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11 October 1942
Naval battle of Cape Esperence (Guadalcanal) ends in a minor Allied victory just after midnight on 11-12 October.
Why America Targeted Italian-Americans During World War II
Louis Berizzi was in his pajamas when FBI agents burst into his Manhattan apartment and arrested him. As his daughter, Lucetta, and the rest of the family watched, wiping the sleep from their eyes, he hurried into clothing and was taken away.
Soon after, FBI agents questioned Lucetta, too. Why did she speak such good Italian? Had her father engaged in suspicious activities? Was she a traitor? She was released without being charged, but soon after suffered the consequences of the anti-Italian sentiment that had spread like wildfire since the United States entered World War II. After being seen speaking Italian with a customer, she was fired from her job as a salesperson at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Her father wasn’t a traitor, either. His only crime was being born in Italy. During the early years of World War II however, that was enough to classify him as an 𠇎nemy alien”𠅊nd to justify freezing his assets, interrogating his family, and interning him for months.
The Berizzis were just a few of at least 600,000 Italians and Italian Americans—many of them naturalized citizens—swept up in a wave of racism and persecution during World War II. Hundreds of Italian 𠇎nemy aliens” were sent to internment camps like those Japanese Americans were forced into during the war. More than 10,000 were forced from their homes, and hundreds of thousands suffered curfews, confiscations and mass surveillance during the war. They were targeted despite a lack of evidence that traitorous Italians were conducting spy or sabotage operations in the United States.
A sign posted on Terminal Island in California in 1942 denoting it as an Alien Enemy Prohibited Area and states that all aliens of Japanese, Italian & German origin must vacate the area by midnight by order of the US government.
John Florea/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
The roots of the actions taken by the U.S. government against Italian Americans can be found not just in Italy’s role as an Axis power during World War II, but in longstanding prejudice in the United States itself. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, Italians began immigrating to the United States in droves. By 1920, more than ten percent of all foreign-born people in the U.S. were Italian, and more than 4 million Italian immigrants had come to the United States.
Italians were the biggest group of immigrants to enter the U.S., and vibrant Italian American enclaves sprang up around the country. As the number of Italian immigrants grew, so did anti-Italian sentiment. Italians were painted as subhuman and undesirable, and employers often refused to hire people of Italian extraction.
As Europe inched toward world war, the close ties many Italian Americans had with friends and family in Italy came under increasing scrutiny. Many Americans with Italian ancestry initially supported the growth of Italy under the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. In 1936, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s director, began to secretly surveil individuals and organizations he deemed likely to side with the enemy during the war to come.
It was a massive operation, and an effective one. By 1939, the FBI had assembled a massive list of information on “suspicious individuals.” Known as the List,” it divided people into categories based on their likelihood of danger to the nation. For many people on the list, which included tens of thousands of American citizens, the only basis for suspicion was their ethnicity.
Then, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Though the U.S. had not yet formally declared war on Italy, FBI agents began arresting Italians anyway in anticipation of entering the war in Europe. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued a series of proclamations that declared citizens of Japan, Germany and Italy to be 𠇊lien enemies of the United States.” (As a later Department of Justice investigation found, the lists included permanent residents as well.) One hundred forty-seven Italians were already in custody when the U.S. declared war on Italy on December 11, 1941. Some stayed in the same camps where Japanese Americans were interned during the war.
Enemy aliens had to abide by curfews and turn in their weapons, radios and cameras. Most could not travel more than five miles from home without getting permission. The FBI began arresting and detaining people who were categorized as 𠇊s”𠅌onsidered to constitute an actual threat to the United States—on the list.
As hundreds of Italians and Italian Americans awaited hearings to determine whether they would stay in detention, Congress signed legislation designed to protect a broad swath of the West Coast that was thought to be of special military and intelligence significance. The military determined who they thought should stay and who should go, and individuals could not be represented by legal counsel in the hearings that determined their fate. Other areas were declared off-limits to other individuals considered enemy aliens, including the San Francisco waterfront, areas around hydroelectric plants and areas near military bases.
The FBI searched houses for contraband items, confiscating radios and other items, and forced Italians, even those who were naturalized citizens, to report changes of address and employment. The government restricted the employment and movement of Italian fishermen, confiscating their boats and cutting off their access to the waters that provided their livelihoods. And though the federal government officially discouraged refusing Italians employment, they looked the other way when employers like Southern Pacific Railroad terminated them en masse.
At least 10,000 Italian Americans were evacuated in California, and forced to move out of their homes to areas outside of the evacuation zone. The government even came close to evacuating all Italians and Italian Americans along a massive swath of the state stretching from Los Angeles to Orange County, California, and, writes legal historian Joseph C. Mauro, those peaceful residents were only saved from being booted from their homes by the President himself.
OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION
OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION (OPA) was the federal agency tasked with establishing price controls on nonagricultural commodities and rationing essential consumer goods during World War II (1939–1945).
The OPA began as the Price Stabilization and Consumer Protection divisions of the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense (more commonly known as the National Defense Advisory Commission [NDAC]) created on 29 May 1940 in response to economic pressures from the war in Europe. NDAC's influence was limited, with the Price Stabilization Division setting standards for only basic scrap metals. The Consumer Protection Division's rent-control proposals of 7 January 1941 were universally ignored.
On 11 May 1941, by Executive Order 8734, the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (OPACS) was created from the two NDAC divisions. Leon Henderson, head of the Price Stabilization Division, was appointed as administrator and quickly dubbed in the media as the "Price Czar." Noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith was chosen to direct OPACS's Price Division and served in this function through 1943.
On 28 August 1941, Executive Order 8875 transferred the Civilian Supply group to the Office of Production Management to consolidate the similar efforts of the two entities. OPACS was renamed the Office of Price Administration.
OPA's efforts began in earnest with the outbreak of war on 7 December 1941. Because it had the existing structure to interact with retail outlets and consumers, OPA was delegated the task of rationing. On 27 December 1941 it instituted rationing of rubber tires. Directive Number One of the War Production Board made OPA's rationing role permanent, and by April 1942, rationing had extended to automobiles, sugar, typewriters, and gasoline. By the end of the war, the rationing program also included coffee, shoes, stoves, meats, processed foods, and bicycles.
The Emergency Price Control Act (EPCA) passed on 30 January 1942 provided the legislative basis for OPA to regulate prices, not including agricultural commodities. EPCA also allowed for rent controls. The most prominent result of EPCA was the General Maximum Price Regulation issued by OPA in May 1942. This effectively set the price ceiling at March 1942 levels.
However, EPCA did not address other economic issues beyond price controls. The resulting economic dislocations forced Congress to pass the Stabilization Act on 2 October 1942. This created the Office of Economic Stabilization (OES) that was responsible for controlling wage levels, regulating food prices, and generally stabilizing the cost of living. At this point, any OPA activities that could affect the cost of living had to be coordinated with OES.
The effectiveness of OPA's measures is subject to some debate. While OPA pointed to an overall 31-percent rise in retail prices in World War II compared to a 62-percent rise in World War I (1914–1918), undoubtedly a black market developed in response to price controls. Maintenance of product quality was a constant concern. OPA even colorfully noted in its Twelfth Quarterly Report "a renaissance of cattle rustlers in the West." Reports from OPA's Enforcement Division show that 650,000 investigations were conducted for all of 1943, with 280,000 violations found. In 1944, a total of 338,029 violations were reported, with 205,779 administrative warning letters sent out. Court proceedings were initiated in almost 29,000 cases.
Rationing for gasoline and foodstuffs was discontinued on 15 August 1945. All rationing ended by the end of September 1945. Price controls remained in effect in the hopes of preventing price instability as the war economy converted back to peacetime functions, but they were gradually discontinued through 1947. On 12De-cember 1946, Executive Order 9809 transferred OPA to the Office of Temporary Controls. While some sugar and rice control programs were transferred to the Department of Agriculture, most other OPA functions were discontinued. OPA was disbanded on 29 May 1947.
11 October 1942 - History
13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy)—History
The following is a list of 307th Bomb Group (H) History topics. Please select from the listing below, visit the topic pages and then navigate back to this index to select another topic.
The 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated in 1942 by the Army Air Corps Combat Command after an attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States in war with Japan. In succeeding years, the 307th's participation in World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict proved it to be one of the most renowned bombing units in military annals.
On April 15, 1942, the 307th began operations as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber unit at Geiger Field, Washington. Its first mission to guard the northwestern United States and Alaskan coasts against armed invasion prepared the group for its later role in the Pacific Theater of World War II. After patrolling the coastline of America for five months, the 307th's B-17s were replaced with the famous B-24 "Liberators". Subsequently, the entire unit was transferred to Sioux City, Iowa, for a brief training period. After completing a three-week familiarization program, the 307th relocated its entire cadre and 35 bombers to Hamilton Field, California.
