Click banner to go to Collin County Freedom Fighters

The Battle of Cape Gloucester WWII

Charles Oliver Jeanes was born in McKinney, 23 February, 1925 and lived most of his life in Melissa. He enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 on 16 November, 1942. After training at Camp Elliott in San Diego, California, Private Jeanes shipped out for duty in the South Pacific. In late 1943 he saw action against the Japanese in the Eastern New Guinea Operation. On 26 December, 1943, he joined the battle at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, as a rifleman with A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, (A 1/7)where he was killed in action on 6 January, 1944. At 19 years of age Private First Class Jeanes was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism. He is buried at Allen Cemetery, in Allen.

(click on photo for large view)

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Charles Oliver Jeanes (488463), Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving as a rifleman of Company A, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, on 6 January 1944. Undeterred by rain, dense jungle undergrowth and unfamiliar terrain, Private First Class Jeanes bravely advanced against the enemy during an attack on a heavily fortified roadblock flanked on one side by a swamp and on the other side by the sea, and prevented the Japanese from throwing mines at the tanks. When one of our tanks became bogged down in the mud and was menaced by mines thrown by the Japanese on the left flank, Private First Class Jeanes quickly moved to the side of the stranded vehicle and opened deadly rifle fire on the enemy, at the same time attempting to catch the mines before they could damage or destroy the tank. Although instantly killed by an exploding mine while engaged in this hazardous undertaking, Private First Class Jeanes, by his cool courage, spirit of self-sacrifice and unwavering devotion to duty, had contributed materially to the success of the attack, and his conduct throughout upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
SPOT AWARD, Commander, 7th Fleet: Serial 0940
Born: at McKinney, Texas
Home Town: Denton, Texas

Allen, US Marine Corps PFC Bush was Killed In Action on 14 June, 1944 in the battle of Cape Gloucester. Gibson was a machine gunner who accounted for over 100 dead enemy soldiers in the battle in which he was killed.

(no photo or other information available)
The Battle of Cape Gloucester
Cape Gloucester is located on the northwest side of the island of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The battle
took place between late December 1943 and April 22, 1944, on the island of New Britain, the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago of Papua New Guinea, Territory of New Guinea. New Guinea, located just north of Australia, is the world's second largest island. The battle was a major part of Operation Cartwheel, an operation by the Allies in the Pacific theater of World War II airfield at Cape Gloucester in order to contribute to the isolation and harassment of the major Japanese base at Rabaul, the capital of East New Britain province, on New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea.
Photos from the Battle at Cape Gloucester courtesy of Department of Defense USMC
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Planning the New Britain Operation, MajGen Rupertus and Gen Douglas MacArthur The circle marks where Charles Jeanes was killed Ships are loaded. Marines boarding landing craft
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
The day after Christmas
26 Dec. 1943
Marines wade ashore
Two new weapons were introduced during the battle: the M1 Grand rifle and M4A1 Sherman tank MajGen William H. Rupertus
Commanding General
1st Marine Division
Marine with a Thompson sub-machine gun
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Dense jungle, swamps, torrential rain, snakes, insects ... New Year's Eve 1943 Marines capture Japanese airfield Monsoon season Mess Tent - Trying to prepare hot chow in a flood
Photobucket Photobucket
A recon patrol from A 1/7 poses on Target Hill, Cape Gloucester, with captured Japanese equipment
4 Jan 44. L–R: PFC Dick Saylor, GySgt Theo Dexkrow, PFC Ike Smith, PFC Tom Shanahan,
PFC Earl Quinn,
PFC DD Barrett.
Photo courtesy MSgt Charles Owens

Target Hill - Captured on the same day as the landings by assault battalions of the 7th Marines, who occupied this high ground. Counter attacked by Col. Kenshiro Katayama 141st Infantry on the night of January 2-3, 1944. They attacked without probing  the line first and were repulsed.

