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Wars are good ……….

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………for very little except the following;

New Guinea, an innocent bystander, found itself plumb in the path of Japanese expansionist forces during World War 2.

Closely followed by Australia's defense response, and a massive United States military presence, both of which combined with loyal Papuans and New Guineans to eventually achieve the formal Japanese surrender at Wewak in September 1945.

The US does not pussyfoot around when it comes to conducting warfare.
Nor does it spend much time dusting the shelves or vacuuming under the beds when it comes time to leave.

At Finschhafen, a major base for US forces in New Guinea, massive amounts of infrastructure, stores and machinery were simply bulldozed off the end of the isthmus into the ocean, leaving behind only two things.

1. Cleared earth.

2. A wonderful opportunity for an enterprising Australian businessman to almost immediately hoist everything back out of the sea, and, in very short order become a millionaire ship and aircraft owner from the proceeds of selling scrap metal.

Twenty years after the war, as a rural village development worker I was eternally grateful to the Americans for providing a seemingly limitless supply of marsden matting, (perforated steel sheeting used to surface military aircraft landing strips)  44 gallon drums, wire rope of all dimensions, and steel culvert pipes.

These resources were used for good purposes building houses, suspension foot bridges over deep gorges, copra driers, and village smallholder pig and poultry projects.

Now, living my own low-key bush lifestyle in Australia, I miss not having access to marsden matting.

K Mart continually ignores my requests to stock it.  
Surely there must be some surplus in Iraq or Afghanistan that they could get hold of if they were really interested in customer service.

As a sobering byline I wish to present the following figures to illustrate the utter futility of war and the waste of human life.
300,000 militarily brainwashed young Japanese men took part in the New Guinea invasion.
60,000 died in battle.
110,000 died from tropical diseases and starvation.
The remainder surrendered.

For what  result?   Absolutely nothing!

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

7 responses »

  1. I agree with your sentiments on war, GOF.Now, that Marsden matting would be handy to replace the confounded lawn I have to mow every week. Mrs Snowy would have something to say about that, I suppose…

  2. Try turning off the rain, Snowy.I think I may take a photo next time the mower comes out.

  3. The Yanks have always been good for getting plenty of supplies to hand.Our troops who went to Vietnam loved being able to swap crappy aussie great coats for the more classy American flying jackets.My grand father made bulky soldering irons for the Aussie Forces during WW2. He said it was a waste of time because our guys used to swap them with the Yanks for the much lighter Adcola style irons. He did make a good living out of making electric guitars for the US military at the same time. Now that's something I'd like to see a piccy of. He probably marketed them under the Maxim brand name that he made his amplifiers under.

  4. Lay down too much marsden matting Snowy and you might get a USAF Hercules landing in your yard. Mrs Snowy would probably be happy chatting to some international visitors?

  5. Thanks for your stories Peter. I still have my dads navigational compass from WW2 ….just superb quality made in the US.Also I used to fly an old Cessna 182 that had a WW2 Lear radio direction finder in it…its quality just left all the other modern stuff for dead.

  6. No worries on the stories. You send me off down memory lane so often with your blogs.


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