Marines on Iwo Jima, Volume 2. A Pictorial Record
By this point the assault elements of the 3d, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions were exhausted, their combat efficiency reduced to dangerously low levels. The thrilling site of the American flag being raised by the 28th Marines on Mount Suribachi had occurred 10 days earlier, a lifetime on "Sulphur Island.
The "front lines" were a jagged serration across Iwo's fat northern half, still in the middle of the main Japanese defenses. Ahead the going seemed all uphill against a well-disciplined, rarely visible enemy. In the center of the island, the 3d Marine Division units had been up most of the night repelling a small but determined Japanese counterattack which had found the seam between the 21st and 9th Marines. Vicious close combat had cost both sides heavy casualties. The counterattack spoiled the division's preparations for a morning advance.
Both regiments made marginal gains against very stiff opposition. To the east the 4th Marine Division had finally captured Hill , ending its long exposure in "The Amphitheater," but combat efficiency had fallen to 50 percent. It would drop another five points by nightfall. On this day the 24th Marines, supported by flame tanks, advanced a total of yards, pausing to detonate more than a ton of explosives against enemy cave positions in that sector.
The 23d and 25th Marines entered the most difficult terrain yet encountered, broken ground that limited visibility to only a few feet. Along the western flank, the 5th Marine Division had just seized Nishi Ridge and Hill B the previous day, suffering more than casualties. It too had been up most of the night engaging a sizeable force of infiltrators. The Sunday morning attacks lacked coordination, reflecting the division's collective exhaustion.
Most rifle companies were at half-strength.
Marines on Iwo Jima, Volume 2: A Pictorial Record
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi knew his th Division had inflicted heavy casualties on the attacking Marines, yet his own losses had been comparable. The American capture of the key hills in the main defense sector the day before deprived him of his invaluable artillery observation sites.
His brilliant chief of artillery, Colonel Chosaku Kaido, lay dying. The usual blandishments from Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo reached him by radio that afternoon, but Kuribayashi was in no mood for heroic rhetoric. Through the overcast skies appeared a gigantic silver bomber, the largest aircraft anyone had ever seen.
It was the Boeing B Super Fortress "Dinah Might," crippled in a raid over Tokyo, seeking an emergency landing on the island's scruffy main airstrip. As the Americans in the vicinity held their breaths, the big bomber swooped in from the south, landed heavily, clipped a field telephone pole with a wing, and shuddered to a stop less than 50 feet from the bitter end of the strip.
Pilot Lieutenant Fred Malo and his man crew were extremely glad to be alive, but they didn't stay long. Every Japanese gunner within range wanted to bag this prize. Mechanics made field repairs within a half hour. Then the ton Superfort lumbered aloft through a hail of enemy fire and headed back to its base in Tinian. The Marines cheered. The battle of Iwo Jima would rage on for another 22 days, claiming eleven thousand more American casualties and the lives of virtually the entire Japanese garrison.
This was a colossal fight between two well-armed, veteran forces--the biggest and bloodiest battle in the history of the United States Marine Corps. From the 4th of March on, however, the leaders of both sides entertained no doubts as to the ultimate outcome. Assault Preparations Iwo Jima was one of those rare amphibious landings where the assault troops could clearly see the value of the objective. They were the first ground units to approach within a thousand miles of the Japanese homeland, and they were participating directly in the support of the strategic bombing campaign.
The latter element represented a new wrinkle on an old theme. For 40 years the U. Marines had been developing the capability for seizing advanced naval bases in support of the fleet. Increasingly in the Pacific War--and most especially at Saipan, Tinian, and now Iwo Jima--they were seizing advanced airbases to further the strategic bombing of the Japanese home islands. American servicemen had awaited the coming of the Bs for years. The "very-long-range" bombers, which had become operational too late for the European War, had been striking mainland Japan since November Results proved disappointing.
The problem stemmed not from the pilots or planes but rather from a vexing little spit of volcanic rock lying halfway along the direct path from Saipan to Tokyo--Iwo Jima. Iwo's radar gave the Japanese defense authorities two hours advance notice of every B strike. Japanese fighters based on Iwo swarmed up to harass the unescorted Superforts going in and especially coming home, picking off those bombers crippled by antiaircraft AA fire.
As a result, the Bs had to fly higher, along circuitous routes, with a reduced payload. At the same time, enemy bombers based on Iwo often raided B bases in the Marianas, causing some damage. This would eliminate Japanese bombing raids and the early warning interceptions, provide fighter escorts throughout the most dangerous portion of the long B missions, and enable greater payloads at longer ranges. Iwo Jima in American hands would also provide a welcome emergency field for crippled Bs returning from Tokyo.
It would also protect the flank of the pending invasion of Okinawa. The first enemy in the campaign would prove to be the island itself, an ugly, barren, foul-smelling chunk of volcanic sand and rock, barely 10 square miles in size. Iwo Jima means "Sulphur Island" in Japanese. As described by one Imperial Army staff officer, the place was "an island of sulphur, no water, no sparrow, no swallow.
To the north, the land rose unevenly onto the Motoyama Plateau, falling off sharply along the coasts into steep cliffs and canyons. The terrain in the north represented a defender's dream: broken, convoluted, cave-dotted, a "jungle of stone. More than one surviving Marine compared the island to something out of Dante's Inferno. Forbidding Iwo Jima had two redeeming features in the military value of its airfields and the psychological status of the island as a historical possession of Japan. In the words of one Japanese officer, "Iwo Jima is the doorkeeper to the Imperial capital.
