D Plus 3 (D+3), 22 February 1945
21st Marines 4th Div Opn Order 3-45 was received at 0001 ordering the Regt to relieve the 23d mar by 0730 and to continue the Atk at 0835. The relief commenced under the cover of darkness with 1st and 2d Bns, 1st Bn on the right. 2d Bn moved into position and effected the relief by 0645 with little or no difficulty under the cover of darkness. 1st Bn received heavy enemy mortar and Arty fire during the early hours of daylight causing many casualties while crossing the eastern part of Airfield No 1. and it was doubtful that the 1st Bn would be able to effect the relief and be in position to jump off on time. At 0755 1st Bn was not in position and it was requested that 2d Bn 24th Mar (occupying right ZofA) be Atchd in order to attack on schedule. At 0825 the above request was cancelled since the Regt was prepared to attack on time. The Atk to O-1 jumped off on schedule from a general line (181 S,T; 182 U; 165 A,B,C), preceded by an Arty and NGF preparation. The Atk progressed slowly encountering a series of heavily fortified emplacements along the entire front. Tanks, NGF and Arty were employed repeatedly with some results. Progress of about 50 yards on the right and 250 yards on the left was made during the entire day. However, many enemy emplacements were reduced in Regtl ZofA. During the night the enemy placed Arty, mortar and rockets and some small arms fire along the entire Regtl front.23rd Marines - DOG PLUS THREE, 22 FEBRUARY, 1945
The main activity during the previous night consisted of breaking up a counterattack of an estimated two hundred Japs in front of BLT 3/23 at 2330, principally by artillery fire. Thereafter, repeated attempts at infiltration were repulsed. Sporadic but concentrated enemy artillery and mortar fire persisted during the hours of darkness but were somewhat reduced in volume in comparison with previous periods. Upon receipt of a Division Warning Order, and later, at 0155, of division Operation Order Number 3-45, the necessary plans and arrangements for the relief of RCT 23 by RCT 21 were made with the officers of that unit. The RCT 23 CP at 164 Y, NW corner, was organized as a joint CP operated by the two organizations.
Elements of Co C, 4th Tk Bn, passed to control of RCT 21; 2/14 was assigned as direct support artillery. The necessary guides from RCT 23 were furnished to expedite the relief prior to 0730. Progress of the relief was slow due to heavy mortar and machine gun fire, and the complete relief of all elements of RCT 23 was not effected until approximately 1130, at which time BLT 2/24 was detached, reverting to control of RCT 24 at 1200. RCT 23, when relieved, passed to VAC Reserve and assembled in TAs 164 EY, 165 APUQLGH, and closed this area prior to 1300. A reconnaissance of routes of approach to the zones of 4th and 5th Mar Divs was made during the day in preparation for possible commitment in these areas. Elements of the RCT reorganized and partially reequipped from material salvaged in the rear areas. The RCT CP remained at 164 Y, NW, and intermittent shelling of this and other portions of the RCT area continued throughout the day.24th Marines - 22 February, 1945
Enemy mortar and artillery fire were received from 0001 until dawn. An enemy plane dropped two 63 KG bombs in vicinity of RCT 24 CP at approximately 0230. One bomb was a dud but the other exploded causing one casualty. RCT 23 was relieved by RCT 21. At this time BLT 2/24 reverted to RCT 24 control and was ordered to move into an assembly area in the vicinity of TA 165 E, 166 A. BLT 1/24 remained attached to RCT 25. RCT 24 (less BLT 1/24) remained in Division Reserve. King hour was at 0830. The 3d Platoon, Regimental Weapons Company and 2d Sec, 7th War Dog Platoon landed at 0815 on Beach YELLOW 1. BLT 2/24 arrived in its assigned assembly area at 1230. At 1101 RCT 25 reported a possible enemy counterattack forming in the vicinity of TA 184 UVW, 183 AB and orders were received by RCT 24 to make disposition of its units so as to support RCT 25 if a counterattack should develop. RCT 24 coordinated this support with RCT 25. All units of RCT 24 were alerted and prepared to support RCT 25 from defensive positions in the vicinity of their assembly areas. RCT 24 received a warning order at 1617 to be prepared to take over the zone of action of RCT 25 on short notice during the night. Orders to consolidate at 1800 were received and complied with. During the daylight hours and until 2400 very little enemy fire was received.25th Marines - D plus 3, 22 February 1945.
Accurate enemy mortar and artillery fire for short but intense periods was received throughout the night. Enemy patrols constantly harassed the front lines and attempted to infiltrate through the line. The enemy patrols were repulsed, though some casualties were suffered as a result of their activity.
Div Op Or No. 3?45 was received during the night and called for the continuation of the attack at K?hour (0830) to seize O?2. RCT?21 was to pass through RCT?23 on the left prior to K?hour. The plan of RCT?25 with 1/24 and Co A & B, 4th Tank Bn attached was for the initial effort to be made on the left. BLT?1/25 on the left, was ordered to attack straight to the north to the RCT left boundary where it would hold its position and be pinched out as RCT?21 advanced across its front. When this was completed a coordinated attack of the whole front line would begin to seize O?1. Due to the delay of RCT?21 on the left in effecting relief of RCT?23 the attack did not jump off until 1215. Initially the attack progressed well against moderate resistance and gains of up to 200 yards were made on the extreme left. However, RCT?21 suddenly fell back to its original position leaving the left of RCT?25 completely exposed. Since RCT?25 had only a small reserve it was necessary for BLT?1/25 to drop back to its original position to prevent a very large gap.
