THIS WAS REPORTED TODAY, MARCH 6, 1945:
(Iwo's Beachhead Was
Toughest of Them All) (A must read; e.t.)
Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Tuesday, March 6, 1945.
Meet Death in
Associated Press War Editor
A dashing 86-mile advance by British armored and airborne units endangered the entire Japanese position in Burma today.
The maneuver slashed every communication line between Mandalay and Rangoon. Eight airdromes were seized intact Great stores were destroyed or captured and 1,600 Japanese killed.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur reported about 90,000 Japanese have been killed on Luzon island in the Philippines and the remaining 60,000
have been cut into disconnected units.
On blood-covered Iwo island Navy Secretary James Forrestal disclosed 2,500 marines have been killed— one for every six Japanese known to have been slain. He made no estimate of the American wounded. The last complete U. S. casualty
report on Iwo listed seven wounded for each marine slain. Japs Say 20,000 Wounded An unconfirmed Japanese communique estimated American wounded as 20,000, about the number of the original Nipponese garrison.
For the second successive day, Adm. Chester W. Nimitz reported battle lines were unchanged. The three marine divisions broke up repeated Japanese attempts to infiltrate through the lines. Trained dogs joined the marines in hunting down enemy troops still hiding in caves behind the lines, where the Yanks killed them or sealed up their underground hideouts.
Iwo's Beachhead Was
Toughest of Them All
(Editor's note: Why was Iwo Jima, tiny Pacific island so hard for
the tough American marines to conquer? This story explains Iwo's toughness—one of the world’s most heavily fortified bases which was giving the Leathernecks one of the bitterest battles in 168 years of marine corps history).
BY JAMES LINDSLEY
Iwo Jima (via Navy Radio)—(3?)—Iwo's beachhead—Hack, sandy,
treacherous—was the toughest of them all.
The U. S. marines took heavy casualties at Tarawa and the conquests
of Roi, Namur, Saipan and Tinian were fighting jobs for a fighting
service. But nowhere were the forces of nature and of the Japanese
lined up in the measure they were at Iwo Jima.
Tarawa? Yes, it was flat, exposed and highly fortified. But it was
a 76-hour campaign. Iwo has already blazed with fury and death for 16
days and the narrow, littered beach has felt the shock of enemy resistance
Across open, heavy surf, the Iwo beach-master moved thousands of
troops of three marine divisions, the Third, the Fourth, and the Fifth,
their guns, food, water, ammunition and all the countless supplies needed
for the great battle.
There was no harbor. No shelter.
The material piled up in, a great scene of apparent confusion on the constantly shelled southeast beach
Iwo is covered with what appears to be decomposed volcanic rock, which shifts and slides under foot. It is difficult to walk on and, at the outset, was a veritable death trap for tanks and trucks. Yet, the marines soon had on the beach more
vehicles than the island had ever seen
The beach slopes sharply upward from the water. Early advances were in yards as the marines of the Fourth and Fifth divisions pushed forward under intense enemy fire. Initial resistance was comparatively light but the hours of the day and night that followed were filled with suffering and death for the brave men who would not be shoved off the beachhead. The Third division was thrown into the battle two days after the initial invasion.
Move In On Island
I saw long lines of amphibious tanks moving in on the island that sunny morning of D-day, February 19 as the first wave of marines made their assault on the forbidding coast.
Many of the men were laughing and joking as the tanks waddled ridiculously past our control boat, standing offshore. Some waved and
yelled but the brisk wind whipped
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their words away. There was this thought: "How many of these men will be dead -ten minutes from now.
Then terrible carnage broke loose on the beach itself. The sounds of war—the boom and crack of naval guns all around us—was unleashed in full fury. For a while the hellish nightmare ashore was too great to absorb.
So, the sharpest memory is of boys, light hearted and without pretense, going into the worst mission the marines have ever been called upon to undertake.
The Japanese had hundreds of mortar and artillery pieces deeply entrenched on high ground covering every inch of the beaches They opened up just after the first assault elements charged ashore.
U, S, navy guns had knocked out some enemy positions in the terrific shelling that hadn't ceased until five minutes before the actual landing. But hundreds more were still in action.
Wreckage Litters Beach
In a short time, the wreckage of landing boats, trucks, amphibious tractors and other equipment littered the shoreline.
Surviving crews were forced to take shelter with the marines in shell and bomb craters until they had an opportunity to charge tip the
steep slope to the rim of the southern Motoyama airfield, which was the initial objective.
That goal was reached the first day—taken by the first battalion of the 23rd marines, commanded by Col. W. W. Wetisinger, of Fremont, Ohio, and Lajolla, Calif. It took these men from "H" hour (9 a. m.) until nightfall to advance the 500
yards from the beach to the airfield. Just how grim the fighting was I learned, first hand after going ashore with the Third battalion of the 23rd marines, commanded by Maj. James L. Scales of Stoneville, N. C.
I was pinned down on the beach. A shell hole seemed the only place to be while the enemy poured the concentration of fire on us. There was no turning back.
Jumble of Impressions
Out of the jumble of impressions, several stand out sharply in retrospect.
There was the heroism ofCapt. John W. Thomason, 3rd, mild-mannered Fourth division public relations officer and former Houston (Tex,) Chronicle reporter, who rallied the medical corpsmen and helped carry out the wounded under fire.
There was the sight of the gravely wounded marine in a crater five feet away, who laboriously removed the canteen from his belt but lacked the strength to lift it to his mouth.
There was the stupefying crash as a landing boat received a direct hit, tpa"'nsj one crewman in two while another, standing only two or three feet away, apparently was unharmed.
There was the story of the marine, with both feet gone, who politely replied to an inquiry from his sergeant just before he died: "I'm very sorry but I don't know."
On the lighter side, remains the memory of the unidentified marine charging ashore and tearing off his lifebelt, while he declared In a southern drawl: "That thing's not
going to save my life now, Mac."
With the U. S. First Army
The fall of Cologne was officially announced tonight.
Paris— (AP) —
American troops fought through Cologne to the Rhine tonight, and in the south the U. S. Third army spurted 25 miles toward the Rhine in the Coblenz
American first army tanks and troops fought past the famous Dom cathedral in Cologne, Germany's fourth city, and a front dispatch declared "Cologne for all military purposes has fallen."
Germans retreated south from Cologne along a corridor to Bonn. The Third army tanks broke out of their Kjll river bridgehead farther south yesterday morning and in 30 hours raced 25 miles, or more than halfway the distance to the Rhine, They were meeting "only medium resistance" in the push to the river in this sector, more than 1,500 Germans including a corps commander were captured.
Capture Ford Plant
American troops had driven to the Rhine all along a line north of Cologne except for a bend in the river south of Duesseldorf, and capured for Ford motor plant just
north of the city.
Russian troops have reached Stettin bay and captured Cantnin, Marshal Stalin announced tonight. Earlier Stalin reported
Marshal Gregory Zhukov's First White Russian army has captured Griefenberg, 14 miles from the Baltic toast.
BY RICHARD KAS1SCHKE
London—(AP) — Russian troops closing on Stettin have reached the Oder near Greifenhagen, 11 miles south of the port, a Moscow dispatch said today. The Germans declared the Soviets had thrust to within 13 miles of Stettin bay and
85 of the U-boat base of Swinemuende. Red army artillery was shelling
Stettin, the port of Berlin at the Oder's mouth.
The river divides into two main channels at Griefenhagen.