Monday, April 17, 2017

Great Blunders of WWII: Japan's Mistakes at Midway 7



This is one of a series of movies about blunders made in WWII.  This deals with the Japanese blunders at Midway.  The idea of Midway was a very good idea.  The Americans would have to defend Midway, and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was hoping to eliminate the rest of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.  However his superiors decided to eXpand the operation.  They added an attack on the Aleutians, with the logic the U.S. fleet would have to defend and be more scattered.  The other addition was a sea attack on Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.  In this way they could threaten Australia.  they committed three carriers to this operation.  Even though in the Battle of Coral Sea which took place as a result, they damaged Yorktown and sunk Lexington, for their own part, one carrier was sunk, another badly damaged, and a third lost most of its planes.  This left only four carriers for Midway.  The Japanese assumed Yorktown had been sunk.  The U.S. had a repaired Yorktown available, as well as Enterprise and Hornet.  Yamamoto felt these carriers were in Hawaii, but had not confirmed this.  However, due to cracking of the Japanese code system, the U.S. knew that Midway was the major focus of the Japanese attack.  The carriers were ready and waiting.  The U.S. also had a landing strip and planes on Midway Island, including high flying B-17 bombers.  The first wave against Midway caused considerable damage, but the run way remained serviceable, and many planes were spared.  As the Japanese prepared for a second assault against Midway, his ships were attacked, and three carriers sunk.  The fourth counter-attacked against Yorktown, causing serious damage.  Eventually Yorktown was sunk by submarine torpedoes.  This fourth carrier was itself counter attacked and destroyed.  The end result, over three thousand Japanese dead, four carriers, and one cruisers sunk, another cruiser damaged.  On the American side over three hundred dead, one carrier lost and one destroyer sunk.

Memphis Belle: The Story Of A Flying Fortress (1944)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Battlefield: S1 E3: The battle of Midway

The most decisive Naval battle of WWII changed the course of the war.  This is a very good day by day and blow by blow description of the battle, including the battle of Coral Sea which took place shortly before, and had influence on the Battle of Midway.  A single day changed the course of the war, and Japan went from the offense to defense.
Akagi
Kaga
Soryu
Hiryu
Yorktown
Carriers lost at the Battle of Midway.  the Japanese lost over 3000 men, and all the planes and most of the pilots involved.  The pilots were mostly killed in their planes on the decks of the carriers.  The United States lost over 300 men, and two thirds of the aircraft involved.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Battle of Midway — A John Ford Documentary Masterpiece



This is the documentary movie John Ford made from the footage he took during the battle of Midway.  He selected a raised area on Midway Island from which to film, and was actually wounded in the endeavour.  You can see in the film where this happens with the close bombing.  the most important news was what came at the end, the report of the turn in the war as Japan lost four carriers.  Though early in the war, this proved to be a turning point.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Documentary Review: Five Came Back (2017)

