D Plus 25 (D+25) 16 March, 1945
9th Marines- On the 15th and 16th of March the 2d Bn and the Wpns Co continued their actions against respective pockets. The 2d Bn had use of a large flame thrower tank which belonged to the 5th Mar Div and used it to excellent advantage. This tank, which shoots a flame about 125 yards, proved to be the weapon that worked when all others failed. Its long flame range and the area covered by one burst were the contributing factor to its remarkable success. The Weapons Co used its 75mm guns to blast caves in the seaward face of the cliffs on 14th March, and the entire Co operated as infantry on the 15th and 16th in an attack SE down the top of the ridge. At 1350 on 16 March the 2d Bn reported overrunning all organized resistance in the enemy strong point at 201-D and the Wpns Co had completed its moping up on the ridge at 202-G,H to such an extent that the Regtl Comdr was able to report that all organized resistance had ceased in the 9th Marines Zone of Action. This ended the assault phase of the operation.
21st MarinesX. 16 Mar. The Regt took over the right ZofA of the 5th Div and attacked north to Kitano Point, jumping off at 0830. The attack progressed satisfactorily and at 1330 our troops reached Kitano Point overrunning all organized resistance in assigned area.
23rd Marines - DOG PLUS TWENTY-FIVE, 16 MARCH, 1945
No enemy activity of any nature was reported during the previous night. At daylight co L reverted to control of 3/23. All units conducted a final sweep within the zone to complete salvage and burial of enemy dead. The area included in its final phase of mopping-up started at the beach and extended back through the RCT zone to the rear RCT boundary at TA 183 AGM. Co F reverted to 2/23 control at daylight, and all units of 2/23 proceeded to the embarkation point at 0700, embarking upon arrival aboard LST 761. All troops and equipment of 2/23 were aboard the USS Rockbridge by 2300. BLT 1/23, upon completion of final mopping-up, proceeded to the embarkation point at 1000, and embarked aboard LST 761 about 1300. 3/23 embarked aboard LST 761 at 1030. Other elements of the RCT proceeded to the embarkation point in assigned order and embarked aboard LST 761. At 1115, the RCT Commander and staff conducted an inspection tour of the RCT zone of responsibility and found the area to be in a satisfactory condition. by 1315, RCT 23 Commander and staff embarked aboard LST 761. By 2300, 16 March, all troops and equipment assigned to RCT 23 for embarkation add loading were aboard assigned ships.RCT 23 Embarkation Plan at Iwo Jima consisted of the following:
USS ROCKBRIDGE (APA 228)
H&S Co., 23d Marines. R/W Co., 23d Marines. BLT 2/23. 3d Band Section (less Dets) 3d Plat, 4th MP Co. Det 1st JASCO. Co C, 4th Tk Bn. 2d Bn, 14th Marines. Det 4th Engr Bn.
USS KINGSBURRY (APA 177)
Det H&S Co, 23d Marines. BLT 1/23. BLT 3/23. Co C, 4th Med Bn. Det 1st JASCO. 3d Amph Trac Bn (less dets). Det 3d Band Section. Det V Phib Corps. Co C, 4th Engr Bn.
24th Marines - 16 March, 1945
Orders were received from Division for RCT 24 to assumed control of BLT 3/24 and relieve RCT 23 in its zone at 0800 and to thoroughly mop up and destroy the remaining enemy in the area. BLT 2/24 remained attached to RCT 25. RCT 24 (less BLT 2/24) relieved RCT at 0800. BLT 1/24 was ordered to place one rifle company in position in TA 201 N, S, and the other company in position in TA 202 W, 185 C, H. BLT 3/24 remained in its position astride RJ 116 and tied in with Company A, BLT 1/24. The RCT zone was divided into 2 sectors and each BLT was assigned a sector. Each sector was to be thoroughly mopped up, policed, enemy dead buried, own dead collected, equipment salvaged and open caves closed. An overlay recording all the above information was submitted to RCT 24 by 1600. The mopping up started at 0800 and continued throughout the day. By 1600, 25 enemy had been killed, 35 buried in caves and approximately 30 caves had been sealed. An overlay showing the positions of enemy killed, caves remaining open, routes of patrols and disposition of troops was sent to Division. Units went into designated positions for the night, placing outposts along the coast in TA 185 R and TA 185 E. There was little enemy activity during the remainder of the period.
