The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, Plus 76 years

Seventy five years ago today the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy gun-type atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people died, sources vary.

It has been a now 11 year and counting tradition of the Chicagoboyz blog to commemorate this bombing and the events immediately after.  Today’s post will speak of the anniversary and share forgotten history from before & after the event.  Per the wikipedia article:

The bomb was dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces and Captain Robert A. Lewis. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ) and caused widespread death and destruction throughout the city.

This act set in motion historical events that lead to the surrender of Imperial Japan, the start of the nuclear age and the Cold War with the Soviet Union that ended in 1989.  Yet for all of the event’s importance we, seventy six years, on know less about it’s real history than the myths that arose in Cold War propaganda afterwards.

Enola Gay: The Story of the Most Historic Boeing B-29

The fully restored in 2003 B-29 Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

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Welcome to Section 22 Week’s Sixth & Concluding Post

Welcome to the sixth and final Chicagoboyz post (Feb 24, 2021) in the “Section 22 Week” count down to the 24 Feb 2021 premiere of the Bilge Pumps podcast with the Section 22 Special Interest Group e-mail list. Today’s post will include slides 72 through 82 of 82 of the Section 22 Powerpoint information packet.
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These “back up slides” slides cover Section 22’s interactions with the US Navy over IFF and the utter disaster of the capture of the submarine USS Darter’s technical library by the Imperial Japanese Navy in October 1944.
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You won’t find that disaster in any US Navy institutional history, classified or unclassified, on what the US Navy lost that day.  That is not how institutional histories work.  Institutional histories are all about glorifying the institution and its leaders while naming scapegoats and throwing shade at other institutions, with the classified histories detailing the “shade.”  That is why you have to go to the declassified US Army ULTRA history “SRH-254 THE JAPANESE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM MIS/WDGS 4 September 1945”, to find any details on the  Japanese haul of intelligence from the grounded US Navy submarine USS Darter.
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    Page 53 (62)

   “One of the most important discoveries of captured documents was made
by the Japanese Navy from the U.S. submarine Darter, which ran aground
west of Palawan on 23 October. The Japanese recovered many documents
    dealing with radar, radio, and communications procedure, as well as
    instruction books, engine blueprints, and various ordnance items.

 

It is difficult to evaluate the intelligence which the Japanese have
obtained from documents, but in those cases here it has been possible
    the information has been found to be relatively accurate.

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USS Darter (SS-227) grounded on Bombay Shoal off Palawan on 4th patrol, 24 October 1944

Figure 1: USS Darter (SS-227) grounded on Bombay Shoal off Palawan, the Philippines on 4th patrol, 24 October 1944. The shell holes from a Japanese destroyer, several US Navy submarines, and a Japanese air attack. This included 55 point-blank hits from the 6-inch deck gun of the Nautilus (SS-168) on 31st October 1944.  Unfortunately, Darter was boarded prior to that shelling by an away team from a Japanese destroyer and the entire unburned contents off her classified  technical library were seized for analysis by Imperial Japanese Naval Intelligence. Visible on the top of the conning tower are the undamaged radar, radio and identification friend or foe antenna’s. Photo credit — Navsource.org

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See my Chicagoboyz post here for a more complete telling of the Darter’s lost classified documents story:

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The Grounding of USS Darter — A Case Study of an Operational Security Disaster
October 29th, 2017
https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/56192.html

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The Bilgepumps podcast is now posted, see–

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Bilgepumps Episode 38: Section 22 – The Forgotten Electronic Warfare Superstars of WWII and the Historians who are changing that
FEBRUARY 24TH, 2021