In the battle for Iwo Jima, a total of 28, Americans and Japanese would give their lives in savage fighting during the last winter months of No one on the American side ever suggested that taking Iwo Jima would be an easy proposition. Admiral Nimitz assigned this mission to the same team which had prevailed so effectively in the earlier amphibious assaults in the Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas: Admiral Raymond A. Hill, commanding the Attack Force.
Spruance added the highly regarded Rear Admiral William H. As usual, "maintaining unremitting military pressure on the enemy" meant an accelerated planning schedule and an overriding emphasis on speed of execution. The amphibious task force preparing to assault Iwo Jima soon found itself squeezed on both ends.
Hill and Blandy had a critical need for the amphibious ships, landing craft, and shore bombardment vessels currently being used by General Douglas MacArthur in his reconquest of Luzon in the Philippines. But bad weather and stiff enemy resistance combined to delay completion of that operation. The tail end of the schedule provided no relief.
D-Day for Okinawa could go no later than 1 April because of the approach of the monsoon season. The constricted time frame for Iwo would have grave implications for the landing force. Schmidt would have the distinction of commanding the largest force of U. Marines ever committed in a single battle, a combined force which eventually totalled more than 80, men. Well above half of these Marines were veterans of earlier fighting in the Pacific; realistic training had prepared the newcomers well.
The troops assaulting Iwo Jima were arguably the most proficient amphibious forces the world had seen. Unfortunately, two senior Marines shared the limelight for the Iwo Jima battle, and history has often done both an injustice. This was a gratuitous billet. Schmidt had the rank, experience, staff, and resources to execute corps-level responsibility without being second-guessed by another headquarters. Smith, the amphibious pioneer and veteran of landings in the Aleutians, Gilberts, Marshalls, and Marianas, admitted to being embarrassed by the assignment.
Holland Smith was an undeniable asset to the Iwo Jima campaign. During the top-level planning stage he was often, as always, a "voice in the wilderness," predicting severe casualties unless greater and more effective preliminary naval bombardment was provided. He diverted the press and the visiting dignitaries from Schmidt, always providing realistic counterpoints to some of the rosier staff estimates.
As he would forcibly state: I was the commander of all troops on Iwo Jima at all times. Holland Smith never had a command post ashore, never issued a single order ashore, never spent a single night ashore. Isn't it important from an historical standpoint that I commanded the greatest number of Marines ever to be engaged in a single action in the entire history of the Marine Corps? General Smith would not disagree with those points.
Smith provided a useful role, but Schmidt and his exceptional staff deserve maximum credit for planning and executing the difficult and bloody battle of Iwo Jima. The V Amphibious Corps achievement was made even more memorable by the enormously difficult opposition provided by the island and the enemy. In Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi [see sidebar], the Americans faced one of the most formidable opponents of the war. A fifth-generation samurai, hand picked and personally extolled by the Emperor, Kuribayashi combined combat experience with an innovative mind and an iron will.
Although this would be his only combat against American forces, he had learned much about his prospective opponents from earlier service in the United States. More significantly, he could appraise with an unblinking eye the results of previous Japanese attempts to repel American invasions of Japanese-held garrisons. Heroic rhetoric aside, Kuribayashi saw little to commend the "defend-at-the-water's-edge" tactics and "all-or-nothing" Banzai attacks which had characterized Japan's failures from Tarawa to Tinian.
Kuribayashi, a realist, also knew not to expect much help from Japan's depleted fleet and air forces. His best chances, he concluded, would be to maximize Iwo's forbidding terrain with a defense in depth, along the pattern of the recent Biak and Peleliu defensive efforts. He would eschew coast defense, anti-landing, and Banzai tactics, and instead conduct a prolonged battle of attrition, a war of nerves, patience, and time.
Possibly the Americans would lose heart and abandon the campaign. Such a seemingly passive policy, even that late in the war, seemed revolutionary to senior Japanese Army and Navy leaders. It ran counter to the deeply ingrained warrior code, which viewed the defensive as only an unpleasant interim pending resumption of the glorious offensive in which one could destroy the enemy with sword and bayonet. Even Imperial General Headquarters grew nervous. There is some evidence of a top-level request for guidance in defending against American "storm landings" from Nazi Germany, whose sad experience in trying to defend Normandy at the water's edge had proven disastrous.
The Japanese remained unconvinced. Kuribayashi needed every bit of his top connections with the Emperor to keep from being summarily relieved for his radical proposals. His was not a complete organizational victory--the Navy insisted on building gun casemates and blockhouses along the obvious landing beaches on Iwo--but in general he prevailed.
Kuribayashi demanded the assistance of the finest mining engineers and fortifications specialists in the Empire. Here again, the island favored the defender. Iwo's volcanic sand mixed readily with cement to produce superior concrete for installations; the soft rock lent itself to rapid digging. Half the garrison lay aside their weapons to labor with pick and spade. When American heavy bombers from the Seventh Air Force commenced a daily pounding of the island in early December , Kuribayashi simply moved everything--weapons, command posts, barracks, aid stations--under ground.
