The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island and Other Lesser-Known WWII Facts
The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island and Other Lesser-Known WWII Facts

The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island and Other Lesser-Known WWII Facts

Khalid Elhassan - July 6, 2020

The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island and Other Lesser-Known WWII Facts
German POWs. History Net

2. Bringing Our Boys Home While Sending Their Boys Back

Examples of generosity at Christmastime, 1945, abounded, including a trucker who took 35 troops from Denver to Dallas and points between. A Los Angeles cabbie drove 6 servicemen all the way to Chicago, while another LA cabbie did him one better, and transported 6 returning heroes to New York City. Even for those who spent Christmas stranded in barracks, the reaction of one returning private best captured the mood, noting that simply touching America’s soil once again was: “the best Christmas present a man could have“.

The movement of personnel during Magic Carpet was bi-directional. Not only were Americans being shipped from around the world back to the US at the end of WWII, but German, Italian, and Japanese POWs were also being shipped back to their homes from captivity in the US. In one round trip, the USS Wasp transported 1200 Italian POWs from the US to Naples, and the following day sailed back to the US, carrying 4000 American servicemen.

The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island and Other Lesser-Known WWII Facts
A discharge center. America in WWII Magazine

1. A Stunning Success

American occupation forces were also ferried to Germany, Japan, Korea, and China. Simultaneously, Chinese troops were sealifted from southern to northern China to disarm the Japanese, as well as to oppose Chinese communists in the region. Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of disarmed Japanese were shipped from all over eastern and southern Asia, as well as numerous Pacific islands, back to the Japanese home islands.

It had taken nearly four years for America to deploy over eight million servicemen overseas during WWII. It would take only 14 months to reverse the torrent, and return most of them back home. In short, Operation Magic Carpet was an enormous, and enormously successful, feat of logistics, planning, and execution – a fitting end to America’s experience in WWII.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Barrett, David P., and Shyu, Larry N. – Chinese Collaboration With Japan 1032-1945: The Limits of Accommodation (2001)

Chun, Clayton K.S. – The Doolittle Raid 1942: America’s First Strike Back at Japan (2006)

Dahl, Hans Frederik – Quisling: A Study in Treachery (1999)

Hoidal, Oddvar K. – Quisling: A Study in Treason (1989)

Lowry, Thomas, and Wellham, John W.G. – The Attack on Taranto: Blueprint For Pearl Harbor (1995)

National Naval Aviation Museum – Magic Carpet Ride

Naval History and Heritage Command – Doolittle Raid

New York Times, November 18th, 2003 – Mitchell Paige, 85, Guadalcanal Hero, Dies

Nelson, Craig – The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid, America’s First World War II Victory (2002)

South China Morning Post, March 28th, 2010 – The Tragic Lives of a National Hero Turned Traitor, and the Wife Who Stayed Loyal

Universal Ship Cancellation Society – Operation Magic Carpet

US Naval Institute News – Camouflaged Ships: An Illustrated History

Warfare History Network – U.S. Involvement in WWII: How (and How Much) the Military Grew

War History Online – The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island to Evade the Japanese in WWII

We Are the Mighty – That Time a Dutch Warship Pretended to be an Island to Evade the Enemy

We Are the Mighty – This Medal of Honor Recipient Walked 200 Miles to Serve in the Marines

Wikipedia – Battle of Taranto

Wikipedia – Vidkun Quisling

Wikipedia – Wang Jingwei

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