Welcome to Section 22 Week, Day 5

Welcome to the fifth Chicagoboyz post (Feb 23, 2021) in the “Section 22 Week” count down to the 24 Feb 2021 Bilge Pumps podcast with the Section 22 Special Interest Group e-mail list. Today’s post will include slides 61 through 72 of 82 of the Section 22 Powerpoint information packet.
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These slides cover Section 22’s part of the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands called “Operation Olympic,” the last RCM flight of WW2 by the successor of Field Unit #6 that ended in tragedy, the “Defenestration”  (being “thrown out the window” of the official historical narrative of Section 22 by the American Joint Chiefs of Staff with the “Seventeen guys on an e-mail list” credits and resource links for further research for naval history academics.
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The 82 slides worth of material being published in “Section 22 Week” are a “picture book highlights reel” of what the between 500 to 1000 men involved in Section 22 radio counter measures operations did between May 1943 and August 1945.  Tomorrow’s concluding post will include the back up slides explaining the role of the Mark III identification in the Pacific war and other elements not central to the Section 22 story but important to the war for the electromagnetic spectrum from March 1944 to August 1945.
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Today’s “extra” involves the dysfunctional intelligence system inside World War II’s Washington DC that lead to Section 22’s “Defenestration.”
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The following are screenshots from SRH-130, MIS Intelligence Processes Relating to Japanese, Science Branch Project No. 2528A, 14 Sept 1945.   This “SRH-130” was the smaller of the two documents with the “SRH-130” cover page at 83 pages vice the 975 of the other.  I’m going to use “Project No. 2528A” to refer to the smaller document and SRH-130 to the larger document.
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First, see the conclusion on how effective the War Department’s G-2 Military Intelligence Division  (MID) electronics section that did “Scientific intelligence”  which was the official D.C. name for the radar intelligence Section 22 provided:
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SRH-130 MIS Scientific Intelligence on Japanese Radar July 1945 - part 2, Tab A , pg 4 of 975.jpg
Next, this is the recommendations section in “Project No. 2528A” where they list all the things they did wrong in WW2:
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SRH-130 -- Everything the MID G-2 Science Branch got wrong in WW2.jpg
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And finally this is the floor plan of the MID “Science Branch” from “Project No. 2528A” on VJ-Day to give you an idea of the scale of effort put into radar intelligence work at the War Department G-2 compared to Section 22 in Brisbane, Tacloban and Manila.
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SRH-130 -- Science Branch maximum effort foot print VJ-Day.jpg
The defenestration of Section 22 from the public eye in the immediate post-war makes a great deal of sense, given the level of effort demonstrated by that office plan .  Section 22’s offices in May 1943 Brisbane were larger than the electronics section you see above.
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The War Department was facing Congressional accountability hearings & investigative reports for the Pearl Harbor intelligence failure.  That level of “Scientific Intelligence” performance about radar for the duration of WW2 cannot be in anyway excused, if the story of Section 22 in the SWPA was generally known.  There were assets to cover,  budgets to shield, and careers to protect.  So “out the window” of public acclaim and deep, deep, into the unaccountable hidey hole of decades long classification Section 22 went.
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Welcome to Section 22 Week, Day 4

Welcome to the fourth Chicagoboyz post (Feb 22, 2021) in the “Section 22 Week” count down to the 24 Feb 2021 Bilge Pumps podcast with the Section 22 Special Interest Group e-mail list. Today’s post will include slides 49 through 60 of 82 of the Section 22 Powerpoint information packet.  These slides cover Section 22 combat operations from January to July 1945.

It is worth pointing out that while there are 82 slides worth of material I will publish over “Section 22 Week.”  They represent, at best, a “picture book highlights reel” of what the between 500 to 1000 men involved in Section 22 radio counter measures operations did between May 1943 and August 1945.

It is simply very hard to draw a line on who was in or not in a Section 22 field unit as the US Navy field units outfitted dozens of ships and submarines in the Australian and  American navies and many air crews on Section 22 missions were pilots and gunners teamed with a one or two RCM operators simply because their plane was on the roster for a mission that day.

Certainly the crew of the submarine USS Batfish did not think of themselves as part of Section 22, yet they carried Section 22’s institutional DNA and the radar intercept equipment that helped them hunt down three IJN submarines in February 1945.

This fuzzy ‘were they/weren’t they Section 22‘ grey area is where  I pull into this post one Radio Electrician George L. Johnson (USN) of the AGC-3 USS Rocky Mount. The AGC-3, like all of it’s contemporaries was the forward logistical repair node for all things radar.  This included the Mark III IFF as its transponder was a form of “secondary radar.”

The USS Rocky Mount had been Admiral Raymond Turner’s flag ship in the invasion of the Marianas in the summer of 1944.  During the Leyte invasion, it flew the flag of Rear Adm. Forrest B. Royal as commander of Amphibious Group Six.