Three days later, the B-24s were deployed to Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. An old Norwegian freighter slowly transported the remainder of the group to its "Pacific Paradise". Upon arrival at Oahu, each of the group’s four squadrons was assigned to different Hawaiian locations the 370th to Kipapa, the 371st to Wheeler Field, the 372nd to Kabuka and the 424th to Mokaleia. Headquarters for the 307th was centered at Hickam Field. Finally settled at Oahu, 307th bombers began search and patrol missions over the surrounding Pacific area. Mantaining a 24-hour vigil, the bombers were to avert any naval attack against the Hawaiian Islands. Stations were eventually set up on Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on Jan 13, 1943 Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands on Aug 20, 1943 Los Negros, Admiralty Islands on Jun 1, 1944 Wake Island on Sep 3 ,1944 Morotai, New Guinea on Oct 17, 1944 and Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines on Aug 27, 1945.
A 307th Bombardment Group B-24 burns on the runway after returning from a mission damaged.
The 307th moved to Guadalcanal in February 1943. From their new location on the largest of the Solomon Islands, Group bombers attacked fortified Japanese airfields and shipping installations within the Southwest Pacific. At Guadalcanal, the 307th Bombardment Group was subjected to massive air attacks by enemy bomber and fighter aircraft. On a warm day in March 1943, three waves of Japanese planes blasted the airfield, causing the greatest number of 307th casualties during the war.
November 11, 1943, the 307th participated in the largest aerial strike of the South Pacific War. In conjunction with United States naval elements, group bombers pounded enemy war and merchant ships at Rabaul, New Guinea. Amdist swarms of Japanese "Zeros" and heavy anti-aircraft fire, 307th aircraft released their bombs, leaving the port of Rabaul in complete ruin.
Throughout the remainder of the war, 307th aircraft continued to cripple the debilitated enemy. Group elements neutralized Japanese forces at Yap, Truk, Palau, Balikapan, and the Phillipines. Bombing strikes against Japanese shipping centers in the Philippines inhibited the enemy from gaining a further strong hold in the area. An unescorted attack by group aircraft against oil refineries at Balikapan, Borneo, October 3, 1944 helped assure an allied victory in the South Pacific.
Following V-J Day, 1945, 307th aircraft ferried former American war prisoners from Okinawa to Manila. No longer needed, the group returned to the states in December 1945 and was subsequently deactivated. With barely time to form cobwebs, the 307th Bombardment Group was reactivated August 4, 1946, and is still active today.
While in the Pacific, the 307th was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, one for an air strike against Truk on March 29, 1944 and another for a strike against the refineries at Borneo on October 3, 1944. The group was also awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its active role in the Philippines campaign.
- 370th: 1942-1946 1946-1952
- 371st: 1942-1946, 1946-1952
- 372d: 1942-1945 1946-1952
- 424th: 1942-1945
- Geiger Field, Wash, 15 Apr 1942
- Ephrata, Wash, 28 May 1942
- Sioux City AAB, Iowa, 30 Sep-20 Oct 1942
- Hickam Field, TH, 1 Nov 1942
- Guadalcanal, Feb 1943
- New Georgia, 28 Jan 1944
- Los Negros, c. 29 Apr 1944
- Wakde, 24 Aug 1944
- Morotai, c. 18 Oct 1944
- Clark Field, Luzon, Sep-Dec 1945
- Camp Stoneman, Calif, 16-18 Jan 1946
- MacDill Field, Fla, 4 Aug 1946-16 Jun 1952
- Capt Bill Jarvis, 1 May 1942
- Col William A Matheny, 22 May 1942
- Col Oliver S Picher, 19 Aug 1943
- Col Glen R Birchard, 27 Oct 1943
- Col Robert F Burnham, 28 Mar 1944
- Col Clifford H Rees, Nov 1944-unkn
- Col Richard T King Jr, 4 Aug 1946
- Lt Col Clyde G Gillespie, 25 Aug 1946
- Lt Col Frank L Davis, Sep 1946
- Col John G Eriksen, 13 Jan 1947
- Col Clifford Heflin, 12 Aug 1947
World War II Campaigns
- Central Pacific
- New Guinea
- Northern Solomons
- Eastern Mandates
- Bismarck Archipelago
- Western Pacific
- Southern Philippines
- Distinguished Unit Citation: Truk, 29 Mar 1944
- Distinguished Unit Citation: Borneo 3 Oct 1944
- Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
About the 307th Bomb Group—Did you know ? The story of the 307th Bomb Group "Long Rangers" in World War II is an impressive one.
- The 307th Bomb Group gunners shot down an average of 25 per cent of their Japanese fighter interceptors. 307th Bomb Group Crews encountered coordinated and concentrated interception by Japanese airmen over many Japanese held islands without their own fighter escort including Rabaul, Truk, Yap, Palau, Balikpapan and the Phillipines.
- Their first taste of combat came Dec 24th 1942, when 27 aircraft flew 1,260 miles to bomb selected targets on Wake Island. All planes returned safely from the flight after having flown 2,240 miles, the longest mass raid of the war to that time. As a result of this mission and the many long distance flights to come, the 307th Bombardment Group (HV) soon became known as the "Long Rangers".
- The Group's aircraft were the first over Tarawa, Naura, Ocean Island and the Marshall Islands. It was January 1943 when the unit was credited with its first Japanese Zero.
- Two Distinguished Unit Citations were awarded to the Group, one for action in the bombing of the Island of Truk, the most heavily defended and strongly fortified japanese base in the Pacific. During withdrawal. gunners of the Group destroyed 31 of the 75 attacking aircraft, probably destroyed 12 more and damaged 10 in an air battle that lasted 43 minutes.This daring raid, made on 29 March 1944, neutralized the Islands airfields, making possible long range flights without fighter protection. A 2nd Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded for the successful strike at the Baltkapapan Oil Refineries in Borneo on 03 October 1944. The 307th had to fly their B-24 Liberator bombers 17 1/2 hours for a round trip of 2,610 miles, the longest mass daylight mission ever flown by this type aircraft
- They hit the Japanese in the air. They shot down 355 planes, 68 probables and 51 damaged. On the ground they destroyed 170 airplanes, scores of airfields and supply dumps, oil refineries and harbor installations. On the sea they sunk 21,000 tons of shipping and damaged another 112,000 tons.
- Shortly after V-J Day, the proud numerals of the 307th Bomb Group became just another line on the list of deactivated fighting units.
- In November 1945, the 307th Bomb Group was deactivated, but with the Air Force's Policy of preserving the names of the top fighting units of World War II, the 307th Bomb Group was reactivated as the 307th Bombardment Wing on 4 August, 1946. Assigned to Macdill Air Force Base, Florida, and furnished with B-29 Aircraft. The 307th Bomb Wing took part in all Strategic Air Command Operations until the outbreak of the Korean War in July 1950.
- They had a sucessful campaign in Korea, and received another Distinguished Unit Citation for their extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy of the United Nations during the period of 11 to 27 July, 1953. At this time they flew 93 sorties and dropped 860 tons of bombs on targets at the Simanju Air Field, where despite severe icing, intense enemy anti-craft fire and co-ordinated search light fighter opposition they rendered the airfield unservicable.
- During the course of the Korean operations, the Wing mounted 6.052 sorties against enemy targets. flew 55.473 cornbat hours and dropped 51,757 tons of bombs.
- The 307th Bomb Wing returned to the United States in 1954. The 307th Bomb Wing the last remaining B-29 Wing in the Far East returned in October 1954 to be equipped with the B-47 Stratojet bomber and reassigned to the new duty station at Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska
Source of "Did you know?" material contributed by the Lincoln AFB web site.
Marian apparitions Edit
Beginning in the spring of 1916, three little shepherds – Lúcia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto – reported three apparitions of an Angel in Valinhos, and starting on May 13, 1917, in Cova da Iria, six apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom the children described as "a Lady more brilliant than the Sun". The children reported a prophecy that prayer would lead to an end to the Great War, and that on 13 October that year the Lady would reveal her identity and perform a miracle "so that all may believe."  Newspapers reported the prophecies, and many pilgrims began visiting the area. The children's accounts were deeply controversial, drawing intense criticism from both local secular and religious authorities. A provincial administrator briefly took the children into custody, believing the prophecies were politically motivated in opposition to the officially secular First Portuguese Republic established in 1910.  The events of 13 October became known as the Miracle of the Sun.
On 13 May 1917, the shepherd children reported seeing a woman "brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal goblet filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun."  The woman wore a white mantle edged with gold and held a rosary in her hand. She asked them to devote themselves to the Holy Trinity and to pray "the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war".  While the children had never told anyone about seeing the angel, Jacinta told her family about seeing the brightly lit woman. Lúcia had earlier said that the three should keep this experience private. Jacinta's disbelieving mother told neighbors about it as a joke, and within a day the whole village knew of the children's vision. 
The children said the woman told them to return to the Cova da Iria on 13 June 1917. Lúcia's mother sought counsel from the parish priest, Father Ferreira, who suggested she allow them to go. He asked to have Lúcia brought to him afterward so that he could question her. The second appearance occurred on 13 June, the feast of Saint Anthony, patron of the local parish church. Lúcia would later report that on this occasion the lady revealed that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven soon, but Lúcia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  
During the June visit, the children said the lady told them to say the Holy Rosary daily in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace and the end of the Great War. (Three weeks earlier, on 21 April, the first contingent of Portuguese soldiers had embarked for the front lines of the war.) The lady also purportedly revealed to the children a vision of hell, and entrusted a secret to them, described as "good for some and bad for others".  Fr. Ferreira later stated that Lúcia recounted that the lady told her, "I want you to come back on the thirteenth and to learn to read in order to understand what I want of you. . I don't want more." 
