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Jettexas
06-18-2004, 12:49 AM
What follows is a brief verbatim excerpt from the unpublished war memoirs of a Navy man I had the pleasure of meeting in my work. He mentioned that he had been a gunner aboard the Hickox durign WW2,being a student of the Pacific War obviously my curiosity was piqued.We have talked casually over a period of years on the subject and recently -He asked if I would be interested in hearing the war stories of an old man. And I expressed that I would . What follows is copied from a lengthy manuscript of 110 pages that he provided to me recounting his wartime experiences.
I make no apologies for his vernacular (or errors of recollection)as he is a product of his generation, and not bound by todays notions of political correctness with regard to racial or ethnic euphemisms.And what is below is copied directly from his manuscript, word for word as he wrote it.With his permission under condition of anonymity.
His narrative is at once simple, matter of fact, profund, and terrifying and insightful in the context of a WW2 flight sim forum.I provide it here as tribute to the vets on both sides and food for thought for the actual realities of the war as it was for one man. If you know a WW2 vet, get the stories from those willing to talk, sadly we are losing the living historical record of these men at a frantic pace.

........This kept on day in, and day out and every night for nearly four months, The japs knew we were losing a lot of sleep , so they decided to keep us awake at night by sending out planes at who could easily find us by the phosphorescent wakes trailing our ships,
What they did not realize was that by now our pilots had mastered the dangerous necessity of night landings,and we had also used the British system of vectoring,whereby two or more ships could furnish range and bearings recived by RADAR and accurately pinpoint the location of the bogey even in the dark. When they could see the blue exhaust of the of the Jap engine they said "Tally -ho", followed by "Splash".
THe Bettys made a big burst of flame, but the real eyecathers were the Emilys, four engine patrol boats like the China Clippers, only larger. They carried about 5000 gallons of gasoline and were reputed to be able to stay up for three days. When one of these went down, you had to get at least 30 miles away from the crash site so that the Jap subs could not see your silhouette.
A favorite scouting tactic was to use the "Jake" which was a Zeke on floats. He would coast in and just sit, even the SG (surface radar) could not find him . Then he would take off, skim over the water for a few miles or so, and stop for a while. but we soon caught on to this trick. We referred to these as "Chicken S#$% Charlies" Because they caused a lot of unecessary GQ. (General Quarters). Sometime they would send out old tri-motor bombers to drop flares. That we called "Lamplighters" It was a wierd feeling to be under a flare attack. Somehow the bombers never made it to the area that they had illuminated............

Toward the end of the Okinawa Campaign things were really getting hot, and without sleep , all of us were about to go crazy. On June 17th at about 17:00 we were on the usual "coffin corner" of the picket line when TFC notified us that a flight of 36 Kamikaze was headed our way, 52 miles and at high speed. They would undertake to intercept about halfway with 6 Corsairs(which are easily recognized) and that they would try to vector others to help us in this dangerous outnumbered situation. We got ready and and shortly after the fighters reported that they had splashed 16 of them, but the others had scaterred and were headed our way.(Please be careful with your shooting) The Hickox was in company with Marshall, Hunt, and Thatcher. Fortunately, they had regrouped and came in from our port side. We had closed in to form a comapact square formation in order to maximize firepower.
They began falling to the TF gunnery , but some got in. It was pretty well established that if attacked by at least four your chances of survival were slim. THe first went for Marshall. The torpedo bounced, did not arm , and hit the the port side of the Marhshall about 2' above the water line (21 Ft Lance torpedo)It proceeded through the forward handling room beneath Gun #2, and out the starboard side. Talk about LUCK!" It missed the loader in the handling room by about a foot.
The next Jap went for Hunt. His timing was a microsecond off. The twin 40 portside was chewing him up which may have distracted or killed him. Instead of hitting the bridge, he hit the port whaleboat, the boat davits sheared off the wings , he continued through the starboard whaleboat ,and splashed into the sea without setting off the bomb.
Thatcher was not so lucky. One came in from the stern , pulled up, then dived into Gun #3. A terrible explosion with a huge muushroom cloud of smoke . She was dead in the water, with everything missing to the waterline from stack one to the stern. But amazingly she stayed afloat.
Three came in on the Hickox and the two portside went down before they were a thousand feet from us. THe other however, had our name on it ,and came from the stern like the one that hit the Thatcher. The 5" was firing a foot over my head and the concussion was terrific , but I had ear plugs and I continued firing til the barrell blew up. It definately looked like we were doomed , so I dived behind the splinter shield and hoped I went quick . There was a sudden roar over us , and a real hot-rock F4U blew the Jap to bits before he reached the Hickox. It was over but we were all shaking so bad we could hardly stand. I had fired 13 magazines. You are supposed to change barrells after 7. Gun 3 had fired the entire magazine of 5" shells in about 7 minutes.We at first thought that the Jap. had dropped flares as he got close but later we learned that the loader(one Mr. kelly)when he had run out of AA had fired what he had left.( Flares) From then on he was nicknamed "Star Shell Kelly".............

