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British involvement in the pacific island hopping towards japan.

Bit of a thread drift but probably not worth starting another thread.

For those with SKY HD and an interest in the subject there is documentary going out tomorrow
on NHK World. NHKW is the overseas service of Japan's public broadcasting corporation.
Titled Poisonous Secrets, it's about:
<<
At the end of WWII both Japan and the US were prepared to use chemical weapons on each other - newly unearthed documents and personal accounts have finally cast light on this dark legacy
>>
NHK documentaries tend to be well-made and well-researched and usually made originally for domestic transmission.
NHK HD is on SKY channel 507 ( or near the bottom of the first page of the NEWS menu)
and is being shown at the following times, although I shall be recording it.
Sat 1.10 am
Sat 7.10 am
Sat 1.10 pm
Sat 7.10 pm
Gas stocks among the warring powers should come as no surprise though.
Britain and Germany were obviously prepared for the possibility as the widespread issue of both military and civilian mask shows.
Montgomery, I understand could have called up chemical shells if they were needed in retaliation for Germany's first used.
According to a book by Russian authors, published in the mid thirties*- Japan's war industry was already turning out: Poison Gases, smoke substances, neutralising substances, chemical mine throwers, gas masks for humans and horses, gas protection costumes, gas cylinders. gas detectors and gas alarm sirens.

And of course, there was Italy's pre-war use of mustard gas upon the Ethiopians.

*When Japan Goes to War O. Tanin & E. Yohan
There is some evidence Japan used Chem weapons on US and Aussie troops in New Guinea , Guadalcanal, and the Philippines to little effect

Incidents-

1) Australian forces, Malaya, 1941
Chabin grenades also known as the Model 1 Frangible Toxic Gas Hand Grenade (SEISAN SHURUDAN) with blood agent AC Hydrogen Cyanide in acid solution on a field fortification

2) British forces, Burma Imphal area 1942
Queens Own 7th Hussars M3 Light (Stuart) tank received an AC Chabin grenade close assault attacks

3) American forces , Guadalcanal 23 & 28 January 1943
2 AC Chabin grenade attacks (See -- Memo, OPD 385 to Gen Marshall, 31 Mar 43, sub: Use of Gas by the Japanese, OPD 385 CWP (3-31-43), NAA)

4) Australian forces, New Guinea, late 1943 early 1944
1X 75mm howitzer shell w/blister agent fired at SWPA forces -- captured dud shell contents later tested on Aussie volunteers

5) American forces Manila Feb 1945
Multiple attacks with tear gas (CN), vomiting gas (DC), and Chlorpicrin (PS) in projected candles on 1st CavDiv and 41st ID by Japanese Navy SNLF troops. Additionally some 1st CavDiv troopers died from scavenging AC Chabin grenades in Manila shortly later, as reported in a 6th Army weekly report in March 1945.

6) American forces, Mindinao, May 1945
24th ID suffers Chabin attack, in a Chabin grenade.


The following is from a Feb 1946 US Army document prepared by 45th CWS Chemical Company summarizing all the chemical intelligence reports received by the Chemical Warfare Service in calendar year 1944:
"The 75-mm. blister gas shell filled with a mixture of mustard and lewisite,
which was fired from the 75-mn, Type 41 (Regimental) Howitzer,
is described in the pamphlet, "Japanese Chemical Warfare", prepared under the
direction of the Chief Chemical Officer, a, USASOS, MPA. This is the same
shell described in T.D.M.R. 848, pp. 67-68, 3 June 1943.

In Australia physiological tests , including treatment with the usual skin
decontaminants, were carried out under tropical conditions using a sample of
mustard lewisite mixture taken from the captured 75-mm. Japanese shell
mentioned above. Using a 1-mm. drop of the vesicant treated after an interval
of 1 min., the results obtained with British decontaminating ointments
Nos, 2 and 5 were satisfactory, and No. 1 followed by hydrogen peroxide
was nearly as good. Simulated Japanese decontaminating powders (chloramine
T 19%, sodium chloride 35, and talc 78%; and bleach 10% and talc 90%) were inf-
erior . Hydrogen peroxide alone was quite ineffective (ungraded) (L.H.Q.T.I.S.
No. 2, May 1943, cited in M.I. Directorate, G.H,Q. India, Periodical Technical
Summary No, 21, October 1943).

