Sunday, March 17, 2013

More Random Travel Photographs from Trips Past

Some more photographs of places we have been, with an obvious tilt towards history, particularly military history.

Hwaseong Fortress, Suwon.
Ceremony at Hwaseong Fortress.

The entrance to Tunnel Number 2, one of the North Korean infiltration tunnels the South Koreans have discovered running under the DMZ since the 1970s.  This particular one lies near the South Korean town of Chorwon.

Southern side of the DMZ.

American defenses at Corregidor Island.  Corregidor guarded the defenses to Manila Bay.  The Japanese took in 1942 after a bombardment and amphibious assault.  American forces took it back in 1945.

Headquarters and safehaven for US forces during the Japanese attack on Corregidor.

More American defenses at Corregidor. 

Filipinos suffered greatly under Japanese rule.  The "Wall of  Martyrs" at Fort Santiago in Manila commemorates the many Filipinos imprisoned, tortured, and killed here during the war.  Historian Max Hastings in Retribution:  The Battle for Japan, 1944-1945 says an estimated 1 million Filipinos died during WW2, most of them in the last few months of the war.
Intramuros, the fortress-like center of Manila, originally built by the Spanish in the late 16th century.  In 1945, it was the last stronghold of the Japanese when US forces retook Manila.  The city itself was devastated during the battle and an estimated 100,000 of its inhabitants were killed, along with over 1,000 American and nearly 17,000 Japanese soldiers.

Another shot of the walls of Intramuros.  US forces had to bring up heavy artillery and fire it directly into the 20-foot-thick walls to root out the Japanese forces.  Said one American officer, perhaps with a bit of hyperbole, "The assault upon Intramuros was unique in modern warfare in that the entire area was medieval in structure, and its defenses combined the fortress of the Middle Ages with the firepower of modern weapons."

Filipinos have not forgotten they once fought a costly conventional and then guerrilla war against American imperialism from 1899 to 1902 (official date; fighting did not really end until 1913).  It was an ugly war with atrocities on both sides.  The Filipinos suffered far more greatly, however.  US forces employed harsh policies, including scorched earth tactics and concentration camps.  More than 30,000 Filipino soldiers and another  200,000 civilians were estimated killed (these figures are still under debate).  US forces suffered about 4,100 killed, three-quarters from disease.  For a detailed history, try Brian McAllister Linn's The Philippine War, 1899-1902.

Slopes of Conical Hill, Okinawa.  After a long and hard fight in May of 1945, troops from the US 96th Infantry Division seized this hill, the eastern anchor of the Japanese defenses of the Shuri Line.  The Shuri Line was the main defense line for the Japanese forces defending Okinawa.

The view from the top of Conical Hill.

Japanese defenses on Okinawa in what was known as the Wana Draw, a particularly formidable part of the Japanese lines which caused heavy casualties amongst the attacking US Marines. 

The remnants of the Japanese defenses still litter this heavily populated island.
In this old tomb a young American sergeant from the 96th Infantry Division, Beauford Anderson, won the Medal of Honor by single-handily holding off a large Japanese attack.
Nearby is a monument to Japanese troops.
An American general, Lieutenant General Simon Buckner, was killed on this spot late in the campaign.  He was the highest ranking US officer killed by enemy fire during the war.
Northern end of island and scene of the last stand of the Japanese Army on Okinawa.

At this spot, tucked in the cliffs at the end of the island, Buckner's Japanese counterpart, General Mitsuru Ushijima, committed ritual suicide.

Peace Memorial park commemorating the battle and the heavy costs in lives.  The walls in the background contain the names of more than 240,000 individuals who lost their lives during the 82-day campaign for the island.  The vast majority are Japanese or Okinawan, but some 14,000 American names are also included.  For an excellent history of the campaign that goes well-beyond the military story, try George Feifer's Tennozan;  The Battle of Okinawa and the Atomic Bomb.

United States

South Mountain, Maryland.  Union and Confederate forces clashed in these woods as the Union Army of the Potomac attempted to seize a pass through South Mountain known as Fox's Gap.  This monument honors the North Carolina brigade that defended the gap unsuccessfully, losing to brigade of Ohio troops.  For you trivia buffs, one of the Ohio regiments, the 23rd, included in its ranks future US presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley.

Fort Donelson, Tennessee.  H and I passed this way during another of our drives out west.  Donelson was a Confederate fort built to control the Cumberland River.  In February of 1862, heavy cannons like this one helped defeat a force of Union gunboats attempting to shell the fort into submission.  The fort would subsequently fall to land forces under Ulysses S. Grant, raising him from an obscure general to a national hero and set him on the path to eventual command of all Union armies during the Civil War.

No, this not Paris.  It is the National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge National Park, Pennsylvania, where the Continental Army camped during the winter of 1777-1778.  It commemorates the "patience and fidelity" of the soldiers who survived that brutal winter.

Manassas (or Bull Run) National Battlefield Park, Virginia.  The trail follows the trace of an old railroad bed and embankment that served as a breastwork defense for Confederate forces in August of 1862.  There are over 50 miles of trails in the park, and H and I have used them on many weekends for long hikes and trail runs.

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