Tag Archives: war

Dossier: Okayama Air Raid, 1945

+ Okayama Air Raid Overview +

A delicate topic to ask people about but I finally found an English language dossier about the incidents of June 29, 1945 in Okayama so I can learn more about the effects in my/our community.

Details & Annotations follow (via dossier pictured above, obtained to local library):

(If you have credible information or thoughtful opinion to add, please do)

  • June 29 1945 – 2:43-4:07am
  • 138 B-29s (1 aircraft lost reason unspecified)
  • Launched from Tinian (Northern Marianas Island, just north of Guam)
  • Incendiary bombs (12,602 M47, 83,106, M74, 2,187 E-48 cluster + photoflash 10 bombs)
  • Attack Elevation 3000-4000m
  • 1700-2000 dead
  • 63% of city destroyed by fire via Detailed maps made the day of bombing

Notes:

Original bombing strategy attempted precision bombing from 10,000m elevation (out of range of anti-aircraft gun/planes) with military ammunitions ammunition /factory targets.

Due to poor results, strategy was changed to night bombing at low elevation with fire bombs starting March 10 with aim of comprehensive destruction of metropolitan centers.

After initial large cities (Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe) were hit, a list was made of 180 medium-to-small cities as potential targets, of which Okayama was 31st.

Sasebo, Moji, Nobeoka bombed same night as Okayama.

Including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 66 cities were bombed/burned to the ground.

No military or industrial targets targeted in Okayama.

Okayama residents held air raid drills, carried air raid hoods and had a citizen fire brigade. Some people’s possessions had been evacuated the country in preparation.

Government office buildings were destroyed so citizen “disaster certificates” were rapidly made on carbon paper to give access to rations and emergency transportation and help.

Also: 

Where we live (Tsuchida, Higashi Okayama), still plenty of prewar houses but as we drive into downtown (:20 mins or so), you can almost distinguish the line where the bombs reached.

And:

Peace.

UW 3>s Peace / Alternatives are Unworthy (Remembering Nagasaki)

Peace. Try > Be > Do. Alternatives not worthy.

a replica of the plutonium bomb “Fat man“ dropped on Nagasaki on Aug 9, 1945, 11:02 AM  (as seen at the museum in Nagasaki)

UW <3s Peace

Remembering “all“ (I mean *all*) victims of war. It’s not worth it, let’s talk/respect/listen/find another way.

Fck hubris, imperialism, fascism, totalitarianism, feudalism, false divinity, insecure bullies, tyrants, despots, inherited monarchy plus liars, dictators & deceit in general.

I live up road from Hiroshima (bomb coulda been here instead) & visited (wonderful) Nagasaki in Feb (early C19 daze) > hard to go to those places without understanding the horrific costs, as well as the resilience of recovery in the horrendous aftermath.

Worth noting I also went to Tinian where Enola Gay took off, lived in Guam and landed on the runway on Peleliu Palau (Bloody Nose Ridge). Explored all the points of view by reading dozens of historical accounts, every documentary can find, fictional movies, historical podcasts.

Everywhere I think of the ridiculous cost of humans and opportunity and resources and endless heartbreak resulting from conceit, imperialism and hubris.

We ask the wrong questions & the results are horrid for so many, beyond “they did so we should…”

For more about how Japan tangled itself all up in a mess, listen to “Dan Carlin‘s Hardcore history“ podcast fantastic series “supernova in the east” each segment about 4 hours(!) but he’s a great storyteller and unpacks in great detail while not getting overtly “political“.

More rabbit holes (my pardons for lack of a proper copy edit / just annotations, notes etc via a various sources) re: war in Pacific + characters, forgotten-ish storylines, further reading…

Also, on various Netflix (or use VPN to skip around country), series called “Tokyo Trail” a joint Japanese /Dutch production going into war crimes trials in Japan… Judges from all the different Allied countries, trial stretched on for seemingly forever, endless conundrums

Yet another Netflix somewhere, a movie called “Yamamoto” something something, Japanese production telling story of Navy Admiral who was (mostly) against *trying* to attack the US but was put in charge nevertheless… Explores tension between Army’s aggressive goals and gluttony

Hard to get my head around how people can be so decent and kind in these times, yet 2 generations before were ruthless killers / turns out it just takes a few maniacs in power, rhetoric, brainwashing about exceptionalism + public pressure to send culture off rails

John Hershey’s long form essay in the New Yorker about Hiroshima is an absolutely fantastic piece of writing about most dreadful of topics. Thinking about #Hiroshima and #Nagasaki so much / as well all the cities that “might have have been” / so many broken dreams and lies #peace.