These engineering achievements were remarkable. Masked gun positions provided interlocking fields of fire, miles of tunnels linked key defensive positions, every cave featured multiple outlets and ventilation tubes. One installation inside Mount Suribachi ran seven stories deep. The Americans would rarely see a live Japanese on Iwo Jima until the bitter end. American intelligence experts, aided by documents captured in Saipan and by an almost daily flow of aerial photography and periscope-level pictures from the submarine Spearfish , puzzled over the "disappearing act" of the Japanese garrison.
Trained photo interpreters, using stereoscopic lenses, listed nearly potential targets, but all were hardened, covered, masked. The intelligence staffs knew there was no fresh water available on the island. They could see the rainwater cisterns and they knew what the average monthly rainfall would deliver. They concluded the garrison could not possibly survive under those conditions in numbers greater than 12, or 13, But Kuribayashi's force was twice that size.
The men existed on half-rations of water for months before the battle began. Japanese strategists concluded Iwo Jima would be invaded soon after the loss of the Marianas. Six months before the battle, Kuribayashi wrote his wife, "The Americans will surely invade this Iwo Jima. His was a mixed force of veterans and recruits, soldiers and sailors. His artillerymen and mortar crews were among the best in the Empire.
Regardless, he trained and disciplined them all. As the Americans soon discovered, each fighting position contained the commander's "Courageous Battle Vows" prominently posted above the firing apertures. Troops were admonished to maintain their positions and exact 10 American lives for every Japanese death.
The plan offered nothing fancy. Mount Suribachi dominated both potential beaches, but the 3, yards of black sand along the southeastern coast appeared more sheltered from the prevailing winds. Here the V Amphibious Corps would land on D-day, the 4th Marine Division on the right, the 5th on the left, the 3d in reserve. John Prados. Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships Mark Stille. The Battle for Tinian. Nathan Prefer. The Pacific Naval War Martin Caiden. The Coral Sea Miracle at Midway. Gordon W. Into the Crucible.
James Woulfe. The Pacific War. Dale Dye. Iwo Jima Andrew Rawson. Into the Rising Sun. Patrick K. Midnight in the Pacific. Joseph Wheelan. Imperial Japanese Navy Heavy Cruisers — Yamamoto Isoroku. Wake Island Jim Moran. Target: Rabaul. Bruce Gamble.
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The forces on Corregidor held their fire until the captured Bataan troops were removed from the area. This picture was reproduced from an illustration which appeared in a captured Japanese publication. Over 50, prisoners were held at this camp. A few U. With food, water, and supplies practically exhausted and no adequate facilities for caring for the wounded, and with Japanese forces landing on Corregidor, the situation for the U.
The commander offered to surrender the island forts on Corregidor to the Japanese. When this was refused and with the remaining troops in danger of being wiped out, all the U. Couriers were sent to the various island commanders and by 17 May all organized resistance in the Philippines had ceased. Corregidor's armament comprised eight inch guns, twelve inch mortars, two inch guns, five 6-inch guns, twenty mm.
The fixed gun emplacements were in open concrete pits and exposed to aerial attack and artillery shelling. The Japanese kept up strong concentrations of fire against the defenses on Corregidor until most of the defending guns were knocked out. The 11, surviving troops on Corregidor became prisoners of war and on 28 May were evacuated to a prison stockade in Manila.
The fall of Corregidor on 6 May marked the end of the first phase of enemy operations. The Japanese had bases controlling routes to India, Australia, and many islands in the Central and South Pacific and were preparing for their next assaults against the Allies. This picture is reproduced from an illustration which appeared in a captured Japanese publication.
The Japanese had been fighting in China since the early 's. Control over the latter gave Japan rich supplies of rubber, oil, and minerals—resources badly needed by the Japanese to carry on the offensive against the Allies. In March the headquarters of the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific was established at Melbourne, The Netherlands East Indies had fallen to the enemy and it was necessary to build up a force in the Southwest Pacific area to combat the Japanese threat to Australia.
The Japanese air attack on Darwin in February proved that the north coast of Australia was too open to attack by enemy planes and thereafter the Allies concentrated their forces along the eastern coast from Melbourne to Townsville. The Japanese planned to strengthen their bases in the Southwest Pacific and sever the line of communications between the United States and Australia. One enemy task iorce, sent to take Tulagi in the southern Solomons, was attacked at sea and lost a number of ships, but nevertheless landed troops and captured Tulagi.
Another task force intended for Port Moresby did not reach its objective because of an attack by U. This battle, called the Battle of the Coral Sea was fought on May and was the first carrier against carrier battle in history. The Lexington was so badly damaged that she had to be sunk by torpedoes from U.
Both the U. The opposing forces withdrew at about the same time and the action can be considered a draw. Following this battle the enemy no longer tried to send troops to Port Moresby by sea, an advantage to the Allies who began to develop the area of northeastern Australia and New Guinea. Instead, the Japanese sent troops overland to drive on Port Moresby and by 28 July had captured Kokoda, key to the mountain pass through the Owen Stanley Range.
Cargo nets on a transport could be used with a great degree of efficiency as they could accommodate far more troops at one time than ladders. After firing, artillerymen open the breech of their mm. Fleet in a major battle, if possible, and at the same time to orrupy Midway Island. Fleet, turned of the impending attack, divided us ships into two carrier task forces consisting in all of 3 aircraft carriers, 8 cruisers, and 14 destroyers.
Twenty-five submarines covered all the approaches and heavy and medium bombers were flown to Midway to supplement the air power on the island. At the Battle of Midway the Yorktown was badly damaged and while being towed was torpedoed and sunk by an enemy submarine. After losing all four of its aircraft carriers and planes, the Japanese fleet abandoned the assault and retired from the scene. During the battle the main body of the fleet had come no closer than miles to Midway. As in the Battle of the Coral Sea, surface vessels made no contact during the engagement. The Battle of Midway, one of the decisive battles in the Pacific, stopped Japanese expansion to the east, and Midway remained in U.
From this time on the balance of power in the Pacific shifted steadily in favor of the Allies. On 3 and 4 June the Japanese attacked the Army installations there. Of the two bombings, the first resulted in little damage, but the second considerably damaged ground installations. On 4 June the Japanese landed a battalion on Attu, and on the 6th troops landed on Kiska. Since most of the available U. Both the United States and Japan learned that, because of the extremely bad weather conditions, this area was one of the most unsuitable in the world for combat operations and the Aleutians were not used as an important base for operations.
Great distances had to be traveled in Australia by rail and motor convoys, many miles of which were through barren or waste land such as shown in these photographs. Troops arriving in Australia were prepared for transshipment to the enemy-held islands during the latter part of Since the number of troops in the Southwest Pacific was limited during the early stages, future operations were based on the movement of air force units from island to island to gain air superiority, provide cover for the advancing ground forces, and isolate enemy positions.
As the ground forces moved to a new position, airfields were to be established for the next jump. Some of the first enemy positions to be taken were near Port Moresby and in the Solomons. After receiving additional training in Australia, troops were sent out to carry the offensive to Japanese-held bases. Men cleaning their weapons aboard a transport bottom. Some troops arrived in New Caledonia directly from the United States while others went by way of Australia. Small infantry bivouac area, showing the native-type huts occupied by some of the U.
Huts of this type were used as troop quarters and as office buildings since the material for construction was easily accessible and the huts were also an effective camouflage measure against enemy aerial observation. It could operate on land or water and was often used to bring supplies ashore where there were no ports or harbors available for larger craft.
Supplies loaded from ships onto the Ducks could unload at the supply dumps, saving the extra handling involved when lighters or similar craft were used. This vehicle could carry approximately 25 men and their equipment or a 5,pound payload. Throughout the Pacific natives were used whenever possible for construction work on airfields, to transport supplies and equipment, and in all other types of work calling for unskilled labor. An Australian sniper in a camouflaged position during training bottom.
Every effort was made to teach all troops all methods of jungle warfare so that they could better combat the enemy who was well trained in jungle fighting and living. By October twenty-five men were completing six vehicles a day on this assembly line. The hilt of the saber which shows on the right side of the pack is that of an Australian cavalry saber issued in lieu of a machete.
By August the Allies had established a series of defensive island bases, along an arc reaching from Honolulu to Sydney, which served as steppingstones for the supply system and the springboard for later offensive operations. The Japanese threat to these islands in late summer put the Allies on the tactical offensive, strategic defensive. Rabaul, the principal Japanese base in the Southwest Pacific, became the objective of a two-pronged Allied counterattack.
One prong, starting with Guadalcanal, was directed up the chain of Solomons; the other prong, starting from Port Moresby, was directed through northeastern New Guinea toward New Britain. Victory in Papua, John Miller, jr. Ciowl, The Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls, all three volumes in preparation for the same scries.
The Guadalcanal Campaign, first in the Solomon ladder, was undertaken with extremely limited means. Ground forces, aided by the Navy and Air Forces, fought tenaciously, bringing the campaign to an end on 21 February , a little over six months after its inception. Advancing further up the Solomon chain, the Allies made unopposed landings in the Russells on 21 February. Construction of airstrips, a radar station, a motor torpedo boat base, and facilities to accommodate a large quantity of supplies was immediately undertaken there.
In preparation for the assault on the Munda airfield, New Georgia, combat troops underwent rigorous training during the following months. Before this assault, Rendova was occupied on 30 June against only light opposition. This island provided gun positions and a staging point for the thrust against Munda Point two days later. Munda airfield was captured on 5 August and by the 25th all organized resistance on New Georgia Island ceased The next objective was Vella Lavella where landings were made on the southern end of the island on 15 August without opposition.
Simultaneously, the lesser islands in the New Georgia group were occupied and the enemy evacuated Vella Lavella during the night of October. The New Georgia group operation was closed on 15 October. On the night of October , New Zealand troops landed on the Treasury Islands which were to be used as a staging area for landing craft.
On 28 October a U. Marine battalion executed diversionary landings on Choiseul in preparation for a surprise attack at Bougainville on 1 November. By the end of the year a naval base and three airfields had become operational on Bougainville. No further offensive action was undertaken by U. Naval engagements and air attacks throughout this entire period effected considerable damage on the enemy. In the latter part of September , nearly two months after the invasion of Guadalcanal, the initial Allied blow of the second prong was made in Papua.
On 16 September the enemy advance in Papua was halted at a point less than 20 miles from Port Moresby where it was met by stiffened Australian resistance. American troops were rushed into Port Moresby by plane and boat, and a counterattack was launched in the last days of September. The enemy fell back to Buna and, while the Australian forces laboriously made their way over the steep mountain trails, American troops were flown overland toward Jaure.
