D Day, 19 February, 1945
23rd Marines - DOG_DAY -All operations for Dog_day have been included in Section III, Paragraph 5, THE LANDING, this report.
Dog day had been tentatively set for 19 February, and How-hour for 0900. Both were confirmed. Throughout the day, the weather, sea conditions and visibility were excellent.
At 0640, the transports arrived in the transport area. The RCT Comdr and his command group were afloat immediately thereafter, and cleared for the Control Vessel at 0700, arriving thereat 0745. By 0735 all LSTs were on station, and by 0805, all LVTs had been launched without mishap, and the waves were forming behind the LD, prepared to land. Both Regimental Weapons Company (less 37mm platoons), and the remainder of the RCT Command echelon, which had been delayed in boating were inroad to their rendezvous areas at 0900.
Inroad to the beach, the landing craft received no fire, and at 0902 the first wave (LVT(A)s) landed. One minute later the 2d wave of BLT 1 landed, and at 0905 the 2d wave of BLT 2 landed. The remaining scheduled waves followed at the prescribed intervals.
Reports during the first half-hour after landing indicated that both BLTs were progressing inland under increasing mortar and machine-gun fire, and were beginning to encounter pillboxes within their zone. No mines were reported on the beaches. Reports on tank landing points were somewhat confused and misleading. It appeared clear that tanks could successfully land and move inland in the center of Yellow 1, but reports as to the condition of Yellow 2 proved inaccurate.
Shortly after 0900, the CO BLT 1 requested that his attached tanks be landed, and, as the need for tanks ashore was becoming increasingly apparent, it was decided to land LSM 211 on the center of Yellow 1. Owing to the fact that the Control Vessel had no direct radio communications with the LSMs, some delay was encountered in getting the LSM to the LD. During this interval CO BLT 2 requested the landing of his tanks, and at 0930, all three tank LSMs were dispatched from the LD, LSM 211 to land 50 yards to the north of the beached lugger on the boundary of Yellow 1 and Yellow 2, and LSM 216 to land 100 yards farther to the north, near the center of Yellow 2.
At 0940, all LSMs hit the beach, and were immediately taken under fire. The 211 had landed in its correct position, but both the 126 and the 216 were from 100 to 150 yards to the north of the points prescribed. Although hit twice almost immediately, the 211 successfully discharged its tanks and withdrew. These tanks (the 4th Platoon, had a detachment of the Co Hq Tank section, attached to BLT 1) started inland from the center of Yellow 1. The tanks of the 126 (the 2d Platoon, attached to BLT 1, and the 3d Platoon, attached to BLT 2) were landed, but within a few minutes, three had either bogged down or had been disabled by mines. The remaining three were reorganized as the 3d Platoon, and this platoon set out for the BLT 1 zone, which it finally reached. The tanks of the 216 (the 1st platoon and a detachment of Co Hq Tank Section, attached to BLT 2) had even greater difficulty. One tank was discharged, but it bogged down at the mouth of the ramp. After a half-hour's effort to recover this tank, the 216 withdrew to the LD. At 1100, another attempt to land was made, this time on Yellow 1, but no tanks succeeded in getting ashore. Repeatedly hit, the 216 again withdrew, and proceeded to the hospital LST (LST 930) behind the LD to discharge its casualties. After repeated orders to attempt to discharge his tanks on the center of Yellow 1, the Commanding Officer of LSM 216 cast away from the Hospital LST and at 1245, proceeded to Yellow 1. By 1300, the remaining vehicles were discharged. These tanks proceeded inland, but were unable to locate a route to the zone of BLT 2. No such route was located that day. Tank operations were therefore limited to the zone of BLT 1, and, because of the hazards indicated, were difficult and relatively ineffective. On request of the RCT Comdr two tank retrievers were landed in an endeavor to assist the assault tanks which were in trouble along the beach. Some progress was made, but the nature of the terrain and the heavy mortar and artillery fire from the flanks constituted a distinct handicap to retrieving operations.