In the following months, thousands of people flocked to Fátima and nearby Aljustrel, drawn by reports of visions and miracles. On 13 August 1917, the provincial administrator Artur Santos  (no relation to Lúcia dos Santos) intervened, as he believed that these events were politically disruptive in the conservative country. He took the children into custody, jailing them before they could reach the Cova da Iria. Santos interrogated and threatened the children to get them to divulge the contents of the secrets. Lúcia's mother hoped the officials could persuade the children to end the affair and admit that they had lied.  Lúcia told Santos everything short of the secrets, and offered to ask the woman for permission to tell the official the secrets. 
That month, instead of the usual apparition in the Cova da Iria on 13 August, the children reported that they saw the Virgin Mary on 19 August, a Sunday, at nearby Valinhos. She asked them again to pray the rosary daily, spoke about the miracle coming in October, and asked them "to pray a lot, a lot for the sinners and sacrifice a lot, as many souls perish in hell because nobody is praying or making sacrifices for them." 
The three children claimed to have seen the Blessed Virgin Mary in a total of six apparitions between 13 May and 13 October 1917. Lúcia also reported a seventh Marian apparition at Cova da Iria. 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the apparitions and it was celebrated with the visit of Pope Francis to the Sanctuary of Fátima. 
Miracle of the Sun Edit
After some newspapers reported that the Virgin Mary had promised a miracle for the last of her apparitions on 13 October, a huge crowd, possibly between 30,000 and 100,000,   including reporters and photographers, gathered at Cova da Iria. What happened then became known as the "Miracle of the Sun".
Various claims have been made as to what actually happened during the event. The three children who originally claimed to have seen Our Lady of Fátima reported seeing a panorama of visions during the event, including those of Jesus, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and of Saint Joseph blessing the people.  Father John De Marchi, an Italian Catholic priest and researcher wrote several books on the subject, which included descriptions by witnesses who believed they had seen a miracle created by Mary, Mother of God.  According to accounts, after a period of rain, the dark clouds broke and the Sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disc in the sky. It was said to be significantly duller than normal, and to cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The Sun was then reported to have careened towards the Earth before zig-zagging back to its normal position.  Witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry, as well as the wet and muddy ground that had been previously soaked because of the rain that had been falling". 
Not all witnesses reported seeing the Sun "dance". Some people only saw the radiant colors, and others, including some believers, saw nothing at all.     The only known picture of the Sun taken during the event does not show anything unusual.  No unusual phenomenon of the Sun was observed by scientists at the time.  A number of theologians, scientists, and skeptics have offered alternative explanations that include psychological suggestibility of the witnesses, temporary retinal distortion caused by staring at the intense light of the Sun, and optical effects caused by natural meteorological phenomena. 
Francisco and Jacinta Marto died in the international flu pandemic that began in 1918 and swept the world for two years. Francisco Marto died at home on 4 April 1919, at the age of ten. Jacinta died at the age of nine in Queen Stephanie's Children's Hospital in Lisbon on 20 February 1920. They are buried at the Sanctuary of Fátima. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 13 May 2000 and canonized by Pope Francis on 13 May 2017.  Their mother Olímpia Marto said that her children predicted their deaths many times to her and to curious pilgrims in the brief period of time after the Marian apparitions. 
At the age of fourteen, in 1922 Lúcia was sent to the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy (Dorothean) in Vilar, a suburb of Porto, Portugal. In 1928 she became a postulant at the convent of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Tui, Spain, near the border with Portugal. Lúcia continued to report private visions periodically throughout her life. She reported seeing the Virgin Mary again in 1925 in the convent. This time she said she was asked to convey the message of the First Saturdays Devotion. She said that a subsequent vision of Christ as a child reiterated this request. In 1929, Lúcia reported that Mary returned and repeated her request for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She also reported an apparition in Rianxo, Galicia, in 1931, in which she said that Jesus visited her, taught her two prayers, and delivered a message to give to the church's hierarchy.
In 1936 and again in 1941, Sister Lúcia said that the Virgin Mary had predicted the deaths of her two cousins during the second apparition on 13 June 1917. According to Lúcia's 1941 account, on 13 June, Lúcia asked the Virgin if the three children would go to heaven when they died. She said that she heard Mary reply, "Yes, I shall take Francisco and Jacinta soon, but you will remain a little longer, since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on Earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart." 
In 1947, Sister Lúcia left the Dorothean order. She joined the Discalced Carmelite Order in a monastery in Coimbra, Portugal. Lúcia died on 13 February 2005, at the age of 97.
The widely reported miracle of the Sun contributed to Fátima quickly becoming a major centre of pilgrimage. Two million pilgrims visited the site in the decade following the events of 1917.  A small chapel – the Capelinha – was built by local people on the exact site of the Marian apparitions. The construction was neither encouraged nor hindered by the Catholic Church authorities.
On 13 May 1920, pilgrims defied government troops to install a statue of the Virgin Mary in the chapel.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was first officially celebrated there in January 1924. A hostel for the sick was begun in that year. In 1927 the first rector of the sanctuary was appointed, and a set of Stations of the Cross were erected on the mountain road. The foundation stone for the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was laid the next year. 
In 1930 the Catholic Church officially recognised the apparition events as "worthy of belief" and granted a papal indulgence to pilgrims visiting Fátima. In 1935 the bodies of the child visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta, were reinterred in the basilica. Pope Pius XII granted a Canonical Coronation of the statue of Our Lady of Fátima on 13 May 1946. This event drew such large crowds that the entrance to the site had to be barred. 
In the 21st century, pilgrimage to the site takes place year round. Additional chapels, hospitals and other facilities have been constructed at the site. The principal pilgrimage festivals take place on the thirteenth day of each month, from May to October, on the anniversaries of the original apparitions. The largest crowds gather on 13 May and 13 October, when up to a million pilgrims have attended to pray and witness processions of the statue of Our Lady of Fátima, both during the day and by the light of tens of thousands of candles at night. 
The reported visions at Fátima gathered widespread attention, as numerous pilgrims began to visit the site. After a canonical inquiry, the Bishop of Leiria-Fátima officially declared the visions of Fátima as "worthy of belief" in October 1930, officially permitting the belief of Our Lady of Fátima. 
At the time of the apparitions, Portugal was undergoing tensions between the secularizing Republican government and more conservative elements in society. The First Republic had begun with the revolution of 1910 overthrowing the constitutional monarch. It was intensely anticlerical and provoked a strong conservative reaction, ultimately leading to the military coup of 1926. Later in Spain during the 1920s and 1930s, as the forces of the Republic gathered strength, armies of faithful Roman Catholics carried images of the Virgin Mary, as protest and protection against groups they called godless. 
During the Spanish Second Republic, apparitions of the Virgin Mary were seen on Spanish soil at Ezquioga. Ramona Olazabal said that Mary had marked the palms of her hands with a sword. The visions at Ezquioga were widely covered in the press, as were sixteen other visitations of the Virgin reported in 1931 in Spain.  These visions gained much credence in Integrist and Carlist circles and conservative elements in the Spanish Catholic Church actively encouraged the Fátima devotion as a way of countering the perceived threat of atheistic Communism. In Portugal and its former colony of Brazil, conservative groups were sometimes associated with the adoration of Fátima. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941, some Catholics interpreted this in terms of the Fátima apparitions, and believed that the Virgin's prophecy was about to be fulfilled. [ citation needed ]
The original apparitions took place during the six months preceding the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and the children related that the Lady talked to them about the need to pray for Russia. Lúcia admitted later that the children initially thought she was requesting prayers for a girl named Russia. In the first edition of Sister Lúcia's memoirs, published after the outbreak of World War II, she focused on the issue of Russia. The warning by the Lady that "if Russia was not consecrated to God, it would spread errors throughout the world" was often seized upon as an anti-communist rallying cry. [ citation needed ]
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima, for instance, has always been strongly anti-Communist and its members often associated the Fátima story in the context of the Cold War.  The Blue Army is made up of Catholics and non-Catholics who believe that by dedicating themselves to daily prayer (specifically, of the Rosary), they can help to achieve world peace and put an end to the error of communism. Organizations such as the Blue Army (nowadays known as the World Apostolate of Fátima) have gained the approval of the Catholic Church. 
The Fátima story developed in two parts: that which was reported in 1917, and information later mentioned in Sister Lúcia's memoirs which she wrote years later, after the Church ruled that the events in Fátima were "worthy of belief." Her memoir was not subject to the same scrutiny.  The early messages focused on the need to pray the rosary for peace and an end to World War I.
The supernatural events in Fátima were not widely known outside Portugal and Spain until Lúcia published her memoirs, starting in the late 1930s. Between 1935 and 1993, she wrote six memoirs. The first four, written between 1935 and 1941 during World War II, were published under the title Fatima in Lucia's Own Words (1976). The fifth and six memoirs, written in 1989 and 1993, are published as Fatima in Lucia's Own Words II.
