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Wake Island Thompsons


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#1 Roland, Headless Thompson Gunner

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 11:13 PM

I just finished "Given Up for Dead" by Bill Sloan (2003), a detailed and riveting account of the battle for Wake Island from December 8 - 23, 1941. Though most of us know the story and have seen the inaccurate movie I highly recommend this account. Although defense of the island was ulitmately doomed it should be viewed as a victory for the US. 522 Marines, Navy and Army personnel may well have killed more than 1500 japs, while losing 49 killed in action (as well as 60 civilians, many who fought along side the Marines). They sank 2 destroyers, 2 destroyers converted to troop transports, 1 submarine and shot down as many as 30 planes and damage several cruisers. Just as they were turning the tide against the jap invaders they were forced to surrender due to a lack of communications with their leaders.

While most of the Marines were equipped with Springfields, Many of the Marine Aviators of VMF 211 were equipped with Thompsons and BARs. Admittedly references to the Thompson are minimal but this passage is a highlight:

"Enraged by the loss of Sorenson and others around him, Captain Henry Elrod also jumped in front of the advancing invaders, swinging a stuttering tommy gun and blazing away wildly from the hip. When one of his burst cut a Japanese machine gunner in half, he coolly handed his weapon to one of his fellow Marines, jerked up the enemy gun and continued to fight"

Captain Henry "Hammering Hank" Elrod had previously sunk the destroyer Kirasagi on Dec. 11th with two, 100 pound bombs from his Hellcat. He was later killed in the fighting and was the first Marine Aviator of WW2 awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Sloan refers to the "tommy gun" with a lower case T. I find that disrepectful though I'm sure none was intended. I'd love to see a remake of this battle with the accuracy thrown in.
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#2 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 01:56 AM

QUOTE
Elrod had previously sunk the destroyer Kirasagi on Dec. 11th with two, 100 pound bombs from his Hellcat


The Hellcat had not been put into service yet. Hank Elrod was flying an F4F-3 Wildcat. For a guy that's using a Corsair for an avatar you should know this stuff bud.. laugh.gif Here's Elrod's Wildcat
:

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QUOTE
Wrecked Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcat" fighters of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211), photographed by by the Wake airstrip sometime after the Japanese captured the island on 23 December 1941.
There appear to be at least seven F4Fs in this group. The plane in the foreground, "211-F-11" was flown by Captain Henry T. Elrod during the 11 December attacks that sank the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi. Damaged beyond repair at that time, "211-F-11" was subsequently used as a source of parts to keep other planes operational

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#3 Roland, Headless Thompson Gunner

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 07:22 AM

Well I knew it was a cat, and he did give 'em hell.
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#4 TSMGguy

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 08:29 AM

Just finished the book myself. It is also extremely entertaining and readable. I highly recommend it.
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#5 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 10:16 AM

Oh.. and you do know that is a New Zealand Corsair?? wink.gif Why not use Ike Kepford's or Greg Boyington's? cool.gif

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#6 Roland, Headless Thompson Gunner

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 12:07 PM

No I didn't realize those were Kiwi markings though I was going for a British flare snce my father flew Corsairs from HMS Slinger and HMS Victorious for the Fleet Air Arm. The new avatar shows Corsairs on deck on Victorious. Its reasonable that he is in one of them.
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#7 Hawkeye_Joe

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 12:34 PM

*laughs*.. I'm just pickin' on ya cuz ya got a new playtoy and all mine are still in a safe at my dealer's. I used to be a big v/t flight-sim nut.. (still am I guess just don't play anymore) that's how I got so much info on A/C.... cool.gif
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