Friday, December 8, 2017

Hostile Fire Across the Water - The Last US Naval Engagement of WWII...

The following is an excerpt from a new book begun by Truckman...


As odd as it may seem for an old Air Force veteran to take an interest in the actions of the US Navy, especially in a war which was concluded twenty years before his own service began, this author has gained a new perspective on what it took to still the quaking seas in a world consumed by destruction and death...Researching for the small bits of information available concerning the Navy's Small Coastal Transports (APc's) of WWII, and the service of those officers and men who crewed them, led to many accounts of unconventional warfare heretofore unknown by this author...Several of these stories were included in the previous "APc-48"series in the hope of enlightening others of the unheralded actions and sacrifices undertaken by those who dedicated themselves to the restoration of peace and freedom...

One of these stories came to light in my research reading of David Bruhn's book, "MacArthur and Halsey's 'Pacific IslandHoppers': The Forgotten Fleet of World War II," of an almost unheard of, and certainly unheralded event occurring five days after Emperor Hirohito's radio announcement of acceptance of peace terms by the Empire of Japan, which concluded with the signing of the peace agreement on the deck of the USS Missouri (BB-63)...Like this author, David Bruhn looks for the fascinating, unusual stories and facts to fill the cracks between recitations of facts and figures, in an attempt to hold a reader's interest and urge forward a grip on new knowledge...Mighty ships of steel armor and huge guns, plus the floating cities launching angry, buzzing aircraft against an unwanted enemy are hardly the only elements necessary in the restoration of peace...And yet these enormous creations of war seem to gather the largest attention from the public as their sheer size seems to command the watery battlefields...Deservedly so the officers and crewmen of these seaborne monsters also seem to garner the lion's share of the printed media and film and video projects, even though they themselves will be the first to point out that their achievements would have been impossible without the support of the endless chains of support vessels and smaller warships, and the even more important tasks taken on by those who manned them, risking even more with little, and in many cases, no armor nor armament against the same deadly enemy faced by the giant armored warships...

This author's late uncle, F1/C William Vernon Johnson, was one of those enlisted crewmen who survived the Pacific War, and returned to a peaceful life...His story was told in the "APc-48" series of books, chronicling the service of those who served aboard the tiny wooden ships bringing the life-sustaining supplies to other participants in defense of his nation...In Cmdr. Bruhn's book, he told briefly of the several battles and rescues in the Pacific which took place among the centuries-old designs of the wooden ships and their crews risking their all against modern heavily gunned warplanes, and the fast, steel warships to which the only defense possible relied more on the cunning, ingenuity and courage of the crews against the advantages of speed, bulk and overwhelming weapons employed by their enemy...In this author's research, one event which stood out that was described in Cmdr. Bruhn's, book was the battle which took place between two ancient wooden junks, one manned by Japanese Imperial Army (JIA) personnel, and the other by a mixed crew of US Army, US Navy and US Marine Corps officers and men, occurring on 8/20/1945, five days after Hirohito's capitulation to the Allies as the Japanese head of state...

This author's own military experience having centered on jet powered fighters and bombers of the Cold War and Vietnam War eras, and being still unaccustomed to the many events which remain even today overshadowed in the mass media accounts by the enormous, far-flung battles of land, sea and air fought by brave, determined men on both sides, the telling of this comparatively small, nearly unheard of occurrence of combat fired my imagination as I made notes to follow up for a new research project...Beginning with the hope of at least enough information to warrant a blog article, enough facts and new leads began to emerge in which thoughts of a new book arose...From there, this accounting takes shape...

For those interested, David Bruhn's own website contains much information concerning the smaller warships of WWII, as well as his own books on the subject...It is well worth the visit...

More articles concerning Journalism...
More articles concerning Warriors and Militaria...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Evil publisher outsmarted!...

Truckman's publisher, being the penny-pinching skinflint he is, condescendingly approached Truckman at Thanksgiving offering him the rest of the year off if he finished and forwarded to the printer a finished, newly edited manuscript for a combined edition of the two previously published "APc-48" volumes...He imaginatively titled the new project, "APc-48 - Combined Edition"...After Truckman's acceptance of the task, he unloaded the "by-the-way" clauses of the contract...