In the mid-1930s the Bishop of Leiria encouraged Lúcia (at that time named Sister Maria Lúcia das Dores) to write her memoirs, so that she might reveal further details of the 1917 apparitions. In her first memoir, published in 1935, focused on the holiness of Jacinta Marto. The deceased girl was by then popularly considered a saint.  In her second memoir, published in 1937, Lucia wrote more about her own life, the apparition of 13 June 1917, and first reveals the earlier apparitions of the Angel of Peace. 
Finding herself inundated with constantly repeated questions concerning the Marian apparitions occurred in Fátima, Portugal, and the visionaries, the message they received and the reason for some of the requests contained in that message, and feeling that it was beyond her to reply individually to each questioner, Sister Lúcia asked the Holy See for permission to write a text in which she could reply in general to the many questions that had been put to her. This permission was granted and a new book was published entitled Calls from the Message of Fatima.
Three Secrets of Fátima Edit
In her third memoir of 1941, Sister Lúcia described three secrets. She said these had been entrusted to the children during the apparition of 13 July 1917.
First secret Edit
This was a vision of hell, which Lúcia said they experienced on 4 July 1917. 
Second secret Edit
This was a recommendation for devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a way to save souls and bring peace to the world. It predicted an end to the Great War, but predicted a worse one if people did not cease offending God. This second war would be presaged by a night illuminated by an unknown light, as a "great sign" that the time of chastisement was near. To avert this, Mary would return to ask for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart, and the establishment of the First Saturdays Devotion. If her requests were heeded, Russia would be converted, and there would be peace if not, Russia would spread her errors  throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The vision culminated with a promise that in the end, "the Immaculate Heart would triumph. The Holy Father would consecrate Russia to Mary, and a period of peace would be granted to the world." 
On 25 January 1938 (during solar cycle 17), bright lights, an aurora borealis appeared over the northern hemisphere, including in places as far south as North Africa, Bermuda and California.  It was the widest occurrence of the aurora since 1709 and people in Paris and elsewhere believed a great fire was burning and notified fire departments.   Sister Lúcia indicated that it was the sign foretold and so apprised her superior and the bishop in letters the following day.  Just over a month later, Hitler seized Austria and eight months later invaded Czechoslovakia.  
Consecration of Russia Edit
According to Sister Lúcia, the Virgin Mary promised that the Consecration of Russia would lead to Russia's conversion and an era of peace.  At the time the supposed request for the consecration of Russia was made, however, the Bolsheviks had not yet taken control of Russia.
Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter Sacro Vergente of 7 July 1952, consecrated Russia to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pius XII wrote,
"Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart. " 
In 1952 the Pope said to the Russian people and the Stalinist regime that the Virgin Mary was always victorious. "The gates of hell will never prevail, where she offers her protection. She is the good mother, the mother of all, and it has never been heard, that those who seek her protection, will not receive it. With this certainty, the Pope dedicates all people of Russia to the immaculate heart of the Virgin. She will help! Error and atheism will be overcome with her assistance and divine grace." 
Popes Pius XII and John Paul II both had a special relationship with Our Lady of Fátima. Pope Benedict XV began Pacelli's church career, elevating him to archbishop in the Sistine Chapel on 13 May 1917, the date of the first reported apparition. Pius XII was laid to rest in the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica on 13 October 1958, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima.
Pope John Paul II again consecrated the entire world to the Virgin Mary in 1984, without explicitly mentioning Russia. Some believe that Sister Lúcia verified that this ceremony fulfilled the requests of the Virgin Mary.  However, in the Blue Army's Spanish magazine, Sol de Fátima, in the September 1985 issue, Sister Lúcia said that the ceremony did not fulfil the Virgin Mary's request, as there was no specific mention of Russia and "many bishops attached no importance to it." In 2001, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone met with Sister Lúcia, who reportedly told him, "I have already said that the consecration desired by Our Lady was made in 1984, and has been accepted in Heaven."  Sister Lúcia died on 13 February 2005, without making any further public statement of her own to settle the issue.
Some maintain that, according to Lúcia and Fátima advocates such as Abbé Georges de Nantes, Fr. Paul Kramer and Nicholas Gruner, Russia has never been specifically consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by any Pope simultaneously with all the world's bishops, which is what Lúcia in the 1985 interview had said Mary had asked for. Two interviews with Sister Lucia, in 1992 and 1993, tape recorded and televised with the Seer's permission on Portuguese State Television RTP1 and on SIC, TVI iand RAI 2, in March 1998, finally clarified the Seer's personal opinion regarding the Secret, Consecration and Conversion of Russia.   
However, by letters of 29 August 1989 and 3 July 1990, she stated that the consecration had been completed indeed in the 1990 letter in response to a question by the Rev. Father Robert J. Fox, she confirmed:
I come to answer your question, "If the consecration made by Pope John Paul II on 25 March 1984 in union with all the bishops of the world, accomplished the conditions for the consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady in Tui, Spain on 13 June 1929?" Yes, it was accomplished, and since then I have said that it was made.
And I say that no other person responds for me, it is I who receive and open all letters and respond to them. 
In the meantime, the conception of Theotokos Derzhavnaya, Orthodox Christian venerated icon, points out that Virgin Mary is considered actual Tsarina of Russia by the religious appeal of Nicholas II thus "Consecration of Russia" may refer to return of Russian monarchy. The icon was brought to Fátima in 2003 and 2014, together with another significant icon, the Theotokos of Port Arthur. 
Third Secret Edit
The third secret, a vision of the death of the Pope and other religious figures, was transcribed by the Bishop of Leiria and reads:
"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!' And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God." 
Controversy around the Third Secret Edit
Lúcia declared that the Third Secret could be released to the public after 1960. Some sources, including Canon Barthas and Cardinal Ottaviani, said that Lúcia insisted to them it must be released by 1960, saying that, "by that time, it will be more clearly understood", and, "because the Blessed Virgin wishes it so."   Instead, in 1960 the Vatican published an official press release stating that it was "most probable the Secret would remain, forever, under absolute seal."  This announcement triggered widespread speculation. According to the New York Times, speculation over the content of the secret ranged from "worldwide nuclear annihilation" to "deep rifts in the Roman Catholic Church that lead to rival papacies." 
The Vatican did not publish the Third Secret, a four-page, handwritten text, until 26 June 2000.
Such writers as Father Paul Kramer, Christopher Ferrara, Antonio Socci, and Marco Tosatti have suggested that this was not the full text of the secret  and stating the Third Secret is not the full text.     They alleged that Cardinals Bertone, Ratzinger and Sodano concealed the existence of another one-page document, containing information about the Apocalypse and a great apostasy.   
The Vatican has maintained its position that the full text of the Third Secret was published. According to a December 2001 Vatican press release (published in L'Osservatore Romano), Lúcia told then-Archbishop Bertone in an interview that the secret had been completely revealed when published.   
During his apostolic visit to Portugal during 11–14 May 2010 on the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto,  Pope Benedict XVI explained to reporters that the interpretation of the third secret did not only refer to the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in Saint Peter's Square in 1981. He said that the third secret, "has a permanent and ongoing significance," and that, "its significance could even be extended to include the suffering the Church is going through today as a result of the recent reports of sexual abuse involving the clergy." 
Many Roman Catholics recite prayers based on Our Lady of Fátima. Lúcia later said that, in 1916, she and her cousins had several visions of an angel calling himself the "Angel of Portugal" and the "Angel of Peace," who taught them to bow with their heads to the ground  and to say "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you." Lúcia later set this prayer to music and a recording exists of her singing it.  It was also said that sometime later, the angel returned and taught them a eucharistic devotion now known as the Angel Prayer.  
Lúcia said that the Lady emphasized Acts of Reparation and prayers to console Jesus for the sins of the world. Lúcia said that Mary's words were, "When you make some sacrifice, say 'O Jesus, it is for your love, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'" At the apparition of 13 July 1917, Lucia said Mary told the children that sinners could be saved from damnation by devotion to the Immaculate Heart, but also by making "sacrifices". They heard her repeat the idea of sacrifices several times. Her vision of hell prompted them to ever more stringent self-mortifications to save souls. Among many other practices, Lúcia wrote that she and her cousins wore tight cords around their waists, flogged themselves with stinging nettles, gave their lunches to beggars, and abstained from drinking water on hot days. Francisco and Jacinta became extremely devoted to this practice.  Lúcia wrote that Mary said God was pleased with their sacrifices and bodily penances. 
At the first apparition, Lúcia wrote, the children were so moved by the radiance that they involuntarily said "Most Holy Trinity, I adore you! My God, my God, I love you in the Most Blessed Sacrament."  Lúcia also said that she heard Mary ask for the following words to be added to the Rosary after the Gloria Patri prayer: "O my Jesus, pardon us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need." 
