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 Post subject: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 1943
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 4:32 pm 
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Transcribed from Japan at War with permission from author/publisher Russ Arendel

This is the diary of Probational officer, Oura Toshihiro gun commander at Munda, New Georgia

Preface of the decisive battle against aircraft. June 28, 1943

Since the 25th (of June, 1943) enemy planes have come over every night and early morning to bomb our unit. After going without sleep and rest I have finally come to feel the beginning of the enemy attack on New Georgia is near. On the other hand our planes have never come over, leading me to wonder if our Air Forces actually exist. Officers and men have no other alternative than to wait to be destroyed while doing their best to the very last. This morning I finished breakfast early and while wondering what the time was, the roar of planes attracted my attention. At 0630 the roar of a large formation came from the east. All the officers and men went to their posts as the 4th day of battle started. The aircraft watcher identified to be friendly planes. Our tenseness suddenly left us and we shed tears of joy to think our air force was still active. After receiving fierce bombing on Munda, New Georgia since the middle of June present conditions would indicate the landing of enemy is near.

June 29, 1943
I wonder if they will come today. Early yesterday morning there was no bombing as friendly planes appeared on the scene. It seems as if we had planned for a continuous bombing, and at 1500 we were suddenly bombed from the north. The enemy achieved its objectives again on the 4th day, and today is the 5th day. Last night it drizzled and there was a breeze making me feel rather uncomfortable. Although this is a continuous attack, we did not receive any last night. When I awoke at 0400 this morning, rain clouds filled the sky but there was still a breeze. The swell of the sea was higher than usual. However, the clouds seem to be breaking. I wonder if they will come. I have become used to combat now and have no fear. The continual bombing has made me determined to die. I will fight under all circumstances whether they come or otherwise. In yesterday's raid, our air force suffered no losses while three enemy planes were confirmed as having been shot down and three others doubtful.

Battle gains are positively in favor of our victory. Large formations pass and our belief in our invincibility is at last high.

US forces appeared through a storm. Could that be just a show? The bombing I thought would be daily did not come on account of the clouds. If it were a daily bombing by our forces, even though the weather was bad, the bombing would have been carried out. However the enemy did not come.

With rainclouds covering everything, we received our first warning at 0800. When the clouds began to break up to the southeast, the approaching roar of a Lockheed plane came in from the west. I could not see it because it was at an altitude of about 5000 meters and still above the clouds. I wonder what this plane will report about the weather over Munda when it returns to Guadalcanal. Whether we are bombed or not will depend on it.

Some donuts were brought to the officer's room from the field defense HQ which were made by the NANTO Detachment. They were awfully small, but I think each man had 20 or 30. They were really swell. Whether they were actually tasty or not didn't make much difference because of our craving for sweets. Each one was a treasure in itself. While eating the donuts, I laid down in the sand and pulled out the handbook my father had bought for me and which is now all in pieces from bomb fragments. As I looked at the map of my homeland which was so dear to me, I thought I would like to go to a hot spring with my parents when get home.

I thought of going here and there. This map of the homeland when back home would be of no use other than travelling. Right now it has a spiritual meaning rather than material value. A meaning which is ten times its value back home by making me happy and consoling me. At 1400 one plane flew over Rendova and then came the alert. But the all clear soon followed. Sometimes in carrying out a liaison, I go to the field defense HQ. Because of mist, Rendova can't be seen. I gossiped with the ADJ for about an hour. It seems the COs and Capt. Kosayshi are planning to use the positions of the 31st company.

I keenly felt the differences between the CP officers and the officers taking over the command for training. If I were the officers taking over, I would say the coral positions are unsafe and are unfit for use as they are being destroyed. The superior officers never come out to observe the positions, neither do they experience actual bombing; consequently we are at a loss. To receive the treat of a piece of candy is the luck of a person carrying out liaison, but to climb up there is really hard. According to the ADJ those serving over a long period of time will not return. Because of transportation difficulties, there is a shortage of air defense men. They say PT boats are here but you couldn't prove it by me. They also say the time for enemy fire may come at any time. At the present it seems like they are going to ship bombs and aviation gasoline to Kolombangara. No rations ever come. Today we did not have any bombing. This was probably due to the good fortune of bad weather, but we didn't relax.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 3:06 pm 
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June 30, 1943
At last the final decisive battle has come. I will relate briefly the progress since last night. Last night at 1910, Kolombangara received the blue signal flare from Rendova. I saw 4 enemy warships. At 1410 rain clouds hovered over us. At Rendova 4 cruisers, 2 destroyers, 8 transports and countless numbers of boats appeared. The enemy fired lightly, and the shore batteries replied fiercely. Our guns and air power seemed weak. The enemy used countless numbers of boats to land on Rendova. Air Force of the enemy was only 14 planes (Grumann). The company mess with those attached to it and the medical unit withdrew one by one in the direction of the field defense HQ. At 0800 our planes finally came. There were several planes which took part in aerial combat in 4 or 5 places. Six Grumann planes were shot down - 2 or 3 Douglas planes flew north from the east.

At 0830 the warships withdrew. About 20 planes kept watch from the sky at all times. Our Zero planes had already withdrawn. The enemy kept planes constantly overhead. At 0930 50 more shells were received. All sections received 150 rounds early in the morning. We fired 30 rounds at enemy ships at a distance of 8500 meters. At 0940, the enemy again appeared with 2 cruisers and 4 destroyers proceeding toward Rendova. They shelled near the piers on Bakieta Point and Munda. At daylight there was naval gunfire and a daylight enemy landing. The shore batteries had little effect and again there was no air force. When we are bombed we have only to wait until death comes our day. The enemy must be operating against Shortland. What has happened at Rabaul? The southern front line at New Georgia will in time undoubtedly receive an enemy landing. The naval gun fire and daylight fight put up by the ships is truly bitter. Tonight's pass word for both army and navy is Yama Kawa. I wonder if the enemy will land here from Rendova tonight. More than likely the number of days before they land here are few. However, if they were to fool around at Rendova our bombers will strike them without fail. With that in mind they may possibly come over tonight.

