Tag Archives: Military History

Military History – July 2015

Military History for July

The Battle for Guam, 1944

Picked this item for Military History for July, as it brought back memories of my time spent there during the years of 1966-1969 riding FBM submarines out of Apra Harbor.  I was also able to watch B-52 Bombers take off and land at Andersen Air Force Base during the Vietnam War.  It was hot and humid 24-7, but has some of the most beautiful beaches and the residents were always gracious to us.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guam is the largest of the Marianas, 32 miles (52 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide. 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. 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 it 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 planes based in the Marshall Islands to the east, then once air superiority was gained, close bombardment by battleships. Saipan, Tinian, and Guam were chosen as targets due to their size, their suitability as a base for supporting the next stage of operations toward the Philippines, Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands; the deep-water harbor at Apra was suitable for the largest ships; and airfields for Boeing B-29 Superfortresses could be built from which to bomb Japan.

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

A US naval and air bombardment lasted from 11-13 June 1944, involving 216 carrier aircraft and B-24s. On the 12th and 13th, 12 Japanese cargo ships and several fishing vessels were sunk. Battleships started shelling the island on 27 June, joined by a carrier group on 4 July, and two more on 6 July, with the loss of 16 US aircraft.

Guam, ringed by reefs, cliffs, and heavy surf, presents a formidable challenge for an attacker. Underwater demolition teams reconnoitered the beaches and removed obstacles from 14-17 July. Despite the obstacles, on 21 July, the Americans landed on both sides of the Orote Peninsula on the western side of Guam, planning to secure Apra Harbor. 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. Japanese artillery sank 20 LVTs, and inflicted heavy casualties on the Americans, especially on the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, but, by 09:00, men and tanks were ashore at both beaches.  By nightfall, the Americans had established beachheads about 6,600 feet (2,000 m) deep. Japanese counterattacks were made throughout the first few days of the battle, mostly at night, using infiltration tactics. Several times they penetrated the American defenses and were driven back with heavy losses of men and equipment.

The 77th Infantry Division had a more difficult landing on 23-24 July. Lacking amphibious vehicles, they had to wade ashore from the edge of the reef where they were dropped by their landing craft. The men stationed in the two beachheads were pinned down by heavy Japanese fire, making initial progress inland quite slow. Supply was very difficult[3] for the Americans 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 blocked off the Orote Peninsula on 25 July, and that same night Lt. General Takeshi counterattacked, coordinated with a similar attack against the 3rd Division to the north. The next day, General Obata reported, “our forces failed to achieve the desired objectives.” Lieutenant General Takeshi Takashina was killed on 28 July, and Lieutenant General Hideyoshi Obata took over the command of the defenders. On 28 July, the two beachheads were linked, and by 29 July, the peninsula was secure.

The 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 had only a handful of tanks left. Obata withdrew his troops from the south of 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”.

After ensuring no significant Japanese forces operated in the southern portion of Guam, 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. The Tiyan Airfield was captured on 1 Aug.

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. The 1st Provisional formed up on the left flank of the 3rd Marine on 7 August, due to the widening front and continued casualties, in an effort to prevent the Japanese from slipping through the American gaps. The Japanese had another stronghold at Mount Santa Rosa, which was secured on 8 Aug.

On 10 August, organized Japanese resistance ended, and Guam was declared secure, though an estimated 7,500 Japanese soldiers were estimated to be at-large. The next day, Obata committed ritual suicide at his headquarters on Mount Mataguac, after sending a farewell message to Japan.

A few Japanese soldiers held out in the jungle. On 8 December 1945, three U.S. Marines were ambushed and killed. On 24 January 1972, Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi was discovered by hunters. He had lived alone in a cave for 27 years.

After the battle, Guam was turned into a base for Allied operations. Five large airfields were built by the Seabees, and B-29 bombers flew from Northwest Field and North Field on the island to attack targets in the Western Pacific and on mainland Japan.

Latest News – June 2015

*For those that would like an update, the old VFW building is totally gone.  Shortly, Baker Construction will be digging, setting footings and pouring concrete.  Soil borings were done and results were better than what was anticipated.  Surveying and pin placement is in progress and some changes were requested of the architect that will save some costs in the long run.  So after a lot of waiting, hundreds of comments, construction will be starting shortly.

*Please check the information following regarding a WWII Boeing B-17 Bomber returning to Waterloo as part of a nationwide tour.    This will take place the week end of June 12-14th.  This is one AWESOME plane and everyone and their children and grandchildren should visit this piece of living history.


Omaha Beach taken 2004 – Normandy American Cemetery – 172.5 acres – 9,387 burials – 38 pairs of brothers buried side by side – 4 women and 3 MOH winners buried here.

