D Plus 2 (D+2), 21 February 1945
21st Marines The Regt was boated at 0800 and commenced landing on BEACHES YELLOW 1 and YELLOW 2 at 1345. The Advance CP Landed at 1200 and established at 1225 in vicinity of 148 D. By 1700 all three Bns were ashore and in assembly areas in 148 D, H, I, N. A warning order was received at 1800 releasing the Regt to the 4th Div with expectation of passing it through elements of 23d and 24th Mar the following morning. Necessary liaison was immediately established with the 23rd Mar and supporting units, however, only limited reconnaissance was conducted due to darkness. During the night heavy enemy mortar and Arty fire fell in the vicinity of the assembly area but caused no casualties.
23rd Marines - DOG PLUS TWO, 21 FEBRUARY, 1945
At 2310, BLT 3/23 reported three enemy tanks on the airstrip to its front; an artillery concentration called on this target immediately resulted in the verified destruction of one tank. The remaining two were driven of, and were not again observed. Other enemy activity during the previous night was limited mainly to intense and accurate artillery, mortar, and rocket fire in the RCT zone. No actual physical contact with the enemy was reported. At 0045, the division warning order for the continuation of the attack on the morning of 21 February was received, and a warning order was issued to all major units of the RCT. At about 0445, RCT Operations Order Number 2-45 (dispatch) was issued to all major units of the RCT. King-Hour was set at 0810, with a coordinated artillery and naval gunfire preparation from King minus twenty to King plus twenty. 2/14 remained in direct support of RCT 23. Air was on call at King-Hour with a pre-arranged air strike at selected targets from King plus twenty to King plus forty. the formation of units remained the same with no change in boundaries except for extension to the northward. The LD, the front lines at King-Hour; the objective, O-2. One platoon of tanks from Co C, and one section of 75mm Halftracks from R/W Co were attached to the assault BLTs for the attack. At 0810, the leading units continued the attack, but forward movement was slow.
Increasingly resistance was encountered along the entire RCT front from mortar and artillery concentrations directed at the advancing troops. In addition, the volume and accuracy of fire from concealed machine guns and pillboxes in front of BLT 2/24 at TA 165 B. Engineers were dispatched to the area, but difficulty was experienced in the removal of mines due to the volume of mortar fire concentrated on the approaches to the mine field, and the accurate automatic weapons fire from pillboxes covering the mined area. The total advance for RCT 23 during the day averaged about one hundred yards along the entire front. By 1745, the order from division was received to consolidate for the night on the most favorable ground. Due to the number of casualties in the assault elements during the day, one company from 1/23 was attached to 3/23, and one company from 2/23 was attached to 2/24, to reinforce the lines for night defense. Contact with adjacent units during the day had been lost; however, prior to darkness solid contact was established with RCT 25 on the right and RCT 27 on the left. Except for the detached companies, BLTs 1/23 and 2/23 remained on the Regimental Reserve Line along the seaward edge of the airfield throughout the day, and established a secure secondary defense, with contact with adjacent unit reserves, on this line for the night. During the day some question was expressed over the proper location of the division left boundary, as a result of the troops of RCT 27 being reported within RCT 23 zone. The point of contact with RCT 27 was at 181 O, SW corner, in BLT 1/23's zone, approximately two hundred yards inside the 4th MarDiv left boundary. This adjustment of the boundary between the adjacent RCTs was dictated by the actual location of critical terrain features on the ground.
The operation of tanks in support of the infantry during the day was again limited by the terrain and recurring mine fields in the zone of action. for the most part during the attack, the tanks were maintained at the rear under BLT control and were called forward when they could be employed. The mere appearance of a tank forward with the infantry during the attack resulted in heavy artillery and mortar fire being directed at the vehicles and consequently into the line of the advancing infantry, causing heavy casualties. For this same reason, the further, because of there extreme vulnerability to the heavy fire, the employment of 75mm Halftracks was impracticable, and these vehicles were returned to parent control. During the latter part of the afternoon the RCT 23 CP displaced forward to a more favorable covered position in 164 Y, Northwest corner.
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Light enemy artillery, mortar and DP AA fire was received from 0001 to dawn. The attack continued at 0810 with BLT 1/24 attached to RCT 25 and BLT 2/24 attached to RCT 23. RCT 24 (less BLT 1/24 and BLT 2/24) remained in Division Reserve in TA 165 O, 166 F,G. The 75mm half-track platoon of Regimental Weapons Company landed during the morning on Beach YELLOW 1. Further reconnaissance was made of routes forward in zones of action of RCT 23 and RCT 25. Co B, 4th Eng Bn (less 1st and 2d plats) continued removing mines from beach areas. Sporadic enemy mortar and artillery fire were received during the daylight hours and a through the remainder of the period.
25th Marines - D plus 2, 21 February, 1945.
Units in line from left to right, BLT-1/25, BLT-2/25, BLT-1/24 were in much better defensive positions during the night of 20-21 February. During the night the enemy attempted to infiltrate through our lines in two and three man groups and continually employed knee mortar fire on the front lines. At 0443, BLT-2/25 repulsed an attack by an estimated 100 Japanese. A large amount of air burst WP, in conjunction with sporadic mortar and artillery fire, was placed on the rear area starting two fires in the beach ammunition dumps on Beach BLUE 1.
Div Op Or No. 2-45 was received during the night for continuation of the attack at K-hour (0810) to seize objective O-2. The plan of attack for RCT-25 with Co A and B, 4th Tank Bn and BLT-1/24 attached was the same as for the preceding day. The attack jumped off at K-hour against heavy small arms fire from numerous pillboxes and under heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. The attack of BLT-1/25 and BLT-2/25 was supported by tanks of Co A 4th Tank Bn. Co B, 4th Tank Bn delivered destructive fires on located pillboxes on the cliff line to the front of BLT-1/24. At 1000 the Commanding Officer of BLT-1/25, Lt. Col. H.U. Mustain, was killed in action by enemy mortar or artillery fire in TA 182Y while checking front line positions. Major Fenton J. Mee, the Bn3, performing duty as Bn-X (since D-day) immediately assumed command of BLT-1/25. Slow progress was made in the center by BLT-2/25 and on the left by BLT-1/25 except on its extreme left flank where continued fire from the zone of RCT-23 and the inability of that unit to move to its front prevented the advance of the left elements of BLT-1/25. At 1430 BLT-3/25 was committed between BLT-1/25 and BLT-2/25. This was necessary due to a gap being created between 1/25 and 2/25. One Co of BLT-3/25 and one Co of BLT-1/24 were held as RCT Res. At 1700 units were ordered to consolidate positions for the night and contact was established along the front except on the left flank of the RCT where a gap existed which was covered by fire and observation.
26th Marines - D+2 21 Feb 45 Weather: Cloudy, scattered light rain.
Elements of CT 26 (less LT 126) were moved north in the zone of action of CT 27 at about 0700, to maintain readiness for employment in that zone. About 1700 shifts in disposition were made in coordinating defenses for the night. Small enemy groups were active along the beach in front of LT 226 between darkness and midnight.
Supply over the beach was but poorly developed and very little organic equipment was received. A serious need for flame thrower servicing and re-supply material arose, and existed for the following three days. Replacement batteries for the SCR-300 radios became very critical and began to cause communication failures in these sets, at which time they were being used for nearly all tactical messages. Wire communication could not be successfully maintained at this stage. By the end of the day most of the vehicles initially landed had been cleared of the beach and the remaining elements of WpnsCo were available for use. 37mm platoons, having been attached to Bns each night only, were attached to Bns at this time and remained attached throughout the operation.
Casualties: 3 Off, 13 Enl.
Effective Strength: 142 Off, 3039 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 2 21 February, 1945
During the night one or two enemy troops infiltrated the lines of the unit on our right and stabbed several men. Much enemy activity in front of our lines was reported at 1500 and a normal artillery barrage was laid down.
Our right flank received heavy resistance and artillery fire from T.S. 198M,N,O,R, and W. This front line unit reported increasing cave activity in their zone of action. Naval gunfire destroyed two enemy artillery pieces on tracks in T.S. 199F.
A large communication cable running north and south and buried some 3 1/2 feet underground was cut during the day. this cable was believed to have been used as communication line between the enemy units on Mt Suribachi and those in the northern part of the island.
Our tank units reported having found booby-trapped saki bottles and terra cotta mines in T.S. 164A. One of our reserve unite reported booby-trapped enemy equipment in shell holes and fox holes in T.S. 164G, northeast.At 1445, our troops reported having seen about 24 enemy troops committing suicide by leaping from the cliffs in the vicinity of Airfield #1. The enemy dead reported to date was 505. 28th Marines - D+2 1800, 20 February to 1800, 21 February.
Night Activity: Heavy mortar and artillery fire continued throughout the night in our sector. The enemy shot up several white and amber pyrotechnics from SURIBACHI, which we later found were signals for artillery to fire from the north end of the island.
Daylight Operations: CT-28 was ordered by Division to continue attack at 0825.
There was still enough distance between our lines and the base of SURIBACHI for air strikes, naval gunfire, and artillery. A 40 plane strike with bombs, rockets, and strafing was executed prior to K-hour. This strike was brought within 100 yards of the front lines at the closest point. This was the closest strike to our lines during the entire operation and was concentrated in an area inaccessible to tanks. This strike was brought so close because the enemy positions holding us up were very near the front lines; also it was thought that the advance of our lines during the day would preclude further use of air.
Prior to K-hour LT-128 was given a one company front on the right of LT-328; otherwise, boundaries and objectives remained the same.
As of D+1, tanks were unable to make K-hour and no advances were made until they arrived. The tanks assisted greatly in knocking out pillboxes and blockhouses and the infantry was able to bore through the main defenses in front of the mountain. After repulsing a small counterattack shortly after noon, LT-28 reached the base of SURIBACHI on both coasts at 1500.
At 1600, nineteen machine gunners from the Motor Transport Bn., with 7 LMG's reported to CT-28 and were divided and sent to LT-128 and LT-328. They remained with the two landing teams for two days and were returned to their parent organization.
Units commenced consolidation at 1630.
Front line; 132 V,Q,L,F south; 131 J,N. CP's; LT-128 moved to 132 A.
Casualties for period Supporting units for the period
KIA & DOW 34 2 destroyers, 2 LC(S).
WIA 11 142 3d Bn, 13th Marines,
SK (evac) 9 C Co, 5th Tank Bn.
TOTAL 11 185
Combat efficiency: 75%