Japanese defensive position

Weather was beautiful this past weekend - sunny and low humidity. Perfect for doing some exploring.

I decided to revisit the Japanese positions I had discovered last weekend in the rain (my previous post). I brought my son and his best friend along also. It is nice to have some company because it can get spooky at times when alone. The kids wanted to bring my metal detector, so we brought that along too.

First order of business was to relocate the gun pits, and mark their position with GPS.

The five pits are all separated by approx 50 meters, and are located in an arc.

The five pits are all separated by approx 50 meters, and are located in an arc.

I’m still not sure what this position was supposed to defend, since the Japanese focused their defensive efforts on the beaches. I suspect this was to be an anti-aircraft position, due to the depth of the holes and the fact that they were round (allowing 360 degree arc toward the sky).

Decent sized monitor lizard sunning himself along the edge of pit number 2

Decent sized monitor lizard sunning himself along the edge of pit number 2

Around the eastern most pit (number 1), which is closest to an abandoned WW2 dirt road, is evidence of American troops - notably several 75mm howitzer shell casings. The fact that there are no American bottles around tells me that this was a short-term American position, likely on the 6th or 7th of August 1944 as the American troops pushed the front lines northward.

The other gun pits are surrounded primarily with Japanese beer bottles (DaiNippon), with only a small scattering of American bottles.

The kids played around with the metal detector, and gave up after a little while. There are a number of shell craters around, from artillery hits. All the kids were finding were bits of shrapnel laying around. Later, while they took a break, I explored an old burn pit filled with broken bottles, and found some bits from a Japanese naval gas mask, but nothing exciting.

At first I thought this was a modern battery, perhaps from the 70's or 80's if the area was inhabited by ranchers post-war.

At first I thought this was a modern battery, perhaps from the 70's or 80's if the area was inhabited by ranchers post-war.

The manufacturer - Yuasa - makes batteries in the modern era.  However - in this area I only found WW2 era Japanese bottles.  I also found out that Yuasa made batteries before WW2.  This quite possibly was left by the Japanese from the war.  I'll have to go back and see if I can find any dates or other information the next time I visit this site.

The manufacturer - Yuasa - makes batteries in the modern era. However - in this area I only found WW2 era Japanese bottles. I also found out that Yuasa made batteries before WW2. This quite possibly was left by the Japanese from the war. I'll have to go back and see if I can find any dates or other information the next time I visit this site.

This is a Japanese two-holer outhouse.  These barrels are smaller than the American ones, which indicates they are Japanese.  There are many like it about a mile south at a Japanese anti-aircraft position, where they have been filled with rocks for protection.  This was the business end of the outhouse.

This is a Japanese two-holer outhouse. These barrels are smaller than the American ones, which indicates they are Japanese. There are many like it about a mile south at a Japanese anti-aircraft position, where they have been filled with rocks for protection. This was the business end of the outhouse.

The kids take a break; wore out from a couple hours of exploring

The kids take a break; wore out from a couple hours of exploring

After a couple hours of exploring, we headed home. Not much to see other than a few Japanese beer bottles and the positions themselves, but it is so heavily overgrown in this area, it is worth revisiting and exploring more closely in the future.

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This post was written by admin on January 28, 2013

Jungle exploring again

I have been taking a break from radio - at least the antenna building aspect - and other than DXing on 160 and 80m I have been playing around with other hobbies. I absolutely love exploring the jungle and looking for WW2 remnants, and since it is now the dry season, the weather is ideal for it.

Of course today it was rainy but I still went out anyway. Bringing my Nexus tablet and its GPS functionality, I can record my tracks and hike to waypoints I have made with Google Earth. This allows me to explore areas deeper in the jungle than I’ve been to before.

Today’s trip was to an area I’ve visited many times before, but this time I went further back into an area that looked promising on Google Earth. First I wanted to locate a piece of UXO (unexploded ordnance) and mark it’s position so it can be properly disposed of by the Navy’s EOD.

This is an unexploded 75mm round, probably from a Marine pack howitzer.  The screw device to the left is part of the fuse mechanism.

This is an unexploded 75mm round, probably from a Marine pack howitzer. The screw device to the left is part of the fuse mechanism.

Once I had marked the position of the UXO, I headed deeper into the jungle, into new territory for me. It did not take long to start finding stuff.

Smashed American 75MM pack howitzer shell casing

Smashed American 75MM pack howitzer shell casing

More 75mm shell casings

More 75mm shell casings

Interestingly, I did not find any other American WW2 debris around - no American bottles or anything else for that matter. Likely this was an artillery position set up quickly during the liberation of Guam in early August as the front lines pushed northwards.

Further in, I started finding Japanese bottles.

Dai Nippon beer bottle

Dai Nippon beer bottle

More Japanese Dai Nippon beer bottles

More Japanese Dai Nippon beer bottles

I also found a number of dug out areas in the ground. About 20ft in diameter and 4-5 feet deep, these looked to be Japanese defensive positions. They were too neat to be bomb craters, and were not dug by American bulldozers. This was probably to be a Japanese anti aircraft position.

One of several gun pits, now overgrown with brush

One of several gun pits, now overgrown with brush

Another of the defensive positions.  This one is filled with coconuts and coconut trees, making it hard to see in the image.

Another of the defensive positions. This one is filled with coconuts and coconut trees, making it hard to see in the image.

All around these positions are scattered Japanese beer bottles.

Bottles are scattered in ones and twos all around randomly

Bottles are scattered in ones and twos all around randomly

The 18 signifies year of manufacture on the Dai Nippon bottles (Year of the Showa).  18=1943

The 18 signifies year of manufacture on the Dai Nippon bottles (Year of the Showa). 18=1943

The fact that I found only Japanese and no American bottles tells me this was a Japanese position. It is quite likely that these defensive positions were dug for 25MM anti aircraft cannon, based on the size and depth of the pits. Whether or not cannon were ever empaced here, I don’t know. I looked in some of the pits but found nothing. Due to the heavy growth, it’s difficult to see more than 10 or 15ft in any direction. I’ll definitely have to come back out here and explore some more!

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This post was written by admin on January 20, 2013