Skip to comments.Cover-up of Townsville mutiny: black GIs turned on officers
Posted on 02/10/2012 4:28:22 PM PST by naturalman1975
BLACK US troops mutinied in Townsville in 1942 and turned machineguns on their officers, in a secret chapter of the war in the Pacific that has come to light through the papers of the late US president Lyndon B. Johnson.
The scandal was hushed up for nearly 70 years after being described in a report given to and apparently kept by Johnson as "one of the biggest stories of the war which can't be written, shouldn't be written".
The subject of rumour and speculation for decades in the north Queensland city, it has now emerged that the mutiny was probably reported at the time to the White House by Johnson, then a young and ambitious US congressman, after he visited Australia in June 1942 on a fact-finding mission for president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The report Johnson took back to Washington, written for him by US journalist Robert Sherrod, tells how 600 African-American GIs seized their base and went on the rampage, trying to kill their white officers.
Some terrorised local civilians.
Armed Australian troops were sent in at the height of the emergency on the US base.
George Gnezdiloff, then a 20-year-old private in the north Queensland-raised 51st battalion, was told to block Ross River Road with his bren gun carrier. Other soldiers were issued with a password, Bucks, as they deployed to bottle up the Americans.
Gnezdiloff and his crew were ordered to shoot the mutineers on sight. "We had ammo, the lot," the now 90-year-old recalled yesterday from his home in Proserpine, 300km south of Townsville.
"We weren't mucking around, I can tell you."
(Excerpt) Read more at theaustralian.com.au ...
Article is behind a paywall - contact me if you want to see it (Fair use under Australian copyright law - one article from a publication may be copied for educational purposes)
What happened that would lead to mutiny?
bookmarked with maximal non-surprise.
If they covered THIS up in the bad old days, how much more is covered up in these P.C. NEW days, huh..?
According to a site I found when using the title in the search engine.
“After some serial abuse by two white US officers, there was several ringleaders and they decided to machine gun the tents of the white officers,” Mr Holyoak said.
"Holder's People" have a way of being kept "covered".
It’s a little bit hard to believe that something of this magnitude could have been hushed up for 70 years.
Allegedly a black Sergeant was killed by a white officer, and there was no real investigation.
This came on top of a belief by the black soldiers that they were being given the worst work details. It should also be said that black soldiers based in Australia - as well as having to deal with the realities that the US Army was segregated, were also having to deal with very racist Australian laws of the time. It’s not surprising tensions existed even without specific triggers.
Port Chicago = OK to talk about
Townsville = Not OK
Gotta get the rules straight
How about the history, background and controllers of our president?
The Kiwi’s don’t seem to be as keen to make a buck.
Can’t really blame them then. If a military camp is segregated and the black side is being treated as if they were in the gulag, can’t really blame them.
Search Exercise Tiger to see the magnitude of things that could be covered up, then forgotten.
ping for your list
Most mutinies are sparked by genuine problems and often unfair treatment but mutiny is still mutiny.
Thanks for the info. That incident was not covered up though. Rush Limbaugh talked about it during the period of the Iraq War when the MSM was going wild every time a US soldier got killed with "the war is lost" stories.
If you copy the link and Go ogle it and click the link there then the story will come up.
"The 96th Engineers, a negro battalion, had a mutiny a few months back and expended 30,000 rounds of machine gun ammo. Luckily no one was hurt but they were after the white officers."
Are you kidding? This is right up Spike Lee's alley, and of course the white guys will be made out to be the bad guys.
Watch what happens when Whitey stops paying all that welfare to the Diversity Crowd. It ain’t gonna be pretty.
Agreed, but it was covered up at the time. This mutiny would easily have been covered up entirely, and forgotten.
Thanks - good to know
According to the Lyndon Johnson writeup (post #26) on big factor was that the Australian women wanted noting to do with black GIs, not even the prostitutes. This created a bit of tension...