In the meantime, the assault BLTs were meeting increasingly heavy resistance. At 0930 BLT 1 reported its forward elements 250 yards inland, and continuing slowly; ten minutes later BLT 2 reported similar progress, but that its leading elements were pinned down by machine-gun fire from pillboxes to its front and flanks. At 0932, the eight wave of BLT 1 was dispatched to the beach. At the same time, the 37mm platoon of BLT was dispatched, and the shore party elements of BLT 2's eight wave remained afloat. At 1034, BLT 1 confirmed that the entire BLT had landed.
By 1200, BLT 1 was within 200 yards of Airfield No 1. BLT 2, continuing to meet intensive resistance, was about 100 yards less advanced than BLT 1, it having made very little progress since its previous report. Enemy fire continued, with the beach areas receiving frequent and concentrated shellings from heavy mortars and artillery.
At 1300, BLT 3 was ordered to land on Yellow 1, to assemble vicinity Target Areas 148 J 149 A, and to support the attack of BLT 2 with its 81mm mortars. At 1313, its first wave was dispatched from the LD, landing at 1332. The last wave was dispatched at 1338, and had landed by 1358. Shortly after 1400, the shore party elements of BLT 2 were dispatched from the LD, and by 1430, BLT 2 was completely ashore.
At 1405, the left company of BLT 1, accompanied by tanks, had reached the airfield, but the tanks were forced to withdraw behind the revetment because of heavy anti-tank fire. Thirty minutes later, in order to get BLT 3 clear of the beach area, BLT 3 was ordered to pas through BLT 1 and continue the attack, BLT 1 to assemble immediately in rear of the positions then held. At this time it was recommended to the Division Comdr that one BLT of RCT 24 be made available on Yellow Beach 2 to support BLT 2 ashore, and at 1620, an advance CP was established ashore in Target Area 164 Y, South. Shortly after 1600, an attempt was made to land tank reinforcements from Co B, 4th Tank Bn, but only one tank landed successfully, and the LSM carrying them withdrew. At this time, RCT had six tanks in operation. At 1605, the first waves of direct support artillery, the 2d Bn, 14th Marines, were dispatched to the beach. The RCT Shore Party headquarters (133d NC Battalion, less detachments) landed immediately thereafter, accompanied by the 3d Platoon, 4th MP Co.
At 1622, the first wave of BLT 2/24 crossed the LD for Beach Yellow 2. On landing, BLT 2/24 was attached to this RCT, but not to be committed to the assault. At 1655, with authority of the Division Commander for commitment, it was ordered to pas through BLT 2/23 and seize the edge of the Airfield. The passage of lines in this instance was postponed until just prior to darkness, however, due to the initiation of an advance by BLT 1 and completed seizure of the edge of the Airfield, and BLT 2/23 was nearly abreast, but still 100 yards short of the edge of the airfield in its zone of action. Shortly after, the order was issued to consolidate for the night on the edge of the airfield, and by 1800, BLT 2/23 completed seizing the edge of the airfield within its zone. Relief by BLT 2/24 was initiated, and at 1915 it was announced completed.
Having dispatched all elements of 2/24, the RCT Comdr and command echelon left the Control Vessel and reached the CP at 1820.
Nightfall found RCT 23, with BLT 3 and BLT 2/24 in the line, firmly established along the seaward edge of Airfield No. 1. A gap existed between the two BLTs, created by a small pocket of entrenched Japs on the edge of the turntable in Target Area 165 K P, but the pocket was contained and the gap entirely covered by fire.
Heavy casualties had been sustained by the assault BLTs during the day, but these BLTs had now been relieved by two BLTs at full strength, and were in reserve positions to the rear of the relieving BLTs. Thirteen tanks (including the one tank from Company B) were operative, but two of these were flame throwers which, with their fuel exhausted and without resupply, were of no value in the attack. All were located just behind the embankment of the airfield at Target Area 164 X. The direct support artillery battalion (the 2d Bn, 14th Marines, 105mm howitzers) had 10 guns in position ashore and registered by 2130. The supply situation, especially ammunition, was far from satisfactory. The Regimental Quartermaster assumed control of Yellow Beach 1, and initiated its operation to a sufficient event to provide relatively and adequate evacuation and supply to meet the immediate needs of the Combat Team. Yellow Beach 2 was operating at extremely low efficiency due to its almost untenable condition as the result of enemy fires.