During the daytime, there are only a few fighter planes - furthermore we are having trouble in unloading as it is. Even I have to do debarkation work. It annoys me even more when they ask for help at the NANTO Detachment. I have had hardtack for breakfast and even for supper. I cannot have rice. From where we cook rice we can see warships - consequently we cannot cook. Above us there are always about 30 fighter planes which keep roaring over in every direction. At 1400 some planes came from the west (Rabaul), I believe because about 30 medium attack planes are sure a sight. We were moved to tears and waved our hands saying, We're counting on you! - we're counting on you!" It must have been fellows from the Wickham area. A report soon came in that transports and warships had been sunk. At 1430, a large formation of 70 planes raided our positions with immense bombs - bigger than I had ever heard, but no direct hits were scored.

After that they carried out horizontal bombing to the north. During the evening there were aerial combats in various places between our planes and the enemy. I could see the dog fights I had been hoping to see for some time. The enemy also landed on the island in front of the search light battalion. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we are shelled by naval gunfire again. During the afternoon the 2nd platoon and an anti tank unit with 3 pom-poms were ordered to the ME-1 position. After having hardtack for breakfast I worked on shelters. Officers and men alike exhausted themselves in work. As far as the number of places we are in control are concerned, it is regretful to think our forces are inferior.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 3:35 pm 
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July 1, 1943
We received heavy shelling from enemy vessels, and there was a new attack on Rendova. The day passed on after the shelling of Rendova and conjectures of all sorts were exchanged. It was 1830 when I was able to depart from the emplacements. After making preparations and filled with determination I separated from the command staff. Only a few enemy fighters appeared which circled the coast to the south from time to time. Rain clouds fell about us and at times when we were doing shelter work we couldn't see. We transported all of the ammunition which was completed at 0230. All through the night, enemy boats moved about. There were no landings but at 0400 there were already 4 enemy warships in nearby waters. It seems like the point of landing will be to the east end of Munda, New Georgia. At 0440, enemy fighter planes appeared. After that 20 or 30 of them attacked. At 0930 friendly carried based fighter planes arrived. Two destroyers were sunk and another gave forth billows of smoke just in front of our positions. There were aerial combats in all directions. Enemy planes gave forth smoke which changed to flames as they dived earthward. At times the proportion was 4 enemy planes lost to one Zero. Friendly planes also fell. After that more enemy planes fell. Gun reports could be heard from all directions and there was the roar of friendly light bombers. I filled my stomach with hardtack and at 0700 we finally finished our fatigue work. Transports came east of Munda. There is a roar of planes and the report of guns. As time goes on our conditions become critical.

At 1000 I ate my first rice in 3 days. There has not been any bombing of Munda yet. We expect friendly bombers during the afternoon. Sleepless days being on duty while the 4th air raid continued.

The 2nd platoon's main mission is anti tank fire. Three squads and 3 patients will remain at the ME-1 position. At 1150 a formation of 50 enemy planes appeared to the south and circled over the sea dropping bombs on air defense units and the front line. Enemy PT boats arrived and there were several destroyers and submarines.

At 1400 the platoon leader came running and ordered us to assemble at the CO's position. The enemy is about to commence artillery fire at Rendova. Our order id to relocate to the vicinity of Kongozan by evening. In order to avoid artillery fire we have to climb to the top of the mountain. Enemy planes are constantly overhead. No bombing by our air forces. The 2ns platoon is sure to do their utmost - there is to be no evacuation. Shells from large ships and artillery are now falling before our eyes. The positions we left are all destroyed.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2022 3:34 pm 
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July 2, 1943
Two friendly destroyers appeared but did not fire because enemy submarines were present. We heard the reports of guns at times during the night. The sound of boats was heard last night. Because of rain, I got into an air raid shelter and took a nap, getting soaking wet. In the early morning 20 or 30 enemy planes came to patrol. At 1000 there is supposed to be a raid of enemy positions by our fighters and heavy bombers.

Up until now there has not been any telephone liaison because of an order from field defense HQ for 2nd platoon to evacuate. Since early morning all individual field equipment was moved in groups of three to new positions. This afternoon we are evacuated. Still only one gun has been taken as of 0600. Furthermore the slope of the mountain is 35 degrees and there isn't enough personnel to pull guns. I heard not even one gun was pulled up. Above us enemy planes kept watch. Officers were allowed one wicker basket and we threw all documents in them.

According to advance elements' report at 0700 the mountain is steep and there are no positions. Made liaison with the field defense HQ. It seems we are to go to the search light location which is behind the field defense HQ. The command platoon has already moved to the vicinity of Kongo Hill. During the morning we evacuated and are supposed to be in new positions by evening. At 0800 we received naval gun fire from one enemy cruiser. Two guns were fired and the first shell fell in front of 2nd platoon. After that I saw death. We made an advance path which had already been scouted by Lance Cpl. Hara. I stooped over to have a smoke when (?) came. After that, shelling continued for about two hours, but I still think it is only one ship. I suppose there will be another naval shelling tonight. If there were only some of our air forces here the warships would soon be put out of action. When 1000 rolled around, friendly planes did appear as was expected.

