Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman:

March 2011 Edition
1. Caught In Our Web

THE 1940S
This is truly fantastic and well done. A  great history lesson. Be sure and turn up the sound to catch all the great music too. This is where we came from! Click on "The 1940s"  It advances automatically.
The 1940s

This is the cockpit of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the Big One  in 1945. Pretty incredible. Check out how primitive the instruments appear.  Itís easier to control with the cursor keys!     GO  FULL  SCREEN  Move your mouse around and you're in the seat.

How to build an airplane in 2-1/2 minutes.
An interesting video of a Boeing 737 (Southwest "Florida #1" being assembled ... quickly.)

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, Germany, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape...

Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of 'safe houses' where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks -- they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America 's OSS ) got the idea of  printing escape maps on silk It's durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd. When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly. As it happened, 'games and pastimes' was a category of item qualified for insertion into 'CARE packages', dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of  war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington's, a group of  sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany or Italy where Allied POW camps were regional system). When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.

As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington's also managed to add:
1. A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass
2. A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together
3. Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their first mission, how to identify a  'rigged' Monopoly set -- by means of a tiny red dot, one cleverly rigged        to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking square.

 Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped,  an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.. Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.

The story wasn't declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington's, as well as the firm itself, were finally honored in a public ceremony.

It's always nice when you can play that 'Get Out of Jail' Free' card!

Story verification from the Wall Street Journal.
Some corrections on the Snopes site.


2. Aircraft Detection Before Radar

Aircraft Detection Before Radar....
How air attacks were detected before radar...
Old time acoustic hearing aids

Acoustic "Ears" Before Radar - On a Swivel

German Acoustic "Ears" - Before Radar

Acoustic "Ears" Before Radar - On Wheels and Swivels

Acoustic "Ears" Before Radar - England


An Incredible Piece Of WWII History
 3. Tinian Island, Pacific Ocean
It's a small island, less than 40 square miles, a flat green dot in the vastness of Pacific blue.  Fly over it and you notice a slash across its north end of uninhabited bush, a long thin line that looks like an overgrown dirt runway.  If you didn't know what it was, you wouldn't giveit a second glance out your airplane window.
On the ground, you see the runway isn't dirt but tarmac and crushed limestone, abandoned with weeds sticking out of it.  Yet this is arguably the most historical airstrip on earth.  This is where World War II was won.  This is Runway Able:
On July 24, 1944, 30,000 US Marines landed on the beaches of Tinian.  Eight days later, over 8,000 of the 8,800 Japanese soldiers on the island were dead (vs. 328 Marines), and four months later the Seabees had built the busiest airfield of WWII - dubbed North Field - enabling B-29 Superfortresses to launch air attacks on the Philippines, Okinawa, and mainland Japan.

Late in the afternoon of August 5, 1945, a B-29 was maneuvered over a bomb loading pit, then after lengthy preparations, taxied to the east end of North Field's main runway, Runway Able, and at 2:45am in the early morning darkness of August 6, took off.

The B-29 was piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets of the US Army Air Force, who had named the plane after his mother, Enola Gay.  The crew named the bomb they were carrying Little Boy.  6½ hours later at 8:15am Japan time, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. 

Three days later, in the pre-dawn hours of August 9, a B-29 namedBockscar (a pun on "boxcar," after its flight commander Capt. Fred Bock), piloted by Major Charles Sweeney took off from Runway Able.  Finding its primary target of Kokura obscured by clouds, Sweeney proceeded to the secondary target of Nagasaki, over which, at 11:01am, bombardier Kermit Beahan released the atomic bomb dubbed Fat Man.

Here is "Atomic Bomb Pit #1" where Little Boy was loaded onto Enola Gay:

There are pictures displayed in the pit, now glass-enclosed.  This one shows Little Boy being hoisted into Enola Gay's bomb bay.
And here on the other side of ramp is "Atomic Bomb Pit #2" where Fat Man was loaded onto Bockscar. 
The commemorative plaque records that 16 hours after the nuking of Nagasaki, "On August 10, 1945 at 0300, the Japanese Emperor without his cabinet's consent decided to end the Pacific War."

