945 the Soviet Union reaffirmed its agreement to declare war on Japan. At this conference the United States and Britain, with China joining in, issued the famed Potsdam Declaration calling upon Japan to surrender promptly, and about the same time President Truman decided to employ the newly tested atomic bomb against Japan in the event of continued Japanese resistance.

Despite the changing climate of opinion in Japan, the Japanese did not immediately accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. Accordingly, on August 6 a lone American B-29 from the Marianas dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on the 9th the Soviet Union came into the war and attacked Japanese forces in Manchuria and on the same day another B-29 dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The next day Japan sued for peace, and, with the signing of surrender terms aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, the bitter global war came to an end.


Japanese Fleet. By the end of the war Japan's Navy had virtually ceased to exist Japanese industry had been so hammered by air bombardment that Japan's ability to wage war was seriously reduced and U.S. submarine and air actions had cut off sources of raw material. At the time of the surrender Japan still had 2,000,000 men under arms in the homeland and was capable of conducting a tenacious ground defense about 3,000 Japanese aircraft were also operational. Nevertheless, the Japanese could hardly have continued the war for more than a few months. On the other hand, the fact that an invasion was not necessary certainly spared many American lives.

The great arbiter of the Pacific war had been American industrial power, which produced a mighty war machine. Out of this production had come the Pacific Fleet, a potent force that could overcome the vast reaches of the Pacific upon which the Japanese had depended so heavily as a defensive advantage. The decisive combat element of the fleet was the fast carrier task force, which carried the war deep into Japanese territory and supported advances far beyond the range of land-based aircraft. Land-based air power also played a decisive part. When carriers were not available to support offensives, it was land-based aviation that measured the distance of each forward move. Land-based aviation proved important as well in providing close support for ground operations, while aerial supply operations and troop movements contributed greatly to the success of the Allied campaigns.

Both naval and air forces were dependent upon shore bases, and the war in the Pacific demonstrated that even in a predominantly naval-air theater, ground combat forces are an essential part of the offensive team. The Japanese had also been dependent upon far-flung bases, so that much of the Allied effort during the war had gone into the seizure or neutralization of Japan's bases. Thus, the Pacific war was in large measure a war for bases. On the other hand, the U.S. Pacific Fleet, in one of the greatest logistical developments of the war, went far in the direction of carrying its bases with it by organizing fleet trains of support vessels that were capable of maintaining the fleet at sea over extended periods.

Another important facet of the Pacific war was the development and employment of amphibious assault techniques, repeatedly demonstrating the need for unified command. Air, ground, and naval teamwork, supremely important in the struggle against Japan, occasionally broke down, but the success of the Allied campaigns illustrates that all three elements achieved it to a large degree. Strategic air bombardment in the Pacific, designed to cripple Japan's industrial capacity, did not get under way until well along in 1945. The damage inflicted on Japanese cities was enormous, but the effect, as in the case of the

bomber offensive against Germany, remains unsettled, though the bombardment finally brought home to the Japanese people that the war was lost. The submarine played a vital role in reducing Japan's capabilities by taking a huge toll of Japanese shipping and by helping to cut Japan off from the resources of Southeast Asia.

In the final analysis Japan lost because the country did not have the means to fight a total war against the combination of industrial, air, naval, and human resources represented by the United States and its Allies. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Fleet at the outbreak of the war, put his finger on the fatal weakness of the Japanese concept of the war, when he stated: "It is not enough that we should take Guam and the Philippines, or even Hawaii and San Francisco. We should have to march into Washington and sign the treaty in the White House." This the Japanese could never do, and because they could not they had to lose the war.

Amazing Colorized Images Of WWII Bring The War To Life For Modern Viewers

Many thanks go to Doug Banks and his team – the masters of colorization. The beauty of these colorized images is that color allows you to pick out and study the smallest detail. These are sights that our forefathers would have seen. Must have been strange for them to witness the war in color then to see it recorded in black and white.

Do not click on their page – you will become addicted to their work. It is the research that they do on each image that makes the captions themselves a history lesson. Facebook page here Colorized-Photos.

Assault troops of the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 165th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division land on Yellow Beach on Butaritari Island at 1040 Hours, November 20, 1943

“Behind the tanks in the fourth and fifth waves came the troops of the 2d Battalion, l65th Infantry, boated in LCVP’s. Like the tank-carrying craft ahead of them, these too grounded on the reef. After a short hesitation, the men debarked into knee-deep water and began their slow passage into shore.

The Landings on Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

The intensity of fire from the enemy increased. Radios, flame throwers, bazookas, and other equipment were soaked or lost. In spite of the fact that the troops were fairly closely bunched in the water, they escaped with few casualties. Most of the fire was low in the water and inaccurate. Only two were killed none wounded.”

( (Photo source – US National Archives) (Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

During World War II, Allied forces, mainly the Australian 6th Division, took Tobruk on 22 January 1941. The Australian 9th Division pulled back to Tobruk to avoid encirclement after actions at Er Regima and Mechili and reached Tobruk on 9 April 1941 where prolonged fighting against German and Italian forces followed.

An allied soldier takes advantage of the opportunity to have a bath in the port city of Tobruk, Libya. 17 February 1942.

