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The FReeper Foxhole Revisits Merrill's Marauders - March 25th, 2005 ^

Posted on 03/24/2005 9:46:40 PM PST by snippy_about_it


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The FReeper Foxhole Revisits

Code Name: "GALAHAD"

In August 1943 at the "Quebec Conference", President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and other allied leaders decided that an American Long Range Penetration Mission behind the Japanese Lines in Burma was needed to destroy the Japanese supply lines and communications and to play havoc with the enemy forces while an attempt was made to reopen the much needed Burma Road.

Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill
Commanding General, 5307th Composite Unit(Provisional)

President Roosevelt issued a Presidential call for volunteers for "A Dangerous and Hazardous Mission". The call was answered by approximately 3,000 American soldiers. The volunteers came from State side units, from the jungles of Panama and Trinidad they came, from the campaigns of Guadalcanal, New Guinea, New Georgia they came, to answer the call, some battle scarred, some new to the ways of war, each different but with one thing in common.
They Answered The Call.

The Unit was officially designated as the "5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)" Code Name: "GALAHAD", later it became popularly known as "MERRILL'S MARAUDERS" named after its leader, Brigadier General Frank Merrill. Formed into six combat teams (400 per team),color-coded Red, White, Blue, Green, Orange and Khaki, two teams to a Battalion, the rest formed the H.Q. and Air Transport Commands.

After preliminary training operations were undertaken in great secrecy in the jungles of Central India, the Marauders began the long march up the Ledo Road and over the outlying ranges of the Himalayan Mountains into Burma. The Marauders with no tanks or heavy artillery to support them, walked over 1,000 miles through extremely dense and almost impenetrable jungles and came out with glory.

In Five major (WALAWBUM, SHADUZUP, INKANGAHTAWNG, NHPUM GA, & MYITKYINA)and thirty minor engagements, they defeated the veteran soldiers of the Japanese 18th Division (Conquerors of Singapore and Malaya) who vastly outnumbered the Marauders. Always moving to the rear of the main forces of the Japanese the Marauders completely disrupted the enemy supply and communication lines, and climaxed their behind the lines operations with the capture of Myitkyina Airfield, the only all-weather airfield in Northern Burma.

The attack on Myitkyina was the climax to four months of marching and combat in the Burma jungles. No other American force except the First Marine Division, which took and held Guadalcanal for four months, has had as much uninterrupted jungle fighting service as Merrill's Marauders.

But no other American force anywhere had marched as far, fought as continuously or had to display such endurance, as the swift-moving, hard-hitting foot soldiers, of Merrill's Marauders

Men and animals of Merrill’s Marauders— predecessors to today’s U.S. Army Rangers—cross the Tanai River on a bamboo bridge built by Kachin tribesmen, 1944.

When the Marauders attacked Myitkyina they had behind them over 800 miles of marching over jungle and mountain roads and tracks. They had to carry all their equipment and supplies on their backs and on the backs of pack mules. Re-supplied by air drops the Marauders often had to make a clearing in the thick jungle to receive the supplies.

Every wounded Marauder was evacuated, an extraordinary feat in itself. Each wounded Marauder had to be carried on a makeshift stretcher (usually made from bamboo and field jackets or shirts) by his comrades until an evacuation point was reached. These evacuation points where mostly small jungle village's, where the Marauders would then have to hack out a landing strip for the small Piper Cub Evac. Planes. The brave sergeant-pilots of the air-rescue unit would then land and take off in these very hazardous conditions, removing every seriously wounded Marauder one at a time. The small planes, stripped of all equipment except a compass, had room for the pilot and one stretcher.

At the end of their campaign all remaining Marauders still in action were evacuated to hospitals suffering from tropical diseases, exhaustion, and malnutrition or as the tags on their battered uniforms said "A.O.E."(accumulation of everything).

For their accomplishments in Burma the Marauders were awarded the "DISTINGUISHED UNIT CITATION" in July, 1944. However in 1966 this award was redesignated as the "PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION" which is awarded by the President in the name of Congress. The Marauders also have the extremely rare distinction of having every member of the unit receive the "BRONZE STAR".

Walawbum, Burma
Early March, 1944
Group of Marauders after Battle of Walawbum.
Kneeling, L to R, Wilbur Smalley, "Murphy" Wonsowicz, Johnny Allen.
Standings 2nd from left; Bernard Martin, extreme right; Herby Miyazak

The unit was consolidated with the 475th Infantry on August 10, 1944. On June 21, 1954, the 475th was redesignated the 75th Infantry. It is from the redesignation of Merrill's Marauders into the 75th Infantry Regiment that the modern-day 75th Ranger Regiment traces its current unit designation.

I'd like to thank Marauder.Org for their generous permission to use their graphics on today's thread

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By Sgt. DAVE RICHARDSON YANK Staff Correspondent
(from Yank the Army Weekly British Edition Vol 3. No. 14)
Sept. 17 1944

There's been plenty of hocus-pocus in this jungle war ever since Merrill's Marauders first popped up here.

The magic show started within a week of the Marauders' arrival in Burma. The night before their first sneak around Jap strong points, a Jap reconnaissance plane droned over the Marauders' bivouac area. Before they could stamp out all their campfires, the plane had spotted the position.

Nhpum Ga
About april 9, 1944
Marauder, at Nhpum Ga cemertary, checks dog tags of buddy killed in action during the 14 day seige. at Nhpum Ga Hill.

Next morning, when the Marauders pulled out Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill ordered a few men to stay behind. For several nights they lit campfires in the original bivouac area. And each night the Jap plane returned to circle the area again, its pilot apparently satisfying himself that whoever was camped there hadn't moved.

Meanwhile the main body of Marauders marched steadily into enemy territory over little used native trails, lighting no fires or even cigarettes after dark. When they finally bumped into startled enemy outposts, they were well behind Jap lines.

The Marauders opened their bag of tricks again during an eight-day battle on a hill named Nhpum Ga. One night a Marauder unit set up part of its perimeter only a stone's throw *am camouflaged Japanese machine-gun positions. Anxious to check on the location of these emplacements, but not wanting to risk men prowling around in the darkness, the Marauders shoved a pack mule out in front of the perimeter and started him walking toward the Japanese.

Lagang Ga-Walawbu, Burma
March 7, 1944
American-Chinese Tank of Battalion attached to Chinese Divisions visits with Marauders after battle of Walawbum. For most men of 5307th, this was only time that an allied tank was seen on 5307th missions.

As the animal rustled through the jungle underbrush, the Japanese figured it was a patrol and opened up with their machine guns, thereby revealing their positions. Next morning the Marauders outflanked the Japanese pocket and wiped it out.

They found the mule lying dead a few feet from one of the machine guns, its hind quarters neatly butchered. The hungry Japanese, cut off from supplies, had eaten Missouri mule steak before dying for the Emperor.

Speaking of animals, the Japanese thought up a slick way to guard themselves against Marauder booby traps along the narrow jungle trails. They sent dogs down the trails ahead of their patrols to trip the booby-trap wires. But a Marauder pioneer and demolition platoon countered this move by rigging up the traps in relays. After that, when a Japanese dog romped down a trail a dozen yards or so in front of a patrol and tripped a booby-trap wire, nothing happened to the dog, but traps exploded at intervals all the way back down the hill, killing or wounding some of the enemy. Even after the Japanese discovered this trick, there was little they could do about it they had to stick to jungle trails or risk getting host.

Wesu Ga, Burma
Early March, 1944
Men of 2d Battalion, 5307th among bamboo patch in jungle. Japanese is American Nisei acting as interpreter. Note cut off sleeves as concession to heat and humidity. L to R Thomas J. Dalton, T/Sgt. Herbert Miyaski, S/Sgt., Frank Wonsowicz and S/Major Jack Crowley of Orange Combat Team, 5307th.

The old power of suggestion helped beat the Japanese at another stage of the campaign. for several days the Marauders had been trying to break through a pocket of Japanese dug in strongly on a razor-backed ridge along the only trail in the area. The steep sides of the ridge made outflanking next to impossible. The only way to get through was by frontal attack, and this was costing the Marauders a number of casualties. They pounded away with mortars, raked the ridge with machine guns and BARB, and staged one attack after another. But the going was painfully slow a few yards a day.

