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Wartime Pinups

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The Destroyer USS Shaw Exploding during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. The first attack on the US warships anchored in the harbor was delivered at 0758. By 0945 all the Japanese aircraft had left Oahu and returned to their carriers. The US Pacific Fleet suffered a major disaster during the attack which lasted one hour and fifty minutes. Sunk or damaged during the attack were the destroyers Shaw, Cassin, and Dowries; the mine layer Oglala; the target ship Utah; and a large floating drydock. Also hit were the light cruisers Helena, Honolulu, and Raleigh; the seaplane tender Curtis; and the repair ship Vestal.

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Infantrymen Climb Upon an M-5 Light Tank in preparation for an advance. In November 1944 the Seventh US Army was to make the main effort of the 6th Army Group in an advance toward Sarrebourg and Strasbourg. In the south the French First Army was to drive through the Belfort Gap.

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A Repaired M-3 Medium Tank is given final check by Ordnance personnel. Every tank, gun, or vehicle, damaged either by an accident or later in combat, which could be repaired meant one less new tank to be supplied. As the war progressed the medium tank underwent changes as did a great deal of other US equipment. It became lower so as to present a more difficult target, the riveted hull was replaced by a welded or cast hull, and toward the end of the war the suspension system was changed. These, and other mechanical changes, with the addition of better armament and armor, made the vehicle a more formidable fighting machine, better able to combat enemy tanks.

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Casablanca the Main Objective on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The landings were made at Fedala, farther north, in order to attack Casablanca overland partly because of its very strong defenses and partly because of the necessity of capturing the port in usable condition. Casablanca was a naval base. The US Navy had the mission of preventing French warships from interfering with the landings. American ships came under the fire of large coastal guns on El Hank Point (in the foreground, top picture) and engaged in running battles off Casablanca. Moored in the harbor was the battleship Jean Bart which also fired heavy shells to drive the American ships from their protective stations. After three days, when Casablanca was about to be attacked by ground, air, and sea bombardment and occupied by tanks and infantry, the city surrendered. The harbor was put to almost immediate use.

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Convoy Bound for North Africa. Troops in the first landings approached their destinations in several large convoys, escorted by aircraft carriers and other warships. The convoy to Morocco originated in several ports of the United States on 23 October 1942, and when near the African coast separated into three major parts. The convoy steaming to the vicinity of Oran and Algiers left the UK on 26 October. Before passing through the Straits of Gibraltar it separated into two parts. Inside the Mediterranean the two sections overtook slower cargo convoys and continued on a course toward Malta until sundown of 7 November. That night each section wheeled southward and separated further to reach several landing points near Oran and Algiers. Other convoys had already left
both the USA and the UK before the attacks began.

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Liberators Bombing Ploesti Oil Field installations in Romania. The first US air mission flown against any strategic target in Europe was on the Ploesti oil fields, a twelve bomber raid by B–24’s from Egypt on 12 June 1942. The next raid on this target, 1 August 1943, was a low-level attack by 177 Liberators from Bengasi in Libya with the loss of 54 bombers. Refinery production was interrupted by these raids from Africa, but was not stopped until the spring of 1944 when continuous large-scale attacks were carried out from bases in Italy. (Heavy bomber Consolidated B–24 Liberator.)

 

B–25’s over the Western Desert in Egypt. The USAAF was active in the Middle East several months before the Allied landings in North Africa. The first mission of these bombers was against the enemy-occupied port of Matruh on the coast of Egypt in July 1942. (Medium bombers, North American B–25 Mitchell.)

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Inoculating Egyptian Workers with Typhus Vaccine. In June of 1942 a separate command was formed in Cairo, called the US Army Forces in the Middle East (USAFIME). Natives working with US personnel were usually under Army medical supervision. Those handling food were subject to physical inspection and received medical treatment and whatever immunization inoculations were indicated for the locality. The use of preventive medicine stopped the outbreak of epidemics.

 

Tanks at the Heliopolis US Ordnance Repair Depot. On Black Saturday, June 13 1942, in a battle near Tobruk in Libya, British armor suffered severe tank losses inflicted by German 88 MM antitank guns. This defeat caused a withdrawal to the El Alamein Line in Egypt. (General Grant M-3.)

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American troops arriving in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first US troops to cross the Atlantic after the declaration of war by the US went to Northern Ireland in January 1942. In the same month the Special Observer Group was replaced by Hqs US Armed Forces in the British Isles. Shortly thereafter the center of concentration was transferred from Ireland to England and the rapid build-up of personnel commenced. Logistical planning began in April 1942. This build-up of men and supplies was to become one of the greatest logistical undertakings in military history. Supplies were shipped from the US in ever increasing quantities until, during the month of June 1944, approximately 1,000,000 long tons were received in the UK.

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