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Japanese Commando Attack on Yontan Field


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#1 bill39

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:12 PM

Looking for anyone w/info about a Japanese commando attack on Okinawa's Yontan Airfield in May of 1945.

My dad was a Marine radioman in the 2nd Lt AntiAircraft Artillery Battlion protecting Yontan Field on Okinwa. I've recently read some about how the Japs tried landing some commandos one night via airplanes. There is an often published photo of this attack showing the tracers being fired w/parked US aircraft in the background. (I tried attaching the photo, hope it worked OK).

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#2 Mark4

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 09:59 PM

For a heads up you can't say "jap" "kraut" or any thing like that on post. Giretsu Kuteitai

#3 mikebatzel

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 11:50 PM

Unfortunately I have just a single paragraph from John Toland's The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945, pg 713

The seventh kamikaze raid, on May 25, co-ordinated with Ushijima's withdrawl from Shuri and was preceded by a suicide unit of saboteurs which was brought by five bombers to Yonton Airfield in central Okinawa. Four of the two-engine planes were shot down, but the fifth made a belly landing on the field. Americans watched incredulous as it's occupants disgorged and scattered to the flight line lobbing grenades and incendiaries into parked planes. Seven aircraft were destroyed, twenty-six others damaged, and two fuel dumps containing 70,000 gallons of gasoline set ablaze before the raiders were killed.



Note: It was the seventh kamikaze raid of the Okinawa Campaign, not the war


A quick search also found the following:

In a night characterized by the heaviest ground antiaircraft action of the campaign, Marine and Army AAA battalions guarding Yontan and Kadena airfields repulsed an enemy airborne attack by shooting down 11 twin-engined planes and driving off the remainder. Most of the planes fell before the guns of the Marines' 1st Provisional AAA Group emplaced around Yontan airfield. Only one of the aircraft, each of which carried about 14 men of the Japanese 1st Air Raiding Brigade, reached the ground safely and eight of the occupants were dead when the plane ground to a wheels-up stop on one of Yontan's runways.84

The few Japanese who survived the crash landing created extensive havoc with their demolition charges and grenades before they were killed by Marine air personnel defending the field. Eight aircraft were destroyed and 24 were damaged by flame and explosives. Two Marines lost their lives in the hail of small arms fire that crisscrossed the open field and 18 were injured.85 Judging from the damage done by eight to ten trained men, if even one or two more enemy transports had landed, the amount of destruction would have been staggering. Fortunately, the antiaircraft defense of Okinawa was superlative, and even the one plane that penetrated the fire barrier was riddled with shell fragments.

84. 53d AAA Brig AAR, 21Jun45, 40-43; Tenth Army G-2 Rpt No 61, 25May45, Annex A, Organization of the 1st Raiding Brig.
85. 2d MAW War Diary, May 1945, 11. One of the planes destroyed was the headquarters transport of MajGen James T. Moore, CG, AirFMFPac, who had landed on Yontan that morning to confer with MajGen Mulcahy on the relief of pilots and other problems.


http://www.ibiblio.o...-Okinawa-9.html

Hope this helped a bit

Edited by mikebatzel, 10 August 2010 - 12:13 AM.
spelling

Please give the Combined Fleet the chance to bloom as flowers of death. This is the navy’s earnest request. RADM Tasuku Nakazawa prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf
It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it will not be fought on U.S. soil. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

#4 bill39

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 08:37 PM

All,
Thanks for the prompt responses!!

I have seen some of those before and maybe there isn't too much more out there that is readily available.

Maybe there is an outside chance of finding a detailed After-Action Report or other such document.

Thanks again.

Bill

#5 Greg Canellis

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 05:30 AM

Author Bill Sloan gives a fairly good account of this raid in his book, The Ultimate Battle: Okinawa 1945 - The Last Epic Struggle of World War II (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007). A Japanese "Sally" bomber crash-landed on the field, on May 24, 1945. The raiders damaged nine parked US planes, many with sachel charges, before the last of them were killed.

Greg C.
"These are my credentials!"-Brig. Gen. Charles D.W. Canham [pointing to GI's of Company I, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division] to General der Fallschirmjager Hermann Bernhard Ramcke, Crozon Peninsula September 19, 1944.

#6 Thurman

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:40 PM

Greg - Click on the link and scroll down the page, I have a few photos of the Japanese commando landing at Yontan on the USS Hadley website. My e-mail is Jonathon17pim@aol.com I have a few more I can e-mail you.