One night the Marauders decided to try another method. A few men and mules set out on the trail leading up to Marauder forward positions from the rear. The men smoked tell-tale cigarettes, talked in loud voices and jiggled the mule saddles to make plenty of noise. Each time they reached the front, the men doused their cigarettes, turned around and silently withdrew to their starting points. Then they began all over again, keeping it up for three hours.

When the Marauders attacked the ridge again the next day, they pushed through easily. Only a couple of Japanese were still there; the rest had pulled out. They had been fooled into thinking that all the noise and movement of the night before were reinforcements for a big attack. One of the most valuable tricks in the Marauder repertoire was a variation of the Statue of Liberty play in football. It was used in attacking a series of Japanese strong points on high ground.

The CP long-range radio called for air support to soften up the Japanese hill positions. Soon some P-40s came roaring over. Directed by air-ground radio, they went to work on the Japanese, dive-bombing and strafing enemy emplacements on the crest of the hill. After each pass they zoomed up, circled around and attacked again.

JanPan, Burma
March 19, 1944
Supply drop taken in Kachin village because of lack of clear space on top of mountain. A number of chutes landed in trees, requiring tree climbing to retrieve them. Note rugged mountain terrain in background.

The Japanese scrambled down the back of the hill and huddled there for protection while the bombs and tracers chewed up their positions. But as soon as the planes finished their dives and roared away, the Japanese crawled right back up the hill again and resisted the Marauder advance as stubbornly as before. This went on for several days, with the Japanese defending one hill after another in the same way against air and ground attack. All that beautiful air support didn't seem to help much.

Then a Marauder officer suggested the Statue of Liberty play. He radioed the planes to make a few fake passes after they had completed their regular bombing and strafing runs. The pilots dived their ships at the emplacements just as though they were going to let loose with 500 pound bombs or .50 caliber slugs, but they pulled out without doing a thing except scare hell out of the Japanese.

Up the hill came the unsuspecting Japanese to reoccupy their old positions. As soon as the planes began these passes, the forward Marauder platoon rushed up the hill and climbed into the vacated Japanese positions. When the dummy passes ended and the planes went away, the fun began. Up the hill came the unsuspecting Japanese to reoccupy their positions. The Marauders cut them down with automatic-weapons fire.

1 posted on 03/24/2005 9:47:10 PM PST by snippy_about_it
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To: All

.By Sgt. DAVE RICHARDSON YANK Staff Correspondent
(from Yank the Army Weekly British Edition Vol 3. No. 16)
Oct. 1 1944

Jap artillery was pounding Merrill's Marauders again. Three weeks before. the enemy guns had sent shells whistling into Marauder positions facing the Walawbum garrison. Two weeks before. a Jap battery had ranged in on the Marauders during their attack on the enemy supply route at Inkangahtawng. One week before, a couple of rapid-fire guns had hammered the Marauders all night after their capture of a section of the Shaduzup-Kamaing road.

And now Jap artillery was concentrated on a unit of Marauders on Nhpum Ga hill. Another Marauder unit was driving through to relieve the outfit the Japs had surrounded.

General Frank D. Merrill flanked by two of his Japanese-language interpreters, Herbie Miyasaki and Akiji Yoshimura. The interpreters cut into Japanese communication lines and slipped close enough to enemy camps to report on the activities and the plans of the 18th Division, who were fighting the Marauders in Burma.

As the 70-mm shell blasts reverberated through the jungles. Maj. Edwin J. Briggs of La Crande, Oreg., CO of the attacking unit, sent for a mule skinner and offered him a new job.

S/Sgt. John A. Acker, the mule skinner, was an ex-mineworker from Bessemer, Ala., who had shipped overseas a year before with a pack howitzer outfit. The outfit had gone to New Guinea. After sitting around for months without going into action, Acker and several others grew restless. When a call was made for animal transportation men to join Merrill's Marauders, they volunteered. That was seven months before.

"Acker," said the major, "I understand you and some of the other mule drivers who used to be in the pack artillery would like to fire some howitzers back at these Japs. Is that right?"

The Alabaman said it was.

"Well, Acker," the major grinned, "this is an emergency. Two 75-mm pack howitzers will be parachuted to us tomorrow. Get two gun crews together and be ready to fire them."

Next day an expectant bunch of mule drivers stood on the airdrop field, watching brilliantly colored parachutes drift lazily down. When the "parachutes hit the ground, the mule skinners became artillerymen again. They grabbed the dismantled howitzers and went to work assembling them. The guns were brand new and clean of cosmoline. Within two hours they were assembled, dug in on the airdrop field and firing.

A mile away the Marauder unit that was driving through Jap machine-gun positions along the trail to Nhpum Ga heard the shells whistle overhead. "What the hell is that?" one rifleman asked another. "Jap artillery behind us, too?" Then a radio message explained that it was Marauder artillery. Soon infantry-directed fire was blasting the strong 'points holding up the rifle platoon.

Two days later Acker and his impromptu artillery crews put their howitzers on mules and climbed the winding trail for three miles. They emplaced their guns on a ridge overlooking the Jap positions between the trapped Marauder unit on Nhpum Ga hill and the attacking unit. While the guns were being set up again T-4 Robert L. Carr of San Luis Obispo, Calif., started for the front as artillery observer with a walkie-talkie.

The point platoon had run smack up against one of the strongest Jap positions yet. This was a perimeter atop a little knoll from which Jap machine gunners commanded a clear field of fire for several hundred feet down the trail. The steep sides of the knoll made flanking difficult. It would have to be taken frontally. The point platoon asked for artillery and mortar support.

Carr, the observer, took his walkie-talkie up to the first squad. "Jap position approximately 700 yards from guns," he radioed, adding the azimuth. 'Fire a smoke shell, and I'll zero you in."

The smoke shell whistled over, followed by a few more as Carr adjusted the firing data. Finally he okayed both range and azimuth. Lacking an aiming circle, the only piece of equipment that was not dropped with the guns, Acker and his men were obliged to use an ordinary infantry compass to gauge azimuth.

The order came to fire five rounds. Up ahead all morning there had been constant mortar, machine-gun and small-arms fire. But as soon as the howitzers opened fire, Jap bullets began singing over the artillerymen's heads. All day the Japs reminded Acker's men that they were firing practically point-blank at 700 yards.

Just after the howitzers fired the five rounds, S/Sgt. Henry E. Hoot of Shepherd, Tex., radioman with the guns, shouted to Acker: "Holy smoke! Some Infantry officer is on the radio. He's excited as hell. Says you're right on the target. And—get this—he wants us to fire 'Battery 100 rounds'."

There's no such order in artillery parlance; actually the correct order for a lot of firing is "Fire at will." Acker chuckled at the order. "Okay, boys," he said. "Open those shell cases fast. Gun crews, prepare to fire at will."

In the Next 15 minutes, the jungle hills rang as the two pack howitzers threw 134 shells into the Jap perimeter. The crews had been a bit slow two days before because they hadn't seen a howitzer in seven months, but now they performed as artillerymen should.

Up front the point platoon drove through They found parts of Jap bodies in trees and all over the ground, virtually blown out of their holes. The dense" jungle had become a clearing under the terrific blasting. A platoon leader going through the area, a few minutes after the barrage. discovered two shivering Japs deep in a foxhole, unhurt but moaning with fear. He killed them with a carbine. Apparently they were the only ones who had survived and stayed in the area. The platoon moved through unopposed.

For the next few days the artillery worked hand in hand with the point platoon in blasting other Jap positions. On one of these days Pvt. John W. (Red) Seegars of Kershaw, S. C.. walked up to the guns with a broad smile. Seegars had been requested by Acker as No. I man on one of the howitzers but because he was a rifleman and was [deeded in the drive, he had not been sent back to the guns. Now Seegars was wounded in the left arm.

Ledo Road, Burma
February, 1944
140 mile march down the Ledo Raod towards combat area ordered to sweat in the pack saddles and to toughing up the men, “separate the men from the boys”

"As a rifleman I can't crawl with this arm wound," said Seegars, "so they sent me back to the aid station for evacuation. But I'm not going. I can still pull a howitzer lanyard with my right arm." Acker was glad to get him.