After 1000 the shelling was from 3 ships. We are supposed to withdraw to the 1st platoon's position and take shelter in finished positions tonight. Shelling is directed toward the field defense HQ, the piers and airfield. According to what Probational officer Takagi told me, a report has been received by the NANTO Detachment that the enemy has effected simultaneous landings at Lea, New Guinea and Arundel The telegraph on the 30th was out and we could not reach the 8th district army because they had relocated due to events on Arundel. Zero planes could only be sent periodically for scouting over New Georgia because enemy planes would engage them in combat. On the 2nd we heard the 8th district army has reinforced nearby army and navy units to full strength and had turned the offensive. Don't the super dreadnaughts Uamoe and Musashi ever move? New Guinea and New Georgia are both strategic fronts. New Georgia is the southernmost front. I wonder what sort of operations will be carried out. To be on the defensive would be a great defeat and if it is any worse than Guadalcanal then it who knows what will be next? We can't do anything. The only thing we can do is win the land battles and batter the enemy. However if our warships were active and we could depend on air power then we could carry out a general attack on Arundel. Our force will figure out something. I imagine the question of victory or defeat will be whether we control the enemy or they control us. We must keep in mind the first defense is attack. Heavy shelling continues. At 1320 I thought an order would come when I heard what I thought was shelling from several ships - it turned out to be friendly bombers. The roar was terrific. After 60 or 70 loud reports they appeared from calm clouds. They came from the north but I'm sure they were friendly because the report came from those watching the shore.

Today the 5th squad was formed with patients only, and they agreed to move today. Everyone at our present position is healthy.

July 3, 1943
Last night the 1st platoon moved to positions near the airfield. About 2000 there was some army fire but as a whole it was a quiet night. We dispersed into various shelters and I got quite a bit of sleep. That was the size of the situation, and there was no watch during the night. I figure on a withdrawal tomorrow.

Friendly fleet units are assembling at Shortland. At North Munda 2000 infantry from Kolobangara are opposing the enemy. On the 27th 1300 men landed in Kolobangara. I guess we will not get any aid from naval shelling of our own because last night they were ordered to action around Arundel. Ever since 0400 this morning enemy fighter planes have been overhead. Twenty bombers I have never seen before came in from the east and went to the west. I wonder if they are heading for Shortland. Enemy artillery fired on the position of our infantry lines.

The platoon withdrew after dinner carrying arms toward our new positions. The commanding officer made the 8th squad up of sick patients who assembled into that squad. Last night they were sent away. The 2nd platoon when moving is without any outside help, but even at this we all work with high spirits. The 4th and 5th sick squads are under their own command as suicide troupes with an anti tank mission. At present there are 38 men on the southern shore. After about 1000, a cruiser fired 4 rounds. Enemy positions are being concentrated. Right now shells are whizzing directly over me and exploding just beyond the airfield. The guns are firing about 250mm shells with a percussion fuse. Enemy planes have doubled in number. About 20 or 30 planes flew everywhere in a straight line formation like potatoes in a row. The planes are in the air from Rendova Island to Munda flying about as though it was their own base. I believe the reason the number of planes has doubled is because the beginning of positive action will begin sometime tonight. The inferiority of our air force. Enemy planes come down to about 300 meters to reconnoiter. Up at an altitude of 5000 meters they are waiting for combat. What kind of operation could our troops be planning - everything is as the enemy wishes. Today again, no friendly planes appeared. Not even a boat came. Since the enemy have landed, 4 days has passed and it must be about time they have completed their positions and general preparations.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2022 3:52 pm 
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if we are going to fight, now is the time. We should have gotten them while they were concentrating on Rendova. To have them come here would make it impossible to even bomb them. Now is the time, come and get us! I pray that our movements begin an hour sooner or even a day sooner. If it were now we could beat them. However if they have already landed, it would be useless since we are outnumbered 10 to 1 and our supplies are limited. If they would only sacrifice a little and pound them on Rendova with the air force and naval shelling, it would be all right. If we were then to lose, it could not be helped, but the way things are going right now, we aren't doing what we could. We're just waiting to be struck by the enemy. At 1400 the number of enemy planes again increased and I figured something was up when about 50 carrier based bombers appeared and dropped countless numbers of bombs about 100 meters north of our positions. The entire area was covered with smoke so that we couldn't see in any direction. We were camouflaged and did not fire.

I heard the enemy has landed on the east side of North Munda. An infantry man swam back from Rendova and reported the enemy were Australians and natives. He also said that when we attack, they cry and run away. The enemy artillery barrage gradually increased. The Sgt. said the 4th is independence day for America so theuy are more likely to do something. Friendly planes again never appeared.

July 4, 1943
At 1800 last evening we received a report the enemy is on the nearest island about 1000 meters south of our positions so we fired shells with instantaneous fuses from our naval guns. The guns were located 300 meters north of our positions. The enemy did not return fire. We couldn't tell whether they wee there or not. Enemy artillery fire from Rendova ceased about 1700. At 2200, they fired several rounds but it didn't amount to much.

Last night it rained heavily and was miserable in the shelters. Covering my head and crouching, I slept in the corner of a shelter. It was a big storm and there was terrific thunder from the direction of Rendova, but it was better than being shelled. Everybody got soaking wet, but nobody said a word. Sleeping on the ground at night and cooling the stomach caused everyone to get diarrhea. We kind of sized up the healthy men, but there were some like Cpl. Hishimura who had developed a temp. of 42 degrees. Last night we got wet, too and I believe it is because of that our bodies are filthy, and our buttocks seem like they were affected by poison oak. It affects our arms and legs. During the night after the rain everything was normal. Enemy artillery fire began around 0800 for about 50 minutes. They burst around the airfield, the ONRA unit and to the front of our former positions. The sound of bursting became louder and louder until there was no intermission between shells. None fell in the new positions. 2nd platoon are to remain in their positions while 1st platoon is to return to their former place.

This morning the artillery ammunition train evacuated. 1st platoon vehicles couldn't move one way or the other. 2nd platoon was left in the front lines for the first time. It makes it bad for the subordinates when field defense HQ takes flight so easily.

Just look at the naval pom-pom unit - they haven't moved from their former positions. Enemy sea planes - 20 or 30 at least came in flying low at an altitude of 200 meters. The field defense HQ must have been ordered back to their former position to defend to the last, because friendly movements have been reported. That movement must be the shipment of 3000 navy men to Munda. There is a rumor that a large fleet unit is going to surround Rendova. They also say the entire naval air force is going to be sent in this direction. Unless they actually do this, things are hopeless. Right now (0930) they are only firing one ship at a time and it seems like they are aiming at an area near the positions.

