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OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Division

 
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OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Division - 2/8/2020 9:49:16 PM   
Q-Ball


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I just turned 50 years old, and not sure about you guys but when you get to that age you don't really want alot of stuff. People ask me what I want for my birthday, and I don't really need more things. But I received an amazing gift from my uncle; all of my grandfather's saved 41st Infantry Division publications, including a unit history and all his back copies of "The Jungleer", a newsletter published by the 41st Infantry division association.

This book, "Jungleer: A History of the 41st Infantry Division", was published in 1948. It is a VERY detalied history of the division, 200 pages with tons of maps right down to the company level. I can't imagine a more detailed unit history! Anyone know if other divisions did this, or if the 41st was just over the top?

Some of you may recognize that I use the 41st Division Insignia on my profile. That is to honor my grandfather, Col. Melvin Janssen, who served in WW2 in this division.

Gramps grew up on a farm near Minonk, IL, and entered the University of Illinois in 1940, class of '44, on an ROTC scholarship. When the war broke out, like many in ROTC he was immediately put on a fast track to graduate early, in spring of 1943, to provide more young officers for the war. He got his diploma and Lieutenant's bars together in May of 1943.

With an aptitude for math, he volunteered for and was accepted for artillery spotter duty. He was trained in artillery at Ft. Sill, and also received basic flight training in an L-4, or Piper Cub.

Gramps was married the week of Thanksgiving 1943 in Seattle, and shipped out the next week; the 41st was already overseas, but he was heading as a replacement.

It's not in the game, but the division TOE at the time included 2 L-4 Observations Planes, to perform artillery spotting and liason work, basically flying around senior officers. He was sent as a replacement, because the original 2 officers in this duty for the 41st were killed in the Buna campaign.




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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/8/2020 9:59:31 PM   
Q-Ball


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Gramps arrived in Salamaua on the USS Monterey, and was immediately involved in the 41st campaign in Dutch New Guinea, with landings at Hollandia, Wakde, and Biak. Flying low in a L-4 could be dangerous work, as the plane is unarmored and vulnerable to ground fire. It also can't outrun anything, though with a stall speed of 40 mph, not an easy target for a fighter plane. Because he was trained in artillery, he could radio in coordinates immediately, which was the best protection against ground fire; Japanese troops quickly learned that shooting at L-4s would invite 155mm retaliation, so they often sat on their hands.

Because the Japanese were often hiding, it was often a game of hide and seek. Rice has to be cooked, and they always cooked at night, but he would look for smoke hanging high in the trees in the morning, and call on those coordinates. He would bring grenades to throw out the window too, though he admitted that was probably not too effective and more for fun than anything.

Gramps almost perished 4 times during the war, in all different ways that soldiers die.

First, he was taking off from a small airstrip from Hollandia, and someone drove a jeep accross the runway right at that moment. He swerved to miss and crash-landed the plane. Nobody was hurt, but yes, that guy was reprimanded!

Next, he was chased by a Zero over Biak Island. The fighter was going fast and missed first pass, but was coming back around; he immediately flew low and over what he knew to be a US AA implacement. The Zero came low to follow, and was blown away by the 40mm guns.

He spend 2 months in a hospital in Zamboanga with Hepatitis. Was not in great shape, but did recover from that tropical disease.

Finally, right after the war he was assigned to the island of Ita Jima, in the Inland sea near Kobe. The island was an academy for the IJN, and also had a large cave full of naval munitions that his unit was slowly disposing of. On Thanksgiving Day, 1945, the CO went over to Kobe to have dinner with a general, leaving Gramps in charge as commanding officer as everyone had the day off. As he was shaving for dinner, a huge explosion rocked the island: The cave blew up. Had that happened the day before, or day after, dozens of men would've been killed working in and around that cave, including Gramps.

That's the short version of his story; he wrote it all down, and kept flying Piper Cubs after the war. He died in 2006.




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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/8/2020 10:13:13 PM   
RangerJoe


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Very nice, thank you for sharing.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/8/2020 10:37:13 PM   
Bearcat2

 

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Thanks for sharing

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/8/2020 11:08:52 PM   
btd64


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Happy birthday Q. Nice book....GP

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/9/2020 1:16:40 AM   
tolsdorff

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Q-Ball

......

This book, "Jungleer: A History of the 41st Infantry Division", was published in 1948. It is a VERY detalied history of the division, 200 pages with tons of maps right down to the company level. I can't imagine a more detailed unit history! Anyone know if other divisions did this, or if the 41st was just over the top?