BLT?3/25 made only minor local improvements in positions during the day, however fired two rocket barrages on the hill in TA 183?C?D to soften the position. This barrage drove a large number of enemy out of their emplacements who were immediately taken under fire by well placed MGs. It was estimated that 200 of the enemy were killed in this manner. BLT?2/25 in the right center was counter?attacked at 1120 by an estimated 100 enemy following a very heavy enemy mortar barrage. The attack was repulsed, however, a large number of casualties were received from the enemy mortar fire. BLT?1/24 on the right, made only local improvements in its positions. At 1000 a hard cold rain began to fall and continued throughout the day., At 1530, the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. J. M. Chambers and the Air Ln Officer of BLT?3/25 were wounded by enemy MG fire while in the BLT OP. Captain James G. Headley, formerly C.O. of Co L, but serving as Bn?X, was ordered to assume command of LT?3/25. Units were ordered to consolidate positions at 1630, however, a gap on the left existed and, although the Res Co of BLT?1/25 was employed, was not filled completely. At 1830, a large group of enemy was observed forming up in front of BLT?2/25 and moving toward our front lines. This attempted counter?attack was broken up and repulsed by BLT?2/25.26th Marines - D+3, 22 Feb 45 Weather: Steady rain, poor visibility.
CT 26, with 5thTankBn (less one company) attached, moved out at daybreak and passed through CT 27 in resumption of the attack to seize (O-2; LT 126 reverting to CT 26 and LT 227 becoming attached to CT 26, effective on the passage of lines. LT 226 and LT 326 moved up to the front lines in a steady rain and under heavy mortar and artillery fire and completed passage of lines at about 0910. In passing through corresponding elements of CT 27, LT 326 had to extend about 200 yards into the zone of 4thMarDiv on the right, and LT 226 over-extended its right boundary for similar reason. Rather than attempt to adjust lines by lateral movement while under heavy enemy fire, it was decided to accomplish the same in advancing toward O-2. The attack advanced about 400 yards in the center, but in the right elements were unable to advance. The bluff line parallel to the direction of attack in the left of the zone of action of the 4thMarDiv completely dominated the zone of action of the 5thMarDiv. No part of this bluff was occupied by 4thMarDiv elements on this date. All forward elements of CT 26 received heavy artillery and mortar fire and the attacking troops were pinned down by heavy enfilade fire from positions in the bluff.
Frontal resistance, from pillboxes, was secondary to the above fires. Action of tanks in right of the zone was unsuccessful due to the heavy AT fire from the bluff positions. At about 0940 the CO of LT 326 (LtCol Tom M. Trotti) and the Bn-3 were killed. The Bn-X having already been wounded and evacuated, Major Richard Fagan was assigned command of LT 326. Between 1630 and 1800 and again at about 2200 uncoordinated counter-attacks on the left front, and to lesser extent in the center, were repulsed by artillery and infantry fire. At about 1700 LT 226 and the left of LT 326, holding completely untenable ground in the center salient, were forced to withdraw and all elements organized lines for the night on essentially the same positions from which attack was launched. Lines still extended well beyond the right CT boundary into the zone of the 3rdMarDiv (3rdMarDiv having taken over during the day from the 4thMarDiv).
Due to beach conditions a shortage of many items developed. However replacement batteries for radios were received late in the day and provided immediate improvement in SCR-300 communication. The need for usable roads leading to forward supply dumps became acutely felt.
Casualties: 5 Off, 95 Enl. Effective Strength: 137 Off, 2944 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 3 22 February, 1945
Our beach defense units reported an attempted counter-landing in T.S. 180J by an estimated 50 men and another in T.S. 180O by an estimated 400 men during the night. These landing attempts were repulsed by our beach defense units and naval gunfire. The enemy attempted no offensive action during the morning, but shelled our positions with mortar and artillery fire.
This combat team became division reserve at 1300 on this date when passage of lines was competed. The enemy dead reported to date was 515.
28th Marines - D+3 1800, 21 February to 1800 22 February.
Night Activity: Sporadic mortar and artillery fire landed in our area through the night. The Japs again sent up flares from SURIBACHI.
At 2335, three enemy swimmers were killed attempting to come ashore on the west beach.
An attempted dawn infiltration was made against LT-228 and LT-328 but was unsuccessful.
Daylight Operations: CT-28 continued the attack at 0835 with three landing teams abreast; boundaries and objectives remained the same. By 1015, LT-228 on the east and LT-128 on the west were moving around the base of the mountain.
Lt. Comdr Mc Carthy, Regimental Surgeon, was killed in the CP by a mortar burst about 0800.
Bad weather and poor visibility throughout the day hampered our operations considerably. The rain mixed with volcanic dust caused stoppages in practically all automatic weapons, reducing them to single shot weapons.
Units were ordered to consolidate at 1630.
Casualties for period Supporting units for the period
KIA & DOW 1 33 1 cruiser, 1 destroyer, 1 LC(S).
WIA 4 60 3d Bn, 13th Marines,
SK (evac) 8 C Co, 5th Tank Bn.
TOTAL 5 101
Combat efficiency: 70%