Last night the naval pom-pom fired at the island to our front and since they use tracers, it may have been a bad move on our part. The closest shells directed at us are bursting 500 meters to our left. I imagine we will be here right along and be put on fatigue, but there isn't a thing we can do beside staying in our shelter with helmets on and wait for the artillery to cease firing. The 1st platoon must return to their former positions in this barrage. I bet the others have got a lot of worries - the shell that just fell is about 30 meters away. The dirt and shelter gave way. Hey, navy - hey, air force, come to our rescue!

Last night we never slept a bit. The Sgt. and I ate in the shelter and talked of the landing of 3000 infantrymen tomorrow when suddenly a shell interrupted us. Just like yesterday, they dropped 40 or 50 giant bombs on the lines 100 meters north of us. I asked the lookout about the bombing, and he said because of low hanging clouds they couldn't see us. I could see Zeroes chasing enemy planes. Suddenly, a bomber formation of about 18 planes appeared from the south.

I thought we were going to get it again, but they turned out to be friendly. After a short time I heard 40 or 50 explosions from the direction of Rendova. Fighter planes are still patrolling the skies. During the afternoon an anti personnel bomb fell on the middle section of the former 3rd and 4th positions, and one fell 7 meters to the rear of my emplacement. The canvas shelters of the 4th and all the platoon leaders were destroyed. All equipment of the 5th squad was scattered. The company probational officer Takage and all his subordinates were under command of the 41st battalion. With the guns out of action it is really bitter. Out of our 16 medium attack planes, 6 were shot down by enemy planes.

July 5, 1943
Last night's report was that 500 enemy forces had landed at north Munda, just east of Aidawa and on the small island midway between here and Rendova last night. Our Marines had occupation of it.

Our navy and air force operations in this area are progressing well. Our CO placed the 1st platoon under command of the 41st battalion. When worse comes to worse, the 3rd platoon is to be withdrawn with the main force to the Yoshiba unit - which is the artillery and pom-pom unit located to the rear of field defense HQ. This is to be our very last line of resistance.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 3:51 pm 
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July 5, 1943 (continued)
Sometime last night Kolobangara was shelled by naval gunfire for perhaps 13 minutes. For a while I thought shelling would be coming this direction but because of the presence of enemy and friendly submarines or something, it never came. Last night because of poor visibility both sides ceased firing. They don't fire howitzers after dark because muzzle flash gives away their position. Last night a friendly seaplane scouted around for about 10 minutes and dropped one bomb on Rendova as it left. Aside from the rain and naval shelling on Kolobangara, everything was normal.

Just before daybreak movement of enemy boats became extremely active. The enemy didn't land but motor boats were going in every direction at high speed, kicking up waves twice as large as the boats themselves. About 20 meters north of our position there is a high place from which it seemed as if we could almost reach out and touch them. They say that boats have reached the island in front of the airfield. After 0530 enemy planes kept constant watch from above. It seems like the enemy is showing off they have any amount of machines, fuel and pilots which got my goat. After 0630 they began shelling just beyond the airfield like the dickens. I kinda think they're planning to land somewhere nearby. I couldn't cook my meals or boil water because enemy keep constant watch over us. The remainder of yesterday's rice smells but since water is necessary I used gunpowder to boil some water at the front around noon. If there were any favorable reports it would do our morale good even to be informed of such during the night. But they exaggerate things and exclaim we should be able to hold out to the very last. They keep telling with solemn faces us there are no unfavorable reports and that our operations will begin soon. We have to endure the strain. The disadvantage of being an officer is that when you go into a shelter you are by yourself and keep worrying whether things will be all right or not.

At 1100 30 friendly planes appeared that shot down enemy planes before returning. We could see all the dog fights we wanted to see. After that enemy planes came swarming in. I guess our planes were trying to show them we have control of the skies. The firing of flat trajectory guns is really fierce today and destroyers and PT boats are sinking. If the tanks would come around, we could really give them hell. Low hanging clouds gave way to rain with enemy planes constantly above. Enemy artillery fire really came to life. During the afternoon it became more like a surprise attack. They would fire several rounds simultaneously at one place and suddenly switch to another. Above us enemy planes kept constant surveillance.

We couldn't go into the open all day because of the heavy barrage. I'm laying in the air raid shelter with a wet blanket wrapped around me after having the rain beat down on me all day. About 1400 they were saying a formation had come so I got out of the shelter. I was in my own little shelter and after waiting a while, it didn't seem like they were coming. I got out of the shelter for the second time to telephone the airfield but found out it was 50 meters from my position. I can't boil water or cook food. I didn't even get to go receive my provisions. I would like for our planes to get control of the skies. Right now they are shelling the to the rear of the airfield near the piers. It must because of the good camouflage that our positions have not been discovered yet.

Some of the shells aimed at the coast and our former positions are bursting about 30 meters from me. I must have gotten used to shelling because naval shelling from all directions doesn't bother me much. Rain beats on my neck, and I had to stay in the shelter in the midst of the foul air. All this accounted for my stiff neck, sore finger joints, legs and rear. I'm itchy all over. It was all I could do to watch the shelling and keep a watch on the space between myself and the latrine.

July 6, 1943
I felt like crying last night in the midst of the heavy rain and conditions I was in. There is a little artillery fire from our side. We could hear the sound of enemy boats, but aside from that everything was normal. The report this morning is that a battalion of artillery and 2 battalions of infantry have landed for guard duty. At 0500 there was the sound of bombs bursting around north Munda. This more than likely is the landing of friendly troops and our transports being attacked. After about 0630 enemy shelling started. Giant shells passed over our heads, and I prayed the range wouldn't shorten.

Because of rain day after day and the lack of time to dry things out the moldy, sharp odor is terrific. Everything is soaking wet. Personnel in the message center tent received a near miss and afterward couldn't see for a while and lost their senses temporarily. It is really frightening because they fire several rounds as if it was an all out attack. Some positions withdrew to the field defense HQ because of it.

1st class Pvt. Tagawa relieved 1st class Pvt. Yasue because of malaria. Pvt. Ota is an orderly for our platoon leader because Pvt. Iwasato is sick. He used to live with his mother who is his only living relative. He had supported her by working at a factory. Because he was called here, his 64 year old mother had to go to work. If they only knew back home he had come to the front possibly some help would come from the factory, but he never knew where he would land until he finally came here. When they talk of conditions back home, he turns to tears.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:50 pm 
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July 7, 1943
Shelling stopped last night, and there were no enemy planes. I came out for the first time in quite a while, feeling like a human being. After dark, the quarter moon came out. If it gets more round, I bet the battle will get more violent. Last night reinforcements landed at Kolombangara. To help cover this, flat trajectory guns, mountain artillery and searchlights cooperated. Enemy then landed on a small island which covers Munda, so we had to fire still more.

The enemy has brought searchlights, AA guns and pop-poms with them. Last night planes came in one by one and dropped two bombs each. Yesterday according to the field defense HQ we brought the artillery ammunition and were supposed to shell enemy artillery positions but it was called off. If we were to do this kind of thing at night one can never tell what sort of shelling we would receive because they can see everything from the hills of Rendova. I prayed the shells wouldn't fit well, but they did. I'm almost positive they'll order us to fire.

Several enemy fighters were circling around early this morning. We certainly must not have control of the skies. Our forces must still be mustering warships and transports. They must be using our air force for that purpose. This morning shelling commenced at 0800. I went about unconcerned, laying down when shells burst 30 or 40 meters from me, which caused me to jump out of my breeches. One landed to the right of me then 6 or 7 more came. They are firing like the dickens. I don't exactly appreciate all this shelling.

11:30 It seems we have shelled Rendova Island. I am forced to say we must not have control of the skies if dog fights are to accompany every bombing on our part. There is a terrific roaring of planes zooming through the air. There are enough machine guns and pom-poms firing to make me sick. I've always like to see dog fights, but something like this really doesn't do me any good. There are reports amphibious tanks can be seen attacking in all directions. There seems to be a few fellows who are a bit jittery. To my way of thinking I don't believe there will be a landing until we are shelled many times by large naval guns. Perhaps they will take advantage of darkness and land on nearby islands with tanks. After that, the real landing will probably be accompanied by naval shelling and troops will come by transport from Rendova. The enemy should know its own disadvantages. At present they are shelling 250 - 300 rounds of long range shells a day in the direction of Munda. To win, we ought to watch for an opportunity to effect a fierce landing on a small island and make it ours.

Sgt. Major Ishirahe returned from Shortland to this unit last night, bringing stationery and cigarettes received from the army. Two more probational officers are supposed to be assigned to our company but are presently being trained at Rabaul.

During the afternoon a transport laden with AA guns and pom-poms entered Rendova. During the evening our seaplanes bombed the enemy submarine base and Rendova. I could see enemy AA guns and searchlights well. From that action I judge they must have 6 or 8 guns.

3000 men have already landed on Kolombangara. Only 8oo men landed at Munda last night due to a shortage of transports. We should have reinforcements here as time goes by. Enemy also landed near north Munda at 2 different points. Right now our forces are counter attacking.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2022 3:18 pm 
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July 8, 1943
About 0800, artillery fire started, dropping rounds in different points, some close to our positions. Our company HQ right now is located at the front of the mountain. No one wants to go there because of the shelling. Superior Pvts Ito and Sakai are really bold and don't hesitate about going - I think it's remarkable and worth writing about. Last evening I received possibly my last mail from home. The letter from my folks was almost 20 pages long. There were 7 newspapers. During the evening there was no artillery or enemy planes so I could read my mail like a human. I was really overjoyed to hear everyone at home was well. As I had expected, my brother Kato was called into the service. It appears they hadn't received my letters and were in doubt if I was still alive. The letter and papers went to my old address on Rabaul but were forwarded here to New Georgia. They will really worry if word of the enemy landing on New Georgia is announced in the newspapers. Father repeated in his letter that I must fight to the last as an honorable warrior. "I will fight to the last - always for the Emperor!" I will show them that we will fight to the last. There is nothing quite so doubtful as to whether life or death will be with you - yet we write and pray at random. We pray for cherished glory even if it be for my aged father. Even though my soul should remain in the South Seas, I'll follow the will of heaven. Hardly and correspondence in the company was more than mine. The men came up and said, "Sir, it reallyturned out to be a big mistake to send the Sgt. Major to Shortland since it turned out to be all for your good!" Everyone laughed. It's all because of my father's thoughtfulness.

Since 2nd platoon is independent, things are rather dangerous but being boss is pretty soft. All it amounts to is making a telephone call to the company HQ once a day. Last evening 2nd Lt. Okalski and Takagi came to call on me. They don't seem to be used to combat. Artillery fire ceased after 1600. During the evening two seaplanes came. The enemy then fired pom-poms. Cpl. Ishikawa and Superior Pvt. Takezawa died of sickness at the Shortland hospital. Rumors are that four of our 200mm guns were landed at North Munda. To the east of North Munda at Ayu, the enemy has been reinforced. Our forces have left a kilometer wide gap without engaging them because they didn't know which way they would advance. I think the superior officers are expecting them to land with amphibious tanks from three directions to take the docks. 2nd platoon is now on the move.

July 9, 1943
The enemy attack has started. Their artillery barrage started at 0200 with tracer shells. As time went by, they began firing with a great many flat trajectory guns from the nearby islands to the south and from their base at Rendova.