Truckman was also expected to produce new edits of the originals, including "APc-48..." (third edition), "APc-48 Journeys..." (second edition) plus as a bonus a new condensed, paperback edition of the second volume as well...His evil plan was to shove so much work on Truckman that he would have no holiday at all, presumably until Hell freezes over...However he failed to take into consideration the industriousness of a determined Truckman once he accepts a challenge...

Today (which is also the day when 76 years ago the first Allied aircrew was shot down in the China Sea by our as yet undeclared enemy, the Empire of Japan, one day before the Pearl Harbor attack), we proudly announce not only:

"APc-48..." (Third Edition),

"APc-48 - Journeys..." (Second Edition),

"APc-48 - Journeys..." (Condensed Edition),

but also (fanfare and drum roll),

"APc-48 Combined Edition..." with foreword by Neal Ash...

All are now available for order at the Truckman Book Store, unless the more snobbish readers would prefer to wait longer and pay more for the Amazon and Barnes & Noble offerings...Truckman and his overworked staff will now punch the time clock, and exit for a well-earned rest from the researching, editing and writing chores as we chortle with glee over the gnashing of teeth, and moans of misery from the evil publisher's office while he looks forward to spending the holidays alone at his desk...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!...


More articles concerning Journalism...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Second verse, different from the first...

For those interested, the second volume of the APc-48 series is in print today...Entitled "APc-48 Jouneys," it charts the progress of the tiny warship across the Pacific, and back again...The first volume is still available for those purists who must have the complete set...Amazon and Barnes & Noble have quickly snapped up the ability to bring both these books to the public, and are making them available to those readers who don't mind paying extra and waiting longer for delivery...Smarter enthusiasts will of course buy them at the discounted price from the Truckman Book Store...Compare for yourself...

My usual apologies are extended to those blog readers who wonder why so little new content has been published here lately...Unfortunately the demands of success, combined with the constraints of time have limited output...It is hoped that a normal schedule can be resumed following the completion of a few more printed projects...Thanks to all who have learned the benefit of waiting...

More articles concerning Journalism...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rest In Peace, Bitesize...

8/10/2003 - 9/21/2017

Pet Parents' Ten Commandments


1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be
very painful. 


2. Give me time to understand what you want from me. Do not break my spirit
with your temper, though I will always forgive you. Your patience and
understanding will teach me more quickly those things you want me to learn. 


3. Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world is more
grateful for your kindness than mine. Don't be angry with me for long, and
don't lock me up as punishment. After all, you have your job, your friends,
your entertainment. I have only you. 


4. Speak to me often. Even if I don't understand all your words, I
understand your voice when it's speaking to me. Your voice is the sweetest
sound I ever hear, as you must know by my enthusiastic excitement when your
footsteps fall upon my waiting ear. 


5. Please take me inside when it's cold and wet. I'm a domestic animal and
no longer am accustomed to the bitter elements. I ask for little more than
your gentle hands petting me. 


6. Keep my bowl filled with clean water; I cannot tell you when I'm thirsty.
Feed me good food so that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your
bidding, to be by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to share with
you my life, for that is what I live for. However you treat me, I'll never
forget it. 


7. Don't hit me. Remember, I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in
your hand, but I choose not to bite you. 


8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if
something might be bothering me. Perhaps I am not getting the right food, I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak. 


9. Take care of me when I get old. You will grow old, too. 


10. When I am very old, when I no longer enjoy good health, please do not
make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having fun. Just see to it
that my trusting life is taken gently. And be with me on that difficult
journey when it is time to say "goodbye". Never say, "I can't bear to watch."
Everything is easier for me when you are there. I will leave this earth
knowing with my last breath that my fate was always safest in your hands.
Remember - I love you. 

-- Author Unknown


A very special thanks to Dr. Joanie Ree, and all the caring souls at Tender Paws in Conroe...
And the kind heart who composed the above words has my eternal gratitude...
Bitesize was a good little girl...

More articles concerning Other Thoughts...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Paperback Writer...

Sorry folks, the title above is just a play on words from the Beatles hit from the 60's...I use it to announce another milestone for Truckman Publishing, the paperback edition of "APc-48..."

This is a condensed edition of the premium hardcover volume still in print...The paperback contains all the text, but none of the photos, or other illustrations...Also no glossary or index is provided, but at least it's cheaper...

