D Plus 4 (D+4), 23 February 1945
21st Marines - The Regt was to continue the Atk to O-1 at 0730 preceded by an Arty, NGF and tank preparation on known enemy targets. One (1) plat of Engrs was Atchd to each assault Bn for demolition and mine clearing details. 1st Bn jumped off on time, 2d Bn became engaged in a sharp fire fight during the early hours of daylight and was unable to advance until 0935. By early afternoon 2d Bn assault Cos reached the southwest approach of Airfield No 2 with some advance elements crossing the southwestern part of the northeast-southwest runway, but later the few remaining men were driven back by very heavy MG and direct AT fire which also prevented the other troops from gaining the ground. Regtl CP displaced to 164 E at 1515. 3d Bn was placed in an assembly area 164 E, 165 A at 1615. Assault Bns established contact right and left and consolidated positions along the line 182 A,F,G,Q,R,S for the night. The enemy continued to place mortar, rocket and Arty fire along the entire front causing many casualties.23rd Marines - DOG PLUS FOUR, 23 FEBRUARY, 1945
Enemy activity during the night was limited to sporadic shelling of the RCT assembly areas by mortars, rockets and artillery, with some rounds of heavy dual-purpose AA and 20mm airbursts. The repeated shelling produced few casualties, but the demoralizing effect on the troops was considerable at the time. The entire RCT remained in VAC Reserve during the night with no change in the disposition of troops. At 0019, Division Operation Order 4-45 was received. RCT Operation Order 3-45 was issued at 0510. All units remained in assigned assembly areas during the day, and active reconnaissance of routes of approach to the zones of the 4th and 5th Mar Divs was completed by members of the RCT and BLT staffs. At 1000, on request of 4th Mar Div, BLT 3/23 was moved to a new assembly area in the vicinity of TA 148 HI, and it closed in the new area by 1310, VAC being notified. remaining elements of the RCT maintained their present positions, BLT 1 at TA 164 Y, south central portion, and turned over its old location at 164 Y, NW, to the 4th Mar Div. Inclement weather prevailed throughout the day with rain and fog obscuring visibility and making general conditions uncomfortable for the troops. Enemy artillery and mortars continued to be active during the day with repeated shelling of beach installations and the rear areas. At approximately 1930, units were alerted to condition red and shortly thereafter enemy planes appeared over the area. The subsequent bombing was ineffective. Division Operation Order 4-45 was received at about 2345, and RCT Operation order 4-45 was issued at 0140 to all units of the RCT.24th Marines - 23 February, 1945
Division Operation Order 4-45 was received at 0315. RCT 24 was to relieve RCT 25 in its zone of action prior to 0600 and continue the attack to O-2 at King-Hour (0730). BLT 2/25 and BLT 1/25 were to pass into the control of RCT 24 at 0600. BLT 2/24 relieved BLT 3/25 and 2/25, by 0800. Upon being relieved BLT 2/25 took up a position in TA 166 F,G as RCT 24 Reserve. BLT 1/24 with Company A, 2d Arm'd AmphTrac Bn attached remained in position prepared to attack at King-Hour. Regimental Weapons Company (less the three 37mm platoons which were attached to a BLT), Company A (Reinf), 4th Tank Battalion and 1st Sec, 1st Prov Rocket Det operated under RCT 24 control. 3/14 was in direct support of RCT 24. The attack jumped off at 0730 preceded by a coordinated artillery and NGF preparation from 0654 until 0730. An air strike VICTOR went into effect along the Division front from 0745 to 0800. Very little progress was made initially because of heavy fire from enemy pillboxes along the taxi-way between Airfield No. 1 and No. 2. Five tanks of Company A (Reinf) 4th Tank Bn were assigned to BLT 2/24 to assist in knocking out the pillboxes. By 0900 the entire front of RCT 24 was moving forward against heavy enemy opposition and through very rugged terrain. As the attack progressed a gap developed between BLT 2/24 and BLT 1/21. Company G, BLT 2/25 was attached to BLT 2/24 to fill this gap. Heavy enfilade fire was received from Airfield No. 2 by BLT 3/24. BLT 1/24 made very slow progress against stubborn enemy resistance. At 1700 positions were consolidated for the night generally along the line 182 S,O 183 K,L,G,H,I,J,O, 184 T,P,U, 166 E,J. The greatest gains were made by BLT 1/24 and BLT 3/24 which each went about 400 yards. Two air strikes, artillery and NGF had supported the attack throughout the day. RCT 24 remained in contact with the enemy throughout the remainder of the period.25th Marines - D plus 4, 23 February, 1945.