Although the siege was lifted by Operation Crusader in November 1941, a renewed offensive by Rommel the following year resulted in Tobruk being captured in June 1942 and held by the Axis forces until November 1942, when it was recaptured by the Allies. (Photo source – © IWM E 8439) No 1 Army Film &amp Photographic Unit – Lt. William G. Vanderson.

Photographer Lt. William G. Vanderson became a Prisoner of War during the North African Campaign and was released from Oflag 79 in Brunswick, Germany at the end of the war. (Colourised by Doug)

A Soldier of the 535th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, 99th Infantry Division, with his pup during the Battle of the Bulge, somewhere in Belgium on January 4, 1945.

535th AAA AW (Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons) Battalion was part of the 99th Infantry Division which was known as the ‘Checkerboard Division,’ which referred to its shoulder patch.

The 99th Division first saw action on the 9 November, taking over the defense of the sector north of the Roer River between Schmidt and Monschau, a distance of nearly 19 miles. After defensive patrolling, the 99th probed the Siegfried Line against heavy resistance on 13 December. In late 1944 having not yet seen battle, it was nicknamed the ‘Battle Babies.’

The inexperienced troops of the division were lodged on the northern shoulder of the Ardennes Offensive on 16 December. Although cut up and surrounded in part, the 99th was one of the only divisions that did not yield to the German attack and held their positions until reinforcements arrived.

The lines were then moved back to form defensive positions east of Elsenborn Ridge on the 19th. Here it held firmly against violent enemy attacks. From 21 December 1944 to 30 January 1945, the unit was engaged in aggressive patrolling and reequipping. It attacked toward the Monschau Forest, 1 February, mopping up and patrolling until it was relieved for training and rehabilitation, 13 February.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK).

A US Navajo Marine communicating over his radio in the field of battle, Pacific theatre WWII.

Code talkers are people in the 20th century who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages.

In particular, there were approximately 400–500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages.

Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications regarding speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II.

The name code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Cherokee and Choctaw Indians during World War I.

Other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Lakota, Meskwaki, and Comanche soldiers.

Post-war recognition:
The Navajo code talkers received no recognition until the declassification of the operation in 1968. In 1982, the code talkers were given a Certificate of Recognition by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who also named August 14, 1982 as “Navajo Code Talkers Day.”

On December 21, 2000, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, Public Law 106-554, 114 Statute 2763, which awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the original twenty-nine World War II Navajo code talkers, and Silver Medals to each person who qualified as a Navajo code talker (approximately 300).

In July 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush personally presented the Medal to four surviving original code talkers (the fifth living original code talker was not able to attend) at a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. Gold medals were presented to the families of the deceased 24 original code talkers.

On September 17, 2007, 18 Choctaw code talkers were posthumously awarded the Texas Medal of Valor from the Adjutant General of the State of Texas for their World War II service.

On November 15, 2008, The Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-420), was signed into law by President George W. Bush, which recognizes every Native American code talker who served in the United States military during WWI or WWII (with the exception of the already-awarded Navajo) with a Congressional Gold Medal, designed as distinct for each tribe.

The gold medals were to be retained by the Smithsonian Institution, and duplicate silver medals were awarded to each code talker or surviving family.

(Colourised and researched by Paul Reynolds.)

Two US Marines direct flame throwers at Japanese defenses that block the way to Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi, February 20 1945.

On the left is Pvt. Richard Klatt, of North Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, and on the right is Pfc. Wilfrid Voegeli, from Kansas.
Pvt. Richard Adolph Klatt (left / Company ‘I’ Headquarters Platoon): KIA several days later. (1926 -1945) Aged 19. Pfc. Wilfrid Marcus Voegeli (right / 1st Platoon): Awarded a Bronze Star for his actions on Iwo Jima. (1925-2001).

Fellow Marine, Pfc. Jim Shriver serving as a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man with Company ‘I’ of the 3rd Platoon (42 troops), 3rd Battalion, 28th Regiment of the 5th Marine Division (3/28). Jim and his unit went ashore in Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945 (D-Day) at approximately 1210.

On February 20th, 1945 (D+1) Jim Shriver was above and behind the two men is this photo, somewhat to the right, and maybe 20 or 30 yards back. Jim had his BAR trained and shooting on the opening of the cave where the two flamethrowers converged. Jim said that whoever took the photo must have been very close to him, but he didn’t see him.

John Overmyer, Pharmacist’s Mate (PhM) from the 2nd Platoon (since deceased), said he encountered Klatt just after his flamethrower had been struck and burst into flames.

John went into some detail, saying Klatt was horribly burned, and John was unable to do anything, even unable to pour water on his burns as he had used up all of his supply.

(Photo source USMC). (Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

Messerschmitt Bf.109F-4/trop (W.Nr 10074) Gelbe 5 of 6 Staffel, Jagdgeschwader 27, piloted by Leutnant Gerhard Mix, Western Desert, Egypt. 14 August 1942.

It had made a forced landing in the rear of the Australian lines near El Alamein and was loaded on to a transport to be taken to RAF workshops to be examined by experts. Other German planes had tried to destroy it after it had landed, to prevent disclosing any secret technical developments. Lt. Gerhard Mix was uninjured and taken POW. This Bf.109 is camouflaged in RLM 78/79 with a typically undefined color demarcation line in the middle of the fuselage (but slightly lower than per standard).

Markings include white spinner and collar, white fuselage band and wing tips, and yellow lower cowling.

Number 𔃵’ and the horizontal bar are yellow outlined in black. The squadron’s emblem of the ‘Berlin Bear’ is painted on either side of the cowling.

(Photo source -Australian War Memorial). (Colourised by Richard James Molloy from the UK).

Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF)

Soldiers of the Wehrmacht French Volunteer Legion in Russia, November 1941.

The Légion des Volontaires Français (LVF), or Infanterie Regiment 638, as it was known to the Germans, was formed in July 1941. It was sent to Debica, Poland, for training and it remained there until October when it was sent to the Eastern Front attached to 7./Infanterie-Division. It suffered heavy losses during the Soviet winter offensive and the 2./Battalion was almost destroyed but a 3./ Battalion was formed from new volunteers (including some 200 Africans, mainly from Algeria).

After these losses it operated as individual battalions rather than as a single unit fighting the partisans. It continued fighting the partisans during 1943 but was once again used as a single unit when all the battalions were attached to 286. Sicherungs-Division.

It merged with Französische SS-Freiwilligen-Sturmbrigade in September 1944 to form the Waffen-Grenadier Brigade der SS Charlemagne. (source – (Photo source – Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-214-0328-28)

Nick Dalphonse and Robert ‘Plug’ O’Neil were cooks for the 23rd US Marine Regiment, 4th Marines Division, on Iwo Jima.

20th of February 1945 (D-Day+1) “……my head is killing me and this guy’s taking my picture”.

They had barely landed and the unit was constantly pinned down by enemy artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire. A fellow Marine lost his composure and started popping off little bursts in all directions until O’Neil took his rifle. “It wasn’t bad enough that we could hardly move and then one of our leaders starts firing shots all over the place. We had to take his rifle from him.”

Not much after that, they found themselves under attack. They were concerned with the numbers of Japanese soldiers coming at them and noticed their 0.50 caliber machine gun had been taken out by enemy fire. The fire fights toward the front were intense and the machine gun seemed like the better option than the M1.

“They were in and on us. We were fighting and men were falling. At some point we noticed they had taken out our machine gun. The M1 was a good rifle and I know what they will teach you about shooting, but there will be nights when you go to sleep pretty sore. I swear we could pop guys off from behind the trees that were on those islands. We figured the only way we were coming off of that island was behind the machine gun, and just decided that it may as well be us. We moved the men and started firing that gun. The shells we were firing were half inch diameter. We were in a pretty good fight and lost a lot of good men there. Afterwards, we took it the rest of the way taking turns at it.

One evening we were firing the machine gun and that baby kept getting pretty hot.They just kept coming at us. All I can tell you is we were lucky our division was bringing along spare barrels.”

They also helped in repulsing several Banzai attacks that occurred toward the end of operations on the island. O’Neil and Dalphonse were machine gunners for the better part of the operation.

Nick also cornered a Japanese officer as they made their way through the brush. He ended up with his rifle on him. O’Neil was scanning flicking his eye toward his buddy. Nick said it seemed like forever, but he could see that the soldier was of some rank and thought he should be taken back for questioning. So they took him back to their field leader.

On Iwo Jima, heavy fire started as they made their way up the beach. O’Neil was hit by mortar fire and Nick bandaged and helped O’Neil back to the boat that would take him to the hospital ship. “There were shells flying all over the place and all of a sudden I saw ‘Plug’ running back with both hands on his face,” he added. “So I grabbed him, seen he was hit and took him back to the landing craft.”

Staff Sgt. Dalphonse ended up taking charge of the remaining men after losing their platoon leader.

Bob O’Neil account:
A mortar blast flipped him into the air, shredding his head and face.
He remembered spitting out blood and teeth as Nick Dalphonse crudely bandaged his head and helped him back to the shoreline to catch a boat to a hospital ship. Along the way, a Marine photographer snapped a picture of Dalphonse supporting his wounded, towering buddy.

Bob O’Neil’s wife, Betty, said her husband once told her how angry he was at being photographed at that moment. She recalled, “He said, ‘My head is killing me and this guy’s taking my picture?’ That’s why his hand is clenched in the picture.”

(The photographer was Corporal Eugene Jones, also of the 4th Division.) Robert O’Neil died in 2002 aged 78. Nick Dalphonse aged 91 in 2014 (and may still alive today).

(Colourised by Johhny Sirlande from Belgium).

Squadron Leader Brian J E “Sandy” Lane, the Commanding Officer of No. 19 Squadron RAF (facing the camera), relaxes with some of his pilots in the Squadron crew room at Manor Farm, Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, UK. September 1940.

The chap on the left, with the scarf is, F/L Colin MacFie and the one with his back to the door is F/L Hugh “Cocky” Dundas, both from the visiting 616 Squadron. (Photo source – © IWM CH 1461). Royal Air Force official photographer – Devon S A (Mr).
(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

A Surrendered Schwimmwagen Kfz1 Type 166 (WH 1641890) and a BMW 75 Motor bike & side car with other vehicles of the 278. Infanterie Division (Wehrmacht) at the Brenner Pass, on the Italian – Austrian Border. May 1945.