The second edition of the hardcover volume has been sent to the printer, and will be available for ordering by the end of this week...Some minor text revisions were noted, and have been addressed for clarity...All Truckman Publishing titles are available in the Truckman Book Store...Or just click the "Print Media" button at the top of any blog page...Upper crust readers who prefer, may also order the same titles from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble, as long as they don't mind paying more, and getting later delivery...

The original plan at this point was to resume blog article production, but a new source of valuable intelligence concerning APc-48 was made available to Truckman following publication of the first edition...It was first thought that an addendum could be added to the original manuscript, and published as a new edition, but enough material has now been uncovered to warrant a separate, companion book...Work has commenced on this new project which will entail considerable research...My apologies go to those readers thirsting for new blog articles, but the constraints of time are binding on us all...Therefore, new blog articles will be sparse for the time being...

For their assistance in this latest publication, the many volunteers who donated their knowledge and materials have been recognized in the credits of the new book, and are publicly thanked here as well...

More articles concerning Journalism...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

APc-48 is now in print...





Thank you to my readers (both of you)...Your patience is rewarded as Truckman Publishing announces the book that students of WWII history have been longing for - "APc-48..."

Avid readers of war history all enjoy the tales of heroic warriors on the front lines, entrenched against a deadly enemy, sometimes for days, even weeks without respite...Dug into the volcanic sand, reloading their weapons time after time against the waves of enemy warriors, sworn to drive them back...During lulls in the action, they drink from their canteens, nourish themselves with what ever rations they brought, binding the wounds of those struck down...As this goes on, and days drag into weeks, often months on the sometimes uncharted islands, what happens when rations run low, fresh water runs out, the wounded beg for attention, ammunition becomes scarce...

They look to their supply lines behind them, without which the battle would end in useless defeat...Their heavily armored equipment, with its mighty firepower would become scrap metal without the un-armored, and for the most part unarmed ships, aircraft and trucks coming up behind them with fresh supplies...Those manning these vehicles risk their lives behind nothing thicker than a steel helmet and a flak jacket to replenish what is needed in battle, and then carry away the wounded...

Headlines, glory and medals for heroism go to those on the front lines as they battle their way forward, kept alive by the almost unnoticed, yet expected supply lines extending behind them for thousands of miles..."APc-48" is the story of a small wooden coastal transport ship and its crew of brave, but unheralded men who, for three years in the Southwest Pacific during WWII, risked their lives quietly slipping in and out under the noses of a determined enemy to serve the needs of their brothers-in-arms on the uncharted islands where enemy soldiers waited to kill them...

One of Truckman's uncles went to war on this tiny vessel, eventually joining the millions of others in victory, even staying afterwards in the occupation of the enemy's homeland during an uneasy peace...As he did so other members of his family served in similar fashion, sacrificing their well-being both at home, and in faraway places in the joint effort to restore peace..My uncle talked very little of his years in the Pacific, preferring to get on with life rather than rehash old memories...This unstoried segment of the war left little information concerning the activities of those who spent the war years in supply and logistics, and Truckman's research led to the many connected stories told in his usual seemingly disconnected style...

It is hoped that my readers will enjoy this effort of bringing into focus the activities of members of my own family whose service was intermingled with many more memorable names...The book is lavishly illustrated with illustrations and photos, many never before published...It is hoped that a new appreciation is felt by many, just as I have also learned of those who quietly went about their jobs to restore peace to a shattered world...

Truckman's hat is off to all who served...

EDIT: The book is also available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, for those prefer to pay extra, and wait longer for delivery...If you order from the Truckman Book Store, be sure to look for additional discount codes...


More articles concerning Warriors and Militaria...

More articles concerning Journalism...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

APc-48...(Part IX)...


[Editor's note: This is another abbreviated chapter excerpt from the upcoming book...]

At this point, the question may have been raised in the reader's mind as to why so much fighting took place in the South West Pacific area...Most of the islands where combat took place were small, uninhabitable for all but the most primitive of people...Almost no natural resources of international value were to be found except on the larger land masses of Borneo and Indonesia...Some plantation farming was done by European settlers including expatriate Germans and Italians, but the profits from such agriculture were not worth the cost of war...Tourism was non-existent as no amenities were in place which would have attracted travelers and vacationers...

