Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Battle of Guam: Finemolds Japanese type 41 mountain gun.

Battle of Guam: A story from 1971

(Me, deep in the jungle, hiking the Segua river.)

We used to do a lot of hiking on Guam, called "boonie-stomping."  My watch section at Naval Communications Station Finegayen, was on what is called  four-section duty.  Four-section meant that a radioman stands three watches, a day, a mid, and an eve, with eight hours off between each.  After the eve, we'd get 56 hours off.  This was a luxurious schedule (it didn't last long) and I went boonie-stomping, alone and with friends, during every off period for fifteen months.

One noisy midwatch, I and two friends were planning a wet hike up the Segua river, something we'd not done before, but was reputed to be a good, long, and strenuous hike.  The hitch in the plan is that we'd have to walk and hitchhike for many miles just to get to the trailhead.  This would use up time and water, and we'd be tired even before we got to the river.

During our conversation, the watch officer - an ensign (the lowest of the officer grades) - began showing some interest in what we were talking about.  My pal Beeler muttered to me that if we could get this car-owning ensign involved, we could be driven to the trailhead.

The ensign's interest went from vague to keen when Beeler mentioned that the Segua was full of fresh-water shrimp and that they were a cinch to catch.  Now the Ensign was all in, he'd drive, we'd all hike, and he'd catch a delicious dinner for his effort.

Next day we started early, and in the ensign's brand-new Honda Civic we comfortably and swiftly rode to the trailhead.  It was a breeze, with lots of great banter about the photos we'd get and the wildlife we'd see, and always the hope of encountering evidence of the Battle of Guam.  The ensign wasn't participating in the conversation, he was solely concentrating on a bumper-catch of shrimp.

We got to the trail-head early and with plenty of water and sandwiches  we hiked a little over a mile to the riverbank.  For the next six hours we were on the river, which went from ankle to chest deep, nowhere was it more than twenty feet across.  It was hot, humid, and there were lots of bugs, but we were enjoying every minute.

As the trip progressed the enthusiasm of the ensign began flagging as he wasn't seeing the promised bounty of  shrimp.

The hike was three hours downriver and then three hours back up.  As we hiked  the trail back to the car, something in the brush caught my eye... and it was a pair of Japanese guns, including the type 41 pictured below.  I snapped a couple of photos of it.  The front view got lost over the years, and I only have this still from behind the shield.  But it's indicative of the wealth of ordnance that was still lying around the island at that time.

When we finally got back to the car we were all really tired, but very happy and enthusiastic about our adventure...our ensign however, was pretty sour.  By the end of the long and tiring day, he had only about six, undersized, fresh-water shrimp.  He was very annoyed by the whole thing and had a feeling that he had been duped by enlisted men.

As he had

(my Guamanian type 41 mountain gun)

Now let's take a look at the FineMolds 1/35th version of the type 41 that I built for the Battle of Guam


I assembled most this gun when I was on a camping trip.  It was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon under the open sky.

This kit is well-engineered and went together easily.

The anatomy and animation of the four crewmen is really good and I'm looking forward to painting them.

I'll have other 75mm Japanese guns, so I'll be getting a lot of use out of these guys in different battle scenarios.

An ammunition chest and three projectiles were included, and, as with the men, I'll be able to use them with the other 75mm guns.

The detail on this kit is really excellent.

The only camouflage I applied was to the shield.  I'm still noodling out exactly how much cammouflage I'll be applying to the various Japanese guns.

I rubbed graphite on the wheel rims to simulate dull steel.

I used Tamiya panel liner to bring out the detail...with limited success, as it tends to blot. 

This is the level of detail that I'll be applying to all materiel - Japanese and US.  As you see, it's very minimal.  Again, like all of my efforts, this is the realm of toy soldiers rather than military miniatures, so detail will be fairly simple and straightforward.  So do stay tuned for more developments.

As we say on Guam, "Half Adai!", and...

soldier on!



Tim Gow said...

Great story and a beautiful kit. But four of you in a Mk1 Civic.....

Mike said...

A gripping tale, Mannie. I imagine that young ensign eventually related that story himself, as a memory of his career.
That 75mm kit is sharp, and the camo looks good!

tradgardmastare said...

A great post and super looking bit of kit.

Unknown said...

Great story as always Mannie!

Mannie Gentile said...


The 1/35 fine molds gun works very well with 1/32, at least, I'm comfortable with it. Also look in to Shapeways. Shapeways is a collective of 3D printing artists, and you can find exceptional quality and variety of WWII Japanese artillery in various scales.