(The 278 I.Division emblem was a black figure of a Pomeranian Grenadier holding a musket bordered by a shield). The 278.ID were manning defence fortifications near the Brenner Pass. It surrendered to the 5th and 7th US Armies in May 1945. It was originally assigned to LXXVI Panzer Corps defending the Gothic Line, and after heavy losses the 278th was formed into a Volksgrenadier Division in early 1945. It was later transferred to 1.Fallschirmjäger, defending the Brenner Pass where most of the Division was encircled, the remainder later surrendered on the May 2, 1945.

(Colourised by Richard James Molloy from the UK)

As a rocket-firing LCI lays down a barrage on the already obscured beach on Peleliu, a wave of Alligators (LVTs, or Landing Vehicle Tracked) churn toward the defenses of the strategic island September 15, 1944.

The amphibious tanks with turret-housed cannons went in after heavy air and sea bombardment. Army and Marine assault units stormed ashore on Peleliu on September 15, and it was announced that organized resistance was almost entirely ended on September 27.
Operation ‘Stalemate II’ – The Peleliu operation was code-named Stalemate II, a name that seems ironic in hindsight, because initially the campaign was viewed with relative optimism. The main task of securing the island was given to the 1st Marine Division, a largely veteran unit that had seen action at Guadalcanal and New Britain. The 1st Marine Division consisted of the 1st, 5th, and 7th Marine Regiments (infantry) and the 11th Marines (artillery support).(AP Photo).

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

North American P-51 Mustang “Fools Paradise IV” (tail Nº 413309) of the 380th Fighter Squadron, 363rd Fighter Group, 9th USAAF at Maupertuis Airfield near Cherbourg in France. July/August 1944.

Evan M. ‘Mac’ McCall was the squadron commander and also attached to Patton’s 3rd Armored Division as a jeep-mounted Forward Air Controller on the ground in France. (Note, we have been unable to confirm the correct color and content of the jeep ‘canvas cover – art work’ but have used our knowledge of WW2 US aircraft ‘nose art’ to arrive at these colors. If anyone can help identify the colors or the name written on the canvas, please message us).

(Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia).

“Abandoned assault gun Sturmgeschütz StuG III Ausf G and German prisoners of war in Ruhr, Germany. February 1945.”

Not a lot of information on this one but the interest is the ‘nose art’ on the Topfblende pot mantlet (often called Saukopf “Pig’s head”) added by the crew or maybe by Allied soldiers.

(Colourised by Richard James Molloy from the UK)

Flight Lieutenant John Pattison of No. 485 (NZ) Squadron RAF, graphically recounts a combat to Squadron Leader Reginald Grant, and Flight Lieutenant Reginald Baker (‘A’ Flight Commander), in front of a Spitfire Mk Vb at RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex. 21 January 1943.

F/Lt Pattison from Waipawa, had flown with Nos. 92 and 266 squadrons during the Battle of Britain he was shot down by a Bf 109 in September 1940 and severely wounded, he recovered to have a distinguished war, being awarded a DSO and a DFC. he died in 2009 age 92. S/Ldr. ‘Reg’ Joseph Cowan Grant DFC &amp Bar, DFM from Woodville Nth Island, was appointed Wing Commander Flying of 122 Wing, equipped with Mustangs in early 1944.

On 28 February 1944, Grant took off for a sortie across the English Channel. Shortly after take off, in cloud, the engine of his fighter cut out. After ordering the wing to carry on without him, he turned back to base. On coming out of cloud at 1000 feet, he baled out but was too low for his parachute to open properly and fell to his death.

Reginald William Baker from Dunedin, was Commanding Officer, 487 Squadron RNZAF (flying Mosquito – 6 operations).
On February 22 1945, he was killed in action when his aircraft carried out an armed reconnaissance over the Hamburg-Bremen coast area and was one of two Mosquitoes shot down NW of Hamburg, crashing near Bevern, seven km East of Elmshorn at 13:15 hrs.

(Photo source – © IWM CH 8385). Royal Air Force official photographer – F/O Watkins

Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring’s Mercedes 540K with an armored body and bulletproof glass at Berchtesgaden, Germany.

Behind the wheel is 1st Sergeant Owen E. Henderson, and 1st Lieutenant James Cox both of ‘C’ Company, 326th Airborne Engineering Battalion of the US 101st Airborne Division.

On May 4, 1945, the 101st Airborne Division ‘Screaming Eagles’ liberated and took possession of this armored 1937 Mercedes Benz 540 K Spezial Roadster at Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. The car had been custom made for Hermann Goring.

US Major General Maxwell Taylor used this Mercedes as his command car in Germany until it was commissioned by the US Treasury Dept, in Washington DC to be displayed on a Victory war bond fund-raising tour across the USA. The bond tour was very successful.

In 1956 the car was auctioned off by the US Army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, sold to Jacques Tunick of Greenwich, Connecticut, with a high bid of $2167. In 1958, he sold it to the private collection of veterinarian Dr. George Bitgood, Jr, who had it repainted into black and the chrome re-plated. Kept private, Bitgood only displayed it once at the 1973 county fair in Durham, Connecticut.