*A huge Thank You to everyone that helped in any way with all the Memorial Day activities.  I truly could not believe the number of people that showed up to assist.  I was also pleased by the number of young people that were there to help.  Richard Miller gave one of the young men helping with our “Flanders Field” a brief history lesson regarding this historic place.  This makes me wonder what history is being taught, that the men and women that died to keep this country free and the places they are buried are unknown to our younger generation.  Do the following names mean anything to you: Aisne-Marne, France,  – Brittany , France,  – Lorraine, France,  – Sicily, Italy,  – Manila American Cemetery  and Memorial, Philippines, – and North Africa American Cemetery, Tunisia?  Did you know that the Manila American Cemetery contains the remains of over 17,000 Americans?

*Along those same thoughts, “Did you know that Hank Williams, Sr. worked at the Alabama Dry Docks building warships in 1943?”   Now I know too, but who remembers Hank Williams, Sr., that I did know.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Aluminum Overcast a B-17 Bomber

Members of the John Livingston Chapter 227 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) are continuing to plan activities for the historic plane’s arrival.

“This planning effort is a combination of volunteer efforts by fellow member of Chapter 227, along with staff from both Livingston Aviation and the Waterloo Airport,” said Warren Brecheisen, President of the local EAA chapter.

A press release issued through the City of Waterloo, describes the plane as “a living history of American Heritage and a tribute to all of the men and women who have served to defend our Country.”

According to event organizers, the B-17 bomber coming to Waterloo is a real World War II aircraft and not a replica.

“This is the same aircraft that landed at Waterloo for a brief one-day stop last year when it was well received by the public,” Brecheisen said. “As an EAA Chapter, we were pleased when the EAA Headquarters Office reached out to us to inquire whether our local EAA Chapter would like to showcase the aircraft for a few days – well, how could we turn it down?”

Planning for the arrival of Aluminum Overcast has been on-going since early 2015.

B-17 Bomber

B-17 Bomber

While the plane is stationed in the Cedar Valley, the general public will get a rare chance to experience one of the few remaining B-17′s still in existence. The historic aircraft will be making only 13 stops on its 2015 nationwide tour with Waterloo being the only stop in Iowa.

Starting Friday, June 12, and continuing over the weekend, ground tours will be available to the public for $10 per individual and $20 per family. Children under eight-years-old will be admitted free, along with all active military persons and veterans. A souvenir trailer will be on-site for those that want to memorialize the event

For those seeking a true adventure, rides will be for sale as well. Flights can be booked in advance at www.b17.org or at the door.

The plane’s scheduled visit to the Cedar Valley coincides with the annual “My Waterloo Days” festival, which runs June 11-14. EAA Chapter 227 officials are encouraging area residents to view the aircraft, experience the sights and sounds, and take a look at aviation history.

For more information, contact Chris Roberts at 319-240-8128, via email at chrisr@cfu.net or via the Chapter’s website at: www.eaa227.com.


Commanders Call – June 2015

*June is here and school is out, summer vacations scheduled, camping and fishing trips planned and children enjoying their time Ted Lanske 319-240-0734 tedsph98@aol.com off and Waverly’s parks.  As you drive through Waverly or any community, please be observant for children, especially in areas of parks, pools, sports fields and construction sites, which is most of Waverly.  We know their minds are not on safety, so our extra precautions are needed.

*More THANK YOU’S to hand out:  Donations towards the grill include the families of; Bob Davidson, Richard Miller, Bob O’Hare, Larry Williamson, Jim Darrah and many others.  Thanks to Bev Besh for his spaghetti dinner and Bill Decker for stepping up and assisting Bev.  A special Thanks to my Grandson, Dain Ferguson, who helped at the breakfast and Bev’s dinner.  I would hope more young adults would be willing to come and help for an hour or two, as our customers enjoy seeing and visiting with them.  Thanks to Darwin & Connie Ramker for offering to purchase Red Solo cups for outside sales.  Thanks to Bob & Sally O’Hare for stepping in and doing the cleaning so I could go to Minnesota for the annual cemetery maintenance of family grave sites.

*The license for outside sales has arrived and an area set aside for this, but (always a but) the weather needs to start cooperating.  We will be scheduling a steak fry, but no firm date set at this time, so keep in touch.  Willing to help with one, please leave your name at the Canteen or contact me.

*Effective June 1st, the Canteen hours will be extended on Fridays and Saturdays for 1 hour with a closing time of 10:00 p.m.  These hours are set by the Food & Beverage Committee and not by the bartenders, so please accept the announcement of “Last Call”.

