D Plus 7 (D+7), 26 February 1945
9th Marines- Action of the same nature as that described above(25 Feb, 45) for two more days on 26 and 27 February in the general vicinity of airfield number 2. Each morning pre-King hour artillery and NGF preparation of heavy intensity was laid down on enemy positions. Tanks came into more and more use, especially on the left, and aided the advance materially. Infantry troops fought close in, using flame throwers, anti-tank rockets to good advantage.
In Division Reserve no adequate comments in report
23rd Marines - DOG PLUS SEVEN, 26 FEBRUARY
Intermittent shelling in the RCT zone continued during the night, with periods of intensive and concentrated mortar fire registered on the front line positions, and in the vicinity of Airfield No 2. At 2230, Division Operations 7-45 was received, and RCT Operation Order 5-45 was issued prior to 2400. Following the air, naval gunfire and artillery preparation from King minus forty-five to King-Hour, RCT 23, with BLTs 1/23 and 3/23 in the assault, 3/23 on the right, and BLT 2/23 in RCT reserve, continued the attack at 0800 against stubborn resistance from well organized mutually supporting pillboxes, bunkers, emplacements and caves supported by concentrated mortar fire. Successive mine fields on the taxiway of Airfield No 2 (zone of BLT 1), and in vicinity of the Radio Weather station at TA 200 W, on extreme left of 3/23's zone, effectively limited the employment of tanks in support of the infantry. Progress was slow, and initially only small gains were made against an intricate defensive network on the high ground to the front in the RCT zone. Direct fire from enemy tanks dug in on the slopes of HILL 382, on the left of the BLT 3/23's zone, and grazing fire from machine guns sighted down the taxiway of the airfield made the advance of the infantry difficult. By late afternoon the southwest slopes of HILL 382 had been gained by the reduction of pillboxes and installations vital to the enemy defense of the area. Net gains of approximately 200 yards were averaged during the day against fierce resistance. Positions gained in the vicinity of HILL 382 became absolutely untenable due to the tremendous volume of enemy mortar and rocket fire concentrated on this area. At 1700, front line units began to consolidate positions and close gaps for firm contact during the night, but due to the volume of enemy mortar and machine gun fire in the area, firm contact between adjacent RCTs was not established until 2100. During the day BLT 2/23, in RCT Reserve, conducted mopping up operations in the rear area to clean out snipers in the vicinity of the RCT CP. The RCT Reserve and RCT CP did not displace during the day.24th Marines - 26 February, 1945
Light enemy fire and attempts to infiltrate through the front lines occurred from 0001 until dawn. One large group of approximately 20 enemy attempted to break through the lines of BLT 3/24 but it was destroyed. Division Operation Order 7-45 was received during the night. RCT 25 with BLT 3/24 attached was to pass though RCT 23. RCT 24 (less BLT 3/24) was to revert to Division Reserve. BLT 3/24 and BLT 2/24 were passed through by 0800 and BLT 2/24 went into an assembly area in the vicinity of 165 E,J. Patrols from BLT 1/24 thoroughly searched all destroyed enemy vessels beached on Beach BLUE 1 and 2. RCT 24 (less BLT 3/24) spent the remainder of the day resting, reorganizing, cleaning weapons and equipment. Reconnaissance of routes forward into the sectors of RCT 23 and RCT 25 was made. Orders were received to consolidate at 1700 and RCT 24 (less BLT 3/24) remained in its assembly area 165 E,J, 166 A, 165 O as Division reserve. No enemy fire was received in he RCT zone during the remainder of the period.