One of the projectiles used in the Japanese 75-mm. Field Artillery
gun, whose range was 6000 to 7000 yd., was 11.5 in. long, filled with a
50/50 mixture of mustard and lewisite, and weighed 12.6 lb. (ungraded) (Special
Series No, 24, p, 76, 1 September 1944)"
 
I found this a worthwhile watch and, as I have come to expect with Japanese documentaries, was well balanced and interesting-there was a lot of detail so I shall watch it again when it is repeated tomorrow (Friday) at 20.00.

A couple of curious items I took away with me;
That the U.S. in addition to normal testing of Caucasian troop, used Nisei volunteers in the US Army in order to see whether Japanese skin reacted differently to mustard gas (not so far-fetched as it sounds, non-Caucasians are more likely to develop keloids due to skin trauma)
One Japanese old boy on the program worked in a factory producing poison gas- he now lectures to school children about Japan's gas production and use to elementary school children (so much for schools in Japan not being taught anything about the war)
It didn't mention it on the programme but a large number of Australian troops took part in US poison gas experiments and and island off the coast of Oz was used to train for the capture of a Pacific island
Okunoshima island, Now Rabbit Island was Japans main Chem warfare depot

 
Given the huge casualties the US Marines and Army were taking capturing some of these small islands and atolls , many of which had no civpop to worry about , it's a wonder the Pentagon didn't just use chemical or biological weapons on them instead ?
They could have jammed their comms , so they couldn't report it and just gassed them like rats .
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Given the huge casualties the US Marines and Army were taking capturing some of these small islands and atolls , many of which had no civpop to worry about , it's a wonder the Pentagon didn't just use chemical or biological weapons on them instead ?
They could have jammed their comms , so they couldn't report it and just gassed them like rats .

Difficult to get the gas into some of the deep cave systems?
 
Given the huge casualties the US Marines and Army were taking capturing some of these small islands and atolls , many of which had no civpop to worry about , it's a wonder the Pentagon didn't just use chemical or biological weapons on them instead ?
They could have jammed their comms , so they couldn't report it and just gassed them like rats .
And they were already starving them out, as well.
 
Given the huge casualties the US Marines and Army were taking capturing some of these small islands and atolls , many of which had no civpop to worry about , it's a wonder the Pentagon didn't just use chemical or biological weapons on them instead ?
They could have jammed their comms , so they couldn't report it and just gassed them like rats .
Most of the small islands that the USMC captured were for the purposes of establishing a chain of airbases to enable the USAAF to carry out long range bombing raids on the mainland of Japan such as Saipan, Tinian, Guam (US colony captured by Japan and Iwo Jima (emergency landing field for B29's). Sometimes fighting was still going on when work started on the airfields. Other Japanese garrisons like the large one at Rabaul was left to wither on the vine, although ships and aircraft were blitzed by the US forces.
 
There is some evidence Japan used Chem weapons on US and Aussie troops in New Guinea , Guadalcanal, and the Philippines to little effect

Incidents-

1) Australian forces, Malaya, 1941
Chabin grenades also known as the Model 1 Frangible Toxic Gas Hand Grenade (SEISAN SHURUDAN) with blood agent AC Hydrogen Cyanide in acid solution on a field fortification

2) British forces, Burma Imphal area 1942
Queens Own 7th Hussars M3 Light (Stuart) tank received an AC Chabin grenade close assault attacks

3) American forces , Guadalcanal 23 & 28 January 1943
2 AC Chabin grenade attacks (See -- Memo, OPD 385 to Gen Marshall, 31 Mar 43, sub: Use of Gas by the Japanese, OPD 385 CWP (3-31-43), NAA)

4) Australian forces, New Guinea, late 1943 early 1944
1X 75mm howitzer shell w/blister agent fired at SWPA forces -- captured dud shell contents later tested on Aussie volunteers

5) American forces Manila Feb 1945
Multiple attacks with tear gas (CN), vomiting gas (DC), and Chlorpicrin (PS) in projected candles on 1st CavDiv and 41st ID by Japanese Navy SNLF troops. Additionally some 1st CavDiv troopers died from scavenging AC Chabin grenades in Manila shortly later, as reported in a 6th Army weekly report in March 1945.

6) American forces, Mindinao, May 1945
24th ID suffers Chabin attack, in a Chabin grenade.


The following is from a Feb 1946 US Army document prepared by 45th CWS Chemical Company summarizing all the chemical intelligence reports received by the Chemical Warfare Service in calendar year 1944:

Other experimentsEdit
In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into low-pressure chambers until their eyes popped from the sockets; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; electrocuted; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with sea water; and burned or buried alive.[43][44

Some of the tests have been described as "psychopathically sadistic, with no conceivable military application"


The rest of their experiments are equally as delightful.
 