Large caliber shells accompanied the small gunfire which was probably from their boats. I stood up in the midst of shelling to look all around but couldn't see anything that looked like tanks. I remained in the air raid shelter for about two hours

At 0500, shelling ceased. 2nd Lt, Imura who was with us at Kolombangara in the search light battalion and another soldier were killed by a direct hit. Many officers of my immediate acquaintance were dying right along. About 0730 30 enemy planes came over to drop large bombs in various places. Since our positions could be clearly seen from Rendova, we could not fire against enemy tanks. I was really fed up when the order came from field defense HQ to fire. Large shells fell 30 meters from our position, but there were no casualties.

2nd Platoon is only at the 1st line of defense. The CO began to show sympathy for the men - he couldn't figure out any way to fire that wasn't to our disadvantage. He said he would leave all decisions to platoon leaders. He showed a sense of sympathy and never ordered us to fire. If our operations would only start I would fire again and again even though our position would be exposed and we would be fired upon. As it is now, we are being fired on but have not returned fire. Enemy planes are constantly overhead so I can't even take a step outside the shelters. If we were to fire now, they would concentrate their fire on us and our emplacements would be leveled. Then all of us would be annihilated together as our belief in our invincibility would carry us along. We shall fight. Sure we will fight, but right now living is more important. In the last stages of the battle if we can stop tanks from coming in then we can die laughing.

The life of caves goes on and on with shells falling all around me, and at times whistle right over to land somewhere else. I had wet blankets spread in the hole and lay there with my shorts on as there was no time to take them off.

In order to make sure there was no smoke I cooked enough for 3 meals using only gunpowder during the evening. I had hardtack at noon, and we are now drinking water directly from bomb craters. It seems that because of my spirit this did not disrupt my stomach. While I listened to the bursting of shells and puffed on a cigarette I lay in the air raid shelter reading the papers my father had sent. They might make a direct hit on my shelter at any time. There is nothing quite so doubtful as life, but we are still self composed. I hung up the good luck charm of the Hikoka Shrine that had been in the papers.

Since the starting of the operations, I have been merely waiting in my calm way. At 1810, 23 Zeroes flew in and started dog fighting. The strength of enemy AA defense on Rendova can clearly be seen by the barrage they sent up. Transports entered Rendova harbor. I wonder what is going on? A telephone was placed in platoon leader shelters and Nonada was made orderly.

July 10, 1943
Last evening two friendly seaplanes without marker lights came in and dropped a bomb apiece. They were caught in 3 searchlights and fired on with great ferocity.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2022 6:43 pm 
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Two battalions of infantry have been reported to have landed last night. There was a naval shelling toward Kolombangara and an attack on Munda that resulted in a naval shelling. Artillery shelling started in at 0300. At 0630 one enemy plane flew over at 200 meters height scouting in various directions. I think they're trying to spot our positions. A bomb dropped at the entrance of or communications trench but did not explode which is the only reason we are still alive.

Superior Pvts. Ito and Yagi who were in the shelter had their breath taken away. That position has already received over 100 close hits. Enemy artillery is firing 7 or 8 rounds at a time.

At 0710 from above the clouds, about 100 enemy carrier planes appeared and dropped large bombs in various places. Because of action to the northwest and to the southeast, we couldn't hear ourselves talk. As yet our units are still intact. According to reports, results of enemy bombing are nil. Two maintenance men spent until 1030 repairing lines out in 10 different places. I admire these sort of men who go out to do suicidal work. My, but the shelling is fierce. I would think the explosives would have some effect, but aside from a little scare, results are nil.

But still, if one of the bombs hits a shelter, we're gonners. All of the personnel are wearing steel helmets within the shelters waiting for action on our part. Air in the shelter is like that of a cellar with unpleasant odors drifting about. Two enemy destroyers and 3 boats entered the mouth of Aidwa from Rendova. It is suicidal to go to the latrine. I put my helmet on and after making complete preparations, I took off for bomb craters in front of me. While I was defecating, 6 or 7 shells fell so I took off and came back. Direct hits are falling on all communication units and 4th squad trenches. Shells fell all day long.

At 1530, shelling ceased. Our forces have not attained a thing while the enemy has become active. Their shelling has become accurate. We can never tell when we are about to die. Oh, God! I would like to die after seeing the action of our invincible Imperial force. After looking at a dud I can see enemy are using 150mm shells. Today's shelling is continuous. The enemy's fire power has become more violent. According to reports the 2 battalions of infantry have landed safely last night as anticipated. Tonight under company command we are to attack the enemy's rear in the Aikawa area. At 1000 more infantry men are to land on Kolombangara by fishing vessels. Tonight the 8th combined naval force is supposed to advance to Rendova.

July 11, 1943
Enemy shelling during the night struck infantry lines occasionally. I imagine our infantry has started maneuvering. Naval sheeling from our ships which was expected did not come. Enemy planes came over about 0800. Their artillery fire is concentrated on infantry positions but none have struck near us as yet.

All of a sudden the number of shells has increased. When they fire at infantry positions, they seem to fire 20 rounds at a time.
Report: the 13th regiment was scheduled to land last night and did so safely. Right now they are assembling at Borioko Harbor. As to the battle situation, we are about to take the initiative. At 0740, 45 enemy carrier planes appeared dropping bombs. Everywhere things are normal (?). During the afternoon for about 2 1/2 hours concentrated fire rained on us. About 70 or 80 large rounds exploded with great violence. They fired at least 2000 rounds today, some landing within 5 meters of my shelter. At this rate by day after tomorrow, we'll be gonners. Our last important mission is that of tank destroyers. One of our precious guns was lost in today's shelling.

At 1340 they laid down a barrage of 20 rounds, some hitting close to our front and rear. I waited wondering when my fate at war would come. I prayed for the well being of all my men and repeated several times, "May our positions be kept intact."