Approach to the smaller islands where much of the fiercest fighting was engaged, was for the most part hazardous at its best, with jagged coral reefs presenting a natural barrier to deep water vessels...The few protected harbors often had points of entry which were difficult to find, and once there, challenging to navigate...In addition most of the charts available were outdated, often by centuries...Long, sloping, sandy approaches to any of the beach areas brought unwanted exposure to enemy fire for troops embarked on the slow, shallow draft landing vessels...These attributes made landing invasion troops problematic, and once there, the task of keeping them supplied was exacerbated by the preventative activities of belligerents...

Once entrenched on the islands, the occupation forces faced some resistance from the primitive islanders who only wished to be left alone, but this was more a nuisance than a genuine problem for the Japanese...Islanders made their living from fishing, and had a subsistence lifestyle, but were not able to mount any armed offense other than harassment raids...They were often forced into labor by the invading Japanese either as slaves, or extremely underpaid workers doing the menial chores of clearing jungle growth, and preparing defense foundations, digging by hand...Their only alternatives were evasion or death... Most were willing associates of the Allied coastwatchers whom they knew to be enemies of the invaders, and also paid better wages...

Most, if not all, of the Pacific Rim islands, those forming the semi-circular chain between the larger land masses of Asia, Indonesia and Australia and the vast Pacific Ocean were of volcanic origin, rising from the sea over millions of years...The black volcanic rock, and the resultant black sand from eons of wind and sea erosion, were of little agricultural use, although pockets of suitable soil led to cultivation of small fruit crops by islanders and the few settlers...The only good thing that could be said about the volcanic islands is that they were mostly snake-free until some invasive species were accidentally transported there, mostly after WWII...But other reptiles, including crocodiles, make their homes in the small waterways of the Solomon Islands...

By and large, the worst enemy the combatants had was the weather and inhospitable climate faced not only by the invaders, but the Allied forces sent to drive them out... Heat saps the energy of anyone, especially those unaccustomed to working in it...The problem is compounded when it is required to maintain a constant state of alertness, while at the same time carrying 40 pounds or more of equipment at all times...The high humidity found in the tropical islands soon soaks any clothing worn, making the wearer even more uncomfortable, and increasing the effort needed for normal activities...On some islands rainfall was almost a daily occurrence, but instead of having a cooling effect, it only added to the humidity felt by all...

In the thick undergrowth just beyond the beach areas, where all defensive positions were maintained in order to evade observation by the enemy, even less air stirred, and the jungle became the enemy as insects, rodents and reptiles all showed their resentment toward those invading their space...Mosquitoes brought on epidemics of malaria in which those infected would be incapacitated as warriors, requiring the further employment of manpower in their medical care...The Japanese diet of polished rice, with its attending deficiency of vitamin B1, combined with the general weakened condition resulting from the jungle environment, induced crippling bouts of Beriberi, requiring hospitalization and the further expenditure of manpower...

Why then would the Japanese dedicate so many military assets to the defense of small, sometimes uncharted, economically useless islands, some of which were not much more than oversized sandbars?...The answer lies in the strategic value of the outlying islands...When the Japanese military planners unleashed their series of conquests, plundering the areas of South East Asia, Burma, China and the large islands of Indonesia and Borneo, all with their rich resources of minerals, rubber and oil, they knew the stolen assets would require defense against the rightful owners, the US, Britain, Holland and France, who would be livid with rage (well, maybe not the weak-kneed French)...They also understood that the place to make their stand was not the land masses where they were busy stealing the property of others, but the tiny little spits of sand and rock arranged in an outlying semi-circle where the enemy had to approach from across thousands of miles of ocean...

They weren't so much worried about the back door and the Indian Ocean approach, as their strategy of applying airpower against the British and Dutch sea forces had paid off, destroying the British Prince of Wales, Repulse and Thracian in December 1941, as well as four more by April 1942...Dutch losses to Japanese aircraft included a sub-marine and destroyer, plus the capital ships, De Ruyter and Java to naval torpedoes, all before February 1942...French losses in the Pacific were zero through their strategy of not showing up for the fight...


More articles concerning Warriors and Militaria...