Other experimentsEdit
In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into low-pressure chambers until their eyes popped from the sockets; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; electrocuted; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with sea water; and burned or buried alive.[43][44





The rest of their experiments are equally as delightful.
Aaah yes.
And we have one of the main protagonists,:
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ryoichi Naito, founder of the pharmaceutical company Green Cross
Jap version of Operation Paperclip?
 
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A heads-up for a documentary being repeated today about the German bombing of the Liberty ship in the Italian port of Bari that was carrying large stocks of mustard gas.

It's an Italian produced documentary, the first in a series of seven about aspects of the Italian campaign. The series title is simply World War 2 - I've watched a couple including the above episode and found them interesting;
From Wiki
<<The air raid on Bari (German: Luftangriff auf den Hafen von Bari, Italian: Bombardamento di Bari) was an air attack by German bombers on Allied forces and shipping in Bari, Italy, on 2 December 1943, during World War II. 105 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers of Luftflotte 2 achieved surprise and bombed shipping and personnel operating in support of the Allied Italian Campaign, sinking 27 cargo and transport ships, as well as a schooner, in Bari harbour.

The attack lasted a little more than an hour and put the port out of action until February 1944. The release of mustard gas from one of the wrecked cargo ships added to the loss of life. The British and US governments covered up the presence of mustard gas and its effects on victims of the raid.
>>
Link: SS John Harvey

Programme details;
Together Channel
Freeview: Channel 87; Channel 88 (+1)
Sky: Channel 170
Virgin Media: Channel 269
Freesat: Channel 164
Astra 2E (28.2°E): 11836 H 27500 5/6
13:00 Today (Sat 5th Dec)
02:30 Tomorrow (Sun 6th Dec)
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
My mothers late brother was air crew In far eastern command. He told the story of being on a plane landing on a partly held pacific island, as they were landing, Japanese snipers were still active at one end of the island, and being shot at. He flew in Sunderland's, PBY Catalina's, and Boston bombers, attached to the US Army air force.

Question:- In all the documentary's on the TV, specifically The PBS American channel, on freeview, there is no mention of British involvement, did the Royal Navy have any imput in the liberation of the islands, as the Americans got closer and closer island hopping towards Japan, ditto the RAF.
Apologies if this has been mentioned before.

1. The head of the US Navy Admiral King did not think much of Britain. He did everything he could to keep the Royal Navy from participating in the Pacific War. Alanbrooke' noted the bitter arguments at the Quebec Conference September 1944 on this topic.

2. As far as the US public are concerned the War in the Pacific just involved the US taking revenge for Pearl Harbour, its a national myth.

3. The British media, public and government are quite capable of selective memory. How much broadcast time was spent in the centenary of the First World war on the French contribution to the battles of Ypres, Somme and the Passchendaele offensive of 1917?
 
Apologies if this has been mentioned before.

1. The head of the US Navy Admiral King did not think much of Britain. He did everything he could to keep the Royal Navy from participating in the Pacific War. Alanbrooke' noted the bitter arguments at the Quebec Conference September 1944 on this topic.
His anglophobia was well documented.
RN told him to run convoys on Eastern Seaboard, and to enforce a blackout on coastal towns. Many USN officers agreed, yet King poo-pooed the idea, and the result was 'happy time' for U-boats.
 
His anglophobia was well documented.
RN told him to run convoys on Eastern Seaboard, and to enforce a blackout on coastal towns. Many USN officers agreed, yet King poo-pooed the idea, and the result was 'happy time' for U-boats.
I've heard this story before. He hated the Royal navy, and would not heed dire warnings to black out all shipping from Home ports to mainland Europe, consequently the kriegsmarine had a field day.
 

ABNredleg

War Hero
War Plan Orange by Edward Miller is an excellent book on how the US developed their Pacific strategy in the decades prior to WWII.

Amazon product
 
Apologies if this has been mentioned before.

1. The head of the US Navy Admiral King did not think much of Britain. He did everything he could to keep the Royal Navy from participating in the Pacific War. Alanbrooke' noted the bitter arguments at the Quebec Conference September 1944 on this topic.

2. As far as the US public are concerned the War in the Pacific just involved the US taking revenge for Pearl Harbour, its a national myth.

