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• View topic - World War II

World War II

A place for Sladists to share their thoughts on Michael Slade and his work...

Postby MarylandManson » Thu Feb 16, 2006 2:14 am

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Postby Slade » Sun Feb 19, 2006 5:59 pm

MM,

For me, the war in Burma and Thailand is the FIRST image that jumps to mind if someone mentions the Pacific War. That's because my first real introduction to that half of the conflict was when I saw - at age ten - BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. I still consider that to be the best film made about the Pacific theater. What makes it work so well is that it was written by a Frenchman...

http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/boulle.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Boulle

...and filmed from the point of view of an American unwillingly caught up in the British military myth. They're into the Thin Red Line and all of that, and he just wants to get his ass home in one piece.

Consequently, we get the rah-rah seen through a very jaundiced eye.

On Thursday, I caught a good show called THE BOYS OF H COMPANY on the History Channel (which is different from the U.S. one). It really puts you in the middle of the battle for Iwo Jima.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site ... e_2468.php

'Boys of H Company'

FEB. 19 [last year] marks the 60th anniversary of one of the most famous incidents of World War II--the US invasion of Iwo Jima. The small island 660 miles South of Tokyo was crucial to the US, and the Japanese spent years "digging in" in preparation for the inevitable attack.

Thus, when the invasion started, every inch of ground the Marines took was at extreme cost. The battle raged for more than 30 days. Nearly 7,000 American soldiers were killed and more than 20,000 were injured. For their part, the Japanese lost more than 21,000 men. Of the 80 US Marines awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II, 22 of them were at Iwo Jima!

"Boys of H company" is a two-hour special.

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Postby MarylandManson » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:40 pm

Slade,

I've yet to see the River Kwai movie, but it's long been on the list (I'm a David Lean fan). It sounds like an interesting way in toward study of the Second World War: through the POW aspect as opposed to the combatant aspect (that is, there's the battle and then there's what happens after the dust settles).

Speaking of the multicultural takes on River Kwai, the mishmash of governments and commands on the Allied side is an interesting aspect of the whole SE Asia/SW Pacific theatre. How many times does ABDACOM (American-British-Dutch-Australian Command) get mentioned in discussions of the war? Of course, it was a short-lived command--January 15 to February 25, 1942--but there was quite alot going on then. Maybe the Allied victors were embarrassed as the Japanese army and navy kicked ass between December 1941 and June 1942--definitely Japan's high-water mark.

From at least the naval point of view, the ABDACOM fleet was an underdog that fought reasonably well (given its hastily assembled nature--communication and joint training would have done wonders) but eventually got whomped on by the superior Imperial Japanese Navy. I find no comprehensive overview of the campaign in any single source.

So, for all frustrated ABDACOM fans everywhere, here's a list (cobbled together from many sources) of ABDA surface vessels whose crews saw action, as well as their fates. Many fought bravely and paid the price, and perhaps they warrant more mention than they usually get:

ABDA Fleet (American-British-Dutch-Australian surface combatants)

Key:
CA = heavy cruiser
CL = light cruiser
AV = seaplane tender
DD = destroyer
PG = patrol gunboat or sloop

American

CA Houston (sunk)
CL Boise (damaged, escaped)
CL Marblehead (damaged, escaped)
AV Langley (sunk)
AV William B. Preston (damaged, escaped)
DD Alden (escaped)
DD Barker (damaged, escaped)
DD Bulmer (damaged, escaped)
DD Edsall (sunk)
DD John D. Edwards (escaped)
DD John D. Ford (escaped)
DD Parrott (escaped)
DD Paul Jones (escaped)
DD Peary (sunk)
DD Pillsbury (sunk)
DD Pope (sunk)
DD Stewart (scuttled, raised and used by Japanese)
DD Whipple (escaped)
PG Asheville (sunk)

British

CA Exeter (sunk)
CL Danae (escaped)
CL Dragon (escaped)
CL Durban (damaged, escaped)
CL Emerald (escaped)
DD Electra (sunk)
DD Encounter (sunk)
DD Express (escaped)
DD Jupiter (sunk)
DD Scout (escaped)
DD Stronghold (sunk)
DD Tenedos (escaped, later sunk)
DD Thanet (sunk)

Dutch

CL De Ruyter (sunk)
CL Java (sunk)
CL Tromp (damaged)
DD Banckert (scuttled, raised but not used by Japanese)
DD Evertsen (beached)
DD Kortenaer (sunk)
DD Piet Hein (sunk)
DD Van Ghent (beached)
DD Van Nes (sunk)
DD Witte de With (scuttled)

