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Sigmond Smolik

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Sigmond Smolik - Page Text Content

S: Better Than Candy - My Life in the Army Author: Jim Smolik

1: This book Is told mainly from my point of view from the captions I left on photos and a few stories I have passed down. My grandson has included some history on the areas where I served to assist in telling the story. | Jim Smolik

2: Ft. Lewis 1942 Right-Heading out on a 20mi hike. Below-Working in the Pits with the targets during marksmanship training. | Basic Training | Marking a Hit in the Target Pits

3: Simulated attacking enemy forces. Naturally we were firing blanks. Working with the 3rd Signal Corp. | April 7, 1942 | Sigmond Smolik | Kenosha Wisc

4: Mojave Desert 1943 Right-My house for the next 12 weeks. Below-The wind stirs some sand up into our food, and yet look at the chow line. Bottom- Open air haircuts. | Desert Training | Our houses lined up in a neat row.

5: June 1943 Above Left- Here I am with my gear and cot. Left- Breaking down tents at the end of our stay. Below- Unloading supply trains for the division. | 12 Weeks of training only 30mi from Death Valley | Sigmond Smolik | Kenosha Wisc

6: Nothing for Miles until the far mountain range. | Desert Training | Our houses lined up in a neat row.

7: June 1943 A tornado Tore through camp blowing over several tents. Below, The guy shaving just picked his razor back up and finished. | 12 Weeks of training only 30mi from Death Valley | Sigmond Smolik | Kenosha Wisc

8: The 33d Infantry Division arrived in Hawaii on 12 July 1943. While guarding installations, it received training in jungle warfare. On 11 May 1944, it arrived in New Guinea where it received additional training. The 123d Infantry Regiment arrived at Maffin Bay, 1 September, to provide perimeter defense by aggressive patrolling for Wakde Airdrome and the Toem-Sarmi sector. The 123d was relieved on 26 January 1945. Elements of the 33d arrived at Morotai, 18 December 1944. Landings were made on the west coast of the island, 22 December, without opposition and defensive perimeters were established. Aggressive patrols encountered scattered resistance. The 33d landed at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, 10 February 1945, and relieved the 43d Infantry Division in the Damortis-RosarioPozorrubio area, 13-15 February. The Division drove into the Caraballo Mountains, 19 February, toward its objective, Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines and the headquarters of General Yamashita. Fighting against a fanatical enemy entrenched in the hills, the 33d took Aringay, 7 March, Mount Calugong, 8 April, and Mount Mirador, 25 April. Baguio and Camp John Hay fell on 26 April, under the concerted attack of the 33d and the 37th Divisions. Manuel Roxas, later President of the Philippines, was freed during the capture of Baguio. After mopping up isolated pockets of resistance, the Division broke up the last organized resistance of the enemy by capturing the San Nicholas-Tebbo-Itogon route, 12 May. All elements went to rest and rehabilitation areas on 30 June 1945. The Division landed on Honshu Island, Japan, 25 September, and performed occupation duties until inactivated.

9: 33rd HHEADQUARTERS QUARTERMASTER COMPANY Responsible for establishment of supply points for all classes of supply. Quartermaster feeds, clothes and supplies a division with thousands of items ranging from bullets to blankets, raincoats to rations, mines to mimeographs.

10: New Guinea is the second largest island in the world. Its north coastline extends nearly 1,600 miles from twelve degrees south latitude to just south of the equator. A major mountain range cuts across the island's center from the eastern end of New Guinea to Geelvink Bay on the west and makes passage overland through the jungled mountains by large units nearly impossible. The lee of the mountainous spine, around the Port Moresby area, is wet from January to April but otherwise dry. On the windward side, scene of most of the ground fighting during 1942-1945, rainfall runs as high as 300 inches per year. As one veteran recalled, "It rains daily for nine months and then the monsoon starts." Disease thrived on New Guinea. Malaria was the greatest debilitator, but dengue fever, dysentery, scrub typhus, and a host of other tropical sicknesses awaited unwary soldiers in the jungle. Scattered, tiny coastal settlements dotted the flat malarial north coastline, but inland the lush tropical jungle swallowed up both men and equipment.

12: New Guinea 1944 | Convoy | The campaign on New Guinea is all but forgotten except by those who served there. Battles with names like Tarawa, Saipan, and Iwo Jima overshadow it. Yet Allied operations in New Guinea were essential to the U.S. Navy's drive across the Central Pacific and to the U.S. Army's liberation of the Philippine Islands from Japanese occupation. The remorseless Allied advance along the northern New Guinea coastline toward the Philippines forced the Japanese to divert precious ships, planes, and men who might otherwise have reinforced their crumbling Central Pacific front.

13: The women of New Guinea were very interesting. None of them wore anything over their breasts, the Army gave them T-shirts to wear, they promptly cut two holes in them. Might as well not wore a shirt at all! In the early mornings I often took supply convoy duty. | Enjoying the local color.

14: In January 1943 the Allied and the Japanese forces facing each other on New Guinea were like two battered heavyweights. Round one had gone to the Americans and Australians who had ejected the Japanese from Papua, New Guinea. After three months of unimaginative frontal attacks had overcome a well-entrenched foe, General Douglas MacArthur, the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) commander, had his airstrip and staging base at Buna on the north coast. It was expensive real estate. About 13,000 Japanese troops perished during the terrible fighting, but Allied casualties were also heavy; 8,500 men fell in battle (5,698 of them Australians) and 27,000 cases of malaria were reported, mainly because of shortages of medical supplies. Besides ruining the Australian 7th and U.S. 32d Infantry Divisions, the campaign had severely taxed the Australian 5th and U.S. 41st Infantry Divisions. The exhausted Americans needed six months to reconstitute before their next operation. Australian ground forces, despite heavier losses, became the front line of defense against the Japanese who, though bloodied, were ready for round two.

15: Duty, Honor, Country | Our houses to the left, all in a nice neat row. On the right the troops move out to fight the Japs. New Guinea was a busy place.

16: Southwest Pacific Area had expanded dramatically. From two infantry divisions, the 32d and 41st, in December 1942, the American contingent numbered five divisions (1st Cavalry, 6th, 24th, 32d, and 41st) by 31 January 1944. MacArthur also had three regimental combat teams (formed by attaching a field artillery battalion to the 503d Parachute Infantry, 112th Cavalry, and 158th Infantry Regiments), three engineer special brigades, and five Australian infantry divisions. Three more U.S. infantry divisions-the 31st, 33d, and 43d-were on the way. A combination of organized mosquito control, scientific treatment, and improved malaria discipline drummed into the GIs during training decreased outbreaks of the epidemic sixfold and thus improved combat effectiveness. Kenney had about 1,000 combat aircraft at his command. The new Seventh Fleet commander, Vice Adm. Thomas C. Kinkaid, had about the same number of warships as his predecessor, but Barbey's amphibious fleet had grown with transports, cargo vessels, and landing craft. Together with Admiral Halsey's South Pacific force, the Allied commands enjoyed overwhelming numerical superiority in air and naval strength. They also held the strategic and tactical initiative and could select the times and places for forthcoming operations that were most advantageous to the Allied cause.

17: Duty, Honor, Country | Even though we were in the middle of a combat area, there were times when we could take a break to play volleyball, or cards.

18: The Japanese, in contrast, could not replace their losses in aircraft, shipping, and skilled manpower. Japan's air losses on the New Guinea and Solomons fronts perhaps surpassed 3,000 aircraft. On the ground, Eighteenth Army had suffered around 35,000 casualties. Of the three divisions in eastern New Guinea-the 20th, 41st, and 51st-only the 41st was near full strength. Airfield, shipping, engineer construction, and assorted service units brought Japanese strength in the eastern half of the island to around 60,000 troops. A dangerous 350-mile gap separated maneuver elements of the 41st Division at Wewak from those of the 36th Division at Sarmi, Netherlands New Guinea. The 36th was part of a frenetic Japanese effort to strengthen the western half of the island through the construction of a web of interlocking airdromes. Until the buildup in the west was completed, Imamura and Adachi were locked in a desperate battle of attrition against a foe with a crushing superiority in resources

19: July 1944: Columns of troop-packed LCIs trail in the wake of a Coast Guard-manned transport ship en route for the invasion of Cape Sansapor, New Guinea. The deck of the LST is densely packed with heavy military machinery and other war supplies. (AP Photo)

20: Victory on the ground depended on local air superiority which enabled the Navy to carry the ground forces safely forward to the next objective. The infantry held the ground and allowed the engineers to construct a forward air base, and the cycle began again. Against this sophisticated employment of combined arms warfare, modern technology, and industrial might, Tokyo asked its hardened veterans to do the impossible. Japanese infantry operations, brave, determined, but futile, were swept aside by Allied joint operations relying on the combined air, naval, and ground firepower essential for the conduct of modern war. MacArthur bypassed the jungle and left it to devour the Japanese soldiers isolated in its interior. But above all New Guinea was the story of the courage of the GI who could always be counted on to move forward against a determined foe. It was the ordinary American soldier who endured the worst deprivations that the debilitating New Guinea climate and terrain could offer. It was the lowly GI who was the brains, the muscle, the blood, and the heart and soul of the great army that came of age in the Southwest Pacific Area in 1943 and 1944. In one tough fight after another, he never lost a battle to the Japanese. Those accomplishments and sacrifices are forever his and deserve to be remembered by all.

22: OUR HERO | A Snake Christmas Christmas of 1943 It was night in New Guinea I was pulling guard duty. We had just arrived, and had started setting up camp. Since it was so hot some of the guys slept on the ground that night. As I walked by looking at those guys laying there on Christmas eve, I looked up at that clear sky and felt that same heat, all I could hear were some animal sounds. Suddenly I saw something move. It was a huge snake crawling over some of the guys while they were sleeping! I couldn't believe it. I ran and got the corporal, and he came over with a flashlight so we could see better, then he chopped the snakes head off with a machete. I was interviewed for the Kenosha Paper and they printed this story on Dec 20, 1997 I was very proud of that.

23: Left- I am posing with a group of native laborers, Thats me in the back. I have many pictures of the local people, where I worked they were always there to help and very friendly. | A Story many of you may not know is one where the native tribesmen saved my life. I was walking in the Jungle and became lost. I wasn't sure how lost I was until the men found me and motioned I follow them. They led me a long way back to camp.

24: Standing in a steaming stream near camp. | Below Open Air Laundry | Mass on a Sunny Sunday | Duty, Honor, Country

25: Native Laborors diging a drainage ditch for the camp. | Camp Ravaged by Monsoon Season | Camp Drying out | This We'll Defend

26: The Battle of Morotai began on September 15, 1944 and continued until the war ended in August 1945. The fighting began when United States and Australian forces landed on the south-west corner of Morotai, a small island in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI), which the Allies needed as a base to support the liberation of the Philippines later that year. The invading forces greatly outnumbered the island's Japanese defenders and secured their objectives in two weeks. Japanese reinforcements landed on the island between September and November, but lacked the supplies needed to effectively attack the Allied defensive perimeter. Intermittent fighting continued until the end of the war, with the Japanese troops suffering heavy loss of life from disease and starvation. The Battle of Luzon was a land battle fought as part of the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II by the Allied forces of the U.S., its colony The Philippines, and Mexico against forces of the Empire of Japan. The battle resulted in a U.S. and Filipino victory. The Allies had taken control of all strategically and economically important locations of Luzon by March, 1945, although pockets of Japanese resistance held out in the mountains until the unconditional surrender of Japan.

27: The company I was with took Bagiou City, a mining town north of Manila. I was able to capture the Japanese Flag from their headquarters. This was the one war memento I was the most proud of. I proudly displayed this behind glass in my home.

28: On March 17, 1945, 331 American B-29 bombers launched a firebombing attack against the city of Kobe, Japan. Of the city's residents, 8,841 were confirmed to have been killed in the resulting firestorms, which destroyed an area of three square miles and included 21% of Kobe's urban area. At the time, the city covered an area of 14 square miles (36 km). More than 650,000 people had their homes destroyed, and the homes of another million people were damaged. Beginning 14 July 1945 a series of raids on Honshu, one of Japan’s main islands began. This was the first naval bombardment of Japan in more than 80 years. At 11:00 the battleship South Dakota hoisted the flag signal “Never Forget Pearl Harbor” to Task Force 38.4.1, and a little more than an hour later the bombardment of the Japan Iron & Steel Co. factory in Kamaishi began. According to Time magazine: For two hours the guns roared, and their shellbursts walked through the steel plant. The Jap reply from shore batteries was only a whispered echo. The “sacred soil” of Japan, from which the Kamikaze (divine wind) was supposed to disperse all attackers, had been violated. Unknown to anyone in the task force — or anywhere else in the navy — the Japanese kept enslaved Allied prisoners in the steel works and nearby camps. Just as during many air raids and sea battles throughout the war, the Japanese policy of systematically ignoring the Geneva Conventions led to needless death and suffering among Allied prisoners.


31: Kobe, Japan | Kobe, Japan Left, our last base of operations before heading home. Above, Villager Bartering with a GI Left, Family among the ruble that was their home. | Left, Posing Among the ruins Below Geisha Girl and an interesting car.

32: Checking for the enemy | Getting Gun Ready | Soldiers from Wisconsin | Overwhelming Force

33: Sigmond James Smolik

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About This Mixbook

  • Title: Sigmond Smolik
  • A tribute to my grandfather's tour of duty in the pacific during WWII.
  • Tags: sigmond, smolik, jim, wwii
  • Started: about 6 years ago
  • Updated: 3 months ago

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