I’ve always been fond of this design, and armored cars in general. The Sd.Kfz.222 was usually employed as a scout car, but had enough firepower to be a threat to softskin vehicles and infantry. The main gun was a 20mm, with coaxial MG 34 machine gun.
The Coral Sea 1942: The first carrier battle
Osprey Campaign Series Book 214
By Marke Stille, Illustrated by John White
Softcover in dustjacket, 96 pages, profusely illustrated, index
Published by Osprey Publishing, November 2009
Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 9.5 inches
The Imperial Japanese Navy planned Operation Mo to seize Port Moresby on the southern coast of New Guinea for the purpose of isolating Australia and threating Allied air bases there. This would help secure the southern frontier of their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and protect their bases at Rabaul. Supporting the Japanese invasion fleet were the large aircraft carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku and the light carrier Shoho. American and British signals intercepts warned Admiral Nimitz of the impending operation, and he decided to contest the invasion by sending all four of his available aircraft carriers, although Enterprise and Hornet did not arrive in time to participate in the battle.
The battle was the first naval engagement fought entirely by aircraft. Although the opposing fleets were often in close proximity they never sighted each other. The Americans lost the aircraft carrier Lexington, with Yorktown damaged, while the Japanese lost the light carrier Shoho, with Shokaku damaged. With Zuikaku’s air group depleted the Japanese determined the landings at Port Moresby could not be supported and cancelled the invasion.
Both sides claimed victory. On the Allied side, the threat to Australia was abated and the Japanese juggernaut was turned back for the first time in the war. On the other hand, the Japanese thought they had sunk two American carriers. Their own fleet carriers could be repaired and their air groups replenished, and the IJN would enjoy a two to one superiority in aircraft carriers in the meantime. In reality, damage to the Yorktown was (quite heroically) repaired in time for her to participate in the Battle of Midway, while neither Zuikaku nor Shokaku were present.
Author Mark Stille has done an excellent job of documenting the events leading up to the Battle of the Coral Sea as well as the play-by-play of the battle itself. Naval battles are complex affairs, but the graphics-intense format of the Osprey Campaign series shines in making a clear presentation of the ship and aircraft maneuvers. The length of this work is just enough to present this engagement well. This is one of the better volumes of this series and well worth picking up.
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Heinrich Ehrler was assigned to Jagdgeswader 5 “Eismeer” on the Arctic Front for most of the war, eventually leading the unit as Geschwaderkommodore. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and was ultimately credited with 204 aerial victories.
He was most famous for being scapegoated for failing to prevent the sinking of the battleship Tirpitz by RAF Lancasters on 12NOV44. Even though Ehrler was in the air with 9./JG 5 at the time, several communication errors resulted in the Eismeer fighters not being notified of the RAF attack. In fact, the command had not even been notified that the Tirpitz had been moved into the area. None the less, Ehrler was court-martialed for cowardice.
On 01MAR45 Hitler pardoned Ehrler. His rank of Major was reinstated and he was assigned to JG 7, then flying the Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter. Although he claimed a further ten victories on the jet, he was emotionally devastated. On an intercept mission against an American bomber stream on 04APR45, he claimed two B-17s. He then radioed his unit, his last transmission was, “Theo, Heinrich here. Have just shot down two bombers. No more ammunition. I’m going to ram. Auf Wiedersehen, see you in Valhalla!”
The model depicts Heinrich Ehrler’s Bf 109F-4, of 6. / JG 5, at Petsamo, Finland, MAR43
The Japanese Ko-hyoteki midget submarines were used in several theaters of the Pacific War, but their first and most famous use was during the attack of Pearl Harbor on 07DEC41. They were 80 feet in length. They were powered by a 600 horsepower (447 kW) electric motor, which could drive them at a maximum speed of 23 knots (43 km/h) or for 100 nautical miles (190 km) at a low speed. They carried a crew of two and two torpedoes, which were loaded externally from the bow.
For the Pearl Harbor raid they were carried piggy-back by five I-16 class fleet submarines and launched outside the harbor entrance. The minisubs were launched during the night before the raid, with orders to penetrate the harbor and attack. Nominally they were to rendezvous with their parent submarines after completing their missions, but the crews were under no delusions of the likelihood for successfully completing this phase and expected not to return.
There are some loose ends remaining. The Light Cruiser USS St. Lewis (CL-49) reported being missed by two torpedoes outside the harbor entrance at 1004. The Japanese fleet submarines were not positioned there so if the report is accurate, it is possible these were fired by I-16-tou. Alternatively, many believe a photograph taken of Battleship Row during the attack shows a midget sub broaching after firing her torpedoes. In either case, it is likely that I-16-tou ended up in the West Loch at the end of her mission and her wreckage was dumped off the harbor entrance in 1944.
The midget submarines are listed below by their parent subs. “I-16-tou” means “I-16’s boat”.