During this campaign U.
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By 23 January organized resistance had been wiped out, ending the Papua Campaign. While the ground forces were fighting the enemy in Papua, U. In the latter part of January, American troops followed by Australian troops, were flown over the mountains to engage the enemy at threatened points along his advance from his defense bases. Fighting over the rugged terrain in this area was slow and costly. Salamaua was overrun on 12 September, and when troops entered Lae on 16 September the enemy had fled into the hills to the north. To prevent the Japanese from attempting further advances between September and December, pressure was maintained by the Allies in a slow move toward Ma-dang on the northeast coast of New Guinea.
New moves to isolate Rabaul started on 15 December, when troops landed on Arawe on the southern coast of New Britain, and on 26 December, when landings were made on both sides of Cape Gloucester. At the end of the year Rabaul was under constant air attack by U. Meanwhile, the plan of operation against the Japanese in the Aleutians was to attack Attu in an attempt to compel them to evacuate Kiska. Attu was invaded on 11 May and for eighteen days a bitter and bloody fight ensued.
The fighting ended on 30 May but mopping-up operations continued for several days. When Kiska was invaded on 15 August the island was deserted; the Japanese had withdrawn. While the enemy was fully occupied in the Southwest Pacific, an invasion of the Gilbert Islands was made on the Makin and Tarawa Atolls on 20 November. This was the first in a series of moves to recover Japanese-held bases that could be used to further the Allied advance toward the heart of the Japanese Empire.
Only moderate opposition was met at Makin and by evening of the 23d its capture was complete. At Tarawa much stronger resistance was encountered but was destroyed by the 24th, except for isolated groups which were later eliminated. Other islands in both atolls were occupied during the following days. Lunga River can be seen in right foreground. The airfield, in the process of being built by the Japanese in the summer of , was the immediate objective of the marines who landed on the island on 7 August Gavutu Island, on left, is connected with Tanambogo by a stone causeway and is about a mile and three quarters to the east of Tulagi Island.
These islands form the western side of Gavutu Harbour where the Japanese had developed a seaplane base. Occupation of the island group, Tulagi and its satellites, was accomplished in three days- The enemy garrisons were wiped out except for about 70 survivors who made their way to Florida Island. Mopping-up operations on Florida continued for a few weeks.
The mortar is an mm. Ml on mount Ml. On the evening of 8 August, the airfield on Guadalcanal was in U. During the following weeks enemy attempts to retake the airfield were repulsed. On 7 October six Marine battalions attacked westward to prevent the enemy from establishing positions on the east bank of the Matanikau River. Although this weapon was primarily used for operations in mountainous terrain, it was capable of engaging antitank targets. Several men and a plane can be seen at the bow of the ship. This aircraft carrier, patrolling near Guadalcanal, was struck by three torpedoes from enemy submarines.
Despite efforts of her crew, fires and explosions made such a shambles of the ship that she had to be sunk by her own men.
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Smoke from bomb strikes can be seen in the background. This ram was part of a series of air attacks on the enemy during the fight for Guadalcanal. Boeing Hying Fortress heavy bomber B-I7. The USS Hornet after a Japanese dive bomber hit the signal deck; note Japanese dive bomber over the ship and the Japanese torpedo bombing plane on left top. The USS Enterprise, damaged during the one-day battle of Santa Cruz when a great Japanese task force advancing toward Guadalcanal was intercepted by a much weaker American task force bottom.
The American ships were forced to withdraw but the enemy turned and retired to the north instead of pursuing them. Japanese bombing at first was amazingly accurate. Smoking ruins are all that remain of an airplane hangar after a direct hit top. Marines extinguish fire destroying a burning Grumman Wildcat fighter by the bucket brigade method bottom. The raid also destroyed most of the ready ammunition available at the time.
Four mm. MS antitank guns on the beach bottom. On 13 October sorely needed reinforcements for the malaria-ridden marines started to arrive, and by the end of the year U. The Japanese situation on the island had deteriorated rapidly by this time, partly because of the costly defeats suffered while attempting to bring in supplies and replacements.
A group of eleven transports proceeding to Guadalcanal were intercepted by aircraft from Henderson Field. Seven ships were sunk or gutted by fire. Four were damaged and were later destroyed near Tassafaronga Point where they had been beached.
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This transport struck an Allied mine in Pallikula Bay. Espiritu Santo Island, 26 October Of the 4, troops aboard, only two men were lost; however, vitally needed equipment and stores went to the bottom with the ship. Trails such as this made the use of chains on wheeled vehicles imperative top. Engineers, constructing a heavy-traffic bridge across the Matan-ikau River, lay planking over framework of palm tree logs bottom , Advance on Guadalcanal was difficult and slow.
Troops cleared the areas from which the final drive was to begin and pressure slowly increased against the enemy until the offensive was in full swing. This trail, having many grades approaching 40 degrees, was slick and dangerous after heavy rains and was of little use for heavier vehicles.
Note the use of steel helmets as cooking vessels. Fighting during the first part of the month had been bitter; the enemy had taken advantage of the numerous north-south ridges and streams to establish a strong defensive position. On the 15th a loud speaker was set up on this hill and the Japanese were told to send an officer to arrange for a surrender. There was no response to the order.
