D Plus 10 (D+10), 1 March 1945
9th Marines - On March 1st at 1645 the 1st Bn 9th Marines passed through the 3d Bn 21st Marines, the right battalion of that regiment, and began an action which might be called the second phase of the 9th Mar action. Here commenced the attack on a strongly fortified enemy position manned by an estimated Inf battalion less one company (145th Inf) plus tanks. The enemy had organized an area of roughly 600 by 600 yards, the center of which appeared to be about at 201-D and E, or 1000 yards due east of the village of MOTOYAMA. In this area the enemy resisted savagely to the last man for sixteen days. He fought from well concealed caves dug deep into rock; from large bunkers each protected by mutually supporting pillboxes which were in turn protected by rifle pits, and from deep pits dug straight down 15 to 40 feet into the earth. At 1645 on 1 March the 1st Bn passed through the lines of the 3rd Bn 21st Marines and made small gains before being stopped by small arms fire from concealed positions to the front and right front. The Regtl front line at the time was about 500 yards East of MOTOYAMA running north and south and was of some 300 yards frontage. This pint may be said to be the outer defense of the enemy strong point just described.21st Marines
J. 1 Mar. The Atk continued at 0835 with the 2d Bn in assault. The Atk was preceded by an Arty preparation followed by a rolling barrage. The assault Bns made good progress but met stiff resistance as the Atk progressed. 1st Bn cleaned out the enemy pocket from vicinity of 182 B, 199 V only after the 3d Bn 9th Mar was committed to protect the 2d Bn left flank and seize the left boundary of Div ZofA, thereby encircling the enemy pocket in 182 B and 199 V. Contact was then established with the 1st Bn 21st Mar and 3d Bn 9th Mar. The Regt at this time was in advance of the 5th Div and over-extended, finding it difficult to maintain contact right and left. At 1545 control of right Regtl ZofA passed to the 9th Mar, 3d Bn 21st Mar Atchd to 9th Mar at the same time. The Regt continued the Atk with the 3d Bn 9th Mar and the 2d Bn 21st Mar abreast. 1st Bn 21st Mar protecting the Regtl left flank along the Div boundary was relieved by 3d Bn 26th Mar and then occupied a Regtl Res Line along 200 B,C,D. By 1645 the western part of airfield No 3 was overrun. One Co 1st Bn was released to the 2d Bn for tying in right and left. Lines for the night were consolidated as follows: 217 M,N,O; 218 P,U.
23rd Marines - DOG PLUS TEN, 1 MARCH, 1945
During the night, strong infiltration attempts were made in the zones of Cos K and L, 3/23, 29 enemy dead being found around the front lines of K Co the next morning. Sporadic artillery and mortar fire fell throughout the RCT area. At 2230, Division Operation Order 10-45 was received, and the necessary details were coordinated with the unit commanders of RCT 24 to effect a relief on the line prior to daylight on 1 March. Commencing at approximately 0530, elements of RCT 24 moved into position to execute the relief. The relief was effected by BLT 2/24 taking over the zone of BLT 1/23, and BLT 1/24 the zone of BLT 2/23. By 0630, the relief had been completed. The two assault BLTs of RCT 24 continued the attack against resistance of the same nature encountered by units of RCT 23 on the previous day. BLT 2/23, at 0830 passed to VAC Reserve and moved into assembly area at 165 BC, closing in that area prior to 1200. BLT 3/23, on Division order, was attached to RCT 24, and assembled at TA 182 U. The RCT less 2/23 and 3/23 assumed a status as Division Reserve in TA 182 RSY, the CP remaining at 182 Y. At about 0920, 3/23 was released from RCT 24, and at 0930 passed to control of RCT 25. Co I, BLT 3/23 was assigned to BLT 1/25, and Co L to BLT 2/25. Co K remained under BLT 3/23 control, and was assigned the mission of mopping-up the cliff-line pocket in TA 183 INO. Attachments of Co C, 4th Tk Bn, and a section of 75mm Halftracks from R/W Co, RCT 23, were attached to 3/23 for this purpose. Throughout the day Co K was subjected to intense and accurate sniper fire in the area, but managed to partially reduce the effectiveness of Jap resistance in this pocket. On Division order (received at 1410), BLT 1/23 was alerted to be prepared to pass to RCT 24 control on twenty minutes notice. Mopping-up operations in the RCT area were continuous during the day, and reorganization and reequipping of the inactive units was accomplished. Only token enemy activity in the nature of sporadic mortar fire was encountered in the RCT assembly area during the day. in preparation for the night, Cos I and L of 3/23 were committed in the line with elements of RCT 25, and Co K was retained at the base of the cliff-line at 183 INO to contain the pocket in that area. There was no change in the location of the RCT CP, or the RCT units, other than that already indicated.24th Marines - 1 March, 1945
