Men of US 2nd Marine Division, Guadalcanal, Aug 1942 (US Marine Corps photo)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 14, 1942: In New Guinea, Australians fall back for the last time to Imita Ridge, only 32 miles from Port Moresby.
Japanese retreat in the Battle of the Ridge on Guadalcanal.
British make unsuccessful raid on Tobruk and Benghazi, Libya, losing a light cruiser and two destroyers.
Smoke rising from ammunition ship Mary Luckenbach in Allied convoy PQ-18, 13 Sep 1942; seen from escort carrier HMS Avenger (Imperial War Museum)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 13, 1942: On Guadalcanal, Japanese try to seize Henderson Field, but fail.
In Arctic convoy PQ-18, German aircraft and U-boats sink nine Allied cargo ships.
Nazi-occupied France establishes National Work Service: men 18-50 & single women 21-35 may be conscripted for labor in Germany.
US Fifth Air Force parachute fragmentation bombs falling on docks at Rabaul, New Britain, 2 November 1943 (Library of Congress)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 12, 1942: Battle of the Ridge begins: US Marines fight off Japanese attacks on Guadalcanal.
US Fifth Air Force A-20 light bombers first use parachute fragmentation bombs (“parafrags”)—at Buna, New Guinea.
Off Ascension, German submarine U-156 sinks British troop transport Laconia carrying 1800 Italian POWs; U-156 radios for assistance in rescuing survivors (beginning of Laconia Incident).
Notes on appendicitis from my grandfather’s pharmacist’s mate training notebook, Naval Hospital Corps School, 1944 (Sarah Sundin’s collection)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 11, 1942: Australians fall back to Ioribaiwa Ridge in retreat toward Port Moresby, New Guinea.
On board submarine USS Seadragon in the South China Sea, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Wheeler Lipes performs a successful emergency appendectomy, the first of three performed by pharmacist’s mates on submarines in 1942.
Nancy Love (left) and Betty Gillies in 1943, the first women to fly the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber; the two WAFS were set to ferry a B-17 to England when their flight was cancelled by General “Hap” Arnold (US Air Force photo)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 10, 1942: US forms WAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) under Nancy Harkness Love for already-licensed pilots, a precursor to the WASP program.
British troops landing at Tamataue, Madagascar, 18 Sep 1942 (public domain via WW2 Database)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 9, 1942: Mount Emily Episode: Japanese Zero fighter plane launched from sub I-25 drops incendiary bombs in Brookings, OR, first aerial bombardment ever of the United States.
British land at Majunga in western Madagascar to subdue remaining Vichy forces.
Recruiting poster for the US Army Air Forces, WWII
75 Years Ago—Sept. 8, 1942: Joint British-American directive issued consigning night bombing of Nazi-occupied Europe to RAF and daylight bombing to US Eighth Air Force.
Recruiting poster for Royal Air Force Bomber Command, WWII
Australian troops passing abandoned Japanese tanks at Milne Bay, New Guinea, September 1942 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 7, 1942: In Egypt, Battle of Alam el Halfa Ridge ends when Germans under Rommel are forced back almost to original positions and Montgomery pauses to prepare for offensive.
Australians give Japanese their first land defeat of WWII, as organized resistance ends at Milne Bay, New Guinea.
Australian troops after battle of Isurava in Owen Stanleys, September 1942 (Australian War Memorial)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 6, 1942: In the Owen Stanley Mountains on New Guinea, Australians fall back to the Efogi Spur.
Jungled ridges at the gap in the Owen Stanley Mountains, New Guinea, November 1943 (US Army Center of Military History)
75 Years Ago—Sept. 5, 1942: Japanese reach Owen Stanley Gap in drive toward Port Moresby, New Guinea.
RAF raid to Bremen, Germany, destroys Kunsthalle Bremen and the original painting Washington Crossing the Delaware by German-American artist Emanuel Leutze (two later versions remain in the US).
New song in Top Ten: “I’ve Got a Gal in Kalamazoo.”
Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze (public domain)