According to Vatican teaching on the tradition of Marian visitations, references to the "conversion of sinners" do not necessarily mean religious conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical on the "Unity of the Church, Satis Cognitum", said that would mean the "conversion of heretics or apostates who are 'outside the church and alien to the Christian Faith.' Rather, "conversion of sinners" refers to general repentance and an attempt to amend one's life according to the teachings of Jesus for those true Catholics who are fallen into sins. Lúcia wrote that she and her cousins defined "sinners" not as non-Catholics but as those who had fallen away from the church or, more specifically, willfully indulged in sinful activity, particularly "sins of the flesh"  and "acts of injustice and a lack of charity towards the poor, widows and orphans, the ignorant and the helpless," which she said were even worse than sins of impurity. 
The cultus of the Immaculate Heart is the central message of Fátima. Ecclesiastical approbation does not imply that the Church provides an infallible guarantee on the supernatural nature of the event. But, Karl Rahner and other theologians have said that popes, by authoritatively fostering the Marian veneration in places such as Fátima and Lourdes, motivate the faithful into an acceptance of divine faith. 
In October 1930 Bishop da Silva declared that the apparitions at Fátima were "worthy of belief," and approved public devotion to the Blessed Virgin under the title Our Lady of Fátima. The Vatican granted indulgences and permitted special Liturgies of the Mass to be celebrated in Fátima. 
In 1939, Eugenio Pacelli, who was consecrated as a bishop on 13 May 1917 — the day of the first apparition — was elected to the papacy as Pius XII. He is considered to have become "the Pope of Fátima."  In 1940 after World War II had started, Sister Lúcia asked Pope Pius XII to consecrate the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She repeated this request later that year on 2 December 1940, stating that in the year 1929, the Blessed Lady requested in another apparition that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. Mary was said to promise the conversion of Russia from its errors. 
On 13 May 1942, the 25th anniversary of the first apparition and the silver jubilee of the episcopal consecration of Pope Pius XII, the Vatican published the "Message and Secret of Fátima." On 31 October 1942, Pope Pius XII, in a radio address to the people of Portugal, discussed the apparitions of Fátima and consecrated the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin, with specific mention of Russia. (See below)  On 8 December 1942, the Pontiff officially and solemnly declared this consecration in a ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. This consecration was made in the context of the reported messages from Jesus and the Virgin Mary received by Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar, and communicated to her spiritual director, Father Mariano Pinho.
On 13 May 1946, Cardinal Masalla, the personal delegate of Pius XII, crowned in his name Our Lady of Fátima, as the Pope issued a second message about Fátima:
- "The faithful virgin never disappointed the trust put on her. She will transform into a fountain of graces, physical and spiritual graces, over all of Portugal, and from there, breaking all frontiers, over the whole Church and the entire world". 
On 1 May 1948, in Auspicia quaedam, Pope Pius XII requested the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of every Catholic family, parish and diocese.
- "It is our wish, consequently, that wherever the opportunity suggests itself, this consecration be made in the various dioceses as well as in each of the parishes and families." 
On 18 May 1950, the Pope again sent a message to the people of Portugal regarding Fátima: "May Portugal never forget the heavenly message of Fátima, which, before anybody else she was blessed to hear. To keep Fátima in your heart and to translate Fátima into deeds, is the best guarantee for ever more graces".  In numerous additional messages, and in his encyclicals Fulgens corona (1953), and Ad Caeli Reginam (1954), Pius XII encouraged the veneration of the Virgin in Fátima.
At the end of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI renewed the consecration of Pius XII to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In an unusual gesture, he announced his own pilgrimage to the sanctuary on the fiftieth anniversary of the first apparition. On 13 May 1967, he prayed at the shrine together with Sister Lúcia.
In the final and historic consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pope John Paul II on 25 March 1984 consecrated Russia and the world in a public ceremony at St. Peter's in Rome the consecration was in the form of a 'whole-world consecration' carried out in union with the Catholic bishops throughout the world. Cardinal Bertone said to the press many times that the message of Fátima was finished.  Pope John Paul II credited Our Lady of Fátima with saving his life following an assassination attempt on 13 May 1981, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima.  Then on 12 May 1987, he expressed his gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life. The following day, he renewed the consecration of Pius XII to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin. 
On 12–13 May 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima and strongly stated his acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fátima apparitions. On the first day, the Pope arrived at the Chapel of Apparitions to pray he gave a Golden Rose to Our Lady of Fátima "as a homage of gratitude from the Pope for the marvels that the Almighty has worked through you in the hearts of so many who come as pilgrims to this your maternal home". The Pope also recalled the "invisible hand" that saved John Paul II. He said in a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary that "it is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes, but also with the 'bullet' of our anxieties and sufferings." 
On the second day, Pope Benedict spoke to more than 500,000 pilgrims he referred to the Fátima prophecy about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and related it to the final "glory of the Most Holy Trinity."  
Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis all voiced their acceptance of the supernatural origin of the Fátima events.
In March 2017 the Holy See announced that Pope Francis would canonize two of the visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, on 13 May at a Mass in Fátima during a two-day visit. The decision followed papal confirmation of a miracle attributed to the intercession of the two visionaries. 
The pope canonized the children on 13 May 2017 during the centennial of the first apparition. 
Several statues of Our Lady of Fátima are notable, among which are the following:
- The Immaculate Heart of Mary, installed above the main facade of the shrine at Fátima. Sister Lúcia dos Santos said this most closely resembled her Marian apparitions of 1917. 
- The statue carved by José Ferreira Thedim, now enshrined within the Chapel of Apparitions, was canonically crowned on 13 May 1946 by Pope Pius XII. It was venerated by Pope John Paul II in 1981 who added the bullet from his attempted assassination to the same crown. 
- Two original copies of the International Pilgrim of Fátima, informally known as the Pilgrim Statue, have been taken around the world to Catholic audiences. The second was sent to the Americas after being blessed on 13 October 1947 by the local bishop of Leiria, Portugal. Subsequent copies have similarly been circulated internationally, including one smuggled into the US embassy to the Soviet Union.  Since 1984, another copy  has been enshrined in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Shrine at the Congregation of the Mother of the Redeemer's monastery in Carthage, Missouri, United States. The statue is removed once a year during the Marian Days celebration for a procession around Carthage. 
- The so-called U.N. Virgin Fátima statue, which once stood in the oratory chapel of the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, United States. It was blessed by the Bishop of Leiria on 13 October 1952. 
- Our Lady of Fátima is carried in procession as part of the festival of Quyllur Rit'i, held in the highlands of the mountains Sinaqara and Qullqipunku in Cusco Region, Peru.  The festival attracts 10,000 pilgrims annually. 
- The National Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima - Philippines, also known as the EDSA Image, is a gift to the Philippines from the Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal. It was blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1967 during the 50th Anniversary of the Apparitions. It was crowned as the National Pilgrim Image in 1984 by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin and became the main Fatima image during the peaceful EDSA People Power Revolution of 1986.  The image has been taken around the country in different Churches and Schools. The image was Episcopally Crowned by the late Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos in celebration of the Centennial of the Apparitions, with the crown and rosary as gifts from the Sanctuary of Fatima.
Our Lady of Fátima was played by Virginia Gibson in an uncredited role in the 1952 film The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima  and by Joana Ribeiro in the 2020 film, Fatima. 
11 October 1942 - History
The 379th Bomb Group was activated November 26, 1942, at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. It consisted of four squadrons of B-17s, the 524th, 525th, 526th and 527th. Overseas movement began in April, and in May the 379th arrived at Kimbolton, England, AAF Station 117. Its first combat mission was the bombing of German U-boat pens at St Nazaire, France, on May 29, 1943. Colonel Maurice A. Preston was the original commanding officer until October 10, 1944, when he became the commander of the 41st Combat Wing headquartered at Molesworth. Colonel Lewis E. Lyle then assumed command of the 379th Bomb Group until May 5, 1945, when he became commander of the 41st Combat Wing. Lt. Col. Lloyd C. Mason was then named commander of the 379th Bomb Group, and was followed by Lt. Col. Horace E. Frink.
Like many B-17 bases in England, the airfield at Kimbolton was originally a fighter base for the British. When it became evident Germany was not going to invade England, the RAF decided it didn't need many inland fighter bases and was happy to lease most of them to the United States as airfields for heavy bombers. The runways and perimeter ramps were too thin to accommodate the weight of our Flying Fortresses and Liberators, so the United States paid the British to repair and replace the runways to meet necessary specifications.
Click on the photo to enlarge picture and see planes taking off
The attached photo of the airfield as it was submitted by one of our associate members, Mark Ellis of Los Angeles. Some of the only remaining structures from years ago can be seen in the cluster of buildings in the low-center-right of the picture, not far from the road where the memorial to the 379th is located.
Click on the photo to enlarge the colored picture.
The 379th Bomb Group was one of 12 heavy Bombardment Groups in the First Bombardment Division of the United States 8th Air Force. All B-17s of every Group within the 1st Bombardment Division had a large triangle painted at the top of the vertical stabilizer. Each Group's assigned code letter was painted in the triangle. The 379th's planes were assigned the letter K, and were known as the Triangle K Group.
The 379th Bomb Group flew its first 300 missions in less time than any other heavy Bombardment Group. During all of its 330 bombing missions, it dropped 26,640 tons of bombs on enemy targets, shot down 315 enemy aircraft and lost 141 of its B-17s to enemy action.