Operation Order 10-45 was received from Division. RCT 24 (less BLT 3/24) was to pass through RCT 23 at King-Hour (0830), and seize O-2 prepared to continue the attack to O-3 on Division Order. BLT 3/23 was attached to RCT 24 until BLT 3/24 was released by RCT 25 at 0730. BLT 2/24 relieved BLT 1/23 and BLT 1/24 relieved 2/23. The reliefs were effected prior to 0630. BLT 2/24 while moving into position received an enemy heavy mortar shell which caused several casualties. Regimental Weapons Company (less 37mm platoons), Co B, 4th Tank Bn and 2d Sec, 1st Prov Rocket Det, operated under RCT control initially 3/14 reinforced by 2/14 was in direct support of RCT 24. Air and naval Gunfire Support were available. The Division artillery fired an intense preparation beginning at 0820 which moved forward in successive concentrations after 0830. The attack jumped off on time with BLT 2/24 on the left and BLT 1/24 on the right. By 0930 BLT 2/24 had advanced approximately 100 yards against heavy enemy resistance. BLT 1/24 was slowly moving forward against very strong enemy opposition. By 0930 BLT 3/24 had returned to RCT 24 and became RCT Reserve. BLT 3.23 was released to RCT 23. At 1030 RCT 24 CP opened at TA 182 S. The attack continued throughout the day against strong enemy opposition and little progress was made. The left flank of BLT 2/24 advanced about 30 yards while the right flank of BLT 1/24 made practically no gain. RCT 21, on the left of RCT 24, was able to move forward at a walk. HILL 382 in the center of the RCT zone was very heavily defended and required extensive demolition work before any advance could be made. RCT 9 passed through RCT 21 at 1600 and continued the attack. Contact between RCT 9 and BLT 2/24 became broken so two companies of BLT 3/24 were moved into line on the left of BLT 2/24 to regain contact. Company K, BLT 3/24 remained in RCT Reserve. The terrain was very poor for tank operations but several were used to support, by fire, the attack of the BLTs. Orders were received to consolidate at 1700. Two air strikes were completed in the RCT zone during the day. Artillery and NGF fired continuously in support of the attack and provided defensive fires and illumination for the night. RCT 24 remained in active contact with the enemy through the remainder of the period. Enemy mortar fire, rifle fire and hand grenades were received by the front lines.
25th Marines - D plus 10, 1 March 1945.
At 2200, 28 February and again at 0230, 1 March, the enemy made large scale attempts to penetrate the lines of BLT-3/25. These attacks were repulsed by the accurate placing of artillery and mortar fire on the enemy group killing an estimated 150 of the enemy. In the zone of BLT-1/25 commencing at 2200, the enemy placed heavy mortar and rocket fire on our front lines and continued to do so throughout the remainder of the night.
The attack was continued at K-hour (0830) in accordance with Div Op Or No. 10-45. BLT-3/24 was relieved by BLT-3/24 which was attached to this RCT at 0930. BLT-1/25 on the left was ordered to make the main effort; BLT-2/25 and BLT-3/25 in the center and on the right respectively were to hold their positions until the bulge in our lines could be straightened out. BLT-1/25 jumped off at K-hour and was able to push forward approximately 50 yards further than the preceding day and to extend its right flank to within 50 yards of Turkey Knob. The unit on the left did not move from positions held the past two days, and the left flank of BLT-1/25 was again exposed to heavy fire from the commanding ground on the left flank. At 1200, Co B on the low ground gain attempted to make a juncture with the flanking units on the high ground but was again repulsed in its attacks on the strongly fortified cliff line and at 1700 fell back to their original positions. Extremely heavy mortar and rocket fire was again placed on the front lines of the flanking unit of BLT-1/25, which combined with the very heavy MG fire from perfectly camouflaged and strongly emplaced positions on the ridge to the front and on the high ground to the left flank, caused very heavy casualties. At 1700 it was seen that the position of the flanking units was untenable for the night since the high ground to the front could not be seized nor the juncture made with Co B and orders were issued for the withdrawal to a position held on the previous night. As units started to withdraw very heavy mortar and rocket fire was brought to bear on the front lines and it was necessary to lay a smoke screen to cover the withdrawal and evacuate wounded.
BLT-2/25 and BLT-3/25 made only minor improvements in positions with BLT-2/25 making an advance on its left of 100 yards. The Div. Reconn. Co. was attached to this RCT from 0900 to 1700 for rear area mopping up operations. Positions were consolidated at 1800 and firm contact established between all units.26th Marines
D+10, 1 Mar 45 Weather: Scattered showers, visibility good At daybreak on passage of CT 27 lines by CT 28, LT 126 and LT 226 reverted to CT 26 in 5thMarDiv reserve. About 1340 CT 26 was committed to action, in that LT 326 was ordered to move forward into a gap in the lines between CT 28 and 3rdMarDiv elements. LT 226 was moved to a forward position in CT reserve. CT 26 CP was displaced forward. General advance having carried to the northern plateau of the island, the enemy had lost most of his commanding observation and a considerable number of his heavy guns, resultant in greater freedom of movement and less casualties in rear areas. Supply has progressed to a normal standard.
Casualties: 1 Off, 69 Enl. Replacements 10 Off, 385 Enl. Effective strength: 116 Off, 2474 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 10 1 March, 10, 1945
This combat team became division reserve on this date. Flame throwers and demolitions were captured in T.S. 199K, west. Rocket launchers and dump were captured in T.S. 199G, northeast. At 1605, a POW was captured in T.S. 215T. Enemy dead reported to date was 1042.28th Marines - 1800, 38 FEBRUARY TO 1800 1 MARCH
Night Activity: Very quiet.
Daylight Operations: CT-28 was ordered by Division as follows: 28th Marines with 5th Tank Bn, and 3d Bn, 27th Marines, attached, will at K-hour (0830) pass through 27th Marines, seize O-2 and D-A in Division zone of action, be prepared to seize O-3 on order.
All three landing teams moved into the line abreast relieving three landing teams of CT-27. Relief was completed by 0850. Boundary between LT-128 and 228: 216 R northeast, M east, H east. Boundary between LT-328 and LT-228 216 K center, F center, A northwest. Boundary between LT-128 and CT-26; 217 P W center, K southwest, K northwest. Order of LT's from left to right: 328, 228,128. LT-327 was sent to assembly area in reserve in 199 K.
Hill 362 was the most formidable terrain feature confronting us. The hill provided enemy observation of the entire western side of the island and all the way south to SURIBACHI. It was rugged and rocky with no vegetation on the south, while on the north side was a sheer cliff about 80 feet high and dotted with many caves both large and small. This hill, or cliff line, extended in front of both LT-128 and LT-228.
The attack was delayed 20 minutes in order to allow for completion of the relief of CT-27. Because of the extremely wide front, LT-128 was unable to relieve two companies of LT-326 which had been on the right of LT-327, and attached to CT-27.
The attack moved slowly ahead under severe mortar and small arms fire. The same type of dogged enemy defense was encountered here as was encountered on SURIBACHI.
By 1030, LT-128 and LT-228 had reached the top of 362 and the ridgeline running east and west from it, but were unable to negotiate the steep cliff on the north side because of heavy machine gun and mortar fire.
Artillery, mortars, and rockets were concentrated in front of the hill but with little effect. At 1330, LT-128 committed its reserve company around the right side of the hill but was unable to contact LT-228, so the lines were consolidated for the night on the hill and ridgeline running east and west from it.
C Co, 5th Tank Bn, was attached to LT-228 and also supported LT-128 and LT-328 by fire.
Captain Wilkins, Commanding A Co, was killed during the day while leading his company against Hill 362.
At 1700, H Co, of LT-327 was attached to LT-128 to back up its line for the night with orders to revert to LT-327 at 0730, 3 March.
CP's; LT-128 in 199 B, LT-228 in 216 P, LT-328 in 198 C.
Casualties for period: Supporting units for period
KIA & DOW 4 54 2 destroyers, 1 cruiser, 1 LC(S) WIA 7 146 2d Bn, 13th Marines SK (evac) 13 C Co, 5th Tank Bn. TOTAL 11 213
Combat efficiency: 65%