25th Marines - D plus 7, 26 February, 1945.RCT-25 started relieving RCT-24 in its zone at 0530 in accordance with Div Op Or No. 7-45 BLT-1/25 relieved BLT-3/24 on the left, completing its relief by 0650; BLT-2/25 relieved BLT-2/24 in the center, completing its relief by 0820. BLT -2/25 had been attached to RCT-24 on 25 February, and had its companies attached to the BLTs of RCT-24. One of these companies had in turn been placed in the line by BLT-3/24. The delay in early release of BLT-2/25 and its subsequent delay in moving into the line prevented the jump off at K-hour. BLT-3/24 was attached to RCT-25 and remained in RCT Res. Tanks of Co A, 4th Tank Bn attached to RCT-25 were assigned the mission of supporting BLT-1/25 and BLT-3/25. The attack jumped off at 0820 following the artillery and NGF preparations. On the left the front lines moved out well for 150 yards against small arms fire, but were suddenly pinned down by extremely heavy MG fire from concealed emplacements thought to be in the vicinity of Turkey Knob (SW cor of TA 184-F), which proved to be a strong center of resistance. Enemy mortars and rockets were also brought to bear on the front lines of BLT-1/25. Tanks brought up to locate and knock out MG fire, were unable to do so and their presence drew even more intense mortar and rocket fire. Air spot and counter battery fires were requested to locate and knock out the mortar and rocket positions but they were unable to locate the enemy firing positions.
BLT-2/25 in the center was able to make gains of only 75 to 150 yards. Heavy casualties were suffered in this advance over very rugged terrain, from heavy small arms and well placed MG and mortar fire. BLT-3/25 on the right made a slow but steady advance against heavy MG and rifle fire from well constructed positions utilizing tanks to neutralize these emplacements. By 1630, BLT-3/25 had seized the cliff line to the east of the Boat Landing (TA 167-B, 184-P-U) for an overall advance of nearly 500 yards. On the left BLT-1/25 was forced to withdraw from its untenable position on the low ground below the cliff line in TA 183-J under cover of a smoke screen which was utilized to evacuate the numerous casualties. The Res Co of BLT-1/25 had been committed on its left and at 1530 BLT-3/24 was ordered to attach one Co to BLT-1/25. On the right BLT-3/25 requested an additional Co since its lines had become extended in tying in with BLT-2/25 to its left rear. At 1630, BLT-3/24 was ordered to attach one Co to BLT-3/25. At 1700, all units were ordered to consolidate positions, to make firm contact with adjacent units and to dig in for the night.26th Marines
D+7, 26 Feb 45 Weather: Cool and cloudy, visibility good. CT 26 launched coordinated attack at 0800 to seize O-2, with support of tanks. Although 3rdMarDiv elements had not secured the bluff lines abreast of CT 26 front lines, fires from the bluff decreased; however, resistance from bluff positions still impede the advance of the company on the extreme right. Enemy resistance was chiefly from pillboxes and caves and a number of such positions were destroyed during the day, flushing enemy troops into the open at times. Half-tracks were used on D+7 and D+8 to fire on KAMA rock for the purpose of neutralizing enemy fire direction operations believed conducted form there. Half-tracks had no other opportunity to fire until the northern plateau was reached, as they were considered to vulnerable for use in the exposed area. Organic equipment and supplies had become available to all units. Casualties: 1 Off, 139 Enl. Effective Strength: 111 Off, 2272 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 7 26 February, 1945
This combat team remained in division reserve. At 0945, a POW was captured by Regimental Weapons Co. in T.S. 181O, center. Areas around wells in T.S. 181K, northeast; 197T, southwest; and 198P, west, were found to be mined with yardstick mines attached to aerial bombs. The enemy dead reported to date was 722.
28th Marines - D+7 1800, 25 February to 1800, 26 February.
Night Activity: Generally quiet, with only a few rounds of artillery falling in our lines at the base of SURIBACHI.
Daylight Operations: CT-28 ordered by Corps to continue mopping up in SURIBACHI area and be prepared to attack in zone of action of 3d, 4th, or 5th Mar Divs. Infantry, with engineers attached, continued closing caves and destroying remaining snipers. Twenty Japs were killed in a large cave on NW slope of SURIBACHI and six were killed in an AA position on N slope. I Co, LT-328, assisted engineers in clearing shrapnel from runway of Airfield #1. Location of front lines and CP's remained the same on D+6.
Casualties for period:
KIA & DOW 4 WIA 3 SK (evac) 4 TOTAL 11
Combat efficiency: 65%