S!

http://home.austin.rr.com/davislanedavis/il2sig4.jpg

Jettexas
06-18-2004, 12:49 AM
What follows is a brief verbatim excerpt from the unpublished war memoirs of a Navy man I had the pleasure of meeting in my work. He mentioned that he had been a gunner aboard the Hickox durign WW2,being a student of the Pacific War obviously my curiosity was piqued.We have talked casually over a period of years on the subject and recently -He asked if I would be interested in hearing the war stories of an old man. And I expressed that I would . What follows is copied from a lengthy manuscript of 110 pages that he provided to me recounting his wartime experiences.
I make no apologies for his vernacular (or errors of recollection)as he is a product of his generation, and not bound by todays notions of political correctness with regard to racial or ethnic euphemisms.And what is below is copied directly from his manuscript, word for word as he wrote it.With his permission under condition of anonymity.
His narrative is at once simple, matter of fact, profund, and terrifying and insightful in the context of a WW2 flight sim forum.I provide it here as tribute to the vets on both sides and food for thought for the actual realities of the war as it was for one man. If you know a WW2 vet, get the stories from those willing to talk, sadly we are losing the living historical record of these men at a frantic pace.

........This kept on day in, and day out and every night for nearly four months, The japs knew we were losing a lot of sleep , so they decided to keep us awake at night by sending out planes at who could easily find us by the phosphorescent wakes trailing our ships,
What they did not realize was that by now our pilots had mastered the dangerous necessity of night landings,and we had also used the British system of vectoring,whereby two or more ships could furnish range and bearings recived by RADAR and accurately pinpoint the location of the bogey even in the dark. When they could see the blue exhaust of the of the Jap engine they said "Tally -ho", followed by "Splash".
THe Bettys made a big burst of flame, but the real eyecathers were the Emilys, four engine patrol boats like the China Clippers, only larger. They carried about 5000 gallons of gasoline and were reputed to be able to stay up for three days. When one of these went down, you had to get at least 30 miles away from the crash site so that the Jap subs could not see your silhouette.
A favorite scouting tactic was to use the "Jake" which was a Zeke on floats. He would coast in and just sit, even the SG (surface radar) could not find him . Then he would take off, skim over the water for a few miles or so, and stop for a while. but we soon caught on to this trick. We referred to these as "Chicken S#$% Charlies" Because they caused a lot of unecessary GQ. (General Quarters). Sometime they would send out old tri-motor bombers to drop flares. That we called "Lamplighters" It was a wierd feeling to be under a flare attack. Somehow the bombers never made it to the area that they had illuminated............