Marines on the front line with an M1917 Browning machine gun
The day after Christmas 1943, the 1st Marine Division landed at Cape Gloucester on New Britain to put pressure on the Japanese fortress of Rabaul. The Marines moved rapidly inland toward their objectives, Hill 660 and the Cape Gloucester airfield. Right after the New Year the Marines of L Co. 7th Marines stumbled across a small stream and began to cross the obstacle which was not marked on their maps. Not long after the first few Marines cleared the far side, a ferocious volume of fire erupted from cleverly concealed Japanese bunkers on the far bank. The Marines attempted to flank the Japanese positions only to discover that the Japanese were firmly entrenched along the muddy, steep banked stream that the Marines quickly came to call “Suicide Creek”.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
Mud bogged down the track vehicles Pushing through jungle and swamp an inch at a time Wounded Marine treated by a Navy Corpsman Bodies of dead enemy soldiers

The Experimental Hand-thrown Mine (left, quarter-section view) and the Conical Hand Mine (right)  are antitank grenades that detonate on impact. They can penetrate 3/4 inch of armor.


Suicide Creek - Located to the northwest of Target Hill. Japanese had strong defenses around this location. On 3 January, tanks first tried to cross but were unable. A bulldozer worked to create a lip allowing Sherman tanks to cross while fired on by the Japanese. The next morning the tanks crossed and proceeded to Aogiri Ridge. This is where PFC Jeanes was killed.

In the Navy Cross citation for Charles Jeans it says that the Japanese were throwing mines and he was trying to catch them before they hit the tank that was stuck in the mud. Here is the official bulletin from Military Intelligence Service on the new weapon. Throughout WWII the Intelligence Bulletin was designed to inform officers and enlisted men of the latest enemy tactics and weapons:
The Model 3 Conical Hand Mine actually is an antitank bomb or hand grenade. This grenade has been found in captured ammunition dumps in the Philippines, although there have been no reported attempts by the enemy to use it. Of Japanese naval manufacture, it comes in two sizes—one weighing 2 pounds, and the larger weighing 3 pounds. Like the Lunge Mine, the Conical Hand Mine is a cone shaped, hollow charge designed to direct the force of explosion against tank armor. The large end of the grenade cone is covered by a bowl-shaped wooden base. The whole body of the grenade is encased in a silk bag sewn to fit tightly around the explosive unit and the wooden base.
The fuze, which functions on impact, is located in the narrow end of the bomb, and is designed to detonate regardless of the angle at which the grenade strikes the target. To ensure detonation, the grenade must be thrown with force. To be safe from the effect of the explosion, the soldier who throws the grenade must be at least 35 feet from the target. The grenade reputedly can penetrate 3/4 inch of armor.
Approximately 20 inches of hemp-palm fibers resembling a grass skirt are attached to the narrow end of the grenade, and serve as a tail or stabilizer when the grenade is thrown. This permits the grenade to strike base-first on the target.
The Experimental Hand-thrown Mine is a spherical bomb 4.7 inches in diameter. It is composed of 3 pounds of explosive encased in a black aluminum shell. Like the Conical Hand Mine, it is reported as capable of penetrating 3/4 inch armor, and must be thrown from a distance of at least 30 feet from the target.
A carrying handle and a fuze cover are attached to the outside of the mine. During shipment the fuzes are packed separately, and must be inserted in the mine by unscrewing the fuze cover and inserting the fuze in the recess provided. The fuze is similar to that on the Conical Hand Mine, and is kept unarmed by a safety pin. Since the fuze will detonate the bomb upon impact with the target, the mine requires careful handling after the safety pin has been removed.

Attack! Battle of New Britain
58-minute documentary produced by the Department of Defense in 1944.
This is a great film and shows what life was like for Charles Jeans and Gibson Bush at Cape Gloucester.
One of the narrators could be Humphrey Bogart.
(click on the square in the bottom right-hand corner for full screen.)


A Marine veteran recalls the Battle at Suicide Creek


To read more about the Battle of New Gloucester go here: