D Plus 9 (D+9), 28 February, 1945
9th Marines - After the action described above, the 9th Marines passed into division reserve after a passage of lines by the 21st Marines at 0815 on Feb 28.
H. 28 Feb. The Regt passed through the 9th Mar at 0815 just north of Airfield No 2 with two (2) Bns abreast (1st Bn on the left and 3d Bn on the right) continued the Atk to O-3 supported by 9th Mar 81mm mortar Plats. By 0905 the 1st Bn had advanced approximately 200 yards in its ZofA encountering heavy enemy resistance. At 1130 the 3d Bn was making satisfactory progress but had to hold up the Atk due to intermingling of elements of the 4th Div. The Atk was continued at 1300 and by 1330 elements of the 3d Bn had taken Motoyama Town. The rapid advance of 3d Bn created a gap between Bns in center of Regtl ZofA. The gap was filled by the 2d Bn at 1530 and positions were consolidated for the night along the line 216 Y, 217 U, 200 A, B 217 V,W,X,Y, 200 E, 201 F. Regtl CP displaced to 182 P at 1620. The employment of the 2d Bn was foreseen and the 3d Bn 9th Mar attached and placed in Regtl Res in vicinity of 200 F,G,H. Occasional mortar and/or rocket fire continued to fall along the entire Regtl front and rear areas during the night. 3d Bn 9th Mar killed approximately 60 Japs in vicinity of assembly area during the hours of darkness.23rd Marines - DOG PLUS NINE, 28 FEBRUARY, 1945
Intermittent concentrations of light and heavy mortar fire fell on the front line positions and rear areas during the night. At 0043, enemy cargo parachutes were reported to be falling along the front of the RCT's lines, some 400 to 600 yards into enemy territory. No alert had been received. This area was thoroughly pounded by artillery, to destroy any cargo, or enemy personnel trying to recover them. No evidence of the effectiveness of this shelling was found, but the intensity of the fire was such that the greater bulk of any such cargo must have been destroyed. At 2400, Division Operation Order 9-45 for the continuation of the attack was received, and at approximately 0300 RCT Operation Order 7-45 was issued to all units. RCT 23 continued the attack after an artillery, naval gunfire and air preparation from King minus forty-five to King-Hour. 2/14 remained in direct support of RCT 23. BLT 2/23 with attachments of Co E, BLT 2/24, and the 2d Section, 1st Provisional Rocket Detachment, executed a relief of 3/23 on the line at 0600, and resumed control of George Company, 2/23. 3/23 upon being relieved, passed to RCT Reserve, and continued mopping-up operations in the rear of the RCT zone. One Platoon of Company B, 4th Tk Bn, was assigned to support the attack, with the remainder of the company assembled prepared to execute missions on order. Because of the changing direction of attack, the boundary between assault BLTs had been slightly adjusted, reassigning HILL 382 to the zone of the left BLT, instead of the right BLT as on the previous day. At 0815, BLTs 2/23 and 1/23 abreast, 2/23 on the right, jumped off in the attack, meeting comparatively light resistance initially. BLT 2/23 on the right advanced about 200 yards before being stopped by increasing mortar fire and the cross-fire from mutually supporting automatic weapons in concealed bunkers and pillboxes. On the left, in 1/23 zone, resistance was encountered from mortars falling around HILL 382, and also from automatic weapons fire from the left front and the western slopes of 382. At 1300, after a ten minute artillery preparation, a coordinated attack was launched in conjunction with RCT 21 on the left which netted a ground gain of approximately 300 yards in left of BLT 1/23 zone of action. At 1415, Co A, BLT 1, maneuvered around the eastern slopes of Hill 382, and by enveloping action, destroyed two dug-in enemy tanks in the area. This enabled the troops to move into positions from which installations on the crest of 382 could be effectively re-engaged. At about 1530, Cos K and L, BLT 3/23, were altered, and soon thereafter moved to reinforce the lines of BLT 1 and BLT 2, respectively, for the night. Considerable difficulty was experienced by BLT 1 in closing the gap on the left with RCT 21. It was necessary to move two platoons of the reserve company into the gap under the cover of darkness in order to establish contact. In so doing, these elements were fired on by the Japs from a pocket that had been by-passed in RCT 21 zone during the day. Some casualties were incurred to troops of BLT 1. The average ground gained during the attack this date approximated 200 yards on the right and 300 yards on the left. The employment of the tanks of Co B, 4th Tk Bn, during the day was restricted because of difficulties of terrain, and heavy AT gunfire which could not be located. As a result of day's operations, the major resistance in the vicinity of HILL 382 and surrounding areas had been neutralized. However, enemy mortar concentrations registered on the hill proper prevented complete occupation of the high ground. Sniper fire in the area was reduced somewhat, but the movement of troops and vehicles in the open around the airfield still remained hazardous due to interdiction by enemy mortars. By 2300, contact with RCT 21 on the left had been gained and positions well established for night defense.24th Marines - 28 February, 1945
No enemy activity occurred in the assembly area of RCT 24 (less BLT 3/24 and Company E, BLT 2/24) from 0001 until dawn. RCT 23 with Company E, BLT 2/24 attached and RCT 25 with BLT 3/24 attached continued the attack at King-Hour (0815). RCT 24(less BLT 3/24 and Company E) remained in its assembly area as Division Reserve. BLT 2/24 (less Company E) received enemy mortar fire at 0800 and suffered several casualties. Units spent the day policing the RCT area, salvaging equipment, cleaning weapons and resting. Reconnaissance of the Division zone by staff members and company commanders was continued. A new RCT CP location was reconnoitered in TA 182 S and at 1305 a group went forward to establish the installations. The remainder of the period was quiet.