This is not the only WWII mutiny. I have a family member, now deceased, who was himself involved in a pretty serious affair in Hawaii and it’s well known within the family on my mother’s side. It was all hushed up and he spent 2 years and an army infirmary being “treated” for mental disorders, released as fully recovered and even allowed to re-up again. Family history, you won’t read about it in any text book
I could see Spike Lee making a movie about White soldiers shooting their Black Officers.....I don’t know how many more times the Tuskeegee Airmen can be shown to us in movies, spot commercials, and State-Run-Media hype.
I once heard a talk about the desegregation of the Army during the Korean War. It seems the Army believed that Southerners were better suited as officers for black units (when the officers were white and the enlisted men were black) because they "understood" black people better than Northern whites.
Johnson's comments about MacArthur are interesting. I know a survivor of the Bataan Death March who was not a fan of MacArthur (he is still alive but apparently has dementia--haven't seen him in years).
“Most mutinies are sparked by genuine problems and often unfair treatment but mutiny is still mutiny.”
I suspect I have an answer for him. The US has never ‘fessed up to how many military criminal prisoners were hung during the war, but there are strong suggestions that hundreds may have met that fate.
They try to suggest that Pvt. Slovik was the only one, but this is not the case.
I know of at least one military prison camp in southern Arizona, completely unknown today except for one reference about it carrying out frequent executions. No trace remains in the desert. It was not near Fort Huachuca, which is still an active military post.
As an aside, today military executions are never carried out, as the president must confirm the execution, and while George W. Bush was willing, the Pentagon intervened before he could order the execution and commuted it to life imprisonment.
Back then, however, execution orders were in the exclusive province of the military. While Supreme Commander Eisenhower authorized the execution of Slovik, in most cases a much lower ranking convening authority was likely able to confirm the sentence.
“Exercise Tiger” cover up is the longest running piece of mis-information story of WWII.
The US Army released the news about the sinking of the troopships of Exercise Tiger in the late fall of 1944, after the Normandy invasion was several months in the past. the troop losses due to the German E-boat attack was declared “secret” when it happened because to announce it publicly would have told the Germans that the time of the Allied invasion was near.
Here is “Operation Tiger” FAQ from the Naval Historical Center website: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq20-1.htm
Also, the official history of the US Army of D-Day, “Cross-Channel Attack” covers Exercise Tiger on pages 269 and 270. That volume was published in 1951, 7 years after Exercise Tiger, thus hardly a long time cover up. You can access the entire volume at the CMH website: http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-4-1/index.html
Additionally all of the US Army Offical History of World War II are available on the CMH website free of charge in pdf and html format.
Not to be rude - but I think I wil lhave to be -
If US woman is in Saudi Arabia - is she not also required to function by the rules of Suadi society? Scarf, not driving etc - I am fairly sure this continues - even now -
Can you link to battalions of women machine gunning their officers? How about - just some lone pistol shots? One sniper?
Sometimes - life sucks. But - the response is rare that “life sucks - so I went on a shooting rampage”.
Your post is exactly what I love about freerepublic. Nice to see the unvarnished truth of how LBJ saw the world in that time
We had our own....Camp Logan (Houston, TX) in 1917.
Very interesting for those who were not aware.
I thought Truman desegregated the military
On a side note, what ever happened to that soldier who fragged the tent at the beginning of the Iraq invasion?
me = DUH !!!!!!!
“They try to suggest that Pvt. Slovik was the only one, but this is not the case.”
Slovik was supposedly the only soldier executed for desertion, but many were executed for murder, rape, etc. [Don’t ask what the ‘etc.’ includes, I’m just covering the bases.]
He signed the order in 1948, but in a large organisation such reorganisation takes time. It wasn't until 1954 that the process was completed.
30,000 rounds and they didn’t hit anyone? The movie won’t be called THE TUSKEGEE MARKSMEN.
“...expended 30,000 rounds of machine gun ammo. Luckily no one was hurt but they were after the white officers.”
Agreed on the lucky no one got hurt. But talk about needing more range time!