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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Just finished watching "A Bridge too Far" Not bad, not great. Seemed a bit too "artsy" for my taste.

However there was a character played by Gene Hackman that I found intriguing enough to read his internet bio.
The man was a Polish Major General commanding the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade.

Both the movie and the bio painted Major general Sosabowski as a man of strong convictions who found it very, very difficult to suffer fools. The bio mentions a 2013 movie about Major general Sosabowski "Arnhem - A debt of Dishonor".

According to his bio, the Brit Brass were looking for a scape goat after the basket Fvck of Market garden and chose him.
that sounds about right. All those kids wasted, to say nothing of the Resistance fighters and the civilians.
I'm no general, not even a "soja" but sending an entire armored Corps up a single causeway road, against even retreating Germans in mid 1944 seems insane.

FWIW the Brit 1 Airborne were screwed before they boarded the aircraft But they fought magnificently anyway.
The damn radio basket screw reminds me of the criminal USN Early WWII Torpedo fiasco.
AS we say in the Nav "Sh!t Happens" and nothing is really sailor proof.

Anyone see the movie?
If so is it in English and if it is is it worth 2 hours of my time?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:30 pm 
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Sosabowski was made the scapegoat but the reason he extended past the battle. According to Wiki, the Brits were turning on the Free Poles and needed anything to discredit them so they would have to cooperate with the communists. He stayed in Britain after the war and worked at an electrical plant. At his funeral his battle history was read out and surprised many of his friends because he had never talked about it. In recent years he and his troops are finally getting the recognition and honors they've long deserved.

I've always loved this movie. Its got everything a war movie needs: locations, actors, and especially the music. The main theme sticks with you forever. Attenborough did his research and tried to be as accurate as possible. You have Sherman tanks that look like Sherman tanks. They built their own fleet of Horsa gliders from microfilm plans because none were left. You could go on...

Best scenes to me: the take off and paratrooper drop. No WW2 footage. That and Major Cook's 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment crossing the Waal River.

PS The Weapons & Warfare site had a good overview of the whole battle:
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... -garden-i/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... garden-ii/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... arden-iii/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... garden-iv/


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:15 am 
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nomad990 wrote:
In recent years he and his troops are finally getting the recognition and honors they've long deserved.


Yep in 2006 the Brigade was awarded the Military Order of William for its distinguished and outstanding acts of bravery, skill and devotion to duty during Operation Market Garden. The military order of William is the highest Dutch military award. Only eleven units have been awarded this honor, of which only 2 are non Dutch. The award is now worn by the 6th Airborne Brigade which inherited the battle honours of the brigade.

Guess who the other non Dutch unit it, a hint its is not the 101st.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:28 am 
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The film is enjoyable enough, but goes out of its way to make the British commanders look both foolish and malicious, which is not really something the rest of their record supports. Specifically the film makes Market Garden look like an operation launched with all the preparation of Overlord and no time pressure; it's usually forgotten that Market Garden was actually an ad-hoc operation launched just three and a half months after D-Day and close to the end of the campaigning season. The question was never "is Market Garden a perfect plan?" but "if we do not do Market Garden what else do we do?" and realistically the answer is along the lines of "not much until Spring 1945". In my view the operation had a reasonable chance of success relative to the level of casualties (10,000-20,000 is relatively light for a WWII battle) and the prospects for exploitation of a victory, and given the constrains was executed with a generally high level of competence.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:38 am 
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I just read the following provided by
nomad990 wrote:

PS The Weapons & Warfare site had a good overview of the whole battle:
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... -garden-i/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... garden-ii/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... arden-iii/
https://weaponsandwarfare.com/2017/09/2 ... garden-iv/[/quote

The article contradicts your opinion.

Warspite I'm no sojer and certainly no militray historian or any kind of expert on Market Garden but depending on that single elevated causeway road seems to be logistical heresy. Seems like XXX Corps tanks and supply trucks were definitely road bound. Ground must have been a near swamp. Why else would not the mech infantry be racing ahead checking out every piece of cover in AT Gun Range and then calling in the Arty Or Jabos before the Tanks got within range?

