What is the largest number of battles that took place in the same place in the same war?

What is the largest number of battles that took place in the same place in the same war?

I have been reading about the 12 battles of the Isonzo river during world-war-one.

I believe it is an extreme statistic to have 12 battles in the same place during the same war.

Are there any instances of there being more battles in the same place during the same war than the 12 battles of the Isonzo river?


Though not more then 12 battles but Ypres had "only" 6 significant battles over a much smaller front then Isonzo. Though if you would count all smaller battles/offensives then you'll get a way bigger number. None of the smaller offensives are documented (well) on Wikipedia. And I'm unwilling to add them without reliable sources.

All battles were along a frontline stretching no more then 15-20 miles (Langemarck to Mesines). 2 villages which lie 10-miles apart just North & South of Ypres.

  • Battle of Messines (1914): Prelude of the 1st Battle of Ypres (=smaller battle)
  • 1st Battle of Ypres : in the Autumn of 1914
  • Battle for Hill 60 : April 1915 ( right before the second battle of Ypres) (=smaller battle)
  • 2nd Battle of Ypres: in Spring of 1915 near Langemarck. This included the first gas-attack on the western front
  • Battle of Messines : June 1917 Just south of Ypres (= Prelude of the Third battle of Ypres)
  • 3rd Battle of Ypres : Summer/Autumn of 1917 (including Passchendaele)
  • 4th Battle of Ypres : April 1918
  • Minor Allied Counter Offensive : Summer 1918 (reconquest of Kemmel & other smaller villages (surrounding mount Kemmel) by the British)
  • 5th Battle of Ypres : Autumn 1918

I am from Ypres myself. If you have any further remarks/questions, don't hesitate to put them into comment. I'll be happy to elaborate my answer

Note: I'll try to find some reliable links on the net for the smaller battles and then i'll add them to the list.

Edit: This might be the best list i've found so far about the Ypres Salient


Harper's Ferry changed hands several times during the US Civil War, each time due to military maneuvers and possibly combat.

Some places in the Shenandoah Valley are alleged to have changed hands dozens of times during the US Civil War - Winchester and Front Royale if I remember correctly. Naturally it would take a bit of research to check how many times those places actually changed hands. And more research to see how many times there was at least a skirmish when the place changed hands.

From the beginning of the Civil War until the Union forces permanently reoccupied the town on July 8, 1864, the Harpers Ferry changed hands fourteen times. During the times that it escaped control from either army, the inhabitants of Harpers Ferry remained subject to frequent reconnaissance missions and guerrilla raids. Although no major battle was fought at Harpers Ferry after Stonewall Jackson's attack on the garrison in 1862, by the end of the Civil War the town was devastated by repeated attempts from both Union and Confederate forces to control the vital transportation hub. Shortly after the war, Harpers Ferry resident Jessie E. Johnson spoke to the instability of Harpers Ferry, writing that “When the Union army came they called the citizens Rebels - when the Confederates came they called them Yankees.”

https://www.civilwar.org/learn/articles/10-facts-harpers-ferry1

Located in the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester was the most contested town in the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861-1865), changing hands more than seventy times and earning its reputation (in the words of a British observer) as the shuttlecock of the Confederacy. Three major battles were fought within town limits and four others nearby.

https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Winchester_During_the_Civil_War2


Major Battles Of The War Of 1812

The British siege of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics of America's National Anthem.

The War of 1812 was fought between American and British forces. It began on June 18, 1812. As the British army was using many of their resources fighting in the Napoleonic Wars, Canadians (who at the time lived in what was Upper Canada and Lower Canada) and Native Americans helped the British in their fight against the United States. Many Canadians, especially those in Lower Canada (modern-day Quebec) worried that an American invasion would threaten their right to speak French. Many of those living in Upper Canada (modern-day Ontario) preferred to stay loyal to the British crown. Many Native Americans also fought on the side of the British. They were led by Chief Tecumseh.

The War of 1812 today is considered to be one of the most pivotal wars in American history. The war is said to have started as an American response to the impressment of American seamen by the British. Impressment means that American seamen were being forced to work for the British Navy against their own accord. Within the War of 1812, American forces launched three unsuccessful three-point invasions of Canada with the hopes of expanding their territory in the name of Manifest Destiny.

When it comes to who won the War of 1812, historically, the American side and the British side have differing opinions. In American history, the War of 1812 is considered to be a War of Independence. As the Americans did not have to cede any of their territory to the British, the War of 1812 is seen as an American territory. However, as Canada did not become part of the United States, the British see the War of 1812 as a British-won war.

When the French empire was collapsed under Napoleon Bonaparte, the British were able to put more resources into the war being fought in America. This eventually resulted in the capturing of Washington, D.C. by the British army and the burning down of public buildings including White House, in what was perhaps the War of 1812's most remembered moment today. The burning down of Washington was in retaliation for the American invasion of the Canadian government buildings. However, this was not the only battle that occurred during the War of 1812, which was the most recent war to have been fought on American soil. The most important of battles are outlined in the list below.


Battle of Tannenberg

On August 26, 1914, one of the first battles of World War I started when Russian troops attempted to invade German territory in a multi-pronged ambush. Russian General Samsonov led his Second Army from the southwest, while General Rennenkampf marched the First Army through the northeast. This military strategy proved unsuccessful as a miscommunication on the Russian side led to a widely dispersed and weakened Army. In addition, German Colonel Hoffman and General Ludendorff intercepted a series of Russian messages that allowed the German Army to set up numerous traps cutting off Russian supplies. As a result, Germany ended up winning the battle, capturing 95,000 Russian troops, as well as enough guns and equipment to fill six trains back to Berlin.


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In the mid-19th century, North Carolina was a picture of contrasts. On the Coastal Plain, it was largely a plantation state with a long history of slavery. [3] In the more rural and mountainous western part of the state, there were no plantations and few slaves. [3] These differing perspectives showed themselves in the fraught election of 1860 and its aftermath. North Carolina's electoral votes went to Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, an adamant supporter of slavery who hoped to extend the "peculiar institution" to the United States' western territories, rather than to the Constitutional Union candidate, John Bell, who carried much of the Upper South. [5] North Carolina (in marked contrast to most of the states that Breckinridge carried) was reluctant to secede from the Union when it became clear that Republican Abraham Lincoln had won the presidential election. [5] In fact, North Carolina did not secede until May 20, 1861, after the fall of Fort Sumter and the secession of the Upper South's bellwether, Virginia. [5] The next day, on May 21, North Carolina was admitted to the Confederate States. The law admitting the state required a presidential proclamation before it was to take effect, [3] which sources say took place on this date [5] the only primary source found so far is a statement from Jefferson Davis on July 20 stating that the proclamation had been made. [6]

Some white North Carolinians, especially yeoman farmers who owned few or no slaves, felt ambivalently about the Confederacy draft-dodging, desertion, and tax evasion were common during the Civil War years, especially in the Union-friendly western part of the state. [7] These North Carolinians, often in disagreement with the aristocracy of eastern planters, along with African Americans across the state, helped in numbering around 15,000 troops who served in the Union Army. [8] North Carolina Union troops helped fight to occupy territory in the mountainous regions of North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the coastal plains of North Carolina, sometimes with troops from other states. [7] Central and Eastern white North Carolinians were often more enthusiastic about the Confederate cause. [9]

Initially, the policy of the Confederate populace was to embargo cotton shipments to Europe in hope of forcing them to recognize the Confederacy's independence, thereby allowing trade to resume. [10] The plan failed, and furthermore the Union's naval blockade of Southern ports drastically shrunk North Carolina's international commerce via shipping. [10] Internally, the Confederacy had far fewer railroads than the Union. The breakdown of the Confederate transportation system took a heavy toll on North Carolina residents, as did the runaway inflation of the war years and food shortages in the cities. [10] In the spring of 1863, there were food riots in Salisbury. [10]

Although there was little military combat in the Western districts, the psychological tensions grew greater and greater. Historians John C. Inscoe and Gordon B. McKinney argue that in the western mountains "differing ideologies turned into opposing loyalties, and those divisions eventually proved as disruptive as anything imposed by outside armies. As the mountains came to serve as refuges and hiding places for deserters, draft dodgers, escaped slaves, and escaped prisoners of war, the conflict became even more localized and internalized, and at the same time became far messier, less rational, and more mean-spirited, vindictive, and personal" (Inscoe and Mckinney). [9]

From September 1861 until July 1862, Union Major General Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Department of North Carolina, formed the North Carolina Expeditionary Corps and set about capturing key ports and cities. [4] His successes at the Battle of Roanoke Island and the Battle of New Bern helped cement Federal control of a part of coastal Carolina.