25th Marines - D plus 9, 28 February 1945.
Activities during the night of 27?28 February consisted of attempted infiltrations and light mortar fire along the whole front. The attack jumped off at K-hour (0815) in accordance with Div Op Or No. 9-45 to seize O-2 with the main effort being made on the left, Co I the remaining Co of BLT-3/24, was attached to BLT-1/25 for use as a reserve Co for the flanking elements. BLT-1/25 on the left attacked in a column of companies through the right flank of RCT-23 in a southeasterly direction to pinch off the strongpoint below Turkey Knob (SW Corner TA 184-F). The leading Co moved across the open ground and into the edge of the wood north of Turkey Knob for an advance of 150 yards. As the troops reached this point the enemy laid down a very heavy mortar and rocket barrage, plus intense MG fire from the high ground 100 yards to the front and from the left flank. The left flank of BLT?1 was exposed since BLT-2/23 on the left had not moved abreast and fire from the commanding ground in the zone of BLT-2/23 decimated the front line of BLT-1/25. At 1030 two more Cos were ordered in the line extending the right flank toward Turkey Knob. At 1215 Co B, which had remained on the low ground to the south of Turkey Knob started an attack toward the high ground east of Turkey Knob. By 1500 this Co had made an advance of 200 yards and had reached the base of the cliff line of which Turkey Knob was a part. After this Co started up the high ground the enemy, well dug in and established on this high ground, began throwing grenades and mines on the advancing troops. MGs emplaced further east on this ground also enfiladed Co B. Co B suffered very heavy casualties and at 1530 was forced to withdraw. When the juncture with Co B could not be made it was seen that the position of the flanking forces was untenable due to the fact that both flanks were exposed, the commanding ground had not been seized, and very heavy casualties had been suffered, therefore orders were issued for BLT-1/25 to withdraw to the closest favorable ground.
In the center, BLT-2/25 attempted to extend its left flank to support the attack of Co B and to push forward and seize the commanding ground to its immediate front. Very little progress was made due to extremely heavy fire and very rugged terrain. Tanks and half?tracks could not be brought into position to support the attack of BLT-2/25 and in order to reduce the pillbox that was holding up the advance a 75mm pack howitzer was requested and sent up to the front lines. The howitzer was assembled and fired about 40 rounds but the direct result of this fire was not apparent. However the front line were able to move forward 75 yards further to a position from which the pillbox was destroyed on the following day. On the right flank BLT-3/25 had by 1000 moved out 100 yards where its advance was halted in order not to break contact with BLT-2/25 on its left. At 1800 units were ordered to consolidate positions for the night.
D+9, 28 Feb 45 Weather: Partly cloudy, visibility good CT 26 (less LT 126 attached to CT 27) was in 5thMarDiv reserve in position to support the action of CT 27. At about 1000 LT 226 was also attached to CT 27. Some progress had been made in salvage and replacement of weapons, though considerably more service was needed particularly with respect to BARs, flame throwers and bazookas. Casualties: 3 Off, 43 Enl. Replacements: 4 Off, 42 Enl. Effective strength: 107 Off, 2158 Enl.
At about this point the loss of junior officers and non-commissioned officers began to seriously affect the efficiency of the command.
27th Marines - D plus 9, 28 February, 1945.
At 0150, this combat team's CP received fire of large caliber mortars or artillery causing several casualties. Minor infiltrations were attempted during the night by enemy using only had grenades. Several enemy, wearing Marine Uniforms, were observed throwing grenades into our front lines. Higashi 2720 unit was identified by our right front battalion. In the afternoon, stiff resistance was encountered by our right front battalion.
Snipers in pillboxes, caves, and prepared positions and machine guns, knee mortars, and larger caliber mortars held up our advance. An abandoned enemy CP was found in T.S. 199L, east. The enemy dead reported to date was 1042.
1800, 27 FEBRUARY TO 1800 28 FEBRUARY.
Night Activity: Very quiet.
Daylight Operations: Ordered by Corps to continue mopping up in SURIBACHI area with one battalion. Move one of two remaining battalions in SURIBACHI area to assembly area vicinity 181 GF by 1500. Be prepared to attack in zone of action of 3d, 4th, or 5th Mar Divs.
LT-128 was ordered to move to 181 GF and to reconnoiter routes to front line preparatory to attacking in 5th Mar Div zone of action.At 1100, LT-328 was released to 5th Mar Div control. LT-227 was ordered to relieve LT-228, and CT-28 was ordered to move to assembly area vicinity 181 QR. Also we were informed that the Combat Team would revert to 5th Mar Div control at 0600, 1 March.
The 3d Plat, 5th MP Co, returned to CT-28 control at 1200.
At 1300, CT-28 opened the new CP in 181 Q.
During the afternoon, LT-227 relieved LT-228 in the SURIBACHI area and LT-228 moved to assembly area in 198 G.
Also during the afternoon Colonel Liversedge and the Battalion Commanders reconnoitered routes to the front lines in the 5th Mar Div zone of action preparatory to relieving CT-27 and going into the attack on 1 March.
A total of nine officers and two hundred eighty-three enlisted replacements from the 27th and 31st Replacement drafts had been received during the past two days and distributed among landing teams.
Location of troops at close of period: LT-128 in 181 P L; LT-228 in 198 G; LT-328 in 181 Q R.
Casualties for period:
KIA & DOW None WIA 2 SK (evac) 1 TOTAL 3
Combat efficiency: 70%