Eighty of those 141 Fortresses were shot down between May 29, 1943, and March 31, 1944. The other 61 Fortresses were lost between April 1, 1944, and April 25, 1945. One record lists 345 Fortresses assigned to the 379th Bomb Group during World War II. It is very startling that more than 43% of those 345 Fortresses were lost to enemy fighters and anti-aircraft guns.
Information in the 8th Air Force News indicates the 379th Bomb Group lost one B-17 to enemy action for every 70 sorties flown, for a loss rate of one bomber for every 22 missions. This compares to 1 bomber lost per 30 sorties by the Group with most bad fortune, and 1 bomber lost per 230 sorties for the Group with the least bad fortune. The average loss rate for the 40 Bomb Groups was 1 bomber per 88 sorties.
The 379th led the 8th Air Force in bombing accuracy, flew more sorties than any other heavy Bomb Group and had a lower loss and abortive ratio than any unit in the 8th Air Force for an extended period of time. Some of its other accomplishments include: development of the 12-plane squadron formation and 36-plane integral Group, and use of a straight-line approach on the entire bomb run.
In May 1944 it was announced that the 379th had made an unprecedented "8th Air Force Operational Grand Slam" during the preceding month. This meant that during April the 379th was first in every phase of bombing in which Bomb Groups of the 8th Air Force were graded. The 379th Bomb Group was the only unit ever awarded the 8th Air Force Grand Slam, a very unique honor that included recognition of the following achievements:
1 - Best Bombing results (greatest percent of bombs on target)
2 - Greatest tonnage of bombs dropped on target
3 - Largest number of aircraft attacking
4 - Lowest losses of aircraft
5 - Lowest abortive rate of aircraft dispatched.
The 379th received two Presidential Unit Citations for its accomplishments in combat. The Group flew its last combat mission on April 25, 1945. The 379th Bomb Group remained active for two years, seven months and 29 days. During this period approximately 6,000 personnel were assigned to the Kimbolton airfield. The Group was deactivated on July 25, 1945, at Casablanca, Morocco, Africa.
(Data about the 379th Bomb Group is from "Screwball Express" and is printed here with the permission of Ken Cassens, author of the book, with all rights reserved)
SQUADRONS OF THE 379th BG (H):
524th Bombardment Squadron
525th Bombardment Squadron
526th Bombardment Squadron
527th Bombardment Squadron
Assigned 8th AAF: April 1943 - Wing/Command Assignment:
8th AF, 1st Bomb Division, 103 PCBW: May 1943
8th AF, 1st Bomb Division, 41st Combat Wing: 13 Sept.1943
1st Bomb Division, 41st Combat Wing: 8 Jan 1944
1st Air Division, 41st Combat Wing: 1 Jan 1945
Group COs: Col. Maurice A. Preston 26 November 1942 to October 1944
Col. Lewis E. Lyle 11 October 1944 to 5 May 1945
First Mission: 29 May 1943, St. Nazaire, France
Last Mission: 25 April 1945, Pilsen, Czechoslovakia
Total Sorties: 10,492
Total Bomb Tonnage: 26,460
Tons Aircraft MIA: 149
Kimbolton 20May43 To 12Jul45 (Air Ech Bovingdon 24Apr43 to 21May1943
Claims to Fame:
Flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the 8th AF
Dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group
Lower abortive rate than any other Group in action from 1943
Pioneered the 12-plane formation that became standard during 1944
"Ol Gappy" a B-17G, flew 157 missions, more than any other bomber in the 8th AF
Distinguished Unit Citations - 28 May 1943 to 31 July 1944
Operations this period 11 Jan 1944 to all 1st Bomb Division
8th Air Force Operational Grand Slam - May 1944
Activated 26 November 1942 at Gowen Field, Idaho. The Group assembled at Wendover Field, Utah on 2 December 1942. They trained there until 2 March 1943 then moved to Sioux City AAF, Iowa on 3 February 1943 until their departure 9 April 1943. The ground unit moved for final processing at Camp Douglas, Wisconsin and then to Camp Shanks, New York. They sailed on the Aquitania on 10 May 1943 and arrived at Clyde on 18 May 1943. The Aircraft left Sioux City, Iowa on 9 April 1943 and flew to Bangor, Maine via Kearney, Nebraska and Selfridge, Michigan. They commenced overseas movement on 15 April 1943 by the North Atlantic ferry route.
Scheduled to transport US troops from Europe to Casablanca. The unit moved to Casablanca in early June with the last aircraft flown back to the States and the Group inactivated at Casablanca on 25 July 1945. The unit was activated once again as a Strategic Air Command wing and assigned the first B-52H aircraft in 1962. Activated 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and converted to provisional status on 4 December 2001. The 379th AEW is also referred to as the Grand Slam Wing.
11 October 1942 - History
Pacific War Maps | Nihon Kaigun Pacific Naval Battles in World War II
The Pacific War was the largest naval conflict in history. Across the huge expanses of the Pacific, the two most powerful navies in the world found themselves locked in a death struggle. The war was fought in every possible climate, from Arctic conditions in the Aleutians, to the appalling heat and swelter of the South Pacific. Every conceivable type of naval activity was represented: carrier aviation battles, surface engagements, bitterly fought night-fights, the largest amphibious landings of the entire war, and the stealthy, brutal battles waged by and against submarines.
I have compiled information on a number of the more important (and, I think, interesting) battles of the war, including a synopsis, tabular displays of the forces involved, and in some cases ship movement track charts. Just click on the battle map you want to see. Alternately, use the text-driven menu below the maps.
Solving the Mysteries of Santa Cruz
The South Pacific campaign for Guadalcanal was reaching its climax in late October 1942, and U.S. Marines were hanging on to the island by their fingernails. Desperate to recapture Guadalcanal and its airbase, Henderson Field, the Japanese army was mounting a land offensive, and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) came out in support. Some of the hardest-fought naval air battles of World War II figured in the six-month Guadalcanal campaign, including possibly the toughest, the 26 October Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
The IJN put its first team into the balance, sending large task forces to the east of the Solomon Islands. Aggressive Admiral William F. Halsey, who had just assumed command of the South Pacific theater (SOPAC), opposed them with his own flattops in two groups built around the USS Enterprise (CV-6) and Hornet (CV-8). Using the incomparable advantage of Ultra—information gleaned from decrypts of enciphered Japanese radio transmissions—Halsey was able to concentrate on the enemy’s flank. At the time, only the Hornet was actually in SOPAC after having had damage from the Battle of the Eastern Solomons repaired, the Enterprise was hustling forward from Pearl Harbor. The American carrier task forces rendezvoused just in time.
Under the tactical command of Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, the principal participating SOPAC units—Task Forces 16 and 17—included the pair of flattops the battleship South Dakota (BB-57) half-a-dozen cruisers, with several of the new specialized antiaircraft light cruisers and 14 destroyers. Another force, built around the battleship Washington (BB-56), figured in the foes’ calculations, though it would not participate directly in the battle. Employing their own array of formations, the Japanese navy’s participating forces comprised 3 big carriers, 1 light carrier, 4 battleships, 8 heavy and 2 light cruisers, and 21 destroyers.
The course of the subsequent bitterly fought battle can be very briefly summarized. During the night before the main action, U.S. PBY Catalina search planes sighted some of the key Japanese fleet units and loosed glancing blows. The enemy took precautions and turned away while Admiral Kinkaid aggressively sought to close with him. From his headquarters at Nouméa, New Caledonia, SOPAC commander Halsey famously signaled, “ATTACK. REPEAT. ATTACK.”
The morning air searches by the Enterprise on 26 October found the main Japanese carrier force—Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo’s Kido Butai, or Striking Force—and scout bombers made immediate attacks that put the light carrier Zuiho out of action. Japanese scouts had almost simultaneously found Kinkaid’s ships, and the sides exchanged air strikes. Passing near each other, some of the strike formations’ planes mixed it up. American aircraft went on to sideline a second enemy carrier and to damage a heavy cruiser. The Japanese meanwhile damaged the Enterprise and crippled the Hornet.
The “Big E” managed to restore her flight deck sufficiently to resume air activities and maintained combat air patrols through the day as a succession of Japanese strike waves hit, inflicting more damage on the Hornet. Brave sailors fought the Hornet’s fires and kept her afloat, but late in the day the crew of the grievously wounded carrier was ordered to abandon ship. Admiral Kinkaid already had withdrawn from the battle area. That night Japanese torpedoes sank the Hornet, a task that “fish” and shellfire from U.S. destroyers had been unable to do before the “tin cans” were forced to retreat.
Japanese attacks also had damaged the South Dakota, the heavy cruiser Portland (CA-33), the antiaircraft cruiser San Juan (CL-54), and the destroyers Mahan (DD-364) and Smith (DD-378). What was likely an errant U.S. torpedo sank the Porter (DD-356). American strikes had hit the carriers Shokaku (Nagumo’s flagship) and Zuiho and the heavy cruiser Chikuma. By percentage, plane losses on each side were nearly equal. But in number, the IJN lost 99 aircraft against 80 American planes, and Japanese aircrew losses were substantially greater.