Fighting continued in North Carolina sporadically throughout the war. In 1864, the Confederates assumed the offensive in North Carolina, trying to recover some of the territory lost to Burnside's expedition. [4] They failed to retake New Bern, but reconquered Plymouth and held it for six months. Moreover, the Union Army launched several attempts to seize Fort Fisher and finally did in 1865. [4] In the war's closing days, a large Federal force under General William Tecumseh Sherman marched into North Carolina, and in a series of movements that became known as the Carolinas Campaign, occupied much of the state and defeated the Confederates in several key battles, including Averasborough and Bentonville. [4] The surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate army at Bennett Place in April 1865 essentially ended the war in the Eastern Theater. [4]

Battles in North Carolina Edit

The following are the major battles of the Civil War that were fought in North Carolina: [11] [12]

Battle Date Location Outcome
Battle of Albemarle Sound May 5, 1864 Albermarle Sound Inconclusive
Battle of Averasborough May 16, 1865 Harnett and Cumberland Counties Inconclusive
Battle of Bentonville May 19–21, 1865 Johnston County Union victory
Battle of Fort Anderson March 13–16, 1863 Craven County Union victory
Battle of Fort Fisher I December 23–27, 1864 New Hanover County Confederate victory
Battle of Fort Fisher II January 13–15, 1865 New Hanover County Union victory
Siege of Fort Macon March 23, 1862 - Apr 26, 1862 Carteret County Union victory
Battle of Goldsboro Bridge December 17, 1862 Wayne County Union victory
Battle of Hatteras Inlet Batteries August 28–29, 1861 Outer Banks Union victory
Battle of Kinston December 14, 1862 Lenoir County Union victory
Battle of Monroe's Cross Roads March 10, 1865 Hoke County Inconclusive
Battle of Morrisville April 13–15, 1865 Wake County Union victory
Battle of New Bern March 14, 1862 Craven County Union victory
Battle of Plymouth April 17–20, 1864 Washington County Confederate victory
Battle of Roanoke Island February 7–8, 1862 Dare County Union victory
Battle of South Mills April 19, 1862 Camden County Confederate victory
Battle of Tranter's Creek June 5, 1862 Pitt County Union victory
Battle of Washington March 30, 1863 – April 20, 1863 Beaufort County Inconclusive
Battle of White Hall December 16, 1862 Wayne County Draw
Battle of Wilmington February 11–22, 1865 New Hanover County Union victory
Battle of Wyse Fork March 7–10, 1865 Lenoir County Tactical Union victory, Strategic Confederate victory
Campaign of the Carolinas January 1 – April 26, 1865 North and South Carolina Decisive Union victory

Henry Toole Clark served as the state's governor from July 1861 to September 1862. [13] Clark founded a Confederate prison in North Carolina, set up European purchasing connections, and built a successful gunpowder mill. His successor Zebulon Vance further increased state assistance for the soldiers in the field. [13]

As the war went on, William Woods Holden became a quiet critic of the Confederate government, and a leader of the North Carolina peace movement. In 1864, he was the unsuccessful "peace candidate" against incumbent Governor Vance. [13] Unionists in North Carolina formed a group called the "Heroes of America" that was allied with the United States. Numbering nearly 10,000 men, a few of them possibly black, they helped Southern Unionists escape to U.S. lines. [7]

The North Carolina General Assembly of 1868–1869 ratified the Fourteenth Amendment on July 4, 1868, which readmitted North Carolina to the Union. [14]


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Around 6000 BCE, only the western part of the Shanghai region encompassing today's Qingpu, Songjiang and Jinshan districts were dry land formed by lacustrine silting from ancient Lake Tai. The modern Jiading, Minhang and Fengxian districts emerged around 1,000 BC while the downtown area remained underwater.

The earliest Neolithic settlements known in this area date to the Majiabang culture (5000–3300 BCE). [3] This was overlapped by the Songze culture between around 3800–3300 BCE. In the lower stratum of the Songze excavation site in the modern-day Qingpu District, archaeologists found the prone skeleton of one of the Shanghai's earliest inhabitants—a 25-30-year-old male with an almost complete skull dated to the Majiabang era. [4]

By the 4th and 5th centuries CE, during the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420), a thriving fishing industry had developed along the Song River—now known as Suzhou Creek, [5] —a tributary of the Huangpu River. Located some 12 miles (19 km) from the Yangtze River estuary, China's largest inland waterway, the creek was at that time known as the Hu ( 沪 ), a character that represents a fishing trap, of which there were a number in the river. [6] The character Hu is still used as an abbreviation to denote the city, for example on car license plates. [7] Qinglong Zhen ( 青龙镇 芊龍鎮 ), the "Garrison of the Green Dragon", the first garrison in this area, was founded in 746 during the Tang dynasty (618–907) in what is now the Qingpu District of Shanghai. [5] Five years later, Huating Zhèn ( 花亭镇 華亭镇 'Garrison of the Flower Temple') [A] followed, demonstrating the growth of the region and its increasing political and geographical importance. [5]

In 1074, Emperor Shenzong of Song, established a Marine Office and a Goods Control Bureau north-west of Huating Zhen at the approximate location of Shanghai's old city, adjacent to a ditch or pu ( 浦 ) that ran north into Suzhou Creek and allowed for the loading and unloading of freight. [5]

Later on, the area's proximity to Hangzhou, the capital of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), proved beneficial. [6] Along with its commercial activities, Qinglong Zhen became a military and naval base and by the early 12th century a Superintendent of Foreign Trade [B] was established in the settlement to supervise trade and tax collections across five counties. As a result, the flourishing and prosperous town earn the sobriquet "Little Hangzhou." [8]

According to official government sources, Shanghai first became a city in 1291 during the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). [9] At this time, five of Huating Zhen's villages were amalgamated to form a new Shanghai County ( 上海县 上海縣 Shànghǎi xiàn ) on the site of the modern city centre. This new settlement had a population of about 300,000 with many engaged in the shipping trade. [5]

By the early 15th century, Shanghai had become important enough for Ming dynasty engineers to begin dredging the Huangpu River (also known as Shen). In 1553, a city wall was built around the Old Town (Nanshi) as a defense against the depredations of the Wokou (Japanese pirates). Shanghai had its first contact with the Jesuits in 1603 when the Shanghai scholar-bureaucrat Xu Guangqi was baptized by Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci. [10] Xu later bequeathed some of his land in Shanghai, today's Xujiahui, meaning Xu family village, to the Catholic Church. By the end of the Ming dynasty in 1644, Shanghai had become a major cotton and textile center with a population that would soon reach 200,000.

During the late Qing dynasty, Shanghai's economy began to rival that of the traditionally larger market at Suzhou. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, exports of cotton, silk, and fertilizer reached as far as Polynesia and Persia. [11]

In 1832, the East India Company explored Shanghai and the Yangzi River as a potential trading center for tea, silk, and opium, but were rebuffed by local officials. Chinese attempts to prohibit the opium trade into China led to the First Opium War (1839-1842) with the United Kingdom the Treaty of Nanjing, which concluded the war with a British victory, opened up five treaty ports in China to British merchants, including Shanghai. Similar treaties were quickly signed with other Western nations, and French, American and German merchants joined their British counterparts in establishing a presence in Shanghai, residing in sovereign concessions where they were not subject to Chinese laws. The British established their concession in 1845, the Americans in 1848 in Hongkou, north of Suzhou Creek, and the French set up their concession in 1849 west of the old Chinese city and south of the British Concession. In 1846, Peter Richards founded Richards' Hotel, the first western hotel in China. It would later become the Astor House. In 1850, the first English-language newspaper in Shanghai, the North China Herald, was launched.

The Taiping Rebellion was the largest of a number of widespread rebellions against the hugely unpopular Qing regime. In 1853, Shanghai was occupied by a triad offshoot of the rebels called the Small Swords Society. The fighting devastated much of the countryside but left the foreign settlements untouched. [ citation needed ]

In 1854 a group of Western businessmen met and formed the Shanghai Municipal Council to organise road repairs, refuse clearance and tax collection across the concessions. In 1863 the American concession (land fronting the Huangpu River to the north-east of Suzhou Creek) officially joined the British Settlement (stretching from Yang-ching-pang Creek to Suzhou Creek) to become the Shanghai International Settlement. Its waterfront became the internationally famous Bund. The French concession, to the west of the old town, remained independent and the Chinese retained control over the original walled city and the area surrounding the foreign enclaves. By the late-1860s Shanghai's official governing body had been practically transferred from the individual concessions to the Shanghai Municipal Council. The International Settlement was wholly foreign-controlled with the British holding the largest number of seats on the Council and heading all the Municipal departments. No Chinese residing in the International Settlement were permitted to join the council until 1928.

Jardine's attempt to construct the Woosung "Road" railway in 1876 – China's first – proved initially successful until the death of a soldier on the tracks prompted the Chinese government to demand its nationalization. Upon the last payment in 1877, the local viceroy ordered the profitable railway dismantled and removed to Taiwan. [13] The telegraph that had been strung along the line of the railway – also China's first – was, however, allowed to remain in operation.

By the mid-1880s, the Shanghai Municipal Council had a practical monopoly over a large part of the city's services. It bought up all the local gas-suppliers, electricity producers and water-companies. In the early 20th century, it took control over all non-private rickshaws and the Settlement tramways. It also regulated opium sales and prostitution until their banning in 1918 and 1920 respectively.

The Treaty of Shimonoseki which ended the First Sino-Japanese War saw Japan emerge as an additional foreign power in Shanghai. Japan built the first factories in Shanghai, [ citation needed ] which were soon followed by other foreign powers. The Chinese defeat also spurred reformers within the Qing government to modernize more quickly, leading to the reëstablishment of the Songhu Railway and its expansion into the Shanghai–Nanjing Railway.

The 1911 Xinhai Revolution, spurred in part by actions against the native-owned railways around Shanghai, led to the establishment of the Republic of China. During that time, Shanghai became the focal point of many activities that would eventually shape modern China.

In 1936, Shanghai was one of the largest cities in the world with 3 million inhabitants. Of those, only 35,000-50,000 were of European origin, but these controlled half the city under the unequal treaties that provided extraterritoriality until 1943. [14] Many White Russians fled to China after the 1917 Revolution – , trickling to Shanghai along the 1920s. The number of people with Russian origins was about 35,000 by the 1930s, well exceeding number of other people with European origin. These Shanghai Russians were sometimes poorly regarded by westerners, as their general poverty led them to take jobs considered unsuitable for Europeans, including prostitution. [15] However, among Russian emigration was layered, also including several well-to-do members. Russian artists dominated Shanghai's artistic life almost single-handedly. Many Jews who fled Nazi Germany arrived in the 1930s. [16]

The city was thus divided between its more European western half and the more traditionally Chinese eastern half. New inventions like electricity and trams were quickly introduced, and Westerners helped transform Shanghai into a metropolis. British and American businessmen made a great deal of money in trade and finance, and Germans used Shanghai as a base for investing in China. Shanghai accounted for half of the imports and exports of China. The western part of Shanghai grew to a size four times larger than the Chinese part had been in the early 20th century. [17]

European and American inhabitants of Shanghai called themselves the Shanghailanders. After problems during its initial few years, the Public Garden north of the Bund – China's first public park and today's Huangpu Park – was for decades reserved for the foreign nationals and forbidden to Chinese natives. The International Settlement was built in the British style with a large racetrack at the site of today's People's Square. A new class emerged, the compradors, which mixed with the local landlords to form a new class, a Chinese bourgeoisie. [ citation needed ] The compradors were indispensable mediators for the western companies. Many compradors were on the leading edge of the movement to modernize China. [ clarification needed ] Shanghai was then the biggest financial city in East Asia. [ citation needed ]

Chinese society Edit

Chinese society was divided into native place associations or provincial guilds. These guilds defended the interests of traders from shared hometowns. They had their own dress codes and sub-cultures. Chinese government was hardly organized, for the foreign governments controlled the economy. Instead, society was controlled by the native place associations. The Guangdong native place associations represented the skilled workers of Shanghai. These native place associations belonged to the top of Shanghainese society. The Ningbo and Jiangsu native place associations were the most numerous. They represented the common workers. Some came from the north of China. They were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. Many of them were forced to work as seasonal workers or even mobsters> [18] [19]

Shanghai Grand Edit

During the 1920s and 1930s Shanghai became known as "The Paris of the East, the New York of the West". [20] Shanghai was made a special city in 1927, and a municipality in May 1930. The city's industrial and financial power increased, because the merchants were in control of the city, while the rest of China was divided among warlords.

