U. S. PACIFIC FLEET HEADQUARTERS, Guam, Sunday,
Three Marine divisions, driving straight into the face of the most modern weapons" Japan has yet employed in the Pacific and over a maze of long-built defenses, captured half of the enemy's last airfield on Iwo Saturday afternoon.
Pushing their lines north to encompass nearly the whole south half of the island, they ground out gains of 300 to 500 yards.
But it was paid for in blood every inch of the way past pillboxes, blockhouses and fortified caves. On one flank alone 100 caves, 30 to 40 feet deep, had to be knocked- out.
Bud Foster, NBC war correspondent aboard the expeditionary flagship of Vice-
Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner off Iwo, said today the "final all-out drive" is on.
Warships of the fleet have moved In closer to Iwo in backing up the offensive.
The Marine invasion army of Lt. Gen. Holland M. (Howlin' Mad) Smith, perhaps exceeding 40,000 men, apparently passed the crisis on Iwo Friday and, with steadily unloaded equipment, is north bound in accumulated power, screened by
artillery, carrier planes and warship guns.
But today's communique went ' to unusual ends to emphasize that the Nipponese power of resistance also remains great despite absence of supporting warships
' LOS BANOS, Philippines, Feb. 24— (IP)—
More than 2,000 civilian prisoners of the Japanese—most of them Americans were freed today, liberated by Yank soldiers and Filipino guerrillas in another of the Pacific war's daring and dramatic rescues.
The liberating force struck yesterday from the sky, over land and across water, far behind the Japanese lines, to free 2,146 men, women and children and wipe out the entire Japanese garrison at the Los Banos internment camp, about 45 miles southeast of war-battered Manila.
The internees, pinched by hunger and showing signs of more than three years internment, quickly were carried to safety. Some of them, Including the aged, were brought out on litters.
American casualties in the sensational operation totaled six—two
Soldiers killed, two wounded and two internees slightly injured.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who ordered the rescue, said Providence was certainly with the Doughboys and the guerrillas. He declared: "Nothing could be more satisfying to a soldier's heart than this rescue. I am deeply grateful."
Among the rescued were 11 United States Navy nurses. They were captured at the Canacao naval hospital, near Cavite, in January, 1942. 'first interned at Santo Tomas camp, they volunteered to take over duties of the Los Banos hospital when the Japanese opened the latter camp in May, 1943.
MANILA, Sunday. Feb. 24.—
Manila, strewn with the bodies of more than 12,000 Japanese, was completely liberated Saturday —three weeks to a day after Yanks first entered it.
The death gasp of th5 enemy's fanatical garrison was emitted within the centuries-old walls of the Intramuros where 3,000 frightened and tortured civilians were rescued—a day after the dramatic behind the lines liberation of 2,146 civilians
southeast of the city at Los Banos.
The triumph was reported in a communique whitch pointed out that Japanese losses on Luzon and Leyte, far exceeding 200,000, were so disproportionate that early liberation of all the Philippines is in prospect.
The communique also listed more than 2,000 on Corrceidor, in Manila Bay with other' thousands dead underground.
Grim-faced Yanks of Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beighller's 37th (Buckeye) and Maj. Gen. Verne D. Mudge's First Cavalry divisions, try first to enter Manila, slaughtered the last remnants of an enemy garrison once estimated at 20,000.
Yank Force Only 19 Miles of Cologne
PARIS, Sunday, Feb. 25.—(AP)—
The American First and fifth Armies plunged nearly five miles across the Cologne plain beyond the shattered Roer river defense line yesterday, engulfing 30 towns and villages and capturing thousands of the German west bank Rhine force which General Eisenhower declared he was going to destroy.
At dusk on the second day of the powerful push—by German account "the greatest offensive Eisenhower has ever staged"—American spearheads were 12 miles from the western Ruhr basin and 19..from Cologne, and had won half of the Roer river bastion to Dueren.