Another riff with with several more deep tome historical readings about war in the Pacific, breaking it down “play-by-play“ day by day, hour by hour in some cases. Post includes digressions, annotations & asides, read anyhow ;)

Rabbit Holes of History: Japan, War & Post-war (incl. O. Stone + D. MacArthur) & Micronesia

plane on Palau island of Pelilu – site battle of Bloody Nose Ridge between Imperial Japan and Allied forces

My pal Tom wrote the following (March 27, 2017): 

Been watching Oliver Stone’s “History of the United States” on Netflix. I’ve read a lot of history, but this is really eye-opening stuff. Particularly, my opinion of Harry Truman has been completely altered. He knew the Japanese were going to surrender, but chose to drop the world’s first atomic bombs anyway, against the advice of the scientists who developed it and indeed 6 out of 7 of his own generals, simply to show the Soviets that America would not hesitate to invoke vast civilian casualties. In that context, it has to be one of the most reprehensible decisions in the history of the world.

Of course he was also an enthusiastic racist to his core, and did not see the Japanese as human beings.

I would recommend this series to anyone who wants to get beyond the propaganda and find a more accurate picture of the true heroes and villains of our recent history.

To which i replied: 

I’ve gone down this topic very deeply over the last few months with 3-20+ hour-long audiobooks, several documentaries and so on.

If you will permit me a few notes:

Continue reading Rabbit Holes of History: Japan, War & Post-war (incl. O. Stone + D. MacArthur) & Micronesia

Contemplating Peace, Hubris, Conceit and Costs – Remembrance Day 2019, Okayama

Coffee, castles and contemplation about all the victims of war… No Remembrance Day cenotaph here in Okayama (where its 11/11/1) so headed out to find a calm place (and coffee) for remembering with my handcrafted poppy (imo white or red is appropriate). 

Of course i remember the fallen – of “the Great War” and all other, and of course the wounded – these delicate humans, and those who followed after them, deserve all the assistance society can render.

I also remember their mothers, their children, the folks who diligently toiled to provide, the resistance fighters thwarting plans & gathering intell at great risk, indeed the service horses and ponies… i think about the burned villages, destroyed cities, unfulfilled dreams, the opportunity cost of loss, the growing up too fast, the growing up not at all, mental afflictions, physical violence, undeserved.

I also acknowledge with contempt the hubris of “Royals” who pushed unknown youth into the brink, the conceited generals, the wealth grabbers, the power-hungry, the opportunists, the carpet baggers, those meaning to subjugate by redrawing borders, the liars to allies, the ulterior motives purveyors, the devious schemers… All this is on you.

The best respect we can give the fallen is peace, always and forever, peace.

11/11/1 11:11 from Okayama with respect

Rest Me Naught

Rest me Naught

The partisans attacked
Shortly after sun dawned
Trapped behind the lines
Two days after the treaty signed

Under grey sky I consider
Am I the last one to perish?
Perhaps the final number
In a redundant skirmish

Papers signed inky in a rail car
I’ll never chance to see
Peace comes for some
But no solace arrives for me

The religious get their rites
Murderers given last meals
I’m ordered a shovel
And to get down on my knees

Night-flashes of lost loves
Forever gone forlorn
First flash of eye glance
Waking early on a first mourn

Distant desperate acts
Seeking a fleeting peace
Unadvised by the muddy
The needy and the weak

Boots and coats removed
To strip last identity
The cold doesn’t sting
As much as anonymity

Trenches are flooded
Mortar shells rest unused
Canteen still has drops
Munitions stockpiled to abuse

Grandmother will never know
When my corpus lays
Flowers will grow eventually
While a Legion prays

I am unknown to no-one
Forgotten by unborn kin
What counts as victory?
Who credits this a win?

