Airborne Operations in the Pacific War

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
Berichter
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Airborne Operations in the Pacific War

Post by Berichter » 07 Jun 2004 20:34

If I remember history right, the U.S. Army fielded four Airborne divisions during WWII. Those were the 101st, 82nd, 17th and 11th Airborne Divisions. If I'm not mistaken, the 101st, 82nd and the 17th were deployed in the ETO/MTO and the 11th was deployed in the Pacific. I think troops of the 11th AB made a combat jump on Corregidor in 1945 and maybe jumps in New Guinea.

What gets me is that, wouldn't the majority of the Pacific Theater be unsuitable for airborne operations? If U.S. paratroops did make airborne assaults in the Pacific, where were they and what were the objectives? I remember reading that Japanese paratroops made a combat jump on Leyte in 1944 into an American rear area as a suicide mission to disrupt rear operations. Did any of the other Allies perform any airborne assaults in the Pacific?

Cordially,

Berichter

Caldric
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Re: Airborne Operations in the Pacific War

Post by Caldric » 07 Jun 2004 20:47

Berichter wrote:If I remember history right, the U.S. Army fielded four Airborne divisions during WWII. Those were the 101st, 82nd, 17th and 11th Airborne Divisions. If I'm not mistaken, the 101st, 82nd and the 17th were deployed in the ETO/MTO and the 11th was deployed in the Pacific. I think troops of the 11th AB made a combat jump on Corregidor in 1945 and maybe jumps in New Guinea.

What gets me is that, wouldn't the majority of the Pacific Theater be unsuitable for airborne operations? If U.S. paratroops did make airborne assaults in the Pacific, where were they and what were the objectives? I remember reading that Japanese paratroops made a combat jump on Leyte in 1944 into an American rear area as a suicide mission to disrupt rear operations. Did any of the other Allies perform any airborne assaults in the Pacific?

Cordially,

Berichter


There was many small operations but the following cover the more important drops.



1943, 5 September: First American airborne operation in the Pacific took place at Nadzab, New Guinea. The American 503d PIR dropped from 85 C-47s of the 374th and 375th Troop Carrier Groups, 54th TC Wing, in a mission to secure the airfield at Nadzab and prepare it for airlanding the Australian 7th Division, which was to then push toward Lae from the west and link up with Allied amphibious invasion forces moving in from the east. The same aircraft that carried in the 503d and some Australian artillerymen who were hastily trained as parachutists, also airlifted 420 planeloads of infantry soldiers by 11 September. The paradrop, which took place in daylight as General MacArthur circled above in a B-17 observation plane, was well coordinated, accurate, and effective. Along with several key Troop Carrier maneuvers in the States during the summer and late fall, strong support by General Ridgway, and in conjunction with the soon-to-follow emergency missions at the Salerno beachhead, this mission contributed to a renewed commitment to Airborne-Troop carrier by American military leaders.

1944, 5 March-17 May: American glider missions into Japanese-held Burma; first use of double-tow in combat.

1945, 3-4 February: Drop of three battalions of the 511th PIR, 11th Airborne Division by the 317th Troop Carrier Group on Tagaytay Ridge, 32 miles SSW of Manila, in part of a pincer move by the Eighth Army to take that city. Coming from the north were 1st Cavalry and 38th Infantry Divisions, while the 187th and 188th Glider Infantry Regiments of the 11th were advancing from an amphibious landing near Nasugbu up Route 17 from the south. The 511th was dropped on the highest ground between the 11th Airborne and Manila in position just behind the location that General Swing had correctly anticipated the Japanese would choose to make their stand. The drops began accurately, then miscued as parabundles were mistakenly knocked out and inexperienced jumpmasters hustled half the troopers out to follow, some five miles from the DZ, which had been marked by Pathfinders. No resistance was encountered on the way to or at the DZ, and troopers effectively performed their tasks. In Gen. John R. Galvin’s words, “the jump was a small-scale repetition of such earlier jumps as North Africa and Sicily, where nothing seemed to go right except the accomplishment of the assigned mission and the defeat of the enemy.”

