D Plus 15 (D+15) 6 March, 1945
9th Marines- Attacks were made on 3, 4 and 6 March against enemy positions in this area. On each day the 1st and 2d Bns attacked abreast after the usual heavy artillery, air, and NGF preparation. In spite of all of the preparatory fires (artillery alone fired upwards from 1500 rounds per preparation), no large gains were made. Supporting fires were not confined to preparations, but continued almost constantly and still the enemy persisted apparently unaffected. Advances up to a total of 150 yards were made during these three days, after which no noticeable decrease of enemy resistance prevailed. The Regtl frontage during this period was about 500-600 yards running north and south, and the center of the front lines was about 600 yards due east of MOTOYAMA.
O. 6 Mar. 3d Bn 9th Mar Atchd at 0600 and placed in Regtl Res at 218 A prior to 0900. The Regt continued the Atk to O-3 with two (2) Bns abreast, the 2d Bn jumped off at 0800 and the 1st Bn passing through the 3d Bn at 0900. 2d Bn made no progress during the day. 1st Bn advanced about 150 yards against high ground north and east of Airfield No 3. 3d Bn 21st Mar was released to Div control for the night.
23rd Marines - DOG PLUS FIFTEEN, 6 MARCH, 1945
The quiet throughout the night in the RCT zone was broken by occasional rounds of rocket or mortar fire. At 0000, Division Operation Order 15-45 was received, and RCT Operation Order 9-45 for the continuation of the attack was completed and distributed to all units of the RCT prior to 0200. The plan for the attack was to pass RCT 23(less BLT 1/23), in column of battalions, through the left Bn of RCT 24 at King plus 60, and to take over in that zone, making the main effort of the Division. In support of the attack of RCT 23 and adjacent units of the 3d Division on its left, the nine battalions of Divisional artillery and two battalions of Corps artillery were to mass their fires, firing concentrations successive in depth from King plus 45 to king plus 81. Commencing at 0600, BLT 2/23 relieved 3/24 on the line in the left of RCT 24 zone. Prior to 0700, 3/23 less Co L (RCT Reserve), moved into assembly area at TA 200 R, prepared to support the attack of 2/23 at 400 yards. 1/23 remained in VAC reserve at TA 182 VW. At King-Hour plus 60 (0900), 2/23 jumped off and was immediately engaged by heavy enemy resistance in the form of automatic weapon and accurate rifle fire from the front. Gains of approximately 300 yards were made in the left of the BLT zone, but the right was retarded due to increasing enemy activity from prepared fortifications and natural covered positions. The unusual nature of the terrain in the zone of action, characterized by a series of jagged ridges and heavy undergrowth provided a distinct advantage to the enemy and severely limited the movement of friendly troops. Rifle fire in the fight of the alone was intense an accurate up to distances of 350 yards. At 1500, co K, BLT 3/23, was attached to BLT 2/23, passing through Co F, 2/23, and continuing the attack at 1600, but no appreciable gains were netted as a result of this change. During the attack the effective employment of supporting arms was reduced to the minimum because the unfavorable nature of the terrain. Several times during the progress of the attack artillery fire was adjusted by FOs to within 125 yards of the front line troops. The unsuitability of the terrain and the lack of routes of approach minimized the employment of the tanks of Co C in the right of the zone. Four tanks were employed in the left of the RCT to engage pillboxes and cave positions by direct fire with good effect. One Platoon of Co C, 4th Engr Bn, was attached to 2/23 to assist in demolitions work, and the remaining two platoons were attached to 3/23 for rear area mopping-up and heavy demolition missions of large caves. The total ground gain in the RCT zone during the attack averaged 350 yards from the line of departure. However, due to the erroneous reporting of the King Hour position of elements of RCT, the result of the days operation appeared limited, almost negligible, on the map. Positions were consolidated for the night at 1700, and some difficulty was experienced in tying in a gap of about 100 yards to the 3d Mar Div on the left. The RCT CP remained in 182 Y.