Many more-in-depth narrative histories of the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands have been written. Nevertheless, certain elements of the action continue to be poorly understood or remain virtually unknown. So rather than repeat the efforts of previous historians, what follows is an exploration of some the battle’s enduring mysteries.
Locating the Japanese Fleet
While Ultra’s code-breakers furnished crucial insights into the Japanese navy’s intentions and maneuvers, Allied intelligence was not omniscient. Pacific Fleet Commander-in-Chief Admiral Chester W. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor and Admiral Halsey at Nouméa based their plans on weekly intelligence estimates of Japanese fleet dispositions that were compiled by the F-16 Section of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in Washington. During the weeks before the Santa Cruz battle the estimates were consistently inaccurate, leading commanders to believe IJN forces to be weaker than they were.
Based on Ultra, Nimitz warned of a Japanese naval offensive as early as 17 October. But U.S. radio direction-finding and traffic analysis placed only two Japanese aircraft carriers in the battle area, and the ONI estimates located three of the five enemy flattops in home waters when all of them were at sea. Four Japanese flight decks would be at Santa Cruz compared with two American. The disparity would have been even worse save that the Japanese carrier Hiyo, crippled by mechanical failure, was sent away for repairs. The day after the battle, ONI still estimated that an enemy carrier division that had fought at Santa Cruz was in Japan.
The intel record with respect to other warships was equally poor. That was partly because of assessments that both of the Aoba-class heavy cruisers had already been sunk and partly because Rear Admiral Norman Scott, who won a surface victory off Guadalcanal at the 11–12 October Battle of Cape Esperance, had overestimated enemy losses in that fight. He initially claimed three Japanese cruisers and four destroyers had sunk, but the IJN had actually lost only one heavy cruiser and one destroyer. The exaggerated losses were then scored to units other than Japan’s Cruiser Division 6, which had the Aoba-class ships and had been the main opponent at Cape Esperance. This had the effect of minimizing Japanese heavy-cruiser strength. When the cruisers Myoko and Maya bombarded Guadalcanal on 15 October, U.S. intelligence believed the former was in Yokosuka and the latter at Palau.
As for battleships, the 20 October ONI estimate carried as “possibly damaged” one of Admiral Takeo Kurita’s vessels that had smashed Henderson Field on 13 October, placed the Yamato and Mutsu as possibly at Rabaul, and credited the enemy fleet in the Solomons as, again, “possibly” including the Ise, which was in Japan. At Santa Cruz, the Japanese surface fleet chased Kinkaid’s task force as the Americans retired from the scene. If the pursuit had resulted in a gunnery engagement, the mistaken appreciations would have come home to roost.
Who Owned Henderson Field?
The Imperial Japanese Navy’s offensive was to be triggered by notice that the Japanese army had captured Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The army demanded repeated postponements of a schedule that had called for the event to occur on 22 October. Had that schedule been kept, not only would the Japanese fleet have had more plentiful fuel stocks but the U.S. Navy would have swung into action before the Enterprise had joined up with the Hornet. For Halsey, who believed that carriers together were worth double what they were individually, that made a big difference. Japan’s army faced huge obstacles on Guadalcanal, but the degree of its cooperation is open to challenge.
That is true for the army’s information as well. In August, during the sequence of actions that led to the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the army had falsely reported success to the IJN. Wanting surety this time, the navy set up an observation post on Guadalcanal to supply direct reports to the Combined Fleet flagship, the superbattleship Yamato at Truk.
On the night of 24–25 October the Japanese army duly reported it had taken Henderson Field. Naval observers indicated that fighting raged in the airfield’s vicinity. In the morning, Japanese naval aircraft flew down to Guadalcanal to verify Henderson’s status. One plane even tried to land. The scouts found the field safely in American hands. That night the army again attacked, and it again failed to capture the key American airbase. This time even the army’s chain of command confirmed that its ground attacks had failed. The navy nevertheless chose to proceed.
The IJN had been repeatedly frustrated by the army’s inaccurate reporting and warned more than once that diminishing fuel supplies would oblige it to withdraw from Solomons waters. Why it proceeded with its offensive is an enduring mystery. Only conjecture is possible. Japanese naval officers, from Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on down, were chagrined at the Allies’ ability to prevent the IJN from effectively supplying Japanese forces on Guadalcanal. Faced with desperate conditions at the front—Japanese on Guadalcanal nicknamed the place “Starvation Island”—Yamamoto determined to persist despite every obstacle.
Imperial Japanese Navy veterans, from Kido Butai Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka to destroyer skipper Tameichi Hara, noted in postwar writings that principal commanders were influenced by several elements, including very limited information on the presence of American aircraft carriers, staff officers’ observations that 27 October was Navy Day in the United States, and reports in the American press of an impending major battle in the South Pacific.
Kido Butai commander Admiral Nagumo behaved cautiously precisely because of the thin intelligence. The other two factors have long been obscure, but there is evidence supporting both points. Since 1922, when the Navy League of the United States organized the first observance, 27 October has been celebrated as Navy Day in America. The date was the birthday of President Theodore Roosevelt, father of the Great White Fleet and a staunch American navalist. The event acquired some significance among IJN commanders because calendar dates were of special importance to the Japanese, who indulged themselves in a sense of fateful consequence.
Meanwhile, the idea of an impending major battle in the South Pacific was current in the United States. The Associated Press reported on 16 October that the battle for Guadalcanal was shaping up to be “one of the decisive engagements of the war.” The next day the Chicago Tribune headlined, “COURSE OF WAR AT STAKE!” The story quoted Secretary of the Navy Frank J. Knox claiming in the Nelsonian tradition, “I don’t want to make any predictions, but every man out there, afloat and ashore, will give a good account of himself.” Reporting on Guadalcanal a few days later, the Associated Press explicitly forecast an imminent surface naval battle off Guadalcanal.
On 19 October, the United Press, another major news wire service, alluded to the same idea of a surface action but added carrier fighting for good measure, reporting that experts expected “the outcome . . . would hinge on the naval struggle” and the United States would combine the kinds of tactics used at the Battle of the Java Sea with those of “Coral Sea–Midway.” Similarly, military correspondent Hanson W. Baldwin commented in a 23 October New York Times article that “we cannot fight a protracted delaying action in the Pacific we must, it is felt, hit Japan continuously and without respite.”
Such press reporting was grist for the mill of shortwave news that was broadcast to the Pacific from San Francisco, and listening in was routine for friend and foe across the South Pacific. On Guadalcanal, Marine commander Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift listened to the broadcasts every night before bed, and they were also staples on board the flagships of the Combined Fleet, the Kido Butai, and Rear Admiral Kakuji Kakuta’s Carrier Division 2.
Rear Admiral Kusaka of Nagumo’s staff used the Navy Day date and the sense of impending battle in a dispatch to the Combined Fleet, suggesting that Admiral Yamamoto order the Japanese advance for 27 October. Instead, holding to his Henderson Field–hinged timetable, Yamamoto insisted on immediate action. And by the 27th, the battle for Santa Cruz was over.
What Happened to the American Air Strikes?
At Santa Cruz, scout bombers in the U.S. Navy’s dawn search succeeded in damaging the Japanese light carrier Zuiho. Later, Hornet dive bombers busted up the flight deck of the fleet carrier Shokaku. After those surprise bombings, throughout a long day’s battle, no Japanese flattop was again attacked. Yet the Hornet got off two strike waves (totaling 24 SBD Dauntless dive bombers and 13 TBF Avenger torpedo planes) before she was damaged, and the Enterprise hurled a strike wave of her own (with three SBDs and nine TBFs), necessarily small because she had used many planes in the air search. Thus the main enemy force was barely engaged by the major U.S. strike missions.
The “battle of the air groups” that took place as the adversaries’ strike groups flew past each other on reciprocal courses does not account for this phenomenon. During the clash, Japanese fighters reduced the Big E’s torpedo planes by about half, but none of the American formations turned back, and except for escort fighters, attack strength was not further affected. One of the Hornet squadrons, possibly disoriented in the melee, shifted its vector, but that too was not determinate.
The long range at which the battle took place and the disposition of the Japanese fleet were the main reasons the U.S. attacks miscarried. Historians have almost uniformly castigated IJN operational doctrine for its practice of dividing forces into numerous fleet units—Striking Force, Vanguard Force, Advance Force, Main Body, and so on—in effect, diluting available strength. But at Santa Cruz the tactic worked to Japanese advantage.
The Vanguard Force, sailing dozens of miles ahead of Nagumo’s flattops, was the first enemy the American planes encountered. Some U.S. aircraft immediately attacked others pressed on to the limit of their range in hopes of finding the Kido Butai and then returned to strike the Vanguard. This was where the cruiser Chikuma suffered her damage. Because Kinkaid’s carriers lost their flight decks early in the day, and the Enterprise, once she restored service, was preoccupied with maintaining combat air patrols, there were no follow-up air strikes.
