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D Plus 16 (D+16) 7 March, 1945

9th Marines - On the night of 6 March the regiment received order for an attack to jump off at 0500 on 7 March thus taking advantage of about 1 hour of darkness. The 3d Bn 9th Mar, at the time attached to the 21st Marines, was to attack at the same hour in a southeasterly direction from a position on the left of the 2d Bn and seize HILL 362. The attack jumped off at 0500 7 March, preceded by smoke preparation. The attack apparently had its desired surprise effect and both battalions advanced up to 200 yards all along their fronts. By 0800 of the same day, however, the two assault companies of the 2d Bn and the left company of the 1st Bn were pinned down by fire from both the front and from by-passed positions to the rear. The 2d Bn companies, Co E and Co F suffered here their severest casualties of the campaign. About noon the enemy counterattacked in the 2d Bn sector accompanied by heavy mortar fired. The Res company of the 2d Bn with supporting tanks was moved into position and aided the assault companies in repulsing the attack. Assault platoons of Co F of the 2d Bn were pinned own by enemy fire for more than 30 hours and were finally removed from the position by tanks, who skillfully moved into the area and brought out the few remaining riflemen and company commander. Meanwhile during the day of 7 March, Co C of the 1st Bn attacked and seized some high ground on the right of the battalion sector. The enemy, however, soon placed effective heavy mortar fire on the hill and inflicted a loss of 44 out of the 54 attacking troops forcing them to abandon this position in the face of registered MG and Mort fire for one in defilade behind the hill.

image The 3d Bn, during this day succeeded in capture of HILL 362, an important gain for the entire Corps.

During the last four days' action tanks of the 3d Tk Bn, 3d Mar Div were employed and proved to be the most formidable supporting weapon at our disposal. Their use was restricted by two features, namely terrain and well sighted heavy enemy anti-tank guns which disabled tanks in some instances with one well placed round. The former difficulty was overcome to some extent by bulldozing roads with tank dozers and an armored bulldozer; the latter difficulty by overrunning AT gun positions. AT mines were also a serious hazard which was difficult to overcome as enemy fire prevented mine removal. Special engineer and Inf teams and tank and Inf teams had to be improvised for the use of tanks due to no roads or mined roads. In the vicinity of the area under discussion an estimated 15 tanks were disabled. Nevertheless, tanks support was the deciding factor in this action as will be further verified below. With the seizure of HILL 362 on March 7 by the 3d Bn, the regiment was able to surround partially the enemy resistance which had been holding up any considerable advance for days. Resistance now remained in front of the 1st and 2d battalions and on the long ridge at 202-A,B,G,H.

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21st Marines

P. 7 Mar. 3d Bn 9th Mar passed through right of 1st Bn at 0500 and continued the Atk to Hill 362 (219 U). 2d Bn was scheduled to jump off to O-3 but was unable to advance due to heavy enemy fire coming from the high ground on left in 5th Div ZofA. 3d Bn 9th Mar made good progress seizing the western slopes of hill 362 (219 U); it was necessary to Atch one Co of the 1st Bn to protect 3d Bn 9th Mar left flank. 3d Bn 21st Mar reverted to control of 21st Mar. 3d Bn 9th Mar was released to 9th Mar and a new right Regtl boundary with Hill 362 (219 U) inclusive to the 9th Mar became effective at 1745.

image 23rd Marines - DOG PLUS SIXTEEN, 7 MARCH, 1945

At 2300, RCT Operation Order 10-45 was issued for the continuation of the attack on 7 March. Enemy activity during the hours of darkness grew progressively more intense, with frequent exchanges of rifle and machine-gun fire, and close-in hand grenade fighting along the entire front. Intermittent concentrations of rocket and heavy mortar fire fell on the front lines and rear positions, and, at approximately 0515, on of several rounds of heavy caliber rocket fire hit in the BLT 2/23 CP. As a result, the Commanding Officer of the BLT, and several key members of his staff (the BLT executive officer, operations officer and adjutant) suffered wounds and concussion. The staff members were evacuated; the BLT Commander remained in tactical control and effected temporary reorganization of the unit. At daylight, the RCT Executive Officer assumed command of BLT 2/23, the BLT commander then being evacuated for medical treatment. The temporary reorganization instituted by the BLT Commander was completed by the RCT Executive Officer, utilizing a skeleton staff of officers and enlisted personnel from RCT Headquarters and other units. In order to effect this reorganization, a half-hour delay in King-Hour was obtained. At 0800 (the new King-Hour), RCT 23 continued the attack to seize O-3 within its assigned zone. Boundaries remained unchanged. BLT 2/23 (with Co K, 3/23, attached) was in assault, attacking with three companies abreast (left to right, Cos G, E, and K), and one company (F) in reserve, assembled to the rear of Co G. BLT 3/23 (less Co K) continued in RCT reserve, and 1/23 in VAC reserve, both remaining in their previous assembly areas. Initially, the attack progressed favorably on the left, with Co G making moderate gains against comparatively light resistance. In the center and on the right, however, bitter resistance was quickly developed and the advance soon stopped. In accordance with plans pre-arranged to meet this eventuality, co G pressed the attack, opening a gap on the right flank, and uncovering co F, to its rear. Co F immediately attacked the flank of the strong point confronting Cos E and K, reduced it, took over the zone of Co E, and continued the attack. Freed from the fire from its left flank, co K was able to advance and soon came abreast, the whole maneuver being completed by 0900. Upon being pinched out, co E passed to BLT reserve. Very soon afterward, strong positions were again developed, this time along the entire BLT front, and the attack was held to small gains throughout the remainder of the day. The resistance consisted principally of heavy machine-gun fire, supported by intermittent mortar fire and very accurate rifle fire from concealed positions in the rock ridge formations and draws along the front. Co E remained in BLT reserve throughout the rest of the day and, at 1200, a fresh company (I) was attached to BLT 2/23 from the RCT Reserve. This company moved into position in left of the BLT zone, behind Co G, at 1200. During the course of the day, Co G had advanced about 200 yards forward of the 3d Division elements on its left. Late in the afternoon, the left flank of G was withdrawn in order to re-establish physical contact, and RCT positions had been consolidated for the night by 1800. Front-line dispositions for the night were, left to right, Cos G, F, and K; the BLT reserve line was occupied Cos I and E, in positions slightly to the flanks of the center of the BLT zone. Gains of 400 yards on the left and 150 yards on the right had been made during the day. Thirty-nine enlisted replacements had been assigned to the RCT, and these were forwarded after processing to BLT 1/23 which continued as VAC reserve. The RCT CP continued at TA 182 Y.

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image 24th Marines - 7 March, 1945

Sporadic enemy fire was received along the front from 0001 until dawn. Orders were received from Division to continue the attack at King-Hour (0730). RCT 24 would attack with BLT 2/24 with Company A, attached on the left and BLT 1/24 (less Company A and Company C) on the right. BLT 3/24 would remain in Division Reserve. BLT 2/24 would have 3 rifle companies abreast and BLT 1/24 would attack with one company in the line. Company c would revert to BLT 1/24 and pass through Company B which, when relieved, would become RCT Reserve from a position in rear of Company C. All other attachments remained normal. All units were ordered to push forward vigorously regardless of movement of units on flanks. The attack was preceded by Division Artillery and NGF firing neutralization and counterbattery fires on know targets from 0715 until 0745. Artillery ammunition was limited. the attack jumped off on time and both BLTs began moving forward slowly against heavy enemy opposition. AT 1100 the RCT Commander was informed that BLT 3/24 would be released from Division Reserve prior to dawn, 8 March, 1945 to relieve BLT 2/24 which wold then become Division Reserve. Another coordinated attack preceded by a five minute artillery preparation was made at 1245 in an attempt to break through the enemy's defenses. Both BLTs jumped off on time but very little gain resulted. At 1700 when the lines were consolidated for the night, a stubborn pocket existed between RCT 24 and RCT 23 which was not contained until about 1900. Total gains of approximately 100 yards had been made in the center of the RCT sector. Heavy enemy fire had been encountered throughout the day. Two air strikes, artillery and NGF had supported the attack. Sporadic enemy fire was received during the remainder of the period.

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25th Marines - D plus 16, 7 March 1945.

During the night of 6-7 march the enemy attempted to infiltrate along the whole front. In the zone of BLT-1/25 over 50 enemy were killed, but not until some of them had crept all the way into the line. BLT-3/25 reported seeing groups of enemy moving toward the ocean from inland areas and was able to break up their formations by use of artillery and mortar fire, inflicting numerous casualties on the enemy, thus preventing a likely counter attack against the RCT right flank.

RCT-25 (Div Recon Co attached) was ordered by Div Op Or No. 16-45 to conform to the advance of RCT-24 on the left and to hold its position in the center and on the right. BLT-1/25 on the left made no movement during the day due to the dictates of the terrain on the left and since RCT-24 on the left did not move. Mopping up operations continued o the pocket in TA 183-C, 184-K by the Prov Bn utilizing flamethrower tanks supported by medium tanks. BLT-1/25 also utilized flamethrower and medium tanks in the right of its zone to reduce emplacements and drive out the enemy ahead of its right flank. In the zone of BLT-1/25 the enemy intermittently placed intense mortar barrages on the front lines. BLT-1/25 also received small arms and MG fire from the high ground to its left flank.

image 26th Marines

D+16, 7 mar 45 Weather: Cloudy, visibility poor.

LT 1226 (plus Co "A", 5thEngrBn, and "H" Co attached) resumed the attack at 0640, without usual preparatory fires, to reduce strong pocket holding up their left flank. At about 1140 this strong point was reduced and LT 326 passed to status of VAC reserve, position remaining unchanged. Half-tracks and tanks were used effectively in destruction of cave and pillbox positions. Little ground was gained after initial success against the single strong point, and at the end of the day all six companies were committed to a thinly held line. Subsequent developments indicated that at this point CT 26 lines faced the strongest positions remaining to the enemy. Casualties: 7 Off, 126 Enl. Returned to duty: 2 Off, 9 Enl. Effective Strength: 102 Off, 2050 Enl.

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27th Marines - D plus 16 7 March, 1945

The enemy made light attempts to break through our lines during the night and there were a few hand grenades exchanged. During the day they continued to defend the ground foot by foot from bunkers, caves, fox holes, and rocky ledges. Again small arms, knee mortars, and hand grenades were the principle weapons of defense. The terrain was excellent for defensive purposes and the enemy fields of fire were short. The enemy dead reported to date was 1137.

28th Marines - D+16 1800, 6 March to 1800, 7 March.

Night Activity: Two enemy infiltrators were killed in LT-328's zone of action. Otherwise all areas quiet.

Daylight operations: Little enemy activity had been noted on D+15 in front of LT-328 and LT-327, and they were ordered to send combat patrols out and follow up with the main body. The patrols moved out at 0900 and the main body of the landing teams began to move out at 1000. Boundary between CT-28 and CT-26: 234 Q center to 234 D southwest. Direction of attack northeast.

Only small pockets of resistance were encountered but movement was slow due to the extremely difficult terrain. Numerous caves had to be by-passed.

By 1530 an advance of 600 yards had been made on the left and about 250 yards on the right. Further advance was possible, but it was decided to have the troops dig in for the night because it was late in the day and the ground was good for defense.

During the morning LT-128 moved to 217 P in Division Reserve.

In the afternoon, LT-228 moved to a forward assembly area in 216 N.

Lines at close of period: 233 I northwest, 233 O south, 234 L southeast.

CP's: LT-128 in 217 P, LT-228 in 216 ), otherwise no change.

Casualties for period: Supporting units for period

OFF ENL

KIA & DOW 5 1 destroyers, 1 LC(S) WIA 6 2d Bn, 13th Marines SK (evac) 8 TOTAL 19

Combat efficiency: 50%

Category: Battle Summaries | Posted by IJH Staff |