This is a made for Netflix documentary.  It presents the stories of five movie makers, big Hollywood directors, who took time away from their Hollywood careers, to serve in the military and document the war.  they could be called propagandists.  A part of their effort was to encourage the buying of war bonds.  On occasion, the documentaries were released for presentation in theaters.  However most often they were used as shorts before movies.
The five directors chronicled are William Wyler, John Huston, John Ford, George Stevens and Frank Capra.
Capra provided a very big service.  He director "Why we Fight" films.  this included "Prelude to War" which at first was not allowed to be shown because it was felt to be too negative towards the Germans.  However it was shown by Capra to win an Oscar.  Capra also produced training films for the service men.  The first movie he made after the war is "Its a  Wonderful Life" a box office disaster, but a classic in the long run.
John Huston was first a writer, but then started directing to better control his work.  He had made "Maltese Falcon" before the war.  The biggest movie he made during the war was "Let There Be Light" a look at the effects of war fatigue on soldiers.  Today we call this PTSD.  He also worked on documenting the war in the Aleutian Islands.  His first film after the war was "Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
John Ford was already a big name director before the war.  He had made "Stage Coach," "Young Mr. Lincoln" and :The Grapes of Wrath."  His first success during the war was "The Battle of Midway," in which he was wounded.  This movie won as Oscar as well.  He was with the troops in North Africa and also made a film there.  He went back and made a movie about Pearl Harbor as well.  After the war, his first film was "They Were Expendable" telling the story of the PT Boats.
George Stevens was a director of comedies before the war.  However he never went back to this.  As part of his duties, he documented the atrocities in "Nazi Concentration Camps."  Much of his work was used in the war crimes trials after the war.  His most important work after the war was "Diary of Anne Frank."
William Wyler won the Oscar for best director for his last film before the war.  Mrs. Miniver told the story of a British family and the effects the war was having on them.  By the time it was released the Americans were at war as well.  During the war he documented the Memphis Belle in "The Memphis Belle: The Story of a Flying Fortress."  He remained close to the men of the Memphis Belle his entire life.  After the war his first film was "The Best years of Our Lives" which dealt with Post traumatic Stress of three veterans, including one who lost his hands.  This movie won several Oscars and was a box office success.  He would later make the movie Ben Hur.
Commentators included Steven Spielberg and Guillermo Del Toro.
These men all risked their lives during the war.  They were some of the over 5000 movie people who joined the war effort.  they were all changed for their experience.  It was a sacrifice to leave their careers, but after returning their movie making seemed even better.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sagwitch, Shoshone Chieftan, Mormon Elder 1822-1887


This brief article is from Legacy: International Society: Daughters of Utah Pioneers
few People know or remember that some very important Shoshone Native American men were prominent leaders in the early days of the Mormon Church.
Chief Sagwitch of the Northwestern Shoshone tribe lived on the lower Bear River and was wounded at the Bear River Massacre January 29, 1863.  Many of his family were killed.  Nevertheless, during the years immediately following the massacre, the chief and his band came to know the Mormon residents of Brigham City and he joined the Mormon Church under the tutelage of Mormon missionary George Washington Hill and followed the steps of the Priesthood to become an Elder.
Sagwitch homesteaded land near Portage, Utah and also at Washakie, a small Mormon-sponsored Indian community in Box Elder County.  It is recorded that he helped build the Temple in Logan, Utah.  He experienced the traditional Indian patterns of hunting and gathering to the adjustment of adapting successfully to both EuroAmerican and religious influences.
His descendant included Moroni Timbimboo, the first native American Bishop in the Mormon Church and Bruce Parry, for many years director of Utah's Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The DUP Camp in Paradise, Utah was named in honor of Chief Sagwitch as well as two mountain peaks and a basin between the Cache and Ogden valleys.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Book review: Nettie's Trip South

Nettie's Trip South by Ann Turner, illustrated by Ronald Himler, Alladin Paperbacks,  New York, 1987.
This is actual a book of fiction, describing a trip South just before the Cicil War.  The author says this of the book, "This story is inspired by my great grandmother Henrietta
'a [Nettie's] diary of her trip South, taken in 1859 when she was a young woman.  there, she witnessed a slave auction and returned home a committed abolitionist.  As she said in her own words, 'All I have heard of slaver seemed unreal until now that I see for myself.'"
The story of this book is a young woman, traveling South with her older brother and sister, just before the Civil.  Her brother was determined to see conditions, and to see a slave auction.  It appears he was writing a paper.  It describes the auction, and the slaves being required to jump when told to do so.  They slaves did not have last names, just their first.  Families meant nothing to the overseer, so without a last name they could removed easily from relatives.  The story tells of two siblings being separated.  It also confronts the idea of three fifths of a person according to the constitution, because all the people for full people.
The story tells of the profound effect on the author, who now has nightmares.
Slavery was a nightmare for our country, and lead to inevitable results to get rid of it.