THURMAN

USS Hadley Memorial Webpage

#7 Biak

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 07:01 PM

I stumbled onto this while 'googling' and thought it may be of interest:

Yontan airfield - Google Search

There should be a few pages of links (if I did it right), most of then at Hyper-war.

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#8 sambodidley

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:22 AM

I was there in person. Second Marine Air Wing-MAG 31- VMF 224. Saw the whole thing go down. I saw your post in a google search on Yontan and decided to reply.  I am 88 years old and leagally blind so please excuse any typos.

Sam


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#9 bill39

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 11:41 AM

Mr. Sam,

Thank you for your service.

My father passed away years ago without ever commenting much on WWII except for some humorous things.

 

Is there anything you would care to personnally describe your time at Yontan?  I understand it may be difficult to express your feelings.

Any first-hand detail would be appreciated.

 

Regards,

Bill



#10 George Patton

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:39 PM

I was there in person. Second Marine Air Wing-MAG 31- VMF 224. Saw the whole thing go down. I saw your post in a google search on Yontan and decided to reply.  I am 88 years old and leagally blind so please excuse any typos.

Sam

 

Sam,

 

Thank you for your service and welcome to the forum! If you want, feel free to post about your service in the "Honor, Service and Valor" forum that is reserved for first-hand accounts of the war from veterans (the link is http://www.ww2f.com/...vice-and-valor/). I know that many here - myself included - would be very interested.

 

Best Regards,

Alan


Best Regards,
Alan


#11 sambodidley

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:01 PM

Bill,

   Sorry about your father. There's not many of us left now, and fewer every day. The main thing I remember about Yontan is that we didn't get much sleep. Air raids all night and work in the day. Lot's of rain and mud. We had a ring side seat to the Kamikaze aattacts on our fleet at anchor. We got it at night and they got it in the daytime. My squaddron VMF 224 moved to Chimu airfield shortly after that commando attack on Yontan. That's where we were when the surrender came. VMF 224 went on to Japan for occupation duty but I had enough points to be shipped back to the states. I was mustered out at Miramar MAS in December 1945.

Sam


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#12 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 12:34 AM

Sam, I would like to offer you a very warm welcome to the Forum. Please feel free to share as much of your WWII recollections and experiences as you would like, even if it may seem boring. We are very much interested in what our WWII veterans have to say.

 

I took the liberty of utilizing Google myself and found a very good website for the VMF 224 Squadron. The website also has a great photo page for VMF 224.


Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


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#13 sambodidley

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 03:03 AM

Tommy,

    Yes, I'm very familiar with that web site. In fact I sent John Irish some of the photos he used on the Roi-Namur Marshall Islands page.  There's one of me there standing under a shed with my hands in my pocket. I'm the one on the right. My name is under the picture.  I went to a reunion of VMF 224 in Pensacola Fla. in 2003.  It was great to see some of those guys again. I was assigned to VMF 224 at Roi-Namur in October 1944. I left them at Okinawa in October 1945.

Sam


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#14 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:46 PM

Ah, yes. It looks as if you are #6 in the photo. That's a great photo.


Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


halvorsonpto129ir37id3.jpg

PFC Glenn W. Halvorson

bannereto776tdv2.png

PFC Norman L. Halvorson


#15 sambodidley

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 12:02 AM

Tommy,

     Yes, that's the one.  I was 20 years old at that time. I had my 21st birthday on Okinawa.

Sam



#16 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 01:55 AM

Sam, I don't know if you have noticed yet, but we have finally added the bright blue title of "WWII Veteran" under you photo. We do that out of respect for your service and so that the other members of the Forum will know that you are a WWII Veteran.


Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


halvorsonpto129ir37id3.jpg

PFC Glenn W. Halvorson

bannereto776tdv2.png

PFC Norman L. Halvorson


#17 sambodidley

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 05:21 PM

Tommy,

       Thanks. I also noticed that I'm no longer a conscript but a member, now.<g>

Sam



#18 TD-Tommy776

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 11:16 PM

You're welcome, Sam.  Actually, you are one of 26 members who are WWII veterans and we are honored to have you as a member.


Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.

Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.


halvorsonpto129ir37id3.jpg

PFC Glenn W. Halvorson

bannereto776tdv2.png

PFC Norman L. Halvorson





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