3. The British media, public and government are quite capable of selective memory. How much broadcast time was spent in the centenary of the First World war on the French contribution to the battles of Ypres, Somme and the Passchendaele offensive of 1917?
Yes and no

a great part only think the USMC was in the pacific, not even the Army

not so much a slight on the UK or Anzacs but more the success of USMC Propaganda
 
Apologies if this has been mentioned before.

1. The head of the US Navy Admiral King did not think much of Britain. He did everything he could to keep the Royal Navy from participating in the Pacific War. Alanbrooke' noted the bitter arguments at the Quebec Conference September 1944 on this topic.
Hate the RN?

or worried about ''non standard''(read not US designed and built) ships, planes, electronics like radar, and those ships relatively weak AA suites, tactics, even the logistics of supporting same? King didnt like the Idea of withdrawing USN forces to make room for the RN contribution when he thought theRN could be better used in the Indian ocean operations

Now if King hated any force it was the US Army. He loved the US Navy and thats it

for someone classed a anglophobe he copied Beatty with the handkerchief below the ribbons and hands in pockets, even though it was specifically prohibited after 1919 to wear the uniform with the snotrag showing.


During same Quebec conference King was very amenable to giving Wilson the Landing craft used for Dragoon to the proposed Istrian landings even though the shipping was needed elsewhere (page 510 Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare US CMH


 
Difficult to get the gas into some of the deep cave systems?
Interesting G.I. ingenuity

Flamethrower tanks in the PTO, Typically the CWS-POA-H4 had a Mk 2-2 flamethrower gun unit attached to several hundred feet of rubber hose on the back decks. this was used by dismounts to get closer to cave openings the sherman could not reach and fed off the internal flame fuel
 
Apologies if this has been mentioned before.

1. The head of the US Navy Admiral King did not think much of Britain. He did everything he could to keep the Royal Navy from participating in the Pacific War. Alanbrooke' noted the bitter arguments at the Quebec Conference September 1944 on this topic.

2. As far as the US public are concerned the War in the Pacific just involved the US taking revenge for Pearl Harbour, its a national myth.

3. The British media, public and government are quite capable of selective memory. How much broadcast time was spent in the centenary of the First World war on the French contribution to the battles of Ypres, Somme and the Passchendaele offensive of 1917?
King was at Loggerheads in early 1942 with both Chester Nimitz and William Halsey over defending New Zealand and Australia. I'll need to do some digging, but if I recall correctly King was adamant that that was an 'English' responsibility to defend the Dominions whereas Halsey called it a 'Christian duty' to defend these white countries. Halsey had been a midshipman on the Great White Fleet that had visited Australasia in 1908 and recalled the warmth and friendship he found there
 

Yarra

Old-Salt
Most of the small islands that the USMC captured were for the purposes of establishing a chain of airbases to enable the USAAF to carry out long range bombing raids on the mainland of Japan such as Saipan, Tinian, Guam (US colony captured by Japan and Iwo Jima (emergency landing field for B29's). Sometimes fighting was still going on when work started on the airfields. Other Japanese garrisons like the large one at Rabaul was left to wither on the vine, although ships and aircraft were blitzed by the US and Commonwealth forces.
;)
 
The decks of the American carriers were timber, and as you say, vulnerable to kamikaze attacks. Lessons were learned, and all carriers post WW2 had steel decks.
Interesting foot note. The landing of planes on the US carriers were controlled by a man, with two hand held table tennis type signal panels, it was the British naval invention of the optical landing light system that reduced considerably crash's and overshoots

not technically correct.

US carriers had armoured decks too, but instead of using the flight deck, the strength deck was the hanger floor. The flight deck was a steel splinter deck with a wooden surface

the much touted British system meant that all damage and shock was fed into the hull. This was why other than Victorious, (after a huge and very complex refit), all her sisters were scrapped quickly after the war - severe structural damage and hull warping.
The later wartime British designs followed US practice and did away with the armoured box hanger, and the Light Fleet Carriers were unarmoured.

the Americans moved to a thicker flight deck post war not for armouring, (contrary to popular belief they didn’t fit armoured decks, just thicker steel ones), they simply had to stiffen the structure as their Carriers got so big.

British Illustrious Class top, US Essex Class lower - heavy lines = armour

AC4C0DB1-86B8-4BE4-9B28-7C4B9906698F.jpeg
 
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Bad CO

Admin
One of the last dogfights of World War 2 took place over Japan and was shortly followed by one of the last Japanese war crimes, the murder of Sub Lt Fred Hockley RNVR. If you haven't come across the story before then it is worth a few minutes of your time to read.
 

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