Artistically, Shanghai became the hub for three new art forms: Chinese cinema, Chinese animation,and Chinese popular music. Other forms of entertainment included Lianhuanhua comic books. he architectural style at the time was modeled after British and American designs. Many of the grandest-scale buildings on The Bund – such as Shanghai Club, the Asia Building and the HSBC building – were constructed or renovated at this time. The city created a distinct image that separated it from all other Chinese cities that had come before it. [21]

"Bizarre advertising displays were an everyday reality . though I sometimes wonder if everyday reality was the one element missing from the city," British novelist J.G. Ballard, who was born and raised in Shanghai during this era, recalled in his autobiography. "I would see something strange and mysterious, but treat it as normal . Anything was possible, and everything could be bought and sold." The experience inspired much of his later fiction. [22]

Economic achievements include the city becoming the commercial center of East Asia, attracting banks from all over the world. When movies and literature depict the golden days of by-gone Shanghai, it is generally associated with this era.

Power struggle Edit

The city was also the center of national and international opium smuggling during the 1920s. In the 1930s, "The Great World" amusement palace was a place where opium, prostitution and gambling came together under the leadership of gangster Huang Jinrong also known as "Pockmarked Huang". [23] Huang was the highest-ranked Chinese detective in the French Concession Police (FCP) and employed Green Gang (Qing Bang) leader Du Yuesheng as his gambling and opium enforcer. The Green Gang became a major influence in the Shanghai International Settlement, with the Commissioner of the Shanghai Municipal Police reporting that corruption associated with the trade had affected a large proportion of his force. An extensive crackdown in 1925 simply displaced the focus of the trade to the neighboring French Concession.

Meanwhile, traditional division of society by native place associations was falling apart. The new working classes were not prepared to listen to the bosses of the same native place associations during the 1910s. Resentment against the foreign presence in Shanghai rose among both the entrepreneurs and the workers of Shanghai. [ citation needed ] In 1919, protests by the May Fourth Movement against the Treaty of Versailles led to the rise of a new group of philosophers like Chen Duxiu and Hu Shih who challenged Chinese traditionalism with new ideologies. Books like New Youth disseminated the new school of thought, while crime and warlord banditry convinced many that the existing government was largely ineffective. [ citation needed ] In this atmosphere, the Communist Party of China was founded in Shanghai in 1921.

The Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and the Shanghailanders entered into an informal alliance with the Green Gang, which acted against the Communists and organized labor unions. The nationalists had cooperated with gang leaders since the revolution. Although sporadic fighting between gangsters and communists had occurred previously, many communists were killed in a major surprise attack during the April 12 Incident in the Chinese-administered part of Shanghai. Suspected leftists were shot on sight, so that many – including Zhou Enlai – fled the city. [24]

In the late 1920s and early '30s, large residential areas were built north of the foreign concessions. These residential areas were modern, with good roads and parking lots for automobiles. A new Chinese port was built, [ where? ] which could compete with the Shanghailanders' ports. [ citation needed ] Chiang Kai-shek continuously demanded large amounts of money from the financial world in Shanghai. [ citation needed ] Most bankers and merchants were willing to invest in the army, but this stopped in 1928. [ why? ] Chiang responded by nationalizing all enterprises. [ citation needed ] T. V. Soong, Chiang's brother-in-law, chastised his erstwhile relative, writing that it is better to strengthen the party and the economy as well instead of focusing only on the army. [ citation needed ]

Supported by the progressive native place associations, Chiang Kai-shek's rule turned increasingly autocratic. [25] The power of the gangsters rose in the early 1930s, especially the power of the Green Gang leader Du Yuesheng who started his own native place association. Chiang Kai-shek chose to cooperate with gangsters in order to maintain his grip on Chinese society. This meant that the gangsters remained middlemen during the rule of the nationalists, controlling society by frequently organizing strikes. Mobsters stormed the Shanghai Stock Exchange to gain control over it. No one interfered: the police because they had been dominated by the mobsters since 1919, the Shanghailanders because it was an internal Chinese affair, and the nationalists because they were trying to break the power of the entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs were forced to make a deal after a second raid. [26]

Greater Shanghai Plan Edit

In 1927, the government of the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China drew up a plan to develop land in the north east of the city adjacent to the Huangpu River. In 1922, this area had also been earmarked by Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese Republic, as the center of China's development plans with a view to Shanghai becoming a global commercial centre. By 1931, the new Shanghai Special City Government had approved and started work on the Greater Shanghai Plan utilising ideas drawn from British expert Ebenezer Howard's 1902 book Garden Cities of Tomorrow. [27] The grid layout of the new area also followed contemporary trends in European and American urban planning.

World War II and the Japanese Occupation Edit

The Japanese Navy bombed Shanghai on January 28, 1932, nominally to crush Chinese student protests against the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. The Chinese fought back in what was known as the January 28 Incident. The two sides fought to a standstill and a ceasefire was brokered in May.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese-controlled parts of the city fell after the 1937 Battle of Shanghai (known in China as the Battle of Songhu). The foreign concessions, which remained largely intact, entered what became known as the "Solitary Island" period — an enclave of prosperity surrounded by war zones — attracting some 400,000 Chinese refugees in 4 years. Tensions within the city led to a wave of assassinations against Chinese officials who worked with the Japanese authorities: during January and February, 1939, 16 pro-Japanese officials and businessmen were assassinated by Chinese resistance organizations. [28] With the beginning of the Pacific War, the foreign concessions too were occupied by Japan on 8 December 1941. [29]

Shanghai suffered less than many other cities during World War II, and the Japanese occupiers attempted to maintain many aspects of life as they had been before. The Shanghai Race Club reopened soon after the occupation and continued to host races throughout the war, even after most British and American Shanghai residents were interned. The races continued as late as August, 1945. [30]

During World War II, the extraterritoriality of the foreign concessions provided a haven for visa-less European refugees. It was, along with Franco's Spain, the only location in the world unconditionally open to Jews at the time. However, under pressure from their ally Germany, the Japanese removed the Jews in late 1941 to what became known as the Shanghai ghetto, where hunger and infectious diseases such as dysentery became rife. The foreign population rose from 35,000 in 1936 to 150,000 in 1942 (Jewish immigration was 20000-25000 from 1933 to 1941). [ dubious – discuss ] The Japanese were still harsher on belligerent nationals: Britons, Americans and the Dutch. These slowly lost their privileges and had to wear letters – B, A, or N – when walking in public places their villas were turned into brothels and gambling houses. [ citation needed ] , and they were finally interned in concentration camps, notably Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center, in 1943. The whole of Shanghai remained under Japanese occupation until the surrender of Japan on 15 August 1945.

End of the Foreign Concessions Edit

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese ended all foreign concessions in Shanghai except for the French. This state of affairs was conceded by an Anglo-Chinese Friendship Treaty in 1943. [ clarification needed ] The French themselves ceded their privileges in 1946 following the end of World War II.

Communist Transition Edit

On May 27, 1949, Shanghai came under Communist control.

One of the first actions taken by the Communist party was to kill people considered counter-revolutionaries. Places such as the Canidrome were transformed from elegant ballrooms to mass execution facilities. [31] [32] This reality has been largely censored, despite numerous western texts describing the hostile takeover following the arrival of the People's Liberation Army. [32]

Most foreign firms moved their offices from Shanghai to Hong Kong, specifically North Point, whose Eastern District became known as "Little Shanghai". [33]

Home of leftism Edit

Shanghai was, along with Beijing, the only former ROC municipality not merged into neighboring provinces over the next decade. Shanghai then underwent a series of changes in the boundaries of its subdivisions.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Shanghai became an industrial center and center for revolutionary leftism. [ citation needed ] The city stagnated economically during the Maoist era. [ citation needed ] Shanghai remained the largest contributor of tax revenue to the central government, but this came at the cost of severely crippling Shanghai's infrastructure, capital, and artistic development. [ citation needed ] This also initially denied economic freedoms to the city that were later available to southern provinces such as Guangdong. During the mid-1980s, Guangdong province paid nearly no taxes to the central government and thus was perceived as fiscally expendable. [ citation needed ] Guangdong would benefit from economic reform under Deng Xiaoping, while Shanghai would have to wait another decade until 1991.

Although political power in Shanghai has traditionally been seen as a stepping stone to higher positions within the PRC central government, [ citation needed ] the city's modern transformation really did not begin until the third generation General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Jiang Zemin came to power in 1989. Along with his premier Zhu Rongji, Jiang represented the politically right-of-center "Shanghai clique" and began reducing the tax burden on Shanghai. Encouraging both foreign and domestic investment, he sought to promote the city – particularly the Lujiazui area of Pudong – as the economic hub of East Asia and gateway to the Chinese interior. Since that time, Shanghai has led China's overall development and experienced continuous economic growth of between 9–15% annually [34] – arguably at the expense of Hong Kong.

