Hitting Aitape

U.S. soldiers on the beaches of Aitape, New Guinea, April 22, 1944, on this day 76 years ago, reminding us that it wasn’t just the Devils who island-hopped across the Pacific.

U.S. soldiers on the beaches of Aitape, New Guinea, April 22, 1944 163rd Infantry rgt 41st Division note M1 Carbine US Signal Corps picture 191965

US Signal Corps Photo 191965 via NARA

The soldiers are likely of the Montana National Guard’s 163rd Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division (“Sunsetters”). Note their early M1 Carbines, which had only entered regular production in May 1942, less than two years previously.

The 41st’s other two Regimental Combat Teams, the 162nd, and 186th, were making landings at Humbolt Bay on the same day, leaving the Montanans to take the airfields at Aitape-Tadji alone, dubbed Operation Persecution, and push back units of the Japanese 18th Army.

National Archives (NARA) Still Picture Identifier: 26-nm-3-2. Memorandum for the Armed Forces. Subject: Home Front Production.

The 163rd moved rapidly and secured the beach then moved inland, replaced by the follow-on 32nd Infantry Div two weeks later, only to move on to the hell that was Biak.

Formed during the Great War and inducted into federal service 16 September 1940 at Billings for their Second World War, the 163rd fought throughout Papua/New Guinea and the Philippines, earning a Presidential Unit Citation. They ended the war on occupation duty in Honshu.

Today they form the MNG’s 163rd Cavalry Regiment and celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2017.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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