Cmdr Jolley’s Oct 1944 Section 22 Current Statement and his Appendix N to the Leyte invasions orders hit people like Radio Electrician George L. Johnson on the USS Rocky Mount in the gut.  They maintained the Mark III IFF for the Pacific fleet and his ship along with every other AGC in the invasion force were tasked with making sure every Mark III in the Leyte invasion fleet worked and worked well.  Some time in the six weeks leading up to the invasion and the few weeks after — in the midst of Kamikaze attacks — Radio Electrician Johnson found time to redesign the Mark III IFF and submit that redesign up the USS Rocky Mount’s chain of command in November 1944.

This redesign package was endorsed the the captain of the USS Rocky Mount, Admiral Royal and reached Admiral Raymond Turner’s staff in late November 1944.  On December 7th, Turner endorsed the design and sent it to the Bureau of Ships in Washington D.C.  See the archival document photographed below:

Adm Turner Dec 1944 endorsement
Admiral Raymond Turner’s Dec 7, 1944 endorsement of Radio Electrician George L. Johnson’s redesign of the Mark III identification friend or foe system to prevent Japanese exploitation of the system to identify allied ships & planes.

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Welcome to “Section 22 Week,” Day Three

Welcome to the third post in the “Section 22 Week” count down to the Bilge Pumps podcast with the Section 22 Special Interest Group e-mail list.  By way of background, the Section 22 ‘SIG’ started in March 2015 with myself as list administrator and later as the groups cloud drive guru. The list accomplished it’s goal of mapping the Australian, New Zealand and American archives for Section 22 materials in early 2020 with the publication of Craig Bellamy’s doctoral thesis.

Since early 2020 my goal for the list has been to get this material wider visibility in the WW2 history community.  By posting Section 22 materials from that thesis, and other list research, consistently on Twitter, I earned the list an invitation to the Bilge Pumps naval affairs podcast on the CIMSEC web site.  That podcast is due to go up on their site 24 Feb 2021.

Today’s post will include slides 30 through 48 of 82 of the Section 22 information packet.  This will include a spotlight on Section 22’s third Assistant Director, Cmdr. J.B. Jolley, USN reserve.

Cmdr. J. B. Jolley US Navy Reserve, Asst Director Section 22
Cmdr. J. B. Jolley US Navy Reserve, Assistant Director Section 22

Commander J.B. Jolley USNR was with Section 22 early – at least from Oct 1943 from documents Craig Bellamy found in the Australian national archives.   Current Statement #48 dated 24 October 1943 states that USN submarines (unnamed, darn it!)  were being fitted with radar intercept receivers at that time.   Cmdr. Jolley then ran Section 22 for a short time before and during the Leyte campaign (from about 4 September 1944 until at least the 10 Nov 1944) until his health failed.  Yet that time, Section 22’s efforts under his leadership made its biggest contributions of WW2 and Jolley demonstrated a level of moral courage in his leadership that was unmatched in the Pacific War.

Yet, despite much research, our list has never found Cmdr Jolley’s first and middle names to go with his initials.  This anonymity was part of the price Jolley paid for his moral courage as a leader, for he crossed Admiral Ernest King on the issue of Japanese radar tracking US ships and planes through their Mark III identification friend or foe (IFF) systems.

See Jolley’s IFF procedure at this link — ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/r at paragraph 11. IFF PROCEDURE sub-paragraph f. which is named in slide 30 below. 

Adm. Turner, CENPAC’s amphibious forces commander, did not include anything like it in his Iwo Jima or Okinawa attack plans.  And he knew far better…but did not want to draw Adm. King’s attentions.

To understand the context here, you have to know that electronic IFF was the US Navy’s technological turf in WW2. The U.S. Navy had created an IFF system before WW2, but the UK’s Mark III IFF was chosen for the sake of Allied commonality. And with radar centralized under Adm. King, IFF was part of his personal fief. King’s actions in the “Great South Pacific IFF Visitation” in Jan – Mar 1944 versus Section 22 made the combat failure of the Mark III IFF a failure in the same class as the Mark 14 torpedo and his own very personal tar baby.

Adm. King’s CIC magazine did not admit to what Jolley wrote into the Sept 1944 7th Fleet Leyte invasions until the March 1945 issue.  Far too late for the intimidated Adm. Turner to add Cmdr. Jolley’s technique into the Okinawa invasion plans.

The combat failure of the Mark III IFF had to be made to go away…and it did…but that story is for coming “Section 22 Week” posts and slides.

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