I-16-tou, ENS Masaharu Yokoyama and PO2c Tei Uyeda, launched at 0042. Likely penetrated Pearl Harbor, skuttled in the West Lock. Many believe a photograph taken by a Japanese aviator during the attack shows I-16-tou firing torpedoes at the USS West Virginia (BB-48) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37). Three messages were received from I-16-tou confirming a successful air attack, claiming that she had damaged U.S. warship(s), and a final message received at 0051 on 08DEC41 reporting that the submarine was unable to navigate. Her wreck was discovered in three sections in the debris field of the West Lock disaster, dumped outside the harbor during the clean-up. Torpedoes fired, scuttling charge detonated, crew unaccounted for.
I-18-tou, LTJG Shigemi Furuno and PO1c Shigenori Yokoyama, launched at 0215. Found outside of Pearl Harbor, East of the entrance, recovered by USS Current (ARS-22) on 13JUL60 from depth of 76 feet. Damaged by depth charges, abandoned by her crew, torpedoes were not fired. Currently on display at Eta Jima, Japan.
I-20-tou, ENS Akira Hiroo and PO2c Yoshio Katayama, launched at 0257. Sunk by the Destroyer USS Ward (DD-139) at 0645. The crew died in the attack, her torpedoes not fired. Found on the sea floor in 1,312 feet of water by a University of Hawaii submarine in August 2002. Declared a war grave.
I-22-tou, LT Naoji Iwasa and Petty Officer 1c Naokichi Sasaki, launched at 0116, penetrated Pearl Harbor. Fired one torpedo at the Seaplane Tender USS Curtiss (AV-4) and one torpedo at the Destroyer USS Monaghan (DD-354). I-22-tou was struck by shellfire from Curtiss at 0840, then rammed and depth-charged by Monaghan. Crew was killed in the attack. Her wreck was recovered on 21DEC41 and used as fill during construction, remains of the crew still aboard. LT Iwasa’s shoulder insignia was recovered from the wreckage confirming the identification, as he was the only full Lieutenant among the crews. The insignia is currently on display at Yasukuni.
I-24-tou, Ha-19, ENS Kazuo Sakamaki and CWO Kiyoshi Inagaki, launched at 0333. She had a faulty gyrocompass which delayed her launch. She was depth charged twice off the entrance to Pearl Harbor and ran aground. Broke free and proceeded east, then ran aground again off Bellows Field. Submarine broke free during air attack and hauled ashore by U.S. forces. Torpedoes not fired due to damage, scuttling charge failed to detonate. Inagaki killed, Sakamaki taken prisoner. Ha-19 was salvaged and went on a War Bond tour, and is currently displayed at The National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.
This is a Polish TKS tankette with a 20mm cannon. The kit is from First to Fight, a Polish company which specializes in Polish and German subjects from the 1939 invasion. Their catalog includes several vehicles which are uncommon or unique in 1/72 scale.
Voices of the Pacific: Untold Stories from the Marine Heroes of World War II
Author: Adam Makos
Narrator: Tom Weiner
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing, April 2013
Audio Length: 10.75 hours
While I generally favor traditional printed books (preferably in hardback), I do occasionally listen to an audiobook. The advantage of this format is the book can be enjoyed while engaged in other activities, such as modeling or driving. In this case I was able to download the audio file from my local library, then link my phone to the car speakers and listen while driving to the MMCL IPMS show in Louisville last month. It beats listening to the radio and makes the drive informative and enjoyable during what would otherwise be wasted time.
This book lends itself well to the audiobook format, being the personal recollections of fifteen Marines who fought in the Pacific War. The men all share their stories in short narratives, and often relate different perspectives of the same battles. The campaigns covered are Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and finally Okinawa. Each of these operations was unique, with its own set of conditions and environments. One thing they had in common was the effect on the Regiments and individual Marines. By the end of each campaign the units had suffered tremendous casualties, and the surviving Marines were in rough shape – exhausted, underfed, diseased, and with their uniforms in tatters. Assaults which were planned for three days often lasted for thirty days or more.
I recognized two of the Marines as authors of their own books – Sterling Mace and Chuck Tatum. Many others relate anecdotes of other names well known to students of the Pacific War – authors Robert Lecke and Eugene Sledge, along with Marines famous for their combat exploits such as John Basilone and Lewis “Chesty” Puller.
Overall this is a fine book which offers insights of the war from the perspective of the individual Marines who fought it. The last two chapters were also interesting, they described the Marines’ discharges from the service and their assimilation back into society. They were also asked what advice they would give to young people today, and to society in general. While this podium is continuously mis-used by celebrities, media figures, politicians, and athletes, the Marine veterans have paid for their citizenship in a very real way and earned the opportunity to voice their opinion. Listening to this audiobook is time well spent, I can recommend it without hesitation.