MEANWHILE Carr. the artillery observer, found things pretty hot at the front. On an advance with a ride platoon, he was pinned down on the side of a hill by Jap machine guns and grenades at the top. Two men were wounded near him. He left the radio and dragged each of them back through the fire to an aid man. Returning to his radio, Carr egged the Japs into revealing their positions by throwing grenades, thus drawing fire on himself. Then he radioed the howitzers to shorten their range and swing their azimuth until the shells burst near a Jap heavy machine gun 30 yards away.

All this time, a Jap dual-purpose antiaircraft gun was throwing 70-mm shells into the midst of the trapped Marauder unit on Nhpum Ga hilt Acker got a liaison plane to spot the ack-ack gun's position. Then the howitzers fired on it all day. At dusk the Jap gun- tried to fire back at the howitzers, but its trajectory was too flat to hit them. The shells either hit an intervening hill or whistled harmlessly high over the artillerymen's heads.

And that morning the Marauder attacking unit broke through to relieve the unit that had been cut off by the Japs for 10 days. Acker and his men, mule skinners no more, fired a salvo to celebrate.

2 posted on 03/24/2005 9:48:18 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All
SUCH specialists as clerks and radiomen were pressed into service as mule-drivers with the Marauders to make up for a shortage of experienced animal men. Leading, feeding, watering and grooming the mules turned out to be one of the toughest jobs in the raider outfit.

Passing through the pick-line after a day's march Brig.-Gen. Frank D Merrill came across a sweating grimy-faced mule-driver tenderly combing a mule's back.

"You certainly seem to take good care of your animal," remarked General Merrill. "Had much experience with mules in the states?"
The soldier, Pfc. Casey Turiello, turned his weary face. "No, sir," he said. "But I did see a mule once--on an ice wagon back home in Brooklyn."

ANOTHER mule-driver was having trouble with his animal. It balked at the bottom of a very rugged Burma hill. The driver had to coax, cajole, cuss and tug at his animal constantly. Finally on one hill the mule stopped dead and layed down. This was the last straw.

"Get up, you sonuvabitch," cracked the driver, who had answered President Roosevelt's call to join the volunteer Marauders.
"You volunteered for this mission too."

3 posted on 03/24/2005 9:50:49 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Bombardier; Steelerfan; SafeReturn; Brad's Gramma; AZamericonnie; SZonian; soldierette; shield; ...

"FALL IN" to the FReeper Foxhole!

It's Friday. Good Morning Everyone.

If you want to be added to our ping list, let us know.

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4 posted on 03/24/2005 9:52:02 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All

Veterans for Constitution Restoration is a non-profit, non-partisan educational and grassroots activist organization.

Actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families.

Thanks to quietolong for providing this link.

We here at Blue Stars For A Safe Return are working hard to honor all of our military, past and present, and their families. Inlcuding the veterans, and POW/MIA's. I feel that not enough is done to recognize the past efforts of the veterans, and remember those who have never been found.

I realized that our Veterans have no "official" seal, so we created one as part of that recognition. To see what it looks like and the Star that we have dedicated to you, the Veteran, please check out our site.

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5 posted on 03/24/2005 9:54:58 PM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
The FReeper Foxhole Remembers Merrill's Marauders - Mar. 18th, 2003

As they sing in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, "Let's do the Time Warp again!". I don't think that this in the 18th. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this isn't even2003. Is this a "revisits" thread?

6 posted on 03/24/2005 10:01:34 PM PST by PAR35
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To: snippy_about_it

Supporting our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen at more than 1,000 places across the U. S. and around the world.

Brad Fletcher~To All Our Mothers Children

7 posted on 03/24/2005 10:05:11 PM PST by AZamericonnie (What's another word for synonym? Ok,'s metonym...sheesh!)
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To: PAR35

LOL! Oops.

8 posted on 03/24/2005 10:35:26 PM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: snippy_about_it

To somebody who knows something about the Burma war. How did the US Merrill Marauders stack up against the British units fighting in Burma, the Chindits?

You don't hear that much about the Marauders, mostly the Chindits in write-ups. Of course, the fact that the write-ups I read were written by the British might have something to do with it.

9 posted on 03/24/2005 11:22:28 PM PST by sasportas
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To: sasportas; AZamericonnie; SAMWolf

The Burma Campaign 1941 - 1945
By Michael Hickey

Neither side wanted this fight at the start, but there were many remarkable feats of arms as the war progressed. Michael Hickey describes the highs and lows of the campaign, the personalities involved, and the effect it had on East-West politics once World War Two was over.
Chindits in Burma, 1944

The campaign in which Allied forces defeated the Japanese in Burma was unique in that neither side particularly wished to wage war there. When Japan entered the war on the side of the Axis powers in December 1941, her main aims were to acquire raw materials, particularly oil, rubber and tin and, through expansion of the so-called Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere, to create space for the population of the over-crowded home islands.

'The raid at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was a devastating blow to the Americans.'
These needs fired the strategic thinking of belligerent politicians and service chiefs in Tokyo. They worked on the assumption that a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet's base at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, would enable the Imperial Japanese army, air force and navy to attain the warlords' territorial aims before the western Allies could react.

The raid at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 was a devastating blow to the Americans. It failed, however, in its main aim, that of sinking the American fleet's aircraft carriers. This was because, providentially, they were out at sea on that day - sometimes known as the Day of Infamy. On hearing this intelligence, Admiral Yamamoto, the gifted master planner of the enterprise, knew that the war was already as good as lost.

Despite this, Japanese plans elsewhere worked beyond expectation. Hong Kong and Indo-China fell to them without difficulty, but the greatest triumphs occurred on the Malay peninsula and in Singapore, where British, Australian and Indian troops were forced into humiliating surrender.

The Japanese completed their triumphs by overrunning the Dutch East Indies, spreading out into the western Pacific by capturing numerous island bases, and threatening the security of Australia.

Start of the campaign

British and Indian troops in action, 80 miles south of Mandalay, in March 1945There were two reasons for the Japanese invasion of Burma. Firstly the Japanese knew it would serve them well if they cut overland access to China from Burma via the famed Burma Road. Along this road a steady stream of military aid was being transported from Rangoon, over the mountains of the 'Hump' and into Nationalist China, but if this supply route was closed, the Japanese could deprive Chiang Kai Shek's Kuomintang (Nationalist Chinese) armies of their life-blood, permitting the Japanese to conquer all China.

'The troops were raw, lacked combat experience, and were inadequately trained ...'
Furthermore, possession of Burma would place the Japanese at the gate of India, where they believed general insurrection against the British Raj would be ignited once their troops had established themselves in Assam, within reach of Calcutta. To this end they cultivated the services of the dissident Bengali politician Chandra Bose, who recruited thousands of Indian troops captured in Singapore into his Indian National Army - to fight the British.

Entering Burma from Thailand, the Japanese quickly captured Rangoon, cutting off the Burma Road at source, and depriving the Chinese of their only convenient supply base and port of entry. In response, General Sir Archibald Wavell, in supreme command of the Far Eastern theatre, formed two scratch divisions, the 1st Burma and 17th Indian, into Burma corps (Burcorps).

He ordered his commanders, against their better judgement, to defend well forward. They, however, were aware, as he was not, of the deficiencies of their commands. The troops were raw, lacked combat experience, and were inadequately trained and equipped to take on the aggressive and bold invaders.

Apart from two experienced light tank regiments and an infantry battalion brought in from the Middle East, whose presence in the long retreat up-country undoubtedly saved Burma Corps from total destruction, no other reinforcements reached Burma Command. (The British 18th Division, destined for Burma, was redirected to Singapore on Churchill's orders, reaching it just in time to march into Japanese prison camps.)

Operating a scorched-earth policy as it went, Burcorps, now under command of Lieutenant General William Slim, fell back up the Irrawaddy river, accompanied by tens of thousands of wretched Indian refugees, harassed and murdered by the Burmese population as they struggled to gain Indian soil. In May 1942 the retreat finally ended, and the shattered remnants of Burcorps began to prepare for return to Burma.

There followed many months of stalemate, as both sides tried to probe each other's strengths and weaknesses. Wavell, anxious to re-assert British military influence and raise depressed morale, ordered an advance into the Arakan, the coastal region of Burma, at the end of 1942. It stalled and was bloodily repulsed - and morale sank even further.

'Although now outnumbered, the Japanese fought with ferocious courage ...'
Things were only lightened by the propaganda value of Brigadier Orde Wingate's first Chindit expedition. In this the Allies enjoyed some success in using guerrilla tactics against the Japanese, despite incurring heavy losses, thus proving that British troops could take on the Japanese in the jungle.

In 1943 the Allied High Command was overhauled, and Wavell was replaced by the charismatic Lord Louis Mountbatten. His influence obtained much needed air support for what now became the 14th Army, particularly in the field of transport aircraft, and re-supply by air became the norm for the forward troops.

Slim, now in command of 14th Army, imbued his command with a new spirit. Units were encouraged to sit tight, relying on air-dropped supplies, and hold their ground when attacked, instead of dispersing as formerly.

The Japanese, aware that the defenders had gained strength, resolved to end the campaign at a blow with an assault into Assam, aimed at capturing the key towns of Imphal, capital of the hill state of Manipur, and Kohima. Another Japanese attack was made simultaneously in the Arakan. For the first time the defenders stood firm, confident in their air support.

Between March and July 1944 fierce battles raged on both fronts. Although now outnumbered, the Japanese fought with ferocious courage; all ranks of 14th Army knew that their ticket home depended on total destruction of their enemy and this is exactly how it transpired. Fighting every inch, the Japanese recoiled from the hills and back across the River Chindwin, harassed by Wingate's second Chindit expedition.

Wingate unfortunately did not live to see this outcome. He perished in a plane crash as the expedition began, and as American troops were advancing from the north with (somewhat unreliable) Chinese Nationalist forces. Bereft of his dynamic leadership the expedition became semi-static, although there were some remarkable feats of arms as the numerous Chindit columns fought deep in the Japanese rear areas, in their endeavours to realise Wingate's concept of 'a hand in the enemy's bowels'.

Victory in sight

Field Marshal Sir William SlimEarly in 1945, 14th Army continued to advance, no longer in the jungle but in the open plains of upper Burma. Mandalay fell in March, and Slim conducted a brilliant crossing of the mighty Irrawaddy before heading south. In the Arakan, the Japanese had to be winkled out of strong positions before Rangoon was taken on 3 May.

Mountbatten gratified his ambition by staging an elaborate victory parade, at which he took the salute in Rangoon on 15 June. This took place despite the fact that thousands of Japanese were still fighting hard, many of them still in strength, behind British lines - as they tried desperately to escape across the Sittang river into Thailand, losing heavily as they went.

Slim, the architect of this great victory, was not present at Mountbatten's parade. Mountbatten had decided that 14th Army's great commander was tired and needed a rest, and therefore replaced him at the moment of his great triumph.

'... Slim ... having been knocked out of the ring at the beginning, got back in and beat his opponent flat.'
This was unfortunate, as Slim was the only British general in World War Two who had fought against an enemy 'First Eleven' throughout, and who, having been knocked out of the ring at the beginning, got back in and beat his opponent flat. His removal from command of the army he had forged had a calamitous effect on the morale of his men.

Churchill had initially opposed his appointment to command 14th Army, considering him a 'sepoy general' (Slim had made his military home in the 6th Gurkhas). But his personal account of the campaign, Defeat into Victory, will long endure as a military classic. It is modestly written, but reveals the humanity of this truly great soldier, as well as his professional ability - both qualities that explain why his men loved him as much as they did.

Post-war situation
The Burma campaign had no decisive effect on the war as a whole; but it did a great deal to restore respect for British arms following the humiliations of Hong Kong, Malaya and Singapore. The re-opening of the Burma Road permitted the resumption of supplies to Nationalist China, but there was to be no long-term benefit here, and American dreams of establishing an All-China trade zone after the war evaporated when Mao Tse Tung's Communist forces thrashed the corrupt regime of America's client, Chiang Kai Shek, within four years of the Japanese surrender in 1945.

'... Aung San ... was assassinated in Rangoon, along with most of his Cabinet ...'
Despite the outstanding performance of the 14th Army, comprising as it did Indian, African and British formations, much British face had been lost in the Far East as a result of the defeats at the hands of the Japanese, and stirrings of Indian independence had assumed thunderous proportions. In Burma too, the nationalists, headed by the personable Aung San, had sided with the Japanese until it was clear that they were losing.

Then Aung San's Burmese National Army changed sides and gave valuable service to the 14th Army in the final stages of the campaign. The British returned to Rangoon in triumph, but were not destined to stay; Burmese nationalism was on a flood tide, and having seized the administrative reins in the wake of the British advance, Aung San's men were well placed to take over after the war.

Although London attempted to resume its former rule, it had to face reality and Aung San came to the UK in 1947 to negotiate terms for independence. He was assassinated in Rangoon, along with most of his Cabinet, within months, however.

The political scene in the country has remained unstable ever since, due to the impositions of ruthless military governments. The incompetence of these, in matters of national economy, is matched only by the strength of their repression of all opposition.

Aung San's daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, continues to oppose the regime, offering some hope for the people of this ancient country. India, whose troops had formed the backbone of the 14th Army, was granted independence in 1947 but only after the British government and its Viceroy - Mountbatten - had persuaded themselves that partition on religious lines, to create the states of India and Pakistan, would solve a problem growing far beyond the capacity of a weakened Britain to solve. The great Indian Army was rent asunder, and before long, regiments that had won fame under the Raj were fighting each other as the two new states confronted each other.

Find out more

The Chindit War by Shelford Bidwell (Hodder & Stoughton, 1979)

The Little Men: A Platoon's Epic Fight in the Burma Campaign by FW Cooper (Robert Hale, 1973)

The Indian Army and the King's Enemies, 1900-1947 by Charles Chenevix-Trench (Thomas & Hudson, 1988)

Japan's Last War by Saburo Ienaga (Blackwell, 1979)

The Campaign in Burma by Frank Owen (HMSO, 1946)

Defeat into Victory by Field Marshal Sir William Slim (Cassell, 1956)

The War against Japan Vols II-IV by Kirby Woodburn et al (HMSO, 1958-69)

The Wild Green Earth by Bernard Fergusson (Collins, 1946)

About the author

Michael Hickey was commissioned in 1949 and served with the RASC in Korea from 1950-52. In 1981, he retired as a General Staff Colonel with the Ministry of Defence. He is the author of The Unforgettable Army - Slim and the 14th Army in Burma (1992); Gallipoli (1995) and The Korean War 1950-53 (1999).

Related Links
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Japan: No Surrender in World War Two -
Colonies, Colonials and World War Two -
War in the South China Sea: The Sinking of Force Z -
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Published on BBC History: 31-07-2003
This article can be found on the Internet at:

© British Broadcasting Corporation
For more information on copyright please refer to:

BBC History

10 posted on 03/25/2005 12:04:38 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, snippy, SAM.

Another excellent "lost" story from the conflict that, more than any other, defined & shaped our modern times. The recounting of the Soviet-Finnish engagement yesterday was another wonderful spotlight on a "remote" corner of the globe that was touched by the conflagration that was the Second World War, BTW.

Last night I put in my profile a pic of my grandfather in his 5th Army Air Corps casual uniform, posing for a picture he sent home to his young son (my father) in an advance jungle airfield somewhere (New Guinea, we think) during the time of his service in what he simply called "The War."

The work the both of you do here with the FReeper Foxhole honors not only his memory, but also the millions who've served & sacrificed for this great country for the sake of freedom.

I've said it before, I know, but I'll say it again: Thank you. -AJC

11 posted on 03/25/2005 12:05:01 AM PST by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: sasportas; AZamericonnie; SAMWolf

Chindits in Burma, 1944

British and Indian troops in action, 80 miles south of Mandalay, in March 1945

Madras Sappers and Miners work on a 'corduroy' road east of Kohima, on the Jessami track, August 1944. Timber provided a cheap way of producing a reasonably durable road surface for those hard-to-reach areas where mule or air transport was not enough.

Indian Paratroopers during World War II, with a British officer. Source: Parachute Regiment (India).

The first Indians to parachute - Captain Rangaraj (right) and Havildar Major Mathura Singh (left).

British and Indian troops exchange pleasantries as they meet on the road between Imphal and Kohima following the successful relief of the Kohima box. Circa April 1944.

A truly spectacular image. In the heat of the moment - Indian soldiers storm a German trench, after exploding it with hand grenades. Circa 1945.

An Italian soldier surrenders to a Jawan, during Operation Crusader, of an unnamed Division and Regiment, on 08 December 1941. The purpose of Operation Crusader was two-fold; to relieve Tobruk and destroy the Afrika Korp. First part of the conflict was a success, the second a failure. The battle took place between the Egyptian border and El Agheila in Libya.

An Indian soldier holds a captured Nazi flag. Circa 1945.

Medium artillery guns get unusual attention from their detachments.

Indian paratroopers being dropped at Elephant Point, Burma on 1 May 1945.

Flag captured from the 90th Panzer Light Division at Ruweisat Ridge. Circa 1942.

A Lieutenant Colonel from the 20th Indian Division, accepts the formal surrender of a Japanese Commander at Saigon, Vietnam in September 1945.

A group from the 152nd Para Battalion displaying the Japanese flag they captured while operating against the Japanese Army at Tangkhul Hundung. Circa 1945.

The Great War (World War I) A cover from a piece of British sheet music. Circa 1914. Note that the Indian soldiers are pictured as still being armed with the single shot Martini-Henry rifles and muzzle loading artillery!">

12 posted on 03/25/2005 12:22:00 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning Snippy.

13 posted on 03/25/2005 1:28:34 AM PST by Aeronaut (I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things - Saint-Exupery)
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To: CarrotAndStick
From my grandfather's personal collection of pictures from the War in the Pacific (he's on the right in one and leaning against the propeller in the other in the pics of the P-40, respectively; and in the foreground of the P-38 shots):

Image hosted by

"Imogene," incidentally, was my grandmother's name.

14 posted on 03/25/2005 2:04:38 AM PST by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: snippy_about_it

Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Foxhole

16 posted on 03/25/2005 3:03:00 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it

Good morning ALL. Dennis' uncle Ralph was a member of the original band of Merrills' Mauraders. He went throught the entire campaign with Merrill.

17 posted on 03/25/2005 4:18:24 AM PST by GailA (Glory be to GOD and his only son Jesus.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All
Hi Ms. Snipps and Mr. Wolf!

I just wanted to stop by and say hello to the foxhole crew and say thank you to all of our veterans.

Last weekend I had the chance to meet a few more of our wonderful military Veterans at a pro troops rally at Fort Bragg. I am humbled,as always, by the way our fine patriotic men and women conduct themselves.

Each time I meet a new Veteran I learn a lesson in dedication and patience. May God watch over them and their families.

I appreciate all of the many sacrifices they have made for my family.

18 posted on 03/25/2005 4:22:02 AM PST by Diva Betsy Ross (Code pink stinks!)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All

March 25, 2005

King Of Our Lives

John 19:16-22

I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. -1 Corinthians 15:3

Bible In One Year: Ruth 1-4

coverMore than 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate commanded that a placard be placed on the cross that read: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Perhaps Pilate sought to induce fear among the people and discourage them from crowning their own king.

King of the Jews. Was it an original thought at the time? Perhaps it had been introduced when the wise men asked, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). They had sought the fulfillment of this promise: "For unto us a Child is born . . . ; the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). They believed Jesus was this Child.

Later, when Christ was crucified, some jeered, "If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matthew 27:40). They wanted to see if Jesus really was King. But Jesus did not come down. The true meaning of the cross is that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3). He who paid the penalty of our sins has made God's forgiveness possible.

Those who accept God's forgiveness and ask Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord can have only one appropriate response-to serve Him. He is King of our lives. -Albert Lee

King of my life I crown Thee now-
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary. -Hussey

Jesus is King of our lives, so we must serve Him all of our lives.

Why Did Christ Have To Die?
Knowing God Through John

19 posted on 03/25/2005 5:01:14 AM PST by The Mayor ( The human spirit soars with hope when lifted by an encouraging word.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All
Friday Bump for the Freeper Foxhole

A couple of pics of a Stinson L-5 rigged out as an ambulance aircraft. This is what was most likely used as an evac plane in Burma.

"ow bout a nice action shot of an L-5, eh mate

Here's a pic showing the stretcher arraingments for the evac of wounded in an L-5

Well off to work I must go, hopefully will be able to get started on the ceiling sheetrock today, groan. Thank goodnes for drywall lifts :-)


alfa6 ;>}

20 posted on 03/25/2005 5:25:35 AM PST by alfa6 (Memebr loyal order of F.O.G.)
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To: snippy_about_it

Pack artillery!
I love it!

21 posted on 03/25/2005 5:40:15 AM PST by Darksheare (Gravity - Fear = SPLAT!)
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To: Darksheare
'ere ya go mate


alfa6 ;>}

22 posted on 03/25/2005 6:00:24 AM PST by alfa6 (Memebr loyal order of F.O.G.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Professional Engineer; radu; Wneighbor; All

Good morning everyone.

23 posted on 03/25/2005 6:09:28 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: snippy_about_it

On this Day In History

Birthdates which occurred on March 25:
1133 Henry II King of England (1154-89)
1532 Pietro Pontio composer
1767 Joachim Murat marshal of France/King of Naples (1808-15)
1786 Giovanni B Amia Italian astronomer/physicist/botanist
1797 John Winebrenner US, clergyman, founded Church of God
1818 Isaac Ingalls Stevens Major General (Union volunteers), died in 1862
1823 William Thompson Martin Major General (Confederate Army), died in 1910
1867 Arturo Toscanini Parma Italy, temperamental conductor
1867 Gutzon Borglum sculptor (Mount Rushmore)
1873 Rudolf Rocker German/US anarchist
1881 Béla Bartók Hungary, composer/pianist (Concerto for Orchestra)
1893 Edward Hart (Representative-Democrat-NJ)/1st chairman of Committee on Un-American Activities
1906 Alan J P Taylor British historian (English history 1914-1915)
1906 Howard Pyle (Governor-Republican-AZ, 1951-55)
1908 David Lean Croydon England, director (Dr Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter)
1920 Patrick Troughton actor (Doctor Who)
1921 Simone Signoret Wiesbaden Germany, actress (Casque d'Or, Room at the Top)
1922 Eileen Ford modeling agency head (Ford Modeling Agency)
1925 Flannery O'Connor Georgia, novelist (A Good Man Is Hard to Find)
1928 James A Lovell Jr Cleveland OH, USN/astronaut (Gemini 7, 12, Apollo 8, 13)
1934 Gloria Steinem Toledo OH, feminist/publisher (Ms Magazine)
1938 Hoyt Axton Duncan OK, musician (Della and the dealer, I've never been to spain)
1940 Anita Bryant Barnsdall OK, Miss Oklahoma-America (1958)/singer (George Gobel Show)
1942 Aretha Franklin Memphis TN, Soul Sister #1/singer (Respect)
1942 Paul Michael Glaser Cambridge MA, actor (Starsky-Starsky & Hutch)
1944 Frank Oz muppetteer (Grover-Sesame Street, Muppet Show)
1947 Elton John [Reginald Kenneth Dwight] Pinner Middlesex England, singer (Rocketman, Your Song, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)
1965 Sarah Jessica Parker Nelsonville OH, actress (Square Pegs, LA Story)
1974 Vyninka Arlow Australia, diver (Olympics-96)
2184 Pavel Andreivich Chekov St. Petersburg, Russia

Deaths which occurred on March 25:
1223 Afonso II 3rd King of Portugal (1211-23), dies at 36
1751 Frederik of Hessen Kassel King of Sweden (1720-51), dies at 74
1918 Claude A Debussy French composer, dies in Paris France at 55
1949 Hanns A Rauter German SS-commandant in Netherlands, executed at 54
1962 Auguste Piccard Swiss explorer/balloonist, dies at 78
1963 David Moore US feather weight boxer, dies at 29
1973 Edward Steichen pioneer of American photography, dies at 92
1975 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia shot to death by his nephew
1992 Nancy Walker actress (Ida Morgenstern-Rhoda), dies of cancer at 69

GWOT Casualties

25-Mar-2003 4 | US: 2 | UK: 2 | Other: 0
US Major Gregory Lewis Stone Camp Pennsylvania Non-hostile - homicide
US Hospital Corpsman 3rd Cl. Michael Vann Johnson Jr. Not reported Hostile - hostile fire
UK Corporal Stephen John Allbutt Basra Hostile - friendly fire
UK Trooper David Jeffrey Clarke Basra Hostile - friendly fire

25-Mar-2004 3 | US: 3 | UK: 0 | Other: 0
US Specialist Adam D. Froehlich Ba’qubah Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Lance Corporal Jeffrey C. Burgess Fallujah (E of) Hostile - hostile fire
US Lance Corporal James A. Casper Al Asad Non-hostile - unspecified cause

A good Day

Data research by Pat Kneisler
Designed and maintained by Michael White

On this day...
0031 1st Easter, according to calendar-maker Dionysius Exiguus
0421 Venice was founded on a Friday at 12 PM
0708 Constantine begins his reign as Catholic Pope
0752 Stephen ends his reign as Catholic Pope (or 26th)
1133 William the Conqueror orders 1st Domesday Survey of England
1306 Robert the Bruce crowned king of Scotland
1584 Sir Walter Raleigh renews Humphrey Gilbert's patent to explore North America
1609 Henry Hudson embarks on an exploration for Dutch East India Co
1634 Lord Baltimore founded Catholic colony of Maryland
1655 Christiaan Huygens discovers Titan, (Saturn's largest satellite)
1668 1st horse race in America takes place
1669 Mount Etna in Sicily erupts, destroying Nicolosi, killing 20,000
1774 English Parliament passes Boston Port Bill
1776 Continental Congress authorizes a medal for General George Washington
1802 France, Netherlands, Spain & England signs Peace of Amiens
1807 1st railway passenger service began in England
1807 British Parliament abolishes slave trade
1813 1st US flag flown in battle on the Pacific, frigate Essex
1817 Tsar Alexander I recommends formation of Society of Israeli Christians
1821 Greece gains independence from Turkey (National Day)
1847 Pope Pius IX encyclical "On aid for Ireland"
1856 A E Burnside patents Burnside carbine
1857 Frederick Laggenheim takes 1st photo of a solar eclipse
1863 1st Army Medal of Honor awarded
1863 Skirmish at Brentwood TN
1864 Battle of Paducah KY (Forrest's raid)
1865 Battle of Bluff Spring FL
1865 Battle of Fort Stedman VA: in front of Petersburg
1865 Battle of Mobile AL (Spanish Fort, Fort Morgan, Fort Blakely)
1882 1st demonstration of pancake making (Department store in New York NY)
1894 Coxey's Army of the unemployed sets out from Massillon OH for Washington DC
1895 Italian troops invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
1896 Modern Olympics begin in Athens Greece
1898 Intercollegiate Trapshooting Association formed in New York NY
1900 US Socialist Party is formed at Indianapolis
1902 Irving W Colburn patents sheet glass drawing machine
1905 (some)Rebel battle flags captured during war are returned to South
1910 Chalmers Auto Co offers a new car to each leagues' batting champion

1911 146 die in a fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York NY

1913 Home of vaudeville, Palace Theatre, opens (New York NY) starring Ed Wynn
1915 1st submarine disaster; a US F-4 sank off Hawaii, killing 21
1916 Women are allowed to attend a boxing match
1920 Greek Independence Day
1923 British government grants Trans-Jordan autonomy
1931 Scottsboro Boys (accused of raping a white woman) arrested in Alabama
1934 1st Golf Masters Championship: Horton Smith wins, shooting a 284
1937 Italy & Yugoslavia sign no-attack treaty (Pact of Belgrade)
1937 It's revealed Quaker Oats pays Babe Ruth $25,000 per year for ads
1938 1st US bred horse (Battleship) to win Grand National Steeplechase
1939 Billboard Magazine introduces hillbilly (country) music chart
1942 700 Jews of Polish Lvov-district reach Belzec Concentration camp
1943 97% of all Dutch physicians strike againt Nazi registration
1944 RAF Sergeant Nickolas Alkemade survives a jump from his Lancaster bomber from 18,000 feet without a parachute
1945 US 1st army breaks out bridgehead near Remagen
1945 US 4th Armored division arrives at Hanau & Aschaffenburg
1947 Coal mine explosion in Centralia IL, claims 111 lives
1949 SS police chief Rauter request for a pardon, denied
1954 Pope Pius XII encyclical "Sacra virginitas" (On consecrated virginity)
1954 RCA manufactures 1st color TV set (12½" screen at $1,000)
1955 East Germany granted full sovereignty by occupying power, USSR
1957 Treaty of Rome establishes European Economic Community (Common Market)
1958 Sugar Ray Robinson is 1st boxing champion to win 5 times
1960 1st guided missile launched from nuclear powered sub (Halibut)
1961 "Gypsy" closes at Broadway Theater NYC after 702 performances
1961 Elvis Presley performs live on the USS Arizona
1961 Explorer 10 launched into elongated Earth orbit (177/181,000 km)
1961 Sputnik 10 carries a dog into Earth orbit; later recovered
1964 Egypt ends state of siege (1952-64)
1965 Martin Luther King Jr led 25,000 to state capitol in Montgomery AL
1966 US Supreme court rules "poll tax" unconstitutional
1967 The Turtles' "Happy Together" goes #1
1967 Who & Cream make US debut at Murray the K's Easter Show
1969 Pakistan General Agha Mohammed Jagja Khan succeeds Ayub Chan as President
1970 Concorde makes its 1st supersonic flight (700 MPH/1,127 KPH)
1971 Boston Patriots become New England Patriots
1972 America's LP "America" goes #1
1972 Bobby Hull becomes the 2nd NHLer to score 600 goals
1975 Faisal ibn Abd al-Aziz, king of Saudi-Arabia (1964-75), shot by nephew
1976 Argentine military junta bans leftist political parties
1982 Wayne Gretzky becomes 1st NHL to score 200 points in a season
1985 Edwin Meese III becomes US Attorney General
1986 Supreme Court rules Air Force could ban wearing of yarmulkes
1987 Supreme Court rules women/minorities may get jobs if less qualified (Remember diversity is our strength...or not)
1990 10th Golden Raspberry Awards: Star Trek V won
1992 British scientists find new largest perfect number (2 756839 -1 2 756839)
1995 Boxer Mike Tyson released from jail after serving 3 years
1996 "Braveheart" won Academy Awards for best picture and best director Mel Gibson
1996 Comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) approaches within 0.1018 astronomical units (AUs) of Earth
1996 US issues newly-redesigned $100 bill
1997 Georgia Gov. Zell Miller signes into law a ban on a controversial form of late-term abortion.
1997 Former President George Bush, 73, parachuted from a plane over the Arizona desert
2000 In Belarus thousands of people demonstrated in Minsk against the rule of Pres. Lukashenko and clashed with police
2001 In Saudi Arabia the Higher Committee for Scientific Research and Islamic Law claimed that Pokemon games and cards have “possessed the minds” of Saudi children
2003 7th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom US aircraft dropped more than 2,000 precision-guided bombs on Iraq since the war's start. The "smart" bombs were produced for a relatively cheap $20,000 each. Sandstorms slowed coalition movement and air missions. US officials reported 150-200 Iraqi soldiers were killed near Najaf.
2004 The United States uses its veto power to quash a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for killing Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin in a missile strike.

Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

England : New Year's Day 1155-1752
Greece : Independence Day (1821)
Maryland : Maryland Day (1634)
US : Pecan Day
Alaska : Seward Day (1867) (Monday)
US Virgin Island : Transfer Day (1917) (Monday)
US : Pecan Day
US : Chocolate Week (Day 6)
US : Straw Hat Week (Day 6)

Religious Observances
Roman Catholic : Feast of the Annunication
Christian : Saint Dismas Feast Day - The good thief who died on the cross next to Jesus
Christian : Commemoration of St Margaret Clitherow, English martyr
Roman Catholic : Commemoration of St Lucy Filippini, Italian educator
Moslem : 'Id al-Fitr; end of Ramadân fast (Shawwâl 1, 1412 AH)

Religious History
1 Roman Church historian Dionysius Exiguus (ca.500_550), in calculating his history of the Christian Church, took this day as the supposed date of the Annunciation. March 25th afterward became the first day of the calendar year, until the Gregorian Calendar Reform of 1753 changed the day to January 1st.
1533 During one of his recorded "Table Talks," German reformer Martin Luther declared: 'That the Creator himself comes to us and becomes our ransom - this is the reason for our rejoicing.'
1634 The Catholic Church gained a foothold in colonial America when the ships "Dove" and "Ark" arrived in Maryland with 128 Catholic colonists, selected by Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore. The colony was under the leadership of Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore's brother.
1951 American missionary and martyr Jim Elliot reflected in his journal: 'When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.'
1953 A group of 22 Southern Baptist military personnel, stationed at Rapid City, met to form the Calvary Baptist Church , the first Southern Baptist congregation established in South Dakota.

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.

Thought for the day :
"Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are."

24 posted on 03/25/2005 6:12:26 AM PST by Valin (DARE to be average!)
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To: alfa6


25 posted on 03/25/2005 6:33:22 AM PST by Darksheare (Gravity - Fear = SPLAT!)
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To: snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Samwise; msdrby; Wneighbor
Good morning ladies. It's Friday!

26 posted on 03/25/2005 6:41:10 AM PST by Professional Engineer (My baby girl has the strongest little finger known to man.)
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To: snippy_about_it

Morning Snippy. Caught up with the rest of the world, I see. ;-)

27 posted on 03/25/2005 6:46:23 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: AZamericonnie

Morning AZamericonnie

28 posted on 03/25/2005 6:46:50 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: A Jovial Cad

Thanks for sharing pictures of your Grandfather with us Jovial Cad. We thanks him for his service to our Country.

29 posted on 03/25/2005 6:51:26 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: GailA

Morning GailA.

We appreciate Uncle Ralph's service. He had to be something special to have joined up with Merrill.

30 posted on 03/25/2005 6:53:15 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: CarrotAndStick

Thanks for the information and pictures on the role of Indian troops during WWII.

31 posted on 03/25/2005 6:54:11 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: E.G.C.

Morning E.G.C.

Sun's out again this morning. Still predicting rain for today though.

32 posted on 03/25/2005 6:55:26 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: Aeronaut

Morning Aeronaut.

33 posted on 03/25/2005 6:55:48 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: sasportas

IIRC, the Chindits were a larger group and more "air mobile" than the Maurauders. Both groups were a real pain in the ass to the occupying Japanese but the Marauders were more "hit and run" while the Chindits would move into areas and take ground and hold it while conducting combat operations. They also relied on air resupply more than the Mauraders, I believe. Been a long time since I've read anything about the Chindits.

34 posted on 03/25/2005 7:01:55 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: Diva Betsy Ross

Morning Diva. :-) Thanks for dropping in.

35 posted on 03/25/2005 7:02:46 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: The Mayor

Good morning Mayor.

36 posted on 03/25/2005 7:03:32 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: alfa6
Morning alfa6.

hopefully will be able to get started on the ceiling sheetrock today, groan. Thank goodnes for drywall lifts

Weenie. ;-)

Good luck on the ceiling, I hated celings the worst, real rough on the arms.

Like the nose art on the Stinson.

37 posted on 03/25/2005 7:05:55 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: Darksheare

Mortars - The original "Pack Artillery" :-)

38 posted on 03/25/2005 7:06:49 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: bentfeather

Hi Feather.

39 posted on 03/25/2005 7:07:08 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: snippy_about_it

Good Morning Foxhole

Here's to another excellent thread . . .

There are all kinds of pack mules . . .

But nothing like Merrill's Marauders  of WW2

"It’s been written that Merrill’s Marauders are the most overlooked group of soldiers from World War II. 
The company that started with 3,000 volunteers in October of 1943, marched 700 miles through the jungles of Burma. They cleared Japanese soldiers out of the way for American troops to help the Allied Forces get a stronger hold in southeastern Asia. By the time they reached and took over the Myitkyina Airfield and then a town by the same name about seven miles away, only 300 of the original Merrill’s Marauders were alive."    
- John Gunther - Merrill's Marauders


40 posted on 03/25/2005 7:14:10 AM PST by tomball
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To: SAMWolf


Baseplate had to be a pain though.

41 posted on 03/25/2005 7:15:01 AM PST by Darksheare (Gravity - Fear = SPLAT!)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it
Good morning, folks.

Well, it was a great run for Eddie Sutton and OSU this season. They won the Big 12 Tournament.

But it all came to an end last night in the NCAA Tournament.

Arizona 79 OSU 78.

It's in the 40's this morning. Cloudy. Cold front moved throug last night.

42 posted on 03/25/2005 7:15:03 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: Valin
1911 146 die in a fire at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York NY

Today, the papers "spare us" from such gruesome pictures.

At 4:45 pm the bell rang signaling that the workday was done. The girls in the light brown and terra cotta Asch building, on the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in lower Manhattan, had put in some overtime. The clothiers on the lower floors had closed shop at noon this Saturday but the girls, mostly Italian, Yiddish and German, on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors could use the extra money over the $6 a week they normally made. They assembled women's tailored shirts which were copied from the men's styles. The girls worked for Isaac Harris and Max Blanck. The name of the business was the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The date was March 25, 1911.

As the girls were gathering their belongings and putting on their coats someone yelled "Fire!"

Down below on the street, people started to notice the smoke billowing from the 8th floor. One of the bystanders observed a bolt of cloth come flying out the window and hit the pavement. Instinctively, he remarked that Harris was trying to save his best material. As the people on the street moved closer, out flew another bolt. It was then that the realization hit them that it wasn't bolts of cloth at all but bodies plummeting to the pavement below.

By the time Engine Company 72 arrived from 12th Street (only 6 blocks away) they had trouble maneuvering their hose wagon into position since they didn't want to grind the already six limp forms lying in the street. The bodies were still falling. The distraught fire fighters pulled out a life net and attempted to catch one girl but three more hurled themselves immediately after the first and all four bounced out hitting the concrete. A policeman and fireman held a horse blanket and tried to catch the next hurling body. The blanket split in two and the body hit the pavement -- dead.

Back inside, on the 8th floor, feeding on cotton fabric and then climbing to the hanging overhead garments, the fire took little time to race out of control. The foreman and male tailors tried desperately to douse the licking flames with the 27 water buckets that were available. The efforts proved to be futile and the 275 girls panicked in desperation and headed for the two passenger elevators and the stairway at the west end of the loft. The crush of women at the door leading to the stairway slammed it closed. The doors in this building opened in rather than out.

Joe Zitto and Joe Gaspar, the elevator operators, brought elevators to the 8th floor and the girls fought frantically to get on. Each car only held 10. These two cars, making approximately 15 to 20 trips each, brought about 12 to 15 havoc-stricken passengers down to street level -- their clothing still smoldering. Finally, the girls upstairs were able to open the stairway door and raced down the stairs to street level -- most of them with their garments almost completely burned from their bodies.

Hundreds were still trapped upstairs. Three male cutters formed a human chain from the Shirtwaist's 8th floor window to the adjacent window next door. Some girls were able to cross over on the backs of the three. But then the men lost their balance and all three souls fell 80 feet to join the already growing number on the pavement.

Meanwhile, Engine Company 33 had arrived from Great Jones Street. To add to the horror, the stream of water from their hoses would only reach as far as the 7th floor! The aerial ladders only reached between the 6th and 7th floors. Girls were now jumping, trying to grab the top of the ladder. All missed -- diving to their deaths. Some of the girls were jumping now five at a time with fire streaking from their hair as they hurled themselves into eternity. They hit the glass sidewalk vault lights and crashed through to the basement, water pouring on top of them. Now there were literally thousands of spectators behind the police lines unable to believe what they were witnessing.

At another window, a man and a woman kissed and hurled themselves into the air. One girl jumped holding a fire bucket. Another one tossed her purse, her hat and then herself.

Interns, arriving in horse drawn ambulances from St. Vincent's, Bellevue and New York hospitals were only able to tag the broken bodies and cover them with tarpaulins. The 10th floor, which was where the showroom and the pressing of the shirtwaists took place, first received the message of a fire over the teleautograph which relayed messages between floors. At first, they thought it to be a prank -- but they soon smelled the smoke. Realizing that they could not go down, they climbed onto the roof. Some members and students from New York University Law School lowered a ladder to the horror-stricken girls. (The Triangle Building was about 12 feet lower than its adjacent structure.) Almost 150 reached safety this way.

A considerable portion of those who jumped came from the 9th floor. The reaching tongues of the flames from the floor beneath grabbed the windowsills and entered the 9th floor to start consuming the materials that were stacked high. The women raced to the east end stairway but by now it was an inferno. They stampeded back to the west side passenger elevators and stairway. The door was locked. Some tried the building's only fire escape but the courtyard was as hot as a blast furnace. They started screaming for Zitto to come up. After an eternity, he did, but could only take a handful. He would later testify that, as he was going back down the elevator shaft, he heard bodies hitting the top of the car -- blood was dripping on him and coins bouncing through the shaft. Later, police would pull over 25 charred bodies from atop the elevator.

Firemen would later say that they found 19 bodies melted against the locked door. 25 were found huddled in death in the cloakroom trying to escape the flames, some with their hands covering their faces in death.

The firemen now rushed up the stairs with their hoses to extinguish the flames. The steel and concrete structure was undamaged -- for the Triangle Building was fireproof; but not death proof.

As night approached, the grisly task began of removing the bodies from the upper floors of the building. Searchlights on both Greene Street and Washington Place were directed to the upper floors creating an eerie effect to the already grim sight. Using the nets, the firemen lowered the bodies, 2 and 3 at a time, out the window by means of block and tackle to the waiting police below. The nets were soon exhausted and blankets from the driver's seats and eventually from the horses were used. The bodies were spread in a row on the east side of Greene Street on a dark red canvas.

All during the night ambulances transported the dead bodies to Bellevue Morgue on 26th Street and to the adjoining tin-roofed pier on the East River. The patrol wagons that were dispatched from distant precincts to transport the bodies to the pier were delayed because of the slow process of removing the bodies. They ending up lining up on a side street like taxicabs waiting to take people to their destination.

From 6 pm on, the wagons, as if in a procession, moved from Washington Square up Broadway to 14th Street then up Fourth Avenue to 23rd, then east to Fifth Avenue and down to the foot of 26th Street. Ironically, the morbid smell of death was no stranger to this pier. In 1904, the dead were lined up here from the disastrous fire on the excursion boat General Slocum.

Police had sent for 75 to 100 coffins from the morgue but only 65 were available. Commissioner Drummond sent the Charities Department steamer, The Bronx, to Blackwell's Island to bring down the supply of 200 coffins in the carpenter shop of Metropolitan Hospital. The steamship returned at 10:30 pm with the boxes. Meanwhile, the firemen searched the water and gas filled basement under the street for survivors. One fireman by chance looked up and found the bodies of two women draped across the lattice of steam pipes above him. He had passed this spot several times in his search and never even noticed them before.

Around 6 pm that night hundreds of screaming, hysterical relatives and friends of the factory workers rushed to the Mercer Street Police Station looking for survivors and information on those that hadn't returned home from work. The doors had to be shut because of the crush of people. When the doorman informed them of the temporary morgue on the East River, many fainted.

The next few days would bring hundreds of relatives and friends to the temporary morgue trying to identify their loved ones. It was estimated that the initial count was 100 grief-stricken souls arriving every minute. Out of necessity, a temporary police station was opened at the pier and 40 policemen were assigned the painful duty of assisting the horrified multitudes. The task of identifying the dead, some of which were unrecognizable, went on through the night. One woman, on finding her daughter after only looking at the third coffin, stood motionless for several minutes. She was being comforted and held by each arm by a nurse and a police officer but as she turned she fell to her knees and fainted. She was carried outside and revived and comforted by the policeman. As she began to walk away, the grief-stricken officer gave her a 2 dollar bill.

Many that did come were curiosity seekers, reading about the tragedy in the morning papers. Some women were able to sneak through the security soon wished their curiosity had not gotten the best of them. On seeing the first charred body, they fainted.

To this day, 84 years later, no one is absolutely sure on how the fire started. It is said that one of the men, who was smoking, threw either a match or cigarette onto the clutter-filled floor. On December 28th, 1911 Harris and Blanck were acquitted of wrong doing -- specifically, if the doors on the west side were locked or not (a measure probably taken to prevent theft). Twenty-three families sued the two owners and eventually they each were paid a sum of $75. The New York legislature, appalled by the event, created a commission headed by Senator Robert F. Wagoner, Alfred E. Smith, and Samuel Gompers to investigate conditions in the city's sweatshops. This resulted in the present labor laws protecting factory workers in health, disability and fire prevention. The division of Fire Prevention was also created as part of the Fire Department. Their function is to rid factories of fire hazards. Among other restrictions, all doors must now open outwards, no doors are to be locked during working hours, sprinkler systems must be installed if a company employs more than 25 people above the ground floor, and fire drills are mandatory for buildings lacking sprinkler systems.

The building where 146 died still stands now and is part of the New York University. Today, students look out the windows where so many leaped to their deaths.

Few events in the course of the lifetime of an individual leave a lasting impression on that person but this is one of them. We tend to date new events according to a tragic event from our past. In our lifetime it would be the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK or the Challenger disaster. Such was the case with the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire on March 25, 1911. One businessman who was born a few blocks away from the fire related that, as a child, he remembered asking his father when he was born and being told: "Just two years before the Triangle Waist Company fire."

43 posted on 03/25/2005 7:19:30 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: Professional Engineer

Morning PE.

44 posted on 03/25/2005 7:19:48 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: tomball

Morning tomball.

45 posted on 03/25/2005 7:20:51 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: Darksheare

You got that right!

46 posted on 03/25/2005 7:21:18 AM PST by SAMWolf (Liberal Rule #9 - Can't refute the message? Attack the messenger!)
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To: SAMWolf

Morning Sam....Good Friday to you.

47 posted on 03/25/2005 7:23:06 AM PST by AZamericonnie (What's another word for synonym? Ok,'s metonym...sheesh!)
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To: SAMWolf

In my old unit, the least popular people got the job of manhandling the baseplate into place.

48 posted on 03/25/2005 7:34:51 AM PST by Darksheare (Gravity - Fear = SPLAT!)
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To: Professional Engineer; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; alfa6; All

Ollie was stopped by a game warden in Northern Wisconsin recently leaving a lake well known for its Walleye. He had tw buckets of fish.

As it was during the spawning season, the game warden asked, " Do you have a license to catch those fish?" Ole replied, "No, sir! Dese here are my pet fish."
"Pet fish?" the warden replied.

"Ya sure, you betcha." answered Ollie. "Every night I take dese fish here down to da lake and let dem svim around for a while. Den I vhistle and dey yump back into deir buckets and I take dem home."

"That's a bunch of hooey. Fish can't do that," said the game warden.

Ollie looked at the game warden with an expression of great hurt, and then said, "Yumpin Yimminy! Vell den, I'll yust show you den. It really does vork, don'tcha know?"

"O.K. I've got to see this!" The game warden was really curious now. So Ole poured the fish into the lake and stood waiting. After several minutes, the game warden turned to Ollie and said, "Well?"
"Vell what?" responded Ollie.
"When are you going to call them back?"
"Call who back?" asked Ollie.
"The fish!"
"What fish?"

49 posted on 03/25/2005 7:45:06 AM PST by Soaring Feather
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To: bentfeather

LOL. Good one feather.

50 posted on 03/25/2005 9:06:52 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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