During the night of 22-23 February, the enemy attempted to infiltrate into our lines. These attempts were repulsed with an estimated 150 enemy killed. The infiltration attempts were accompanied by heavy artillery and mortar fire.
RCT-25 was relieved by RCT-24 commencing at 0500 in accordance with Div Op Or No. 4-45. The relief of BLT-1/25 and BLT-2/25 was completed prior to 0730, but the relief of BLT-3/25 was not completed until 0900. BLT-1/24 and Co A & B, 4th Tank Bn were detached and BLT-2/25 was attached to RCT-24 for use as Res BLT. RCT-25, less BLT-2/25, assembled in Div Res in TA 165-E-J, 166-A-F. All units spent the day in reorganizing and rehabilitation with unit Commanding Officers making a reconnaissance of the Div front and selecting routes of approach to the various front line BLT areas.
26th Marines - D+4, 23 Feb 45 Weather: Cloudy, visibility good.
At about 0400 LT 126 received a counter-attack by an enemy force estimated at 400 to 500. This attack was broken up with difficulty by artillery fires and very close quarter fighting. At daybreak LT 227 moved forward and effected relief in the line of LT 126. In view of conformation of ground to the front (high ground on the right and flat beach on the left), CT 26 planned to echelon the advance to the left rear. The attack to seize O-2 was launched at 0738 and, though later attempts to resume the advance were made, no appreciable gains were made this date. 3rdMarDiv elements on the right made no progress in reduction of bluff positions and heavy enfilade fire from these positions stopped every attempt of LT 326 to get under way. At about 1000 LtCol Joseph P. Sayers, commanding LT 226, was wounded and evacuated. Major Amedeo Rea, Bn-x, assumed command of LT 226. Due to the fact that the area concerned was under extremely heavy fire for effecting relief, LT 326 maintained positions that extended into the 3rdMarDiv zone, and defense lines for the night were tied in as for the previous night. Deficiencies in weapons and weapons parts reached serious proportion due largely to heavy rain of previous date. No spare weapons nor spare parts had been landed. The supply of 81mm ammunition and demolitions was maintained only with considerable difficulty. (Throughout the operation 81mm, H.E., light, remained a critical item of supply). Adequate beach exits and usable roads partly into forward areas began to help the supply situation considerably. Casualties: 2 Off, 126 Enl. Effective Strength: 135 Off, 2818 Enl.27th Marines - D plus 4 23 February, 1945
This combat team continued to be division reserve.
Division reports that our basic map may have been compromised due to copies being lost in battle. Security precautions were taken. At 0300, an undetermined number of enemy infiltrated our lines along the west coast. The following units were identified from documents; Tan 7180 unit, Nishiki unit, Akatsuki 16722 unit, Nakayama unit, Ito unit, and Special Naval Landing force unit 1198. Pull-type booby-traps were found attached to some enemy dead and also to saki bottles and helmets. Artillery and mortar fire was received around the CP all day. Fire seems to be concentrating on roads west of Airfield #1 near our CP.
One POW was captured in T.S. 163R. He was a member of a naval guard unit. At 2030, FLASH RED. At 2115, ALL CLEAR.
The enemy dead reported to date was 645.
28th Marines - D+4 1800, 22 February to 1800, 23 February.
Night Activity: A miserable night was spent by all because of the heavy rain during the previous day and sporadic enemy mortar fire through the night. Attempted enemy infiltration during the night failed.
Daylight Operations: The attack commenced at 0900. LT-228 was ordered to secure and occupy the crest of SURIBACHI. LT-128 was ordered to pass one company through LT-328's right company. LT-328's remaining company on the line was attached to LT-128 and LT-128 was further ordered to attack around the base of the mountain and contact LT-228 on the southern tip of the island. It was impossible to scale the mountain in LT-128's zone of action.
A four man patrol followed by a forty man patrol led by 1st Lt. Schrier of LT-228 reached the top of SURIBACHI on the northeast rim of the crater at 1020 and raised the national color.
At 1130, elements of 128 met elements of 228 on the southern tip of the island. Objective R-B was reported secured except for mopping up.
Messages congratulating CT-28 on the seizure of SURIBACHI were received from Lt. Gen. Smith, Vice Admiral Turner, and Maj. Gen. Rockey, Commanding General of the 5th Marine Division.
The remainder of the day was spent in mopping up, blowing caves, etc.
For night defense, 40 men from E Co were left on top of SURIBACHI and the Combat Team set up a defense line extending from the east beach in 132 R southwest to the west beach in 132 E west, thence up the west beach to 147 B.
CP's: no change.
Casualties for period: Off. Enl.
KIA & DOW 18
WIA 15 SK (evac) 1 8 TOTAL 1 41
Combat efficiency: 65%