World War II Photographs--
I have been doing research on a project at work that's taken me to archives of the War in the Pacific (1941-1945).   In the process I've found some very striking photographs.  Hope you find them interesting also.

Please click on smaller pictures for a full screen shot--

Woman and Family Found in Cave--
In the Mariana Islands, on Saipan, a U.S. Marine finds a woman hiding in the cave with her three children.  The year is about 1944.  The woman even has the family dog with her.  This is a Pulitzer prize quality photo, in my opinion.   Two cultures from the opposite sides of the planet Earth are looking at each other here.  There's quite a lot of humanity in the photo.  We do not know what happened to the soldier or the family.  However, generally speaking the G.I.'s were pretty decent to refugees.

Chinese Guard Protecting "Flying Tiger" Aircraft--
Today relations are strained with P.R. China.  However, in 1939 when China was being clobbered by Japanese bombers, an American volunteer force (the AVF), flying P-40 fighters against the attackers, managed the only air defense that China had at that time.   Not only were hundreds of Japanese planes shot down by the Flying Tigers, but more importantly, the "ability to fight back" did wonders for Chinese morale.  The older Chinese still remember.

"Sweating It Out" --
Late in the Pacific campaign, the greatest danger was the Kamakazi attack.  Such planes managed to sink 30 American ships at Okinawa, and damaged approx. 230 others.   Here the anti-aircraft batteries on an American warship are ready for action, and the gun crews are anxiously scanning the skies for attackers.

One tough ship's officer in the Pacific -- who had been through it all -- said the one thing that really scared the h*** out of him was Kamakazi.   Here's a carrier in the foreground.  The smoke is the carrier's AA (anti-aircraft).  The Kamakazi is diving on another capital ship-- something big.   You can see the clouds of smoke in the distance as that ship is pouring AA at the Kamakazi.  Did the Kamakazi hit that ship?  Odds are, probably not.  The pilot was probably dead.  But -- who knows?   Put yourself there.  Wouldn't you be scared too?

Going In!
Here are GI's going in on an invasion.  It may have been Okinawa, it may have been Saipan or Tinian or Iwo or any number of other deadly little islands.  It doesn't matter.  The men going in looked much the same.  These amphibious craft-- some called Buffalo, some called Alligators-- had a top speed in the water of only 6-8 mph.  Until late in the war they were under heavy fire.  At Iwo and Okinawa, the Japanese did not oppose the landings.  (The turrets were, I believe, intended for AA.)

"Soaking the Coastal Defenses"
Here are some naval support ships saturating the beaches with rocket launchers.  Okinawa was the biggest landing-- 160,000 troops ashore, more air support, more naval heavy ordinance fired-- than any other landing.  Casualties higher too--  about 46,000 American casualties.  A total death count of 180,000 to 200,000.

Photo Credit:  Prefecture of Okinawa.  Thank you.

Men of Rifle Company L, 383d Regiment, 96th Infantry Division

Men of this rifle company taking some sleep while they can on Okinawa, during the fight for Hill 167.  Photo taken by T/4 Robert E. Wandrey, Signal Corps photographer.

When a similar company-- Rifle Company L of the 382d Regiment -- came ashore on 1 April, they were 168 men-- slightly under strength.  Two months later, they were down to a foxhole strength of 60 men.  The rest were all casualties.  After the battle, Rifle Company L was officially listed with 212 casualties, only possible because the replacements being sent in were being killed or wounded. There were platoons on Okinawa that were "wiped out."  

I was 4 years old when this picture was taken, sleeping in a nice warm bed in America.  I hope it is not too late to say "thank you."  So, thank you very much, soldiers.

Do Not Let The Sacrifices of these Americans Be Forgotten !

Check out "Pin-Ups" of GI's in World War II

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