Shanghai is China's largest and greatest commercial and industrial city. With 0.1% of the land area of the country, it supplies over 12% of the municipal revenue and handles more than a quarter of total trade passing through China's ports. Its year 2010 population, according to China's latest census, was 23.02 million and represented an increase of 6.61 million from the 2000 census.

The average size of a family in Shanghai declined to fewer than three people during the 1990s, and it is clear that most of Shanghai's population growth is driven by migration rather than natural factors based on high birth and fertility rates. Shanghai has for many years had the lowest birth rate in China, [ dubious – discuss ] a rate lower than large American cities such as New York. [ citation needed ]

As with most cities in China, Shanghai is overbounded in its administrative territory. The city in the year 2010 was composed of 16 districts and one county, together occupying 6,340.5 square kilometers (2,448.1 sq mi) of land area. Chongming contains substantial rural land and a number of rural residents who continue to farm for their livelihood. The city has the highest population density of all the first-order administrative units in China, with 3630.5/km² (9402.9/sq mi) in 2010. Owing to its continued growth and industrial and commercial development, Shanghai also has the highest index of urbanization among all of China's first order administrative units, with 89.3% of the official population (20.6 million) classified as urban.

The amount of building activity in Shanghai fueled by government investment expenditures continues to be astounding. Since the 1980s, Shanghai's economy shifted from over 77% of gross domestic product in secondary sector manufacturing to a more balanced sectoral distribution of 48% in industry and 51% in services in 2000 and 2001. [ needs update ] Employment in manufacturing reached almost 60% in 1990 and has declined steadily since to 41% in 2001, while employment in the tertiary sector has grown from 30% in 1990 to more than 47% in 2001. [ needs update ]

The rapid growth in population, factories and motor vehicles has generated environmental issues. Experts say the chief problems involve air and water pollution and the accumulation of solid wastes. [35]


The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War

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Even amid the chaos of the uprising’s first hours, Manuel's capture was a priority. In his small village of Villarroya de la Sierra, Manuel was beloved for his work as the town veterinarian, but he was also the founder of the local chapter of an anarchist labor union. It was evidence enough for a priest, Father Bienvenido Moreno, to condemn Manuel as “the cause of all the evil that has come to the people.”

They found him on the outskirts of town, where he had gone to help a friend with the summer harvest. His location was betrayed by his bicycle, which the soldiers spotted near the side of the road. They snatched Manuel from the fields and drove into town with their new prisoner on display in the bed of a truck.

The eldest of Manuel’s four children, Carlos, who was barely a teenager, gave chase, following the truck along Villarroya de la Sierra’s winding streets, past the central square and the red brick church. “Stop following us,” one of the soldiers told the boy, “or we’ll take you, too.” Carlos never saw his father again.

Manuel was transported to the nearby town of Calatayud, where he was held in a makeshift prison on the grounds of a church. A few days later, he was taken to a ravine on the edge of town called La Bartolina—“the dungeon”—and executed by firing squad. His body was dumped in an unmarked mass grave.

Purificación “Puri” Lapeña never knew her grandfather, but growing up she’d heard stories about him. Her father, Manuel Jr., told Puri that her grandfather was quick-witted and conscientious, a doting parent and a reliable friend. He told her about the time that one of Manuel’s customers, unable to pay for his services, gave Manuel a beautiful plot on a hillside as compensation. Manuel could have sold the land, but instead he planted a grove of trees and carried benches to the hilltop, so that townspeople could sit and enjoy the view. Manuel Jr. also told Puri about her grandfather’s disappearance, and who he felt was responsible. When Gen. Francisco Franco appeared on television, Manuel Jr. would go silent, then point and say quietly, “That is the man who murdered my father.”

When Puri was 16, her father borrowed a car and drove her to La Bartolina, where they stood quietly in the sunshine, looking out over the ravine. He wanted Puri to see the place for herself. Even as a girl, Puri knew that these stories were to be kept private, never shared with anyone outside the family.

When the Spanish Civil War began, in 1936, fascism was on the march across Europe, as a new breed of strongman leader emerged from the horrors and economic ravages of the First World War and the Great Depression. The war in Spain played out like a dress rehearsal for the global cataclysm that was to come—the first pivotal battle in the struggle between ascendant right-wing authoritarianism and beleaguered liberal democracy. Each side was aided by ideological allies from across the continent and beyond. When, for example, the Republican stronghold of Guernica was bombed to ruin in 1937 (the subject of Picasso’s famous antiwar painting), the assault was carried out at Franco’s request by warplanes that Hitler and Mussolini had dispatched. Thousands of volunteers also went to Spain to fight on the side of democracy, including nearly 3,000 Americans.

The conflict ripped Spain apart. Neighbors turned on one another, brothers killed brothers, and thousands of teachers and artists and priests were murdered for their political sympathies. The wounds left by the conflict never quite healed. To this day, Spanish politics tend to cleave along the lines established during the civil war: the conservative, religious right, heirs and defenders of Franco, against the liberal, secular left, descended from the defeated Republicans.

By 1939, after Franco’s Nationalists had conquered the last Republican holdouts, an estimated 500,000 people were dead. More than 100,000 were unaccounted for, “lost” victims who, like Manuel Lapeña, had been piled in mass graves. Both sides had committed atrocities there was no monopoly on suffering. But in Franco’s four decades of rule, he made sure that the war was remembered in simple terms: The dangerous Republican anarchists had been pure evil, the enemies of the people. Anyone who said differently risked imprisonment and torture. For families like Puri’s, silence was a survival strategy.

Manuel Lapeña’s northern hometown of Villarroya de la Sierra sat on a political fault line separating the largely Nationalist west from the Republican east. (Matías Costa)

When Franco died, in 1975, the country faced a choice. In countries such as Germany and Italy, defeat in World War II had forced a measure of reckoning over the crimes committed by fascist regimes. Spain, which remained neutral during the war despite secret cooperation with the Axis powers, chose a different path, cementing its legacy of silence through a political arrangement known as the Pact of Forgetting. In the name of ensuring a smooth transition to democracy, the country’s rightist and leftist parties agreed to forgo investigations or prosecutions related to the civil war or the dictatorship. The aim was to let the past stay buried, so Spain could move on.

Puri tried to do the same. She had a happy childhood, as normal as the times allowed. Money was scarce, but her parents—her father was a postman and accountant, her mother a tailor and saleswoman—worked hard to provide for Puri and her three younger siblings. Puri attended Catholic and state schools, and as an adult she found a job disbursing pensions and other government benefits at the National Institute of Social Security. She met a friend of her sister’s named Miguel, a man with a bulldog face and a wry sense of humor. The couple married in 1983, had a daughter, and settled in Zaragoza, where some of Puri’s relatives had gone after Manuel Lapeña’s disappearance.

Life went on, but Puri always wondered about her grandfather. It was impossible not to, as the civil war shaped her entire life: One aunt could not speak of Manuel without crying inconsolably. Puri’s uncle Carlos, who as a boy had chased his father’s killers through the streets, became a devoted rightist, and refused to acknowledge what he’d seen until he finally broke down on his deathbed. Puri’s mother, Guadalupe, had fled her hometown in Andalusia after her own father and 8-year-old brother were killed by Franco’s troops.

When Puri first began looking for Manuel, she couldn’t have known that the search would open an unprecedented new front in the war over Spain’s historical memory. It started simply enough: In 1992, Puri read a book called The Hidden Past, written by a group of historians at the University of Zaragoza, which traced the violent rise and legacy of fascism in northeast Spain. Included in the book was a list of all the Spaniards whom the authors had identified as “disappeared” during the civil war.

There, Puri saw it: Manuel Lapeña Altabás. She had known since childhood about her grandfather’s murder, but the story always had the feel of a family legend. “When I saw the names, I realized the story was real,” Puri told me. “I wanted to know more. What happened? Why? Until that moment, there were no documents. Suddenly it seemed possible to find him.”

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936�

For three years in the 1930s, the world watched, riveted, as the Spanish Civil War became the battleground in a fight between freedom and fascism that would soon take on global proportions.

Puri began scouring local government archives, looking for any information she could find about her grandfather’s death. She had just a name to go on, and in years of searching she turned up only a handful of documents. No one wanted to discuss Spain’s mass graves, much less track down a particular body.

For decades the graves went unacknowledged: no markers, no plaques, no memorials. When mourners did visit them, it was in secret, like Puri and her father at the ravine. In the years immediately after Franco’s death, a small number of Spaniards quietly began to reclaim the remains of their disappeared loved ones with little more than hands and shovels. But those exhumations were scattered and unofficial, kept out of public view by fear and shame. There was no way to know whether the bodies discovered by families actually belonged to them.

By the early 2000s, though, the silence was beginning to give way. A social movement took root as archaeologists, journalists and ordinary citizens, led by a sociologist named Emilio Silva, sought to document and unearth mass graves across the country. In the span of a few years, thousands of bodies were recovered. The awakening was driven in part by advances in forensic anthropology. With new tools like DNA sequencing and skeletal analysis, forensic specialists could identify remains and match them to living relatives. The search was no longer an exercise in hopeful guesswork: Now the bodies had names and loved ones they had left behind.

That was how Puri came to stand in the ravine of La Bartolina, decades after her first visit, on a bright, warm day last fall. Despite its bloody history, the site is easy to miss. From the highway, the only marker is a run-down building that reportedly serves as a brothel, and a thin, dusty footpath leading into the hills. The ravine is bone-dry and overgrown with shrubs. There’s garbage in every direction, tossed about by the wind that whips through the valley. “An ugly place for ugly things,” Puri told me, as we kicked through the dirt and debris.

Now 60, Puri has gently curling gray hair and wears simple rimless eyeglasses. She speaks quietly and carefully, with a self-possession that is almost regal, but when she gets excited, or angry, her voice rises to a rapid, insistent clip. You can see from old photographs that she inherited Manuel’s taut, frowning lips and his round blue eyes.