They Allies had Dutch liaison officers who surely knew what the ground was like. If unfit for half tracks why not use
LVTs, the famous Buffalo to recon suspected AT positions? "The British Army deployed multiple LVT equipped units in Northwest Europe, all under the auspices of 79th Armoured Division and 5th Assault Regiment. These units undertook the workload for amphibians from summer 1944 through to the end of the year and operated with both British and Canadian formations."

Given the allied Air dominance, after a few AT road blocks why was not every piece of cover within AT Range bombed or shelled BEFORE the "Spear head" tanks got within range?

Was dear old Monty depending too much on the "Jabos" AKA fighter bombers? In July '44 Forward observers took time to get the planes on target, even in the Pacific, where the USMC Air/Ground team was highly developed. I guess there was just enough cover and time for the AT guns to get enough shots off to block that single road for hours before they were wiped out.

On a personal note waiting for On Call Air support when you think you are about to be maimed or killed makes the seconds seem like hours. Believe me on this one. No matter how fast the fly boys respond they are too damn slow when you "Think" you really need them. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Care to show me why you disagree with the author?
Brigadier W.F.K Thompson CO of the 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, Royal Artillery with 1st Airborne Division at Arnhem. :roll:

I'm always willing to learn. ;)

HMS Warspite wrote:
The film is enjoyable enough, but goes out of its way to make the British commanders look both foolish and malicious, which is not really something the rest of their record supports. Specifically the film makes Market Garden look like an operation launched with all the preparation of Overlord and no time pressure; it's usually forgotten that Market Garden was actually an ad-hoc operation launched just three and a half months after D-Day and close to the end of the campaigning season. The question was never "is Market Garden a perfect plan?" but "if we do not do Market Garden what else do we do?" and realistically the answer is along the lines of "not much until Spring 1945". In my view the operation had a reasonable chance of success relative to the level of casualties (10,000-20,000 is relatively light for a WWII battle) and the prospects for exploitation of a victory, and given the constrains was executed with a generally high level of competence.

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Last edited by OSCSSW on Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:14 pm 
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I am not questioning that the plan had many dubious elements that meant it was perhaps never more likely than not to succeed.

What I am saying is that if we have a gamble with the following probabilities:

1. Lose 10,000 men, win WWII this season - 20% chance

2. Lose 20,000, inflict 5,000 - 10,000 casualties, take no useful territory - 80% chance

then do we make this gamble? I think there is a relatively strong case for doing so. Market Garden is an operation that throws up tons of red flags on a tactical level but ultimately it was a strategic level decision and different factors were in play. Sosabowski was, in my view, kicked out by the British primarily because he kept badgering strategic level about tactical level problems long after they said, "we understand, but are going ahead anyway." Which is a reasonable thing to do - theatre level decisions are not made by brigade commanders. No doubt he was a brave man and competent at what he knew.

For what it is worth the Germans beat France in 1940 by breaking through along a single road. Yes they too might have failed miserably, but it is possible not to fail miserably.

I have not read this lengthy analysis of the operation. I will do so and get back to you.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:36 pm 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
I am not questioning that the plan had many dubious elements that meant it was perhaps never more likely than not to succeed.

What I am saying is that if we have a gamble with the following probabilities:

1. Lose 10,000 men, win WWII this season - 20% chance

2. Lose 20,000, inflict 5,000 - 10,000 casualties, take no useful territory - 80% chance

then do we make this gamble? I think there is a relatively strong case for doing so. Market Garden is an operation that throws up tons of red flags on a tactical level but ultimately it was a strategic level decision and different factors were in play. Sosabowski was, in my view, kicked out by the British primarily because he kept badgering strategic level about tactical level problems long after they said, "we understand, but are going ahead anyway." Which is a reasonable thing to do - theatre level decisions are not made by brigade commanders. No doubt he was a brave man and competent at what he knew.

For what it is worth the Germans beat France in 1940 by breaking through along a single road. Yes they too might have failed miserably, but it is possible not to fail miserably.

I have not read this lengthy analysis of the operation. I will do so and get back to you.


I await your post analysis reply.

Warspite old man. This is a friendly discussion to me. I bear you no ill will.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:56 pm 
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Main problem was that 2 Panzer divisions were rather by chance stationed at Arnhem to refit. The British didn't really know this though there was some evidence from recce flights that was ignored. Added to that was that the Paras were champing at the bit to go as they had several previous ops cancelled.

Without the Panzer Divs it would likely have been a successful operation, despite the single road.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:18 pm 
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OSCSSW wrote:
HMS Warspite wrote:
I am not questioning that the plan had many dubious elements that meant it was perhaps never more likely than not to succeed.

What I am saying is that if we have a gamble with the following probabilities:

1. Lose 10,000 men, win WWII this season - 20% chance

2. Lose 20,000, inflict 5,000 - 10,000 casualties, take no useful territory - 80% chance

then do we make this gamble? I think there is a relatively strong case for doing so. Market Garden is an operation that throws up tons of red flags on a tactical level but ultimately it was a strategic level decision and different factors were in play. Sosabowski was, in my view, kicked out by the British primarily because he kept badgering strategic level about tactical level problems long after they said, "we understand, but are going ahead anyway." Which is a reasonable thing to do - theatre level decisions are not made by brigade commanders. No doubt he was a brave man and competent at what he knew.

For what it is worth the Germans beat France in 1940 by breaking through along a single road. Yes they too might have failed miserably, but it is possible not to fail miserably.

I have not read this lengthy analysis of the operation. I will do so and get back to you.


I await your post analysis reply.

Warspite old man. This is a friendly discussion to me. I bear you no ill will.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to you too, Sir.

I have read the analysis. I can't disagree with any of it but would refer to my argument above that it is tactical level analysis and the strategic gamble still seems to me worthwhile. Indications were that it would be a difficult operation but not one with no chance of success. The resources at risk were relatively small, with the exception of the airlift which could not otherwise be usefully employed anyway. I think the strategic gamble looks like a pretty good one even at only 20% chance of success. This might seem heartless to the men who lost their lives but many men also lost their lives going into Germany in 1945 which might not have been necessary if Market Garden had succeeded. Theatre commanders have to make decisions in such terms.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Quote:
Just finished watching "A Bridge too Far" Not bad, not great. Seemed a bit too "artsy" for my taste.


How have you only just seen it?! And take it back, its a glorious film!


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:07 pm 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
OSCSSW wrote:
HMS Warspite wrote:
I am not questioning that the plan had many dubious elements that meant it was perhaps never more likely than not to succeed.

What I am saying is that if we have a gamble with the following probabilities:

1. Lose 10,000 men, win WWII this season - 20% chance

2. Lose 20,000, inflict 5,000 - 10,000 casualties, take no useful territory - 80% chance

then do we make this gamble? I think there is a relatively strong case for doing so. Market Garden is an operation that throws up tons of red flags on a tactical level but ultimately it was a strategic level decision and different factors were in play. Sosabowski was, in my view, kicked out by the British primarily because he kept badgering strategic level about tactical level problems long after they said, "we understand, but are going ahead anyway." Which is a reasonable thing to do - theatre level decisions are not made by brigade commanders. No doubt he was a brave man and competent at what he knew.

For what it is worth the Germans beat France in 1940 by breaking through along a single road. Yes they too might have failed miserably, but it is possible not to fail miserably.

I have not read this lengthy analysis of the operation. I will do so and get back to you.


I await your post analysis reply.

Warspite old man. This is a friendly discussion to me. I bear you no ill will.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Merry Christmas to you too, Sir.

I have read the analysis. I can't disagree with any of it but would refer to my argument above that it is tactical level analysis and the strategic gamble still seems to me worthwhile. Indications were that it would be a difficult operation but not one with no chance of success. The resources at risk were relatively small, with the exception of the airlift which could not otherwise be usefully employed anyway. I think the strategic gamble looks like a pretty good one even at only 20% chance of success. This might seem heartless to the men who lost their lives but many men also lost their lives going into Germany in 1945 which might not have been necessary if Market Garden had succeeded. Theatre commanders have to make decisions in such terms.

The one other factor is the need to keep the pursuit up.

I don't think you can disregard the views in most of the headquarters that the Germans were retreating, and so we had to keep harrying them, lest they get a chance to recover. In such a situation, keeping the skeer up, as it were, allows you to pursue more risky options in the face of a broken, retreating and demoralized opponent. Especially when our own logistical situation pretty much precluded an autumn campaign all across the line.

I think you have to view Market-Garden in that frame of mind, believing the Germans to be sufficiently broken that keeping up the pressure would keep them broken, and allow you to successfully pull off a deep penetration by armor and vertical envelopment.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:43 am 
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I think it was the right thing to do at the time. Otherwise we'd be here now saying how not trying for it prolonged the war until May 1945.

We gambled three divisions out of about 50-60 to win the war early and we only lost one despite the failure of the operation. Even if you argue the airborne divisions were scarce resources, there was still another 2 at least in reserve.

I think it was a no brainer at the time. Very little risked for huge perceived gain - what kind of General worth his salt wouldn't have had a crack at it?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:16 pm 
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Lord_Lieutenant wrote:
I think it was the right thing to do at the time. Otherwise we'd be here now saying how not trying for it prolonged the war until May 1945. We gambled three divisions out of about 50-60 to win the war early and we only lost one despite the failure of the operation. Even if you argue the airborne divisions were scarce resources, there was still another 2 at least in reserve. I think it was a no brainer at the time. Very little risked for huge perceived gain - what kind of General worth his salt wouldn't have had a crack at it?


I think that's a good summary of why an operation of this type should have been tried; I suspect that the real questions concern the details of the plan. Essentially, it was a very narrow thrust into the German defenses and such operations are fraught with peril.

The original plan for Operation Bagration envisaged a narrow front thrust into the German lines - not as extremely narrow as Market-Garden but still a very limited frontage. Konstantin Rokossovsky flatly refused to carry out the attack and instead proposed an attack on a wide front with two mutually-supporting axes of advance. His argument was (much paraphrased) "If we attack on a narrow front, we will be fighting the Germans in a battle of maneuver and in a battle of maneuver they will wipe the floor with us."

There's another issue as well here and that is one of timing. A few weeks (perhaps even a few days) earlier, the German Army was a panic-stricken rabble in full retreat (read rout) for the rear. At some point prior to Market-Garden their commanders managed to stabilize the front and organize some simulation of a defense. Had Market-Garden happened before that coagulation took place, I would suggest that it would have succeeded. Once that coagulation had set, Market-Garden's chances of success were very low. That time difference was probably only a few days and may have been less than that.

Then there is the nagging feeling that the wrong people were in charge. It's hard to avoid an impression that XXX Corps were lacking in drive, even allowing for the gruesome terrain. An interesting thought experiment would be to replace them with 6th Guards Tank Army and see what would happen . . . .

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Then there is the nagging feeling that the wrong people were in charge. It's hard to avoid an impression that XXX Corps were lacking in drive, even allowing for the gruesome terrain. An interesting thought experiment would be to replace them with 6th Guards Tank Army and see what would happen . . . .


One of my thoughts is that Montgomery should not have been in charge. I know, it was in his sector, but Garden required speed and Monty never did anything fast in his life. He was brilliant when he was brilliant, but he was very methodical.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
The original plan for Operation Bagration envisaged a narrow front thrust into the German lines - not as extremely narrow as Market-Garden but still a very limited frontage. Konstantin Rokossovsky flatly refused to carry out the attack and instead proposed an attack on a wide front with two mutually-supporting axes of advance. His argument was (much paraphrased) "If we attack on a narrow front, we will be fighting the Germans in a battle of maneuver and in a battle of maneuver they will wipe the floor with us."

To be fair, the Russian army was less mobile than the German army but the Anglo-American armies were more mobile than the German army, so it was more reasonable for them to act in this way than for the Russians to have done so. Recalling that Market Garden was invented on the hoof and launched just a month and a half after Operation Goodwood boggles the mind in an age when you cannot build a conservatory in that time. The Germans were faced with probably the finest mobile force on the face of the earth at that time and they were not expecting what was coming at all.

To put it another way, imagine there had been old men on bicycles at Arnhem and a DLM resting in reserve at Sedan in 1940. Assuming the war reached 1944 at all, how would history view the competence of the French, German and British armies in retrospect - on account of changes that come down to little more than luck? The Germans would look like overenthusiastic amateur bunglers, the French would look like solid and dependable defenders, the British would look like innovative purveyors of post-modernist military brilliance...