After Dr. Bitgood’s death, “Blue Goos” was shown by his family at the 101st Airborne Reunion at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in June 2002. The car was then sold to Carnlough International Limited of Guernsey, on the agreement that she be restored to her “as found” at Berchtesgaden condition.

(Colorized by Patty Allison from the USA)

“Sergeant I.F.Chase cleaning his mess tin on a General Motors T17E1 Staghound armoured car of the South Alberta Regiment, 4th Canadian Division, Bad Zwischenahn, Germany, 29 April 1945 “

We think:- This soldier is wearing a Canadian Grenadier Guardsman cap, and the CGG captured Bad Zwischennahn with the 18th Armoured Car Regiment (12th Manitoba Dragoons). Therefore the Staghound may belong to them and not the Sth. Alberta Regt.
“……the South Alberta Regiment had tried to cross the Aue River to beat the 2nd Division into Oldenburg, losing five Shermans, four Stuarts and an armored ambulance in fighting between 15 and 19 April but nonetheless beating their way through scattered infantry resistance. The loss of a Valentine bridge-laying tank to a mine ended the drive on Oldenburg. An opportunity lost that was described later as the Commanding Officer’s “greatest disappointment of the war.”

Feeling marooned, the SAR was beyond the range of friendly artillery, save that of some medium batteries, and adapted one of its squadrons to fire the 75mm guns of its Shermans indirectly in support of the other two squadrons. The C.O. organized another troop of engineers to augment the existing troop, and laid hands on a company of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment, as well as a squadron of Staghound armored cars from the 18th Armoured Car Regiment and a troop of M-10 self-propelled guns, all in order to help make the regiment self-sufficient.

When the advance continued on 17 April, the SAR had a 12-mile front to cover, and a new bridge-layer got them across the Aue. Another river, the Lethe, had to be bridged on the 19th. Resistance stiffened and scattered fighting in front of Oldenburg lasted until 24 April, the last heavy day of fighting the regiment encountered during the Second World War.

The attachments from the Lincoln and Welland and the Manitoba Dragoons were withdrawn, and the GOC of 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division refused an appeal by the C.O. for infantry – there was none to spare. The SAR were ordered simply to maintain contact with the enemy, which meant advancing through craters, mines, and booby-traps after the Germans decided to withdraw from their positions.

On the left of the 4th Armoured Brigade, the 18th Armoured Car Regiment (12th Manitoba Dragoons) drove to the northwest in the direction of Godensholt. Brigadier Moncel remarked that the roads prevented more than two squadrons of tanks from deploying simultaneously, only one troop of each being able to fire directly at the enemy. Tactics revolved around finding company objectives 200 yards apart, with attacks supported by single troops of tanks, no more sophisticated than simply driving straight forward onto the objective. They were aided, however, by good coordination with air support.

German resistance on the approaches to Bad Zwischenahn remained fierce despite their own losses (3,600 prisoners were added to 4th Division POW cages in April).” (Photo source – (Lieut. Christopher J. Woods / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-144148).
(Colourised by Doug)

Captured German PzKpfw V ‘Panther’ Tank, rolling along a dirt road in Northwest Europe and used here by the 4th Coldstream Guards, 6th Guards Tank Brigade, 29 November 1944.

One of the best-documented cases is that of the Panther renamed ‘Cuckoo.’ The tank was found abandoned in a barn during the fighting for the village of Overloon. Before its capture, the tank had belonged to the 2./Panzer Brigade 107. The British tankers assigned ‘Cuckoo’ to the 4th Battalion Coldstream Guards alongside their issued Churchills, apparently to a staff section. These staff tanks were all named after birds, such as Eagle and Vulture hence, the name ‘Cuckoo.’ In preparing the tank for its new owners, a new coat of paint was applied, most likely the same khaki as the Churchills. Cuckoo’s new operators were impressed and happy with their acquisition in particular, they admired the high quality of the optics in the tank’s sights, something for which the Germans were noted.

‘Cuckoo’ participated in the attack on Geijsteren Castle and then took part in Operation Blackcock in January 1945. This attack was designed to push the Germans out of a triangular area of ground between the Dutch towns of Roermond, Heinsburg, and Sittard. ‘Cuckoo’ was employed in an attack on the town of Waldenrath in the southeastern corner of this triangle. The winter was harsh, and icy conditions made for difficult going. ‘Cuckoo’ both impressed and angered its new owners. While the Churchill tanks seemed to constantly slide and become stuck on the icy roads, the Panther kept moving with absolutely no problem at all, oblivious to the conditions plaguing the British armor.

The tank was used again during Operation Veritable, a campaign designed to clear the area between the Roer and Rhine Rivers in Germany. During this operation, the British were involved in heavy fighting in the Reichswald, which was forested and inhospitable terrain for tanks. Nevertheless, ‘Cuckoo’ fought here for its new owners. Unfortunately, during this campaign, the Panther’s fuel pump failed and could not be fixed or replaced. Abandoning the tank, the Coldstream Guards went on to finish the war with their Churchills. (

(Photo source – © IWM B 12187) No 5 Army Film &amp Photographic Unit – Sgt. Laing.

(Colourised by Gabriel Bersanu from Romania)

Flexible Gunner, Sergeant Leo Frank Teetman from Brooklyn, New York with the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Bomb Squadron, enjoys a sandwich and coffee whilst waiting to be de-briefed at Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire, England. 1 January 1944.

31 December 1943: mission
Target: Blockade Runner ‘ORSONE’ (name of ship)
Target type: Transportation
[Mouth of River Garonne], France

Target not found: The 384th Bombardment Group (H) flew as the low group of the combat wing of today’s mission. The primary target was reported to be at or near the mouth of the river Garonne, which rises in the Pyrenees mountains and flows generally northwestward, through Bordeaux, and empties into the Bay of Biscay. However, the target not seen due to 10/10 Cloud cover, while the secondary target was hidden by 8/10 clouds, so the formation returned without attacking. Bombs were mostly jettisoned in the English Channel. Due to weather and fuel shortage, most aircraft landed at other bases.

B-17F (41-24578)’ORSONE’ landed away at Kimbolton with bomb load. Leo Teetman was born in Brooklyn to parents of Polish descent and lived most of his life on the East Coast. He joined up in 1942 and was assigned as a gunner to the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Bomb Squadron, based at Grafton Underwood in Northamptonshire, UK.

Leo completed 25 credited missions in the early stage of the bombing campaign when the USAAF’s focus was on Occupied Europe.

After the war, Leo settled in Connecticut, where he worked for a company making optical instruments. He married and had three children. Leo Frank Teetman (1922 – 1999).
(Colourised by Doug)

A North American P-51D ‘Mustang’ (s/r. 44-63780) of the 354th Fighter Group, 356th Fighter Squadron, USAAF, at Ober-Olm airfield (code Y-64), a district in the east of Mainz-Bingen, Rhineland-Palatine, Germany, early April 1945.

Around 8 April 1945, when the 345th FG moved to Ober-Olm. In the foreground is the wreck of Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 (W.Nr. 210917). It was produced in December 1944 and seems to have been blown up by the retreating German troops or P-47 Thunderbolts from a previous raid. (Official US Air Force photo no. 080 307-f-3927O-037).

(Colourised by Richard James Molloy from the UK).

2nd Lt. Kenneth E. Neidigh of 355th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group displaying a German Swastika flag.

He was shot down over Witzenhausen, Hesse in Germany on 31 Mar 1945 and taken prisoner he later escaped on 10 April when American forces approached the prison camp. (pic was taken 17 April 1945). Kenneth Edwin Neidigh from Spokane County, Washington.
27 September 1923 – 4 March 2006.
(Colourised by Richard James Molloy from the UK)

8.8cm FlugzeugAbwehrKanone (FlaK) 18/36/37.

The 88 mm gun (eighty-eight) was a German anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery gun from World War II. It was widely used by Germany throughout the war, and was one of the most recognized German weapons of the war. Development of the original models led to a wide variety of guns.
The name applies to a series of guns the first one officially called the 8.8 cm Flak 18, the improved 8.8 cm Flak 36, and later the 8.8 cm Flak 37. Flak is a contraction of German Flugzeugabwehrkanone, meaning “aircraft-defensive cannon,” the original purpose of the eighty-eight. In informal German use, the guns were universally known as the Acht-acht (“eight-eight”), a contraction of Acht-komma-acht Zentimeter (𔄠.8 cm”). In English, “flak” became a generic term for ground anti-aircraft fire.

The versatile carriage allowed the eighty-eight to be fired in a limited anti-tank mode when still on wheels, and to be completely emplaced in only two-and-a-half minutes. Its successful use as an improvised anti-tank gun led to the development of a tank gun based upon it. These related guns served as the main armament of tanks such as the Tiger I: the 8.8 cm KwK 36, with the “KwK” abbreviation standing for KampfwagenKanone.

In addition to these Krupp’s designs, Rheinmetall created later a more powerful anti-aircraft gun, the 8.8 cm Flak 41, produced in relatively small numbers. Krupp responded with another prototype of the long-barreled 88 mm gun, which was further developed into the anti-tank and tank destroyer 8.8 cm Pak 43 gun, and turret-mounted 8.8 cm KwK 43 heavy tank gun.

Model Image Caliber Type Origin Details
M9 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Italy
United States
Beretta 92FS
To be replaced by the M17 Modular Handgun System [1] [2]
M11 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Germany
United States
Sig Sauer P228
To be replaced by the M18 Modular Handgun System [2]
M17, M18 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Germany
United States
Sig Sauer P320
Winner of the Modular Handgun System/replacing all M9 and M11 pistols across all branches of the US Military [3]
Mk 24 45 ACP Pistol Germany HK45 Compact Tactical - limited use in special forces/special operations forces operators
Mk 25 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Germany
Sig P226 - limited use in special forces/special operations forces operators
Mk 26 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Austria Glock 26 - limited use in special forces/special operations forces operators [4]
Mk 27 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Austria Glock 19 - widespread use in special operations/replacing the Sig Sauer P226 and Colt M45A1 [4]
Mk 28 9 x 19mm NATO Pistol Austria Glock 17 - limited use in special forces/special operations forces operators [4]
Submachine guns
B&T APC9 Pro-K 9 x 19mm NATO Submachine gun United States
Used in Military Police and Security Details as Sub Compact Weapon (SCW) [5]
As of 2019 the United States has adopted a small number for use.
SIG Sauer MPX 9 x 19mm NATO Submachine gun Germany
Used in night operations, close quarters, hostage rescue, and escort
MP5 9 x 19mm NATO Submachine gun Germany Used in night operations, close quarters, hostage rescue, and escort
Small caliber rifles/carbine
M16 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle United States Former standard service rifle, Formerly in use with Army National Guard Still in service with some American units. [6] [7]
M4A1 5.56×45mm NATO Carbine United States Standard service rifle [8] [9]
Mk 16 Mod 0 / Mk 17 Mod 0 5.56×45mm NATO
7.62×51mm NATO
Assault rifle/Battle rifle Belgium
United States
Used by US Army Rangers, US Army Special Forces, and Delta Force
HK416 5.56×45mm NATO Assault rifle Germany Used by Delta Force and SEAL Team Six during Operation Neptune's Spear
SIG Sauer MCX 5.56×45mm NATO, .300 AAC Blackout Assault rifle Germany
Used by Joint Special Operations Command
500 MILLS 12-gauge Pump action shotgun United States Used by Delta Force
M1014 12-gauge Semi-automatic shotgun Italy
M26 MASS 12-gauge Modular accessory shotgun system United States Attaches to M4 or standalone
Machine guns
M249 5.56×45mm NATO Light machine gun United States Belt-fed, but can be used with STANAG magazines [10] [11]
M240 7.62×51mm NATO General purpose machine gun United States Belt-fed [12] [13]
Browning M2 .50 BMG Heavy machine gun United States Mounted on vehicles or tripods. [14]
DMRs and sniper rifles
Mk 14 EBR 7.62×51mm NATO Designated marksman rifle United States To be replaced with the M110A1 CSASS
M110 SASS 7.62×51mm NATO Designated marksman rifle United States KAC SR-25
M110A1 CSASS 7.62×51mm NATO, 6.5mm Creedmoor Compact squad designated marksman rifle Germany HK 417 Sniper, Replacing M110 SASS and M14 EBR
SIG Sauer 716 G2 7.62×51mm NATO Designated marksman rifle United States
M24 SWS 7.62×51mm NATO Sniper weapon system United States Remington 700
M2010 ESR .300 Winchester Magnum Enhanced sniper rifle United States
Mk 13
Mod 5
.300 Winchester Magnum Sniper rifle United Kingdom AI Arctic Warfare
Mk 20 SSR 7.62×51mm NATO, 6.5mm Creedmoor Sniper Support rifle Belgium
United States
Mk 21 PSR 7.62×51mm NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum Precision sniper rifle United States Remington MSR
Mk 22 ASR 7.62x51mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, .338 Norma Magnum Advanced sniper rifle United States Barret MRAD
M107 .50 BMG Anti-materiel rifle, sniper rifle United States
Grenade-based weapons
Mk 19 40mm Automatic grenade launcher United States Belt-fed. [15] [16]
Mk 47 Striker 40mm Automatic grenade launcher United States Fire-control system
M203 40mm Grenade launcher United States Single-shot underbarrel grenade launcher [17] [18]
M320 40mm Grenade launcher Germany
United States
Single-shot underbarrel or stand-alone grenade launcher
M67 Fragmentation grenade United States
M18 Smoke grenade United States
M84 Flashbang United States
Portable anti-material weapons
AT4 84mm Anti-tank weapon Sweden
M141 83.5mm Anti-fortification United States Single-shot shoulder-launched weapon designed to defeat hardened structures. Based on the SMAW.
M72 LAW 66mm Anti-tank weapon United States
M3 MAAWS [19] 84x246mm R Anti-tank recoilless rifle Sweden
BGM-71 TOW 152mm Guided anti-tank missile United States
FGM-148 Javelin 127mm Fire-and-forget anti-tank missile United States
FIM-92 Stinger Anti-aircraft missile United States
M202 FLASH 66mm M235 Incendiary TPA Multishot incendiary rocket launcher United States
Name Image Origin Quantity Notes
HMMWV United States 230,000 Around 40% of those remaining in service are armored the armored HMMWVs in service are to be replaced by the JLTV.
Light Strike Vehicle United States Unknown
Oshkosh L-ATV United States 53,582 (procurement objective)

11,000+ delivered to Army and Marine Corps

MRAP vehicles Edit

The Pentagon bought 25,000 MRAP vehicles since 2007 in 25 variants through rapid acquisition with no long-term plans for the platforms. The Army plans to divest 7,456 vehicles and retain 8,585. Of the total number of vehicles the Army is to keep, 5,036 are to be put in storage, 1,073 used for training and the remainder spread across the active force. The Oshkosh M-ATV will be kept the most at 5,681 vehicles, as it is smaller and lighter than other MRAPs for off-road mobility. The other most retained vehicle will be the Navistar MaxxPro Dash with 2,633 vehicles and 301 Maxxpro ambulances. Other MRAPs such as the Cougar, BAE Caiman, and larger MaxxPros will be disposed. [37]

