About Fiercest Battle in History Page 14
|February 26th, 2005||#131|
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The only factor that helped PLA was that the Indian army was not prepared for war in any way. Political interference was a major factor. The army was forced into a war that it was not prepared for.
|February 27th, 2005||#134|
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5 minutes behind them were the first infantry wave in amphibian tractors. Essentially the same vehicle, it had an open troop compartment that held about 20 assault infantry, and their equipment. Theses tractors were armed with two machine guns. The ramps were on the back of this vehicle. Photograph 3.
The 3rd wave landed 5 minutes after them, and it contained more infantry and heavy equipment like: 37mm cannons, weasels, 75mm half-tracks, jeeps, etc. This wave included landing craft that opened from the front. Much of the equipment became stuck in the sand, and was later destroyed by artillery.
At this point there was light resistance to the landing - in large part because of the barrage being laid on the area just beyond the beach.
Photograph 4 - This looks like a Higgins-type craft. There is a short ridge line in the background, so I would guess these are 4th Division Marines landing on yellow 2.
Photograph 5 - Marines hunkered down on the slope to the first terrace. They are probably 27 Regiment. Waiting for them was airport #1. Guns on Suribachi had an open view of the entire invasion beach, and inland guns were perfectly sighted too hit every square yard of it. Medal of Honor winner Basilone would be dead in minutes.
At this point, all of those guns were largely silent.
Photographs 6, 7, and 8 - 28th regiment on green beach. My father is somewhere in these photos. The 1st Battalion is already charging across the narrow neck of the island. Bypassing many fortified positions, they reached the opposite side of the island in great time, but suffered heavy casualties and were highly fragmented as a unit. My father was the corpsman for a 75mm half-track platoon. They had great difficulty in getting them off the beach, so he stayed in the beach area until into the afternoon tending to wounded.
Photograph 9 - 37 mm cannon in early action. I believe these light cannons were part of the Weapons Company. They were able to get these inland just a bit. One crew took leadership casualties, and ammo carrier Hillery Windham took charge, while under heavy fire, and delivered highly effective fire on fortified positions at the base of Suribachi. He was awarded the Silver Star and survived Iwo Jima. The 75mm half-tracks laid on fire from the beach - stuck or not.
Photograph 10 - I believe these are 3rd Battalion of the 28th on green beach. There were in reserve, but came in very early. Many marines had white flash paint on their faces to protect from burns. That's a snub-nosed 75mm cannon - armored amphibian tractor. At the beach, the 3rd Battalion was shelled heavily.
Photograph 11 - 28th Regiment soldier protecting the flank of the first group sent up to the summit. Suribachi was silenced.
Photograph 12, 13, 14, and 15 - the photographer wanted a picture of the flag as they started their ascent - just in case they all got killed. A 3ish-man patrol had already gone up earlier, so commanders had reason to believe there would be only light resistance. They still argue over the flag raising in terms of of who was there. After the flag raising activity there was a brief fire fight with Japanese emerging from caves inside the crater of the volcano. It ended quickly and the caves were sealed with explosives. A Pfc snuck up later that night and dug his way in to look for war trophies. He found about 150 men who had committed suicide.
Photograph 16 - closeup of Strank - 2nd flag raiser later killed in action.
The wounded marine with the bandage on his head is named Rutan.
Veteran Marine combat correspondent Lieutenant Cyril P. Zurlinden, soon to become a casualty himself, described that first night ashore:
At Tarawa, Saipan, and Tinian, I saw Marines killed and wounded in a shocking manner, but I saw nothing like the ghastliness that hung over the Iwo beachhead. Nothing any of us had ever known could compare with the utter anguish, frustration, and constant inner battle to maintain some semblance of sanity.
Last photo - destruction on the beach. When the Japanese opened up on the beaches at roughly 10:00, one hour after first wave, shocked commanders eventually reported back to their Generals:
1036: (From 25th Marines) "Catching all hell from the quarry. Heavy mortar and machine gun fire!'
1039: (From 23d Marines) "Taking heavy casualties and can't move for the moment. Mortars killing us."
1042: (From 27th Marines) "All units pinned down by artillery and mortars. Casualties heavy. Need tank support fast to move anywhere."
1046: (From 28th Marines) "Taking heavy fire and forward movement stopped. Machine gun and artillery fire heaviest ever seen."
You guys need to know this stuff because Steven and Clint are about to bring it to a theatre near you.
|February 27th, 2005||#135|
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|March 23rd, 2005||#138|
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This has been wonderful reading to someone who's only been here a couple of days.It is generally agreed that the most ferocious fighting of WW2 took place on the Eastern Front between the Germans and Russians and the US Marines and the Japanese. I don't believe that a list of casualties can be the determining factor however, since the ability of Russian Generals to accept casualties put them outside the pale of Allied Commanders on the Western Front. Thermoplae, Camerone, Tuetenburg Forest, Poltava are battles that are dwarfed by the number of combatants
in battles of later timesbut do not seem less ferocious. Cannae, as mentioned above, would be a particularly horrific example(if you were a Roman) and a Marine stranded at Tarawa might be offended at the thought that somehow his plight was less than someone at Omaha Beach. The Crusades have the appeal of religious fanaticism , cruelty and ferocity that to me put them at the top of an appalling list.
|March 24th, 2005||#140|
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Fiercest I would have to say thermoplaye(sp) where the spartans pretty much destroyed an army many times their size until finally being destroyed from a distance by arrows. There is also Tarawa, Guadlacanal, some battles in the Korean War and in Vietnam. The fight out of the Chosin Resoiver for example.
"Troops come first, last, and always. Never does your individual needs come before those of your men."