The Japanese Aviation Code
Embarked on board the Enterprise was a so-called “mobile radio detachment,” a unit of the signals-intelligence fraternity. It furnished Admiral Kinkaid with decrypts that circulated on the communications-intelligence network as well as tactical information from its own radio monitoring. The detachment in the Big E was led by a Marine, Captain Bankston T. Holcomb. His unit was instrumental in the survival of the Enterprise, for Holcomb provided Kinkaid with his earliest warnings of some of the incoming Japanese air strikes, helping the carrier to position combat air patrols even before the enemy was acquired on radar. According to a postwar history of the mobile radio detachments, in the midst of the battle Holcomb had gained extraordinary access to Japanese aircraft message traffic because he was handed a copy of the IJN aviation code, salvaged from one of the attacking enemy aircraft that had crashed.
This account now appears to be more complicated than it originally did. The Japanese air group and squadron commanders—the pilots most likely to have possessed copies of the aviation code—either did not crash aboard the Enterprise, or their aircraft were completely consumed while doing so. In addition, it is known that documentary material was recovered from a different Japanese aircraft, a plane that crashed aboard the destroyer Smith.
Aviation Machinist’s Mate Third Class Thomas Powell, a gunner with “Torpedo 10” on board the Enterprise, recalled a provenance for the codebook, which was related to him by Admiral Kinkaid himself. In port some weeks after the battle, Kinkaid told Powell and some other sailors that the codebook had indeed been captured on the Smith. The Big E’s after-action report does not mention the destroyer or indicate the Enterprise came to a stop during the battle to receive materials from another vessel. If true, this suggests that the Japanese aviation codebook could only have changed hands after Santa Cruz. Captain Holcomb’s assistance to Kinkaid in the heat of battle derived from more conventional radio-monitoring techniques.
What About the Enterprise?
Many arguments about the outcome at Santa Cruz hinge on the notion the sides’ postbattle carrier forces were somehow equal. Once the Japanese sent the Zuikaku home to train a new air group, equality in literal terms did exist. But the status of the Enterprise, the flattop on the American side of this equation, is poorly understood. The combination of bomb hits and near misses that the carrier sustained at Santa Cruz did more than jam one elevator in place on her flight deck, thereby slowing flight operations. Captain Osborn B. Hardison, the ship’s skipper, soon learned that damage was more serious than thought.
Two near misses had sprung rivets or deflected plates—in places as much as 2½ feet inward—opening fuel tanks to the sea along almost 100 feet of hull. In one area, all the frames, floors, and bulkheads had buckled. Leaks threatened. The Enterprise’s stem was laced with fragment holes, a few up to a foot wide, and she was taking water, down four feet by the bow. On the hangar deck, the floor of a 50-foot section near the No. 1 elevator was heavily damaged, the decks below blown out. Crewmen in one compartment were actually trapped by flooded spaces above them. Two bomb hoists were questionable. The bridge gyroscope had failed. Several radios and a direction-finding loop were out.
Some repairs could only be made in port. Although the Big E could launch and recover aircraft, she was not truly combat-ready and in a renewed engagement would have been gravely disadvantaged. Battle speeds and even stormy seas might have threatened her seaworthiness. Captain Hardison’s damage-control parties—plus every spare hand—bent superhuman efforts to enable the ship to make speed despite her damage.
For 11 days after the carrier arrived at Nouméa she was completely incapacitated, as Admiral Halsey added every engineer and repairman to those already working over the ship. Hull breaches were repaired, but the aircraft elevator jam awaited drydocking in the United States. When the Enterprise went to sea again, Pearl Harbor privately estimated that the carrier was operating at 70 percent of her combat efficiency. Meanwhile, the IJN decision to return the Zuikaku to Japanese Empire waters was entirely voluntary, based on a plan to regenerate for another Guadalcanal offensive timed for January 1943. She just as easily could have been retained in the South Pacific.
American observers take a variety of positions on the outcome at Santa Cruz. Marine General Vandegrift termed the battle a “standoff.” Theater commander Admiral “Bull” Halsey wrote that “tactically, we picked up the dirty end of the stick but strategically we handed it back.” Similarly, official Navy historian Samuel Eliot Morison rated the battle a Japanese tactical victory that gained precious time for the Allies. And aviation historian John Lundstrom, author of the most detailed examination of the aerial exchanges, wrote of a “supposed” Japanese decisive victory and followed this with an analysis that, while not actually saying so, framed the outcome as Japanese defeat. Robert Sherrod, chronicler of Marine aviation in the war, said Santa Cruz was a case in which “the box score is deceptive.”
Guadalcanal campaign expert Richard Frank made no direct assessment but approvingly quoted Admiral Nimitz’s opinion, penned some weeks after the battle, which declares that the Japanese were turned back and their carrier air groups shattered on the eve of critical battles. Commander Edward P. Stafford, author of the authoritative history of the Enterprise, termed the battle “a bloody draw . . . which had been a U.S. victory only because it had momentarily thwarted a Japanese attempt at recapture.”
Popular authors parse their meanings too. Naval historian E. B. Potter concluded that the Americans “had got the worst of the battle” but had the solace of inflicting very heavy aviation losses. Edwin P. Hoyt called Santa Cruz “an American loss, but not one that made it impossible . . . to hold on to Guadalcanal,” while Eric Hammel termed the battle “technically a Japanese victory.” Carrier warfare authorities James and William Belote scored it a Japanese win, “a victory won at nearly intolerable cost.” And Kenneth I. Friedman pictured a tactical defeat that “forestalled a total and catastrophic debacle.”
I have rented a room from Mrs. Schmidt, for which I pay monthly rental of 120 Marks [$960.00] . For a [hot] bath, I must pay 1 Mark [$8.00] . I must reimburse [her] for all telephone charges. I eat almost all my meals in public restaurants, and am considered a “regular” in some of these. I generally pay around 1.50 Marks [$12.00] per meal. We usually cook our own breakfasts and suppers. I need around 2.50 Marks [$20.00] per day for living expenses.
Currently, I have access to my landlady’s typewriter, Erika brand. But I type on this typewriter only rarely, and then only impersonal letters or addresses. The letters I mentioned previously – to Nägele, Borchers, and my mother – I wrote even the addresses by hand. I have been living in Schmidt’s house since around November 15, 1942 and her typewriter has been available for my use since then.
U-69 and the Sinking of the SS Carolus
U-69, under the command of Kapitän-Leutnant Ulrich Gräf, entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence through the Cabot Strait on September 30, 1942. Finding no targets, he cruised up the St. Lawrence River and on the night of 8/9 October sighted the seven-ship, Labrador to Quebec convoy, NL-9. Despite the presence of three escorting corvettes, Gräf sank the 2245-ton steamship SS Carolus with the loss of 12 of her crew. This sinking, a mere 275 kilometres from Quebec City, caused an uproar in both Quebec and Ottawa. However, it would be nothing compared to the distress caused by the sinking of the Caribou a few nights later.
Roles for women in WWII
At first the government politely discouraged those women who wanted to perform some kind of military service. It soon became clear that the war was going to demand much more than the government had expected. Women could do the technical jobs normally performed by men, freeing those men for combat.
Each branch of the armed services formed their own auxiliary corps for women. These were not combat forces, as the government was determined that no female auxiliary forces would serve outside Australia. As the situation became more desperate, some women were called on to serve overseas, particularly in New Guinea. They worked on observation posts and as anti-aircraft gunners, drivers, mechanics, and radio operators.
Before the war, it was generally expected that a working man was the main provider for his family. So, any woman who took a job was somehow taking it from a man, who needed it to support his family. With so many men away at war, this argument could no longer stand. Women were recruited to many jobs which would previously have been considered too physically hard for them: welding, machine repair, operating tractors and other large engines. They made uniforms, weapons and ammunition. They helped build trucks, tanks and airplanes.
Women also stepped into agricultural jobs. A volunteer force called the Australian Women’s Land Army sent women out from the cities to work on farms: ploughing, harvesting, milking cows. They were essential in keeping up the food supply of Australia. Many thought women would be incapable of these tasks:
The suggestion to form an army of women to do the hard work of farms is ridiculous. Our women are wonderful, but is it fair to ask them to shear or crutch sheep, to plough the land?
- The Argus, 1941
Letter to the editor, The Argus 16 May, 1941, p 7
This source comes from a letter to the editor of a newspaper. Being able to helps you understand the underlying message in a piece of text, a painting, a photograph, etc. You need to be able to identify bias in every resource you use.
Each branch of the armed services formed their own auxiliary corps for women: The army had the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) the navy had the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) and the air force had the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF).
Nursing could be a dangerous service during the war. Many nurses were stationed in Singapore, which was a base for the Allied forces in the Pacific. As the Japanese closed in on Singapore in early 1942, 65 Nurses were evacuated aboad the ship Vyner Brooke. It was bombed and sunk by the Japanese and twelve nurses were drowned. Another group of 22 nurses, captured by the Japanese on the Indonesian island of Banka, were marched off the beach into shallow water and killed by machine gun fire.
Only one – Vivian Bullwinkel – survived, despite being wounded, by pretending to be dead.
In another incident, nurses Vera Torney and Margaret Anderson won bravery awards for shielding patients with their own bodies when their ship came under enemy fire.