Today there’s a wide gully in the heart of the ravine, carved by flash floods and the earth-moving machines that arrived years ago to turn the site into a garbage dump. Puri believes that the executions happened against the far wall of the ravine, just before a bend in the riverbed that hides most of the valley from view. On a visit in 2004, she found clusters of spent shell casings there, and pockmarks in the dry orange walls from the bullets that had missed, or gone through, their targets.

“Whenever I think of my grandfather, and the other men lined up, I can’t help but wonder about the same questions,” Puri said, as she looked at the scarred wall. What was he wearing? What was he thinking about? Did he say anything at the end? “I think he must have been incredulous. It was the very first days of the war, and he probably couldn’t believe they would actually kill him for doing nothing wrong. I hope he was thinking of his family.”

In 2006, Puri visited the Calatayud cemetery, not far from the ravine. Dozens of people from Manuel’s hometown had been rounded up and shot there, including Manuel’s brother, Antonio. If Manuel’s body had been moved, she reasoned, perhaps it was taken here. As she wandered the tree-lined paths, looking for graves from the civil war era, a local resident approached and asked what she was doing. When Puri told the man about her grandfather, he replied: Oh, you won’t find any bodies here. They were dug up and moved decades ago. The man had seen it himself, and he knew where the bodies were taken: El Valle de los Caídos. The Valley of the Fallen.

Puri was elated—and crestfallen. Finally, she had a clue to follow. But she knew that if Manuel was truly in the Valley of the Fallen, she would never get his body back. The Valley was untouchable.


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Pfc. Dan Bullock died at age 15 in 1969 and efforts to recognize the young African-American Marine continue and are highlighted in this Military Times documentary. (Rodney Bryant and Daniel Woolfolk/Military Times).


Battle of Coral Sea Summary

By May of 1942, the Empire of Japan had seen a significant amount of success at sea and on-land. The Japanese goals expanded to include taking all of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to eliminate the final Allied bases between Japan and Australia. This action would also provide an additional security barrier for the land recently taken by Japan in the Dutch East Indies. Japan hoped to also pull the American navy’s aircraft carriers into battle to completely destroy the American fleet after missing the carriers on their attack against Pearl Harbor. The Japanese navy would sortie three fleets from Rabaul in

April to accomplish their goals.

The Japanese fleets would split with one moving toward the primary Allied base on New Guinea, Port Moresby, one towards Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, and a covering force led by Vice Admiral Take Takagi that would be centered around the Japanese aircraft carriers Shokaku, Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho. On may 3 rd , the Japanese would occupy Tulagi island to setup a seaplane base. Commander-in-Chief U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz, would be made aware of the Japanese plans through radio intercept. In response, he dispatched the U.S. carriers YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON to protect Port Moresby.

The Allied forces were led by Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher who would launch strikes against Tulagi on May 4 th , 1942. The attacks

Battle of the Coral Sea, May 1942. A “mushroom cloud” rises after a heavy explosion on board USS Lexington (CV-2), 8 May 1942. This is probably the “great explosion” from the detonation of torpedo warheads stowed in the starboard side of the hangar, aft, that followed an explosion amidships at 1727 hrs. Note USS Yorktown (CV-5) on the horizon in the left center, and destroyer USS Hammann (DD-412) at the extreme left.

would eliminate the Japanese use of the base for reconnaissance for the Battle of Coral Sea. The aircraft from the YORKTOWN would also sink a Japanese destroyer and five merchant ships. Later in the day YORKTOWN would join the LEXINGTON. On May 6 th , 1942, shore-based B-17’s from Australia would spot the main Japanese force, but would fail to score any high-altitude bombing hits on the ships.

Both carrier groups (Japanese and Allied) would continue to search for the other without any success due to limited visibility in the area of operations. Admiral Feltcher would ultimately choose to detach his main surface combatant force of three cruisers and escorts to block the likely course of the Japanese invasion fleet. This group was designated Task Force 44 and would be led by Rear Admiral John Crace. The group would be considered vulnerable to Japanese air attack without being under American Carrier aviation coverage.

Although neither force was successful in finding the opposing main body, Japanese aircraft were able to find and sink the USS Sims (destroyer) and severely damage the American oiler, USS Neosho. U.S. aircraft were then able to locate the Japanese carrier Shoho and sunk it. During the sinking of the Shoho, LCDR (Lieutenant Commander) Robert E. Dixon was credited with the now famous radio call of “scratch one flattop.”

On May 8 th , both fleets would ultimately locate the other and launch all available aircraft. The Allied aircraft were able to attack Japanese carrier, Shokaku, on three occasions and put it out of action. The Zuikaku was able to avoid taking any damage due to being hidden in a rain squall. At the same time, Japanese forces were able to hit the YORKTOWN with a bomb and the LEXINGTON with bombs and torpedoes. The Lexington had a supply of aviation fuel explode that would preclude the crew from putting out the fires. To prevent capture by the Japanese, the ship was abandoned and scuttled. The Japanese commander, Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue, would then order his invasion force to return to port with their approaches being blocked by the Allies.


Appomattox Court House

Trapped by the Federals near Appomattox Court House, Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union general Ulysses S. Grant, precipitating the capitulation of other Confederate forces and leading to the end of the bloodiest conflict in American history.

How it ended

Union victory. Lee’s formal surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, brought the war in Virginia to an end. While this event is considered the most significant surrender of the Civil War, several other Confederate commanders had to capitulate and negotiate paroles and amnesty for Southern combatants before President Andrew Johnson could officially proclaim an end to the Civil War. That formal declaration occurred sixteen months after Appomattox, on August 20, 1866.

In context

General Lee's final campaign began on March 25, 1865, with a Confederate attack on Fort Stedman, near Petersburg. General Grant’s forces counterattacked a week later on April 1 at Five Forks, forcing Lee to abandon Richmond and Petersburg the following day. The Confederate Army’s retreat moved southwest along the Richmond & Danville Railroad. Heavily outnumbered by the enemy and low on supplies, Lee was in dire trouble. Nevertheless, he led a series of grueling night marches, hoping to reach supply trains in Farmville, Virginia, and eventually join Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army in North Carolina. Union troops captured the valuable supplies at Farmville on April 7.

On April 8, the Confederates discovered that their army was blocked by Federal cavalry. Confederate commanders tried to break through the cavalry screen, hoping that the horsemen were unsupported by other troops. But Grant had anticipated Lee’s attempt to escape and ordered two corps (Twenty-fourth and Fifth), under the commands of Maj. Gen. John Gibbon and Bvt. Maj. Gen. Charles Griffin, to march all night to reinforce the Union cavalry and trap Lee. On April 9, those corps drove back the Confederates.

Rather than destroy his army and sacrifice the lives of his soldiers to no purpose, Lee decided to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia. Three days later, a formal ceremony marked the disbanding of Lee's army and the parole of his men, ending the war in Virginia. The Grant-Lee agreement served not only as a signal that the South had lost the war but also as a model for the rest of the surrenders that followed.

General Robert E. Lee heads west along the Appomattox River, eventually arriving in Appomattox County on April 8. His objective is the South Side Railroad at Appomattox Station, where critical food supplies have been sent up from Lynchburg. Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. George A. Custer reach them first, however, capturing and burning three supply trains.

Grant, aware that Lee's army was out of options, had written to Lee on April 7, requesting the Confederate general's surrender. But Lee still hopes to access more supplies further west at Lynchburg and does not capitulate. He does, however, ask what terms Grant is offering. The two generals continue their correspondence throughout the next day.

April 9. Approximately 9,000 Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon deploy in the fields west of the village before dawn and wait. Before 8:00 a.m., Maj. Gen. Bryan Grimes of North Carolina successfully launches an attack against Union calvary under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan. The outnumbered Union cavalry fall back, temporarily opening the road to the Confederates. But more Union infantry under Gibbon and Griffin begin arriving from the west and south, encircling Lee’s forces. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s Rebel troops are being pressed from the rear near New Hope Church, three miles to the east. General Ulysses S. Grant’s goal of cutting off and destroying Lee’s army is within reach.

Bowing to the inevitable, Lee orders his troops to retreat through the village and back across the Appomattox River. Small pockets of resistance continue to erupt until flags of truce are sent out from the Confederate lines between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. Lee and Grant exchange messages and agree to meet at the Wilmer McLean home at Appomattox Court House that afternoon. There, Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia.

The surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia sets the stage for the conclusion of the Civil War. Through the lenient terms, Confederate troops are paroled and allowed to return to their homes while Union soldiers are ordered to refrain from overt celebration or taunting. These measures serve as a blueprint for the surrender of the remaining Confederate forces throughout the South.

Although a formal peace treaty is never signed by the combatants, the submission of the Confederate armies ends the war and begins the long and arduous road toward reunification of North and South.

According to Grant, who recorded the experience in his memoirs, the two generals treated one another with courtesy and respect. They initially attempted to break the ice by recalling their old army days during the Mexican American War. Grant was flattered that Lee remembered him from that time, as he was much younger than Lee and more junior in rank. Then, they got down to negotiating the terms of surrender. Despite being the victor, Grant felt no joy in Lee’s defeat.

Grant drafted the following generous terms of surrender, which avoided the harsh punishment and humiliation of Lee’s men.

The following day allowed a long-awaited emotional release for those who had once been fellow citizens, then armed foes for four years. Grant, accompanied by his staff and other officers, met with Lee once again. The Union general sensed that his men wanted to visit the Confederate lines and greet some of the men they had trained with before the war. Lee kindly consented:

It took several months after Appomattox for all the Confederate armies to capitulate, and still the war was not declared at an end until Texas formed a new state government that accepted the abolition of slavery in August 1866.

After Lee's surrender, the Army of Tennessee remained in the field for over two weeks, until Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston finally surrendered to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman on April 26. Johnston's surrender was the largest of the war, totaling almost 90,000 men. When news of Johnston’s surrender reached Alabama, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor, the son of President Zachary Taylor and commander of some 10,000 Confederate men, surrendered his army to his Union counterpart on May 4. Several days later, Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest gave up his cavalry corps at Gainesville, Alabama, telling his men: “…further resistance on our part would justly be regarded as the very height of folly and rashness.”