....


happy birthday!

A lot of units published very detailed histories, here are some, available at the archive.org for free :

- Under the southern cross : History of the Americal division.
- The golden cross : History of the 33rd infantry division.
- Ours to hold it high : History of the 77th infantry division.
- Hitting the beaches : History of the 1st armored amphibian batallion.

There are a ton more unit histories to be found on archive.org.

A lot of the more recently published books can be borrowed digitally for free, instead of downloaded, like these ones:

- Hourglass, the history of the 7th division
- Last stand of the tin can sailors.

These can be read with an appropriate free program, like Calibre or Adobe Digital Edition.

This is my number 1 place to go to, whenever a book gets recommended on this forum.
Here is an article adressing the legal issue of providing these books for free on that site: link.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/9/2020 1:22:14 AM   
jdsrae


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I really enjoy reading that sort of history, especially where there is some form of family connection.

I don't know about other books for US Divisions, but I have a few books that I bought to read more detail on about the war from the perspective of some of my family connections.

The First AIF Battalions that fought in WW1 generally have a history book written by someone in the unit, which provides a different perspective to the official unit diary. I've got a couple of them.

Similar for RAF Sqns in WW2. One of my grandfathers was a navigator with 51 Sqn RAF in Bomber Command, mostly based from RAF Snaith in Yorkshire.
I bought the book "Snaith Days". His war diary is also an interseting read, in his own hand writing. It starts on the day he left home, his wife's birthday, but he didn't remember that little detail until he'd already left!

The other grandfather started WW2 in North Africa in a 9th Div logistics unit, but ended up as a SGT in a watercraft workshop in Lae. In game he'd probably be represented by a HQ support squad as there are no AIF base forces. He gave me a few AIF publications that he'd kept from that included stories and cartoons from soldiers, but were introduced by a bit of "official" history. They were effectively "year books".

One great uncle was on HMAS Perth when she was sunk in the Sunda Strait with USS Houston. The book I have on HMAS Perth is "Cruiser" by Mike Carlton. He spent nearly 4 years in POW camps and survived.

Then there was my wife's grandfather who was a Spitfire pilot with 152 Sqn in Africa, Italy then Burma. I have a few books on 152 Sqn on my shortlist.
You just prompted me to do some more interweb searching and I just found a free pdf copy of "Spitfire Aces of Burma and the Pacific". He gets a mention here:

"In mid-December No 152 Sqn became operational at Baigachi, where it remained in order to cover Calcutta. Soon after dawn on Boxing Day, a pair of its potent new Spitfire VIIIs were scrambled after a high-flying 'Dinah' that was shot down in flames. It was the Mk VIII's first victory in the theatre, as the squadron record book described;
'Our first Jap bit the dust today! A splendid show by Flg Off R E J Macdonald (JF329) and Flt Sgt R O J Patterson (JF287), one of the highflying anti-recce sections. Scrambled at 0805 hrs, they intercepted a "Dinah" army recce southeast of base, and after a stiff chase they shot it down in flames. The wreckage was found five miles northwest of Gopalganj. They each got a half confirmed.'"
He's in this photo at Imphal 1944: http://www.152hyderabad.co.uk/html/imphal_1944_b.html




< Message edited by jdsrae -- 2/9/2020 1:29:53 AM >


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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/9/2020 3:04:13 AM   
NigelKentarus


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Very nice. Puts a personal touch to everything in a way.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/10/2020 1:55:31 AM   
CaptBeefheart


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Q-Ball: Great stuff. May your grandfather Rest in Peace. And happy birthday!

Cheers,
CB

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/10/2020 2:38:45 AM   
PaxMondo


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Q; nice gift … congrats on a 'milestone'.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/10/2020 2:54:18 AM   
Ian R

 

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Happy birthday Q-ball!

A most interesting read.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/13/2020 5:25:53 AM   
Timotheus

 

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What an amazing find.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/13/2020 4:13:57 PM   
Voltreffer


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Wow, what an amazing present!

FYI: I have pdf copies of this book, as well as one for the 32nd Inf Div (which formed the other half of I Corps); unfortunately, I am not able to post links yet.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/21/2020 2:32:34 PM   
Voltreffer


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A follow-up on the download links for the unit histories:

41st Division

32nd Division

Our Jungle Road to Tokyo

P.S. These are all public domain works.

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RE: OT: Jungleers: A History of the 41st Infantry Div... - 2/21/2020 3:34:27 PM   
Scott_USN

 

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Thanks for the links, some interesting stuff in this thread.

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