*The Department of Iowa AMVETS will be having their State Convention in Marshalltown on June 12, 13, 14 with election of State Officers on Sunday June 14th.  A tradition started during my term as Department Commander, when we have our Convention in Marshalltown, the Sons of AMVETS and now with the AMVETS Riders host a barbeque at the Best Western and a bus load of Veterans from the Veterans Home are our guests.  What a great time visiting with these Veterans and do they ever enjoy getting out and visiting and eating.

*If you are interested in getting a replacement AMVETS membership card, the simplest way is to go on line.  Go to the AMVETS National site – www.amvets.org   –  Member Center   –  Update Membership Information & Login   –  Utilize your membership number and then click   – My Shopping Cart   –  Merchandise Store  –  ADD TO CART.  While on this site check your information and correct it.  Problems, contact me and we will try to solve it together at the Canteen computer.

*Recently several members of our AMVETS family have had an argument with their bathroom.  A smart suggestion by my wife was going to Menards and getting a couple of suction cup handles for our shower.  These are not designed to support your weight, but will help you maintain your balance.  Will have one at the Canteen for you to look at or try at the Canteen.  Other places may sell these, so check that out, but they could make the difference between a slight slip or a fall.

*Please check the boards at the Canteen for information regarding the information of a WWII Boeing B-17 bomber coming to Waterloo from June 12-14, 2015.  This is the same aircraft that was in Waterloo last year and was a huge success.  A chance like this does not come around too often, so “go for it”.

*As I end my 10th year (not consecutive) and start my 11th as Post 79 Commander, I want to thank the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of AMVETS for all the wonderful things they do.  The hours they volunteer, dollars they contribute, scholarships they offer, plus many other activities are just a few of the things that make me proud as I continue for one more year.

*From my family to all of you, “Have a safe and enjoyable summer’’.

Help AMVETS Help Veterans

Ted Lanske

Commanders Call – April 2015

Ted Lanske 319-240-0734 tedsph98@aol.com

Ted Lanske

*From my family to all of you; as we enter April, may everyone have a Blessed Easter and enjoy the weekend with family and friends.  Spring is here and as we drive around and notice the new life in gardens and flower beds, let us also start a new life by being forgiving, calling someone you have lost contact with, and reaching out to someone who needs help.  You will feel the reward with your heart and carry that with you forever.

*A list of volunteers we need to thank is posted in “Latest News” and under “Gallery”, pictures showing the VFW Post and the remodeling/updates to the American Legion Post.  Please take the time to review them and if you wish to use one of the pictures, left click on it, (it should enlarge), then right click and then left click on save image as.  Then download or save in a file of your choosing.  These are pictures of our history: all posts, all branches, all Veterans, all Patriots.

*The comments I have heard so far have been positive regarding the Legion Post and how the canteen is set up.  We did reposition the pool table and have now added some hooks (for purses) and a foot rest to the bar.  Our challenge now is to get Thursday food nights going again and making arrangements to start the steak fries.  To those of you thatWAVP-Foot rest4 have visited and found it accommodating; invite a friend or two, give us some feedback, and ideas.  Your feedback or ideas, should also include what YOU will do too assist with those items.

*From last month of items purchased to help the kitchen/canteen please note the additional items:

Jim Brandau family – wine glasses/bar towels

Richard Miller family – bar towels/dish towels

Jean Lanske – wine glasses/bar snacks

MJ Steinbach/Sandy Shinn – brought back flat screen TV

*Thanks also go to Duane & Jan Rieckenberg for the donation of new sweatshirts to the Iowa Veterans Home and to Garry’s Tire Service for upgrading the tires on the trailer used for hauling the Harlington Cemetery flagpoles.


IVH-Foreign Food Fair3*Noteworthy:  On March 21st; Patty Kaiser, Jean Lanske, myself and help from AMVETS Post 31, Evansdale participated in a “Foreign Food Fair” at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

Participating Veteran’s organization are responsible for providing food for residents to try.  Approximately 110 residents participated along with about 30IVH-Foreign Food Fair4 volunteers.  Assisting and watching these residents, their excitement and comments, gives me a reality check on just how blessed I am.  Happy Easter to all of you.


*History bits for April:

April 4, 1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created when twelve nations united for military defense against the expansion of Soviet Russia.

April 6, 1917 – Congress approved a declaration of war, and the U.S. entered WWI in Europe.

April 10, 1942 – This was the start of a six day march of American and Filipino prisoners (76,000 Allied POWs) without food or water, the Bataan Death March, of which 5,000 Americans perished.

April 12, 1861 – Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC beginning the start of the Civil War.

April 17, 1961 – Who remembers the “Bay of Pigs fiasco”?

April 19, 1989 – An explosion in a gun turret on the USS Iowa killed 47 sailors.

April 25, 1945 – U.S. and Russian troops link up at Torgau, Germany.