1945, 16 February: American airborne assault on Corregidor, the tiny island that dominated the entrance to Manila Bay and which had been held by an entrenched Japanese force since mid-1942.

1945, 23 February: Coordinated airborne, ground, and amphibious assault on POW camp near Los Baños on the shores of Laguna de Bay, the large interior lake SE of Manila. Assault was made within two weeks of the 11th Airborne Division’s link-up with the 1st Cavalry Division in downtown Manila.

http://www.usaaftroopcarrier.com/Airbor ... nology.htm

Michael Tapner
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Post by Michael Tapner » 08 Jun 2004 13:23

Regarding the drop in New Guinea on 5th September, the Australian artillerymen of the 2/4th field regiment equipped with 2 'baby' 25 pounders. Each of these guns were broken down into about 20 pieces and were then pushed out with the artillerymen. The first piece was assembled and firing within 2 hours of the jump. The second gun was however not fully assembled for some 10 days! Perhaps the biggest threat to life and limb on the ground was the air dropping of the ammunition. This was just tossed out from low flying aircraft in pallet loads. The weight of the pallets rendered the parachutes totally ineffective, guaranteeing that the mission was one that you didn't want to be on the receiving end of.

Larso
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Post by Larso » 09 Jun 2004 04:00

There was a 5th Parachute Div, the 13th. It was in the ETO, but it was used as a reserve and never saw action. There were also a few independent Regts and Bns in both regions.

When I was a bank teller I met one of those hastily trained Australians. He told me his first jump was the one that took him into 'action'. There was an Aust para Bn but again it saw no action. It was almost used to rescue some POWs but the action was aborted.

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Post by Anzac » 23 Jun 2004 15:03

Quite right, the Australians did have a parachute battalion(1st Australian Paracute Battalion) which could of rescued the POW's at Sandakan Camp. They were going to parachute into Sandakan and the surrounding area, but General Douglas Macarthur cancelled the operation. If the operation hadn't been cancelled, then the prisoners at Sandakan wouldn't of been marched to their deaths. With the result that only 6 of them having survived after escaping......
Source - Victory - 1945 - War & Peace by Alan Fitzgerald ( Australian War Memorial Magazine)....not their magazine that is titled "Wartime"
#RP#

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Anzac
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Post by Anzac » 23 Jun 2004 15:03

Quite right, the Australians did have a parachute battalion(1st Australian Paracute Battalion) which could of rescued the POW's at Sandakan Camp. They were going to parachute into Sandakan and the surrounding area, but General Douglas Macarthur cancelled the operation. If the operation hadn't been cancelled, then the prisoners at Sandakan wouldn't of been marched to their deaths. With the result that only 6 of them having survived after escaping......
Source - Victory - 1945 - War & Peace by Alan Fitzgerald ( Australian War Memorial Magazine)....not their magazine that is titled "Wartime"
#RP#

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Anzac
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Post by Anzac » 23 Jun 2004 15:03

Quite right, the Australians did have a parachute battalion(1st Australian Paracute Battalion) which could of rescued the POW's at Sandakan Camp. They were going to parachute into Sandakan and the surrounding area, but General Douglas Macarthur cancelled the operation. If the operation hadn't been cancelled, then the prisoners at Sandakan wouldn't of been marched to their deaths. With the result that only 6 of them having survived after escaping......
Source - Victory - 1945 - War & Peace by Alan Fitzgerald ( Australian War Memorial Magazine)....not their magazine that is titled "Wartime"
#RP#

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Anzac
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Post by Anzac » 23 Jun 2004 15:07

sorry for the multiple posts.....my internet lagged for a while and i thought my posting didn't get through
sorry once again
#RP#

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asiaticus
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Japanese para drops.

Post by asiaticus » 24 Jun 2004 07:28

Hey lets not forget the Japanese made parachute drops in its conquest of the Dutch East Indies.

1st Yokosuka SNLF (Special Naval Landing Force) a battalion of 520 paratroopers, took Menado, Celebes Island, 11 January 1942

Japanese Army 1st Parachute Force, and in particular the 2nd Paratroop Regiment, other sources call it the 2nd Raiding Regiment, a four company formation of 425 soldiers, under the command of Colonel Sei-ichi Kume dropped on Palembang, Sumatra Island, 14 February 1942

3rd Yokosuka SNLF of 849 men was involved in the Dutch West Timor invasion as airborne inserted infantry.

