A short notice from a May, 1944, issue of THE PATHFINDER reported that there was a fashion among the American sea-going men of the enlisted variety to wear a particular style of earring in their left ear if they'd experienced combat. Don't take our word for it, read on...
When it comes to assessing the decisive naval battles of the Second World War, the Battle of Midway leads the pack. Yet, it is important to remember that one month prior to Midway another victorious naval engagement took place in the Pacific that signaled to the Allied navies that brighter days were coming: the tip-off was the Japanese defeat in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
In one of the rare issues of YANK MAGAZINE that paid homage to the jolly tars of the U.S. Navy, the readers attention was directed to the significance of that battle:
"The day was May 7 - five months to the day after Pearl Harbor... At dawn reconnaissance showed the Jap had split his force. North, toward Misima, was a force of one carrier, three cruisers and six destroyers. The [planes from the U.S. aircraft carrier] LEXINGTON found the force just as the Jap carrier was turning into the wind... Every plane scored a hit on the carrier, which went down in five minutes. It was the new Jap carrier, RYUKAKU."
As a result of this Allied victory, the Japanese invasion of Port Morseby (New Guinea) was averted.
Read about the Battle of Leyte Gulf...
An article by the W.W. II war correspondent Martha Gellhorn (1908 - 1998) who rode with the crew of a P-61C Black Widow Night Fighter one evening as they made their rounds over what remained of Hitler's Germany:
"COLLIER'S girl correspondent sat on a wobbly crate and flew over Germany looking for enemy planes at night. Her nose ran, her oxygen mask slipped off, her stomach got mad, she was scared and she froze. They didn't down any Germans, but otherwise that's routine for the Black Widow pilots."
Click here to read additional articles about the war correspondents of the Second World War.
Click here to read Martha Gellhorn's article about what she saw at Dachau.
Written months after the battle, this is the YANK MAGAZINE report on the naval engagement that was "the turning point in the war":
"The Jap had failed to get a foothold on Australia. Strategists reasoned that he would now strike east, at an outpost of the North American continent. Alaska became the No. 1 alert; bombers were flown to Midway; carriers came north and Admiral Nimitz pushed patrols far out toward the Bonins and Wake islands... A navy patrol found the enemy first, in the early hours of June 3 ... Reconnaissance showed a Jap force of about 80 ships approaching Midway."
- the contest that followed proved to be the first truly decisive battle in the Pacific war; it was the battle the spelled out for the Japanese command that it was the beginning of the end. The U.S. Navy lost one aircraft carrier to Japan's four; the Navy lost 307 men, the Japanese Navy 3,057. After the war it would be revealed that much of the Japanese naval code had been compromised.
Click here to read about the Battle of the Coral Sea,
Click here to read more about Midway.
Read about the Battle of Leyte Gulf...
The Battle of Leyte Gulf (October 23 - 26, 1944) was the largest naval battle in World War II - as well as the most decisive. Given the naval weaponry that exists in the digital age, it is highly unlikely that opposing navies will ever again have need to come within visible range of one another again. This article tells the history of that battle, shedding light on a few of the important naval campaigns that came before. Written sixteen years after the events by a knowledgeable author, you will gain an understanding of the thoughts that were going through Admiral Halsey's cranium when he commanded the largest battle fleet ever assembled.
Read about the Battle of Midway...
"The baby flat-top LISCOME BAY was sunk by a torpedo from an enemy submarine on the day before Thanksgiving of 1943. The LISCOME BAY was on her first battle assignment, covering the occupation of Makin in the Gilbert [islands]...The torpedo struck a half an hour before dawn and it was still dark when LISCOME BAY sank."
The ship went under in less than twenty-four minutes; up to that time it was the U.S. Navy's second largest loss since the sinking of the ARIZONA at Pearl Harbor. Only 260 men survived.