24th Marines - 6 March, 1945
Very little enemy activity took place from 0001 until dawn. BLT 3/24 was relieved by RCT 23 at 0630 and closed in its assembly area as Division Reserve in TA 182 O, 183 K, L by 0800. The massed artillery of the infantry Divisions and Corps artillery fired a preparation for the attack from 0845 until 0921. Most of the fire was placed in front of RCT 23. At 0900 the attack began and an initial gain of approximately 100 yards was made by the left and center of BLT 2/24. The right of BLT 2/24 and BLT 1/24 received heavy enemy mortar fire at the time of attack and were unable to move. Progress was slow along the entire front throughout the day. Two air strikes were made in the RCT zone of action. NGF and artillery fired in support of the attack. The lines were consolidated by 1700 with difficulty. Units of the reserve company of BLT 2/24 and of Company C, RCT Reserve, were committed to fill gaps and establish contact with flank units. The left flank of BLT 2/24 had made approximately 150 yards while BLT 1/24 on the extreme right had been able to make very little progress against strong enemy resistance. Sporadic enemy fire continued throughout the remainder of the period.
25th Marines - D plus 15, 6 March 1945.
The night of 5-6 March was quiet. Div Op Or No. 15-45 ordered RCT-25 (Div Reconn Co attached) to continue mopping up operations on the partially by-passed pocket, to hold its position on its right and to conform to the advance of RCT-24 on its left. K?hour was set at 0800 with 4th Mar Div to continue attack at K plus 60. At 0900 BLT-1/25 started to extend its right flank and by 1600 had pushed to the east side of Turkey Knob (SW cor 184-F). On the left of BLT-1/25 no advance was made since RCT-24 on the left did not move its right flank. The Prov Bn continued mopping up operations on the pocket and in the gap between BLT-1 and BLT-2, using flamethrower tanks, medium tanks, and 75 mm halftracks. BLT-2/25 and BLT-3/25 remained in position throughout the day improving their positions.
There was a considerable increase in the volume of enemy mortar and rocket fire in the left sector over the previous day. This fire was particularly heavy during the K plus 45 to K plus 81 artillery preparation. The resistance in the zone of BLT-1/25, although less than that previously encountered, was still heavy, especially to the east of Turkey Knob. At 1700 units were ordered to consolidate and dig in for the night. Firm contact was established prior to darkness.
D+15, 6 Mar 45 Weather: Clear and warm. About 0730 LT 227 passed through LT 126 then accomplished relief of LT 226 at about 1130. Lt 226 assembled in CT reserve. Lt 126, following an artillery preparation, jumped off at 1245; Lt 326 was to jump off when LT 126 had reduced a strong point on their left which enfiladed the zone of LT 326. Negligible progress was made to this date due to failure to break down the extremely strong cave positions in very rough ground that existed on the left of LT 126 zone. Contact with CT 27 on the right was maintained without difficulty as their plans called for pivoting action about their left flank. At this stage of operation heavy demolitions work by engineers on large caves began to assume a vital part in all advances. Casualties: 1 Off, Replacements 6 Off, 165 Enl. Returned to duty: 1 Off, 10 Enl. Effective Strength: 107 Off, 2167 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 15 6 March, 1945
This combat team was again committed this date. The front was very quiet during the night with the enemy taking no offensive action. When our assault unit jumped off at K Hour the enemy resisted bitterly from prepared positions in pillboxes, bunkers and caves. the enemy used volumes of small arms fire, knee mortars , and phosphorous shells to check our advance. The enemy, because of the nature of the terrain, prepared fields of fire, cover and concealment could not be driven from their positions by massed artillery fire. this determined resistance continued throughout the day. The enemy dead reported to date was 1047 and 7 POW's have been taken.
28th Marines - D+15 1800, 5 March to 1800, 6 March.
Night Activity: A few enemy infiltrators attempted to sneak through the line but were killed. Otherwise the night was very quiet.
Daylight Operations: LT's-328 and 327 maintained generally the same positions they had on D+14. At 1315, LT-327 moved its right forward about 150 yards in a local attack.
As of D+14, artillery, naval gunfire, rockets, and halftracks were used to soften up the enemy positions to the front. LT-128 remained in Corps reserve at SURIBACHI, and LT-228 remained in CT reserve in same position as on D+14. LT-228 killed three snipers in its rest area.
CP's: No change.
Casualties for period: Supporting units for period
OFF ENL KIA & DOW 1 1 destroyer, 1 LC(S) WIA 13 2d Bn, 13th Marines SK (evac) 2 TOTAL 16 Combat efficiency: 50%