In the absence of reliable radio communications, wire communications were heavily relied upon. The EE-8 field telephone and the sound-powered telephone were used for long and short distances, respectively. Native carriers bringing supplies through the jungles into the hills top ; boat filled with radio equipment being pushed through a narrow, shallow portion of the Matanikau River.
The boat line established on this river was called the "Pusha Maru" bottom. The supplies first had to be brought by boat up the shallow river and then carried over the trails which were passable only for men on foot. During January the enemy situation became hopeless and some senior Japanese commanders began deserting their troops. The jeep, converted into an ambulance used to transport patients to the rear areas, could carry three litters and one sitting patient top.
Casualties being unloaded near new bridge construction. The first part of their trip was in flat bottom boats pulled through shallow rapids; the latter part was made in outboard motor boats bottom. The procedure for moving supplies forward for the most part was reversed for the evacuation of the wounded. In mid-January ground force units attacked Mount Austen, the southern anchor of the enemy's position.
While some Army units pushed through the jungle in an enveloping maneuver designed to cut off the enemy at Kokumbona, other Marine and Army units advanced along the coastal road. Supply dump which was set up on Kokumbona beach after pushing the enemy back; note shell and bomb craters which were used as foxholes by the troops bottom. The enveloping movement trapped several enemy units at Kokumbona which were then quickly destroyed.
By the end of the month U. The Guadalcanal Campaign was a costly experience for the enemy. In addition to the loss of many warships and hundreds of planes with experienced pilots, the Japanese expended some two and one-half divisions of their best troops. The Guadalcanal Campaign drew to a close shortly after two U. The enemy had committed at least 36, men on Guadalcanal. Of these, some 14, were killed or drowned while attempting to land; 9, died of sickness, starvation, or wounds; 1, were captured; and about 13, were evacuated. Sunlight Field can be seen across Renard Sound. Unopposed landings in the Russell Islands, located about sixty miles northwest of Guadalcanal, were made on 21 February By early evening all elements of the landing force could communicate by telephone, the troops had dug themselves into defensive positions, and outposts and observation posts had been established.
Construction of roads, airfields, and boat bases began in February and by 15 April the first of the two airfields was ready for operation. The torpedo boat base at Lingatu Wern-ham Cove went into operation on 25 February. During the tactical offensive of the U. By 16 March, 15, troops of all services had reached the Russells. Beach and antiaircraft defenses, including long-range and fire-control radar, mm.
The Allied base there was ready to support further advances northward. Only a few miles south of Munda Poin m New Georgia, Rendova was first to be occupied in strength to provide positions for mm. This operation was covered by fighter planes which shot down more than a hundred Japanese aircraft in a few days. The landing on Rendova, made on 30 June, met with light resistance. Fire from enemy batteries on near-by Munda Point was effectively neutralized by naval bombardment. The later need for a dual-purpose weapon which could be fired against both aerial and ground targets led to the development of the mm.
As soon as the Munda airfield and other strategically important points on New Georgia were taken, preparations were to be made for the capture of Kolombangaia. It was anticipated that these forces would be sufficient to seize the airfield and other objectives within thirty days, but because of the strong Japanese defenses encountered, reinforcements were ordered to New Georgia in mid-July to supplement the initial landing. The first man on the left is armed with a. Strong enemy defenses, mud, dense jungle, and inaccurate maps all combined to slow the advance.
On 25 August, twenty days after the airfield was captured, all organized resistance on New Georgia ceased. During this operation Allied planes destroyed an estimated enemy aircraft at a cost of 93 Allied planes. The next step up the Solomon ladder became Vella Lavella instead of Kolombangara Island which was bypassed. While some units were still fight. Earlier in September Americans had moved north on Vella Lavella driving the small enemy garrison into the northwestern part of the island. The results of executing a landing on Vella Lavella and cutting the enemy's supply and reinforcement lines to Kolombangara and other lesser islands which were bypassed became apparent when one enemy position after another was abandoned, or easily neutralized by U.
Arundel was one of the lesser islands in the New Georgia group, located between Rendova and Kolombangara. Without success the Japanese continually attempted to reinforce then- remaining garrisons in the New Georgia group of islands. Rifle in right foreground is a. The dense jungle on Arundel afforded the men excellent concealment from Japanese pilots. Before the New Georgia operation came to a close, the next phase of the Solomon campaign had begun. During the latter half of September , before the New Georgia operation had ended, the Air Forces turned its attention to the Bougainville area.
Prior to the landing on Bougainville, the Treasury Islands were seized and developed as a staging area for landing craft, and diversionary landings were made on Choiseul in preparation for a surprise attack at Bougainville. Enemy iction and heavy surf look their toll of many boats at the water edge.
Marines, supplies, and equipment landed from the open bow of the ship to reinforce the men on the beachhead established on 1 November The troops that landed on the north shore of Empress Augusta Bay encountered only slight initial resistance and losses were considered negligible. Excellent air support for the assault was rendered by both carrier and land-based planes.
LCV taking drums of gasoline to transports headed for Bougainville bottom. After the enemy had been driven off of Guadalcanal, efforts were directed toward improving the defensive strength of the island and establishing a base that could support further operations in the Solomon chain. Artillery fire, prior to an attack by the infantry, was effectively used against the Japanese system of defense, usually consisting of well-dug-in, concealed foxholes, equipped with a high percentage of automatic weapons.
Note collapsible rubber raft LCR on side of transport. Before the assault on Bougainville, combat troops underwent rigorous training based upon lessons learned in the Guadalcanal Campaign. One of the early objectives on the island was to establish a road block astride the Buretoni Mission-Piva trail, which led inland from one of the beaches. The road block would serve to deny the enemy use of the trail, the main route of access from the east to an Allied position.
Amphibian tractor, LVT l , passing men who have stopped to rest bottom. The advance on foot progressed at a rate of yards an hour. The Japanese resisted the advance using light machine guns and "knee mortars. The barrage balloons over the LST's in the background of bottom picture helped to protect the ships from Japanese dive bombers. Balloons had been let down because of heavy rains. So rapidly were troops and equipment sent in that by the middle of November 34, men and 23, tons of supplies had been put ashore. Fuel-dump fire raging on near-by Puruata Island; note wrecked landing craft in foreground top.
Fire and wreckage can be seen in background of the mm. Again on 21 November the same area was struck and fires continued all night, this time destroying a trailer loaded with 3, rounds of mortar ammunition and artillery propelling charges. By the end of the year three airfields had been put into operation. The mission of the forces on the island at this time was to maintain a defensive perimeter, approximately ten miles long and five miles deep, guarding installations in the Empress Augusta Bay area.
This gun was an automatic, recoil-operated, belt-fed, air-cooled machine gun top. Taking time out to make a batch of fudge, these men are using mess kits as cooking pans. Note treatment of identification tags dog tags on center man. Binding the edges of the tags eliminated the noise and made them more comfortable bottom. Instead of infantrymen slugging it out on the ground, land-based bombers neutralized enemy airfields in the Buka-Bonis Plantation area of northern Bougainville, and American cruisers and destroyers shelled enemy coastal positions.
Trucks in foreground are 4-ton 6x6's top. Troops continued to land at the base established on Cape Torokina for two months after the invasion. Message center in operation, 9 January ; note the lamp shade improvised from a tin can bottom. By this time Allied air and naval power had isolated the enemy; his line of communication to Rabaul had been severed. Emergency operation being performed in a dugout. This underground surgery room was dug about four feet below the surface and the sides were built up with sand bags and roofed with heavy logs.
The entire structure was covered with a pyramidal tent, shielding the occupants from the sun bottom. The mortar is a mm. The Japanese lours had been ordered to drive the Allied forces from Bougainville becanse of the precarious situation at Rabaul. The bamboo poles on the right in the river form a fish trap. At the end of , further offensive action on Bougainville had not been planned because of expected new strategic plans of operations against the enemy; however, renewed enemy activity evidenced in February necessitated further action.
This vehicle was used to bring men and supplies to the fighting lines and had seating capacity for thirteen men. The roller in front assisted in climbing out of ditches top. Infantrymen, walking through a lane between barbed wire, carry mm. Between 8 and 25 March the enemy launched several major attacks against the Allied forces on Bougainville. The enemy fought with his customary tenacity and his resistance in defended positions won the grudging admiration of the U.
By 24 April , ground forces had crushed the last important Japanese counter-offensive against the Bougainville perimeter. Casualties were heavier than in any operation since the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Solomon chain. An Australian sentry is on guard near a Flying Fortress in right foreground as soldiers await planes to go to New Guinea top ; troops boarding a C transport plane for New Guinea bottom.
During the last days of September the Allies launched a counterattack in Papua, New Guinea, thus starting the Papua Campaign- American troops for this action were sent to Port Moresby from Australia, partly by plane and partly by boat. The enemy fell back under the weight of the 28 September attack.
Australians laboriously made their way over steep mountain trails ol the Owen Stanley Range while most of the American troops, a total of about 4,, were down overland to Jaure in C's. This was the first large-scale airborne troop movement of the war. From the 10tht troops advanced as rapidly as possible along the muddy trails and waded, often breast high, through streams to approach Buna.
A surprise attack on Buna was not possible as Australian patrols had learned that "bush wireless" carried the news of the American airborne movement to the Japanese,. The rugged terrain of Papua includes the high Owen Stanley Range, jungles, and impassable, malaria-infected swampy areas as well as coconut plantations and open helds ot coarse, shoulder-high kunai grass encountered near Buna.
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Only one rough and steep trail existed over the range from the Port Moresby area to the front, taking from 18 to 28 days to traverse on foot; however, American troops and supplies flown over the range made the trip in about 45 minutes. The Papua Campaign and the almost simultaneous action on Guadalcanal were the first victorious operations of US ground forces against the Japanese.
Only a few trails led from Allied positions to the enemy's fortified areas at Buna and Sanananda. Food was so short during November and the early part of December that troops sometimes received only a small portion of a C ration each day. The rain, alternating with stifling jungle heat, and the insects seemed more determined than the enemy; disease inflicted more casualties than the Japanese. Because of transportation difficulties which lasted until the end of November, only about one third of the mortars were brought with the troops- Allied attacks were made on both Sanananda and Buna with no material gains.
These full-track, high-speed cargo carriers, designed to transport personnel, ammunition, and accessories, were produced for the British only. The presence of several Bren-gun carriers proved a surprise to the enemy. However, enemy soldiers picked off the exposed crews and tossed grenades over the sides of the carriers. In a short time they were all immobilized and infantry following behind them met with intense fire from the enemy's defenses. During the latter part of December, tanks arrived by boat.
Only one mm.
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After many set-backs, Buna Village was captured on 14 December. Although Allied attacks at various points were often unsuccessful, the Japanese, suffering from lack of supplies and reinforcements, finally capitulated on 2 January at Buna Mission. GUN M3A1 into enemy positions. The mm. Japanese tactics during the Buna campaign were strictly defensive; for the most part the enemy dug himself in and waited for Allied troops to cross his final protective line.
In general, the islanders were very friendly to the Allies, their work throughout campaign, in moving supples over the treacherous trails and in rescuing Allied survivors of downed aircraft, was excellent. Enemy fortifications covered all the approaches to his bases except by sea, and were not easily discerned because of fast growing tropical vegetation which gave them a natural camouflage. Constant work was maintained to make routes passable for jeeps. Construction of airstrips near Dobodura and Popondetta, underway by 18 November, was assigned the highest priority because of the lack of a harbor in the area.
Some supplies were flown to the airstrips and some arrived by sea through reef-studded coastal waters near Ora Bay. The last vital transport link was formed by a few jeeps and native carriers who delivered the supplies to dumps just beyond the range of enemy small arms fire. Attacks from all sides by the American and Australian units in their drive toward Sanananda met with stiff enemy resistance after Buna Mission had been captured. This long, hard counteroffensive freed Australia from the imminent threat of invasion and gave the Allies a toe hold in the New Guinea area of enemy defenses protecting Rabaul, one of the main Japanese positions in the Pacific.
Natives often acted as litter bearers for casualties. Of the 13, American troops taking part in the Papua Campaign, were killed, 2, wounded, and about 8, evacuated sick. Troops fighting in this campaign learned the art of jungle warfare which proved of immense value in training divisions for subsequent operations. The enemy suffered heavy casualties in the Papua Campaign. Disease and starvation claimed many: only a few were evacuated and about were captured by Allied troops. On 29 January American transport planes began to ferry troops from Port Moresby to Wau, about 30 miles inland from the northeast coast of New Guinea.
As the troops unloaded, they rushed to defenses around the edge of the field since the Japanese were then within easy rifle range of the airstrip. The next day a determined enemy attack was repulsed. On 3 February the Japanese began to withdraw. After the enemy had withdrawn from the area of VVau, months of constant fighting followed in the jungle-clad ridges between Wan and Salamaua, during which time the enemy suffered heavy casualties.
This facilitated the movement of troops and supplies by water to that area and gained valuable new airfields for the Allies. Smoke from bomb bursts can be seen on Salamaua. While the ground forces were battling with the enemy, aircraft were striking at his bases at Salamaua, Lae, Finschhafen, Madang. Aircraft operating from Port Moresby and from newly won fields in the Buna-Gona area intensified their attacks on the enemy's bases.
A sustained five-day air offensive against Wewak, which began on 17 August, destroyed about planes on the ground and in the air at a cost of only 10 U. White parachutes were used by the troops, colored ones for supplies and ammunition. The men were dropped to seize the airdrome at Nadzab, located some 20 miles northwest ot Lae, on the morning of 5 September An advance on Salamaua was initiated by Australian troops with assistance from American units that had landed at Nassau Bay on 30 June. This nve was an attempt to divert enemy strength from Lae, the real objective of the Allies.
As a result of this move the Japanese did divert their reinforcements arriving at Lae to Salamaua to strengthen their defenses there, as the Allies moved closer to the town. Wrecked buildings and huge bomb craters resulted from earlier aerial attacks on the area. On this date Sala-maua was taken, the final attack having been delayed until the Lae operation was well underway.
During the period from 30 June to 16 September, a total of about 10, Japanese had been overcome in the Lae-Salamaua area- About 4, and 2, were reported killed in the vicinity of Salamaua and Lae, respectively. The remainder made their way north as best they could. This photograph was taken on 1 September After Finschhafen was captured by the Allies, US troops halted to consolidate their gaines.
Offensive operations in New guinea during the remainder of consisted of a slow advance toward Madang to maintain pressure on enemy. Parachute bombs were used to prevent self-destruction of the attacking low-flying bombers by the blasts of their own bombs. It was claimed that more than enemy aircraft were destroyed or damaged on this raid, in addition to other materiel, ships, and installations. Infantryman relaxes on a cork life raft top while two men check and reassemble a flexible, water-cooled.
While Army and Navy bombers pounded Rabaul, landings were made on Arawe peninsula on the southern coast of New Britain, 15 December Bomb splashes can be seen in water, resulting from the enemy's attempt to hit the LST in foreground. This was the only effective resistance offered by the Japanese at Cape Gloucester. The invasion of New Britain was the climax of the drive up the Solomon-New Guinea ladder; at the eastern end of this island was Rabaul, chief enemy base in the Southwest Pacific. Eyemo movie camera, while the beachhead was being made secure three days after the landings on Arawe top.
Infantryman watching aircraft from his camouflaged foxhole bottom. Five days after the landings the Americans had cleared the enemy from Arawe peninsula. Armored amphibian tractors proved to be valuable assault vehicles. They could be floated beyond the range of shore batteries, deployed in normal landing boat formations, and driven over the fringing reefs and up the beaches. One of the immediate missions of the forces landing on Arawe was to establish a PT boat base.