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Post by Wm. Harris » 01 Jul 2004 17:36

There were airborne operations in the China-Burma-India theatre as well. A battalion group from the Indian Army's 50th Independent Parachute Brigade made a combat drop at Elephant Point on May 1, 1945, during the liberation of Rangoon. They cleared a small Japanese force from the mouth of the Rangoon river and allowed landing craft to bring the Indian 26th Division to the city itself (Operation 'Dracula'). It was the only such jump the Indian paras made during the war.

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Post by asiaticus » 01 Jul 2004 18:02

Do you have an oob of the engaged units in the Daracula operation?

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Wm. Harris
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Post by Wm. Harris » 02 Jul 2004 03:40

Not sure which units of the 26th Indian Division landed, but here is the complete divisional order of battle from http://www.burmastar.org.uk/26thind.htm

Headquarters Brigade
12th Btn 12th Frontier Force Rifles (M/Gun)

Divisional Artillery
160th (Jungle) Field Regt (Royal Artillery)
20th Indian Mountain Regt (Indian Artillery)

4th Indian Infantry Brigade
1/Wiltshire Regt
2/7 Rajputs
8/8 Punjabis
6/11Sikhs
2/13 Frontier Force Rifles
3/9 Gurkha Rifles

36th Indian Infantry Brigade
1/North Staffordshire Regt
8/13 Frontier Force Rifles
5/16 Punjabis
1/8 Gurkha Rifles

71st Indian Infantry Brigade
1/Lincolnshire Regt
5/1 Punjabis
7/15 Punjabis
9/15 Punjabis
1/18 Royal Garhwal Rifles

Royal Indian Army Service Corps
44th, 48th, 51st & 58th Animal Trt Coys (Mule)
Divisional Supply Issue Units
44th, 75th & 166th G.P. Trt Coys

Medical Services
I.M.C. R.A.M.C. I.M.D. I.H.D. I.A.M.C.
1st, 46th & 48th Indian Field Ambulances

26th Indian Division Provost Unit
26th Indian Division Signals Unit

Indian Army Ordnance Corps
Divisional Ordnance Sub-Park

Indian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers
54th & 5th. Indian W/Shop Coy's
26th Indian Division Recovery Unit

Indian Engineers Sappers & Miners
72nd Field Coy (K.G.O. Bengal Lancers)
28th & 98th Field Coys (Royal Bombay)
128th. Field Park Coy (Royal Bombay)

The Indian 50th Independent Parachute Brigade was made up of the 1st Indian Parachute Battalion, 2nd Gurkha Parachute Battalion, 3rd Gurkha Parachute Battalion and 4th Indian Parachute Battalion. The 1st, 2nd and 4th were made up of volunteers from existing Indian and Gurkha regiments, the third was the converted 3/7 Gurkha Rifles. Additionaly, the 1st and 4th had originally been one unit, the 152nd Indian Parachute Battalion, but it was found that its Hindu and Moslem personnel had to be separated (the Hindus went into the 1st and the Moslems into the 4th).

I think it was one of the Gurkha battalions that was dropped on Elephant Point.

The invasion was assisted by the Royal Navy’s Task Force 63, which consisted of the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and Richelieu (French), the cruisers HMS Cumberland, HMS Suffolk, HMS Ceylon and HMS Tromp, and the escort carries HMS Shah and HMS Empress. There was also another task force of three destroyers, but I don’t know what they were.

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asiaticus
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Post by asiaticus » 02 Jul 2004 06:18

Oh nice. Thanks. Any idea what the Japanese had in the drop area?

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Wm. Harris
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Post by Wm. Harris » 03 Jul 2004 01:13

All I know is they had some artillery in the DZ, hence the need to secure it before the amphibious landings. Other than that I have no idea.

Bill

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asiaticus
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Operation Dracula account

Post by asiaticus » 03 Jul 2004 03:30

An account of the landings

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/dracula.htm

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