In preparation for the next day, the order was issued at 1905 to continue the attack in the same formation, same zones, at 0830 on the 20th, BLTs 1 and 2, in RCT reserve, to remain in their presently assigned assembly areas, prepared to support the attack on order.
Many elements of the RCT Support Group were not ashore on the night of Dog-day, principally because of the difficulty in landing wheedled equipment. Dates of landing were as tabulated below:
D plus 1 (20Feb) Regimental Weapons Co (less 37mm Platoons).
D plus 2 (21Feb) 2d Section, 1st Platoon Rocket Detachment. 3d Platoon, 4th Service and Supply Co, 4th Service Bn.
3d Section, 7th Marine War Dog Platoon.
Co C, 4th Medical Bn (less Collecting Section).
D plus 3 (22Feb) Co C, 4th Motor Transport Battalion.
D plus 5 (24Feb) 24th Replacement Draft. (Led as combat to replacements of Division Order).
D plus 9 (1Mar)
D plus 8 (28Feb) 3d Platoon, 442 Army Port Co. (Landed on completion of unloading of AKA 60).
Despite may difficulties encountered, and the unusually heavy resistance, the landing attack was executed in accordance with plan. The advance inland, although limited, gave RCT 23 control of the high ground along the seaward edged of the airfield, with excellent fields of fire for automatic weapons. Eleven tanks were available for anti-mechanized defense of the beachhead, direct support artillery was in position and the Combat Team was ready to continue the attack. With two fresh BLT's occupying the front line and a the two initial assault BLT's disposed in depth as a regimental reserve, the threat of counterattack in the RCT zone of action created relatively little concern.)
19 February, 1945
As Division Reserve, RCT 24 received orders at 1405 to boat two BLTs, one to rendezvous in rear of LD off Beach BLUE 1 and await further orders, the other to rendezvous in rear of LD off Beach YELLOW 1 and await further orders. At 1430 BLT 1/24 was ordered to rendezvous in rear of LD off Beach BLUE 1 and BLT 2/24 was ordered to rendezvous off Beach YELLOW 1. At 1500 orders were received for BLT 1/24 to land as soon as possible on Beach BLUE 1 and be released to RCT 25 upon landing; BLT 2/24 was to land as soon as possible and be released to RCT 23 upon landing. RCT 24 received orders at 1515 to have BLT 3/24 oat immediately and proceed to the rendezvous area in rear of the LD off Beach BLUE 1 where it was to await further orders. BLT 2/24 was ordered to land on beach YELLOW 2 instead of Beach YELLOW 1 as previously instructed. The Commanding Officer, RCT 24 left the USS BAYFIELD (APA 33) at 1550 for Blue Control Vessel, arriving there at 1620. The first wave of BLT 2/24 crossed the LD of Beach YELLOW 2 at 1620 and landed at 1635. Succeeding waves followed at 5 minute intervals and all of BLT 1/24 was landed by 1650. The first wave of BLT 1/24 crossed the LD of Beach BLUE 1 at 1620 and landed at 1632. Succeeding waves followed at 5 minute intervals and all of BLT 1/24 was landed by 1656. RCT 24 Support Group began debarkation at 1630 and by 1750 were in the rendezvous area in rear of LD off Beach BLUE 1. By 1820 the first 5 waves of BLT 3/24 had arrived at the LD of Beach BLUE 1 and the first wave was dispatched to Beach BLUE 1. Succeeding waves of BLT 3/24, with the exception of the 3d Plat, Regimental Weapons Company and RCT 24 Support Group followed at 5 minute intervals. All units of BLT 3/34 were in an assembly area in TA 166 F by 2030. RCT 24 with the exception of the 4th Plat Regimental Weapons Company and the 2d Sec, 7th War Dog Platoon was in an assembly area in the vicinity of TA 165 O by 2005. RCT 24 CP was located in TA 165 O. The order for the continuation of the attack was received at 2100. BLT 1/24 remained attached to RCT 25. BLT 2/24 remained attached to RCT 23. RCT 24 (less BLT 1/24 and BLT 2/24) remained in Division Reserve in the vicinity of TA 165 O, 166 FG. King hour was to be 0830. The remaining elements of Regimental Weapons Company were ordered at 2142 to land on 20 February, 1945. Very little enemy fire was received by RCT 24 (less BLT 1/24 and BLT 2/24) prior to 2400, 19 February.
D-day, 19 February, 1945.
The first wave, composed of LVT(A)(4)s landed at 0902 and moved inland to the base of the first terrace. The LVT(A)(4)s on the right flank moved to the right of the beach and in the water to cover the debarkation of troops in the later waves. The second waves (first wave of troops) landed at 0904 and disembarked troops about 20 yards inland. The first and second waves reported that there was only light enemy fire until the troops disembarked and moved approximately 25 yards from the LVT, when they came under very heavy MG, mortar, artillery and rocket fire. BLT-1/25 on the left although at least 200 yards south of its proper position had no contact with the unit on its left and extended to the left to make this contact. At 0932, BLT-1/25 reported that troops were still under heavy fire of all types but had moved inland 300 yards. At 1007, BLT-3/25 reported that troops had moved north along the beach 350 yards and that its left flank was inland 400 yards and in contact with BLT-1/25. BLT-3/25 also reported receiving very heavy and accurate small arms fire from the cliff line in 183-V-W-X. At 0945, an armored bulldozer and a section of Co Hq of Co A, 4th Engr Bn was sent to the left of Beach BLUE 1 to prepare a roadway off the beach for the tanks. This bulldozer was actually landed on Beach RED 2, a distance of 1000 yards to the left (south) of Beach BLUE 1, and did not reach Beach BLUE 1 until the following day. At 1017, the tanks had landed and were moving inland from Beach BLUE 1. Co B, 4th Tank Bn, less one platoon was attached to Co A. As the three LSMs carrying the tanks approached the beach they drew heavy artillery and mortar fire. Although this fire did not prevent the landing of the LSMs it did slow the launching of the tanks. All three LSMs were hit by enemy fire but were able to launch all tanks and retract from the beach. At 1025, BLT-3/25 reported its lines approximately on the RCT )-a line on the right flank and within 150 yards of the beach in 183-V. BLT-3/25 further reported that casualties had been very heavy and that its companies were considerably disorganized due to the heavy casualties and the fact that some of the waves had landed on beaches to the left (south) of its assigned areas of Beach BLUE 1. At 1022, BLT-1/25 reported that its lines were 400 yards inland, that there was a gap of approximately 100 yards on the right flank, that a portion of the Res Co had been committed, that heavy casualties had been received, particularly to key personnel, that heavy small arms, mortar, and artillery fire was still being received along the whole front and on the beach. at 1130, BLT-1/25 had nearly reached a line abreast of the airfield.
By 1200, it was seen that it was vital for RCT-25 to seize the high ground to the NE of its Beach (TA 183-V-W). In view of the gap that had developed between BLT-1/25 and BLT-3/25 the C.O. of BLT-2/25 (RCT Res) on board the BLUE control boat (PC 1081) was ordered to land his BLT on Beach BLUE 1, attack in a column of companies astride the boundary between BLT 1/25 and BLT-3/25. Permission to use the second Co was given to the C.O. BLT-2/25 but the remaining Co was not to be employed without approval from the RCT Comdr. By 1400, BLT-2/25 had moved one company into the line between BLT-1/25 and BLT-3/25 and a coordinated attack was started. At 1530 F and G Co of BLT-2/25 were passed through E Co and the attack continued. It was requested by the C.O. RCT-25 that artillery be landed and at 1545 one battery of 1/14 had been dispatched from the line of departure with the other batteries to follow at appropriate intervals. 1/14 was in position and ready to for fire missions by 1700. at 1632, BLT-1/24 started landing on Beach BLUE 1 and became attached to RCT-25 upon landing but with the provision that it would not be employed without authority from Div. An Assembly Area in TA 165-E, 166-A was designated by the RCT-25 Comdr. At this time BLT-2/25 was given authority to commit its companies without prior approval of the RCT Comdr. At 1730, the heavy casualties and disorganization of BLT-3/25 were such that the RCT Comdr requested and received permission to use one Co of BLT-2/24. By 1830 the high ground on top and inland of the quarry had been seized by BLT-2/25 and BLT-3/25, but extremely heavy casualties had been received. Co A of BLT-1/24 was attached to BLT-3/25 at 1845. At 1900, BLT-3/25 reported its front line strength as being only 150 men and in view of the counter-attack expected on the right flank, permission was requested from Div to use one Co of BLT-3/24 (Div Res) which was in position immediately to the rear of BLT-3/25. This request was denied but permission to use one more Co of BLT-1/24 was ranted and Co B of BLT-1/24 was attached to BLT-3/25. Units commenced digging in at 1700 and firm contact was established along the RCT front except on the left flank where there was a gap of 75 yards. This gap was covered by fire and observation during the night. By 2330, A and B Co of BLT-3/25 had been pulled out, and had taken up a secondary defensive line in rear of BLT-1/24.
The total area occupied by RCT-25 was under continuous artillery, mortar and rocket fire from shortly after the landing of the initial waves until well after dark. Evacuation of casualties and bringing in of supplies was exceedingly difficult, for when any boat approached the beach, it was immediately subject to accurate mortar and artillery fire. The effectiveness of the Shore Party was consequently greatly reduced and no roads for wheeled vehicles could be constructed. It was not until well after dark that any re-supply of front line units could be effected and this was done only by use of balanced loaded LVT(4)s running directly to the front line units.
The advance RCT CP was established ashore at TA 165-J at 1530 by the RCT Executive Officer and the RCT Comdr moved ashore at 1700. For the final line for the night, See Appendix I to Section 4 (Progress of the Attack Overlay).
D-day, 19 Feb 45 Weather: Clear and mild; sea calm.
CT 26 (less LT 126, released to 5thMarDiv and subsequently attached to CT 27) commenced pre-boating of vehicles and heavy equipment at 0750, completed about 1045. At 1000 CT 26 was released by VAC and became 5thMarDiv reserve. Upon receipt of orders to boat and proceed to Line of Departure at about 1100, general debarkation was commenced. C) and advance reconnaissance parties proceeded to the TRANSDIV control vessel and opened forward CP there. At about 1530 orders were received to land and assemble ashore. Between 1600 and 1715 advance reconnaissance parties, LT 326 Boat Group and LT 226 Boat Group landed on Beach RED-1 and commenced organizing perimeter defense in vicinity of 148F. About 1800, on order of ADC in conference with CO CT 26 and CO CT 27, dispositions were shifted.
Although no direct contact with the enemy was made, sporadic artillery and mortar fire was received throughout the area on this date, and for the next ten days, falling with great accuracy into the battalion CPs and other forward establishments.
Due to adverse beach conditions no vehicles were able to get off the beach on this date.
Effective strength: 146 Off, 3110 Enl.
D Day 19 February, 1945
This combat team's assault troops met light resistance from enemy infantry troops on the beach, but found the beach area being hit repeatedly by enemy mortar and artillery fire. Our CP was under almost constant artillery and mortar fire during the afternoon and night. Enemy documents found in T.S. 148J indicated that the 311th Independent Infantry battalion was on the island. A small number of enemy dead was found in the beach areas. At 1400, our left battalion reported 100 dead in their zone of action.
The enemy dead reported on D-Day was 100.
D Day 19 February, 1945
This combat team's assault troops met light resistance from enemy infantry troops on the beach, but found the beach area being hit repeatedly by enemy mortar and artillery fire.
Our CP was under almost constant artillery and mortar fire during the afternoon and night.
Enemy documents found in T.S. 148J indicated that the 311th Independent Infantry battalion was on the island.
A small number of enemy dead was found in the beach areas. At 1400, our left battalion reported 100 dead in their zone of action.
The enemy dead reported on D-Day was 100.
0900 to 1800, 19 Feb.
CT-28 (less LT 328) landed on beach GREEN-1 at 0902, LT-128 in assault. Covering naval gunfire and air bombardment enabled the assault waves to land and clear the beach rapidly with moderate casualties. The assault waves were preceded by a wave of 11 LVT (A)s which upon landing took positions on the left flank of the beach and protected the incoming waves by firing on enemy positions at the base of SURIBACHI.
LT-228 landed at 0935 and went into position facing south on the line R-A. By this time mortar and small arms fire was increasing on the beach.
Colonel Liversedge and the advance echelon of the Combat Team CP landed with the 10th wave and established the CP in 147 Y.
At 1035, Lt. Frank Wright of B Co, LT-128, and a few men reached the west side of the island. In it's rapid advance across the island, LT-128 had become disorganized, and at this time it was clear that another landing team would have to be committed on the right of LT-228 in order to launch an attack south to seize Mt. SURIBACHI. Consequently, at 1039, LT-328 was released to CT-28 control, and ordered to land at 1210. When LT-328 landed there was a marked increase in enemy mortar and small arms fire and many casualties were suffered in crossing the beach.
A patrol, with radio, from the R-2 Section operated on the right flank of CT-28 during the advance across the island with mission of reporting contact between CT-28 and CT-27. Contact was maintained until the high north-south ridge-line was reached and CT-27 turned north in its attack up the island.
C Co, 5th Tank Bn, was ordered to land on beach RED-1 at 1145. Upon landing the tanks were attached to LT-128 and assisted in mopping up behind LT-128 and knocked out enemy emplacements that were holding up its advance. Five tanks were put out of action by mines on the third terrace inland from GREEN-1.
The 75mm Plat, Regimental Weapons Co, in the 6th wave lost one halftrack as it was leaving the LCM. The front wheels became enmeshed in barbed wire laid just below the water line. Attempts to putt the halftrack out were unsuccessful and it was lost for the remainder of the operation. The remainder of the halftracks moved to the left flank of GREEN-1 and delivered heavy fire on pillboxes and caves from which intense mortar and small arms fire was being delivered into the exposed left flank of the Combat Team.
The two 37mm Plats attached to LT-128 and LT-228 succeeded in crossing the beach although one gun and weasel were lost debarking from the LCM and one gun and weasel were destroyed by mortar fire on the beach.
No wheeled vehicles were able to cross the beach. They mired in the soft sand and became easy targets for mortar fire.
The Rocket Detachment attached to CT-28 lost three trucks on the beach before being able to launch a single rocket. The one remaining rocket truck fired several barrages on the base and north side of SURIBACHI.
From 1100 to 1600, E Co. was attached to LT-128 and assisted in mopping up by-passed enemy positions. At 1600, E Co. returned to Combat Team Reserve.
At 1545 LT-228 and LT-328 were ordered to attack south and seize SURIBACHI. Negligible advances were made against strong opposition.
Captain Mears, commanding B Co. and Captain Roach, commanding C Co, were severely wounded and evacuated during LT-128's advance across the island.
The Combat Team CP moved to 147S northwest at 1800. LT-128 CP at 147R east. LT-228 CP at 147W northeast. LT-328 CP at 147Y center.
Front lines at close of period were on R-A, 132 I center, 147 P southeast, 147 G center.
Casualties for period Supporting units for the period
KIA & DOW 3 76 1 cruiser, 1 destroyer, 1 LC(S).
WIA 14 281 3d Bn, 13th Marines,
SK (evac) 11 C Co, 5th Tank Bn.
TOTAL 17 368
At the close of D-day it was thought that casualties were much more severe than was actually the case. LT-128 alone reported 600 missing. However many of these men had returned by D+2. They had been fighting with other companies and in some cases other regiments.
Combat efficiency -85%