Help AMVETS Help Veterans

Honoring Our Veterans-Bartels

Home front1Honoring Our Veterans
Sponsored by:
Eisenach Village, A Bartels’ Community

You are invited to join us as we honor our Veterans with a special event on November 10th. Terry Lindell, our local WWII historian, will present a program entitled “Remembering Pearl Harbor and V for Victory” An overview of how Americans faced the challenges of World War II, illustrated with images of the material culture of the home front, will not only salute our soldiers, but also acknowledge the courageous contributions of the women who stayed behind.

Date: Monday, November 10Home Front3
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: Eisenach Village- Klubhaus
1100 Bach Drive / Waverly, IA
Program: “Remembering Pearl Harbor and V for Victory:
A Look at the WWII Home Front”
Reservation: Call Barb Bridges at 352-6105 by November 3rd.

Light refreshments will be served.

Battle of Aachen, Germany

From the Commander:  I picked this for October’s military history as my father came to Europe and Germany towards the end of the war and talked of the towns and area where this battle took place.  He could speak and understand some German, so he was utilized to help communicate with the thousands of German prisoners at the end of the war.

Aachen Cathedral or Kaiserdom, built by Charlemagne in 805 AD.

Aachen Cathedral or Kaiserdom, built by Charlemagne in 805 AD.

The Battle of Aachen was a major conflict of World War II, fought by American and German forces in and around Aachen, Germany, between 2–21 October 1944. The city had been incorporated into the Siegfried Line, the main defensive network on Germany’s western border; the Allies had hoped to capture it quickly and advance into the industrialized Ruhr Basin. Although most of Aachen’s civilian population was evacuated before the battle began, much of the city was destroyed and both sides suffered heavy losses. Aachen was the first German city to be captured by the Allies in the form of the 1st, 9th, 29th, and 30th Infantry Divisions, the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions, with elements of the 28th Infantry Division as reinforcements. The German commander there had planned to surrender the city as American troops neared and encircled it, but when this was discovered Hitler had him arrested and his unit replaced by three full divisions of the Waffen-SS, the most elite fighters Germany had to offer. The superiority of American artillery, as evidenced by the pockmarked remains of the city, was what allowed for American victory, though at a heavy price of 2,000 Americans lost and 3,000 more wounded. German forces surrendered on 21 October 1944 resulting in 5,000 new German prisoners of war.  The battle ended with a German surrender, but their tenacious defense significantly disrupted Allied plans for the advance into Germany.

German prisoners in Aachen

German prisoners in Aachen

The ancient, picturesque city of Aachen had little military value in itself, as it was not a major center of war production. Its population of around 165,000 had not been subject to heavy bombing by the Allies. It was, however, an important symbol to both the Nazi regime and the German people; not only was it the first German city threatened by an enemy during World War II, it was also the historic capital of Charlemagne, founder of the “First Reich”. As such, it was of immense psychological value. The mindset of the city’s defenders was further altered by the different attitude the local population had toward them as they fought on home soil for the first time; one German officer commented, “Suddenly we were no longer the Nazis, we were German soldiers.”

For more information, see the full article at Wikipedia.org: The Battle of Aachen

Surrender of Japan

surrender of japan

Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri

The surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945, brought the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan’s leaders, (the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, also known as the “Big Six”), were privately making entreaties to the neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Soviets were preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Late in the evening of August 8, 1945, in accordance with the Yalta agreements, but in violation of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and soon after midnight on August 9, 1945, the Soviet Union invaded the Imperial Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo. Later that same day, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The combined shock of these events caused Emperor Hirohito to intervene and order the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War to accept the terms the Allies had set down in the Potsdam Declaration for ending the war. After several more days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a failed coup d’état, Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address across the Empire on August 15. In the radio address, called the Gyokuon-hōsō (“Jewel Voice Broadcast”), he announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies.

japan surrender 2 - US_landings

Allied landings in the Pacific Theatre of Operations, August 1942 to August 1945

On August 28, the occupation of Japan by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers began. The surrender ceremony was held on September 2, aboard the United States Navy battleship USS Missouri (BB-63), at which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, thereby ending the hostilities. Allied civilians and military personnel alike celebrated V-J Day, the end of the war; however, some isolated soldiers and personnel from Imperial Japan’s far-flung forces throughout Asia and the Pacific islands refused to surrender for months and years afterwards, some even refusing into the 1970s. The role of the atomic bombings in Japan’s surrender, and the ethics of the two attacks, is still debated. The state of war between Japan and the Allies formally ended when the Treaty of San Francisco came into force on April 28, 1952. Four more years passed before Japan and the Soviet Union signed the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which formally brought an end to their state of war.

For more information, see the full article at Wikipedia.org