Vehicle-mounted weapons Edit

  • The M240, MK 19, and M2 machine guns can be mounted on vehicles.
  • The M134 Minigun, fires 7.62mm ammunition at 3,000 to 4,000 rpm.
  • The M3P Machine Gun, an M2 variant with a higher rate of fire mounted on the Avenger Humvee.
  • The GAU-19, a rotary gun that fires .50 caliber ammunition. Mounted on Humvees and helicopters.
  • The M230 Autocannon fires 30×113mm ammunition at a rate of 625 rounds per minute. It is mounted on the AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk Direct Action Penetrator helicopters. [38]
  • The M242 Autocannon fires 25×137mm ammunition at a rate of 200 rounds per minute. It is one of the primary armaments of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and is one of a variety of anti-air and anti-surface naval armaments. [39]

The U.S. Army operates some fixed-wing aircraft and many helicopters. [40]

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Quantity Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
C-12 Huron United States Cargo/Transport C-12C C-12D C-12F MC-12W 17 14 17 11 [41]
C-26 Metroliner United States Cargo/Transport C-26E 11
C-31 Troopship Netherlands Cargo/Transport C-31A 2
Gulfstream C-37 United States Cargo/Transport C-37A C-37B 2 1
EO-5 Canada Reconnaissance EO-5C 5 [42] Previously designated as RC-7B
RC-12 Huron United States Reconnaissance RC-12D RC-12H RC-12K RC-12X 12 6 18 14 [43]
Cessna UC-35 United States Utility aircraft UC-35A UC-35B 20 7
DHC-6 Twin Otter Canada Utility STOL aircraft UV-18A 6
AH-6 Little Bird United States Attack helicopter MH/AH-6M 60
AH-64 Apache United States Attack helicopter AH-64D AH-64E 756
CH-47 Chinook United States Cargo helicopter CH-47D CH-47F 394 48
EH-60 Black Hawk United States Electronic-warfare helicopter EH-60A 64
MH-47 Chinook United States Multi-mission helicopter MH-47G 27
TH-67 Creek United States
Trainer helicopter TH-67 180 To be retired by 2020 [44]
UH-60 Black Hawk United States Utility helicopter UH-60A UH-60L UH-60M 751 592 250 [45] [46]

Number of aircraft Edit

As of 4 April 2019, the Army has

  • 193 - fixed-wing/STOL aircraft +
  • 3,372 - rotary-wing/helicopters =
  • 3,565 - total manned aircraft +
  • 10,441 - UAVs/UCAVs/drones =
  • 14,006 - grand total of aircraft

The Army also operates several vessels. [49]

Name Image Type Versions Quantity
General Frank S. Besson Class Logistics support vessel 2 8
Stalwart Class Ocean surveillance ship 1
Runnymede Class Landing craft utility 35
MGen. Nathanael Greene Class Large tug 6

Current attire
Name Pattern name(s) Pattern Image Notes
Army Combat Uniform (ACU) Operational Camouflage Pattern The OCP uniform was originally codenamed Scorpion W2 in the early 2000s. In response to soldiers' complaints about the ineffectiveness of the Universal Camouflage Pattern that had been in service for the past decade, the army conducted a program between uniform manufacturers in 2015 to find a replacement. The OCP pattern was declared the winner and began to be rolled out in June 2015 and became mandatory in September 2019. [50]
Army Combat Shirt (ACS)
Army Aircrew Combat Uniform (A2CU) Operational Camouflage Pattern

The standard garrison service uniform is known as "Army Greens" or "Class-As". The "Army Blue" uniform, is currently the Army's formal dress uniform, but in 2009 it replaced the Army Green and the Army White uniforms (a uniform similar to the Army Green uniform, but worn in tropical postings) and became the new Army Service Uniform, which functions as both a garrison uniform (when worn with a white shirt and necktie) and a dress uniform (when worn with a white shirt and either a necktie for parades or a bow tie for "after six" or "black tie" events). The Patrol Cap is worn with the ACU for garrison duty and the beret with the Army Service Uniform for non-ceremonial functions. The Army Blue Service Cap, is allowed for wear by any soldier ranked CPL or above at the discretion of the commander.

Body armor in all units is the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, which is now being supplemented with the lightweight Modular Body Armor Vest and Soldier Plate Carrier System. Head protection is provided by the Advanced Combat Helmet and Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, which are being replaced in deployed units by the Enhanced Combat Helmet.

Modular sleep system Edit

The Modular Sleep System (MSS) is a sleeping bag kit part of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (Gen I to Gen III) used by the United States Army and manufactured by Tennier Industries. It consists of a camouflaged, waterproof, breathable bivy cover, a lightweight patrol sleeping bag, and an intermediate cold-weather sleeping bag (note that the color differs depending on the vintage of the gear). Compression sacks are included to store and carry the system. The MSS is available in a variety of camouflage patterns. The patrol bag provides weather protection from 35–50 °F (2–10 °C). The intermediate bag provides cold weather protection from −5–35 °F (−21–2 °C). Combining the patrol bag and intermediate bags provides extreme cold weather protection in temperatures as low as −30 °F (−34 °C). The bivy cover can be used with each of three MSS configurations (patrol, intermediate, or combined) to provide environmental protection from wind and water. The sleeping bags are made of ripstop nylon fabrics and continuous-filament polyester insulation the camouflage bivy cover is made with waterproof, breathable, coated or laminated nylon fabric the compression sacks are made with water-resistant and durable nylon fabrics. [51]

Used by Army aviation crews to adapt to varying mission requirements and environmental conditions.

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