Take a good look at these pictures, folks.  This is where World War II ended with total victory of America over Japan.  I was there all alone.  There were no other visitors and no one lives anywhere near for miles.  Visiting the Bomb Pits, walking along deserted Runway Able in solitude, was a moment of extraordinarily powerful solemnity.

It was a moment of deep reflection.  Most people, when they think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, reflect on the numbers of lives killed in the nuclear blasts - at least 70,000 and 50,000 respectively.  Being here caused me to reflect on the number of lives saved - how many more Japanese and Americans would have died in a continuation of the war had the nukes not been dropped.

Yet that was not all.  It's not just that the nukes obviated the US invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, that would have caused upwards of a million American and Japanese deaths or more.  It's that nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki were of extraordinary humanitarian benefit to the nation and people of Japan.

Let's go to this cliff on the nearby island of Saipan to learn why:

Saipan is less than a mile north of Tinian.  The month before the Marines took Tinian, on June 15, 1944, 71,000 Marines landed on Saipan.  They faced 31,000 Japanese soldiers determined not to surrender.

Japan had colonized Saipan after World War I and turned the island into a giant sugar cane plantation.  By the time of the Marine invasion, in addition to the 31,000 entrenched soldiers, some 25,000 Japanese settlers were living on Saipan, plus thousands more Okinawans, Koreans, and native islanders brutalized as slaves to cut the sugar cane.

There were also one or two thousand Korean "comfort women" (kanji in Japanese), abducted young women from Japan's colony of Korea to service the Japanese soldiers as sex slaves.  (See "The Comfort Women: Japan 's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War," by George Hicks.)

Within a week of their landing, the Marines set up a civilian prisoner encampment that quickly attracted a couple thousand Japanese and others wanting US food and protection. When word of this reached Emperor Hirohito - who contrary to the myth was in full charge of the war - he became alarmed that radio interviews of the well-treated prisoners broadcast to Japan would subvert his people's will to fight.

As meticulously documented by historian Herbert Bix in "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan," the Emperor issued an order for all Japanese civilians on Saipan to commit suicide.  The order included the promise that, although the civilians were of low caste, their suicide would grant them a status in heaven equal to those honored soldiers who died in combat for their Emperor.

And that is why the precipice in the picture above is known as Suicide Cliff, off which over 20,000 Japanese civilians jumped to their deaths to comply with their fascist emperor's desire - mothers flinging their babies off the cliff first or in their arms as they jumped. 

Anyone reluctant or who refused, such as the Okinawan or Korean slaves, were shoved off at gunpoint by the Jap soldiers.  Then the soldiers themselves proceeded to hurl themselves into the ocean to drown off a sea cliff afterwards called Banzai Cliff.  Of the 31,000 Japanese soldiers on Saipan, the Marines killed 25,000, 5,000 jumped off Banzai Cliff, and only the remaining thousand were taken prisoner.

The extent of this demented fanaticism is very hard for any civilized mind to fathom - especially when it is devoted not to anything noble but barbarian evil instead.  The vast brutalities inflicted by the Japanese on their conquered and colonized peoples of China, Korea, the Philippines, and throughout their "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" was a hideously depraved horror. 

And they were willing to fight to the death to defend it.  So they had to be nuked.  The only way to put an end to the Japanese barbarian horror was unimaginably colossal destruction against which they had no defense whatever.  Nuking Japan was not a matter of justice, revenge, or it getting what it deserved.  It was the only way to end the Japanese dementia.

And it worked - for the Japanese.  They stopped being barbarians and started being civilized.  They achieved more prosperity - and peace - than they ever knew, or could have achieved had they continued fighting and not been nuked.  The shock of getting nuked is responsible.

We achieved this because we were determined to achieve victory.  Victory without apologies.  Despite perennial liberal demands we do so, America and its government has never apologized for nuking Japan.  Hopefully, America never will.

Want to read more about this mass suicide, and the Japanese thinking during WWII?

Oh, yes... Guinness lists Saipan as having the best, most equitable, weather in the world.  And the beaches?  Well, take a look: 

As You Were . . .
Tribute Webzines
Navigation Chart to the
Hillman WWII Tributes
Short Bursts
Ex-Air Gunners Association

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum
Webmaster: William G. Hillman
Editor and Webmaster Bill Hillman ~ Copyright 1996-2021