25th Marines - D plus 25, 16 March, 1945.
There was little activity during the night, but RCT-23 on the left reported that groups of the enemy attempted to infiltrate through its lines.
At K minus 105 (0630) RCT-25 (BLT-2/24 and Div Recon Co attached) jumped off in the attack with BLT-2/24 making the main effort. Initial progress was slow but the advance gained momentum rapidly and at 1030, BLT-2/25 reached the beach road in its zone. At 1100, BLT-2/24 reached the beach road and all organized resistance had ceased at 1030.At 0800, BLT-3/25 was ordered to remove the minefield it had laid several days previously in a holding position in TA 184-S-X, 167-D. At 1130, BLTs were assigned zones of responsibility in the RCT area for mopping up operations. A sweep was made by BLT-1/25, BLT-2/25 and BLT-3/25 to the westward; BLT-2/24 mopped up its former zone of action; the Prov Co (R/W and H&S Cos) made a sweep to the north between the beach road and the beach to a point beyond the RCT boundary. All enemy dead were located and buried, all caves and other shelters for the enemy to hide in that could be located were blown shut, all Marine dead were picked up, all supplies, ammunition, water and weapons, both friendly and enemy, were either salvaged or destroyed. Assembly areas were assigned to the BLTs and by 1800, all BLTs reported that mopping up operations had been completed and that they were in their assembly areas. BLT-3/25 reported that the friendly mine field had been removed. The Div Recon Co was released to parent control at 1600. BLT-1/25 took up positions in the vicinity of Turkey Knob, BLT-2/25 at TA 183-R-S-T, BLT-3/25 took a position astride the beach road at TA 184-U, 167-A with outpost on the beach, and BLT-2/24 a position at 184-T-Y, 167-E.
Tanks stood by in the morning prepared to support the attack until 1200 and were released that time when organized resistance had ceased. At 1500, however, it was necessary to call back one flamethrower and one medium tank to neutralize one cave in the zone of BLT?3/25. This cave had previously been taken, but when the engineers attempted to blow it closed, the were taken under fire. The cave was finally blown shut at 1800 after a road had been bulldozed to within 50 yards of the cave and the tank had fired napalm into the mouth of the cave.
Based upon the number of enemy dead found in the pocket of resistance that had faced this RCT for the previous six days, it was estimated that there were from 800 to 1,000 Japs in well fortified positions in the area. This estimate did not include those enemy which were sealed in caves.
D+25, 16 Mar 45 Weather: Clear. At about 0800 3rdMarDiv elements relieved LT 226 whose zone of action passed to 3rdMarDiv responsibility, LT 226 assembled at CT reserve. At about 0930 LT 328 passed through right company of LT 326. General attack supported by tanks and dozers was continued 0930. In this sector the number of expertly camouflaged individual spider-trap positions was greatly increased. Casualties: 1 Off, 80 Enl. Returned to duty: - Off, 114 Enl. Effective strength: 88 Off, 1612 Enl.
27th Marines - D plus 25 16 March, 1945There were hand grenade exchanges during the night on the right flank of our lines and 7 enemy troops were killed. 6 or 7 air bursts were reported from a gun in T.S. 251Q. Our combat team went into division reserve during the morning. The total enemy dead reported during the operation was 1983 and the total number of POW's was 13.
28th Marines - D+25 1800, 15 March to 1800, 16 March.
Night activity: The usual hand grenade exchanges occurred throughout the night,
Daylight operations: The Combat Team held its same positions as on D+24, LT-228 on the left, LT-128 in the center, and the 5th Pioneer Battalion on the right. All three units were ordered to support by fire the advance of CT-26 on the right. Boundary between CT-28 and CT-26: 235 K north to 250 X northwest.
LT-328 was attached to CT-26.
TL-228 continued to reduce the pocket behind its left flank.
Enemy small arms fire continued to be extremely accurate and intense all along the front.
CP's: no change.
Casualties for period: Supporting units for period
KIA & DOW 11 1 destroyer for illumination only WIA 1 38 2d Bn, 13th Marines SK (evac) 1 11 Co C, 5th Tank Bn TOTAL 2 60
Combat efficiency: 35%