No photo in a locket
Soggy letters long left to rot
Telegrams remain unanswered
No lover to forget me not

(All my years for naught)

Citadel Hill (Halifax): Military Uniforms / various eras and purposes

Citadel: Recruit fitted for uniform (black on black)
Citadel: Recruit fitted for uniform (black on black)
Citadel: Papers signed, life surrendered to whims of a government
Citadel: Papers signed, life surrendered to whims of a government

Continue reading Citadel Hill (Halifax): Military Uniforms / various eras and purposes

Slice of Guam / Micronesia / German history from WW1

Super interesting video by the (excellent) series The Great War about the Germans in Micronesia in WW1.

In brief: The Germans “colonized” Palau (and Pohnpei i believe) during the pre-war period, but when the Japanese took over their holdings, their ships were stuck without ability to re-provision,. As such, ended up in Guam (held by the then-neutral US who’d “acquired” the island during the then-recent Spanish-American war (along with Philippines and Puerto Rico)).

For a period, the US, Germans and Chamorros lived together without much incident, but when the US entered the war, the warship Cormoran was told to surrender but instead, was scuttled. The hulk now lays in Apra harbour, with the Tokai Maru (Japanese naval vessel sunk by US sub in WW2) alongside, together making a popular dive site.

{I lived on Guam and travelled to Palau, Yap etc. in early 1990s and was well familiar with WW2 history and this wreck but didn’t know the details of the back story.}

Also (from comment elsewhere):

Keep in mind, i have big heart for the Micronesian people pulled into wars with NOTHING to do with them and their interests. (Spent extended time in Guam, Saipan, Palau (my fave place on earth) and Yap.

IMO The only way to (possibly) prevent future catastrophes is to learn the fck-ups of hubris and vagaries of colonialism to then intelligently articulate the rights of peaceful people.

Note that Guam was dragged into another few erstwhile global conflict chapters of late – ergo: repopulation of bases (many of which were repatriated to locals control in mid-1990s) after US Military bad-actors repeated fcked up in Okinawa predicating mass migration of troops due to local pressure/protest, plus the sabre rattling by DPRK with threats of bombs at Andersen AFB (which i passed through almost daily for 18 months to a landlocked beach – no longer possible to do). Also worth noting: each day thousands of ROK holidaymakers come to the island so the threat wasn’t just to US interests, but also to intimidate other Koreans.

In all of the this, the locals (especially indigenous Chamorros – who vote for a US congress-rep but who is not able to vote in US congress) are further marginalized. The “spin” is it creates jobs and increases “aid” to the island.

Remembrance Day, 2016 in For Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India – Pod blurb

This recent #remembranceday, I released another in my irregular but extended series called “white poppies for remembrance” in the “Postcards from Gravelly Beach” #podcast series.

First episode in quite some time… And it’s a one-breath all-the-words-at-once long conversation with myself (a la Neal Cassady a wee bit) about peace war colonialism monarchies reparations diplomacy explorers sacrifices resistance prevention opportunity costs and more… while at a cenotaph by a church where Vasco da Gama’s bones were buried – coincidentally next to Mahatma Gandhi beach and Chinese fishing nets.
 
Sounds like something you’re interested in? and/or if you’re into Poetry and Literature, you can find this and 62 other episodes via iTunes and Google play or at my Web library
 (you are here).
 
 

Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63

Remembrance Day with Vasco's Bones

From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace.

Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.

Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017

Gather Round for Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63  (37:11, .mp3, 192k, 58MB, stereo)

Also of note:

Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.

Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.

Remembrance Day 2016 Peace Ramble in Cochin, Kerala, India


11:11, 11/11, in Cochin, India, Dave – wearing a handmade poppy on Mahatma Gandhi beach by Chinese fishing nets – riffs about sacrifices of soldiers, sailors, flyers, resistance fighters, parents. Plus discusses the importance of avoiding jingoism which leads to war and death and name-checks Henry David Thoreau, condemns greed, and encourages peace and diplomacy and compassion.