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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…January 12th

January 12, 2019 · in News · · 17 · 2.6K

Pilot Edwin L. King of 350 Fighter Group with his flak damaged P-47 following the ‘Silver Star’ mission of 12 Jan. 1945. The ‘Jug’ is 7D3 42-29300. Crew Chief Henry Embry took the photo after King had to return to base at Pisa, Italy, having been hit by flak. Quite how he landed, I’m not sure. As the second photo shows, King had just exited the aircraft (his parachute is at his feet on the starboard wing) so the oil damage had to have happened in the air.

In an interesting addition, the colourised photo below really brings this image to life. Also makes you realise the size of these P-47’s.


The USS Vincennes (CA-44) On 12th January 1937 off the coast of Maine, US. The Vincennes had a distinguished service history, including escort duties with Task Force 18, accompanying the Hornet on the Doolittle raids.

On 7 Aug 1942, during the Guadalcanal Campaign, Vincennes covered the transports landing the Marines ashore. In a surprise night attack, Japanese spotlights illuminated Vincennes at 02:00. Although she managed to fire off several rounds with her main battery, Vincennes was quickly overwhelmed by shells. One hit ignited the aircraft in Vincennes' hangar (she carried four floatplanes), causing a massive fire with the aviation fuel. Shortly after she was hit by one or two torpedoes, quickly sinking in what would become known as ‘Ironbottom Sound’ with the loss of 332 men.

Below is a photo of the memorial to the Vincennes, in the city for whom she is named, in Indiana, US.

A gun camera photo from an F4U Corsair from Marine Fighting Squadron VMF-213 showing a USAAF B-24 Liberator bomber shot down by friendly fire over French Indochina (Vietnam), 12 Jan 1945.

These University students brave freezing weather to go through a Home Guard rifle drill on campus in Evanston, Illinois on January 12, 1942.

For the sake of posterity, the girls are, left to right: Jeanne Paul, age 18, Virginia Paisley, 18, Marian Walsh, 19, Sarah Robinson, 20, Elizabeth Cooper, 17, and Harriet Ginsberg, 17.

Excerpt from journalist Ursula Von Kardorff’s ‘Berlin Diaries’ On 12 th January, 1943...

12 January 1943

“I sometimes feel like a candle burning at both ends. At the front my brothers and my friends are fighting for a victory the very prospect of which fills me with horror. To think Hitler as the Master of Europe!

The picture supplement we had to get out for our New Year issue was entitled ‘The German Soldier Keeps Watch’ – in the Russian winter, under the African sun, in submarines in the Atlantic, beneath the palm trees of Southern France, in the ice of Finland. How can we possibly hold such an extended front for any length of time? It is beyond all sense and reason. We seem to be asking for retribution. ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?’

But I suppose it must be some kind of perversion to hope that one’s own country will be defeated. Anyhow it is something utterly beyond the comprehension of the worthy citizens who glory in their power and possessions.

Klaus tumed up yesterday from Miinsingen and I asked a few people in to meet him. The sirens went at the beginning and after the all-clear we got into a mood of rather sinister merriment. Papa, retuming from a memorial service for E. R. Weiss, had passed burning houses on his way home, and was shocked at us.

But for some reason I was bursting with vitality and cheerfulness. It was really dreadful to feel like that … to feel that the thickness of a wall could shut out all the horrors, that they were nothing to do with me at all.”

TBM Avengers from VT-4 from the USS Essex (CV-9) flying in formation, January 12, 1945.

The USS Antietam (Essex class carrier CV-36) named after the Civil War Battle of Antietam, started tests today in 1953 with the world’s first true angled flight deck. Previous tests took place (on British and US carriers) with painted angular decks on a regular ‘fore/aft’ axis deck. Other than the added sponson, the Antietam remained fitted more or less the way she was in WWII. The first take off on 12th January was in an SNJ.

Sinking of the Kashii. On 12 January 1945, shortly after departing Qui Nhon Bay, Indochina, Japanese cruiser Kashii’s convoy was hit by bombers from the U.S Task Force 38 (comprising carriers Lexington, Hornet, Hancock, Essex, Ticonderoga, Langley and San Jacinto).

Kashii was hit starboard amidships by a torpedo from a Grumman TBF Avenger, then a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver struck with two bombs aft, setting off the depth charge magazine. Kashii sank quickly stern first. Of Kashii's crew, 621 men went down with the ship, only 19 rescued.

Reader reactions:
10  Awesome

17 responses

  1. Lots of things happening "today."

    That oil covered P-47 is amazing. But the fact it was able to get back to base shows how tough the "Jug" really was.

  2. Jeff, if you haven’t read this, I implore you to grab a copy. It’s a great read and if you think this Jug is a story, then you’re in for a treat.

    Johnson recounts how he stood in front of his Thundebolt after one sortie and counted 200 bullet holes before giving up the count. And that was from a standing viewpoint - not walking around the plane.

  3. More amazing stuff, David. The stories of two cruisers sunk, one American, one Japanese, are gripping. Those brave men manning their stations hadn't a chance, and their deaths--just ciphers to us now--are deeply mysterious to me.

  4. Thanks, David. I think for me researching (if you can call lolling around on the sofa reading about a subject that fascinates you ‘research’...) this, the most striking thing was Ursula Von Kardorff’s quote, “I suppose it must be some kind of perversion to hope that one’s own country will be defeated“. A sentiment shared by several million Germans at the time.

  5. Very interesting and amazing selection of pictures. Wondering whose sad job it was to clean that thunderbolt, because I know how hard it is to clean up oil. 🙁

  6. Brian Wilson should have included a line about these Great American Women in California Girls..
    Gotta Love it! "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"

  7. My good friend Frank did his carrier qualifications on the Antietam in a T-28 before going on to fly C-1 Traders in Vietnam and later S-2 Trackers on anti sub patrols in the Atlantic. We became friends after finding we shared a common love of aviation, and he asked me to help in the restoration of the FG-1D Corsair he brought back from El Salvador. The airplane, BuNo 92489 became "Kathleen" and won Best Warbird at Oshkosh in 2010. He passed away a few years later, a very sad day for me.

    The oil cleanup on the P-47 would have fallen to the maintenance ground crew, as would have the subsequent engine change and damage repairs.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • Jaime, that shot of the Corsair is one of the most beautiful photos of an aircraft I have ever seen. It’s my absolute favourite colour scheme and the clouds, share, and composition are just perfect. Thanks for that!

    • David, the clouds you see are smoke from the pyro display at the Wings Over Houston Airshow a few years ago. The Corsair now belongs to the Texas Flying Legends Museum here in Houston, TX. I was quite proud to have a hand in that airplane and am glad you enjoyed the photo.

  8. Lucky maintenance crew. nice selection.

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