Australian

CL Perth (sunk)
CL Hobart (escaped)
DD Vampire (escaped, later sunk)
PG Yarra (sunk)

Timeline

January 23-24 (Battle of Balikpapan)

Boise damaged, John D. Ford damaged

January 27

Thanet sunk (action off Endau)

February 4 (Battle of Makassar Strait)

De Ruyter damaged, Houston damaged, Marblehead damaged

February 15 (action off Bangka Island)

Barker damaged, Bulmer damaged, Van Ghent beached

February 17

Van Nes sunk (en route Billiton to Batavia)

February 18-19

Piet Hein sunk, Stewart damaged, Tromp damaged (Battle of Badung Strait)
Peary sunk, William B. Preston damaged (action at Darwin)

February 27

Langley sunk (action south of Tjilatjap)
De Ruyter sunk, Electra sunk, Java sunk, Jupiter sunk, Kortenaer sunk (Battle of the Java Sea)

February 28-March 1

Evertsen beached, Houston sunk, Perth sunk (Battle of Sunda Strait)
Encounter sunk, Exeter sunk, Pope sunk (Battle of the Java Sea)
Edsall sunk (action southwest of Tjilatjap)

March 2

Banckert scuttled, Stewart scuttled, Witte de With scuttled (action off Surabaya)
Stronghold sunk (action in Bali Strait)
Pillsbury sunk (action in Bali Strait)

March 3

Asheville sunk (action south of Java)

March 4

Yarra sunk (action southeast of Tjilatjap)

Note: The Japanese navy kept good records, and there are comprehensive lists available that describe the Japanese combatant vessels and their crews, who also fought well. So if the above list appears one-sided, there's the reason.

Cheers! MM
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Postby Slade » Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:58 pm

MM,

Never seen BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI!! Well, then you have a treat. Although LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is considered to be Lean's best film - and it really opens your eyes to what's now going on in the world - BRIDGE is probably more enjoyable. As an American, you'll have fun identifying with William Holden and his predicament.

Watch it soon.

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Postby raasnio » Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:29 pm

Bridge on the River Kwai. Admittedly, I don't like too many of the older war films. Bridge, on the other hand, is one that stands out as being one of the most enjoyable. I've seen it a couple of times. I'd definitely recommend it.

I've never seen Lawrence of Arabia, though.
The most merciful thing in the world... is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. - H. P. Lovecraft
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Postby Slade » Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:19 pm

raasnio,

Then you, too, have a treat!

T.E. Lawrence has to be one of the most intriguing men of the 20th Century, and Peter O'Toole - in his first movie role - brings the enigma to life.

http://www.lawrenceofarabia.info/

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Postby MarylandManson » Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:16 pm

...and what's the connection between the ABDA fleet and BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI?

http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/remembering ... script.htm

"In a night battle, under fire from Japanese cruisers and destroyers, Perth and Houston steamed in a great semi-circle nearly ten miles or sixteen kilometres across. All the while they were under fire from torpedoes and shells.

...the Perth heeled over and sank. The Houston too fought on until it sank after hits by torpedoes.

Those who survived were gradually picked up by Japanese warships and became prisoners of war. They were held at first in Java, then were sent north to labour on the Burma-Thailand railway."

Cheers! MM
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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:53 am

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Postby Slade » Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:09 am

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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:48 pm

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Postby MarylandManson » Fri Mar 17, 2006 12:34 pm

Here's an interesting take on the Pacific war from a macroeconomic perspective. Wheeeee!

http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm

"When the American giant awoke, it did not lapse into despair as a result of the defeats that Japan had inflicted upon it. Rather, it awoke in a rage, and applied every ounce of its tremendous strength with a cold, methodical fury against its foe. The grim price Japan paid -- 1.8 million military casualties, the complete annihilation of its military, a half million or so civilians killed, and the utter destruction of practically every major urban area within the Home Islands -- bears mute testimony to the folly of its militarist leaders."

The whole site is chock full of fascinating stuff (see the links at bottom), all centered on the Imperial Japanese Navy as appreciated from a Yank's perspective, including loads of cool paintings from the boxes of scale models (for the Testor's paint aficionado).

Cheers! MM
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Postby Cawdorgraves » Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:45 am

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In The Wake Of Pestilence
https://deformatory.bigcartel.com
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