At 1350, one bomb made a direct hit on the emplacement of the 6th squad. Yayagaki was acting as an operator and said he could see smoke rising from their area. However the shelling was so fierce we couldn't assist them. The 6th squad group leader and 7 men pushed up on coconut logs of their shelter and came out. Superior Pvt. Uasue worked at putting out an ammunition fire. All were saved and went to various other shelters.

Since it was a direct hit on ammo the smoldering cover was also set afire, but it was extinguished. Yasue did his best in camouflaging it in the midst of shelling and the presence of enemy fighter planes. It is almost impossible to use the ammunition. The breech lock from one of our precious guns was broken off as was the fuse adjusting piece. We can't use it now. How could we have received so much damage and still no injury to our personnel. I must say we were saved by the will of heaven.

I wonder what will happen now. Since there is only one gun for the tank destroyer unit of the 2nd platoon which was composed of 2 squads? I wonder if the platoon leader will attack with one gun? Even if that was to be the case, we will either lose more personnel or the last gun if we are to stay here another day. Right now communications are severed and we use an orderly to stay in touch. As platoon leader, I have a good deal to worry about.

About 1130, 8 medium bombers escorted by several Zeros attacked and there were dog fights. According to the report of a lookout, there were 2 destroyers, 7 LSTs and 50 large boats connecting Rendova and Aiwaika. There are also rumors the enemy is constructing an airfield on Rendova.

July 12, 1943
Last night I had the 6th squad return to their former positions. After that I was watching the shelling and some fell within 3 meters of my squad's positions. It's a mystery why there have been no personnel losses in my unit up to now. Right now I'm laying on my side watching in the direction of Rendova. Today or sometime tomorrow, I guess we'll be hit.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2022 3:00 pm 
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If our last gun was to be destroyed, then our company would become a labor outfit. From about 1030 we received naval shelling for about an hour. Incendiary and tracer shells struck heavily in the jungle beyond the airfield. I imagine they fired almost 500 rounds at us. Screeching noises continued and the heavens rumbled.

Since our mission is that of a tank destroyer unit we couldn't very well stay hidden and not go toward the seacoast. We went out to take a peep at the beach to the south several times. Fortunately there were no enemy tanks. When the shelling ceased we were on the verge of collapse from lack of sleep and fatigue.

Planes have been flying around since early morning. From about 0300 artillery shelling began with barrages of 40 rounds at a time. I suppose there will be another concentration of fire around noon. Last evening medium bombers and a seaplane bombed Rendova. My, the number of AA and pom-poms they have! About 0700 40 carrier based planes appeared and effected a general bombing. After 0830 we had a concentration of fire on our positions. The 4th squad's guns were knocked out.
One shell landed near our shelter making marks on our gun's aiming apparatus and barrel. Our ammunition was also set on fire. There is nothing for us to do but feel fortunate in the midst of all our bad luck.

About 0930 a shell burst about 2 meters from my shelter, making me eat dust and dirt. Then the dugout shook as a dud landed nearby. It it still a mystery how we are living. It got so I could hear the report of rifle firing. Could we have started something in the Aidawa area or has the enemy become stronger and is attacking with infantry? The enemy is combining their air, land and sea forces. Our company os without a single gun now, so we will be a labor company.

July 13, 1943
All the personnel assembled at the foot of the mountain in the midst of shelling after having gone through the dark jungle and over muddy trails while being harassed by shelling. We dug shelters in the assembly area. After getting wet from the evening dew, we lay down. The distance we travelled was really hard going. So much so in fact, it can hardly be expressed in words.

Sgt. Takagi died last night from naval shelling. The dead already amounted to 7 or 8 men. Lance Cpl. Ito and 4 men who were handling rations are missing. At 0330 50 carrier based planes effected a general bombing in nearby jungle, delivering several close hits. Our company's mission is now to assist the 41st battalion.

Our infantry is deployed for attack through the pass where the enemy is using midget sound detecting devices. They say we can't press them because of their automatic rifles and concentration of artillery fire. We are at a disadvantage because when enemy planes appear, we can't move. We continue our shelter digging work. During the evening I had some of the men do cooking, and under command of 2nd Lt. Okazaki, rations were transported to positions of the field defense HQ. Fatigue of the men was never more severe, and they've had only two light meals a day.

The situation is just like that of Italians pursuing Ethiopians. Our infantry were located by the midget detecting devices and rained with automatic rifle fire and artillery. We could not advance. We are being shelled by enemy ships right now.

I must say there is close cooperation between their air, land and naval forces. Our forces have not carried out one largescale bombing yet. They haven't shelled Rendova by battleship or given us heavy artillery pieces. What do you call this? How could such inaction be called modern war? I keenly feel poor communication on the part of Japanese forces and the weakness of our military strength. My, this is really disheartening, We haven't been fighting, but merely dying in the midst of bombing and shelling.

However, Japanese forces can't let the enemy have their own way. We must look forward with high expectations that something will be done. Probational officer Oura is now a rifle platoon leader, and Probational officer Taragi is now commander of the 41st battalion. We are to make it impossible for an enemy advance to be made from any direction by hitting them in the front and flanks.

July 14, 1943
According to reports, 20 parachutes will be dropped today loaded with something. According to yesterday's report, destroyers, LSTs and large boats have been going back and forth between Rendova Aidawa in large numbers. After 1400, we carried rations to forward positions. Some men went to Kogaya Springs to cook meals but it took 3 1/2 hours. It also takes almost 2 hours to get water now. Everything is precious. The men, however, do their duty according to orders without any words about the bombing and shelling.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2022 3:28 pm 
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Last evening company commanders assembled their men at field defense HQ. Our situation is as follows: our infantry in the Aidawa rear area are pushing the enemy back. Enemy destroyers have been going back and forth, attempting to evacuate their troops to Rendova because of our superior forces.

Our infantry are to stage a night attack to dislodge enemy from their positions and take over their artillery. Afterward, these captured guns will be used to shell Rendova. The company commander selected Sgt. Major Soigake, Cpl. Nishymura and 22 crack men under direct command of 1st Lt. Imazato. At 0800 we advanced to the Aidawa rear line for the decisive battle. 4th squad participated with Mishimura and 10 men.