The final battle of the Civil War took place at Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 11–12. The last large Confederate military force was surrendered on June 2 by Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in Galveston, Texas. Yet Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, the first Native American to serve as a Confederate general, kept his troops in the field for nearly a month after Smith gave up the Trans-Mississippi Army. On June 23, Watie finally acknowledged defeat and surrendered his unit of Confederate Cherokee, Creek, Seminole and Osage troops at Doaksville, near Fort Towson (now Oklahoma), becoming the last Confederate general to give up his command.

The CSS Shenandoah, a former British trade ship repurposed as a Confederate raider, continued preying on Union commercial ships in the Bering Sea long after the rebellion ended on land. Only in August 1865, when its skipper, Lt. Cmdr. James Waddell, got word that the war had definitively ended, did the ship escape to Liverpool, England, and lower the Confederate flag.

By April 1866, one year after Appomattox, the insurrection was over in all of the former Confederate states but Texas, which had not yet succeeded in establishing a new state government. President Andrew Johnson eventually accepted Texas’s constitution—which grudgingly agreed to the abolition of slavery—and on August 20, 1866, proclaimed that “said insurrection is at an end and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole United States of America.”


Battle of Bougainville: 37th Infantry Division’s Battle for Hill 700

The American strategic plan was clear: Move up the Solomon Island chains to open a direct route to the Philippines, take the Philippines and then move out from there on to Tokyo.

In 1942, the U.S. Marines drove the Japanese out of the first Solomon island, Guadalcanal in 1943, painfully, bloodily, the 37th Infantry Division pushed through the equally impenetrable jungles of New Georgia, sweeping what was left of the 15,000 defending Japanese into the sea. The next and final Solomon island was Bougainville, and there the tactics were dramatically altered though the strategic concept remained the same.

In early November 1943, the 3rd Marine Division and the 37th Infantry Division invaded Bougainville with an offensive-defensive mission. There was no thought of pushing across this 250-square-mile island and eliminating the 25,000 Japanese in a brutal, costly, slow action. Instead, the plan was to take only a small piece of Bougainville, perhaps six square miles, including the deepest, best port at Empress Augusta Bay. Within those six square miles, a major airfield would be built, from which American planes could range over the South Pacific as far forward as the Philippines, assuring security from the air for the convoys and task forces that would invade the Philippines in October 1944.

By November 13, the Marine and Army units had reached their 2-mile-deep objective against relatively moderate enemy ground resistance and airstrikes. During the next four months, the position was consolidated, the airfield was built, and the springboard to the Philippines was set. Fighting had been limited it was obvious that the Japanese had assumed–and hoped–that the American troops would go after them in the jungle terrain, where the Japanese could inflict heavy casualties on the Americans as they hacked their way, yard by yard, through those jungles. By March 1944, the Japanese realized that the Americans were going to sit this one out, manning defensive lines. If they wanted to kill their enemy and, most important, take out the vital airfield, the Japanese would have to attack head-on.

The American perimeter was dotted with a number of hills and valleys. The famed Hill 700 was right in the center of the perimeter, towering above the entire area with a clear view of the airfield. Hill 700 was the linchpin of the American defenses, the key to holding the perimeter positions to its right and left and eventually the airfield. The 3rd Marine and 37th Infantry divisions were spread thinly along this two-mile perimeter, with forces in reserve that could be sent forward wherever the Japanese might break through. Patrols were sent out to find and fix Japanese troop concentrations. A few prisoners were taken, and several quickly confessed that the Japanese command had finally understood the U.S. defensive concept and tactical plan with Hill 700 as its heart.

On March 8, the inevitable massive Japanese attack began, and it did not wane until March 13, when Hill 700, which had been partially overrun by the Japanese, was retaken by 37th Division forces, who annihilated thousands of Japanese in the recapture phase.

At 6 a.m. on the 8th, the first artillery shell from the attacking Japanese hit in the 145th Infantry Regiment’s sector. The enemy began to carry the fight to the Americans.

The American beachhead was on a coastal plain lying at the foot of the towering Crown Prince Range, volcanic mountains held by the Japanese. The enemy also occupied the rest of Bougainville–giving them a white elephant compared to the Americans’ potent mouse. The two American divisions could not spread their perimeter beyond the nearest foothills overlooking the beachhead. The best they could do was to hang on to the lesser heights that dominated the airfield and to deny those hills to enemy artillery.

Hostile fire was coming from Japanese positions on Blue Ridge, Hills 1001, 1111, 500 and 501 and the Saua River valley. Fire from only a few pieces could hit the airfield from those positions, but those meager rounds hinted at the Japanese destructive potential if they could place their cannon on the hills that the 37th Division defended, mainly Hill 700.

At 7 a.m., the 2nd Battalion, 145th Infantry, received a few stray small-arms rounds, just enough to alert all positions and encourage the men to clean their M-1 rifles. Short-range patrols discovered that the enemy was assembling in front of the 2nd Battalion, and it was thought that the major attack would be against Hill 700.

Shells continued to fall–not only on the airstrip but also on the 145th, the 6th Field Artillery Battalion, the 54th Coast Artillery Battalion, and the 77th and 36th Seabees. Casualties were light, but the Americans were tense. The inaccuracy of the Japanese fire made even the least strategic American installation subject to those wild haymakers. Helmeted repairmen kept the airstrip in operation, filling up holes and smoothing out shell craters. Planes landed and took off with casual disdain. A few planes were destroyed, however, and the possibility of declaring the bomber strip off-limits was seriously considered.

At noon the last patrol was reported in by the 145th, and the combined guns of the 135th Field Artillery, the 6th Field Artillery, the 140th Field Artillery, the 136th Field Artillery, and two battalions of the Americal Division artillery were readied for area fire on the Japanese as they moved from assembly areas behind Hills 1111 and 1000 toward the American lines. The Japanese 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, and the 13th Infantry (less one battalion) crowded toward Hill 700 to join the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, which had filtered in earlier. For two hours, thousands of rounds of American medium and heavy artillery blanketed the target zone. Later, a prisoner admitted that the Japanese 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, was practically annihilated during this bombardment he said the rest of the troops escaped a similar fate by moving close enough to American lines to get within that umbrella of safety. Anticipating this ruse, U.S. artillery observers had called for fire closer and closer to the 37th’s front lines.

Still, the enemy was in an excellent position. Once the Japanese closed in on the Americans, it was difficult for the U.S. artillery to reach an enemy hiding literally under the front lines. Mortars pounded away in the dark with unobserved results. The 136th Field Artillery alone expended 1,239 rounds that day. Those manning the observation posts yelled back that the enemy was scrambling up the hill after the artillery had subsided. Several booby traps and warning devices were exploded near the positions of Companies E and G, 145th Infantry, and the men in the perimeter holes replied with small arms and mortars. The enemy retaliated with rifles and knee mortars. Fog and rain made the darkness impenetrable.

During that night attack, a device cooked up by Staff Sgt. Otis Hawkins proved invaluable. As soon as the first Japanese started jimmying the barbed wire on the perimeter, Hawkins ordered mortar flares fired and wires pulled, setting off gallon buckets of oil ignited by phosphorus grenades. With help from this artificial lighting, Hawkins directed 600 rounds of 60mm mortar fire, and the riflemen picked off many Japanese who had counted on darkness and confusion to help them achieve their goal.

At the boundary between Companies E and G, an alert sentry killed two Japanese who had squirmed through the wire, and the 2nd Battalion, 145th, reported possible penetration at Hill 700. Under cover of heavy rain and darkness, using Bangalore torpedoes and dynamite to blast holes in the wire, and pushing one full battalion directly at the forward U.S. emplacements, the Japanese had shoved their foot in the door.

Holding fast, the hopelessly overwhelmed soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 145th Infantry, lived or died where they stood. The Japanese assaulted an isolated mortar observation post from Company E, situated on a knoll on the outer perimeter and affectionately dubbed ‘Company E Nose.’ The enemy managed to cut three of the four double aprons of protecting wire before a sergeant, investigating the noise, crawled out of his pillbox and discovered them. Just as the Japanese placed a Bangalore torpedo under the fourth double apron, the sergeant opened up with his Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and caught eight Japanese in the wire. Holding off additional Japanese with his BAR, he called in a 60mm mortar concentration, adjusted it in and around the wire, ducked back to his pillbox and then had a steady concentration dropped around–and often behind–his pillbox during the night. The sergeant and his men survived.

Not so fortunate were Sergeant William I. Carroll, Jr., Pfc John W. Cobb, Pfc Armando W. Rodriguez and Pfc Howard E. Ashley from Company G. Fighting desperately from their large emplacement, they were engulfed by Japanese who attacked them from all sides. Disregarding a possible escape route because they recognized the strategic importance of their assignment, they decided to stick it out, hoping for reinforcements.

The four soldiers fired rifles and threw hand grenades, and Rodriguez knifed an enemy soldier who got in close. His knife was later found in another dead Japanese soldier 100 yards away. One fanatical Japanese shoved a Bangalore torpedo next to the pillbox, and the explosion dazed the occupants. The Japanese then rushed the emplacement. Semiconscious, the four men fired at and wrestled with the enemy. The next day, when the bodies of the gallant Americans were recovered, 12 dead Japanese were found inside the pillbox. Probably many more of the hundreds of lifeless Japanese found around that position were killed by those four soldiers.

At dawn, elements of the Japanese 23rd Infantry, 6th Division, had occupied a portion of the north slope and two strategic positions on the crest of Hill 700, penetrating the American lines 50 yards deep and 70 yards wide. At 7 a.m., a forward observer sensed a new attack in the offing and told his battalion, ‘Pour it on as close to me as you can get.’ The artillery response melted the new Japanese attack. The enemy salient was further boxed in when the 145th lines were extended around the south slope of Hill 700.

At noon, elements of the 1st and 2nd battalions, 145th, counterattacked to regain the lost pillboxes. Some progress was made to the east of the penetration and on the south slope of Hill 700, but the Japanese dagger still cut into the American perimeter. Japanese artillery and mortar shells dropped on the suffering troops, and Japanese snipers pecked away. Enemy field artillery positions were spotted on Blue Ridge, and the 135th Field Artillery plastered them. Chemical mortars whammed their shells into the rear of enemy avenues of approach.

By 10 p.m. a few more pillboxes were recovered, but the Japanese repulsed attempts to recover the remaining positions on the commanding ground of Hill 700. The reverse slope was pitted with Japanese foxholes, and reinforcements kept pushing forward over the dead bodies of their comrades, clashing head-on with the attacking Americans.

Darkness discouraged much aggressiveness, but during the night the Japanese chattered and whistled as they replenished American sandbags and enlarged American foxholes, strengthening their own precarious positions. The 135th Field Artillery alone had expended 2,305 rounds during the day. That afternoon, two light tanks from the 754th Tank Battalion had tried to wipe out pockets of resistance with little success. During the day, the Americans had lost one officer and 28 enlisted men killed and four officers and 135 men wounded. Japanese losses were 511 killed.

The night of March 9 was ominously quiet, and the next morning the Americans pounded the Japanese, who seemed to gain strength with each hour of digging time and infiltration. A provisional battalion from the 251st Anti-Aircraft Artillery occupied a sector of the 145th’s line and with terrifying accuracy laid its 90mm anti-aircraft guns on point-blank targets in the hills. At 11:15 a.m. on the 10th, 36 American bombers showered targets marked by artillery smoke shells. The 135th, 140th and 136th field artillery and the 145th Infantry’s cannon company kept pounding away. At noon, Japanese troops were reported moving south along the Laruma River the American artillery made short work of this fresh target.

At 5 p.m. the 1st and 2nd battalions, 145th Infantry attacked again, assuming that the Japanese resistance had been sufficiently softened. Using Bangalore torpedoes, bazookas and pole charges, the infantrymen strove for the enemy pillboxes on the crest of Hill 700. The main line of resistance was tenuously re-established with the exception of a 30- or 40-yard gap in the lines. Four pillboxes remained in Japanese possession. Ammunition supply was a knotty problem, and the men ran out of hand grenades in the middle of the attack. Japanese artillery and mortar shells dropped sporadically.

At 6 p.m., the 37th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop was brought south and east of Hill 700 it then advanced into ticklish positions in the Company G area. During the night, increased Japanese gibbering and scurrying in front of Cannon Hill was detected, and Lt. Col. Russell A. Ramsey’s 3rd Battalion on Cannon Hill reported that the Japanese had resorted to firecrackers and other ruses to draw fire. American casualties for that day were seven enlisted men killed, and seven officers and 123 enlisted men wounded. Three hundred and sixty-three Japanese were erased. The 129th and 148th infantry sectors had been relatively quiet, although patrols invariably ran into enemy squads and platoons.

During the afternoon of March 10, Brig. Gen. Charles F. Craig, the assistant division commander, visited the regimental and battalion commanders of the 145th Infantry on the south slope of Hill 700 to observe the situation for the division commander. It was late at night before he could return in a halftrack over the bullet-swept road down which he had come.

During that night, Staff Sgt. William A. Orick of the regimental intelligence section, with two men who had joined him, had a brush with the enemy on top of Hill 700 his companions were bayoneted and evacuated to the battalion aid station. Returning alone to the site of the struggle, Orick slipped a noose of telephone wire over the foot of a Japanese officer killed in the struggle and then pulled him from the crest of the hill. On his body were found plans for the attack on the beachhead, with maps and directions. That information was rushed to the Division G-2 section.

During the early morning hours of March 11, the enemy maneuvered forward and occupied an empty pillbox on the forward slope of Hill 700. With their reverse-slope positions in front of Hill 700 as a stepping stone, the Japanese launched a new assault at dawn. The 23rd Infantry of the Japanese 6th Division attacked along the front from Hill 700 to Cannon Ridge. They came on in waves, one whole battalion attacking on a platoon front. Brandishing their prized sabers, screeching ‘Chusuto!’ (‘Damn them!’), the enemy officers climbed up the slope and rushed forward in an admirable display of blind courage. The men screamed in reply, ‘Yaruzo!’ (‘Let’s do it!’) and then ‘Harimosu!’ (‘We will do it!’). As they closed with the Americans, their leaders cried, ‘San nen kire!’ or ‘Cut a thousand men!’

These battle cries sounded like so much whistling in the dark to the GIs. Mowed down by heavy fire from the dug-in infantry, the Japanese kept tumbling over the bodies of their comrades, unwaveringly advancing toward the spitting guns. The battles on Hill 700 and Cannon Hill were at such short range that infantry weapons alone had to repulse the assault waves. The attack on Cannon Hill came to an end and by 8 a.m. the dazed remnants of a Japanese battalion had withdrawn, leaving hundreds of dead comrades stacked up in front of the 145th’s line.

In the midst of the Japanese assault, Lieutenant Clinton S. McLaughlin, Company G’s commander, dashed from pillbox to pillbox in the heat of the battle, encouraging and directing his men he stopped only occasionally to return the fire of a few persistent Japanese whose bullets tore his clothes to shreds, punctured his canteen, and painfully wounded him twice. When the Japanese had gotten to within a few feet of the platoon’s most forward position, McLaughlin jumped into the lead emplacement, which had already been outflanked by the enemy. Then he and Staff Sgt. John H. Kunkel, firing point-blank at the invaders, killed enough of them to dissipate the threat. The pile of bodies in front of their position numbered more than 185. Both McLaughlin and Kunkel were later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

On Hill 700, the enemy soldiers had succeeded in holding on to a part of their salient, and fresh Japanese troops kept thrusting forward, trying to occupy new positions and reinforce old ones. By this time, the 145th infantrymen were near physical exhaustion from the continuous three-day fight. Lieutenant Colonel Herb Radcliffe’s 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry, having been alerted the night before, arrived in a rear area and prepared to assist the embattled 145th Infantry in its efforts to recapture the lost positions.

Retaking the enemy-held positions on Hill 700 was a daunting undertaking. The Americans had to assault the enemy-held pillboxes by crawling up a slope so steep that a foothold was difficult to secure and maintain. Add withering machine-gun fire, rifle fire and grenades, and the obstacles looked almost insurmountable. The Japanese guns swept all approaches. Their positions were only 25 yards from and overlooking the main supply road. Their guns on the crest of the hill covered the ridge itself with intense, accurate and deadly grazing fire. Approximately 100 yards to the rear of those ground-emplaced weapons, other machine guns in trees on the spur of the hill also swept the entire front. With the exception of a few scattered trees and a series of shallow trenches, little cover was available for troops moving up the slope.

Tanks and armored cars manned by the 37th Cavalry Reconnaissance drivers were the only safe means of moving casualties and supplies up and down the main supply road. Evacuation had been hazardous and backbreaking from the start. On the first day of the fight, litter-bearers hand-carried the wounded over a back mountain trail to the reserve area of the 1st Battalion, 145th. The route was long and painful, and the only alternative was the supply road.

On the 9th, ambulances had tried to run the gantlet and succeeded. Encouraged, a convoy of litter jeeps and ambulances from Collecting Companies A and B, 112th Medical Battalion, drove to the Company G motor pool, an area safe for motor vehicles. The route from there was dangerous, and Colonel Cecil B. Whitcomb, commander of the 145th Infantry, explained to the drivers that he would not order them to run this Japanese blockade.

Eight men went on their own anyway, and though they were under fire most of the trip, brought their casualties back safely. Drivers Bob Pittman and ‘Doc’ Davis were slightly nicked by mortar fragments. Private Joe Bernard of Company A had his ambulance ripped in the hood, the cab and finally the windshield by two Japanese snipers. The ambulance orderly was hit, and halftracks were called in. Seventeen halftracks thereafter made constant round-trips from the lines to the aid stations.

Against the obstacles of terrain, supply and determined Japanese resistance, the 2nd Battalion, 148th Infantry, prepared to go into action. Lieutenant Colonel Radcliffe and his five company commanders made a reconnaissance of the sector, and Radcliffe then presented his recommendations for an attack to Brig. Gen. Charles Craig, who was representing the division commander at the 2nd Battalion, 145th, command post.

The plans called for an immediate envelopment of the remaining enemy positions on Hill 700 by Company E. The plans were approved, and at 1:20 p.m. on the 11th the first Company E scout moved cautiously over the line of departure.

The lead squad of Company E’s right platoon crawled awkwardly up the precipitous slope. Led by Lieutenant Broadus McGinnis, 11 men of the squad went over the crest together. Eight men were killed instantly, mowed down by machine-gun fire from their front and flanks. Lieutenant McGinnis and three other men dived safely into a connecting trench on the enemy’s side of the hill and captured a pillbox by killing the three Japanese occupants.

From his vantage spot in the pillbox, McGinnis shouted instructions back to the rest of his platoon throughout the afternoon. At 4 p.m., as he peered out of the pillbox to determine enemy intentions, he was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire. Further advances were deemed suicidal, and at 7 p.m. Company E was ordered to cease the attack, reorganize, hold the ground it was able to occupy and supplement its defenses with one platoon of heavy machine guns from Company H.

Wire teams from Company G strung concertina wire in the gap between platoons, which was covered by fire from positions on the reverse slope of the hill. The rest of the battalion, meanwhile, had settled down for the night in the forward assembly area. The operations for the day, though unsuccessful in restoring the main line of resistance, did prevent further penetration by the Japanese.

At 8 a.m. the next morning, Companies E and F attacked again in a coordinated double envelopment, with Company G in reserve and Company H in general support. The two attacking companies edged slowly around the hill to the right and left, remaining in defilade as much as possible in order to avoid the Japanese machine guns that dominated the ridge in both directions. Then they dispersed along the steep slope. Using every means at their disposal, from smoke and fragmentation grenades to flamethrowers, rocket launchers and dynamite, the Americans began to make their way to the top of Hill 700 against undiminished Japanese resistance.

On the Company F side of the hill, a flamethrower team–Pfc Robert L.E. Cope and Pfc Herbert Born of 2nd Battalion Headquarters Company–crawled up to destroy an enemy pillbox from which machine-gun fire held up the advance of the company. The two soldiers had joined the regiment after the New Georgia campaign and were now seeing their first action. They worked forward, dragging the bulky equipment over terrain dangerously exposed to Japanese automatic-weapons fire until they were 10 yards from the pillbox. At that point, they suddenly rose up in full view of the Japanese and doused the emplacement with liquid fire, destroying it and killing its occupants. The pair then came back through the same hazardous area, recharged their flamethrower and returned to destroy another pillbox. They repeated the action a third and fourth time. Altogether, they crossed the exposed sector five times and knocked out four enemy positions.

The rocket launcher, or bazooka, had not yet been fired in action by the 148th. Staff Sergeants Jim L. Spencer and Lattie L. Graves told Lieutenant Oliver Draine that they would volunteer to take a crack at it. Preceding the company until they reached a shallow trench 20 yards from the nearest Japanese pillbox, they selected their target, and with much anticipation they launched their first rocket. Although this round completely missed the target, the men were so pleased with their partial success that they immediately reloaded the weapon, aimed more carefully and launched a second rocket. This time they scored a direct hit and demolished the pillbox. Now greatly encouraged, they concentrated their rocket fire on other Japanese positions, with Spencer holding the bazooka and Graves reloading it, yelling, ‘Make way for the artillery!’

Spencer and Graves dodged from one covered position to another, blasting away, either killing the occupants of the pillboxes or frightening them into flight. During the intervals between loading and firing the launcher, Graves blasted away with his M-1 rifle, and on one occasion killed three fleeing Japanese. Spencer and Graves fired the bazooka periodically for three hours.

Private First Class Jennings W. Crouch and Pfc William R. Andrick, armed with BARs, advanced with their platoon in the initial movement across the fire-swept ridge. Then, under withering Japanese fire, they ran toward enemy-occupied pillboxes on the rest of the hill. From their final position 15 yards from the pillboxes, they began their assault, firing their rifles from the hip as they advanced. Crouch had an eye shot out, among other wounds, and one .25-caliber bullet went through Andrick’s left wrist. Upon reaching the pillbox, they poured a steady stream of fire into the entrance until all the occupants were killed.

Over in the Company E sector, Pfc John E. Bussard was out for vengeance. Thirty-six years old, married and the father of three children, Bussard was draft exempt, but he had enlisted immediately after learning that a younger brother had been killed in action on New Guinea. Eventually he arrived overseas with but one idea–to avenge his brother. By March 10, he had killed one Japanese soldier, but having the ledger read one-for-one far from satisfied him.

In the unsuccessful afternoon attack on March 11, Bussard volunteered to climb the high slope to observe the enemy installations, although four others of his company had been killed and eight wounded in earlier attempts. Snaking his way inch by inch, he reached a large tree from which he could watch the Japanese. The enemy, well aware of his presence, kept him pinned down to prevent his return, and he was unable to report back to his commanding officer with his observations until an hour after sundown.

The next morning, when the attack was in danger of bogging down, Bussard again volunteered, this time to knock out with anti-tank grenades the installations he had approached the day before. Passing through intense fire, he gained the shelter of the same tree. He fired eight rounds, but was unable to observe the effect because he had to fire between bursts from enemy guns, pulling in his head and shoulders to escape the answering hail of bullets.

Since the results could not be determined, Bussard was summoned to his platoon’s command post, a mere dent in the side of the hill partially sheltered by a 3-foot boulder. Now it was decided to use a rocket launcher against the pillboxes, and again the irrepressible Bussard volunteered for the assignment. ‘I know my way up there better than anyone else,’ he stated convincingly.

Setting out a third time, now carrying a bazooka as well as his rifle, he reached the tree that had sheltered him twice before. Ammunition supply was a problem, but this was overcome by passing each round by hand along a continuous line extending up the side of the hill until the top man could toss the shell over the last 15 yards to Bussard. Twice the rocket fell short of his reach, and each time he had to risk enemy fire to recover it.

After six rounds Bussard was told to cease firing, again because of inability to observe the effect. He threw the launcher over the cliff and rushed to a hole 15 feet away where three members of his platoon had remained, pinned down, the entire night before. With these three men he waited to take part in the assault that they knew would follow, and during the next few minutes they were fired upon by Japanese in the trees to their left. Bussard was wounded in the shoulder, but he managed to return the fire, killing one of the Japanese.

Shortly before Company E attacked, six Japanese riflemen, with bayonets fixed, charged out of a position 20 yards away. All six were killed, two by Bussard himself. But his luck had run out and he was killed by their fire.

Although the effects of Bussard’s grenades and rockets could not be observed while he was using the weapons, two of his pillbox targets were later found to be demolished and 250 dead Japanese, many of them doubtless his victims, were counted in the 50-yard area immediately in front of the tree behind which he had taken up his position. His brother’s death had been avenged many times over, at the cost of his own life.

Meanwhile, Pfc Vernon D. Wilks, a BAR man from Company E, had reached a 1-foot depression protecting him from a machine gun 30 yards away. During the next two hours Wilks remained in the depression, firing more than 25 magazines of ammunition and using four different BARs, although two members of his company were killed and 11 wounded within a few yards of him.

By rising to a kneeling position between enemy bursts and firing well and fast before a Japanese machine gun was again directed at him, Wilks inflicted heavy casualties on the gun crew that was holding up his company. He also distracted the attention of another enemy machine-gun crew so that their effect against Company F was materially weakened.

By noon, Captain Richard J. Keller of Company E and Lieutenant Sidney S. Goodkin of Company F reported by radio to the battalion commander: ‘We believe we have got them. We are going over the top together.’ They personally led the assault, shouting defiance at the Japanese and encouragement to their own men.

Fifteen minutes after the charge commenced, Captain Keller was struck down by Japanese fire and seriously wounded in the chest, but Lieutenant Sam Hendricks, a University of Tennessee football player, assumed command with no interruption in the advance. Lieutenant Goodkin himself was leading his men despite painful arm burns he had suffered earlier. A smoke grenade had exploded in the middle of several incendiary grenades and ignited them. The fires had menaced two wounded men in the same hole, so Goodkin had tossed out the burning grenades one by one to safeguard his men, severely scorching his arms and hands.

The American troops stormed up the hill and over the crest. Staff Sergeant Jack Foust of Company E spotted an abandoned light machine gun, disengaged the weapon from its mount and, firing as he held it in his arms, killed a Japanese machine-gunner shooting from a tree at the troops leading the charge. On both sides of the hill the remaining emplacements of the enemy were being systematically wiped out. By 4 p.m., the 2nd Battalion had regained Hill 700, and the American lines were restored.

The few Japanese who had survived the onslaught would not give up. Mopping-up operations were repeatedly interrupted by sporadic fire from two pillboxes, each occupied by a lone rifleman who had apparently tunneled into the steep hill and could not be dislodged. But there was one trick left, and it remained for Sergeant Harold W. Lintemoot and Pfc Gerald E. Shaner of the 2nd Battalion Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon to pull it out of their bag.

Bringing demolition equipment to a point behind the crest of the hill, the pair prepared explosive charges, fastening six half-pound blocks of TNT to a board about four feet long and attaching a slow-burning fuse. In turn, Lintemoot and then Shaner scurried up to the pillboxes. The hill provided them cover until they were within 10 yards of the emplacement. Then they rushed over the remaining distance, placing the charges on top of the pillboxes and withdrawing to nearby positions that offered them protection from the flying debris. In seconds, the pillboxes were liquidated. No Japanese now contested the occupation of the hill.

The battle for Hill 700 was the bloodiest in which the 37th Infantry Division had yet participated, exceeding in carnage any single action of the New Georgia campaign. A great clearing stood on the reverse slope of Hill 700 where the enemy had made its attack up the hill. Fifteen hundred Japanese were buried in graves and foxholes on that side of the hill. When the battle had ended they were piled on top of one another in all types of grotesque positions, some completely unmarked except for clean bullet wounds in their chests or heads, others without legs or arms. Captured prisoners claimed that the four days of fighting had resulted in the virtual annihilation of the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Japanese 23rd Infantry and the 13th Infantry, which had been pitted against this thin, narrow front of the 37th Infantry Division.

The battle at Hill 700 was the first defensive action of the 37th Division. Heretofore the division had been on the offensive. Its mission on Bougainville had been to set up a perimeter and defend the airfield. Japanese capture of the hill would have imperiled the whole installation at Empress Augusta Bay.

Japanese staff work during the battle had been good. They had correctly evaluated the importance of the hill and had cleverly approached it through the defiles in the mountains. They had performed magnificently in transporting supplies and ammunition over the mountains and through the jungles. They had hand-carried large guns and placed them on almost inaccessible mountains. They fought up a steep slope that would have been difficult to climb empty-handed. They attacked in force on a narrow front and took advantage of a dark, rainy night to penetrate a key section of the American lines. The Japanese took tremendous losses without wavering. They held their positions until exterminated. At no time in its campaigns in the Pacific did the 37th Division meet enemy soldiers equal to these in valor or ability. This was the real test of the fighting power of the division.

The defense of the hill was committed to the 145th Infantry. The point of the attack was within the sector of the 2nd Battalion, but the whole regiment was eventually engaged in the fight, with the entire division behind it in support. The artillery of the 37th Division and of the entire corps area had been placed so that it could be used in support of an action on any part of the perimeter. The Reconnaissance Troop took a place in the line. The 117th Engineers laid aside their picks and shovels and, taking up rifles, took the place of infantry. The 2nd Battalion of the 148th Infantry made the counterattack that cleaned off the ridge. Quartermaster troops, ordnance men and medics brought up supplies and ammunition and carried away the wounded. The MPs patrolled the roads and fought off the souvenir hunters. The straggler line was used not to keep the front troops from coming back but to keep the sightseers from going forward. The game was over.

This article was written by Stanley A. Frankel and originally appeared in the September 1997 issue of World War II. For more great articles be sure to pick up your copy of World War II.


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