Contemporaries in the Navy regarded him as an intelligent, quick-witted officer who possessed moral courage. His long and varied experience in aviation duty had fitted him well for his independent duty at Wake.
He would earn the Navy Cross for his leadership of the defense of Wake. A May photo taken from the northeast, from a Navy Catalina flying boat, reveals the Wake Island coral atoll in the mid-Pacific beneath broken clouds. Wishbone-shaped Wake proper lies at left, as yet unmarked by construction of the airfield there. The upper portion of the photo shows Wilkes; at right is Peale, joined to Wake by a causeway.
Major Paul A. Putnam, a "model of strong nerves and the will to fight," is pictured at right in the autumn of One of his men, Second Lieutenant David Kliewer, praised Putnam's "cool judgment, his courage, and his consideration for everyone [that] forged an aviation unit that fought behind him to the end. Designated a naval aviator in , he had flown almost every type of Marine plane from a Ford Trimotor to a Grumman F4F He had distinguished himself in Nicaragua in One officer who had flown with him there considered him "calm, quiet, soft-spoken.
At right, in the firing position, is an Army pattern M3 3-inch antiaircraft gun of the type that the 1st Defense Battalion had at Wake.
Given Up For Dead - Sloan, Bill - | HPB
Already obsolescent at the outbreak of World War II, this weapon was the mainstay of the defense battalions in the first months of the war. Twelve of these guns were emplaced at Wake. As early as , the U. Army, recognizing the need for a high-angle firing antiaircraft gun and resolving to build one from existing stocks, chose the M seacoast defense gun and redesignated it the M Soon after America's entry into World War I, however, the requirement for a mobile mount one with less recoil compelled the selection of the less powerful M seacoast gun for conversion to the M Development of both guns and mounts continued throughout the interwar years, leading ultimately to the standardization of the gun as the M3 on the M2 wheeled mount.
On the eve of World War II, each of the seven Marine defense battalions then activated had 12 3-inch guns in three four-gun batteries. Each mount weighed a little over six tons. The normal crew of eight could fire 25 The guns had an effective ceiling of nearly 30, feet and an effective horizontal range of 14, yards.
Given Up For Dead: America's Heroic Stand At Wake Island
The first models flew in , and more than were still serving in the Japanese land-based naval air arm in December Two 1,horsepower Kinsei 45 engines enabled the Nell to reach a speed of miles per hour at 9, feet. Normally crewed by seven men, the G3M2 model carried a defensive armament of one mm and two 7.
Although Mitsubishi A5M4 Type 96 carrier fighters Claude , also equipped the Chitose Air Group, none accompanied the group's Nells because of the long distances involved. Marine antiaircraft of fighter aircraft gunfire at Wake destroyed at least four Nells During December Since the numbers of G3Ms engaged varied from raid to raid--no more than 34 or fewer than so, too, did damage figures.
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On at least two occasions, though, as many as 12 returned to their base in the Marshalls damaged. It was the beginning of an incredible sixteen-day fight for Wake Island, a tiny but strategically valuable dot in the ocean. Unprepared for the stunning assault, the small battalion was dangerously outnumbered and outgunned.
But they compensated with a surplus of bravery and perseverance, waging an extraordinary battle against all odds. When it was over, a few hundred American Marines, sailors, and soldiers, along with a small army of heroic civilian laborers, had repulsed enemy forces several thousand strong--but it was still not enough. By Christmas Day, he lay semiconscious in the sand, struck by enemy fire. Another day would pass before he was found--stripped of his rifle and his uniform.
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Shocked to realize he hadn't awakened to victory, Sloman wondered: Had he been given up for dead--and had the Marines simply given up? In this riveting account, veteran journalist Bill Sloan re-creates this history-making battle, the crushing surrender, and the stories of the uncommonly gutsy men who fought it. From the civilians who served as gunmen, medics, and even preachers, to the daily grind of life on an isolated island—literally at the ends of the earth—to the agony of POW camps, here we meet our heroes and confront the enemy face-to-face, bayonet to bayonet.
Texas journalist Sloan's excellent research, interviewing and journalistic prose will have readers of this moving book saying it of Wake Island, too: this popular military history is the best account yet of the Battle for Wake Island in December An almost barren coral atoll in the Central Pacific, Wake was a link in American communications with the Far East and squarely in the middle of Japanese-held islands.
Given Up for Dead
So both sides targeted it in the coming war, and soon after Pearl Harbor the Japanese began steady air attacks on the atoll's garrison. That garrison included a minuscule Marine air arm, flying half-wrecked F4F Wildcats, a thin battalion of Marine infantry and artillery, and a large number of civilian construction workers overtaken by the war while building a base.
Battered from the air, this motley group actually drove off the first Japanese attempt at a landing, and inflicted heavy casualties on a second and much stronger effort before surrendering. The Wake Islanders can truly be called "heroic," even if Marine Major Devereaux and Navy Commander Cunningham did not coordinate as well as they could have.