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:43 am 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Lord_Lieutenant wrote:
I think it was the right thing to do at the time. Otherwise we'd be here now saying how not trying for it prolonged the war until May 1945. We gambled three divisions out of about 50-60 to win the war early and we only lost one despite the failure of the operation. Even if you argue the airborne divisions were scarce resources, there was still another 2 at least in reserve. I think it was a no brainer at the time. Very little risked for huge perceived gain - what kind of General worth his salt wouldn't have had a crack at it?


I think that's a good summary of why an operation of this type should have been tried; I suspect that the real questions concern the details of the plan. Essentially, it was a very narrow thrust into the German defenses and such operations are fraught with peril.

The original plan for Operation Bagration envisaged a narrow front thrust into the German lines - not as extremely narrow as Market-Garden but still a very limited frontage. Konstantin Rokossovsky flatly refused to carry out the attack and instead proposed an attack on a wide front with two mutually-supporting axes of advance. His argument was (much paraphrased) "If we attack on a narrow front, we will be fighting the Germans in a battle of maneuver and in a battle of maneuver they will wipe the floor with us."

There's another issue as well here and that is one of timing. A few weeks (perhaps even a few days) earlier, the German Army was a panic-stricken rabble in full retreat (read rout) for the rear. At some point prior to Market-Garden their commanders managed to stabilize the front and organize some simulation of a defense. Had Market-Garden happened before that coagulation took place, I would suggest that it would have succeeded. Once that coagulation had set, Market-Garden's chances of success were very low. That time difference was probably only a few days and may have been less than that.

Then there is the nagging feeling that the wrong people were in charge. It's hard to avoid an impression that XXX Corps were lacking in drive, even allowing for the gruesome terrain. An interesting thought experiment would be to replace them with 6th Guards Tank Army and see what would happen . . . .


6th Guards would have had FAR fewer hunting horns and dinner jackets in their jump stores, I can tell you for a fact...

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Craiglxviii wrote:
6th Guards would have had FAR fewer hunting horns and dinner jackets in their jump stores, I can tell you for a fact...


They also would have had Kravchenko in command which would have been a critical difference. Andrei Grigoryevich Kravchenko was the epitome of a hard-driving Russian commander who never let up on the enemy, his own men or himself. His character formed the spirit of 6th Guards Tank Army. It and its descendent units were elite units right up to the 1990s. It is now part of the Ukrainian Army.

A nice quote for you (came from a Sandhurst lecture early in 2000 where it caused dissension in the audience).

"The British look on war as a sport, the Americans as a business, the Germans as a profession and the Russians don't care what it is as long as they get to kill Germans."

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Looks like I'm very over matched Re: Market Garden. No worries and no hard feelings. I never considered myself a deep Strategic thinker, that much of a historian or any kind of Sojer.

All I can say in my defense is the concept of "Wasting your own troops/sailors on low probability of success ops" as in LBJ and MacNamara continuing to feeding 18 year olds into the meat grinder is wasted on this Nam Vet.
Been there. Done that. Still P!ssed about it and always will be.


Francis Urquhart wrote:
"The British look on war as a sport, the Americans as a business, the Germans as a profession and the Russians don't care what it is as long as they get to kill Germans."


I like that. Seems to have a lot of truth in it to me.

FWIW, IMHO we Americans, aside from In the Know US Jews, probably did consider Europe as a Business but a pretty bloody one.
From the WW II Pac vets I have talked to, a long time ago now, they did not consider it a Business. They were out for blood and would paraphrase that quote "The Americans don't care what it is as long as they get to kill Japs."
As Bill Halsey so eloquently put it


KILL JAPS !KILL JAPS !KILL MORE JAPS ! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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The PTO we wanted revenge. If that meant killing Japanese, then we did by the truck load.

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jemhouston wrote:
The PTO we wanted revenge. If that meant killing Japanese, then we did by the truck load.


A guy I knew who was a Marine, way too young for WW-II, boasted that his division "Didn't take a single Jap prisoner until 1944."

I remember seeing some film from Guadalcanal, of a Japanese landing craft that had been caught by daylight and sunk by artillery. The Marines had lined up on the beach for target practice, and were hooting, hollering, and cheerfully plinking out swimming Japs.

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