Preserving the Past – February 20, 1944

18-19-20 February 1944

February
20
Sunday

Had two flights today. Combat air patrol while the rest of the group went in to give Jaluit* a going over. Lost one plane yesterday. Poirier hit a gun mount with right wing on landing. The ship says they can fix it. Tomorrow they give us an early morning take off. A chance to see how much the kids have forgotten.

Note

About Jaluit

Marshall Islands Campaign (Source ww2dbase)

29 Jan 1944 – 21 Feb 1944

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

About 4,000 kilometers southwest of the Hawaii Islands, the Marshall Islands represented part of the perimeter of the Japanese Pacific empire. The former German colony was given to Japan after the closure of WW1, and had since been an important part of both offensive and defensive plans of the Japanese Navy. By the end of 1943, Admiral Mineichi Koga of the Japanese Combined Fleet knew the Americans were eyeing the islands, but he could not figure out where they would strike. His difficulties were further complicated by the lack of carrier aircraft, as they were taken away from him in an attempt to reinforce land-based squadrons. With his hands tied, all Koga could do was to send his submarines out as forward observers and order the regional commander in Truk Admiral Masashi Kobayashi to reinforce the island garrisons that were most exposed to American attacks. Kobayashi shifted men to the outer islands of Jaluit, Mili, Wotje, and Maloelap. In total, Kobayashi had 28,000 troops available to him in the Marshall Islands. For a garrison that size ground fortifications were sub-par, but that was rather by design at this stage of the war, for that Tokyo had since decided that the Marshall Islands were to serve only as a part of a delay action campaign. The new defensive perimeter was to be established much closer to the home islands.

ww2dbaseAmerican intelligence decoded Japanese messages and detected movements for the outer islands, and decided to change the invasion plans. Unbeknownst to the Japanese, the Americans were now bypassing the reinforced outer islands; they were now directly attacking Kwajalein and Eniwetok.

Feel free to add comments or to suggest corrections on errors that I made transcribing.

Tomorrow, February 21, 1944…

21-22 February 1944

Up at 0330 this morning to watch Brunson, Holden and Poirier get catapulted into the inky blackness.

 

 

 

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