These men assembled a little ahead of time and took off like a flash. Thins look very promising. I wonder what has happened to the unit that departed last night. I pray for their good fortune and success at war. I am supposed to be in charge of the sick who returned with 2nd Lt. Hattori who will be the 2nd platoon. I am also supposed to be in charge of another rifle platoon. At 0800, the enemy was reported to have landed at our former platoon area. We were to move up, but the order came through for us to return to our former positions, so we returned. Shells were falling and wounded were being brought up on stretchers. Enemy fighters hovered over us in plain daylight. It was so bad, I don't want to go on talking about it.

At 1000, an order came that Probational officer Oura and 6 men were to go to our east lookout post. 2nd Lt, Imura was killed and a total of 4 men wounded today. Going to field defense HQ in the rain, I stumbled time and again in the jungle. At HQ I received orders to take command of 12 men including the medical unit. As usual enemy shelling concentrated on our po -pom positions. The sound of explosions and concussion was terrific where I lay in a canvas shelter.

July 15, 1943
I picked Lance Cpl. Sugiyama, Wakita, Shimura, Muramatsu and Ota - the very best men. Tomorrow Takahashi and his men will join us, giving a total of 12 men.

I set down some strict regulations and made security command. Also set up the AA binoculars to observe enemy positions and saw the US flag fluttering on their PT boats. A destroyer which had been camouflaged was floating at anchor. Everything is plain as day from our 10CM position. You could call it a war movie or perhaps a news reel movie.

At any rate it's very interesting to an outsider. The moving of large boats and bursting of shells looked as if you could almost grab them in your hands. Just like yesterday at 1200 the enemy is trying to land at the same place on Magashima where there's a fierce battle going on. At 1300 38 friendly planes bombed enemy in the Aidawa rear area which gave me a sense of relief. After 10 minutes enemy planes came over to take control of the skies. We shot down 2 planes, losing Zeros and a medium bomber, so we lost more than them.

Large enemy boats and destroyers kept going back and forth between Rendova and Aidawa in great numbers. At 0640 several carrier based planes dropped bombs near Oura's platoon position and in the sea, apparently trying to break up certain obstacles. All indications are that they are about to land somewhere near.

At 1100 when I was standing guard 3 fighter planes and 1 PT boat escorted 3 large boats in loaded with personnel and equipment which were headed in the direction of Oura's position. About 2000 meters from shore, they were fired on fiercely by our troops. The enemy did an about face, abandonijg their plan and returning to Rendova harbor. It was very interesting.

We received a report at 1200 the entire enemy air force at Guadalcanal had departed to bomb Munda. Today 10 destroyers, LSTs and large boats were very active. The small island of Kojima to our front is bare from heavy bombing. Shells are hitting close by now so we can't go outside. This is very disgusting when we have no tent since the odor of perspiration is unbearable. The place where we stand watch has already been the death ground of 2 men. No one at home would believe we are in this crater looking around. It is really smelly. I am now taking the place of 2nd Lt. Imura whose two legs haven't been found yet. Four engine bombers are flying around at low altitude. Through the AA binoculars, I can plainly see two men looking this way from a window to the rear of an insignia. There is no intermission of firing by enemy artillery.

Now more lanes are flying around, and the ships aren't a bit bashful - they just keep coming. Oh, this is getting bad! Don't worry, Father, we'll fix them yet. We are doing our very utmost. Without a doubt our forces are preparing to attack their rear. If we are going to do anything, let's do it before they land from every direction. Tanks have already landed at Aidawa. If we don't get them right now, it will be too late.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2022 6:59 pm 
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July 17, 1943
I had to lay down in the narrow dugout because close hits were bursting in great numbers. It sure is hot. Last night Pvt. Yamaura of the medical unit was dispatched to the east lookout post because of a Lance Cpl. being severely wounded. Our present strength is 13 men and the commanding officer.

This morning came the shelling of all shellings. By 0700 they had already fired 1000 rounds. At 1015 6 or 7 of us were sitting outside the dugout when two shells struck tree tops. All of us hit the ground but Lance Cpl. Sugiyama was struck. I believe it will take him at least 6 weeks to recover.

Report: Control of the sky and sea belongs to the enemy. Boats are moving in great numbers.

Our infantry is trying to move behind Aidawa, while the enemy is becoming stronger and landing on every small island around Munda. From our east lookout post we can hear shooting coming from Isumi where we are concentrating nearby units to capture enemy artillery. The area east of that lookout post will become the front line. The enemy artillery position is decisively holding back our infantry. Our communication lines are being blown to pieces. We have no help from the air or sea.

From 1500: our battalion shot ranging fire at enemy artillery on Rovianna for an hour. I was appointed observer. Only one shell made a direct hit after many unsuccessful efforts. Exposing myself into the rain of shells, I adjusted the sight at a deflection of 2000 meters.

July 18, 1943
It rained heavily last night. The sound of explosions is terrific, and movement of their boats is tremendous. We anticipate a forced landing by the enemy between tonight and dawn. I held the AA binoculars from 0300 to 0630 until it was pretty certain we were safe. I could not sleep on account of the rain and calls from field defense HQ. My fatigue mounted.

Whenever there is a severe shelling or bombing, our communication lines are always cut. Cpl. Takasami who has studied wireless does all the repair work. When the location of a cut is unknown, men from the searchlight unit come over to look for it and make repairs in the midst of shelling.

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2022 7:01 pm 
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That was the last entry in Probational officer Toshihiro's diary. If you look up the fight for New Georgia, you'll see the Japanese suffered heavily. He was one of the many killed. SW

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 Post subject: Re: Diary of another Japanese Probational officer summer, 19
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2022 4:10 pm 
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Hey Hogger
Good read, thanks for posting this.
rebel49

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