Toward the end of the Okinawa Campaign things were really getting hot, and without sleep , all of us were about to go crazy. On June 17th at about 17:00 we were on the usual "coffin corner" of the picket line when TFC notified us that a flight of 36 Kamikaze was headed our way, 52 miles and at high speed. They would undertake to intercept about halfway with 6 Corsairs(which are easily recognized) and that they would try to vector others to help us in this dangerous outnumbered situation. We got ready and and shortly after the fighters reported that they had splashed 16 of them, but the others had scaterred and were headed our way.(Please be careful with your shooting) The Hickox was in company with Marshall, Hunt, and Thatcher. Fortunately, they had regrouped and came in from our port side. We had closed in to form a comapact square formation in order to maximize firepower.
They began falling to the TF gunnery , but some got in. It was pretty well established that if attacked by at least four your chances of survival were slim. THe first went for Marshall. The torpedo bounced, did not arm , and hit the the port side of the Marhshall about 2' above the water line (21 Ft Lance torpedo)It proceeded through the forward handling room beneath Gun #2, and out the starboard side. Talk about LUCK!" It missed the loader in the handling room by about a foot.
The next Jap went for Hunt. His timing was a microsecond off. The twin 40 portside was chewing him up which may have distracted or killed him. Instead of hitting the bridge, he hit the port whaleboat, the boat davits sheared off the wings , he continued through the starboard whaleboat ,and splashed into the sea without setting off the bomb.
Thatcher was not so lucky. One came in from the stern , pulled up, then dived into Gun #3. A terrible explosion with a huge muushroom cloud of smoke . She was dead in the water, with everything missing to the waterline from stack one to the stern. But amazingly she stayed afloat.
Three came in on the Hickox and the two portside went down before they were a thousand feet from us. THe other however, had our name on it ,and came from the stern like the one that hit the Thatcher. The 5" was firing a foot over my head and the concussion was terrific , but I had ear plugs and I continued firing til the barrell blew up. It definately looked like we were doomed , so I dived behind the splinter shield and hoped I went quick . There was a sudden roar over us , and a real hot-rock F4U blew the Jap to bits before he reached the Hickox. It was over but we were all shaking so bad we could hardly stand. I had fired 13 magazines. You are supposed to change barrells after 7. Gun 3 had fired the entire magazine of 5" shells in about 7 minutes.We at first thought that the Jap. had dropped flares as he got close but later we learned that the loader(one Mr. kelly)when he had run out of AA had fired what he had left.( Flares) From then on he was nicknamed "Star Shell Kelly".............

S!

http://home.austin.rr.com/davislanedavis/il2sig4.jpg

Penguin_PFF
06-18-2004, 01:04 AM
Wow.

I'd love to hear (er... read) more.

Glad to hear that you're taking all this stuff down in written form, too.

necrobaron
06-18-2004, 02:06 AM
An amazing tale.

Thanks for sharing. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

"Not all who wander are lost."

arcadeace
06-18-2004, 04:24 AM
Thanks for your time, its quite a story. Every detail would be embedded in my mind for life too.

They were men.

http://www.onpoi.net/ah/pics/users/222_1082457373_222_1082441075_airaces.jpg

Flydutch
06-20-2004, 02:56 AM
Interesting,
yes by listening to vets you can really get multiple insights to the to often dry info written down in reports or so called Historians!
And add more realism to this sim!
especially interesting for that reason are the follwing 3 lines;



"so they decided to keep us awake at night by sending out planes at who could easily find us by the phosphorescent wakes trailing our ships,"

"What they did not realize was that by now our pilots had mastered the dangerous necessity of night landings,"

"and we had also used the British system of vectoring,whereby two or more ships could furnish range and bearings recived by RADAR and accurately pinpoint the location of the bogey even in the dark."

"When they could see the blue exhaust of the of the Jap engine they said "Tally -ho", followed by "Splash"."

And ofcourse Mg or cannon barrels blowing up because of overheating the barrels would be a nice add in realism, maybe FB already feature this Idon't know since i keep to firing 1 second burst!


http://home.austin.rr.com/davislanedavis/il2sig4.jpg [/QUOTE]

Flydutch
06-20-2004, 02:58 AM
Could you post the whole 110 pages some where?

Stuntie
06-20-2004, 04:38 AM
Post it please please please post it.
And see about getting it published or at least put into the official archives.

Such first hand testimony is becoming rarer and rarer as the years pass. It needs to be collected and preserved before its lost.

And if the rest is anything like that, it's awsome - you can feel the fear.

Cheers.
Stuntie

Jettexas
06-20-2004, 11:17 PM
Rest assured that as I get further along In the transcription I will post additional material.
There is a great account of his ship being one of four in his group to survive an unfortunate command decision that placed his group directly in the path of a typhoon,(ship reached 89* on the inclinometer, saved by a bucket brigade, one screw totalled, 16" prop shaft bent, etc etc) some great tales about thier time being repaired at Ulithi.Ship versus ship encounters, a combined air/sea attack on the Japanese base at Truk..etc
Their return to San Francisco to be refitted for a planned support role in the invasion fo the home islands of Japan..etc etc

Ill get you some more soon.
Once again I urge you all, if find a vet willing to talk , listen, and if possible record the account somehow.
History dies everyday.

S!
Thanks for your replies

96th_Redfish
(aka-Jettexas)

http://home.austin.rr.com/davislanedavis/il2sig4.jpg

Penguin_PFF
06-20-2004, 11:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>ship reached 89* on the inclinometer<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I feel like puking just reading that. I'm not fond of the ocean, or ships. Now I remember why. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif