D Plus 21 (D+21) 12 March, 1945
9th Marines- The disposition of our troops on the evening of 11 March was this: The 3d Bn 21st Mar facing eastward in frontage of 200-300 yards, and the 1st and 3d Bns 9th Mar facing westward in a frontage of about 600 yards. The ground between these forces contained the last large remnants of Japanese in the 3d Mar Div Zone of Action. The 2d Bn as division reserve was in moping up the northern most remaining enemy of the same strong point. It also formed a line some 400 yards long which presented a stop-gap for any enemy withdrawal or escape westward from this pocket. Orders were given for an attack in a western direction with two battalions abreast; the 1st and 3d Bns 9th Mar. The 3d Bn 21st Mar was to act as a holding force as was the division reserve, the 2d Bn 9th Mar. The attack jumped off at 0700 12 Mar. The 1st Bn met strong resistance and its advance was slow. Tanks were brought into the action, but their use was again restricted by poor terrain. An armored bulldozer was used to clear a road for the tanks. At most, two tanks were able to operate in the area. The 3d Bn 9th mar to the north and somewhat easier going as resistance was light, especially on its right (N) flank.
U. 12 Mar. 1st Bn continued mopping up operations in Regtl ZofA and cleared the Regtl Zone of all organized resistance. However, many isolated Japs still hold out in caves and crevices along the cliff area.
23rd Marines - DOG PLUS TWENTY-ONE, 12 MARCH, 1945
Units on the defensive line 400 yards from the coast spent a quiet night, with only weak enemy activity in evidence in the area. At King-Hour, 0900, systematic mopping-up operations were initiated in the RCT zone, starting at the beach and working progressively backward. Extensive use of demolitions by engineers during the day assisted greatly in accomplishing the mission, most of the caves and dugouts in the zone were sealed. The burial of enemy dead, salvage of equipment and general police of the area was continuous throughout the entire day. No changes in assignment of troops or disposition on the ground was effected. by 1600, units reported 75% completion of the mopping-up operations for the day. Prior to 1700, defenses were consolidated for the night on the same lines as occupied during the previous period.
24th Marines - 12 March, 1945
There was no activity within the RCT area from 0001 until dawn. Orders were received for RCT 23 with BLT 3/24 attached and RCT 25 with BLT 2/25 attached to mop up enemy assistance remaining in their zones. BLT 1/24 remained in Corps Reserve. RCT 24 (less BLTs 1/24, 2/24 and 3/24) remained in Division Reserve. Patrols were sent out to comb TA 182 thoroughly. No enemy were found in the area. Police work, and salvaging of gear and equipment were continuously throughout the day. Close liaison with the assault RCTs was maintained. There was no enemy activity within the RCT area during this period.
25th Marines - D plus 21, 12 March, 1945.
Activity during the night was concentrated on the right front of BLT-3/25 where groups of the enemy attempted to break through the line. These were repulsed by hand grenades. (The area of resistance remaining to be taken was by this time so compressed that the use of artillery, NGF, rockets and air support was denied and only by using the greatest care could mortars be used. The terrain in this area was the roughest and the most chopped up terrain encountered so far in the operation. It consisted of a series of ridges running generally perpendicularly to the sea. These ridges were in turn cut in numerous places by steep draws running parallel to the ocean. Between these main ridges were draws whose sides were nearly vertical and these draws were in turn broken at intervals by cross ridges. Control was extremely difficult due to the fact that visual contact could be maintained only between very small units and due to the fact that it was impossible to orient the map to the ground).
Div Op Or No. 21-45 was received during the night and called for a continuation of the attack by RCT-25 (BLT-2/24 and Div Recon Co attached) at K plus 60 (0800). At 0700, it was planned that a POW, captured in this area on the previous night, would attempt to induce the surrender of the remaining enemy in the area. The attack was delayed until 0900 for this purpose. Failure of the public address system to function prevented the POW from talking to the remaining enemy.
In order to relieve the left unit of BLT-3/25 which was particularly depleted and bring BLT-2/25 into one zone, the following was done prior to K?hour; BLT-1/25 relieved Co G of BLT-2/25; BLT-2/25 relieved the left elements of BLT-3/25 with Cos E and G. Co A which had been attached to BLT-3/25 was attached to BLT-2/25 for use as a Res Co, not to be committed without approval from RCT-25. Units in the line from left to right at K-hour were: Co F, Co E, Co G, Co I, Co B, and BLT-2/24. BLT-2/25 was the only unit facing the ocean. BLT-3/25, BLT-1/25 and BLT-2/24 were facing to the east with their front perpendicular to the ocean. BLT-2/25 was ordered to make the main effort and its attack was to be supported by the three remaining BLTs.
The attack of BLT-2/25 jumped of at K plus 120 (0900) and was met by very heavy MG, sniper and mortar fire. The attack of BLT-2/25 was to be supported by tank fire north into the draws inland from the beach road in an attempt to knock out the mortar positions. To accomplish this BLT-2/24 was ordered to push forward along the beach road and to clear the beach road of mines for passage of tanks. This was accomplished by 1200, but at 1300, BLT-2/24 was ordered to withdraw to its previous positions since its presence along the beach road prevented the use of supporting fires by BLT-2/25. The tanks fired napalm and 75mm fire up some of the draws but were unable to reach all the draws in the area. Gains by BLT-2/25 were very slight and by 1700 an advance of only 100 yards had been made; BLT-2/25 suffered very have casualties in gaining this ground. On the left flank RCT-23 pulled its flank away from BLT-2/25 at 1800, leaving a gap of approximately 150 yards which existed throughout the night. At 1130, Co C was moved to a position behind BLT-2/25. At 1600, one platoon of Co C reinforced with MGs moved to the beach area behind BLT-2/24 and with Co B, 2d Arm Amph Bn provided beach defense.
During the day BLT-1/25 and BLT-3/25 continuously fired bazookas, AT grenades, 60mm mortars and hand grenades with grenade adapters into the area to their front in attempts to knock out the mortar and rocket positions which were firing on BLT-2/25. However, this fire did not reduce to any great extent the enemy mortar fire. Tanks were used by BLT-2/25 in support of its attack but due to the limitation of the terrain and closeness of own troops, were only able to fire on a few targets. At 1800, units were ordered to consolidate for the night on the ground then held, and contact was made along the whole line except on the left flank where a gap of 150 yards existed between RCT-23 and RCT-25.
D+21, 12 Mar 45 Weather: Clear. CT 26 (less LT 226) continued in 5thMarDiv reserve. At daybreak the Rocket Section and one Half-track Section were attached to LT 226. Lt 126 reorganized, for tactical purposes only, into Hq Co and two rifle companies (B and C). LT 326 carried out reorganization and orientation of replacements. Casualties: 2 Off, 119 Enl. Returned to duty: 3 Off, 21 Enl. Effective strength: 94 Off, 1898 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 21 12 March, 1945
Stiff resistance was met all along the front in the form of infantry dug into caves, pillboxes, and fox holes. Spider trap fox holes were in evidence. The enemy, by keeping as close as possible to our front, is attempting to escape our artillery and machine gun fire. Tanks, in support of our left battalion, received heavy mortar and artillery fire. Enemy rifle and machine gun fire was generally from a range of from 20 to 40 yards which made it very effective. They were backed up by knee mortars firing from 200 to 400 yards. Another enemy was found in a Marine uniform and carrying an M1 rifle but had no identification. Communication equipment was found in a cave in T.S. 235A, east center. There was no activity during the night. The enemy dead reported to date was 1471.28th Marines
D+21 1800, 11 March to 1800, 12 March Night activity: The usual infiltration attempts were made by the enemy but to no avail. Daylight Operations: Ordered by Division to continue the attack at 0700 with no change in boundaries or objectives. CT-27 was still on our right.
The attack was started on time but immediately ran into the same deadly fire as on D+20. An attempt was made to move forward again at 0900 but little ground was gained.
LT-228 sent a patrol out in front of its left flank into the deep draw to the front. The patrol reported numerous caves in the cliff line facing north of the ridge we were trying to reach.
An advance of 75 yards was made on the right by 1630. Otherwise positions for the night were the same as on D+20.
C Co, 5th Tank Bn, was employed on the road between LT-228 and between LT-128 and LT-328, and was able to maintain neutralization of a few pillboxes to our front.
During the day, 7.2 rockets from Corps were used in support of LT-128 and LT-328.
One hundred Motor transport men under Captain Slocum were received from Division and attached to LT-128 to be used only in defense.
CP's: No change.
Casualties for period: Supporting units for period
KIA & DOW 25 1 destroyers, 1 LC(S) WIA 86 2d Bn, 13th Marines SK (evac) 24 TOTAL 135
Combat efficiency: 40%